Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Messing With My Moss Muslin - Part 1

Well, I have made it to the tenth project on my official list. Two weekends ago, I constructed a muslin for the Grainline Moss Miniskirt.

I am so glad that I sewed up a muslin for this skirt. It looked good and fit on the front side. Though I used the correct size for my measurements, the distribution of my "stuff" requires a little more width at my hip and perhaps a little bit more length center front for a protruding abdomen. My copies of Sewing Pants That Fit and A Perfect Fit informed me that I also needed an alteration for protruding front thighs.
See the indentation under the stomach and the horizontal stretch below that at upper thigh level.

However, the back was a fitting mess. It seems my "badonkadonk" is just too "bootylicious" for this skirt! The shaping that was designed for the back skirt pieces was not enough for me.

There is a 10" difference between my hip and waist measurements and a lot of gaping above my most protruding part. The problem must be the way my "stuff" is distributed back there. The center back waist-to-hip area needed to come in a lot. I placed two 1" wide darts in the yoke and waistband part only. This seemed to work but I still needed to know how to alter the actual pattern pieces in order to cut my fashion fabric.

At first, I thought of opening up this post to reader ideas when I realized I could do one better. I emailed Jen Beeman of Grainline Studio, the designer of the pattern, and she supplied the details on how to complete the skirt. She even hand drew me helpful illustrations and actually did all that over the Thanksgiving holiday! Way to go, Jen, thanks!

Next time I post, hopefully it will be to show you the corrected muslin and altered pattern pieces or the final garment. However, I know it won't be this weekend as I will be attending the MD/DC/VA sewing blogger meetup on Saturday!!!!!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Pants, Pants, And More Pants (The U.S. Meaning!)

It seems that wide legged trousers are now trendy.

This is strange to me, because I don't dress in-time with fads. Which is obvious because I've had a pair of wide leg pants in my wardrobe every year since high school. But then, I'm the girl that was wearing Japanese designer-inspired fashion in junior and high school and vintage full-skirted dresses, and men's sport jackets and gabardine shirts in college. I just find fluid wide legged pants to be the comfiest thing to wear when it gets cold (and when it gets hot!) I am notoriously cold all the time in winter and wear tights or long underwear almost daily. Wide leg trousers give me the room to layer up and still look stylish. Below, evidence from my pattern archives:

High School/College

McCall's 5867, Vogue 1986, McCall's 7550, Vogue 2938, Vogue 2853, McCall's 2684
You can see that in College I also played around with silhouette, where I had a few pairs of "carrot" pants, where they are fuller with pleats at the top and narrow considerably down the length. In fact, that last pattern in a stable knit was a favorite pair of mine. I would love to find that pattern again, they were the closest I've come to harem pants.


Simplicity 6529, Vogue 2532, New Look 6836

My love of these structured yet loose wearing trousers obviously comes from the glamorous film stars of the 1930-40s; Garbo, Dietrich, Hepburn, and Lombard. Check out this link at Fashionable Forties for fabulous images of women wearing the many varieties of trousers worn at that time.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

9. Flat Front Trousers - Vogue 9745 (OOP)

Pattern: Vogue 9745 (OOP) from the VogueElements line (1997)

Pattern Description: Straight-legged (below waist) trousers with low contour waistband and side pockets. View B.

Pattern Sizing: Size 12-16. To be safe, I started with size 16, which matched my waist and hip measurements. However, with 4.5 inches of ease (!) included, I ended up cutting down to size 14.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes. The VogueElements patterns usually have only one page of instructions for their garments and use simple techniques. However, this kind of brevity might be difficult for less experienced sewists or anyone who has not made a pair of pants before.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I love the slim sleek look of view B without the cuffs and belt carriers. The only issues I had were with some confusing pattern markings. There is only one pattern piece used for the waistband and its facing. However, even though the right and left sides of the front waistband are to be treated differently because of the fly front all of the markings are on this one piece. The markings that show that one side seam should be 5/8" and the other more like 1" are hard to distinguish from the other markings for constructing the fly and for all of the other sizes. You can only get that information from closely looking at the illustrated instructions. For future use, I copied the piece eliminating any markings that I do not need for my size so I won't have to deal with the issue next time.

Fabric Used: 2 1/4 yards 58" stretch bengaline in Potting Soil (81% poly, 15% rayon, 4% spandex) from Jo-Ann for $11.24 (orig. $9.99 per yard at 50% off), Coats and Clark all purpose matching thread in #8950, Coats and Clark 7" zipper in Cloister Brown, #56B, and Pellon Easy-Knit fusible interfacing.

Recently I started checking the grain of all my fabric when I bring it home and before I wash it. Unfortunately, this bengaline was very off-grain. I clipped the fabric at 1/4" in from the edge, pulled a thread and ended up 2 1/2 inches in on the other side! That's a lot of fabric to lose; that could make or break a garment in terms of having the right amount of fabric for a chosen pattern. The fabric care instructions indicated this fabric should be handwashed and line dried. I normally pre-wash everything in the washing machine since I rarely dry clean, however, this time I followed instructions. I don't know yet if that was a good thing or not.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: Besides cutting down one size I made no other changes or alterations to this pattern! However, I didn't think that would be the case, so the construction of these took forever and a lot of basting when I could have just sewn them straight through. From now on, watch out! My first TNT* pants pattern has arrived!

