Sunday, August 31, 2008

Personal Pants Pattern

Here are the pics of the pants pattern I drafted yesterday from the info in the Jan '08 Threads article.

The front is on the left, and the back is on the right. The pants backpattern had to be drafted with reference points from the front so it had to be recopied onto a second sheet. The red lines illustrate the pants pattern back. Here's a closeup of the top:

It's an interesting draft, somewhat close in measurements to the pattern I used for the capri pants I made two days ago. Short, shallow front crotch, long back crotch, however, I'm anticipating some scooping of the back crotch curve as per my flexible curve of my front/back crotch line. It's nice to know that this pattern was drafted exactly for my measurements with maybe a margin of error of a 1/4", if that. My hipline is exact, waist is exact, the only area that will need expansion will be the upper thigh as my upper thigh measurement is slightly larger than my hip measurement. I'm using 2" side seam and 1" inseams. I will make my right waistline curve 3/8" higher as a separate fabric piece since my right side seam curve is longer than my left.

Here's to hoping using a personal draft will make my fitting issues a little easier. However, the pant pattern I just used was generated from a freebie downloaded from a pattern drafting website.

Where are those darn size 10 pattern fit models anyway??? I'd really like to give them a smack ;) . Can you imagine having a pattern company use your body as the basis for their sizing? Can you imagine making a pattern straight from the envelope and having it fit? I certainly can't. But a girl can dream about it, can't she! But the real nightmare is making muslin after muslin, each one not really fitting after thinking it might be "the one".

I'm working on adding my seam allowances tonight and tomorrow.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Personal Pants Draft

Today I worked on the pants draft from the January '08 Threads issue. I created both the front and the back from my own measurements. It was actually very easy to do as the instructions were very easy to understand and accurate.

The measurements are similar to my pattern that I worked on two days ago, except for the crotch curve. I'm cutting 2" side seams to play with in anticipation of having to fiddle with the curve.

I'm not going to have any time tomorrow to work on cutting anything out, so I'll just mull things over in my brain before cutting pants from my modifed pattern as well as the self-drafted one from Threads. This will certainly be interesting.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Those Elusive Perfect Pants

I sewed up my capris today. Definitely not perfect, better than the original pair, though, but not by a lot.

So I went downstairs to my bookshelf and pulled out the following Threads issues:

  1. January 2007--Fitting Series: The Seat of the Pants

  2. January 2008--Make the Best-Fitting Pair of Pants EVER

  3. December 2005--A Better Way to Fit Pants

The one I liked the best for what I was working on was the article by Joyce Murphy from Dec. 2005. That's the one about Body Space, and I truly feel that is the most relevant for my figure at this point. I had a revelation when working on my crotch curve and kind of used her method but didn't have any extra space at the side seams (working with 3/8" SA's--what a duh!) to add width to account for the width removed at the CB. So, yeah, it's a bit snug across the bum with some ugly side seam pulls.

I made my changes on the pattern, but before making a new pair of capris, I'm going to use the Jan. 2008 issue to draft my own pants pattern and see how it differs from the one in which I made changes. I think that will be fairly interesting.

While I was working on my body space today, I used my flexible curve to check my crotch curve. My curve wasn't as long as my crotch length so I had to do the best I could. And you know what? I have an awfully strange/bizarre crotch curve. Guess it would be called a tilted pelvis? Here's the pic.

So there you go (inseam point at ribbon mark). A short, shallow front with little curve, and a deep, low, long back curve. Scoop, scoop, scoop, huh. (Guess when my butt dropped it hit the floor.) According to Joyce's method, I had to remove quite a bit of the pattern in the back to get more width for my body space. Then I had to add the width removed to the side seam. Hmm...maybe Joyce should have used me for the article! So now my bizarre pattern looks like this:

Please excuse the blue smudges all over the place. My hands are covered with marker ink! Now isn't that the oddest pattern??? Look at the side curve I had to add because of the body space removed at the CB seam. Turns out my back side seam is an inch longer than the front side seam because of this addition of width at the side. Joyce doesn't discuss how to deal with this so I guess it will have to be eased in. Good thing I'm working with natural fiber fabric. I have no idea how this would look in a hard-to-ease synthetic fabric.

