B6134: the Ponte Version

Well, the ponte version of Butterick 6134 (last week’s shirt) revealed new fitting issues.  I’ll continue to play around with this “muslin” though I hadn’t intended it to be a muslin.  The rayon ponte is from Marcy Tilton – she does carry great knits!

Early morning bathroom selfies:

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What I didn’t notice on the version from last week was the placement of the princess seams. Note that they are way to the outside of the bust apex.  This pattern piece is essentially the same for all sizes in the envelop (size 6-14).  And if it’s too wide on me, running between a size 12/14, imagine the fit on a narrower gal. I’m also a B cup, which is who the big 4 design for.  This has the affect of making me look flat chested.

You can also see other issue areas.  I have pulling now in the sleeve that I didn’t have before… I should mention that I folded out 1/2 inch in front and back on that middle piece, right above the point where the princess seam meets the sleeve to deal with the hollow chest.  I also have some pulling toward the stomach (more planks, less wine?).  And though you can’t see it well, the neck collapses/has too much fabric. What you see in the photo isn’t simply because my arm is raised.  Better picture here:

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I cant rescue this version. I hadn’t noticed the princess seams on last weeks version, so when I did them here, I serged – I have no fabric to play with.  I can still play around with the sleeve and neck.

In any case I’m entertaining suggestions. Right now it’s really not working for me, but I love the lines on this enough I’d like to get to right!

And, if you’re wondering about my long string of failures… I have plenty of clothes (well enough) that I’m moving outside of my comfort zone. I’m trying new styles and new fabrics (too me).  But I’m also finally tackling my most difficult area to fit – tops/shirts. I’ve been avoiding shirts, especially semi-fitted/fitted for a long time.  I need to figure this out – as I have noticed that I have the same problem with dresses.

 

 

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A UFO no more: Butterick 6134

A cute combination of raglan sleeves and princess seams, I chose Butterick 6134 early this summer as a great wardrobe basic.  It’s an easy pattern, but I fell into trouble with it – fabric choice and fitting!

IMG_3604I’ve been cleaning out things around home (including donating 7 amazing RTW designer suits from my suit days to charity and 20 yards of fabric to the art program at my son’s school).  I came across this project I abandoned over the summer and decided to finish it for the lessons learned.  And, voila it works.  While this version is just okay, I have high hopes for the next version!

The pattern:  Butterick 6134, released 2014.  Fitted top with raised neckline.  I chose view B, but with view C’s short sleeves.

The fabric:  The pattern calls for faille, challis, or crepe.  Crisp and architectural or soft and drapey?  I chose a soft white tiny pique cotton woven I bought from Sawyer Brook at least 5 or 6 years ago.  Spoiler:  the fabric doesn’t really work.

Construction: Nothing complicated here.  Except the fit. I cut and stitched a 14 through to adding the sleeves (a 14 – how’d that happen?).  I basted in the raglan sleeves and tried it on.  I thought I was being generous cutting a 14 … but … my midsection …  too tight.  In a fit, I took it off and threw it in the sewing closet where it stayed until I found it last week.

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I tried it on again, now that I soberly realize that I need to fit the body I have, not the body I once had, or think I’ll get with exercise.  It wasn’t so bad.  I let out all the seams in the front and sides (where I needed room), and re-stitched with 1/2 inch seams up until the first darts, where I eased back to 5/8ths.  It fits. I added about 1 inch doing so.

I also noticed when I finished the top that I need to think about one more fitting measure (at least).  I had marked the bust point with tailors tacks, and I noted that the bust point was low.  I pinched out the fabric above the bust between the sleeve seams (but not in the back), and the fit was much better.  I’ve noticed “saggy extra fabric”  in this area before, which leads me to believe that I need to muslin all my tops to check for the hollow chest adjustment.

Would I make it again and what would I change?  Yes, but I would change the fabric (and fit adjustments).  This fabric wrinkles too much, and it’s not “firm” enough.  It doesn’t have the body it needs to look just right. It’s very fitted, so I’d recommend a stable knit (like a ponte).  My next version will be in a grey rayon ponte remnant I picked up from Marcy Tilton.  This version is fine as a layering piece, but I’m not thrilled with it as a stand alone.

