Monday, 31 March 2014

Plaid Trials

I've avoided plaid until now.  I've never sewn with patterns that need to be matched before.  But, there was a nice plaid at work.  And it was the end of the bolt, so I got it at 75% off.  So I decided to give plaid a shot.

Well, I cut very carefully.  And went to pin it together, only to realize that the fabric must have stretched at some point.  There was nothing I could do to get the horizontal stripes to line up perfectly.  But. half an hour later, I did in fact have a passable side seam.  And I am fairly happy with the skirt overall.

I think perhaps the pleats could use an ironing.  And I wish there was a little bit more fullness to the skirt.

Final Notes:  Don't expect to see a lot more plaids around here... I like the look, but half an hour for one side seam just isn't worth it!

Friday, 28 March 2014

Better Fit Friday - The Full Back

Today is the first Better Fit Friday from the Better Homes and Gardens Sewing Book.  As I mentioned in the last episode, we're going to start at the beginning and just run through all of their fitting changes.  I'm using the quarter scale slopers from Adele Margolis' book Making Your Own Dress Patterns.

Better Homes and Gardens begins alterations with the bodice back.  First they lengthen the bodice back so that the side seams are long enough.  This is done with a slash and spread just above the tip of the waist dart.  The first thing they look at then is the full back, which is what we are going to fit for today.

A Full Back adjustment may be required if the Bodice Back appears to be tight across the shoulders and there are pulls in the fabric under the arm scythe.  This fitting issue is caused primarily by rounded shoulders, which means that the shoulder darts need increased shaping to fit properly.

Deepened Dart (Orange)
The first thing that must be changed is the shoulder darts.  Start by deepening and lengthening the dart.  This may mean that the shoulder back is smaller than the shoulder front.  We'll adjust for that next.  However, for now, adjust the darts until they fit comfortably.

Next, determine how much width needs to be added at the shoulders.  Reach your arms forward and around to insure that you will have a full range of motion.  Then, check your side seams at the waist.  If they also pull to the back then you need to add width to the waist.  The amount required may be different.

Slash the Bodice Back from shoulder to waist, close the the arm scythe.  Make sure you leave both of the darts intact. Spread the two pieces based of the measurements you took above.  If the amount to be added is not the same at the waist and shoulder, angle the pieces so that more or less is added at the waist.  However, they must be gently angled lines, not a curve, or sharp angles.

Equal Adjustments (Left), Less Added to Waist (Right)
And there we have it!  Stay tuned next week for the Broad Back, Narrow Waist Adjustment.  (The people at Better Homes and Gardens had such creative names!)

Monday, 24 March 2014

Long Awaited Portrait

Today I bring you the long overdue reveal of my portrait blouse.  This is the first pattern I attempted from Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing, and I've mentioned my trails with it briefly before.  

The Portrait Blouse.
I made at least 2 muslins, and am fairly sure, though have no evidence, that there was a third in there somewhere as well.  Admittedly my fitting process was not particularly methodical, however, by the final muslin I was fairly happy with it.  

To the left is the version that Gertie recently posted to her blog, made from a stable knit, which is likely the best comparison to what mine should look like.  You can read more about it here.  I also used a fairly stable knit.  It has some stretch to it, but hangs and feels much like a cotton.  During fitting I lost the cap sleeves.  This was, I'll admit, accidental.  I did a narrow shoulder adjustment while fitting, because the shoulders seemed broad and I was getting pull lines.  However, I think that these are just part of the style, not necessarily a fitting issue.  In any case, by the time I moved into my fashion fabric I was happy with the muslin.

I'm not entirely sure what changed, but I'm significantly less happy with the final version.  The biggest flaw I think is that no matter which I do, the bust darts stand out and make an unattractive point. They also aim to a point far higher than my bust point.  It doesn't seem particularly noticeable in the picture, however, it is one of those flaws that can be all I notice.  Luckily, it isn't a complete scrap, as I can still wear it layered under other things, such as the cardigan in the first image (which I don't really like as I think it hides my waist, but will keep wearing until I replace it with something nicer). 
The other flaw in the top is that I didn't do a narrow hem, as instructed.  Instead, I used some narrow twill tape as hem tape.  And while it looks nice, and would have worked perfectly on a slightly heavier fabric, here it just turns the hem out a little bit, making a tiny ruffle.  Luckily, I usually wear it tucked in, and when I wear it out over jeans the ruffle is almost completely unnoticeable. 

Conclusion: I'd like to try this again, with a lighter fabric (like a crepe), before passing final judgement.  I''m not sure if my issues with the pattern are completely from my haphazard fitting methods, or not, but I do think at least a few of my issues are from the pattern.  I'll discuss that a little more when I post my full review of the book.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Better Fit Friday: Gertie Edition

Hello, and welcome to the first edition of Better Fit Friday!

For the first edition, I'm going to go through the Full Bust Adjustment Method that Gertie outlined in her book, Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing.  In future installments, I'm going to go through the Better Homes and Garden's Sewing Book.

I've cut out quarter scale sloper pieces, from Making Your Own Sewing Patterns (my review), and I'll be preforming all of the adjustments on these small patterns.


New lines in Orange!
The Gertie FBA

Step 1:  Identify the bust point.  This is usually half and inch, to an inch about the tip of the dart.

Step 2:  Draw a line from the waist dart, through the bust point to the arm scythe.  Draw another line from the bust point, through the bust dart.  And a third line across the bodice from the first line.  Your bodice should look like the one to the right.

Step 3:  Cut up the first line, leaving a hinge at the arm scythe.  Cut across the second line leaving a hinge at the bust point.  And cut all the way across your third line.

Step 4:  Tape some paper behind your pattern so that you can fill in the gaps you're about to make.

My lines is in blue.  And a little short...
Step 5:  Now we add the width.  In this example, I'm going to add 1/4 inch.  So, measure over 1/4" (or however much you need to add) from the line through your waist dart, and make a parallel line.

Step 6:  Open your waist dart, from the hinge at the arm scythe, until you are on the line you drew in the last step.  The tip of your bust dart will have shifted over and down.  Tape it down.  Your waist and bust darts will both be larger now.

Step 7:  Shift the other piece of your pattern down until it is level with the section you just moved.

You will need to true your darts, redrawing them so that they still go to the bust point.  And voila!

The finished pattern is to the left.  All of the space we just added is coloured in to make it easier to see.

If you have any questions, leave a comment below, and I'll do my best to clarify. And I hope you enjoyed today's edition of Better Fit Friday!