Wool Sweater: Butterick 6388

BRRRR… it’s cold outside!  So I hear.  In reality, I’m sitting in shorts and a tee with the window open listening to the crickets.  Phenomenal Florida weather.  But I’m going to the land of ice and snow – and when I looked through my winter clothes, I realized I was in need.

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I purchased Butterick 6388 for the collar, and fully intended to make a dress (view D).  I’ve been on the fence about it-I will make it, but I’m not sure about wool.  I made view C for my trip to Colorado.  This is an easy project.

The fabric:  a Mark Jacobs wool doubleknit I purchased from Marcy Tilton in 2011.  Actually, it’s a remnant – I originally paired it with a red knit to make Vogue 1313 (DKNY).  I still have the dress, but I almost always feel like a Trekkie in it.  The quality of the fabric is amazing, and I love the heathered black.  I managed to eke out the top (view C) on about a yard and a quarter.  I did have to piece the collar – not enough space for a fold – adding a center back seam to the back of the collar.  The recommended fabric for this is sweatshirt fleece or french terry.

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Close-up of the front collar; I added top-stitching.

What I changed:  Not too much, actually.  I did top stitch every seam except the side seams to help keep the seams flat – wool double knit can be thick.

Construction and instructions:  The instructions are perfectly fine.  Again, this is pretty easy.  I did add the top stitching.

I have found that Butterick patterns (more so than McCall or Vogue) tend to have a lot of ease – particularly on anything sized XS-S-M.  By the measurements, I should have made the medium (size 12/14).  But I tend to the smaller size of 12 in the shoulders.  I cut the small, but stitched 3/8″ seams at the sides/arm; everywhere else is the traditional 5/8″.  I used my straight-stitch machine, serging after the fact (since I was fitting as I went).  I think my decision was the right one, as the fit is spot on for me.

The top hits right at the hip.  When I tissue fit, I knew I should add two inches to the length since I’m long-waisted.  There is very little shape to this dress, so where the waist hit didn’t matter so much for the top.  I will add it for the dress.

Front and back views, overexposed to show the black, and the dropped sleeves.

What I learned:   I’d forgotten how warm this fabric is!  I won’t get much wear from this here – but it’s cute/casual/sporty. I like it, even thought it’s not much more than a sweatshirt with a fun collar.  I need to be very selective about my wool double knit purchases since I really don’t need any in my wardrobe.  It also means that I don’t have a fabric for the dress. I originally planned to do this in a grey wool double knit purchased at the same time…

Up next:   I’ve been really busy – who isn’t.  BUT I FINISHED THE RUCCI SUIT!  Yes, I finished it a week or so ago.  I didn’t like the pictures on the dress form, so I’m waiting for a chance for someone to take pictures with me wearing it.  I also made an orange silk jacquard midi pencil skirt, but haven’t had time to blog about it yet.  What to sew? I’m thinking the Paco Peralta with the short sleeved jacket, or a vintage Guy Laroche suit, or a lace dress… but no sewing while at my in-laws.

 

 

The Luau Maxi Dress that Wasn’t

IMG_0005Because I didn’t buy enough fabric and I ran out of time. The party was two weeks ago. I finished it yesterday.

IMG_1674The inspiration and pattern choice: I had a vision of what I wanted from this dress, and I almost got there.  I’d seen the Sloane maxi dress from Lily Pulitzer and thought I could make something similar.  I liked the midriff, the v neck and back and overall shape.  I thought that Simplicity 1102 could be altered to be close, though the skirt would definitely be fuller.

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This dress doesn’t look that great to me on the envelope cover.  But when I looked at the line drawings, I saw possibilities. The bodice is fitted, eliminating gapping, the midriff was about what I wanted, only the skirt was too full.  The sleeves are awful, but I thought I would work with view C and lengthen to maxi.  Of course, I bought the fabric requirement for view C without thinking.  That’s okay – I like it, even though I didn’t do as well a job as I would like.

IMG_1636The fabric!  This is from Gorgeous Fabrics, called Boldly Go, in a silk-rayon matte jersey.  It has a nice hand, drapes well and is easy to sew.  I was nervous about the bold print on my body, so perhaps that’s why I’m okay with the shorter length.

