Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Progress Being Made

New pattern piece is a mash-up of Simplicity 4111 and New Look 6836
  1. I made up a muslin for the "milk maid" blouse using my adapted pattern. I used the new front piece which is a size 14 with the 4111 pattern's back piece in size 12. There was some gaping at the v-neck, so I pinched about 1/4" from the inner shoulder seam and the neckline then laid flat. To the back I added shaping through two small darts at the back neckline, much like those used in vintage patterns.

    The bodice fit seems good but there is a pretty severe twisting problem with the sleeve. So, I have to deal with that before I can move on.

  2. In a break from that project, I had a sudden desire to work on the Pastille pattern alteration some more. Instead of my haphazard way of decreasing the bodice back length, this time I used directions straight from "Perfect Fit: The Classic Guide to Altering Patterns." Luckily, the pages concerning these type of alterations were available online through Google Books. The first time, I had just folded out the amount I thought I needed, at least 2 inches.

    This time, I first taped all of the darts closed on both the front and back pieces. I then pinned them together at the shoulder and side seams. With this 3-D model, I could see exactly where the extra length was located in the pattern; midway between the shoulder and bottom of the armhole. Strangely enough, it looks like this discrepancy is built into the pattern and not just a problem for me because of my short (14.5" long) back measurement.

    Next step will be constructing another dress muslin using this new altered bodice, and shaving the bell-shaped skirt into a straighter skirt by reducing that unwanted width at the upper thigh.


  3. I did go and do the comparison of the c-curves of my pant pattern possibilities, Vogue 9745, Vogue 2883 (these shorts), Vogue 2532, and Vogue 1922. Next I will do a comparison of the more jean-inspired patterns, the Colette Clover and Built by Wendy's Sew U jeans.

    Images: My own pictures

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Stop, Rewind, Start Again...

I know I said I wasn't going to write about on-going sewing projects here and would just post when they were finished objects? Well, I realized if I did that, then what would I write on this here blog? So this is what's going on in my sewing nook this week:

Simplicity 4111 + New Look 6836 =
  • A few weeks ago, I found I didn't have enough fabric for the New Look 6836 "milk-maid" blouse but did have enough for the Built By Wendy Simplicity 4111 pattern. Even though, I bought the New Look after reading bad reviews of the BBW one, I decided to do a pattern mash-up of the two in order to still get the blouse I envisioned making two years ago. The Simplicity 4111 reviews that led me to select another pattern all mentioned the extremely low neckline and too-short bodice. The good things about this pattern are that the back is only one piece and the sleeves are not as full, both welcome changes that will save fabric. Out of the four - five essential pattern pieces, I will be using almost all of the ones from the BBW shirt except I will be using a modified front bodice and creating the same bodice details as the New Look pattern.

    I have already morphed the two bodice patterns into a new front bodice piece that gets cut on the fold. I will cut out and construct a muslin before the weekend, when I hope to begin on the real shirt.

Vogue 9745, Vogue 1992, Colette Clover, Built By Wendy Sew U
  • Moving on to pants. I will first compare the crotch curves*(just like Dixie did here) of my best fitting RTW pants to the pants patterns I want to make from my stash. Already, I have noticed a consistent use of the same curve shape and angle among two Vogue patterns I have and the same thing with two McCall's. In both situation, only slight alterations were made to the length or angle.

    Using the shape from the RTW pants I will create a new pant pattern incorporating the new c-curve and see if the resulting muslin recreates the same fit. Then, I can just run off pants willy-nilly. I have six pairs in my plan I would like to make this year. If the real problem in fitting pants is finding the right c-length, c-depth and c-width for your particular body then; hopefully, this will be my answer.

*Ewww, from now on this will be referred to as the c-curve on this blog. ;)

Friday, March 09, 2012

The Good Guy

A stranger reinforced my faith in my fellow man.

Yesterday, I ran out of gas. This was not a surprise as my tank had been working dangerously below empty for two days already. I had overextended myself and was in the red on my checking account, just trying to make it to Friday when my paycheck would be deposited.

However, yesterday after work, I had to pre-pump the gas pedal a lot to get the car to start and in the few moments while I was waiting to pull out in traffic it started to stall. I decided I had to bite the bullet and drove to the 7-11 a block away. As I pulled next to the pump I realized if my ATM card didn't work, I probably wouldn't be able to start my car up again. I knew I had a negative balance but I was hoping (ridiculously hoping, right?) that I could get $5-10 out. Of course, my card was declined at the pump and then declined inside. As I'm telling my story about practically driving on fumes, the guy behind me waiting to buy cigarettes asks "Are you out of gas?" The second after I say yes, he holds out the $20 bill he was about to give the cashier. After I say, "Really?" about three times and stare at him he hands the money straight to the cashier and says to put the entire $20 on my pump. All I can do is stare at his profile incredulously and say "Thank you, thank you so much."

