Starting on a Knip Blouse April 2016

Knip Magazine looks innovated. The patternpaper is more sturdy, instructions are no longer staccato but in full sentences. With periods. What luxury!

I bought the April 2016 edition which is about vintage looks. I want to make a blouse with a standing collar and a side darts from it, blouse nr 23:

But first a muslin. I hope to transform this pattern into a pattern I can use and reuse again.

These are the steps I took:

  1. I compared my own measurements to the measurements Knip uses. I found I fit pretty much in a size 38, if I borrow the taille from size 40. I used my upperbust measurement as if it were my full bust measurement. I ignored my real bust measurements. Size 38 fits my frame.
  2. My breasts are not standard for size 38 and the pattern will need a Full Bust Adjustment. I will repeat the trick Lynda Maynard teaches in craftsycourse Sewing the Perfect Fit. It has brought me good things before.
  3. my back is shorter than any of the sizes of the Knip. It’s 3 cm shorter than size 38. I will hack horizontal into the pattern and move things up a bit.
  4. I probably want a longer model with less flare in the hips, I will cut the muslin generously and play with it.
  5. I want longer sleeves and probably less flarey. I’ll see to that once I’ve sorted out the armhole and the sleeve cap.
  6. Arm hole and sleeve cap. I will transfer the pattern as is onto paper but then I’m going to take a long hard look and change the armhole to a better fit. I’ve got my previous three grey blouses, I’ve got Ikatbag’s explanation and I’ve been doing a pattern drafting course for the past couple of months which has taught me a thing or two also. The sleeve (cap) will come after the armhole is sorted.
  7. closing. Still don’t do button holes. I’ve got souple zippers I can put in (no blind zipper foot for my antique foot treadle sewing machine alas) and I’ve got self fasting snaps I can put it. Either way: reserve fabric/seam allowances for this.

Now,  before I go tracing size 38 (with waist 40) on the paper I’m going to find out if this is the kind of company that puts in seam allowances into the paper pattern or wants me to put them in myself.

Knip doesn’t offer seam allowances on the paper pattern. Excellent. This way I can compare their pattern with the ones I already have very easy.

And later on I can trace the sewing lines directly onto the muslin and can cut generous seam allowances that do not have to be tidy or neat or consistent. The stitching seam is right there on the fabric, clear as day. Just follow the line.

That way I can already cut more fabric at the top of the side seam. I suspect it will have to be raised considerably for a better fitting arm hole. Modern pattern companies still think that ease of movement requests more wearing ease. It does not.

I’ll also give the front and back of the armhole more seam allowance, I suspect it has to be narrowed.

Let me think, what else…. More length at the bottom. A little bit of width at the seam allowance should I need width as well as length after doing the Maynard trick.

So let’s start.

  1. trace pattern
  2. adjust paper pattern for length (shortht) of back
  3. cut from muslin fabric with generous seam allowance
  4. sew the muslin and do the FBA Maynard style
  5. start the fit: CB at CB; shoulder seams on the shoulder seam; shoulder length appropriate/ arm hole begins where arm hole should be; side seams vertical; no dragmarks anywhere; adjust arm hole.
  6. adjust pattern, invent a sleeve, make a new muslin, do a second fitting.

1. Trace pattern:

Knipmode bloes 23 .april 2016/04

No sleeve yet since I’ll adjust it anyway.

2. adjust for height: draw a horizontal line at the waist marker and fold away 3 cm. Redraw vertical darts and side seam curve if needed. It’s just a millimeter for the dart and none for the sideseams since I have little waist accentuation as it is (as evidenced by going from size 38 at the arm pit to 40 at the waist to 38 at the bottom again).

Knipmode bloes 23 .april 2016/04

Allright.

Step 3: cut from muslin with generous seam allowances:

Knipmode bloes 23 .april 2016/04

Euhhh… I better press the muslin fabric a bit. It’s really dumb otherwise. So much inaccuracy.

Knipmode bloes 23 .april 2016/04

Now I’ll reposition the paper pieces again and check if my green lines are still accurate. Otherwise adjust them.

