Finished: good basic skirt pattern for my body shape

My body shape is that of a goblet:

handsewn skirt flare goblet shape handknitted vesthandsewn skirt flare goblet shape handknitted vest handsewn skirt flare goblet shape handknitted vest
The under carriage of a goblet has “a case of the no’s”: no waist, no buttocks, no hips, no thighs. So a straight shape suits best, with a flare at the bottom to match the “flare” a goblet has at the top (yes, I mean breasts/shoulders):

handsewn skirt flare goblet shape handknitted vesthandsewn skirt flare goblet shape handknitted vest

The lower back is very swayed. I put in a yoke, in double fabric: handsewn skirt flare goblet shape handknitted vest

Only the back has these flaring pattern parts. The front is one piece, straight down. With pockets. The flare of the back facilitates walking: handsewn skirt flare goblet shape handknitted vesthandsewn skirt flare goblet shape handknitted vest

Some details: pockets. In this one I made one continuous pocket running from one side to the other:

handsewn skirt flare goblet shape handknitted vest The inner side is not from the shell fabric but from an old pillow case. The underside of the pocket is shell fabric. The skirt has a zipper. My sewing teacher taught me the blind zipper. It went all very well until the very last, when I folded down the waist band to sew in the ditch from the right side. I was afraid I would not catch the inner side of it so I took a larger SA on the outside then the inside. I forgot I had already determined where the SA from the outside should be when I attached the zipper. Secondly I did not match the folding of the waist band from the front panel to the back panel, around the zipper: handsewn skirt flare goblet shape handknitted vest
Oh well. It really was the last 30 minutes of sewing when I made these mistakes. The rest is good, both inside and out.

I learned how to attach a lining:
handsewn skirt flare goblet shape handknitted vest (again, the only thing not so nice here is how the waist band is folded down and sewed)

So gorgeous:

handsewn skirt flare goblet shape handknitted vest

I’m very glad to have a good basic pattern now. I’ll trace the parts on sturdy carton and it will be a go to pattern.

This one is in sturdy canvas so I can use it a lot and use it hard.


Finished: green wriggle dress in stretch cotton.

I have sewing lessons now. And they help me with keeping track of a project; with not minding to rip out a seam and with all the tricks and practises of sewing a project. I’m a weird case: I know about pattern drafting but I lack experience sewing.

Thanks to the lessons I now have perfected the pattern for a fitted dress, with princess seams in the front and back.

This is the try-out, in stretch cotton:
green wriggle dress stretch cotton sewinggreen wriggle dress stretch cotton sewing
green wriggle dress stretch cotton sewinggreen wriggle dress stretch cotton sewinggreen wriggle dress stretch cotton sewinggreen wriggle dress stretch cotton sewing

It wears really comfortable! Not tight at all. We reduced the most obvious gaping and buckling and found real good princess seams and side seams.
Neckline and arm holes have a facing from bias band. They were sewn with the machine from the wrong side and then stitched in place by hand from the right side.
details green wriggle dress stretch cotton sewing

For walking ease I tried to put in two vents at the side seam but they are not good yet:
details green wriggle dress stretch cotton sewing

The frontpanel has a straight neckline. We put in staytape to prevent it from wobbling.
We put a lot of attention to the connection of this part to the sidepanels. I had to grade the seams considerably, to prevent bulk.
details green wriggle dress stretch cotton sewing

Also seams I had resewn, in a better line, she told me to take out the previous stitching. Just to prevent unnecessary stiffness.

For finishing the raw edges I used her serger/ overlock machine. This fabric frays so it was a good call.
The hem is just turned under and sewn with a straight stitch on the longest length.
details green wriggle dress stretch cotton sewing

I now have a base pattern for stretch cotton dresses. I already have a second one cut which will improve on this one with staystitching, vents at the back and non-stretching band at the neckline. And a pocket.

After that I hope to venture this pattern into a thick knit fabric and into a lined version, for Winter.

