I have little time, but loads of inspiration!

Well, the new position, along with preparing for hurricanes, means I have had little time for sewing regularly or for any extended periods of time.  I have had the week off because of Dorian, but so has the kiddo.  Still, I began to think about the next few dozen projects.

No really.  When I have no time to sew, I plan.  Here’s a snapshot of some of the projects I’m working on, or hope to complete:

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The good news, some are already in progress.

  1. Vogue 1526, Paco Peralta short-sleeved jacket and pant (I made the shirt some time ago).  This is almost finished, as in hopefully this week.  Details coming up.
  2. The Kay Unger color block is up next, as an easy-do-right-now-option.  I’ll be doing it in black and white rayon ponte leftover from other projects.
  3. To the left of Kay Unger is a Molyneux vintage dress. I’ll be doing this in a gorgeous black/silver bamboo woven.  The pattern is vintage – and too small  – so a little pattern grading is in order.
  4. The Kwik Sew men’s coat is cut out.  I promised it two years ago to DH.  I’ve got to take the time to finish it.
  5. The Patterson Couturier will be in a a gorgeous plaid.
  6. The Guy Laroche suit (top left) is cut out and about half done.  I started it last spring, but it won’t be cold enough to wear it for several weeks.
  7. The Butterick summer dress in a Tori Richards rayon challis print for a Luau in October.
  8. The Paco Peralta zip front in a burgundy denim.
  9. The remaining three (bottom left):  Montana, LaRoche and Edith Head – I don’t have the right fabric for these yet.  And, I have many other patterns paired with projects I can work on until I do…

And, my plans usually get upended. I know there are another half dozen projects awaiting my attention, some cut, some long-desired. And I need a coat.  Hopefully, I get the first four on my list completed without deviating. After that, who knows.

And, no, we aren’t in any danger from Hurricane Dorian, though last week we were prepping in earnest!

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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!

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.

 

 

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.

Butterick 6494 dress in Rayon doubleknit

Just a quick post.  I recently made Butterick 6494, view C, no pockets. It’s an easy make, but, sadly, it’s already too warm here for long sleeves.  Perhaps a cool evening?

From Butterick’s website.

This is an easy dress to make, so very little to write.  I made a size 12 in the shoulders, tapering in the sleeves and side seams only to a size 14.  It’s a slim, close fitting dress, and very flattering, but give yourself room if you have a clingier fabric.

As for the fabric:  a teal rayon doubleknit (with some elastine or lycra) from Emma One Sock.  It’s a medium weight, which is perfect here (the pattern calls for french terry).  The fabric was fairly easy to work with, though it wrinkles easily (see the photos).  I found that going up to a size 11 needle helped with skipped stitches.

I didn’t really change much or do things differently from the directions, which are straight forward.  I did eliminate the pockets, as reviews elsewhere suggested these could lead to enhancing the tummy area in an unflattering way.  I followed the instructions for the collar, but I don’t think it gives the best results.  I plan to follow David Coffin’s (Shirtmaking) instructions next time I do a collar, as I think it will result in a more professional finish.

Over all, I’m pleased, though I know where the errors are.

Some pictures:

 

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This one wore me (Butterick 5354)

Elber Albaz, former designer of House Lanvin revealed in an interview, “What is your job as a designer? To unveil the body or to cover it?” He went on to say, “…It was then that I realised that fashion is not really about the body at all. Its essence is simple: to make the woman look beautiful, to make her fly.”


This top (Butterick 5354, view D) doesn’t aspire to Lanvin in the slightest, but I liked the drawings, the description and the line drawings.  Albaz’s sentiment is still relevant: fashion should make you feel confident, beautiful, enhance the best of you.  But it didn’t even make me flap wings.  This is a design that could work (with some re-working) in a VERY drapey fabric, but don’t consider it with any fabric with body.  It covers the body, adds weight, and is headed to the donate pile.

The fabric is from Gorgeous Fabrics – I bought it after working with the navy rayon doubleknit (and during Ann’s closeout sale).  I love the fabric, and am kicking myself for wasting it here.  I have enough left for a sleeveless top, maybe.


Okay, other than the fact that it’s just not flattering (though super easy), here were my  main issues:

  1. The neckline is not as wide as pictured in either the drawings on the front or in the line drawings.  Views B, C and D indicate a wide neckline (I made view D).  It’s more of a circle around the neck (View A somewhat indicates this, but is still more revealing than reality).  It’s a very, very modest neckline compared to these drawings.
  2. The shoulders are too narrow.  Yes, I know, muslin.  This isn’t usually a problem I have – since I have narrow shoulders.  But the shoulder lines are well inside where they need to be flattering.  I made a 12, my usual size, and many on PatternReview indicated sizing down.  Again, where the shoulder meets the sleeve cap is more like View A than View D.
  3. The facing is fiddly.  I measured carefully, I cut carefully, I attached carefully.  I understitched.  I trimmed and notched.  I pressed.  The facing rolls out.  In fact, it’s not drafted properly, as it won’t lay flat on the inside. The outside curve of the facing is a bit short, forcing the facing to pull up – and is perhaps why issue number one is occurring.


Could I have fixed this with a muslin?  Yes.

Win some, lose some.  Moving on.

(Sorry, can’t seem to get the lighting right with my iPhone).

Repeat: Butterick 6388, view D

B6388, view D, from Butterick’s website.

Pattern Description: Butterick 6388 (c 2016).  From back:  “Tops and dress have side front seams, shaped collar, and back yoke.”  I made view D, with long sleeves, omitting the pockets after reading other reviews.

Fabric:  Luxe navy french terry in cotton (sold out) from Marcy Tilton.

Pattern Sizing:  Size Y XS, S, M.  I liked the fit of the small in the sweater I made previously, but knew I would need to add for waist/hips/thighs to preserve proportions.  I made a size small, grading to a medium at the waist through to the hem.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?  Yes, mostly, but longer.

Instructions? fine, I think.   Didn’t really follow them this time, except for the order of construction.

What do you like or dislike about the pattern?  Clean lines, simple. A basic to accessorize.  I used a lovely blue/violet silk scarf the first time, though I felt a little like a flight attendant.

Pattern alterations or design changes?  Increased the size to roughly a size 14 through hips/thighs.  One of the things I didn’t do on the sweater was an adjustment for my long waist.  I always tug at the hem.  Since I wanted to maintain proportions, I added 2 inches at the waist fitting line.  I also added 1 inch to the hem to make this dress a bit longer (about 1-2 inches above the knee, all told).  While I top-stitched the front side seams, I got the ripple effect, even with a walking foot.  As a result, I hand hemmed the sleeves and dress.

Would you sew again? Recommend?  Sure.  This is my second take, though, so probably not for a while.

img_27431Conclusions?  A lovely dress that looks much better on. I felt amazing, professional and pretty in this simple dress. If you maintain the proportions, it accentuates the figure. I’m not as busty as the dress form, so I don’t get the pulling; adding the width to the lower half kept it from riding over the buttocks to pool in the lower back.  It’s plain, so it needs accessories.  It has a very different feel in the soft french cotton terry – very luxurious and dressy – than the wool doubleknit.  That having been said, the collar needs interfacing in the terry to stand up. And, yes, photos on the dress form are after being worn (and tossed in the closet after a long day at work).  I’d love to get photos with me in the garments, but then I’d never get the blog posts done…