Saturday, December 29, 2012

Craftsy is at it Again

First, let me say how much I love Crafty's Couture Dress. Of all the classes I've watched, this is the one that is teaching me how to sew. Even though this is probably an advanced class, the information is presented in such a way that even I get it. I'm using some Susan Khalje's techniques on my humble Burda 8269 skirt.

Anyhoo. There are two new Craftsy courses that I would love to take (as soon as the next awesome sale comes up.)

Sewing With Silks by Linda Lee 

I don't plan on making anything with silk soon, but I'm just eager to learn. I'm not a fan of the pattern included with the class, but clearly it's not a deal breaker. It does give me another reason to wait for a good sale.

I'm really excited about the fit class. Of the two classes this is definitely the higher priority. It comes with Vogue 8766, which was on my pattern wish list anyway.

Sew the Perfect Fit by Lynda Maynard

Well, break's over. Back to my skirt muslin. I'm copying the pattern markings now. Let's see if I can get it put together tonight.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Practice What You Preach *Learn* (Know)

Hope your Christmas was awesome! I've finished the pattern alts, tissue fitting and more pattern alts on Burda 8269. My tissue fitting was shocking. I'd spent all this time meticulously adjusting the pattern based on measurements I took so carefully. Why was the skirt still too tight? 

I'm in no way bold enough to say that I'd done all the width adjustments correctly. User error was probably a component, but I think the bigger issue is that I do width adjustments first and then length. Given that I have to add 3" at the center back, I should probably do that first. That way when I add width, I'm adding it to the right place!  

I know this! In Fitting and Pattern Alteration, the rules are simple: first make even changes in length, then uneven length, follow with even width and lastly uneven width adjustments. I know this by heart. Why didn't I put it into practice? I know exactly why. To me, it's the hardest of my alts. This is why I save it for last. 

I think there are two ways to do it, cut the pattern at the waist seam and add the length or use this method from Burda. To get this pdf and more helpful ones like it from old Burda World of Fashion magazines, join the Burda English Yahoo Group. 

Back to the tissue fitting. I have some 'interesting' contours. After adding the length, I still had to contend with the extra fabric at the waist. I tried to dart it out and I ended up with crooked darts. 

I've never seen crooked darts before, so I'm going to assume I need to fix this. I will just trace them straight when I do the first muslin (notice how I'm assuming multiples).  When I was looking for the Burda article above, I ran across the one below again. I'll give it a thorough read in a few hours.  I'm also going to check Sewing and Fitting with Darts.

I'll start the muslin in a few hours. More to come!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! Hope yours is a blessed one! I think my brother and I are getting older and wiser; yesterday, we both said seeing today would be a wonderful gift.

Santa did roll through with a few gifts this year. I won't bore you with the non-sewing ones. Most of these were inspired by Craftsy:

Waxed tracing paper!!!! Just in time for me to start the muslin for my Burda skirt.

Professional Tracing Paper Sheets | 26" x 39"   $9.50 The Couture Dress Craftsy

Clover fork pins. These little beauties are great for keeping intersecting seams and plaids from shifting as you sew. Can't wait to try them.

Japanese notions -- pins, needles and cotton basting thread. I figured the yellow would work well for most anything.  I'm going to use my scissors philosophy for my pins: hese new ones are not for tissue fitting. The tape I use on the Swedish tracing paper leaves a residue on pins and scissors, so my beloved pearlized pins will handle the tissue fitting only.

Last but not least -- a new topstitching foot. Woo hoo!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

10 Count 'em 10

That's all 10 pieces of Burda 8269 traced and seam allowances marked. All ready for fitting.
I tried to alter the pieces for my waist and hips. I know I need to do to the sway back and full backside alts, but I need to get the puzzle pieces together first.
On to pin fitting...

Sunday, December 16, 2012

My Mind Is Made Up. No Turning Back

I decided on Burda 8269 as my Christmas break sewing project.  While it's a more distinctive (aka memorable and can't wear it as often) as Simplicity 2152, I think it is a better match for the eventual Vogue 8815.