Here's a pic of the front and back together (don't look at my smudged table!):

Talk about a bad ass curve LOL! I did a search on "Joyce Murphy pattern alteration" (or something like that) and came across a blog post by Sigrid in October 2007. I looked at her pants fitting blog posts from that time period and found them extremely enlightening. So I'm still very hopeful for a nice, fitting pair with no bad a$$ issues.

I'll keep you posted on my progress. Can't see getting a lot done with drafting my own this weekend as I have to take the girls (GASP) back-to-school shopping. For RTW clothes--yuck. I hate mall shopping and didn't get that female shopping gene. Remember when fabric stores used to be in malls, like So-Fro Fabrics? If only there was one! I sure miss them. They could shop for RTW all afternoon while I perused the pattern books. But no. I'll just have to bring some paperwork with me to keep busy. Please...pity me. Me going to the mall is like taking a typical (most anyway) male to a sewing store.

Tomorrow is popcorn and wine cooler night! Yep, I'm one heck of an exciting girl ;) . I'll drink my cooler, enjoy my popcorn, and catch up on my blog reading which has been neglected for a few days.

Almost forgot, thank you to Kasey, Kim, and Sigrid. They gave me lots of tips on bras. Kasey gave me info on adhesive bras, Kim told me she bought a great one at Victoria's Secret (guess which store I WILL be going into this weekend!), and Sigrid encouraged me to try my hand sometime at making my own.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Perfect Pair of Pants

I'm on my quest for it.

I made up the pajama pants 3 days ago for DD#2. I used my serger and sewed them in (a very surprising way for the slow sewer that I am) super speedy. My only issue: They don't fit her! However, they do fit me very nicely. I thought I used the 5/8" SA's on the pattern last time but mustn't have. She needs fine tuning at the side seams and I must have forgotten that. There's no room to let out for extra room with my serged seams either. Last time I do believe I pinfitted the pants on her first. Subsequently, they are too snug around the pants in the crotch area, 3" above and below. The good thing is, *I* now have a very nice-fitting pair of pajama pants. I'll take pics later.

The past two days I've been working diligently on drafting a nice-fitting pair of pants. Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, I'm working on a pattern I've used before and rather like. Just working on tweaks, redesigning the crotch curve to match my own, etc.

I think there my still be some vertical fullness right below the crotch line. According the FFRP, it says to pinch out the excess to determine the amount, then take a tuck from waist to hem. Unfortunately, the excess is only in a 6 inch area. Above and below, the width of my pattern is fine. So what to do? I'll make these pants up again with all my alterations except for the tuck. Then decide if a tuck is warranted, but then I'll have to add width to the side seam above the crotchline and mid-thigh down to the hem. This will make for a VERY weird looking back piece on my pants.

The other option was to remove it from the back inseam at the top, tapering to 6" down. The only problem there is if I do that, I'll get wrinkles pointing to the inseam to let it back out. Solving one problem creates another. Really a catch 22.

Maybe I'll just bite the bullet and do a vertical seamline from waist to hem on the pants as a design detail. This will also help me tweak the area to reduce the fullness. So many options, don't know which route to take at this point.

But anyway, I'm going to finish my first pair of capris on the pattern and then move on to my cream-colored linen ones.

That's a plan :) !

Friday, August 22, 2008

New Projects

This morning DD#2 asked when I was going to make her second pair of pajama pants with the fabric we bought back in March. I told her, "Maybe today." So today I cut out her pair in the flannel-backed satin I bought from JoAnn's with a Simplicity pajama pants pattern--same one as before.