Changes and Construction Notes:   I made a muslin of the bodice. Since I’m smaller through the shoulders, with a smaller bust, I was worried about fit and gaposis.  What surprised me was how modest the V was!  I ended up lowering the V by about three inches and widening it by folding back the pattern from the bottom of the V up to the shoulder line (and narrowed the shoulder on the inside by about 1/4 inch).  The pictures show some gapping on one side – this is a function of how I’m holding the selfie stick. This was a very clear case of less is more when it came to the dress – less coverage was definitely more flattering.  I also wanted to see if I could eliminate the zipper – but could not.

I wanted to remove some of the weight of the skirt.  I feared that much gathering would bring unwanted questions about children.  I liked the skirt from McCall’s 7121, but didn’t want to go quite that narrow (I laid the matching pattern pieces on top of this one to get a sense of what I wanted).  I carefully folded out 4 inches, along the grain.  I did this by folding out one inch midway between the CF and side seam and CB and side seam.  So far so good.

I had also seen a dress in a window in Santa Fe that had concentrated the gathers at CF.  So I did that as well.   This was a mistake.  I didn’t make adjustments for the grain, and now the skirt side seams hang forward, toward the front.  I should have tested this with a muslin.

Ugh! I didn't like this insertion method for the invisible zipper.
Ugh! I didn’t like this insertion method for the invisible zipper.

As for the instructions – they are fine, but if I make this again, I would not follow them, as I think they lead to less than professional results.  The lined bodice (lined with a sold out Gorgeous Fabric knit lining and the tricot interfacing from Fabric Sewing Supply) is finished almost completely before attaching the skirt and zipper.  By completely, I mean the lining is stitched down to the fashion fabric at the midriff.  This means that the zipper is inserted so that you can’t stitch the lining to the zipper tape and hide it.

Other changes:  I did the ruching and the underlining by hand using a small running stitch.  I also did a narrow machine rolled hem instead of a 1 1/2 inch hem.

IMG_1673Final notes:  I love the fabric and it’s so comfortable to wear.  Doing the muslin for the bodice meant the perfect fit there.  I have so many other things I want to make, but I might revisit this one down the road.  I wore it to the salon today and received many compliments!

M6612- Short floral t-shirt dress

Line Art
Line Art for M6612, from McCall’s Website

I needed something super-easy to get things going again.  I did make a linen skirt, but didn’t check measurements (new pattern company for me) and couldn’t zip it over my bumm (silly me).  I have also done muslins for a pair of shorts and a kaftan which are up next.  Enter M6612 – easy close-fitting pullover dresses with a variety of lengths, sleeves and necklines.  I’ve made view D before, and when I wore it the other day, I got so many compliments, I decided to make view C to warm up for the shorts/kaftan.  Here’s view D, which I made in a cotton lycra print from Gorgeous Fabrics.  I really love the green print on this version, and got really lucky with the placement in this case:

View D, made fall 2013 (not blogged).
View D, made fall 2013 (not blogged).

This time, I used the remaining floral ITY knit that I used to make my niece’s Christmas gift.  Easy to sew, no rolling, but a synthetic (not fond of synthetics).  The only fitting alteration I made was the same one I made to view D, which was to add 1.5 inches at the waist in length to accommodate my long torso (cut a 12 since I knew how close-fitting this was, though I’ve been cutting 10s in the bodice lately).

Pre-hem, late night trial.
Pre-hem, late night trial.

I pretty much followed the directions – though you don’t need them  – this is a super easy one night hit.  I did set the sleeves in flat instead of the way the directions requested.  I had plan to do the neckline, hem and sleeve hems with a double needle, but I got so much tunneling, I abandoned that idea.  Instead I turned a narrow hem and top-stitched it.

I encountered two sewing issues.  First, I had skipped stitches with my regular machine on the hems (you can see it in the neckline photo).

Second, I had a terrible time with control on the serger (Babylock 1034D). By control, I mean, maintaining a perfect 5/8″ seamline.  I was mostly wider, leading to a more snug fit than I would like.  The way the machine is designed, the easiest control over the seam line when serging is at 3/8″ seam. Does anyone else encounter these issues – if so, how do you compensate?

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The neckline.
The neckline.

Little Hip Skirt, version 1, for my niece.

The fabric, very spring like!
The fabric, very spring like!

I made the Little Hip Skirt from Favorite Things Patterns, using an ITY knit from Gorgeous Fabrics (sold out).  I made it for her for Christmas, but I only recently received photos of her wearing it (and she was a reluctant model).  But she does love it!

A reluctant model.
A reluctant model.