This Burda skirt is supposed to be an easy project. The sewing is. It's the tracing and altering 10 pattern pieces that's a bit challenging -- four down, six to go. I have a relatively quick transition to make from waist to high hip. Luckily, it's just one size. From high hip to full hip is where it get's interesting. That's three sizes, which is two sizes bigger than the pattern! I'm being very methodical, so I hope it turns out really close when I get everything done. I'm using Swedish Tracing Paper, so I'm just going to baste that together for the first fitting.

I bought silk organza for the underlining. This skirt is happening!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

All I Want for Christmas Is

Want to know what would make me absolutely giddy with sewing infused Christmas cheer?

With this Vario Plus Snap Kit, I would have almost everything needed to take on jeans in 2013! If you'd like the kit, try here or here.
Click to Enlarge

I have one book on the list -- an oldie but goodie
More Fabric Savvy: A Quick Resource Guide to Selecting and Sewing Fabric

A new foot for my sewing machine.  Meet the Right Edge Bi-Level Foot for topstitching.

Vogue 8766. It's a recommendation in the Couture Dress Craftsy Course.


So, those were all my wants (aside from several yards of sweater knits).  What I need is a few (four) of these storage boxes.

              Really Useful 1.6 Liter Box, Pink

All for just over $100 (Vogue sale included). I'm giving Santa a break this year!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Peplum Pondering

I'm really late on the peplum trend.  Here's why: when it's worn with dresses and skirts, the skirts tend to be straight. Straight skirts are not my thing at all.


I got really, really excited about V8815 because it's part of my favorite Craftsy class.
V8815Plus-Size Pattern Fitting & Design by Barbara Deckert

I found this beautiful poly print for it at Hancock.

                               Paisley Charm Blue Polyester Fabric  Content: 100% Polyester  Width: 57/58"  Care Method: Machine Wash Warm Delicate Cycle; Tumble Dry Low; Use Cool Iron.  2.5 yds $5.39

I already have brown poly poplin that matches. I even have Ambiance lining in the stash for my skirt. Now the question is: which skirt? I kinda had my heart set on this as my Christmas sewing project. I knew it would go great with a knit top. I have doubts about it with a peplum.

Then I remembered my love affair with this Burda skirt, 8269. It will be not be as quick or easy to sew, but I think it wold be a better choice with a peplum.  I've attempted this skirt before. I cut it, sewed it and was ready to put the zipper in when I realized that I was using a brushed twill fabric with a no nap layout. Live and learn! I guess I was too ashamed at the time to post about my error when it happened.  
On a side note, I noticed that on Craftsy, the instructors really champion the use of natural fabrics. Is polyester really that evil? I love rayon and cotton too, but for these projects, aren't poly and her girl ester okay? 

That leads me to the extra time it will take for this skirt versus the Simplicity skirt. I can't remember if the instructions tell you to press the seams open or to one side. I do know pressing can be an issue with polyester, so I'm thinking about underlining the skirt too. Then, the seam allowances could be pressed open and attached to the underlining with a catch stitch. They'd stay flat forever. (It's amazing what you learn on Craftsy.  Got that technique from The Couture Dress. I couldn't keep myself from buying the class.) 

What fabric should I use for the underlining?  The fashion fabric is poly poplin and the lining will be Ambiance.  Silk organza means dry clean only, which is okay. I'm just clueless about what silk organza will do for the fullness at the bottom of the skirt. It also seems weird to use silk to underline polyester, but whatever. Lightweight cotton? Seems like wrinkle city, but that would happen anyway because of the Ambiance right?                             

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Fresh Starts

Every room in my home got a real Thanksgiving cleaning, except my sewing room. (I needed a staging area for the crap from the other rooms.)  Now it's time to put my mini cave back in order!

First, I had to own up to that I prefer tracing, alterations, layout and cutting on my dining table versus trying to use the smaller table in the sewing room.  Prior to Thanksgiving, I hadn't seen the wood of dining table in weeks because of the collection of sewing stuff that had mysteriously gathered there. I fell back in love with table all over again and I struggled with converting it back for sewing. This means I could clear some stuff from the sewing room.