I liked the bengaline fabric; however, because the stretch is parallel to the selvedge, along the length, if I wasn't careful it would stretch oddly like when I machine basted the side seams the one side would end up longer. I had to switch over to my walking foot. This fabric needed to be handled carefully, no letting hang over the edge of tables or pressing at too high a heat. However, light steam and gentle pressing worked well on getting flat open seams and defined creases.

Because of the sleek look of the pants when they were basted, I chose not to have pockets, which in this fabric would only add bulk and the possibility of stretching out of shape over time.

The rest of the fit was right, the "c-curve" and all. So well that I will transfer the same curve to my other pants patterns even before I create muslins. The zipper installation on the faux fly went along easily after I translated the markings on the pattern piece.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I made this pattern hoping to end up with a TNT pattern for full-leg pants and that's what I got! As part of the VogueElements line, I have to say they are batting 4 out of 4 with their patterns! Yes, I would definitely recommend this pattern, if you can get your hands on it. If you can't find one online, the current Vogue 8751 looks very similar.

Conclusion:  I learned a huge lesson with these...stop being scared of pants/trousers. I made them without fear when I began sewing in high school and it seems that only in the last few blog-reading years that I became doubtful due to a fear of pants in the sewing blog world. The most important thing though is I now have a TNT pattern for this type of pants. There will definitely be another pair made this winter season, perhaps in denim or no-wale corduroy?
* TNT = tried and true
Images: my own photos

Friday, November 09, 2012

Oooh, Look...Fabric!

Wow, where is this?

Mood Fabrics in New York?
No, G Street Fabrics in Rockville, MD. As it turns out, the Rockville store changed location since I was there last, so this trip will be new for me too.
Prepare yourselves. Do not, repeat, DO NOT arrive at G Street without a list of what you need or what you are specifically looking for. It’s a good bet that without a list you will either overspend or forget something very important that you could only check out there.

Each G Street store has a discount wall, I'm not sure what the current price is but it is definitely less than $5 per yard and you never know what you will find.
G Street carries hundreds of their own zippers in amazing colors so make sure to have your wish list of lengths and fabric swatches to match with you.
Think of your specialty interfacing and button needs, because they have lots of choices.
They also carry some of the independent pattern lines out there but check the prices elsewhere first to see if you can get a better deal online. By buying them in person you can eliminate the postage cost at least.
Trena, who will be with us on our visit, wrote a great post back in 2008 on what you will find at G Street on her blog here.

Confirmed for the December 1 meetup:

Trena - DC
Sophie - DC
Robin - DC
Cidell - MD
Lisette - MD
Anna - MD
Lauren - MD
Kyle - NJ
Cynthia - VA
Audrey - VA
Sue - VA
Me – VA

G Street Fabrics 
in the Montrose Shopping Center
5520 Randolph Road
Rockville, Maryland 20852 
Phone: 301-231-8998

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Oh, What....

A Beautiful Morning, Oh What A Beautiful Day!

Goody, I can relax now.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Bottoms Up! 4 in 2012 Update

Looking through my closet, I've noticed that I have short-sleeve or sleeveless tops a-plenty. What I really need is some long-sleeved knit and woven shirts for the cooler weather now. Towards that goal I spent some graduation money on two striped knits from Girl Charlee, one in black/white and the other mustard/ivory (they shipped yesterday!) for some basic long-sleeved t-shirts. Both shirts will go with several items in my wardrobe, including the pants and skirt below.

Of course, I have some lower body clothing to make:

I finally started on the Vogue 9745 full-legged pants in tobacco brown stretch bengaline that I had cut out months ago. Two weeks ago I basted them together to check on the size. I had cut out a 16, which according to the pattern matched my measurements perfectly. But with the included 4.5 inches of too-much ease I took them apart and cut down to the size 14. I had been warned of this by Mikhaela who also made these but I was scared to cut the smaller size, just in case. The rest of the fit seems about right, you know...the "c-curve" and all. Zipper installation went great.* I'm working on the waistband and overall fit now. I'm liking this bengaline fabric but if you're not careful it can stretch oddly like when I was machine basting the side seams. One side would always end up longer. I will remember to switch over to my walking foot for the final seams.

The project I had on my list for next garment was McCall's 8926, a jean-style skirt made out of a saturated turquoise denim. Though the pattern style did work for this fabric I wasn't really motivated to make it up. I had already made that pattern a decade ago and no longer have the skirt. Luckily, Jen from Grainline just released the Moss Mini Skirt 32001 pattern. It's similar enough in its styling but has a contoured waistband (yeah!), no belt loops (too fiddly to make), addition of a back yoke detail, and an optional fabric band at the bottom. Wouldn't it be cute with a contrast colored band and pockets? Maybe next time.

I don't want to get ahead of myself but watching the leaves change I really want to make Simplicity 5190 with my autumnal floral print right now! And of course, waiting in the background is the dotted duster coat, which is now going to be a mixture of Vogue 9745 and New Look 6656. Having these four and the two knit t-shirts completed would make me a very happy girl.

* I don't think traditional zippers are hard at all. I have never had a zipper I put in break or come loose on me unlike all the stories I hear about that happening with the invisible ones.