The first skirt I made for her was from Butterick, and while she loved it, it was way too big for her.  I decided to make the LHS for her, but one size down (this was a knit). The fit is much better, yet she still has plenty of room for growing.

The pretty floral was very stable to sew and took no time at all to make.  This version is the four panel, full circle skirt, double layered.  It has a bias cut yoke, and elasticized waist. I did make the belt, but not the loops (they looked terrible, so I did thread loops).

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I made this so long ago now that I’m having some memory issues – I do know that I think it would be better with a lighter weight fabric.  I also got the report that a wider strip of elastic would be better (calls for a 3/8th inch elastic).

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Look closely, and you’ll see a gap between the tape and the fabric, just to the right of the presser foot.

I do remember this:  for some reason when I sew knits on my regular sewing machine, the fabric “pulls away” from the marked seam line.  I know I’m not describing it right.  In the photo, the fabric was lined up to the yellow tape to make a half inch seam.  When I started to stitch, the fabric pulled away to make a narrower seam. Any thoughts?

Anyway, it’s cute, it fits her, she likes it. I’ve got another variation on the LHS on the cutting table (the A-line button front).  As soon as I figure out the new serger, I’ll get going on it.

and, the close-up.
and, the close-up.

Let’s Talk about Ease (McCalls 6796)

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When I started this project, I had no idea how popular this pattern was (McCalls 6796).  I just thought it was cute when I saw it on another blog.  But fitting this on my body turned out to be a real challenge.

I chose a beautiful sweater knit from Gorgeous Fabrics (sold out).  In retrospect, this knit may not have been the right choice for me – it added bulk where I didn’t need it.  But it’s beautiful!

I was really concerned about fit, as this is one of my goals for 2015.  When I read the pattern, this is what I saw:  “close-fitting, pullover top”.  Page 119 of the Vogue Sewing Guide notes that close fitting tops should have 0-2.25 inches each.  Here’s what the pattern for size 12 says, followed by the finished garment widths printed on the pattern:

  • bust 34″, 36″ finished (2 inches ease)
  • waist 26.5″, 35″ finished  (7.5 inches ease)
  • hip 36″, 38.5″ finished ( 2.5 inches ease)

That’s a lot of ease through the waist. In fact, the Vogue Sewing Guide would say that is loose fitting.

Anyway, I stitched it together as is to start.  I ended up having to take the shoulders up about 1/2 inch to fit me better there. And take the armcysce seam a little deeper (1/8 inch).  But when I tried it on, it looked like a rectangle on me and didn’t flatter at all.  So, I took it in, way in.  Better, but the style still didn’t work for me. In fact, I think I over-fitted just under the bust area.  I like it on the dress form, but not on me.  I’ll be donating it.

As for construction I did three things differently from the instructions.  First, I set the sleeves in flat.  Second, I cut the collar out on the lengthwise grain instead of the cross grain.  I wanted the contrasting effect with the ribbing.  Third, I hand-hemmed the sleeves and top, since I tend to get wavy hems.

So, what did I learn from this project?  That I’m still struggling to fit the upper body, I need to do a better job choosing fabrics that flatter my body, and styles, too.  I may try the pattern again in the future with a different style knit – one that drapes.

Thanksgiving Part II: McCall’s 6844

M6844, Misses'/Miss Petite Cardigans

I love this cardigan.  McCall’s styles it well here, belted with a sequined belt (not included) that really shows the potential of this pattern.  It’s a basic, to dress up or down.  I finally got around to making it, for the Thanksgiving outfit.  This has been reviewed many times on Pattern Review, so I’ll keep it short.

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I used a beautiful, nubby wool blend sweater knit that was still available at Gorgeous Fabrics as of this writing.  Its perhaps a bit too heavy/nubby/textured for this cardigan, but I like it.  It’s definitely too warm for Florida weather, but, I do need something to keep me warm in my over-air conditioned office.

After reading numerous reviews, and a quick pattern fit, I decided to make a few changes and leave other things the same.  Some reviews suggested that this pattern ran large, but the pattern-fit suggested otherwise. In fact, I have skinny arms and the arms are snug! I did make my usual adjustment for being long in the torso.