My next step was to remove the collection of traced pattern pieces hanging on the back of the sewing room's door. I will not admit to the number of patterns this included. Know that stuff dated from 2009! There was stuff up there I didn't even want to sew anymore.

I also started on one of the bookcases.  The room is actually an office/sewing room. I need more space for the sewing stuff, so the books have to go.  If I bring a shopping bag full of books into work every day for a week, I think I might get to a more manageable library.

I've created a pattern hit list of my greatest loves. I certainly won't get to all of these in the next year, but these are the patterns I've found myself thinking about often. Quite frankly, I'm tired of having to go through my stash to find them. They will be housed on my newly-cleared bookcase shelves along with patterns on the I-wish-I-had-this-in my-closet-now list.

I need four of these to make that happen neatly.

Really Useful 1.6 Liter Box, Pink

Great news! My steam generator is back from repair! I can't have it looking all new while surrounded by clutter. This is what sent it away:


Amazingly, this isn't my pic! (Mine was actually so burned through that the sole plate had become detached at the top. Had I Googled before I purchased the iron, I certainly would have bought something else!

I'm really looking forward to my two-week Christmas vacation. I'll have a clean and organized sewing space and a just-like-new iron. I want to make a skirt and a top or a dress. I need an outfit to wear to work! 

Butterick 5523 or Simplicity 2152

PhotoSimplicity : 2152

Silhouette 175 or 312.
Silhouette 312 Giorgio's Top

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Measuring Up

In my circle of friends and family I would trust to take my measurements, everyone lives in another state. I have not really reached out to the sewing community in Chicago at all for help. I'd actually like to have more projects under my belt before I start hobnobbing with real stitchers! 2012 has not been a good sewing year at all ...

With that said, I did have my measurements taken by a sewing instructor in May 2011. I shudder to think of how much weight I've gained since then. Anyhoo. I've made several half-hearted attempts to take my own measurements since then. The hardest things are CB and front crotch vs. back crotch. I've been watching some Craftsy courses and correct measurements seem critical, so I decided to give taking my own measurements some serious attention.  I think I've cracked the code. It's all about the tools! (Of course that would be my answer; I am such a gadget person.)

Okay, well the first item, the Dritz Measure Me Beautiful Kit, has been in my possession for a while. I found it on clearance for $2.97 at Jo-Ann. What really intrigued me was the sticky measuring tape. This seemed like exactly what I needed! A regular measuring tape was difficult to use on my hips and I just couldn't see if I was taking my CB measurement correctly.

This kit was a bust. The sticky tape wasn't sticky enough and there just wasn't enough of it. Even still, I tried to find more kits at other stores, but with no success. I was clearly having a brain fart during my online efforts because I kept searching "How to Measure" when the actual name of the kit is "Measure Me Beautiful." Silly me.  

I found this tape on Nancy's Notions. I didn't have very high hopes, based on my experience with the Dritz tape, but I decided it was worth a shot. Man! Who knew it would work as well as it did? This stuff has been sitting in my sewing room since March! (I told you this has not been a good sewing year.) I could have had more accurate measurements ages ago!
Removable Ruler Tape Set

I didn't use the next two items for the last round of measurements, but when I gear up for pants, they will be the first things I grab. First up is the Two Easy Tape by Lorraine Henry. I attended her fit workshop at the Sewing Expo in 2004. I can't find an image of the actual tape, but according to the website, it's a two-ended tape with 0 in the middle and its companion tape that slides right on. Lets you measure front and back crotch curve and inseam all in one take! Works great. My only concern is determining where the middle of my crotch is. I guess and move on.

The tape comes with an instruction book that includes every conceivable measurement you could ever take for sewing purposes. The book is very overwhelming. In the past, I've frustrated three people trying to get all of those measurements done.

