Friday, January 25, 2013

This is How You Do It!

This email popped up in my inbox earlier this week.

Get the Perfect Fit - Fashion For Every Size at Simplicity

It made me very happy, but it also reminded me of a source of great frustration. This is not a rant about the lack of plus size patterns. Since Carolyn put the industry on blast so eloquently, I feel no need to elaborate. (Insert plug here for Barbara Deckert's Plus Size Pattern Fitting & Design on Craftsy.)

This is a rant about website design and functionality. makes it so easy to find patterns for me. The links for plus-size and patterns with multiple cup sizes are wonderful. I remember when McCall's started adding the bra icon to its patterns to denote multiple cup sizes.  How about a clickable link to all such patterns across Vogue, Butterick and McCall's?!

This is not rocket science, but marketing common sense. The powers that be figured out there was a market for patterns with multiple cup sizes, but make them hard to find. Vogue's patterns with multiple cup sizes (Custom Fit) are always in the Very Easy Vogue line. There isn't even a link to Very Easy Vogue when you first see site's main left-hand navigation, but it is a separate section in the printed catalog. On the site, you have to first select a category like dresses to get to to them. Then you have to look at each one of the patterns to figure out which are Custom Fit. Geez. Make it easier for me. What if I wanted to see all of the Custom Fit tops and dresses at once?

I'll end my rant by pleading for more patterns with multiple cup sizes. I heart Silhouette because the work is done for me. Palmer/Pletsch has great merit in teaching fit, but I honestly prefer being able to choose the correct cup size. Shout-out to In-House Patterns because they start with a D-cup and give you instructions to add or subtract as you see fit.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

It was the Best of Times, it was the Worst of Times

Another Hancock Fabrics is going out of business. This is the second one and third closed fabric store in the Chi in four years. I was so ready to move to Mississippi and work at Hancock's headquarters. I wanted to get my hands in its marketing.

Anyhoo. It was with a bittersweet zeal that I went through my pattern wishlist. $4 Vogue; $1 McCall's, Butterick, Kwik Sew; $2 Simplicity, Burda and New Look were mine for the picking.

The latest Simplicity and New Look patterns were there. 

I even snagged a couple of elusive Spring McCall's


Ran across some previously undiscovered gems.


My only fabric purchase was the beautiful floral batik at $2/yd. Practically every fashion fabric bolt in the store was in someone's cart.

Most of the thread was gone, but I was able to find hem tape and lace for 70% off. None in the green I need as I think ahead to Easter. (I am such a dreamer!)

My haul was so fabulous that I feel bad about going to Jo-Ann's later today. I've been commissioned to deliver a cookie tin on Tuesday, so I need some Wilton supplies and a decorative tin. 

I have a four-day weekend. Tuesday is cookie day. Running errands today while it's in the balmy 40s. Gotta get in some cleaning and tomorrow is church. Monday is my sewing day!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Beefing Up the Stash

I have a fabric problem - silver quilter's charm. $21

I was pretty good about my stash in 2012! I guess it was because I didn't sew much, so I didn't feel the need to troll online hunting fabric. In fact, the only order I placed with was for swatches! Don't get me wrong; I did buy fabric last year -- I just didn't buy so much that I need to hang my head in shame.

As I thought about the clothes I needed and would hopefully make in 2013, I realized that while "The Collection" as it's named on my secret Pinterest board has a nice mix of pretty stuff and even practical rayon-spandex jerseys, it's lacking in two areas:  wool crepe and basic sweater knits.  Blame the weather, and Cidell for helping me zero in on these gaping holes :-)

I also realized that my favorite RTW tops are two sweater rib knit tunics from Macy's. I thought this Silhouette Pattern would be a nice sibling to them. When I checked The Collection, my jerseys didn't seem substantial enough. I also have zero rib knits. I have plenty of awesome ITY, but that's another story.