Failed: Lila Dress Shirt

Based on Beige Beestjes Shirt I made a new pattern, with princess seams for better shaping at the underbust and looking for a better armhole. I sewed the shirt but the fit is so bad I won’t finish it.
fitting of handsewn self drafted blouse (it doesn't fit well. Too much shaping in too few princess seams. Also needs more wearing ease and lower armhole.)fitting of handsewn self drafted blouse (it doesn't fit well. Too much shaping in too few princess seams. Also needs more wearing ease and lower armhole.) fitting of handsewn self drafted blouse (it doesn't fit well. Too much shaping in too few princess seams. Also needs more wearing ease and lower armhole.)fitting of handsewn self drafted blouse (it doesn't fit well. Too much shaping in too few princess seams. Also needs more wearing ease and lower armhole.)fitting of handsewn self drafted blouse (it doesn't fit well. Too much shaping in too few princess seams. Also needs more wearing ease and lower armhole.)

The main problems are the armholes and that the shaping at the underbust is too extreme for the fabric. This petite busty woman needs more than two princess seams at the front. Right now the shaping on those two is too extreme and the fabric stretches and flares.

I did bring the Beige Beestjes Shirt up to a pattern with princess seams, both in the front and the back. Back is nearly good now, it just needs a little less curves at the bottom. (It’s not too tight at the arm hole, the tightness there is caused by the armhole and sleeve. But it looks weird, I agree.)

It’s getting better and better though. Combining this with “Loes’ bloes” from the previous post and I’ll have something wearable soon.

Process for Lila Shirt:
using Block April 2016, to find out if it’s ok. Basically a resew of the slippery cheap market cotton shirt from June 2016 that was a failure.

  • amendments: using “upperbust” (=93 cm) at the point that this pattern drafting methode uses “borstwijdte” which is right at the horizontal line at the armpits. This brings in the sideseam at that point, by 4×2 cm for the block. At the apex (nipples) I’m still using “borstwijdte”. Basically I’ve now used my upperbust and given the block a FBA. I found that each shirt drafted from the block was too wide at the armpit, just where I wanted the armhole to be fitted.
  • amendments: elongating shoulder seam by 1 cm
  • new shirt pattern from the block will have princess lines both front and back and a new sleeve and arm hole, derived from Beige Winterbeestjes bloes. I mainly need this block for better waist shaping (and the mentioned snugness at the arm pit horizontal line).
  • amend block to have a CB that’s not straight? Has the waist shaping incorporated instead? –> only whenever there’s a CB seam. Otherwise use two princess seams.

Still working towards the ultimate Dress Shirt Pattern for all my future shirts and any woven that catches my fancy. From Block to Pattern:

  • swiffel side bust dart to the waist dart, not to the armhole.
  • match front and back panel at the shoulder seams and make arm hole nice and round at the top.
  • 1 cm wearing ease at the side seam/arm pit
  • back shoulder side dart swivveled to shoulder seam (will become part of princess seam, no yoke this time). Not sure if the line is supposed to be at a square angle with the shoulder seam. I just assume so. Next: redraw the arm hole so it’s smooth again.
  • draw princess seam. Will smoothen
  • add wearing ease: 1 to 1,5 cm at the sideseam. Compare with pattern for Beige Winterbeestjes
  • neck CB -0,5 cm; shoulder seam -1,5 cm. Bottom CB + 3 cm, sideseam -2 cm
  • SA 1,5cm
  • frontpanel: swivveled side BD close and brought it to the waist dart. Swivveled arm hole BD to the princess seam in the shoulder. Left with an akward arm hole. Smoothened it and now have a front length of the arm hole of 19,1 cm. The length of the front of the sleeve cap is 22,9. I’ll never be able to ease that in, too much difference. (the original, awkward arm hole is 19,1 cm). I’ve folded away some of the width of the sleeve, with the emphasize on the sleeve cap. Front of that is now 22,1 cm wide, the back 24,0. That’s 4 cm more than the armhole. I’m going to try and ease it in. I think 3 is the maximum you’re supposed to do but if need be I can resort to a fold at the high point of the sleeve. I’ve drawn the line a little closer to the original awkward armhole, another few mm won. Also: I had widened the sleeve at the biceps with 2,5 cm. Half of that has now been folded away. I will do another sleeve adjustment to get that back. The shape of the sleeve cap will flatten even more as a result.
  • 2,5 cm van de mouw af voor een mouwlengte van 59 cm. Machet is 13 cm hoog, dubbelgevouwen, met manchetknopen. Nagetekend van mijnwitte bloes.