Another item Ms. Henry shared in the workshop is a flexible curve for a proper crotch curve measurement. It is a great idea, but the one she sold did not have measurements marked. I found a nice 40" version that works.
I'm interested in the crotch curve because what started me on this sewing journey was the need for pants that fit. I struggle with visualizing my three-dimensional curves and a flat pattern. Pants are a 2013 goal for me, so I obviously need a better understanding of body space. In Fitting & Pattern Alteration, there's a 12-page section called Altering the Pant Crotch Curve.   Threads #122 has an article, Adjusting the Pants from Waist to Seat, which also deals with body space.


Saturday, December 1, 2012

My New Love


I know I'm late to the game, but I have a crush on Craftsy that so strong -- it's ridiculous! Whoever thought of this should be awarded with medals (handmade of course)! During my not-so-awesome Thanksgiving break, it's what kept me sane. We are up late at night with wine and early in the morning with coffee and tea. I'm thinking about it at work. This is damn near an obsession.

My world changed in August when I received an email to try a class for $14.99. At the time, all that interested me was Sewing with Knits.  I'd read nice things about The Couture Dress, but I thought that would be out of my skill range. I wasn't ready for Jeanius either because I didn't have any jeans I wanted to reverse engineer (hence the need to learn to sew).

Then Craftsy started adding courses. Sandra Betzina??! Game on! But wait, I would need another sale. I waited (not so patiently) for $14.99. When the next one hit, why not add the A-line skirt class?

               learn pant fitting techniquesPant Construction Techniques by Sandra Betzina

I was a more than a little miffed because I think two classes showed up the day after the sale was over, The Classic Tailored Shirt and Plus-Size Pattern Fitting and Design. Grrr. The big girlz class would have been my first choice!
                                            Plus-Size Pattern Fitting & Design by Barbara Deckert

I was hoping and almost praying that there would be a $14.99 Black Friday sale. I got half my wish! The classes were $20. I exercised amazing restraint by purchasing only two.

I'm holding out on Jeanius and The Classic Tailored Shirt. I really, really want them, but I know those are projects I just won't get to for a long while.

              Jean-ius! by Kenneth D. KingThe Classic Tailored Shirt by Pam W. Howard

So of the courses I've watched (I'm still getting through Plus-Size Fitting and Design), here are my favs:
  • Debora Moebes (Design & Sew an A-Line Skirt) is perhaps my favorite instructor. She has a great personality and I get what she's teaching. 
  • Sandra Betzina is simply awesome! Her Pant Fitting Techniques Class is unbelievable. There is so much good information packed into that course.  
  • Plus-Size Pattern Fitting and Design is my favorite course so far. I've skipped around the lessons, but I've watched about half of them. I have complete confidence that I will end up with a beautiful version of V8815. For me, this is the one course that has everything:  wonderful instructor (Barbara Deckert is so refreshing); a project I want to make; it gives me the skill set to fit and sew the project; and provides transferable skills.
By the way, my Craftsy interests also include photography and cake decorating. Perhaps I can get from Craftsy what I only faintly grasped after three Wilton attempts. Go Craftsy!  

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

There Is Hope

Long time no write or sew. However, there is hope!  I had finally given up on my dream of a fitted T-shirt without a bust dart.  Here's how it happened:  As I was walking into the office one day, I noticed the number of C+ women in T-shirts without bust darts and the fit of their shirts. It just wasn't cute. I guess I need a dart. It was a grim revelation.  (There's a 4" difference between my upper bust and bust, so who was I kidding?)

Then I discovered these!

Woo hoo! Bring on the French dart! Patterns have been purchased, fabric debated, but no tracing as of yet. My Thanksgiving was not as carefree as I'd planned, so I didn't get to start on one.

I also really, really want a cowl neck top.  When I found this one, I got really excited. The only bummer is it's sleeveless. I'm thinking about starting with it for a quick win. It's my first downloadable pattern!

But wait, there's more! I spied this tutorial on a review the other day. I haven't had a chance to digest it yet.

Can't wait until my Christmas break!