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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Couture Dress: thank Bob for wide seam allowances

Having slept a night on the problem of cutting the wrong side of the fabric and spending hours basting it to the lining I thought I might try something before ripping out the basting, sewing the dress wrong side out or just chucking everything in the dust bin.

Unpin the muslin pieces and reposition them the right way, see if there is enough seam allowance to harbour the pieces the right way down. Switch side pieces left and right with one another if necessary.

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There is. Now I’m not paying attention to the carefully placed basting lines. I will have to sew the pieces together using the muslin edges and lines as guidelines. I am going to pin it crazy and then use a different coloured thread and carefully baste it by hand. After fitting I’ll sew it for real with the machine. Then remove all bastings.

At least I might be able to use this fabric. Sometimes it comes close though. The muslin is folded ON the seam line so that small piece of lining right there at the apex of the bust is all the seam allowance this piece is getting. Better stitch it sturdy.

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Couture Dress: cutting the fabric and basting the lining onto it

My lining is some sort of flanel, the marks don’t show up very well.
Never mind, I’ve thought of a solution. I’m using the toile/muslin as pattern pieces. I used them to cut the fabric and now I’m basting the lining onto the fashion fabric using the seam lines on the muslin.

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I can easily fold the pattern pieces on their seams, I haven’t ironed them. Because most seams are marked by (black) stitching I can fold under or over, it’s very easily visible. Do pin securely though.
I just trace it with the needle. Easy peasy.
It took my full allotment of energy both yesterday and today, a total of four hours, to baste the 7 pieces of this sheath dress.

The lining and the fabric now form a new fabric. Warm. Good for a winter dress. Now to baste these pieces together, following the precise lines the lining basting provides. And then the fitting of the dress. Final stage!

But….. just as I had pretreated every pieces and was pinning together the very first two pieces … I realized I’ve made a colossal error…

I used the muslin pieces as pattern pieces with the right side up… on the side of the lining that will be the inside of the dress…

I have made the mirror of the pieces I need! And as all pieces are tailored to my not symmetrical body I now have … not a dress.

I’m having a lie down now. It was time for it anyway, my afternoon hour was up. But I feel rotten!

Even if I can use the fabric pieces (it is jacquard fabric, I might get away with using the wrong side on the outside) I have to undo all the basting. And redo it if I want to have a lining.
The redoing will take another four hours. Another two days of full energy allotment. I had plans for the next two days. Plans like taking a shower and cooking a hot meal. I’m not very willing to post phone those for another two days.

Yeah, I’ll be lying here, trying to wrap my head around this one.

“I don’t want to talk about it!

Other solutions are to just take out the lining and make the dress -wrong fabric side out- without lining. I might do that… at the least it will tell me if this muslin works in real fabric. Will have to trace all the seam lines onto the fabric though… there’s another two hours work.

I also heard a rumour that they sell dresses in things called “shops”…

credit: puffer fish photo by Judy Roberson

Couture Dress: cutting the lining

Marking.
Then cutting with a wide seam allowance.
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After this I’m using the pieces of the lining to cut the fashion fabric, again with wide seam allowance.

Then comes basting them together. By hand.

But first I’ve got to lay down again. Such a drag.

here’s the picture of what you see on the right side once you rip the seam after you’ve marked it:
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Gnome Couture Dress lesson 1 and 2: pattern to muslin pieces

Determined to make this dress according to the Craftsy Course The Couture Dress by Susan Khalje but also benefit from the sloper I’ve made I spend a day tinkering with the pattern pieces of Vogue 8648 and my sloper:
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I put them on top of each other, looked for clues, tried to marry their lines, inserting the ease I had chosen.

Here I try to determine how much the pieces should overlap when the midriff pieces rest on my waistline but the bossom pieces honour my apex. Those midriff pieces have to be shortened, the bust piece must come down. But what to do with the shoulder?
Also I brought in the Center Front line (CF), I made the mid piece less wide.

A scary process as I really have not much of a clue yet. However I know the sloper is correct, I know commercial patterns add way too much ease and I have Susan Khalje’s course The Couture Dress as an example and guide.

I did a lot of things to the pattern…
for one I did shorten the midriff section. The original is 9 cm high, I opted for 8 cm.
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Here you see the new line in pencil, at the top. At the bottom the waistline coincides with the seam allowance of this pattern. As I am only interested in seam lines and not in cutting lines this serves me well.

Then there’s that horizontal slice of fabric that has to come out because I’m a bit bend. You can see it noted on the sloper. It will get a place above or below this midriff section as the midriff section is an eyecatcher and should not vary in height. I’m thinking below, in the skirt pieces.

Another thing I did was because my apex is more near to my waistline than it is in the Vogue pattern. I cut the paper piece and folded it so that it matched the sloper better. Then I altered the bust piece even more:
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I let the curved line follow the princess line of my sloper. It automatically ended up being a Full Bust Adjustment.

I had so many doubts about all of this, redrawing these lines, adding ease and choosing sites to do so! In the end I watched the video lesson 2 from the Craftsy Course The Couture Dress and I was reminded that the lines do not matter that much. It will all come together when fitting the muslin.

It gave me the boldness to push through. I just drew what I thought was good. Always keeping in mind the waistline, CF, CB and grain. And letting the sloper be leading (that is: my sloper + added ease). The Vogue pattern was following.