backpanel: dart to princes seam:

pattern drafting Lila Dress Shirt bust darts

front panel: closing side dart. Making a princes seam to the arm hole results in terrible angled side panel (see pencil-finger-pencil). I opt for princes seam to the shoulder seam. pattern drafting Lila Dress Shirt bust dartspattern drafting shirt Sewing darts armhole

that weird steep armhole again… rounding it off. Butn ow the circumference gets too out of line with the length of the sleeve cap. Settling on the middle line. pattern drafting shirt Sewing darts armholepattern drafting shirt Sewing darts armhole

I made some adjustments to the block, based on this shirt. One of them is lowering the shoulderseam at the neck by 1 cm:

fitting of handsewn self drafted blouse (it doesn't fit well. Too much shaping in too few princess seams. Also needs more wearing ease and lower armhole.)

The main problem, other than the armhole, is that the extreme waist shaping a busty petite woman needs cannot be done in just two princess seams.
fitting of handsewn self drafted blouse (it doesn't fit well. Too much shaping in too few princess seams. Also needs more wearing ease and lower armhole.)fitting of handsewn self drafted blouse (it doesn't fit well. Too much shaping in too few princess seams. Also needs more wearing ease and lower armhole.)fitting of handsewn self drafted blouse (it doesn't fit well. Too much shaping in too few princess seams. Also needs more wearing ease and lower armhole.)

I’m looking at designs with more seams, more panels, horizontal parts even.

Like these from DD-atelier and CarrisaRose:

new fabrics

I haven’t finished the grey Birds in Shoes shirt yet. Nor the Little Grey Flowers shirt. I haven’t finished drafting the new shirt pattern yet. And I haven’t finished reading Shirtmaking: Developing Skills For Fine Sewing by David Page Coffin yet.

But what I did do was buy a whole lot of new fabrics:

buit van Stoffenspektakel. vooral linnens

The last couple of weeks I’m gearing up to make a whole new set of basics.
This is my inspiration board:

Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 21.03.59

Clean lines, no ruffles. Functional garments. Natural fibres.
Light blouses, light trousers/skirt. A darker dress over it, a dress with pockets. With a light shawl or collar framing my face.

I’m studying to make the shirts in the funny patterned fabrics at the moment so that when I can do a half decent job I can turn these:
buit van Stoffenspektakel. vooral linnens
into nice shirts.
Two linens, one cotton and the white one is silk (for a more shaped/draped garment).

Here’s four meters of mid weight linen:
buit van Stoffenspektakel. vooral linnens
For a shirt and a skirt or trousers.

Some darker and stiffer fabrics:
buit van Stoffenspektakel. vooral linnens
The denim is for a pinafore dress, with pockets, like my main inspiration picture:

Dress by Bespoke tailor and designer Ivey Abitz

The dark linnen will become trousers I think. I have one pair of linen Summer trousers in olive green and I love it. We’ve drafted a block for trousers on my drafting course and pretty soon I’ll learn to make a pattern from it. I’d love to have another pair of trousers.

The olive green grey piece of linen in the picture is intended to become an exact copy of this vest:
 design by Marcy Tilton, fabric seller.
Make it stiff, shape it with top stitching and facings and linings. And make it work for a girl.
I love the “bib” shape and it will give me a firm front while lots of shaping can happen at the underbust. The neckline also makes a perfect frame for whatever I’ve got going on there: a blouse with an interesting collar; a handknitted lace shawl or a sparkling necklace.

With the fabrics I keep contrast in mind. It resembles the contrast in my own face colouring: medium to halfway harsh. I look good in these contrasts.
Before I found it necessary to buy funny patterned fabrics, to keep myself entertained during sewing.