It's not until after I pumped the gas and sat in my car that I realized how I had NO backup plan, no other credit card, and no cash. Without this guy I would have ended up crying in my car for a while. I would have been able to get people to push my car away from the pump, leave it there, and walk the 2.5 miles home but I would first have to beat myself up about it. This has got to stop, I SO need a new job.

So thank you, mystery guy*!! I will pay it forward in your honor.

* Most distractingly, he was also quite cute. ; )

Monday, March 05, 2012

4. Twisted Drape Top - Irmchen (Burdastyle)

Pattern: Burdastyle "Let's Twist Again..." pattern by Irmchen

Pattern Description: Loose, asymmetrical top with twisted side draping and over-long sleeves.

Pattern Sizing: German size 42, according to directions

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing it? YES!

Were the instructions easy to follow? So easy there weren't any provided!

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? It has a simple shape, yet when made up it is unusual and was an extremely easy and fast sew. I like that in clothes. The pattern fit perfectly on 2 yards of fabric and this resulted in two fairly large pieces leftt from the area under the arms. I will try to make a few tank tops with those.

Fabric Used: 2 yards of "Antique Brass" jersey knit from Fabric Mart, on sale for $1.99 a yard! (feels fabulous too), matching Gutermann 100% polyester thread in #870, Goldston, also on sale at a Jo-Ann liquidation sale for 57 cents.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: The only change I made was to lengthen the sleeves as much as I could when I cut it out. This caused a bit of a problem when the sleeves became too tight towards the wrists and I had to change the seam allowances from 5/8" to 1/4". I will adjust the pattern to increase the sleeve width, as it is now, there is constriction of movement and twisted seams (as seen in 1st and 3rd pictures below). The pictures were taken before I fully decreased the seam allowance.

I don't own a serger, so I use an old fashioned way to sew knits, I sew a small narrow zig-zag while trying not to stretch the fabric. I then went over that stitching a second time for stability. The sleeve and bottom hems were folded over 1/4" twice and slip stitched. I fused strips of knit interfacing to the neckline to add some stability, then folded it over twice and slip stitched. From experience, I believe this is the best way to avoid having puckered or wavy hems.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes! This item is so quick to make, the only thing that took time was my hand stitching of the hems. I like this style so much, I will probably also try Burdastyle's Twister dress by apfelbulete, which has a similar pattern design.

Julie Park unbalanced boat sweaters

Conclusion: I now have a top that resembles my inspiration pics. The pattern is ripe for alterations involving the degree of the twist and the amount of loose fabric. Best of all, the price of this top (not including tape and printer paper costs), was under $5.00!

Images: my own photos, JPark Clothing (2)

Friday, March 02, 2012

Fashion In Film: Amber Holt's Emerging Taste

Parenthood (2010-2015)
Peter Krause, Lauren Graham
Costume Design: Diane Crooke, Laura Goldsmith

Who? Amber Holt, the confused old-before-her-time daughter on NBC's Parenthood, that is.

The character, played by the amazing, incandescent Mae Whitman, is dressing with style and has now worn two dresses that I desire.


The Rodarte for Opening Ceremony Fall 2011 dress that Rooney Mara wore while promoting The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The dress is a lovely, color-blocked frock with a flippy skirt, exposed shoulders, and a mock-turtle sleeveless yoke. LUV!

Obviously, the wardrobe department went for beauty over reality because there is no way that any of the Braverman family could afford that dress (orig. $800) or they lucked out on finding a knock-off. If so, Emelia Rivera, please tell me where you found the knock-off?!


Here's a link of to an NBC interview of Mae wearing THE dress.

This one took my breath away. I immediately recognized this dress because...I Have It In My Own Closet! Yes, it is unbelievable, but Amber's little black chiffon dress with a double row of cream lace flowers along a wide V-neckline is the same vintage dress that I ownSee?

Undeniably, the same dress!

I bought mine back in 1989 at Halcyon in Richmond, VA when I was in college (the first time). This was my go-to dress for parties. I always felt great in this dress and it highlighted the teeny tiny 24-inch waist I had back then. Unfortunately, I can't get it past my upper thighs now but I can't see giving it away. The memories are too good.


Here's another item of clothing that Amber could not possibly own, unless she's racked up a lot of credit card debt off-screen. This top is a Lyell creation from their Fall 2008 collection and thankfully, NBC decided to line this top, unlike the runway version.

All of these outfits make a statement about the character and the growth she experienced throughout season three. Now that Amber has a job that she loves (and may also be IN love) her clothing is stylish and more defined. Hopefully, there will be a fourth season for this show because just imagine what she might wear then?

Images: NBC (2), Red Carpet Fashion Awards (2), NBC, my own photos (2), NBC, WWD (3)