Thursday, October 11, 2018

Talking Fit for Vogue 8784 Wrap Dress

Back when I started blogging my sewing projects I would usually do a post on the construction and fitting details, and then a second post on the finished garment. In the past year I have been a bit swamped and while I haven't given up blogging I have tended to just to one post per item. That one post might focus on some fit or construction details plus a good look at the finished garment. However I have been wanting to get back to some more in-depth blogging so this project is a good candidate.

I'm teaching a Pattern Fitting Class on Sunday 10/14 at Hello Stitch in Berkeley and there are a couple of spots available. Last time for this year for the Fit Class so if you want to get your holiday pattern fitted I hope you can join us. (register for the Class + Fit Lab option to custom fit your pattern in the afternoon session).

Ok, so what's the pattern today? It's this Vogue 8784 wrap dress. This is a true wrap dress, the front crosses over and the waist tie goes through the opening in the side seam. I like the variations, which are collar or no collar, cap sleeve or regular sleeve which you could make any length, and then two skirt options. Note that this pattern is designed for woven fabrics. It is meant to be fully lined and that is what I'm doing although I could easily see modifying it for a lightweight version (would only need to create a front facing for the bodice and skirt.

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I'm making this for my friend Heather. We were on a shopping excursion maybe 18 months ago and she bought a nice weighty silk crepe de chine at Piedmont Fabrics, and we've been on the lookout for the perfect pattern for ages.

Certainly this one would need some fit adjustments. I tell people in my classes that 99% of people have to make some adjustments on all patterns. Not to be discouraging but it is highly unlikely that you are the exact combo of height, measurements and shoulder slope that the pattern company used in standard designs. So I wish people would not be too discouraged but figure learning the fit adjustments is just one more step along with learning how to do a lovely zipper or a perfect pocket. Although the path to fit is certainly frustrating, disappointing, and even expensive. I've been there and I know.
OK, not to dwell on that  - moving on to this one. Heather is curvy and barely 5'2" so adjustments are in order. As would be almost anyone who is not 5'5". Or anyone with a full bust. So there we go - the most common adjustments are called for.

Here's my muslin version # 1 sewn up and placed on the custom dress form. I could see it was too long in the bodice for sure and I just did a quick pin tuck because I wanted to see how it looked. You can see a line marked along the bodice edge, I believe I added there just for testing purposes. If you look closely you can see a small horizontal bust dart which I added when I did the FBA.

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wrap dress pattern pieces front2

The 2nd version of the front pattern piece still has the FBA, I just traced that first version and then did my adjustments to the next version. And I'm not 100% what I did with the extra length, I think I traced and shifted to enlarge the dart and then folded out to reduce the overall length. Also interesting to note is the grain line on this pattern which is straight grain on the angled bodice edge, which keeps it from stretching if it were a bias edge.

Here's the adjustments marked on the blue version. I marked on both sides of the dress but they probably aren't ever going to come out evenly, so I tend to mark both sides and take an average. Also that helps smooth over any area where the pinning is a bit awkward.

blue wrap both fronts

My big innovation if we can call it that is to reduce the number of pleats in the skirt from 3 to two. Somehow on these wrap or overlay dresses I find the pleat nearest to the side seam tends to not drape but instead puffs out. Or it could be on a taller person it would work better. Anyway I shifted the take-up of the pleat to a front hip dart and am very pleased with that if I do say so myself :). Another innovation to come, continue reading!

So here is test version 2. And even in muslin it's starting to look quite sharp.  If you have a full bust then that bust dart is just about a necessity, and by putting that in it allows the bust to have room so it doesn't steal the fabric from the pleats which are sufficient for a B cup (as a standard pattern is designed) but with a curvy top half the body shape will take fabric from wherever it can get it. A bit of a convoluted explanation but hopefully makes it a bit clearer.

wrap muslin 2nd version 1

You can see the hip dart, over near the side seam. But my innovation # 2 is to make the under layer skirt completely flat. No PLEATS! After all they are unnecessary there, totally hidden and thus the dress is lot smoother, less fabric bulk across the tummy where no one wants more fabric bulk. Even in a lightweight fabric like silk.