Now I’m working towards silhouettes, ensembles, combinations that form a unit. The quality of the fabrics will bring (tactile) delight to the process of sewing and the entertainment will now come from precision sewing. I’m so enthousiastic about it!
I cannot yet get my hands and the fabric to do what I’m seeing in books and internet tutorials but it’s vastly entertaining and I sometimes get it right and that’s a real boost.

Wait until I can do this:

Or this:

In the mean time I bought these cufflinks:

*off to wash my fabrics*

Self drafted sleeveless Summer Dress

A simple Summer Dress based on the one in the previous post: a shift dress with some shaping in both the side seams and the back. Pockets. And I did a new thing to add some shaping in the front: I gathered under the breasts with some elastic and two buttons to keep it in place.

two long darts in the back, they’re more like princess lines. (one still wonky on this picture, I unpicked it and redid it)

To add some shaping to the front, to prevent “tent like appearance” I gathered some of the fabric right under each breast.
There’s a horizontal dart running across the front panel, it angles upwards near the sides (but not on the first picture, this sat awful on my body, I remedied it after the picture).
I threaded a double thread of thin elastic through the outer most 20 centimeters of this dart.
I gathered the elastic and secured it with a button on each side. So 4 buttons for the whole dress.
Zomerjurk met zakken en soort van empire waist line

Zomerjurk met zakken en soort van empire waist line

The buttons where first put in to anchor the elastic while I could still adjust it. Then I thought: why not keep the buttons?

It follows my own body shape: fairly straight outlines but quite curvy when seen from the sides.

(the folds in the lower part of the side seam are caused by the pocket)

Edges are bound of with a biais band that I found that matches the fabric very nicely:

Here’s the solution I tried for biais band and getting it to sit right and being able to give it nice top stitching while securing the back at the same time.
Start from the wrong side. DON’T SEW ON THE FOLDED LINE.
Instead sew somewhere in the middle of the piece between the fold and the edge of the binding band:
Zomerjurk met zakken en soort van empire waist line
This step is meant to secure the band to the fabric.
Next you fold the biais band like it’s supposed to and you stitch very close to the edge, from the right side. If the band is folded properly it will catch the back side close at the edge too. The back side will not slip because it’s already secured in place.

For the hem I used my antique tool to keep the same distance all around. Fold under and fold under again. The second time I used matching coloured thread. I’ve folded the fabric so you can see the end result.

I like neat topstitching so much, I tried it on the bust dart. I put on the dress and determined where and how it should be. Then I just pinned it down and stitched very careful.
Zomerjurk met zakken en soort van empire waist line
A top stitched bust dart.
It was prompted because I tried on the dress, determined where the dart ought to be and then had difficulty transferring that information to the inside of the dress and stitch it there.

An alternative is probably to put on the dress inside out and determine where the dart should be.

French seams. Including the pockets.
Zomerjurk met zakken en soort van empire waist line

And to end with the beginning: this is how I cut the fabric. I used the green dress as a template. Added a generous seam allowance along the sides for French seams. Added no seam allowance along the arm holes because I knew I was going to bind them in biais band.
Again with a brushy reminder to cut pockets.
Zomerjurk met zakken en soort van empire waist line
When I sewed the side seams and tried it on for fit I had to take out nearly all the curvyness: at the bust and at the hem. I had weird “bingo wings” flapping at the side seams there.

Linen shift dress for tomorrow/Summer

My Pleat Top Muslin is on hold because they are expecting 30 degrees heat tomorrow and the rest of the week and sewing a shift dress is fast. And I’ve got linen!
Shift dresses are easy and flattering to all, says the Merchant & Mills’ workbook:

Curlew Dress from the book. Cut on the bias. With long slender sleeves. Picture from M&M blog

But they appear to be wrong. Shift dresses do not flatter full busted women….as I learned in this post by Elizabeth from

She also explains why: a shift dress hangs from the shoulders or from the breasts. The more bust, the more they function as a canopy. Your garment becomes a tent.