Because I brought the pattern apex closer to the waistline (not only in the bodice side sections but also in the bodice front midsection) it brought the neckline too low so that has to rise.
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I reserved a bit of extra fabric in the muslin to determine how high I want to have it later, while fitting. How to do this and many more little and big tricks I learned from Susan Khalje, it really is a good course.

In the end I was confident enough to pin all the pieces to my muslin (again with lots of nifty tricks) and cut the muslin. (I am such a mental cheap skate. I had to actively give myself permission to “destroy” this piece of cheap muslin and just try it and see where it will lead. I’d rather not venture than run the risk of a waisted effort. Really, I’m squirrel poo.)
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a nice pile of pieces, ready to trace. I use waxed paper. Again, watch the course.
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Raising the back. Making notes on all the pieces before laying them aside.
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This is the skirt mid back:
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On the left you can see how I altered the lines. I put the ease (decrease) for the back mostly in the princess lines and not in the side seams. Because I have such a curved back (and not much of a waist)

On the lower right you see that I added a vent. Using this tutorial and my experience with the Wriggle Dress that had a vent too. It is very easy and looks good.

All pieces cut, traced and noted it was time to put away the paper.
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Tracing paper and pattern paper are now snug in their envelopes again. Usually I run away mid project and forget to tidy up. This time I am regarding tidying up as part of the process. And it feels good!

Wriggle Dress: lining it

For the lining I have a thrifted cotton shirt. Very long and very soft:
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It fits the dress
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after pressing the shirt and the now unbasted dress this is how my ‘template’ for the front looks:
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Start cutting. Remember to put the right sides to the right side.

(yes, you eagle eyed sewers, I didn’t unpick the bust darts in the dress in this picture! I thought I could get away with it. Not away from you but from sewing. They were in the perfect spot you see, following good lines. And I was afraid I would wither from too much work. So I cut the lining while the darts were still in the dress. This will distort the side seam of the lining. I will be sorry. I convinced myself that the soft cotton will forgive. It probably won’t.
This is why I wrote down the tip to myself to use a screamingly different colour thread for basting next time. So I won’t be tempted again to leave darts in if I am going to use a piece as a template.

After this picture I took out the darts because I had to resew them at a better stitch width anyway. It took al of 7 minutes to rip out 4 long darts… 7 minutes I can afford and could have spend easily before cutting the lining.

What convinced me to take them out was that the 2mm stitch width of the basting was tearing at the linen, which is a fairly loosen weave. It was the wrong width for the fabric.
But by then the lining was already cut. And I am already sorry.)

By the way, the reason that I am lining this dress, even though the pattern says not to, is because of this book:

Linen and Cotton by Susan Khalje

and because of this project:

May Challenge Panel Dress by Marina von Koenig on which Khalje advised.
I cannot stop mentioning these two, sorry.

I learned very much from what Marina is showing us about this dress and it really prompted me to use linen and dabble in couture techniques. I hope to repeat this experience, in different designs, as her project and her approach is very inspiring!

The lining makes the white linen I’m using less see-through; it will reduce wrinkling and enhance wearing comfortability. But putting in a lining in this dress which has interfacing and facing is a bit of a puzzle: which layer goes where?

At least I did know about grading the seams where the interfacing/interlining is concerned:
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For attaching the rest of the lining I basically use the instructions for the facings.

I’m doing the back now. I’ll need to attach the lining to the zipper-part. This seemed a logical solution: two openings on layers that go together.

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Logic, yes?

It would work better if the opening of the lining was as long as the zipper is…
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It needs to open all the way to where the pins are. Besides: it has buttons.

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There we go. Now I have a piece of fabric instead of the front of an old shirt.

 

 

 

 

Wriggle Dress: cutting the fabric

I spend a day thinking about Butterick 6582. The various aspects, how to approach it, what to solve. I researched the internet, laid out the tissue paper and studied the instructions. At the end of the day I traced a slightly personalized version of it and cut the fabric and the facings. Linen and brand new cotton sheet.

After the sizing fiasco of the Summer Dress (B5603 which advised me to cut a 16 which then was 4″ too wide) I decided to cut a size 12. This approximates the measurements I take from the now fitting Summer Dress. (pictures pending)

Yes, I cut a size 12 but with wider seam allowance at the top of the body. Because of the folded fabric in the upper part of this dress this pattern does not allow for a FBA (Full Bust Adjustment), the fabric has to be already there.

Here’s how my first pattern outcut differs from the oficial Butterick 6582:
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As size 12 should cover a size of about 97cm I think I’m good but you never know. I’ll also trim down to the hips a bit.

As per this review I expect to have to raise the hem, the waist and the arm holes. I too am 5′ 4″ (1.61m)
At this stage I already raise the hem but have not decided on the final length yet:
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The smaller shoulder part, the left side, I’m going to make without gathering or pleats. Lots of people have complained online that the pattern ends up very high on the front and that it is difficult to make the two sides sit nice or even centered.
So I’ll make one side sit nice: the right one with the folds. The left part will be honest in its difference: flat and off centre.

For this I used the left front facing as a template for the left front fashion fabric.
Here’s the now cut out left front piece atop the original pattern:
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No room for pleats or folds.

For cutting the back pieces I folded the fabric double and pinned it. Pins away form the cutting line. I laid my personalized paper pattern (PPP) on top and traced it with a byro or stylo. Yes, a simple pen. The one used for shopping lists. As I don’t want pen residu on my fabric this will remind me to “cut away the line”. The importance of that I learned here from Kathleen Fasanella, the Fashion Incubator.
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