Halloween Photos

I’m so tired!  You know what happens when a seven year old goes to bed more than an hour late, still wound up?  He wakes up an hour early (at 5 am).  I feel bad for the teachers this morning.

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This year we went as vampires, though, because we were running late getting over to my son’s friend’s neighborhood, we didn’t finish the makeup.  And, that big giant wig I was wearing covered most of my costume.

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Patterns:  Simplicity 1045 view A (dress); McCalls 4139, views B & C (adult capes); McCalls 7494, view D (child cape and vest); McCalls 2447 (men’s vest).  Note: the cape run long on me, but the dress was soooo short.  I added two inches at the waist, as I normally do for my long waist.  I still didn’t have enough length for a 1.5 inch (much less proper) hem, so I turned and stitched a 3/8th inch one.  I also dropped the sleeves from the dress and changed how the back drape was done.  Other than that, no issues with the patterns.  DH and DS wore their own pants and t-shirts (it was 80F/27C degrees out, but no humidity).

Fabric:  Lots of polyester here.  I means yards and yards!  All the satin and chiffon was from Mood Fabrics.  The satin was nicer quality than I would expect, medium heavy with drape.  The weight on the dress meant I didn’t have to worry about cling.  The braid for the dress was also Mood.  The bemberg rayon lining was from Emma One Sock, in my stash.

The two vests are layered.  I used the black satin as the base in the front, and layered it with the spiderweb mesh/tulle from JoAnns (they seem to carry it every year – Witching Hour brand).

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After I made the buttonholes and attached the buttons, the boys decided they wanted skull buttons.  Given I’d already made the holes, I was limited in what I could buy size wise.  After many searches, I settled on what turned out to be very small, but very high quality buttons from Joyce’s Trimming on Etsy.

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I know it’s a lot of work and more money than purchasing costumes.  But the year we bought costumes they were so cheap it wasn’t worth the money or time saved.  We carefully box away the costumes for another year.  Some day soon, the boy won’t want to match us and we can recycle.

 

In the details (Rebecca Taylor V 1199)

I realized I have a few items I’ve made recently that I haven’t blogged. It’s because somehow, I messed up the fit on these items (or didn’t like the style).  So, a few more mistakes, but for all three, I’m definitely going to do them again!!

IMG_3578A skirt!  Should be simple, right?  That’s what I thought when I decided to make this Rebecca Taylor skirt (V1199) last August.  Done in a day? Sure!  I didn’t pay attention the details at that moment.  The details make this skirt special.  Most I like (but not the fitting detail).

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This skirt has tiny little single welt pockets, a wrap around the waist tab, raised waist with notch detail at the back waist, and is vented.  One detail I missed is the grosgrain edging on the tabs (and ended up not doing, as I didn’t like the match with the grosgrain I bought).

 

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The fabric?  All cotton windowpane plaid from Philip Lim, that I purchased at Emma One Sock as a remnant. I love the fabric, but it does fray.  Next time I tackle welts with this type fabric, I must remember fray check.  I lined the skirt in black silk crepe de chine.

This wasn’t hard, and I managed decent looking welt pockets.  The directions were solid.

The final detail I missed?  This skirt narrows from the hips.  I did my typical fitting adjustments for a skirt, not taking into account that narrowing.  I need more girth through the buttocks and thighs.  So, as much as I love the skirt, I’m going to be donating it.

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I will make it again, but I will need to make those adjustments!

Oh, and did I tell you that I despise working with chiffon?  The vampire dress will be sleeveless.  It’s still in the 80s here anyway.

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Halloween Preview

Catching my breath.  It’s been a busy past couple of weeks.  My husband and I hosted a spooky luau for 45 people (including kids) – and cooked/smoked all the food.  I’m still putting things away.  I also made a major life decision – to cut back at work to focus on my family and me.  I put in my “retirement” letter last week – as well as an application for a new position at the same location (bureaucracy/budget lines make this necessary).  Hopefully, in a week or two, I’ll know if that maneuver is successful.  I do know that once I made the decision,  my sleep improved immediately.