This gives words and images to my intuition. I’ve veered away from non-shaped garments since the ’90’s because I have great tent-potential. In the previous century people have more then once gasped when they saw me in tight fitting garments for the first time. I remember a day of swimming with my fellow university students…. their stunned faces, the memory still makes me feel awkward.

I was called “little fatty” at high school by my male friends, in a loving tone. Little do they know that my body has not changed in proportions since then and that I was, in fact, never fat. Just big breasted and wearing clothes with lots of wearing ease, as was the fashion back then:


Tents. The lot of them.

So I’m weary of shift dresses and all the oversized garments Merchant & Mills tout. I don’t want to wear a tent. But I do want to have more wearing ease for the hot weather that’s expected. And I want to buy into the luxury and style M&M favour.

I’ll add some shaping to my linen shift dress. Waist shaping. Back shaping?
I have to keep in mind I need to keep enough wearing ease so the dress can fit over my bust without needing a zipper or something.
But I have a 20 cm difference between my hip/bust and my waist….

If I were to add 10 cm (4″) wearing ease to the bust, I’d still need 20 cm (8″) wearing ease at the waist, just to be able to pull on the dress and ease it over my breasts… I’m even contemplating lacing it up a bit at the waist, just to add some shaping after I’ve gotten into the dress.

Eureka! I just remembered I already have a shift dress I can experiment on. I bought it in the 90’s on a study trip to Portugal… and I’ve worn it once, on that trip. Never since. I think I know why, now. It’s a tent.

This is it:
Shift dress example

It consists of two lovely thin layers of cotton, sewn wrong side to wrong side. This gives a nice finish at the neck line:
Shift dress example

The pattern is a simple outline. The back is as broad as the front, apart from a higher neck line.
Measurements are:
dress bust = 106 cm…(my bust = 96 cm)
dress waist = 110 cm..(my waist = 83 cm)
dress hip = 118 cm….(my hip = 97 cm)

Yep, it wears like a tent:
Shiftdresses are not for everyone
Hey there, darling “Little Fatty”. How bulging do you think my stomach is? You’d assume it’s as wide as my breasts, wouldn’t you.
In this picture I already pinned in the side seam!
(Perhaps this is a good time to note that the person who called me “little fatty” the most is now a psychologist specializing in counseling anorexic people. I wonder if he wonders how I fared.)

To experiment with wearing ease + shaping I took in the side seam at the waist and the hip, bringing the waist down to 98 cm (no less because I must be able to put it over my bust) and the hip down to 106 cm.
I made two long back darts, taking in 5 cm (dart folds to 2,5 cm) at the deepest point which was at the waist line.

Now I still have inches of wearing ease at every spot but it looks far less like a tent now:
Shiftdresses are not for everyone
It wears comfortable. It’s cool and roomy. I like it.

Alright then. These are the measurements I’ll use for the second shift dress, the real one, in linen. I hope to start it tonight and finish tomorrow, before the big heat wave rolls in.
French seams. Pockets. (here’s a good tutorial about adding pockets to a french seamed dress: Deborah Moebes at SewMamaSew). Biais band.
Perhaps I’ll make the back panel not as wide as the front panel, I don’t need the fabric. at the back, seeing how I sew it all away again with darts that one could well call princess seams.

Muslin bodice V8766 Sew the Perfect Fit

This week I watched the Craftsy course Sewing the Perfect Fit, by Lynda Maynard.
On Friday I went back to the cabin, where my sewing machine is, and that afternoon I made a muslin for the bodice of Vogue 8766.
And then I hacked the muslin to pieces, just like the teacher ordered.

I started with the pattern as is. I just traced a size 12 Petite and cut it from muslin cloth. I marked the seams in pen. Staystitched in white. Basted in black.
Muslin Sewing The Perfect Fit

I did a little trick for basting the darts: in pen I marked the wrong side so I could put the two marks together more easily.
Muslin Sewing The Perfect Fit

The tip of the dart was marked on the wrong side too: I stuck a pin through it from the right side and could mark the hole in the fabric easily from the wrong side.
Muslin Sewing The Perfect Fit

I sewed the shoulder seams and the side seams together and pinned the back seam. I knew the bodice wouldn’t fit but it’s interesting to see how a Vogue pattern size 12 sits on my body:
Muslin Sewing The Perfect Fit
Oompf it’s tight. Breathing is a luxury.