Also, I cut out a pair of capris with the computer-generated pants pattern from (maybe?) the Wild Ginger website from about 3 years ago. In a sudden brainiac (or maybe brainless) moment, I decided to pull out the Hot Patterns Jeanious Jean pattern that I haven't whipped up yet. What I did was copy the crotch curve from the HP pattern onto my computer-generated pattern. I tried the pattern on in tissue and am hoping for the best. The backside looked pretty good when I turned around in the mirror.

That's pretty much it for today. I wore my blue knit top with the black band with crystals out today. One of my friends gave me a compliment on my top too. That made me happy. The unhappy thing is finding the right bra where the bra straps just won't peek out. I was at Walmart yesterday and was looking at the stick-on bra cups. Only problem was virtually every box was open--they were all picked over! I'll have to look online for them. Any suggestions as to where?

Either that or make my own special type of bra. Someone reviewed a good bra book at Patternreview the other day and I'm hoping I remembered to save it to favorites. Bras are so darn expensive anyway, although the idea of making my own bra for the heck of it doesn't do anything for me. Just need one or two special ones with special straps that go a specific way with certain styles.

That's all for now. I'm beat and have to get to bed.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

My Favorite Jean

No, I'm not talking about pants either. I'm talking about Jean. As in Jean Haas. Several days ago I got an email from one of my favorite bloggers who was thinking about taking Jean's Darting Below the Beltline class over at Patternreview. I took that class (gosh, was it really 3 years ago???) and absolutely loved it! Jean uses technology for her on-line class instruction that I had never seen before taking her class. It is really awesome. Truly, you get out of her class what you put into it. Several class members who took her class with me and were really involved will concur as per the comments in my class review at Patternreview.

So, that leads to me to one of my projects I worked on today. I decided to make the cream-colored linen capri pants to go with my tie-dye Threads top. Hmm...which pattern to use??? I decided on a pants pattern that I downloaded from maybe PMB? All I remember is that it was some website that was trying to sell their pattern software which had two free downloads, and one was pants to the custom measurements that were input into the program. I made a pair of jeans, which later turned into capris (forgot about progressive shrinkage with my denim) from them and really liked the fit. Yeah, the back had the butt bags and the darts were a little off, but overall the crotch length was really nice.

So I pull out that pattern, dusted off my Sandra Betzina fitting book, and worked on the baggy butt alteration of creating a horizontal wedge just below the crotch line and removing a 1/2" of excess. We'll see how that helps out the fit. It *will* help, I just don't know to what degree.

Then I checked out my darts. This is where Jean comes in. When I first made these pants, I didn't know where, nor how long, my darts should be on the front and back pattern pieces. But since that time, I have much more fitting knowledge. I pulled out my duct tape pattern from the Darting Below the Beltline class and remarked my darts as per duct tape pattern.

Below are pics of the front and back. The "old" darts that were generated from the pattern are green. The "new" darts are marked in purple. Quite a difference in length, width, and placement, huh? That makes a huge difference in fit. After taking Jean's class, I also realized that a dart of improper width, length, and placement can also make one look heavier, rather than more shapely. A "misguided" dart has the unfortunate ability to add bulk, maybe poof is a more appropriate word, to places where we don't want to look bigger.

For example, on my front pants pattern piece, the original dart was too close the the CF. It was also WAY too long and far too wide. I'm fairly flat in the front, necessitating only a dart that is a total of a 1/4" width. The dart has to be placed where the bulge is, which is right at my hip bone. So I redrew the dart where it was supposed to be along with the length and width.

How did I know to do this? Here is my Darting Below the Beltline waist-to-hipline pattern pieces. I line up my CF and mark the dart adjustments.

Here is my back pattern piece. Notice the difference between the pattern's original dart (green), and my new darts (purple). That is quite a difference. I actually need two darts for a better fit of varying widths and lengths. And whew! Again, the length of the dart is way too long.

Here is duct tape pattern superimposed over the original pattern. Align the CB and the proper dart placement, length, and width is evident. The change has been made.