(I’d better press the tracing paper too I guess)

verdorie:
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This is an old bed sheet. It probably grew during pressing which wasn’t propper pressing but ironing. Distorting the fabric and the grain. Anyway. Redrawing the sewing lines and proceeding to the next step.

4: sew the muslin. Bust darts first, then shoulder seams, then side seams. Skip the other darts. Wear it inside out. Pin Centre Front to Centre Front.

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Now I’m ready for the FBA. First I’ll sew CF shut, it’s not too tight. (So Knip puts a lot of wearing ease in their patterns).

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Sideseam looks ok. Bust dart points up a bit. Ready for that cut Maynard style, I need a bit more room for my bust.

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Erm…. I better rewatch the craftsy course and relearn what I’m actually supposed to do. The Aha! moment didn’t happen this time…
I also feel this FBA doen not need (only) more length at the front edges but also a bit more width.

Ah, watching the course again I see I didn’t make the cut right.
n the mean time I cleaned up some of the extra wide seam allowances that I saw I didn’t need: shoulder seams, neck line and front edges.

I also already noted: sideseam needs to come up 1,5/2 fingers width; back armhole needs to extend a bit; neckline needs to come done a bit; shoulder seams need to go to the back a bit at the neck. It’s noted on the muslin, in black.

Now I make another small change to the shoulder seam first. Looking again I concluded there was no need to drop the front as much with the horizontal cut in the first place. The bust darts where already pointing to the good bits. Now they’re pointing a bit too low:

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Rewatching lesson 6 from Maynard Craftsy course tells me what I didn’t do this right at all. I should have put in navigation lines that need to stay horizontal. (wow! lesson 9 is about armholes! I’m so glad I have this course.)

I think I better cut a new muslin… and put the changes I made into a new piece of paper.

– Putting in 2,5 cm extra length in the Centre Front. Hiding it into the side bust dart so the sideseam won’t get any longer and the side dart will stay at its place. I have lengthened the dart a bit towards the apex though, now that more fabric needs to be taken out.

– Bringing the sideseam of the front pieces 1,25 cm wider at the apex line. I need a bit more width at the front but I don’t need the vertical darts to change place. Due to wearing ease that’s supposed to be in the pattern I guess I can add a bit of width at the inner side of CF too.

On the right the original pattern, what a mess:
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I don’t know what I’m doing!
On the left there’s the new paper pattern based on all the alteration. I’ve done some weird thing on the CF because I wanted extra width at the front but not at top. Wanted the grain preserved. I figured if I put in a zipper nobody is going to be surprised when it lies flat against my upperchest. As long as I don’t use a checkered fabric this might work.

On to a new muslin and that will be a new post.
Just cut one from the new paper pattern and try it on and go from there.
This time I’m working from pressed fabric and pressed paper.
Ahh, so much better:
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Stylish Cat Lady Shirt (Burda 6909)

To celebrate the end of a stressful period I bought two funny fabrics, for fun blouses. With it I bought the Burda pattern 6909.

Blouse with princess lines front and back, long sleeves and a collar.

WHAT SIZE? GRADING.
First I wanted to grade the pattern.
For this I had to re-acquaintance myself with wearing ease (and designer ease) that each pattern company incorporates in their sizes. Judging from the pattern cover I should be a 42 at the bust (+ do an FBA), a 38 at the waist and a 36 at the hip. But these are their fashion sizes, it says nothing about the actual measurements of the pattern.

I’ve been burned before, with my first dress ever, a Vogue pattern two years ago, that needed a whopping 4 inches/ 10 cm to be taken away. So I’m nowhere near marking a line on the pattern pieces, let alone cutting in fabric. Not until I find out more about how Burda works with ease.

Looking online, mainly at the sewists’ site Pattern Review.com, it seems that it’s mainly the big four pattern companies (Butterick, Vogue, Simplicity and that-other-one) which add ridiculous amounts of ease to their patterns.