Better look at the center front of the wrap.  The pleats in the bodice are there on both sides, no change there. The key to fitting a wrap dress is to use that Center Front mark. By that I mean when you put on the dress, the center front marks must overlap and then you can see how much you might need to add in circumference at bust and/or waist. Also then the V-neckline has a chance to fit nicely with no camisole top required.

wrap muslin 2nd version 2

I shortened the back by marking on the blue version about 2 inches at center back tapering to zero at the side seams (a standard adjustment for Heather's dresses) but the Test version 2 revealed that I was a bit overzealous in that area, so I added back a bit on my paper pattern pieces based on these markings.

wrap dress back seam adjustment

There you see my weapon of choice in the battle for a perfect fit, the clickable Sharpie pen. I love them and the satisfying click they make. Plus a nice bold line on the muslin. Sometimes I use multiple colors, and I often write all over the fabric. Why not? its just a test so make your notes where they will be most useful. I feel kind of bad about a fair amount of waste fabric but I eventually
cut them apart, reuse the large pieces for small pieces on a next project and use the other scraps for chores like cleaning spiderwebby windowsills or other yucky cleaning tasks.

Sneak peek at the dress - bodice is just about done and then I will attach the skirt pieces, baste on the sleeves and have a fitting session to determine any small adjustments plus mark the hem.

Silk wrap dress bodice on table

I tried out a few colors of lining, beige, ivory and the navy blue and the blue gave a richer appearance to the silk. It's bemberg rayon which I really like for dresses and skirts. I saw somewhere, maybe on IG or an article in Threads that Kenneth King despises it? could I have that right? I wonder why. I really like it although I prefer a heavy acetate lining for coats and jackets.

So that's what I'm working, as well as a top in Liberty cotton for my friend Alice, a new pair of burgundy color stretch jeans for myself, and prepping for my Jacket class on Nov. 3-4.

One more mention of my upcoming Fitting class - last one until sometime in January.

Image for fit lab Oct IG


Happy Sewing, Beth

Today's garden photo - it's the end of summer but I still have a few sunflower blooms around. Love these in the autumn colors. 
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Thursday, October 4, 2018

Random Threads # 33: hand sewing, 1 yard wonders, and inside the garment

Time for another Random Threads post where I write about stuff that has made it's way to my notebook page. This week everyone is ready for fall and winter sewing, and exclaiming happily that it's the best time of year. Oh no, I beg to differ - the best sewing time of year for me is springtime when we can push away the layers and get started on fun floral and floaty fabrics, plus shorts and sandals (my preferred daily uniform)  But I will concede that the change of season does mean it's time to sew a jacket or two. What a mass of contradictions I am - when it comes to wardrobe I love to make jackets but only want to wear summer dresses. Oh well....


In retail news - look what I saw on the shelf at Joann's.  They have these magazines which I thought were only available in the UK. At least that's where I've seen various people post about them.

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And note the values mentioned in British pounds. I didn't buy either of them and couldn't find what they were being sold for. I'm guessing around $10-12. They both had 2 patterns so if I come across a future issue with patterns inside that I'm interested it perhaps I will buy one just to check it out. Any recommendations on magazine content between the two choices?

I think most everyone listens to podcasts while they sew, at least some of the time. It's like someone invented a perfect medium for those of us who sew. I do watch tv or movies a lot when I sew also, but really it's more like listening than watching, so podcasts are ideal. Plus so many interesting subjects out there. I particularly like history podcasts as well as my bi-monthly dose of How Did This Get Made? where they review bad movies, so funny!
This month one of my favorite podcasts, 99% Invisible, is doing a series on clothing. So far they have discussed kid's clothes, plaid (or tartan) and pockets. Super interesting and I can't wait to hear what the next topic will be. If you like design, inventions, history, or quirky facts then this is the podcast for you. Also it is made in Oakland - #bayarealife and the host's voice is so soothing but not sleepy. I had the habit of listening to a lot of news, politics and current events podcasts but I have to step away from that genre for my sanity!  although still loyal to Pod Save America 😊