This is actually very simplistic, but it's an brief, yet accurate, overview of how I use my knowledge from the DBB class and apply it to commercial patterns. I deal with asymetry and for the most accurate fit have to use separate left and right fronts and backs for a the best fit possible.

From my four waist-to-hip quadrants, I have developed a self-drafted pattern of a straight skirt. I have also created a second duct tape waist-to-hip mold specifically for contoured waistband skirt and pant styles. You could even create one for pants with a back yoke like a pair of jeans. So many possibilities really, all with a personal, customized fit.

This class is coming up at Patternreview, and I highly recommend it. (NAYY) Jean is one of my favorite instructors and you get out of the class what you put into it.

Right now I'm going to get going on my capris. The pattern is a pretty good fit, just need to work on little things here and there. I was really surprised at how good the initial fit was from the downloaded from the sample website program. I'm hoping these will enventually be TNT with a little bit of tweaking.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

They Broke Me Down!

First off, let me just say that I don't particular care for New Look patterns. For some reason, maybe it's just the one or two I've used, they're such a bear to fit to my figure. However, I've seen many cute garments in pattern reviews that are so lovely. But still...nothing broke me down.

Until...seeing so many of Robin's great garments made from NL patterns (chip, chip, chip--the breaking down process had begun), then the whammo of Cennetta's version of this dress last week. That just did it. On my last trip to Walmart, I snagged the last envelope of NL 6749 pictured below:

What???? This can't be the same pattern as Cennetta's dress! Hers is much more beautiful than the pattern cover. I would have passed this over big time if I did not see her version. However, her lovely dress broke me down. And now I've added an NL pattern to my stash--first time in about 4 years.

So we'll see what happens. I really like that View D. However, the end of summer is quickly approaching and I don't know if I'll get to it. It would make a nice holiday party dress though.

But yeah, they both broke me down. I got the pattern--the only one added to my stash since March. Sure hope my eventual version will turn out as lovely as Cennetta's.

No sewing for today. Just nice sewing thoughts while doing housework.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Two Finished Tops

First off, I would like to thank Nan (Nan, I can't link to your page since you're anonymous) for her tube tip. I'm going to try it as it sounds like an excellent solution to my problem.

She wrote:

"Try should work with even really skinny tubes. First, on your serger with no fabric, run a chain of thread as long plus a few inches extra as the tube you want.Do not cut the chain from the serger. I know its a bit of waste of thread but...then place the tube of fabric you want to be serged under the serger foot (right sides togther) and lay the chain of thread inside the tube as you are serging it. You do not want to cut off the chain or serge into the chain so serge slowly and make adjustments as needed until you get the hang of it. Once you reach the end of the fabric you can remove everything from the serger and you should have a tail hanging out and the chain is enclosed in the tube. Gently pull on the tail of the chain and the tube of fabric will slowly work its way inside out and you should have a nicely turned tube.Hope this helps! I got this tip from Sewing with Nancy ages ago and it works like a charm.

I'm going to try that method when I get the chance!

For those two finished tops (well, almost because I ran out of hot-fix crystals), the back neckband on the black/blue one is almost done with embellishing, and I thought it could get done with one pack. So, it will have to wait until the end of this week when I get more crystals. I hate when little things hold me up like this.

Here are several pics of the "almost finished" embellished one:

Here you can see a closeup of the crystals. They look so much better in sunlight though.

I'll include the full scoop of the top in a review soon including alterations.

Now, here's a pic of the top from the July 2008 issue of Threads on p. 57. I really like it and am going to make matching capris in the cream-colored linen as in the front band. When I do the review, I'll include a pic of the back. I forgot to have my daughter that pic.

Here's a closeup of the front:

And also a pic of how swing-ey the front is:
Oh, my tale of woe! The tops I've been making are NOT bra friendly. I might have to try those stick-on ones.
Details will be in my reviews.
Stay tuned for tomorrow's post...The bloggers who broke me down!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Your Suggestions Would be Greatly Appreciated!