Pattern sizes are made for cup size B. I’m an F. (or FF)
Still: this is my size. This is the size my frame needs, my shoulders need. It’s just that my boobs don’t fit. And that I might be shorter than size Petite.

The side shows how much my boobs don’t fit; apart from it looking very tight the side seam does not hang vertical.
Muslin Sewing The Perfect Fit

Can’t close the center back (CB) properly. Those vertical stripes are supposed to be vertical. It’s too tight and hangs below my natural waist.
Muslin Sewing The Perfect Fit

So here’s what you do to amend the pattern:
Muslin Sewing The Perfect Fit
This is a FBA, Full Bust Adjustment, Lynda Maynard style. Instant breathing opportunities.

Suddenly the side seam hangs a whole lot more vertical:
Muslin Sewing The Perfect Fit

Hey, the back closes!
Muslin Sewing The Perfect Fit
It’s not too tight anymore. But it’s way way too long. Where the horizontal creases are is where my natural waist is.

I also needed my two darts at the top of the back pieces.

Transferring the things the muslin showed onto the pattern. Shortening the bodice/ raising the waist line:
Muslin Sewing The Perfect Fit
Muslin Sewing The Perfect Fit
This requires redrawing of the darts because even if I shorten them, they still need to take in the same amount of width.
Another muslin will show me if this will work in real life or that I should swivel part of the dart around to another place.

I put in the other changes: the FBA, the little darts at the top of the back en widening the sideseams (both at the bust and at the armhole. That last one has to do with my broad back. I need to remember this if I’m going to put in sleeves, they will need an addition 2 x 0,5 cm in width)
Muslin Sewing The Perfect Fit

Tomorrow I hope to sew a new muslin, preferably in fashion fabric.
The crafty course is really worth it. All the tricks and how to look for things and how to put them into the paper pattern piece. I really like it. And I’m surprised I only needed length in my FBA, not so much width.

All this in one afternoon! And if this bodice works for me I can put it together with my go to skirt pattern and then I have a dress pattern I can use over and over again.

Gearing up for Sew the Perfect Fit, Vogue 8766. Choosing size.

It’s time to make a new shell for my new body. Most of my previous muslins and body blocks and pattern alterations are useless since I did the Atlas Profilax treatment which got rid of the curl in my body and brought my shoulders level and my hips too:

atlasprofilax result atlas profilax before after

I need a new basic pattern to work from.

In the past half year I got a good basic pattern for my skirts.  It’s based on video’s by Corinne Leigh from Craftovision and it works for me.

I’ve been making skirts from it the past few months.

But there’s still the upper body…

Some people are Pear shaped, other people are gracious Goblets. Me, I’m a Door With Two Melons in a Crocheted Grocery Bag Hanging from it.

pic by Marta Rostek

Flat, square and wearing big breasts high up. How do you do.

When I was a twisted door I did the body block measuring and tailoring and it was educational and gave me my body blocks. But ever since my frame changed I haven’t mustered up the courage to go through that whole process again.

Then the chance to purchase Craftsty course Sew the Perfect Fit came along. In it you alter a muslin to fit you, a real woman, perfect. I thought it ‘d be a good place to start anew. And it came with a free pattern: Vogue 8766:

Line Art

Princess lines, just what I want!

And go on, be brave, do sleeves!