Anyway,  the sewing I’ve been doing?  Halloween costumes.  Some preview pictures:

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A family of vampires!  I have to cut out those chiffon sleeves tonight…
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DH wanted skull buttons. So, they are on order. And, more pressing.
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Did this last night for a fitting.  Need some adjustments, then I can press out those seams!

And, still fasting.  More than a year since I bought RTW.  The RTW fast ends at the end of this year, and I’d like some new workout clothes. I have no interest in making my own!

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The big, crisp, white shirt (V1526)

I love a crisp white shirt.  I reach for one regularly, so I knew it was time to make one.  When I was in NYC this summer, I deemed my wardrobe was in for an upgrade – it needed more style, a little edge.  Enter the Paco Peralto big white shirt (Vogue 1526).

Vogue 1526, Paco Peralta, from Vogue’s website.

The shirt has an interesting rolled collar, fun placement for the pocket, and opportunities to learn/practice tailoring skills.  I need more work on collars, flat-felled seams, and button holes.  I really enjoyed making this shirt.  (Note on pictures:  I re-pressed after these pictures.)

The silhouette? I’m really not sure. In looking at a few of my recent shirt makes, it’s all been about fit and ease.  This shirt is not described as “very loose”,  “loose”, or any of the other clues that Vogue gives about the silhouette.  Judging from the model and the line drawing, I judged it loose fitting – or having a lot of ease.  Even though I think a fitted style is more flattering on me, I once again chose a loose shirt.  This has everything to do with living in a hot, humid, location.

But this shirt is BIG.  I cut a size 12, and didn’t add anything for length.  The sleeves on the model appear 3/4 length, but are closer to 7/8ths or even-full length (no clarification on the pattern description).   Once again, I did not make a muslin, but this was more about learning the techniques than worrying about the fit.  I’m not sure about it, it may grow on me.  I still LOVE the collar, and did enjoy making it.  But I think I’m going to go for a more fitted/semi-fitted shape next.

 

The pattern:  Vogue 1526, by Paco Peralta c 2016.  I made view B, the shirt.  “Shirt has dropped shoulder and long sleeves with cuff.”  End description.  I do plan to make the jacket and pants, but I never had any plans to pair it with the shirt.

The fabric:  an all cotton poplin from Marcy Tilton I bought last year. It’s crisp, and a little difficult to iron – I washed, damp-dried, and pressed with starch the final version of the shirt. I used less fabric than the pattern called for, even with the rolled collar on the bias.  The only interfacing is in the collar – I used the crisp shirt interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply, but I’m not sure I thoroughly fused it to the poplin.

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The instructions: are fine.  Definitely baste every time suggested, and more.  You definitely want to baste the placement and seam lines for the shoulder and sleeve seams. I ended up pulling out my first attempt on the shoulders and redoing for not doing so.  Step 22 (slip-stitching the cuff) shows the incorrect drawing:  You should have a right-sided (folded over) cuff slip-stitched to the wrong side of the sleeve seam.  The drawing shows only right-sides.

Will I make it again?  I don’t know.  I think I will scale it back.  Looking at these pictures, it’s almost 80s oversized on me. Perhaps if I wear it untucked, belted. (The angles below de-emphasize the looseness!)

 

Vintage Ralph Lauren tank in silk (V1724)

For most, summer is almost over.  Here, in North Florida, our version of fall will come soon too: its crowning distinction isn’t cooler temperatures, but drier air and no thunderstorms!  (77 days this summer with severe thunderstorms).  That means I can still sew summer-like items.  Unfortunately, this tank failed for me.  Of course, if I had toiled it, I could have made adjustments to prevent the problem.

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Vogue 1724:  I should have taken note of the under arm gap in the photo.

But first, the details:

The pattern:  Vogue American Designer pattern 1724, Ralph Lauren tops c1986. I made view A, the tank, buttoning at the top shoulder.  Absolutely nothing complicated about this one.

The fabric:  a devine 3 ply silk crepe from Gorgeous Fabrics.

Construction notes: nothing of note, really, as this is a simple top.  I did change the button top (I couldn’t find two teeny 1/4in buttons) to snaps, and added a button for decoration.  I used french seams on the side seams, and finished the facing edges with the serger.