Here’s a post by Glenda Sparling from Sure-Fit DesignsTM about what wearing ease actual should be and what designer ease often is:

Screen Shot 2015-10-15 at 16.24.05

The experienced people on the forum at PR say that Burda doesn’t add ridiculous amounts of wearing ease. Alright, I’ll mark the pattern pieces going from size 42 to 38 to 36 (bust – waist – hip) and I’ll put my measuring tape to these places to see what the resulting measurements will be from the garment.
If I think it sounds reasonable I’ll cut the fabric. There still will be fitting and pinning afterwards anyway.

The lines I followed on the paper pieces and blended from one to the next:

  • size 38 at the waist
  • size 36 at the hips
  • size 36 at the upper back
  • size 42 at the front bust
  • size 36 at the upper front/”shoulder straps” (but with the length/height of size 42)

added 1,5 cm seam allowance since Burda doesn’t do those.
added 4 cm seam allowance at the hem and cuffs

Before cutting I shorted the bodice by 4 cm because the pattern is for 41 cm from nape neck to waist and I only run 37 cm. However, Burda self says there’s only two cm difference between a person of 1.68 cm and 1.60 cm.They advice to take out 7 mm at the upper part and 13 mm at the waist.
I’ll have to see if my 4 cm is too much… if it is I cannot magically grow more fabric…

CUTTING THE FABRIC
The fabric has been washed to deal with shrinking. I didn’t iron it because it dried on the washing line outside and ironing might stretch the fabric. You might also think I’m lazy and I confess that is in my nature (although I prefer the term “efficient”) but that’s not the case here. Instead of laziness it was perfectionism preventing me from ironing.
Had I ironed this fabric things would have gotten too serious and I’d grown ambitious, wanting to sew a perfect blouse. With this funny fabric remaining un-ironed things stayed playful. Fact is that I have been sewing the blouse for days now with many things getting unpicked and re-sewn without it ever getting really frustrating.

I cut the fabric. Precisely.
– Had the grain of the fabric run the same as the lines on the pattern pieces.
– Took care that no cats or dots were positioned right at the apex.
– Made sure all pattern pieces have cats going the right side up.
(For the collar this means cutting one piece right side up and the other one right side down OR sewing both pieces the same way up. I need to see them interacting first before I know for sure. Leave some fabric to cut another collar if I have it wrong.)

STAYSTITCHING
staystitching: 1 cm from the edge (per Tilly and the Buttons’ advice)
1 cm = 3/8″
1,5 cm = 5/8″

Run the machine of the fabric and allow for some thread:

Don’t forget to even out the stitches after you’ve sewn a line (that’s where that extra thread at the corners is for). The sewed line must be as relaxed as the fabric. No crumpling allowed of either allowed:

Here’s a good overall tutorial about the why and how of staystitching: http://www.threadsmagazine.com/item/36859/sew-better-with-staystitching-fundamentals/page/all

staystitched everything, with black thread.

SEWING

Sewed together all princesslines and the sideseams. Shoulderseams too.
Didn’t press, cut or treat the seam allowances.

I reaped benefit from having cut the fabric very precisely. I inserted my seam ripper to show you how neat the two pieces line up. Much easy sewing.

I also used the distance-tool my sewing machine has. First I used it for the 1 cm staystitching and now for the 1,5 cm seam. You just glide the edge of the fabric along the guide.

FIRST FITTING
First fitting: not bad!
The pattern has quite a bit of ease around the torso but the shoulders are ok and the bust too. There’s a lack of shaping under the bust and in the back.

I pin this and sew new lines over the old ones. Looking good. Added a little bustdart too, sideways towards the sleeve. This will shorten the armhole (armscye) a bit.
But the silhouet from the front is so much better with those extra creases tucked away!

I transferred all changes to the paper pattern pieces, to use for the next blouse. The one with the funny winter deer.

SLEEVES
Confident that I’ve brought the bodice to its best fit for me I now sewed in the sleeves.
Bad result. It was way too tight over the biceps! I couldn’t raise my arm at all.

What does Burda expect me to do, stand around all day with my arms hanging down? Well… that is what the models are doing in the picture… looking more closely at it, she’s actually not able to raise her arms any higher than this:


Ugh.