A little RTW inspiration.  One of my friends asked me to take up the hem a bit as she is quite short and it was too long for her. Cute, huh?

denim tank dress

I think it's from The Gap? or somewhere similar. So simple, a V-neck chambray dress, with shoulder yokes and a tiny bit of gathering which take the place of a bust dart, and then the low v-neck in the back. Plus the tie element to keep it from falling off your shoulders. I really liked it and took pictures to remember this for next summer. Would work as a top or a dress. Someone remind me when May arrives to do this one!

Which brings me to the next topic, do you have any qualms about copying RTW? or recreating a sewing pattern and making it up on your own? I have no qualms about either, as I think fashion is so repetitive, there are not really any new ideas per se. A garment design or a sewing pattern is a compilation of various elements which all exist already. I can't remember where but I saw a discussion about someone wanting to make their own version of a pattern because the one available was not in the person's size range, and whether that would be problematic. I don't see any problem with that, and I venture to say that with a bit of searching the same pattern could probably be found in any size range. Perhaps an out of print or sort-of vintage. I love the IG @paperbagwaist as she shows how a current style can be found in a pattern. Her tag line is "There's a pattern for that!" and I couldn't agree more. This is where the line drawings are so helpful. It also makes me smile to see how many of the current garments she pairs with '70's and 80's patterns. I need to rummage through that box of old patterns in my spare bedroom to see what gems might be hidden in there!

Speaking of patterns - why are there so many sweatshirt patterns? File that under things I don't get. If I'm going to sew something it's not going to be a sweatshirt. I can see doing it for variety and utility but there are so many patterns for the same thing.  I suppose it's like t-shirts, a lot of patterns and you can choose the pattern company that suits you best.

1 Yard wonders: a silly but catchy description of these dresses. For the last few dresses that I made this summer I happened to mention that I made them from 1 yard of fabric and got a few comments that people were surprised at this.

1 yard dresses

I think all these dresses were sewn with 1 yard of fabric. Note that this is for 60" wide fabric. And these are all sleeveless dresses. Sometimes maybe 1 yard plus whatever extra gets thrown in with the cutting out at generous places. For me a relatively straight skirted dress is a length of about 35" from neck to hemline but most dresses aren't continuous pieces in that length. My hip measure is 42" so that means each front and back skirt piece is approximately 22" wide. You can see that if you fold the fabric with selvedges towards the center you can get the skirt pieces cut out with plenty of fabric remaining to cut out the bodice pieces.  The dress in the 2nd and 5th photo are my beloved Butterick 5455. The first dress is a recent Burda magazine pattern, the middle one is a older Burda magazine pattern which I just made last month, and the 4th one is a Marfy pattern.  I really enjoy the pattern puzzle of squeezing a pattern onto a small piece of fabric, although 1 yard is not small for me (note I'm relatively short and the fabric is 60" wide).

Someone else asked "why shoulder princess seams" on a recent project which was a dress which I made for my muse, Heather. I have started calling her my muse as I think more lately about what I can make for her - always on the lookout for a pattern that suits her shape and her lifestyle. We have a great symbiotic relationship - I like making more formal and business-y clothes and she needs them for her job and her life. I certainly don't need any more things like that in my wardrobe so it's fun to do them for her. Anyway - back to shoulder princess seams. If you look at that post linked here you will see that I used a basic Simplicity armhole princess seam pattern but changed it to shoulder princess seams. I find they offer more adjustability over the bust, as well as being able to narrow the shoulders. Rather like this example.

shoulder seam change

I find that women who are full busted and need more room in the chest don't necessarily also have width in the upper chest. In fact often to fit the bust then the neck and shoulders are swimming on them. So a shoulder princess seam gives you the opportunity to narrow that area and have a nicer and more comfortable fit. Of course you need to start with the right size (use high bust measure) and also add a bit on the shoulder seam. Because when you narrow the princess seam you will probably need a bit of extra seam allowance on the shoulder seam to get everything smooth.

