Copycat: Modified Butterick 4684

As a rule, I don’t like to copy ready-to-wear.  I work in a field where ideas are protected, as is what you produce.  Plagiarism may be the sincerest form of flattery, but it’s still plagiarism.  Still, I did it this time.   I found this blouse at Nordstrom:

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Nic & Zoe (at Nordstrom)

It retails for $148 – all linen, raglan top, with tied up sleeves and shirt-tail hem.  I really liked it.  But before buying it, I saw a similar fabric at Marcy Tilton:  darker, more intense, but similar.  I decided to give it a go.

I went through my patterns and decided on using Butterick 4684 as my base.  I’d made the tunic before, long ago, so thought it would work:

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No, it doesn’t have raglan sleeves, but I find that raglan sleeves are hard to fit on me.  I chose view D, with the sleeves of view A.  Here are the changes I made:

  1. I eliminated the front slit.
  2. I used a top I had whose neckline shape and size was similar to the photograph (though a bit smaller as it turns out) to reshape the neckline.
  3. I used a narrow facing to finish the neckline, top-stitching 3/4″ from the edge.
  4. I used french seams throughout.
  5. I set the sleeves in flat before basting the side seam in a continuous seam all the way to the lower edge.
  6. At this point, I knew it was time to try it on for shaping, as this is a pretty boxy top.  I tapered into the waist about 1.5 inches on both sides.  I also shorted the top by 1.5 inches.
  7. After sewing the side seams, I used a favorite shirt to decide the shirt-tail hem, and traced/trimmed the fabric to the right shape front/back before machine-hemming a shirt-tail hem.
  8. I used half-inch black grommets I had on hand.   I would have placed them higher on the sleeve, as in the photo, but my sleeves were a little too narrow.  So, I placed them 4.5 inches above the hem, centered, as in the photo.
  9. I keep going back and forth on the ties.  The white cotton twill tape didn’t look right with the darker fabric and black grommet.  Unfortunately, the only black twill tape I had on had was synthetic and doesn’t drape.  I cut 20″ inch strips for both.  Next time I’m buying supplies, I will buy the cotton twill.

Photos.  I bought a tripod/remote for my phone, but the blue-tooth wouldn’t pair with my phone.  So, the usual not great bathroom selfies.  The pants are a white linen/viscose mix (also Marcy Tilton).  And, yes, they are Paco Peralto 1550, again.  I forgot to put on my shoes, hence the dragging hem!

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After seeing the stiff black ties, they are coming out!  The white looks better, even as a temporary expedient!

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Learning to (sew a) fly. Guy LaRoche pants (V2578).

Wow.  Where did January go?  I was so busy at work this month, I was too exhausted to do much more than read a book before bed.  I started these pants at the beginning of the month, but only just finished them.  Meantime, the passage of time included me taking up running again, which is making sewing (fitting) a little more challenging as my body starts re-shaping itself.

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The pattern is from 2001: a lovely Guy LaRoche pant and jacket.  I had considered making the skirt in stead of trousers, but decided to push my self to learn new skills and work on fitting.  I’m planning on making the suit with a lovely dark brown tropical wool and the jacket multi-toned tan wool.  Description for the trouser:  “Semi-fitted, straight-legged pants have contour waistband and fly zipper closing.”

But since I have limited experience with a fly closure, practice was in order first.  And, as I’ll write below, I’m not sure if it’s my limited experience or the directions, but I did a fair amount of ripping out.

I first practiced the fly with the muslin (though not the waistband, which would have highlighted an error in the instructions).  The muslin revealed (to me at least) horizontal wrinkles, so I graded out to I think a 16 (or between 14 and 16).  The pant is narrow, but my thighs are wide.  I was also going to need length, so I added an inch.  I did not encounter issues with the fly.

Three weeks later, I found time to do the fly again.  And again.  I was proud of my first attempt:

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I’ve pinned out the pleat.

Until I realized that I put in the right fly backward.  I also couldn’t figure out how I got a pleat at the bottom part of the zipper.  I followed the directions, but I think it has something to do with the second step in the middle of the photo – you’re to fold over and press, tapering to nothing.  I can’t see that in the picture, and I clearly didn’t do it right.