Still working on that tie-dye top. It's almost finished except for the ties. The first four ties I serged but the serging didn't look too nice. Chalk it up to a user that doesn't maintain her serger well. Ever since I started working on fitting (about three years ago), the serger has been neglected somewhat. I'm certainly not going to think about ripping out a serged seam when tweaking fit on my projects. So, yeah, it does need a tuneup and a new knife.

Which leads me to my current problem. I cut four more ties. Skinny little things too. I hate turning ties. It's not even a tube so I can't use my Dritz-Prym tube turner. Getting frustrated at this point and might cut off the end of my tie just so I can use the tube turner. I can fringe the end or something. I've tried this tube turner before, probably didn't have enough patience for it and swore at the darn thing several times. I've hinted about getting a FAST TURN TUBE TURNER many times as a Christmas present. (Yeah, that's a big hint for the family VIP's that read my blog ;) !) It's one of those little devices that would save my sanity.

So, how do YOU turn your tubes/ties. This is my most hated chore in sewing. I often avoid it like the plague by serging but it's not working this time. Your methods/suggestions are most welcome.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

It's Easy and It's Not.

Thanks Rhonda, Robin, and Kasey for letting me know my serger issues are not just me. Rhonda asked what serger I have/would like. I have a Pfaff Hobbylock 786 purchased in 1992. It DOES have differential feed LOL. It's not *that* ancient, just tempermental as of late. It really does need a tuneup and cleaning though. It's been 3 or 4 years since it was last serviced so I'm sure that is a major part of my problems.

Of course, I'll go into my sewing dealer, see the Babylocks, the staff will see me looking longingly, and start me touching and feeling the darn thing :) . Unfortunately, the price tag is not in my budget right now so the Pfaff will have to do.

Anyway, both my serger and sewing machine have not taken kindly to the fabric I'm using for my Threads magazine top. The serger was very finicky, my sewing machine was not liking the fabric at first. I changed to my stretch needle and things greatly improved. The fabric for the edge finishing kept getting caught in my regular foot so I switched to the clear satin-stitch foot. That made things a whole lot easier.

One thing about the top, I didn't see seam allowances noted in the article, guess I'll have to read it closely tomorrow. I used about a 1/2" all over. It's about half done. My ties have to be redone because I'm just not liking the serger finishing. I think my knife needs to be replaced. It's just not cutting the material very nicely before the serge stitching. My rolled hem samples probably would have turned out much better with a cleaner cut, but I chose not to use that finish because of my serger's "issues".

Here's the top thus far. Very bohemian, art deco, new age look. Raised the eyebrows of my girls too. I guarantee you, it does look better on me than Phat Chick. It swings nicely and lays better IMO.

I'm still liking it at this point. I have some extra cream-colored linen and was thinking about skinny crop pants to go with the top just like the ones shown on the model in the magazine. It could be a mini dress too. But the problem with that is I'd need some cute strappy sandals. Don't have those, and now we're headed into cooler weather soon so forget that option for now.

So overall, this is a VERY easy top to whip up--patternless too. But it hasn't been easy sewing the knit print fabric. And that really stinks because it should be easy if my machines were cooperating (and, uh, properly maintained--*user* issues there too).

Tomorrow I'll try to finish up. Unfortunately and fortunately, fall sports have begun. I'm in and out virtually every two hours dropping off or picking up all day. Makes it difficult, but not impossible.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Did you hear the thumps?

That's my head banging against the wall. I'm trying to find a nice edge finish for my knit top with my ancient serger. It's just not cooperating as well as I'd like. I think I'll just do a 4-thread seam finish. My rolled hem just wasn't looking right with the fabric wanting to curl over once it was done. Kind of like pane velvet when you cut it. Even a flat edge didn't look that nice.