Inside the garment - do you care how it looks? I am constantly amazed at how much people stress over how the inside of the garment looks. Also a lot of people seem to get a great deal of pleasure over the inside, be it a cute fabric used for the lining or facings, or contrast seam binding covering every seam. While I want my garments to wear and wash well, the more important feature to me and the reason for every sewing technique I use is that they look perfect (or as near as I can get) from the outside!!! Now that I've been teaching a lot of classes I think that the slight fixation on how the inside looks could be due to the fact that when you are making a garment you are looking at the inside, and that's the focus of your attention. So a relatively new sewer sees the seam allowances and compares to their store bought clothes and wants them to be similar. But accurate sewing and good pressing at every step will do far more for the final result than worrying about the seam finishes. Admittedly it is fun to do a lovely french seam and a nice tidy row of serger stitches looks good and wears well but suggest thinking about the outside more than the inside.

Hand sewing - love it or hate it? I guess this goes along with feelings about the inside of the garment. I happen to like hand sewing and don't have any issue with visible hand sewing on the inside. In fact I kind of like seeing it.

saler sewing in lining closeup

Her I sewed the lining into the jacket by hand.  This fabric hides a lot which in a solid color would probably show more. The thing about hand sewing is like anything else, it takes practice to get it just right. It gives you a different type of control than when you sew by machine so I think that's why I like to use it, for hems, putting in linings. etc. Anyway, give some hand sewing a try and you might really enjoy the feeling of needle and thread in your hand.

That's all of my topics today, I didn't even mention the new fall patterns, because I haven't seen anything that really jumped out at me at first look. Which if history is any guide in about a month I will have a couple of things I absolutely must make!

Up next, I just finished a blouse in Liberty cotton/silk lawn, it's quite nice but I don't get the fuss about Liberty. More in that upcoming post. And then onwards to jacket and coat making. A new wool jacket for me (OK I did see a pattern in my Oct. Burda I must sew) and a blazer jacket for Heather.
My weekend coat/jacket making class at Hello Stitch on Nov 3-4 is filling up,  here's the link. We have the last Pattern Fitting class for 2018 coming up on Oct. 14, with a few spots still open. In December we added another Lander Pants class as well as a Kimono jacket - here's the page for all the classes at Hello Stitch Studio.  

Happy October Sewing,  Beth

Today's garden photo, another dahlia before the summer weather ends.

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Monday, September 24, 2018

Pattern making: copying a complicated dress

In the interest of completeness I decided to do a blog post on this dress, which doesn't photograph very well at all but is interesting nonetheless. One of our most popular classes at Hello Stitch is the Garment Copy class and I think this might be one of my favorite sewing things, both to do and to teach. So while on that topic - the upcoming How to Copy a Garment class is next weekend, Sunday Sept. 30, 10am-4pm, and that will be the last one scheduled until the new year. So if you are interested jump on that.

Last summer Janice brought me this dress to copy, and I confess I was a bit flummoxed at first. For a simple summer dress it has a lot of details. However I think things that have a lot of pattern pieces are actually easier, since you can just go step by step, copying each one (carefully labeling!) and soon enough it's done. Garments that have large swaths of fabric or are long I find are more difficult to copy, and just to manage on the sewing table. This dress has a lot of narrow princess seam panels, a front and back yoke, pleating, godets, and pleated pockets with a welt opening.  I almost hesitate to show you the original dress because it hardly shows off the details but perhaps they are visible.


grey cotton dress original for J

The front neckline has a crossover yoke, and then the center front has both one large box pleat and small tucks on either side of that. The pocket is sewn on a panel so the edges get enclosed in the seaming, and then has a welt opening. If you look closely at the pocket seam on the left, you can maybe make out that there is a godet in that seam as well. In fact in each long princess panel seam there is a godet, all of different sizes.