 

Rip out, redo.  Looks great.  I proceeded with adding the waistband to realize that the left fly is mis-marked for zipper placement.  I painstakingly marked the fabric, and it’s about 1/2 inch too close to the fold. You can see in the directions below that the fold should line up with the top stitching on the right.  And, when I attached the waistband, I had an extra half inch.  I trimmed it, at this point, because it was too late to do anything else.  However, it did make it difficult to put the button hole in neatly, because there wasn’t enough space…

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My left fly doesn’t line up with the right fly top-stitching as it does in the sketch below, and I ended up with extra waistband and a funky button hole.

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Does anyone know how to prevent the funky turn at the corners you see in the picture below?  I was super careful cutting, stitching and turning, and yet the corners are distorted.  Enough that I will likely wear these trousers only with tops un-tucked.  It’s like I pulled too much and stretched the fabric out of shape.

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Oh, speaking of the fabric:  a tropical wool with stretch, cross-woven black and white to produce a lovely blue grey (from Rag & Bone).  I purchased it as roll end from Emma One Sock last fall.

Other random thoughts:  I intend to wear these with a kitten heel, as they are too short otherwise (even after adding an inch).  I’ll add length to the next pair, to help elongate the legs.  These were lined, btw, but I left out the lining.   I will start the jacket for the suit before the brown pants.  I want to re-muslin giving all the running I’d doing.

And, with that, it’s time for a run.

Statement Sleeves M7630 (& another V1550)

I’ve finally made something with the statement sleeve that seems so popular (but completely absent from the most recent copy of Harper’s Bazaar).  I have several patterns, but finally settled on McCall 7630 as a quick make.  It’s cute, okay, but not really me.  It is very easy.

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Pattern:  McCall 7630, View E, size 12.

Fabric:  a crisp cotton voile I purchased as a roll-end several years ago. I’ve never known what to do with it, and this pattern called for chambray, poplin, denim or crepe.  The sleeve on view E would work better with a softer drape, even though the model appears to be wearing a crisp fabric.

Construction/changes:  I added length in the torso (standard adjustment, but otherwise followed the directions.  One thing of note, the bust apex is mis-marked on the tissue.  It’s almost under the arm.  In fact, there’s about 12.5 inches between the bust points.

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This is relatively simple to construct.  I liked the sleeve drape on the photo, which is more “curved” in reality.  The challenge with the sleeve is the narrow hem with that sharp corner.  I’ve never really done the sharp corner before, and wasn’t sure how to proceed.  I nailed one, the other is a little messy. I’m going to have google the technique for the silk blouse I’m currently working on, which has several of these corners.

Here I am – I like the blouse, it’s cute, but not really my thing.  It’s also a little sheer, necessitating a camisole. I’m wearing it with, wait…

Another pair of the Paco Peralto wide legged pants (V1550).  I love these pants so much I now have four pair – 3 in linen and this pair in super 120s wool.  I’ve worn out the black and purple linen pairs.

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Nothing new on the construction here.  This is a very drapey and somewhat shiny merino wool, with a tone on tone stripe.  I bought the fabric years ago from G Street Fabrics (DC) for pants for my husband.  He declared them too shiny.  I remember paying way too much.  Now I have a very lovely pair of pants. I wore them Monday with the Paco Peralto big white shirt and received many compliments.

Vogue Couturier 1394: Pucci Pant and Top

Sometimes I have a grand vision of an outfit and how I will look once I’m finished putting it together.  Then reality hits.  I’ve wanted to make the Pucci pant and top (Vogue 1394) for some time, delayed only by looking for the perfect fabric.  I made it last week, but my conclusions on seeing it on me:  it does nothing for my figure (which peri-menopause keeps changing).

But it’s not a complete loss, for I did enjoy making it and learned a few new lessons.  You would have thought that making a muslin would be enough, but not in this case.  I didn’t  get the real sense of it until I finished.  This outfit works for those who are slender and tall, which I used to be.  My waistline/weight has been a problem in recent months (despite diet and exercise) and this top didn’t help.

The top/over blouse:  nothing complicated here.  However, despite the slightly curved line drawing, the side seams are perfectly straight and there is no shaping in the top.  Add in that I needed to grade out from a 14 (old sizing, it would be a 12 today) to at least a size larger to accommodate the hips, and you’ve got a triangle shape.

The fabric is a linen/cotton blend remnant I picked up from Emma One Sock.  Though Linda doesn’t identify the Italian designer, Marcy Tilton had the exact same design, but on a cotton, from Ratti. It’s a loose weave, and frays, but quite lovely otherwise and easy to work with.