I was so disgusted with how it all felt that I didn’t even take a picture. Instead I delved into the internet and learned that the problem of tightness over the biceps is more a question of the position of the armhole and how it’s shaped than it is of ease at the sleeve or ease at the shoulder cap. Pattern makers could do so much better. Very interesting stuff I read.

A BETTER ARMHOLE/ ARMSCYE

Based on the new knowledge I followed a new line in the armhole to stitch my sleeve to, here traced in orange.

Front:

Back:

I brought the armhole more to the front, shortened the shoulder seam and at the back I stitched as close to the edge as I dared. I also took out even more curve in the back princess line.

Then I sewed in the sleeve following the orange stitching lines, swerving in and out of the seam allowance. The result was good

Still not much allowance for movement but much better than it was. This is almost acceptable for daily wear. I started telling myself I can get used to this (annoyance).

So I sewed in the second sleeve the same as the first. Not so well:

A strange pucker at the top. Not the nice pleat the other shoulder has. Fold in the front.
Caused by my lack of experience of easing in a sleeve.

I took it apart and sewed it back in. A bit better.

I took it apart again and sewed it back in. Worse! Should have kept it the way it was.

Then it was time for bed, it was the second or third day of sewing.
The next morning I woke up and tried on the blouse. I then knew that even if I managed to sew in the second sleeve as ok-ish as the first, I would never wear this shirt with pleasure, the sleeves would always be restricting and annoying me throughout out the day.

I would never use Burda 6909 to sew something with sleeves again either.

So I took the pattern pieces to the table and set out to redesign the armhole and the sleeve. I’ll show you the how and what in a next post but here’s the end result after I redesigned the sleeve for Burda 6909 and put it in the existing armhole (following the orange threaded sewing line):

On the right the original ok-ish sleeve, on the left my new sleeve:

Nicer lines, better silhouet, no straining around the arms.

Here are two new sleeves and where the blouse is now:

This is ok. I’ll wear this.
Now it’s time to press the seams, grade them, notch and clip them,pink them. Put in the facing and the closing of the front. Add collar. Sew hems.
Then I should have a new blouse!

Then I’ll go and cut the deer fabric with the totally amended pattern for Blouse 6909 I have now.:

My lines in yellow with black. Explanation about the armhole and sleeve in a new post or you can go read this excellent post by Ikat Bag

———-Dutch tutorial for sewing a neat collar: https://pionikko.wordpress.com/2014/04/10/kraag-met-staander-naaien/

a Dress Form: Prym Prymadonna S 611 755

I’ve bought a dress form!

This is the adjustable dress form by Prym and it comes at a cheap price for an adjustable dress form. You can adjust buste, waist and hip individually from each other. (Other forms may let you only scale up the total: you dial the hip to size 42 and waist and buste go to 42 too.)

It has a four legged standard and a device to mark the hem all around. It’s made of plastic with a purple cover. The package only weighs 6 kilos.
Size S is for sizes 36 to 42 (Chest: 84 – 100 cm; Waist: 66 – 84 cm; Hips: 91 – 109 cm)

It’s technical information is listed right under the thimbles.
I think Prym only introduced this product in March 2015…

Every product is worth no more than you pay for it. This dress form is not perfect (but for this money well worth it I think)
These are the critiques I found on the net:
1 It’s a rigid surface with a rather thin layer of fabric to pin things on.
2 It’s a bit wobbly due to its lightness.
3 When the chest is expanded there aren’t much boobs left.
4 Measurements don’t match the one on the dials.
5 When you assemble it some of the plastic inner parts can have sharp edges.
6 Some people find it hard to get the hang of manning the adjusting dials.

These are the solutions:
1 set it to a slightly smaller size and add a layer that will hold pins better
2 haven’t figured this one out. Work with downwards motions.
3 add a bra that fits you well
4 measure the form and adjust to this knowledge instead of the numbers on the dials
5 be careful during assembling and if you plan to do that often round off the edges with a file. A nail file will do.
6 practise. Perhaps add some grease or candle wax.