Here are some of the pattern pieces that I made. For this dress I traced each piece, and by measurement added the pleating etc. If you look closely you can see that I add a lot of directions, markings, notes to myself, and particularly dots and notches where things join.

Pattern pieces copy godet dress

Here is my test version of the pattern. I had some rather scratchy not quite linen fabric that I bought at some sale or other, in an ugly bubble gum pink. The good thing about this fabric is that you can see the details better than on the original or on the final version I sewed (which is the blue batik print gauze you can see peeking in the photo above).

pink copy version front and back on form

For the test dress I didn't have enough to make the godet inserts but they weren't really necessary, the important things to test here are the front pleats, the yoke and the pocket.

But before we continue I have to show a funny goof that I did.

pink dress sample mistake on seaming

Starting this pink version I had some thoughts that it might be a wearable muslin but then realized not enough fabric (and hideous color. Anyway, I had done the binding on the neck just to make sure it was right, interestingly in order to get the binding on and then that little overlap in the front you have to sew the upper pieces, front and back, at the shoulder so that the binding is continuous and also so you can attach it to the center front panel. And so I was very proud of myself to realize that and proceeded along, until I realized I had twisted the back yoke portion....just had to take a picture so you can see that I do have some serious flubs along the way. We all do! I had to undo a bit of the seaming in order to untwist and continue. The thing that bugs me most about mistakes like this is the time lost both doing it, undoing and then re-doing. Oh well...

Back to the pockets, here is a look at the finished pocket, although the side seams are missing the godets but you can imagine them there.

pink sample dress pocket view

Here is the pocket pattern piece. I've found that the key to making pleated pattern pieces is to fold the pleat into the paper, and then pattern from there, if that makes sense.
pocket pattern piece

Janice found this cotton gauze print at Joann's and while I love the print and colors and the weight is perfect for this dress the details just disappear 😞.

Cutting out gauze version of godet dress

Pictured are two of the godet pieces, one was particularly narrow and also curved a bit. It's really interesting to copy a garment and find details that are unexpected, I learn something every time I do a garment copy.  I will mention that since the original was striped that was really helpful to visualize the grain and shape of the pattern pieces which was an unusual bonus.


Godet dress blue on form front view

Final version - pretty summer dress and perfect to take on her upcoming holiday in Spain (or at least it was back in July when I took this photo).

Blue gauze godet dress on J


This is a better representation of the colors, and a closer look at the front neckline.

Godet dress front close up on form

A couple of looks at the inside since there you can possibly see the seaming that is not so apparent on the outside.

Godet dress blue up close pocket inside


Blue godet dress inside out for seaming

So that's the latest on this garment copy project, and I just might make this pattern again for myself - very much outside of my style comfort zone but if I find just the right fabric.....

Here are a few other things I've sewn for Janice - she has a deep stash of gorgeous fabrics so it's always a treat to see what she brings me next.

composite J
Left to right:  
Brown metallic plaid boucle coat
Silk bow tie blouse and wool skirt with flounce
Ponte knit seamed detail dress

Interestingly most all those items are Simplicity patterns - although the blouse is New Look. Click on the links for the blog posts with all the pattern and sewing details. I LOVE that tie front blouse and have intentions to make it for myself one of these days.

What's next on my sewing table? I just finished a button front long-sleeved shirt for myself and while it is in a silk cotton Liberty fabric I think I will keep on wearing my summer dresses as long as possible. Supposed to be in the mid 90's ℉ all this week here and I am fine with that! 🌞

Lots of muslin sewing as I just did a couple of test items for Heather, a blouse, a wrap dress and a blazer. So plenty to do this fall!

A Pattern Fitting class is coming up on Sunday Oct. 14 - probably the only one until after the holidays as the schedule at Hello Stitch is pretty full. So if you want to fit a pattern for your holiday or winter sewing I hope you can make it. All the Garment Sewing classes at the studio can be found here.   This week on Thursday 6-9pm  is my "How to read a pattern" Class, which is great for new sewers and anyone getting back into it or just wondering about all the details and info provided (or not provided) on sewing patterns, any and all brands. Plus we talk a lot about measuring yourself and how to choose a pattern size. Important stuff before you cut anything out, right?