The problem? The armsyce is shaped funny and gaps. In the pattern, at the point of the gapping, there are instructions to ease fashion fabric to the facing – but they fit together without the need to ease.  I blithely sewed til completion and was met with disappointment.  I don’t know how to save this at this point, as the armsyce is already rather revealing. The seam has been sewn, understitched, and clipped. I have no scraps left either (though I do have some in off white).  I attempted to snug it up with some narrow clear elastic, but you can see from the photos that it only introduced more problems.

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Here’s what happened when I tried to add narrow clear elastic to tighten it up.

 

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The other side, sans elastic.

What to do?  For the moment, Ralph hangs on the dress form.  I’ve begun a serious weight loss/exercise program, and usually lose in the bust first.  I’d like to see how it hangs after that (at a size 12, it was just a bit too close and pulls some, and the gapping tends to occur above the bust point).

Yes, I’m disappointed.  I had hoped to wear this to work yesterday with a new pair of those fantastic Paco Peralto pants I keep making – this time in a pale pink linen.

Editing the Pucci top/another V 1550 (Peralto Pant)

I finally decided to alter the Pucci top that didn’t work from a few weeks back.  First, I put buttons down the back (simple purple shirt buttons).  Second I took in the sides:  I added a “curve” to the straight box cut by taking it in 1/4 inch (1/2 inch total each side) on the side, tapering to the hem and up to the bust dart.  Third, I added fish eye darts to the back (total of 2 inches removed at narrowest part of back) and front (one inch total).  Yes, I removed 4 inches from the waist to provide a semi-fitted silhouette as opposed to a straight one.

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BEFORE
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AFTER

I like it much better, but the second problem is not fixable.  I really think the print overwhelms my frame.  No matter, I will wear this running errands.

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The pants are Vogue 1550.  No changes from the black pair I made some months back.  IN fact, I started these the week of my dad’s funeral back in April and they were the first things I completed when I started sewing again.

The fabric is a cross-dyed linen from Marcy Tilton that I bought last year.  The threads are black and hot pink, which combine to give a purplish appearance.  It’s quite lovely.  This linen is more wiry than the black, so it’s not as appropriate for this pattern in terms of drape, but it’s manageable.  It was a bit shifty though, and the grain is slightly off.

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Grumbling about photo quality, yet I’ll not do anything about it…

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Comfy Summer Dress: Vogue 8645 (OOP)

It’s hot and humid in Florida in the summer.  But I’m headed to NYC for a few days, where the canyons can be just as miserable.  What do I need? – a simple, pack-able dress.  I bought the fabric with a long maxi in mind (before the trip was planned), but decided the pattern wasn’t right. I asked the fasters on the RTW fast FB page about a few options, but in the end, decided against a maxi.  Enter Very Easy Vogue 8645 (c 2010)IMG_0007.

This is a loose-fitting pullover dress, and without the sash and shoulder ties, strongly resembles some of the dresses on the Zulilly ads I see on my FB feed.  The dress is comfy (has pockets),  and I expect to make another, but with some modifications.  I was too lazy to try to do selfies, so the pictures don’t really show how cute the dress is.  The v-neck is relatively modest, compared to some v-necks from Vogue.  The ties hold the fabric tighter against the skin, so the likelihood of a wardrobe malfunction is reduced.

The fabric:  a sold out viscose challis from Marcy Tilton.  I love the colors in it, but I’ve never worked with this type of fabric.  It’s very soft, and very drapey.  I will consider buying another viscose challis (especially for this pattern) now that I have a better feel for the fabric.  I decided that a maxi in this floral could over whelm me, so I went with the shorter version of the dress.

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I lined it with a cotton/poly batiste I bought from Susan Khalje.  It’s softer and drapier than cotton batiste, but in the end, I still think it’s a bit too heavy and crisp for the viscose.  I will go with a silk CDC or forgo lining it next time.  If I skip the lining, I will use narrow facings for the neck and armholes.

By  the way, the pattern recommends some crisper fabrics – batiste and handkerchief linen – but you’ll get a far different look.