I changed the order of construction to suit my needs and simplify the process, pressing and finishing seams/edges as I went:

  1. Stabilized and stitched the shoulder seams (stabilized due to the weight of the knit).
  2. Stabilized and stitched the peplum pieces to the front and back pieces.
  3. Sewed the sleeves in flat (SO MUCH EASIER, and you can stretch gently for the ease).
  4. Sewed the side/arm seams.
  5. Hemmed the peplum and sleeves, by hand.  The texture of the fabric dictated this.  But it took forever (I blind catchstiched the peplum).
  6. Interfaced (protricot deluxe fusible from Fashion Sewing Supply) the shawl collar.
  7. Stitched the collar together, but did not baste the edges together as directed.
  8. Sewed the interfaced edge of the collar (under collar) to the cardigan (pressed seam to under collar).
  9. Turned under the collar edge 5/8″ and slip stitched the pressed edge to the seam from step 8, easing as necessary.  I did this to  have a finished edge instead of overcast edges. Personal preference.

This is sooo easy.  I think I could have done it in an evening (once cut) had I not opted for the hand-stitching. And looks pretty good too.  I will make another in a lighter weight.

As for the rest of the Thanksgiving outfit?  Two out of three ain’t bad.  I cut the t-shirt out, but I won’t finish it until later.  Whole outfit picture coming after the feast.  But here are front and back finished versions on my dress form:

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Knits and Necklines (View C, top, Vogue 1389)…

Last night I cut out the muslin for Wrapapalooza, but realized the machine was still set to go with a knit top I’d been working on.  In this case, I was making the top from Vogue 1389.  It’s the second time I’ve made it.  Last time was in a linen knit, and it came out fine.  This time, a heavier, but far stretchier, black cotton jersey knit.

First, this top is snug.  If you like a close fit, that’s what you’re going to get (I think I did 3/8 inch seams with the linen because of the stretch, but definitely went 5/8 here).  Second, I followed Vogue’s instructions for attaching the neck band (in the round)… cutting carefully, marking carefully and stretching, stretching, stretching to fit.  No go.  Doesn’t lie flat.  Looks terrible.

Anyone want to point me to some good tutorials?  Leave a comment, please!

Kirsten Kimono Tee

I didn’t plan to blog this simple Tee, but I ran into trouble whiling sewing yesterday. The Kirsten Kimono Tee is a free pattern from Indie Maria of Denmark

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First, in my last post I wrote that my wardrobe needs a bit of coordination.  A couple of years ago, I purchased an end cut of orchid pink cotton jersey from Marcy Tilton.  I think I had a purpose at the time, but I’ve forgotten what it was.  Turns out that it works with two different skirts I’ve made in the past 18 months:

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I made the skirt on the left (my grandmother’s pattern, Vogue 1354), in a cotton sateen, sold out from Gorgeous Fabrics, underlined with cotton voile.  It’s no-waist, a- line skirt, great for every day.  The skirt on the right is Vogue 7910, view C (love the pockets!!), in a digitally printed linen, sold out from Marcy Tilton, underlined in cotton batiste.  In real life the dominant color is purple.  I love the skirt – I’ve had it two summers now, and I probably wear it once a week.

The tee is super-simple to make.  I didn’t change anything – accept to add organza selvedges to the shoulder seams.  It SHOULD have taken an hour to make, tops, even on a simple machine like mine (stitch, then overcast the seams, no serger!) 

But when I went to sew the double-needle hem, my test swatches just came back like this:

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Difficult to see, I know, but that’s the bottom side of the fabric, and it’s a loopy mess.  I messed with the tension, checked to see that the thread was coming of the spools in different directions… and read a half a dozen blogs.  Most people worry about skipped stitches and tunneling, but my stitches weren’t really connecting with the bobbin – not tight enough!   So, I thought about it, and made two changes.  First, I went for a wider twin needle (4, instead of 2,5).  Second, I remembered that whenever I have this problem with regular needles, it’s threading the machine.  I re-threaded the machine, keeping both threads together (instead of separate as I have always done before).  I don’t know which made the difference, but I was finished in no time after that.

I’m not much for sewing knits, preferring wovens, but I am finding different machine feet to be really helpful.  I love the walking foot on knits (though I used the zig-zag foot with the twin needle).  I also like the overcast foot (left below).  I know, you don’t have to finish seams with knits, but I hate the unfinished look, and this fabric rolled.  Much cleaner finish.  My new favorite is stich-in-the-ditch foot (right below).  If I move my needle to the left, I get a perfect 1/8 inch edge stitch.  I did this to finish the neckline band. 

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The tee itself is nothing special.  It’s basic, a layering piece, and easy.  It would be simple to make changes.  I’m not crazy about the kimono sleeve on me – I think I’ll lower the curve under the arm next time (or not).