OK, time for me to get outside for some exercise and to enjoy this lovely California sunshine. The calendar might say it's fall but I will say summer forever.

Happy Sewing, Beth

today's garden photo. I don't have all that much luck with sunflowers, although I just randomly scatter some seeds and if they pop up in the garden then there they are. But I do love seeing them around.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Simplicity 1586 Amazing Fit Dress in Cotton Sateen

Yesterday the subject for the #sewphotohop in Instagram was Fitting S.O.S. Which is a topic we can all relate to. Fitting really is a challenge, and shows you how much goes into a sewing pattern. In the past few years I've expanded my knowledge of fitting so much, and I think sewing for other people lets you take a very critical look at fit without getting hung up on how a thing might look on you personally. Fortunately I have a my very own muse, in the person of my friend Heather. Now that I've been making things for her for more than 5 years we are at the point where I just pick out the patterns and styles, and she says yay or nay. But mostly yay. Or she will give me an idea of what she wants, or show me something on a website and then I find the pattern and/or adapt to create the look. Which I just did tonight for a simple silk blouse that will appear in the future.

Today's item is a simple dress pattern that will make a lot of appearances in the future, as I'm so happy with the fit and a basic princess seamed sheath dress can be adapted to work in any season, with so many fabrics and with sleeve and neckline variations.

Blue white sateen squaref

I saw this fabric on the Mood website and knew it would be perfect for a sleeveless summer dress. It's a cotton sateen with a touch of lycra. Here's the link, still in stock. It would make a cute summer jacket as well. It really is navy blue and white even if it looks black on the screen.

blue white sateen front close up on form

But what about the neckline? Yes, you know I can't leave a pattern as it is, and also I was trying to go for the look of another pattern.  See below, this Vogue 9167 which has shoulder princess seams and a center front seam which creates that V-notch neckline.

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Let's work backwards. Since this fabric is such a busy print it's a bit hard to see the detailing of the dress. And I worked so hard to add the waist seam which totally disappeared!!
Here is the dress inside out, before lining was added so you can see the seam lines.

blue white dress inside on form

And here is the pattern that I used as the starting point. I made a dress for Heather earlier in the summer in a beautiful Loro Piana wool we bought at Britex, it's so nice and I can't seem to find the photos I took. For that dress I made the pattern as is, with the armhole princess seams.

This is the pattern I used as the starting point. These Amazing Fit patterns are really useful.

Simplicity 1586

I know that some of these patterns from Simplicity and McCalls, Vogue etc get criticized for having excess ease - but they give you the final garment measurements on the envelope or on the pattern pieces. I try to teach in my classes to the multi-size to adjust as needed and get the amount of ease that you want. Although I tend to err on the side of more ease because I think most dresses (wovens) should kind of float around you instead of being really form fitting. It actually reduces wrinkling and drag lines.

In order to have the style of the Vogue pattern (which I could have used but would have needed to start fitting for Heather from scratch) I made a pattern alteration on the Simplicity pattern pieces to have shoulder princess seams instead of the armhole princess seams.

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I'm pretty sure that somewhere in my photo stream are the photos of the work on this - as I made paper pieces with no seam allowances, pivoted the seams and then derived the new pieces. Another thing to look for in my giant file of photos ;( The white paper below are the new pattern pieces.
Also I raised the armhole slightly, added a seam allowance on the center front instead of cutting on fold, and added the V-shape notch. I also added more seam allowance at the shoulder just to be able to play with that on final fittings. The back is done similarly, actually a bit easier as it doesn't have the bust shaping.

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Here I'm cutting out the dress lining in plain white cotton batiste. When I do these types of neckline or upper body adjustments I just make a half body pattern piece, and attach to the regular pattern piece since there is no need to remake the skirt portion. You can also see the front facing that I drew on the pattern piece and then traced onto the fabric. With these V-notch necklines it's important to have sufficient interfacing, I usually use fusible on the facings as well as sew some silk organza on the dress side. Then I sew on the facings and under stitch as far as possible on all seams.