The directions are quite good, though a bit different in terms of order from current instructions.  This plays out in the facing, and constructing the “shoulder” seam.  There is no shoulder seam, rather the back piece (cut in one) comes over and is stitched to the front to form the square neckline. I took my time with it to ensure a professional and perfect match.  It’s the first time I’ve been able to do this type of join cleanly.

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Four things done differently:  I under stitched the facings, by hand (not requested).  Since I could not get a perfect blind-hem with this fabric, I top-stitched the lower hem. I also used french seams for the side seams. And, despite repeated attempts, I could not get my machine to produce a decent button hole.  Every time I’d do step 3 (go in reverse to stitch the right hand side of the button hole), the machine seamed to protest going in reverse and stitch a big knot.  Since the button holes would show on this fabric, I sewed snaps instead.  After the first wearing, I’ve decided to sew buttons for a decorative element, but also to keep the facings from pulling away as I move.

The “slim pants”:  I needed to grade up a size, so I did.  I traced off the pattern, cut, spread, and added the equivalent of a size, using some books I had about maintaining the proportion.  The first muslin revealed a crotch smile and a side seams curving at the waist line pointing to the belly button. Oh, and they were still too tight. I was sad that night, as I began to get realistic about my changing body.

The next day, I made the fitting adjustments suggested by Pants for Real People.  I added a quarter inch to the sides, straightened out the center front (from notch up), and added a smidgen to the inner leg seams, tapering to the notches.  Felt good to go, so I cut them out.

These pants aren’t difficult, of course: faced waistline and hems, side lapped zip.  The novelty here is the tab (and I managed a decent button hole).  In no time I had the pants sewn together, all but facings, tab and zip. I pulled them on and they looked and felt fantastic (side zip not in, but opening pinned shut).

I completed the pant and … the waist is still a smidge tight, and I have too much fabric everywhere else, especially between my protruding belly and the crotch line.  They aren’t comfortable to wear for long periods of time.  I’m trying to decide if I can make adjustments on the final pant, but not sure where to start.

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Not a fantastic photo, but I took it looking down at my feet, pinching out the excess fabric from between the belly and the crotch line.

The black cotton sateen is medium weight with a bit of stretch.  I purchased it from Gorgeous Fabrics in 2016. I have one yard left – a skirt or shorts?

If I can figure out the fit and/or slenderize me, the pants do have potential.  However, next time I will consider facing the hems and waist with a lighter weight fabric to reduce bulk. I would also consider a different way to apply the zipper, facing and tab.  I prefer my zipper tops to be sandwiched between the fabric and the facing, but here, the zipper is applied after the facing is completed.  Because of the bulk, I finished the lapped zipper by hand using a pick stitch.  It didn’t look great top stitched on, especially since I could not keep the line nice and straight (again, bulk).  The only other thing I did differently was under stitch the waist band seam.

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I love linen trousers. (Vogue 1550)

I live in a warm, often sticky, climate.  Clingy clothes aren’t very comfortable. When I decided to make something for date night, I wanted a flowing, wide-legged, linen pant.  The blouses are currently UFOs, but I went ahead and made the trousers.  I didn’t start until after date night, and wore them to work yesterday (temps 85 degrees, a bit muggy).  Oh, my, I was in heaven – loose, casual and dressy at the same time.  They made me feel as if I could fly.  I will be making them again.

From Vogue’s website.  Vogue 1550.  I made view D.

The pattern is Paco Peralta’s view D of  Vogue 1550.  It’s tough to see the pants, hidden under that very long tunic, but I had a good feeling about the pants.  I made a muslin, and confirmed the following.  I needed a size 14, with 1/2 inch side seams and inseams above the notches.  I also wanted them for heeled/platform sandals, so I added 2 inches at the leg lengthen shorten line.  I fit is almost perfect.  At the last minute, I decided the crotch seam should also be 1/2 inch – I don’t need this, the pants are slightly too big.  I may go back and fix this.  As I have plenty of fabric to re-cut a waistband if need be.

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Ah, details.

About the fabric: a very fine weave black linen from Gorgeous Fabrics, purchased in 2015.  I had purchased some to make a color block dress, and loved it so much I ordered another 6 yards.  It’s perfect!  The black and white batiste for the contrast binding is the same that I used for my niece’s doll dresses.

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I love the width at the ankle.  Hard to see, but this hits at the bottom part of the ankle when standing.

The pattern:  super easy – no big issues.

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Photographing black, in low lighting.

I will make these again.  I also plan to make the culottes and tunic version as well, but not just yet.