Then you get, for a low price (100-175 euro), a dress form that is adjustable for your own and other peoples measurements.

I plan to only use it for myself and to make it an identical double of my own body, by padding it out until it matches my exact measurements.

As a base to start from it’s very good, for that price. It has a wide foot to stand on; it can combine my small hips with my wide torso and I don’t mind that it then looses boobage because I’d add a bra of mine anyway because I want to be sure to have the my exact curves.
With the padding (and the no-ease body shell I plan to put over it) I will have enough thickness and sturdy surface to attach pins to. It will be able to hold up heavier fabrics. I will be able to drape on it!

Poppaea Olimpia.jpg “Poppaea Olimpia” by Nanosanchez

For the padding I’ll use some tricks found in this blog post: http://www.clothingpatterns101.com/padding-the-body-form.html
Especially how to define the underbust once the bra and cover are on. And the notion that I’ll need padding in variegating thicknesses to perfect to my measurements. Not just 1″ thick padding.
I won’t use plastic bags though, I’ll opt for felt or carded wool instead.

This is a very good tutorial for making a dress form to your own measurements: http://sewchicpatterns.blogspot.nl/2011/12/copy-your-figure-dressform-tutorial.html
She strongly advises to start with a solid dress form, not an adjustable one…

Oh! A wonderful tip is to take a picture of your dress form and of you wearing the cover and compare them side by side! You’re looking for differences in silhouette that need to be eliminated.
pic by Marion Bellet

Another great tip from the Sew Chic Patterns blog:”after you’re done, spray the mannequin and its cover so the fabric will shrink a bit and be nice and tight.” Excellent idea!

Last year I saw the dress forms they use for Strictly Come Dancing on TV: a professional sewing studio that has to make high functional garments for all the contestants every week. They use solid bases with padding.
pic by Clara Molden

hahaha, this tutorial has padding with bean bags: http://www.threadsmagazine.com/item/42976/pad-a-dress-form-to-your-true-body-shape/page/all
Can’t do that, the Prymadonna will get top heavy.
(Tutorial is by a true cling foil fan. Brrrrr.)

NB to myself:
padd the back at the top, you’ve got an S-thing going on there

Well, it will be here next week. I better find some cotton batting and fabric to make a shell with.

The dresses from last year’s Strictly Come Dancing finals on the indidualized dress forms (with a “sock” over it)
pic by Steve Reigate

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 Sewnblog.com:

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:

80s-fashion-1983

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.

FBA on Deer & Doe’s Bleuet Dress

I got the marvellous pattern Bleuet Dress by French independent pattern maker Deer&Doe.
For me it was in need of a full bust adjustment, after I determined that size 40 would sit around my shoulders perfectly.

Bleuet Dress comes in a neat package with the pattern pieces on nice sturdy paper. I was bold and did the FBA right on the paper, thereby destroying the original.

I needed to do a few things:

  1. widen the waist to size 42
  2. slim down the hip to size 40 or even less
  3. shorten the body by 2 cm
  4. lengthen the skirt
  5. enlarge the breast

The first 3 I could do on my own. It all comes down to choosing which cutting line to follow and transit souple between the one for size 40 and for size 42. The shortening is done at the waistline, through all pattern pieces.

After cutting I started by noting the sewing line into the pattern. It has an 1,5 cm seam allowance worked into it and some of it was now altered because my outer lines did no longer follow one size consistently.
FBA on Bleuet Dress from Deer&Doe
After this I shortened the waist.

For the Full Bust Adjustment I first used this tutorial: http://www.craftsy.com/blog/2014/07/how-to-make-a-full-bust-adjustment/ But I couldn’t get it to work.
I didn’t succeed with this tutorial because I wasn’t able to tell which details were important and which not. For example it wasn’t clear where in the sideseam the cutting line should start and whether it should be at an angle. I just squared it of the side line but that didn’t work.
I ended up with non functional hinges and paper that didn’t want to lie flat:
FBA on Bleuet Dress from Deer&Doe
I tried a bunch of things but it just didn’t work.