Blue white sateen front and back on form

You can see that all that seaming gets lost in the print, but it did allow a very nice fit and this pattern will be so useful in either way for future dresses. I'm even thinking I can add a bit of ease and use it to create a top as well.

Blue white sateen side view on H

Of course she doesn't plan to go barefoot but when she came over she was wearing jeans and sneakers so those shoes wouldn't quite go for taking pictures - plus we are still enjoying a bit of summer here.


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If you look closely in this picture you can see the red thread. I'm a bit thread tracer, I use a bright and contrasting thread to mark stitching lines on all kinds of garments. It takes a few minutes but it is just so stable - and you can mark where you are going to sew, or where you pin fit a garment and then set it aside knowing you can pick it up again without pins falling out or otherwise shifting. In fact you can then take apart what is pinned together and sew the pieces in the order you prefer, allowing for linings/facings etc to be put in as you go. Sometimes I construct the whole top of a dress, sleeves, lining etc and then add the skirt and skirt linings, and then zipper last.
Anyway - this zipper came out really well. I always aim for perfection but there is good and then sometimes just right :).

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Note that I don't have an invisible zipper foot - I just use the regular zipper foot and move the needle as needed. (Although the sliding zipper foot on my vintage Singer machines is actually the best of all and I sometimes use that).

Yes you are seeing that right, no serged seam allowances on this dress. I just don't like serged edges on a lined garments, all that thread bulk for what? But I think I might be in the minority with this opinion. All the notches and markings, how to you see them if you have serged all your fabric pieces?


Blue white sateen dress back view on H

One other tiny fit adjustment was to sew on the lining at the back armhole with a very small seam allowance, which added about 3/8" just above the armhole. With tightening up the center upper back at the zipper that can take away at the outer edge. I like where the back armhole has landed but wouldn't want it any further in towards the center back. Conversely if it was further out I think it would look block-y. These tiny proportion adjustments are things I fuss over (and drive myself a bit crazy) but I think they make such a difference in the finished garment. Things you don't notice but give an overall impression of nice fit and proportion.

One more weird photo because I took it and it shows the neckline.

blue white sateen top view on form

So that's the latest on this dress. Expect to see this pattern again with variations in design and fabric.

I just made a test garment for a completely different dress for Heather, a wrap dress and this one, after a fair bit of work is going to be fantastic. Vogue 8784 I'm making the slim skirt long sleeve version in a printed silk.

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So Simplicity Amazing Fit patterns, I frequently recommend. And it drives me crazy that they have discontinued so many - thank goodness for eBay where I have been buying so many recent patterns.

Blue white sateen dress1

Up next, I'm sewing a shirt for myself in another Mood fabric, a silk/cotton Liberty voile. And then it's on to jacket sewing - my class is coming up in early November at Hello Stitch in Berkeley. It's a weekend workshop, with lunches included.

I wrote about all my upcoming classes in this post if you want to check that out. We've added some more in the schedule since I wrote that so you can look at the Hello Stitch website for all the latest. Including a Fit Lab Pattern Fitting class on Oct. 14 which wasn't originally on the calendar but we have added - so you could fit your jacket or coat then.

Happy almost fall sewing,
Beth

Today's garden photo, more of the dahlias. This one I bought at the junior college horticulture department May sale. Typically I like the dahlias with lots of petals but this is so cute and it's been a great bloomer.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Tunic, T-shirt and Lander shorts

So far I'm keeping with my declaration made in my last post - no more dresses! at least for a little while. The end of summer and turn to fall fashion is always conducive to making separates. After all, a nice wool jacket is my favorite thing to sew. But we still have summery weather here and I had a few fabrics that wouldn't wait. So here's what I've been sewing recently.

blue cotton top 2

I bought this fabric earlier this summer, with a Stone Mountain Fabrics gift card given to me at Christmastime by the lovely owners of Hello Stitch. Yep I am a bit slow when it comes to using gift cards. Because I want to buy something special, and then remember the giver whenever I use the item.  There are some shadows in this photo so you can't see the full extent of those lovely blues.