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Bathroom selfies.  I can’t find my selfie stick. On top of that, I can no longer connect my iPhone 5 (new one please) to my PC, so I cropped and uploaded directly from the mobile.  And, thought I did a rear view, but didn’t.  Trust me, these pants are beautiful, but not meant for the camera.  They are a great basic that expands my wardrobe.

And, gratuitous shots of the orange blossoms.  The tree isn’t yet in full blossom, but in another day or so, the scent will be intoxicating.

 

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Hot weather comfort: Style Arc Anna Pant + McCall’s 7411

I’ve been away for a while, at 8000 feet, with no humidity.  I’m back in Florida, and not only is my sewing mojo in full swing, it says: comfort clothes, please; nothing too tight!  So, flowing  linen pants paired with a loose cotton voile top was my choice.  I’ve had the Style Arc Anna pant on the docket for a while, and decided to pair it with View C of McCall’s 7411 tank.  The navy stretch linen and the printed cotton voile are both from Gorgeous Fabrics.  I love the fabrics absolutely and both were very easy to work with.  The Style Arc Anna pants are fantastic, the top doesn’t pass the wearability test.

As always, photography is not my strong suit, the pictures are barely adequate.

Style Arc Anna: This is a straight leg pant, with a drawstring.  This pattern is super easy to make and goes together well.  If I make it again, however, I will purchase the pattern, rather than use the PDF.  I had a lot of trouble with lining everything up, and I’m pretty sure the pants are slightly off grain as a result.  I’ve used many other PDFs before, but this is my first Style Arc attempt – it may be my printer.

From the Style Arc website:Anna Pant - Straight leg drawstring pant, casual & sporty

I really love my Lily Pulitzer beach pants, but not the $180 price tag that comes with them. I wear the medium in Lily; here I sewed the 10 with only one modification.  The crotch curve (more of an L than a J) and rise match the Lily pant perfectly.  However, I wanted to make sure that the leg had enough ease to swish – and my thighs measure 23″ at their fullest point (hey, I run). So, I added 1/4 inch to the outside front and back seams, for a total 1/2 inch each leg.  Perfect – not tight when I sit, and the right amount of flowy beach swish when I sit.

The lily pant has three inches of ribbing for a lower rise pant, and the drawstring is merely decorative.  I didn’t have ribbing, so I constructed the fold-over waistband as directed.  I did switch out the fabric drawstring for navy 1/2 inch twill tape (much more comfortable, less bulky) and used 1/4 inch eyelets instead of button holes.

Last, an important improvement over the white Lily pants; – the 31.5 inch inseam is perfect to wear with flats/flip-flops.  The Lily pants are longer, requiring 3 inch heels, hemming, or rolling up.

This was my first Style Arc pattern, and I like it enough to try another, especially in pants.  I also love these pants and can see myself wearing these regularly.

McCall’s 7411 Layered Tank:

From McCall’s webpage, view C

I chose this pattern, but wasn’t thrilled with it.  The line drawings showed potential, even though I didn’t like the way it fit the model. I thought it was simply a lack of effort from the manufacturer, especially since the pressing job was less than adequate.  I also thought the neckline was boring.  I thought I could improve on this one, but I was wrong.

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There is a lot of ease here.  I mean a lot.  I wear a 12, but sized down to the small (8-10).  The finished measurements for the medium are 41″ (bust), 44″ (waist) and 37.5″ (bust) and 40.5″ for the small.

I decided that I wanted to add piping to the neckline and armholes, though I considered other options.  I made my own piping using the facings from view A as a guideline (cut on the bias) with 1/4″ piping.  This decision led me to abandon the order of construction.

I had never made my own piping before, nor added it to a neckline.  I referenced a few sources, but none that I found quickly suggested how to do it sandwiched this way.  I found, after doing the neckline, that the piping foot did not give me a tight “pipe” or abutment to the fabric edge.  I used a traditional zipper foot and was far more successful in getting the look I wanted. You can see the piping in the pictures below, and the rearview problems as well.

For the neck, I made the piping, stay-stitched the edges, then basted it to the overlay.  I then added the base layer and stitched.  I closed the back opening as directed at this point in the directions.  I did the same thing with piping the armsyce, except this time I stitched the piping to the overlay, pressed and then hand stitched the base layer in place (I couldn’t figure out how to turn things otherwise).