Having cut up some of the paper I started to worry but the next tutorial I tried had a nice mix of logic and bravery so I undid what I had done and taped everything back together and just kept on taping after that.

Taped everything back the way it was:
FBA on Bleuet Dress from Deer&Doe

The second tutorial was http://www.idlefancy.com/2014/01/sewing-curve-fba-for-princess-seams.html and this one worked very well for me.

It still looked awfull halfway through:
FBA on Bleuet Dress from Deer&Doe
but at least the tutorial says it’s supposed to do so. And to keep confidence and to just “tape all that crazyness down”. So that’s what I did:

FBA on Bleuet Dress from Deer&Doe

and then the tutorial instructs you to do some crazy thing and clearly states it will be counterintuïtive. Just “draw your own line, because you’re awesome like that”. And I am because look what happened!
FBA on Bleuet Dress from Deer&Doe
Voilá, a FBA.

Only needs a new line at the sideseam from the armhole to the waist, to compensate for the width added to the sideseam.

There. Done.
A bit messy but it’s all there and the paper lies flat:
FBA on Bleuet Dress from Deer&Doe

Remember to add the added length to the front side piece too and FINI.
FBA on Bleuet Dress from Deer&Doe

Here the pieces are all together. Size 40 with size 42 waist, a shortened body and a FBA:
FBA on Bleuet Dress from Deer&Doe

I later made a try out dress and found I needed to round off the apex a bit more. Along the line you can already see in the pattern.
The height of the apex and the width of the pattern pieces is marvellous!

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:
*CHOP CHOP!*
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:

SIZE
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.”
oh-oh…

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

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.

in progress: Green skirt with pocket

When I bought this cabin it came with all the stuff that was already in it. Furnishings, old calendars, gnomes. And lots of ’70s bedlinen.
I’ve treasured my favourite for years now and today I’m making one of its pillow cases into a skirt. With a pocket.

For this I used video’s from Corinne Leigh of Craftovision to draw up a simple pattern and to understand the sequence of steps. I threw in some haute couture sewing techniques and some things I learned from the previous skirts.

Corinne Leigh explained measurements and I drew them on my folded pillow cover and just cut two panels out in one go. Afterwards I amended the topline of just the front panel.
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This really is a pillow case! Look at the backside of the left over after cutting:

I hope to use this left over fabric for a pocket. The left over on the long side (on the left here) will hopefully give a waist band.

These are the measurements I used and I did them all in inches, just because Corinne did so too and my measuring tape has both centimeters and inches:

  • a quart waist = 8 5/8″ (this includes 1/2″ ease and 1/2″ dart)
  • a quart hip = 9 7/8″ (this includes 1/2″ ease)
  • length between hip and waist = 6″
  • the CF dips 1/2″ under the original horizontal line. CB should be raised half an inch but I didn’t want to waste the fabric.
  • total skirtlength 22″ (if you run straight down from the hips you’ll need a split or a vent. Or flare out a bit)
  • I know from previous skirts my front darts need to be no longer than 5 cm/ 2″
  • the back darts can be 10 to 12 cm (4 to 5 “)
  • I cut everything with 1/2″ seam allowance

In Dutch and centimeters:

  • kwart middellijn = 22 cm breed (met 1,25 cm dart en 1,25 cm ease)
  • kwart heupbreedte = 25 cm
  • hoogte tussen taille en heup = 15,25 cm
  • CF ligt 1,25 cm lager dan @sideseam voor voorpand. CB juist 1,25 cm hoger
  • voordart niet langer dan 5 cm, achterdart kan wel 10 cm lang
  • bij dit patroon zit nog geen naadtoeslag/seam allowance

I took the front panel and cut it again in pongé (habutai) silk as a lining/facing. Pillow cases from the ’70s tend to be see through…
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I did the same for the back panel.

This time around I’m a good little sewer: I’m pressing! I bought a small, light weight iron (HEMA, 10 euro). Still got no iron board here but some old sheets on this Ingo table from IKEA will do. Ingo withstands the heat well.
Only thing is: he’s a bit low. Ingo makes for back pain when pressing. Here one panel is still not pressed:
Either way: nice materials to work with. Pressing does make for nicer sewing.