Great colors, huh?

blue cotton tunic top front and back

Someone asked on Instagram what pattern I used. It is an out of print New Look pattern, although as usual I have shaped the armholes to be a bit cut-in as I just prefer that shape.

Here's the pattern. It's maybe 10 years old? I have used it so many times, first in eyelet for my friend Alice (who actually gave me this pattern), and then long sleeve version (love and wear to excess) and then more sleeveless versions one and two. and now another one.

New Look 6677 pattern env


blue cotton tunic top neckline

The fabric is a cotton voile or lawn? It is just a tiny bit more firm than I would like, I prefer these fabrics to be really floaty but maybe with more washings it will soften up. I did prewash once.


Tunic top in blue cotton print

Don't look too closely at the garden - getting to the dry and crispy end of summer here in California and we are all just holding our breath until the rain starts again.

Next up is a t-shirt I sewed using this knit fabric which is a bit, um, bold, but after all, I like bold. Twice this summer I ordered fabrics for other people from Fabric.com and both times in order to get the free shipping I needed to spend another $10-15. Thus this one was ordered. (the other time was the lemon print fabric which became this dress.) Batting two for two I would say :)

I decided to lean into the very feminine look of this and add the ruffle sleeves. Turns out I really like them and plan to add them as a shoulder ruffle to a long sleeve t-shirt.

Stripe plus floral tshirt front and back

Close up view of the fabric and neckline. This is just a turn and stitch neckline, which I'm not really a fan of, but if you choose the right fabric it works out very well.  The pattern is McCalls 7538, which has all kinds of diagonal piecing. That I removed when I made this sequin t-shirt and that has left me with a perfect fitting plain t-shirt.  For the ruffle sleeves I used the pattern piece from this McCalls knit wrap dress.

stripe plus floral tshirt neckline

And the top sort of matches - or maybe goes with - the Lander shorts I made as a practice run before teaching my Lander pants class last Saturday. Which was a great class and a great group. So popular we have scheduled another session on Sunday Oct. 7. I believe that upcoming session is halfway to sold out so if you are interested sign up soon, here's the link.

blue lander shorts


Lander shorts and stripe tshirt

As pants go these are easy to sew, and the fit seems quite forgiving. We have a few test versions stitched up at the studio for students to try on and see which size they might start with.

So that's what I've sewn for myself lately. I have all kinds of ideas and plans swimming around in my brain for fall sewing, including this jacket from Burda that completely unnecessary in my wardrobe but so pretty!

Upcoming classes: at Hello Stitch Studio in Berkeley.

Sept. 29: Wrap Dress class. The last one was really popular so we found a spot on the calendar for another one. Perhaps your special holiday dress??
Sept. 30: Copy a Garment class
Oct. 7: Sew the Lander Pants
Oct. 13: Cape Tailoring, 1-day workshop
Oct. 14: Pattern Fitting Class  Morning session class only, learn common pattern alterations, taking measurements, creating a muslin, moving the adjustments back to the pattern. Optional afternoon session: fitting of your own pattern
Nov. 3-4: Jacket/Coat Tailoring, weekend 2-day workshop. Lots of demo on all things jackets, such as sleeve sewing, buttonholes, welt pockets. how/which/where to use interfacing, linings etc.
Nov 11: Knit T-shirt.

I just finished a super cute dress for my friend Heather, and changed the pattern from armhole princess seams to shoulder princess plus some other interesting adjustments so a blog post on that one soon.

And now I'm off to drink wine and speak Italian with my friends. In realtà dovrei dire che sono fuori per parlare italiano e bere vino con i miei amici

Ciao, and Happy Sewing,
Beth

 Todays garden photo, this time of year I'm trying to get as many blooms as I can from the dahlias.

IMG_0158


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