I was surprised at how comfortable the fabric is, but how terribly this wears.  I took great pains with the pressing, yet I still end up with the wrinkles and pulls in the chest and “sleeves” as in the model.  I also get gaping at the back opening, and it’s not just from the pose.  The darts are all wrong – two short, wrong angle.  I thought, okay, fine for grocery shopping.  But all the fit/pressing issues only got worse in real life.  So, this shirt is for the charitable pile.  I love the fabric, though and will be re-ordering it, but I doubt I’ll make the top again.

 

 

 

I made pants! (Vogue 8717 & the Mandy Boat Tee)

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First, the pants:

Pants. Been scared to make them.  Can never get the fit just right, especially through the crotch.  Surprise, surprise, Vogue 8717 is easy and fit pretty well right out of the envelope.

V8717, Misses'  Vest, Jacket and Pants
From Vogue’s website (http://voguepatterns.mccall.com/v8717-products-13664.php?page_id=865)

The pants are from the Very Easy Vogue series and is shown with a cropped jacket (which I made almost two years ago).  They feature a high waist, front pleats, back darts and pockets.  You can cuff the pants or not.  The legs are wide – a style that seems popular right now.

Since these were the first pants I’ve made since I was 16, I made a muslin.  I was surprised that a size 12 fit so well, and didn’t seem to need much in the way of alterations.  The crotch curve/depth (not sure of the right term) in the front needed to be shortened slightly (1/4 inch).   And I need to add two inches to the pant leg so I could wear high heels with the pants. (I’m 5’9″). I also switched to an invisible zipper.

IMG_1236The fabric is an absolutely stunning black stretch tropical weight wool twill from Gorgeous Fabrics (still available as of this writing).  This is the second item I’ve made from the wool. I also made a skirt about a year ago (same pattern as the floral skirt I posted about last week).  This is a beautiful fabric, and I have just enough left from it to make a pair of shorts. (No photo can do it justice).

Anyway, I wore the pants today, and I have to say just a few things.  First, I felt very Katherine Hepburn with the high waist and classic, flowing wide legged trousers.  I’m glad they are back in style.  Second, I’m not sure this is the right pant pattern for me to make a second pair – because they are so high-waisted.  I didn’t notice on the muslin, but these are REALLY high. Good support for your back, but not so comfortable sitting at a desk all day.  Third, I still don’t have the front crotch depth right, but this was a good first pair of pants to try.

One thing I did do very differently:  The waist band facing.  I wanted a sturdy waist that wouldn’t collapse while wearing.  I re???????????????????????????????ad in one of my books a while ago about how to interface high waists to prevent that. I’ve done it so often now that I can’t remember which book.  In any case this is what you do:

  1. cut the facing from the fashion fabric or something lighter
  2. cut another facing from silk organza (this is a must)
  3. cut the interfacing from sew in hair canvas
  4. layer the three and baste, sandwiching the organza (if you leave it out, you midsection might itch)
  5. stitch the facings together, then channel stitch along the long edges, about a quarter inch apart.
  6. Attach facing to pant.

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Seems to work for me anyway.

The Mandy Boat Tee

So was I channeling Katherine Hepburn or french casual chic?  The top is a free pattern from Tessuti fabrics.  The downloadable pdf is one-sized, and judging from the pictures on the website, the tee is really big on small frames.  It’s 58 inches around at the bust.  That’s okay – it’s supposed to be boxy and oversized.

Still, I edited.  I reduced the circumference by 4 inches, folding out one inch from the middle of each shoulder through to the hem, front and back.  I also shortened the top by nearly 3 inches to give more of a cropped look.

IMG_1237This went together super-fast and was very easy to do.   And this was my first project with the new serger (Brother 1034d).  Where has a serger been my whole life?  I never understood what the fuss was about – omg – I’m in love.  Sewing knits, finishing casual items?  I’m sold.   I used the four-thread overlock on all seams, hemming the neck, sleeves and hem with the twin needle on my old machine.  Thrilled!

Only thing that gives me pause – mistakes.  On a machine I’m okay with picking out mistakes, but now part of my seam is gone.  In this case, my stripes weren’t perfectly aligned on the side seams (another reason I shortened the top, because I noticed right away that my alignment was off).

It helped that the fabric is very stable – 1/4 inch black/white stripe with a fair amount of lycra from Gorgeous Fabrics (still available as of this writing).  It’s a beefier cotton jersey, with a lot of body (as you can see by the way it flares from the body).   It was super-easy to sew.

IMG_1239I was concerned that the 3/4 sleeves and wool trousers would be too warm today – it was nearly 90 – but I was very comfortable.  The pictures were taken at the end of the day.  BTW, I think I like the Mandy tee with shorts better.