I had to order quick and I opted for the sizes 6-12 because the patterns I bought previously were so ridiculously large.
But now I’m doubting my choice…. my measurements clearly state I should be looking at size 14 or 16. I wish I ordered the size 12-20 instead. I missed that that one had 12 in it also…

my upperbust = 36″
(bust 38″)
waist 30″
hip 38″

Vogue’s sizing charts:

in inches:

4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26
Bust  29 1/2 30 1/2 31 1/2 32 1/2 34 36 38 40 42 44 46  48
Chest  27 1/2 28 1/2 29 1/2 30 1/2 32 34 36 38 40 42 44  46
Waist  22 23 24 25 26 1/2 28 30 32 34 37 39  41 1/2
Hip  31 1/2 32 1/2 33 1/2 34 1/2 36 38 40 42 44 46 48  50
Back Waist Length  15 1/4 15 1/2 15 3/4 16 16 1/4 16 1/2 16 3/4  17 17 1/4 17 1/2 17 3/4  18
Petite Back Waist Length 14 14 1/4 14 3/4 15 15 1/4 15 1/2 15 3/4 16 16 1/4 16 1/2 16 3/4 17

Yes. Should definitely have ordered the size 16…

Should I take action? Order the bigger size too? Bug Craftsy Customer Service to see if they can change the order? Hope that I can alter the smaller size myself?

I’ve been telling myself there’s solace in the wearing ease that is added to these patterns. The pattern state it’s “fitted” and Vogue’s wearing ease chart tells me they’ll add 3 – 4″ to any dress pattern with that word “fitted”:

Misses’ Ease Allowances
Bust Area Hip Area
Silhouette Dresses, Blouses, Shirts, Tops, Vests Jackets Coats Skirts, Pants, Shorts, Culottes
Lined or Unlined
Close Fitting 0 – 2 78 not applicable 0 – 1 7/8″
Fitted 3 – 4″ 3 3/4 – 4 1/4″ 5 1/4 – 6 3/4″ 2 – 3″
Semi-Fitted 4 1/8 – 5″ 4 3/8 – 5 3/4″ 6 7/8 – 8″ 3 1/8 – 4″
Loose Fitting 5 1/8 – 8″ 5 7/8 – 10″ 8 1/8 – 12″ 4 1/8 – 6″
Very Loose Fitting over 8″ over 10″ over 12″ over 6″

will it be enough? 4″/ 10 cm of ease is a lot! But I’ve been known to underestimate its importance, I’m forever knitting garments too tight. And knitting stretches!

Oh, now I remember that size, wearing ease and actual pattern measurements tripped me up before with Vogue.

Back in 2013 I found quite some discrepencies between stated size 12 and actual size 12 of the pattern parts in Vogue 8648:

I remember I had to take out nearly 4″ to make that dress fit me and I cut a size 16 then, based on Vogue’s sizing chart. The shoulders set appallingly wide. I was swimming in the garment. I was quite annoyed that I had to cut and throw away so much of the good fabric. Look how wide the shoulders were placed, the very part a whole dress gets its posture from:

Ridiculous. Back then I had to take out a lot of fabric and practically graded my size 16 down to a size 12:

Ah yes, now I remember.

One of my conclusions after all the fitting and altering back then even read: “Should try this is size 12 all around, no extra fabric needed at the bust. Even go down to 10. Hips at size 8.

That’s a relief! I feel better now. Added wearing ease to Vogue patterns is my friend. I’ll just wait until the pattern arrives and then we go play 🙂

“Note on V8766: all garments are cut on the crosswise grain of fabric.”

… will this mean I won’t get a versatile upper body muslin out of this? For fabrics cut on the grain?

Dress = a tube + shirring + shoulderstraps

I’m sewing a simple dress to wear under this knitted “overgooier”, pinafore:

This knitted tunic is quite heavy, even though it’s spun in the airiest of spinning techniques: Long Draw. It’s also warm.
It’s fitting in the back, follwoing that lower back curve I like to show off. So it needs a dress under it that is fitted there too.

The idea was to take a tube of 100cm in circumference, seeing as my hips and my bust both like this measurement in a dress, it’s me + some wearing ease.
Add shaping by way of shirring which is sewing elastic thread onto the fabric. A kind of mock smocking. This bypasses the need for a zipper which is good because the fabric is very light: cotton batiste. Light fabric = French seams and a fine rolled hem.
Cut holes for head and arms and treat them well. Voilá!

