Saturday, August 30, 2014

Big Thoughts

Did anyone else notice something new when the fall McCall patterns came out? If you don't wear plus sizes, maybe not. I do, but it still took me a second to notice it.


Khaliah Ali is now designing for McCall instead of Simplicity. I'm not sure how I feel about this. When I first looked at the new patterns (before realizing this was kind of a big deal) I thought, "This is just more of the same."  Then, I took a closer look at the third one.

Here it is in all its glory:


If you looked at this and thought that you needed to make that immediately, please let me know. Apparently, I am further from the pulse of fashion than I thought and I need counsel. Is this the modern muumuu?  Big girls, don't give in! We gotta fight this.

The state of plus-size fashion makes me a bit sad. Fit -- acknowledgement that there are different body shapes withing plus -- still isn't completely there. When I go into stores like Lane Bryant and Ashley Stewart, I see fashion, but the clothes are cheap. To be fair, I find that in regular sizes too. When did linings go away? I love the Encore section at Nordstrom, but it has its drawbacks too. I'm thankful for the better quality, including less polyester. The trade off is that it isn't as fashion-forward. Lined dresses and skirts are still few and far between. Lined pants are nonexistent.

All the more reason for me to start taking sewing more seriously. Speaking of which, I made a second muslin of the Vogue 8787 bodice after my shoulder alterations. I still need to lower the back neckline. That's on today's to-do list. I think the upper back is a bit tight too.

Peace and blessings.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Shouldering the Burden

Here's the story of my sewing life
  • Fall in love with a pattern. 
  • Alter the pattern tissue
  • Make a muslin
  • Make some more tissue alterations
  • Get confused and stuck
  • Move on to another project
My last three attempts have been dresses.  The fixes I know I need to make in the bodice are

  • Square shoulders -- I usually add 1/2" using the pivot and slide method
  • FBA -- about 3" using a Y-dart from Fit For Real People
I end up with something that looks like this or worse. I never went back to true the armhole!


When I realized the error of my ways, I tried to go back and smooth it out, but I still looked wonky.Then, thanks to the magic of Craftsy, I learned that I didn't have to draw the line to the armhole. I could do the entire spread at the shoulder! Truing the armhole wouldn't be much of an issue. Now what this means in teams of fit on me, I'm not sure. I did the adjustment, but didn't make the muslin.


Why? Because I found and alterations breakthrough! Every one of my attempts at a dress or top results in shoulder seams that sit way visibly forward on my shoulders. My neckline seam at CB is about 5/8" too high. Folks talk about having to pull their tops forward because of forward shoulders. I have the opposite problem; my tops pitch forward and I always have to pull them backward -- a lot. 

Now if situation is familiar to you and you've got a solve, bless you! Please send me the info. I just couldn't find anything about this condition or the alteration needed. I thought maybe my girls were stealing fabric. I thought perhaps I had a smaller shoulder joint, a large shoulder joint, hollow chest, round back, high neck base, muscular neck. You name it. (Now, I might actually have some of those, but they weren't causing the problem.)

Finally my Google search yielded something useful! I found this post from waikikimum on Pattern Review

I always add an extra 1.5cm to my front shoulder seam and take it off my back shoulder as my shoulders hyperextend backwards due to a connective tissue disorder. I must add here that I haven't heard of anyone else doing this and the alteration is usually the other way - adding to the back and taking off the front. 
If I don't add to the front shoulder seam it sits too far forward on my shoulder. At first I had trouble finding where the right point was but then I read that when looking in a mirror from both the front and back you should not be able to "see" the seam. I could always see the seam when looking from the front so I raised it by adding the 1.5cm. 
Another thing I became aware of was that the back neckline was way too wide and caused the shoulder seam to fall forward and I was always hiking my tops backwards. I now always add a CB seam so I can take in the top of the back at the neckline. Once this area fits well I then fix the shoulder seam. I hope this helps.
Because the entire seam sits forward (it's not in the right position at the neck and angles out incorrectly), I added an even 5/8" to the front.


I guess I'll figure out if this is right (versus adding a wedge) when I do the muslin. I wonder if I will still need to do a square shoulder adjustment. Hmmm. Oh well. I'm off to remove 5/8" from the back.

Long Time No Blog

Well hello! It's been a while.  I have no projects to show for my absence. Got really far on the Colette Patterns Crepe, but never finished it. The underlined pieces are still hanging up, but I don't think it's salvageable. Grrr.

So, here's what I'm working on now.  More than a year ago, I fell in love with ModCloth's Breakfast Epiphanies dress:

I'd decided on a cream bodice with a brown skirt. I was so serious, I purchased a 4-ply silk crepe remnant from Promenade Fabrics in New Orleans and wool crepe from Jo-Ann. You know I've always felt my sewing skills didn't warrant good fabric ;-)

I looked through my stash and decided  Vogue 8787 is close to the inspiration dress. Not quite the cowl I want, but it will do. This was quite a popular pattern when it was introduced. It has 25 reviews.

I purchased the fabric before reading through the pattern. The bodice front is self-lined. The 4-ply silk crepe is too heavy to double. I thought about this silk cotton voile from Fabric Mart. I love the way it looks with with the brown wool crepe. Unfortunately, the hand isn't right.

I have a silk twill remnant from Vogue that kind of looks like this. Not crazy about pink and brown.Don't get me wrong;I love the color combination. Pink is my favorite color; it just doesn't work with my current hair color. 


I have had the hardest time finding thread to match. Anyhoo. More about the pattern alts later.