Adding to my need for knits is the twin set. Ilove, love, love twin sets. It's a fitted top with something that covers the gap I usually have in at the center back waist in RTW pants. What's not to love?! I wear twin sets so much that my coworkers tease me.  Silhouette to the rescue again!  Can't wait to make this set. And the FBA is already done for me!

Enter! I clicked through the sweater rib knit fabrics and pinned each one that was medium weight. I think each one of them can be reordered, so I can rest easy at night (and stick to my budgeting goal). I want to attempt some turtlenecks too, since I found this blog post on a no-dart FBA tutorial for girls with big girlz.

WISHLIST Sweater Rib Knit Heather Charcoal 52" $4.98 75% stretch and a fluid drapeWISHLIST Sweater Rib Knit Cool Pink 66" $4.98 75% stretch and a fluid drape

O' how I love heather charcoal and pink! These are $5 a yard!  Hmmm. They might need to be colorblocked in this HP top. I digress.

In the most recent Nancy's Notions catalog, I was intrigued by these new Bare Knits. Talk about twin set heaven!

Bare Knits

The jury is still out on the wool crepe. It's a little more of an investment. I can also wait to purchase it because I have so many knit projects I want to get through first. Heck, I can't even get to those until I finish the Burda skirt.  I will say that my heart is set on finding wool crepe in the plum and rust families.

plum & burgundyRust and orange autumn fashion

Last but not least, I need some sequins in my life! I need summer sparkle, fall fabulousness and holiday hotness. Clearly, these are not a priority until I get the basics down, but it's fun to dream!

Adrianna Papell Sequin Dolman Sleeve Top (Plus)

P.S. If you're looking for the Fabric Problem pendant, click here.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Waisting Time

Life after my holiday staycation keeps getting in the way of my skirt. However, I remain thankful because my job allows me to continue to buy fabric and sewing accessories! I have a new fabric-hoarding philosophy, but that will be a later post. Back to the skirt.

In my infinite wisdom, I originally traced the size 24 waistband and promptly lost the pieces. In a second stroke of brilliance, I decided that after so many alts in the waist and high hip areas on the skirt, I should trace the size 26 waistband and size it down. 

When I tried on the skirt muslin, without the waistband, I was very excited because the skirt at least resembled the picture on the pattern envelope. Then I noticed how the grain line and CF markings were pulling to the right. Also, my right side seam pulled to the front at my high hip. It was odd because there weren't a ton of horizontal wrinkles indicating tightness. I guess when I was tissue fitting, which took days, I must have pulled, tugged and pinned without paying attention to the CF line and grain line.

The swingy side seam is something that happens on every skirt. It does the same in my RTW jeans. Carolyn often mentions how she has to adjust patterns for her "bodacious biceps;" I have TTT -- tremendously thick thighs. They are as big an issue (almost literally) as my rear.  

learn pant fitting techniquesBut this post is about the waistband. I remembered that during my Thanksgiving Craftsy Marathon, Sandra Betzina, in her Pants Fitting Class, said that she starts by fitting the waist. She makes up a test in the actual fabric, including interfacing and stay tape, and fits it to make sure she got the size right.  

I made up a 26 --- waaay too big, 18 -- waaay too small, 22 and 24.  (I am having a glorious time wasting my poly crepe muslin fabric. Seriously.) I'm getting pretty good at sewing around curves and adding stay tape. 

I was utterly confused about the sizing because I need a 24 minus 1/2" at the top of the band, but the bottom of the band was a different issue.  Thank goodness I found this resource. I think it's from Pants for Real People. Of course I have the book, but I never would have thought to check it because this was a skirt. Silly me.

Here's their illustrated slash and spread. 


Here's my actual. This is the back.

Front and back together.

Front with adjustments for my high hip. *Sigh*

I'm tracing these onto Swedish tracing paper. I will cut them out in the muslin to test the fit. Then, my evil plan is to lay those pattern pieces across the skirt pattern pieces and adjust the skirt to fit the waistband. We'll see ,,,