Dress from a tube shaped with shirring
(arm holes still need to be treated)

Sewing with elastic thread is easy! Just wind it onto the bobbin and loosen the tension a bit.
I used this tutorial amongst others:

Beautiful fine hem (that’s the tip of my embroidery scissors, for measurement) and French Seam:
Dress from a tube shaped with shirring

I bound the neck hole with satin biais band, which follows curves and is soft enough for next to skin wear (opposite to cotton biais band):
Dress from a tube shaped with shirring

But I’m having a little trouble: the neckline stands up. Somehow the biais band has not enough width on the outer curve to lay flat. And the fabric is too light to stretch it.
It’s a common problem.

Certainly not “bais band” because that would be a group of musicians from one of the four cities in the word called Bais or a troupe singing in Bai, the Tibeto-Burman language spoken in the Dali region of Yunnan.

Still, “bais band” is a common spelling mistake over here. It’s comes from the same faulty logic that makes people call their son Brian but make them write their name as “brain”…

“Bias band” and “Biais band” mean the same thing: something going diagonally across the grain of fabric. Bias band is English, Biais band is French.
Since in my country we have the French pronounciation for the stuff, “Bee-yay”, I’m going with writing “biais band”.
Actually, I don’t know how English folk pronounce their band, do you say “bias”= “Bye-ess” or “Bee-yay”? I shall have a listen on the next round of the British Sewing Bee.

Back to my dress. I used the biais band as a facing, following these tutorials:

– biais band is excellent for sheer fabrics
– a neckline needs stabilizing and hem treatment, biais band is good for both.
– it automatically involves staystitching which is a good thing
– some advice to clip the band before you turn it under.

Why my band stands up I have not figured out yet. It may be too wide for that curve.
Cutting it into half would solve that problem. For now I just clipped it in a bit at the worst places and will just wear this dress and avoid any Sewing Police that comes in sight 😉

I made a study dress first, btw, and it did not have its bands turn hooray. Well, not much now that I look at it closely:
Dress from a tube shaped with shirring
(the neck line still needs finishing)

It’s really nice to be able to take a piece of cloth, sew it into a tube and make a dress from it!
It feels like sewing is not a big thing and is very logical. I like that.
A next dress I’ll use facings again, I like those too. I found some excellent video tutorials how to attach facings to the top halves, with square necklines: FashionSewingBlogTV.

This cloth is batik and had a nice looking edge. I chose to wear it at the front. (yay for french seams!)
Dress from a tube shaped with shirring

A new dummy, in paper tape

With two friends we made some dummies last weekend. We used Paper Tape which is superior to duct tape for dummies, in my opinion. It doesn’t smell, it went much faster because only two layers of tape where needed and because it goes very solid upon drying it doesn’t need filling.

This dummy is rock solid, you can use it as a drum:

We used this tutorial

And this is the tape we used. It’s industrial quality, used for sealing carton boxes. (Do not use aquarel tape from the artists’ shops! It’s too flimsy.)
One side has glue (not for vegans!) on it and you wet it with some water to activate it.

It only took two layers for the dummy to dry solid. We could make 3 dummies out of 2 rolls of tape! (I bought 12 because with the duct tape we needed 4 to 6 layers for it to keep its shape.)

I’m really happy with it. I’ve begun to sew a dress from Burda May 2014, just to see how a standard Burda size 40 fits me. Pinning the pieces to the dummy already teaches me so much (like: I am not that wide in the back. But I am in the front. And I’m really a 21, the size with the shorter back.)
Pictures soon (aka 3 weeks)

In the mean time I slipped a tight shirt over the dummy and am pinning things to that. I love it because now I clearly see my shape and can think about how to dress it to its advantage.
I already know where this is going: moulage. Draping.
I’ve got a Craftsy class lined up. I’ve got an instruction book from a Dutch teacher. And I watched Chinelo Bally on The Great British Sewing Bee.
What an inspiration.

But first the May Burda dress. And a couple of dresses with princess lines from a basic pattern. That I have to reinvent now that my posture has changed.