Next, I sewed the silk to their respective panel. Using an extra sharp silk needle (microtex, a thoughtful gift from my friend Marianne) and a very small sewing allowance, just 1/8th of an inch or even less.
I pressed the seams but didn’t fold the cotton, only the silk.

This is a prelimenary step and now I will treat the double-fabric-panels as if they’re made of one fabric. This is all a trick to have a nice seam finish on the inside later on. That’s a good thing when you’re working with silk.
Here are the two panels. Still separate. One is turned right side out, the other one still wrong side out so you can see how small the seam allowance is I used.
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Isn’t this fabric GREAT?

Before I go further I need to refer back to the video because Corinne put in a stay seam at the top (clever couture technique!) but I don’t remember in which phase she did this.

Next steps:

  1. put zipper in sideseam. The teeth of the zipper will protrude above my panel top because there will be a waist band added which will match the zipper in height. Have to decide about height of waist band before determining where the zipper will end in the side seam.
  2. sew the two panels together at the sideseams, leaving a split at the hem for movement and on one seam a split of the zipper at the top.
  3. fit. If fit then estimate wether darts will be correct both in width and length. Press side seams open.
  4. sew and press darts.
  5. waistband: cut it, press it, sew it.
  6. fit. Estimate hem length. Mark it. Think about where the pocket will be and if reinforcement is needed. Attach this now if it’s needed. Soon the interior will not be accessible anymore.
  7. fold, press and sew hem.
  8. make pocket and attach it

I have my eye on a fun little pocket! With a knotted entry.

Wearing a paper bag

Marina von Koenig has an excellent tutorial on her website Frabjous Couture about why regular skirts don’t fit the human form.

Hip and waist circumference do not tell where the protruding parts are. Resulting in skirt patterns that have to accommodate for people with big hips or round buttocks or a tummy. Fitting neither of those individuals very well.

Her solution is to determine the widest overall circumference and accomplish fit through darts. Individually determined darts. These virtual ladies have the same circumferences but very different body shapes:
pic by Marina von Koenig

So I went looking for a piece of carton to wrap around me:
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I have no carton in the cabin but what better to use than the sturdy paper bag my fabric from Dublin came in! Murphy Sheehy, a lovely shop.
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I cut open the bad and wrapped it around myself.
hm.
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I’m a big wider than I thought…. I had to look for additional carton.

Sorry Sisley.
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Here it is around me, a tube that indicates my widest circumference. I keep the top aligned with a piece of elastic that I tied around me. This is my natural waist and the line that any skirt will creep up to. So better make it the waist band of my skirt.
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I marked the circumference with pencil on the tube. This will be the width of the pattern pieces. Marina says no positive ease is needed with this method… I wonder.
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Now I am determining where my protruding parts are. With a pencil I mark areas where the carton cannot be folded inwards. My stomach, my hips and my buttocks all have these areas.
These are the areas where the skirt will not be altered in width. Above these areas there will be darts. The darts will end in the area.

I marked everything on the carton. Including CF, CB and Sideseams. Then I unrolled the tube and cut it at the sideseams.
I converted it to some pieces of fabric. I chose a slightly elastic fabric because I have to find out for myself that no wearing ease is needed with this method.

I cut the backpiece a little higher than the front piece. Because the small of my back grows really narrow, upwards, I’ll have some major darts there. Meaning the fabric has to travel further to reach my waist than it does at the front (hardly any darts needed there thanks to my tummy).

Then I cut some pockets. Because this whole idea of a skirt was started because I want a skirt with pockets.
Sew the pockets to the fabric. Then sew shut the sideseams, following the curves of the pockets. Then I’ll have a fabric tube and can start determining the darts.

Pockets are sewn to the front panel. The first run was with the good sides together. Then I flipped open the (half) pocket and run a seam along, for sturdyness and to make it lie flat inwards and not peek out.
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but first I’ll have to darn…
both pockets are sewn upside down to the front panel. Even though I looked and looked and then looked once more. Upside down picture:
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