Changes I made: I didn’t make many changes. Of the three that I did, two I will keep, the other go back to the original plan.  I like that I did a narrow machine hem for both the lining and the dress – it’s a cleaner finish in the viscose.  Second, I did not top-stitch the neck and armholes – I didn’t think it would work with the viscose.  I decided to hand apply the lining to the dress, because I  don’t always get a good result in the approach recommended in the directions (sew at arm holes and neck, pull  through shoulders, then finish shoulders).  I used the couture method from Susan  Khalje which I have used successfully before.  I don’t like the result as much this time (and doesn’t seem to be worth the effort, given the shoulders are hidden by the tie on straps).

A new dress (front on left, back on right).

 

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Black & White (McCall 7600 & Vogue 1247)

Leftover fabric, a new pattern, an old pattern, and keeping it simple:  I love the outcome.

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The top:

The pattern for the top is Nancy Zieman’s  color block top (M 7600).  It’s really super easy and the directions have little tips for sewing knits. When I first bought the pattern, I didn’t realize it was for knits, but I think you could easily adapt this pattern for woven fabric too.

I made view A.  I originally cut a size 14, given how everything else was fitting lately, but when I basted the top portion together for a test run, it was way too big, so I cut the entire top back down to a 12.

I used the same black rayon doubleknit from Gorgeous Fabrics as the dress I just made, plus some of the off-white she had in rayon doubleknit.  The remainder of the black and white are reserved for a color block dress for the fall.  This fabric is luscious: it has body and drape and feels good on the skin.  I’m not fond of working with knits – the stretchiness and rolling are annoying.  Double knits are more stable though, so I tend to choose them over jersey (and if I buy jersey, it tends to sit in the closet).

There isn’t much to the construction of the top – though I made some changes.  First, I left off the embellishments.  Second, as described, the armholes and neckline are bound.  I didn’t do that.  The rayon is heavy and I felt the binding would distract/detract.  So, I interfaced the edges, serged them (trimming 1/4 inch), folded over 3/8 inch, pressed carefully and slowly topstitched. I did the same with the hems.

The final change I made was to pick out the top stitching under the arms (it’s actually forward on the top, toward the center seam by about 3 inches, as you can see in the picture. I had my doubts when I was doing this finally step.  Sure enough, when I put it on, the drape was compromised.  I was worried about wardrobe malfunction, but it doesn’t seem to be a problem (though it might be on a larger-breasted individual).

In the end, I find the top cool, sophisticated, and flattering (despite the lack of shape). I’ve worn it a few times already.

The skirt:

The skirt is one I’ve made four times now – the ever popular Rachel Comey (Vogue 1247). Funny, I never blogged the other three skirts.  I used the last of the black cotton sateen (with stretch) from the old Gorgeous Fabrics that I used for the not-great Pucci pant.  Of course, sateen reflects light, whereas the black rayon absorbs it, so the two blacks really don’t go together… but I’m okay with it … for now.  And this makes black skirt number 6 in my wardrobe.   A staple!  – different styles, fabrics… and two are near retirement.

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I did this quickly – it’s an easy skirt – making a few changes from the original.  First, I used the serger to finish my seam/hem edges, rather than binding them.  I’ve done both, and I’m indifferent on this skirt, with this fabric, so I went simpler.  Second, I’ve eliminated the pockets.  For some reason, they poof out weirdly on my, so only one version of this skirt ever had pockets.  And finally, I added six inches to the length.  This skirt is only 15 inches in length in its original form, and I wanted to be able to wear this to work, too.

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Impossible to photograph black.

One other note: I cut this out starting at a 12, adding 1/4 inch to each side (total one inch to the circumference).  Since the difference between a 12 and 14 is about 3/8″, I originally sewed 1/2 inch seam allowances (total 1.5 inch circumference).  The skirt was too loose, so I went back to the regular seam allowances.  I think the difference (and what I failed to take into account with the Pucci pant) is that the fabric has some stretch.

Yes, more wardrobe staples, and black/white can get boring, but I’m working on things I can wear for a trip to NYC later this summer.  I don’t want to pack a lot, but I want to look chic.  I can add bits of color here and there to change things up.

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