Tinkering with my settings with the 4-thread regular seam finish looked clean and the fabric behaved nicely with it. And when the stars are in alignment with my serger, the finish looks professional. It took those stars about 90 minutes to get there though. Swearing under my breath while doing it, "It's time to get a new serger!"

Monday, August 11, 2008

Almost Done and Starting Another

The top below is almost done. This is the one where I widened the neckline. Originally I planned on making it a solid color, but I ran out of fabric so I couldn't cut two front/back neckline pieces. What was I thinking when I ordered this knit from EOS (over a year ago)? It is the rayon knit, I think, the one that is "Linda's Favorite". For some reason I only ordered about 1 1/4 yards, and my original intention was to make the Christine Jonson princess-seamed wrap top. Must not have been paying attention that day! Then I thought the black stretch moleskin in my stash would look nice and used that, allowing a bit of blue to be seen along the top edge. Not really piping, of course, but more of an accent of the blue.

As I was cutting out this top, I realized that this fabric might not have been the best choice for the pattern. It is a bit thicker than the lovely Metro Textile print I used for the same pattern two weeks ago and doesn't drape as nicely. On the other hand, it's more of a beefy knit and feels like a quality top, not the kind one would find from a mass merchandiser. Overall, I'm still pleased. I think the color will work well in my summer wardrobe.

Here's a closeup of the neckline. I still have to remove a bit of gathering stitches, and I started embellishing with size 16 black swarovski crystals from Sue's Sparklers . Of course, there were only about 15 left in my pack so they got used up and more are on order. Until they arrive in the mail, the top will stay on my dressform. The crystals will be randomly placed on the front and back of the neckband.

That's it for now. Tomorrow I hope to cut out all the pieces for my patternless top from a recent issue of Threads.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Things are cookin'!

My next summer top is almost done. Hopefully it will be finished tomorrow. Then I'll work on that Threads top. Lots of things cookin' on the sewing table at this time. However, nothing on the kitchen table though. Our family picnic went well yesterday, but my poor tummy is feeling it today :( ! It is quite mad at me. It reminds me of why I like to watch what I eat during the week. It's the garbage in garbage out principal--you are what you eat.

kasizzle asked if I was wearing my new dress to the family picnic. No, no skinny/slim dresses there, for sure. By the end of the day I'll be busting out of it LOL. Can't wait until tomorrow. Back in my normal eating and exercise groove.

Friday, August 8, 2008

My Jessica Simpson Dress

Every once and a while, I see Jessica Simpson wearing some type of cute, summer dress. I like to take note of it because she is a slim but fuller-busted gal and I like to see the kind of summer dress styles on her. Granted, some are cheesey (like that really matters to me LOL), but some are just so cute. When I made up this dress, I thought of some of her cute summer dresses; therefore, I dubbed this dress my Jessica Simpson dress. Not that she would wear something like this, I just thought it was a cute style for hot summer days.

It was made out of that "old lady fabric" DH comments about. But when he saw the dress on me today, his comment was anything but "old lady-ish" ;) ! In fact, I do believe the word he used was hot. So I had to rib him about that one. I wore my dress out today to run some errands. My black sandals looked awful with it, so I resorted to my dress flats. By the end of the day, I was walking across the school fields in my bare feet because of an ankle blister. Guess I'm just not used to wearing dressy shoes like I used to be when I worked. (Yes, at one time I DID work--just to remind DH :) .)

But I like it! It's a summery, cheerful dress. Exactly what I hoped it would be. I did my usual alterations including darting/transferring my front edge neck gape. It worked out perfectly and is shown below. I'll do a review in the next few days which will include the one little alteration I forgot to do. Can you pick it up?

Tomorrow is no sewing. It's our annual family picnic. We've made the cookies, fried chicken, fudge brownies, deviled eggs and will finish the prep tomorrow. The boys were a tremendous help this year. It's really nice they're all older and can really help out with things.

More later.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Finishing touches

My dress is almost finished. I'm putting on the finishing touches like ribbon around the top edge, handstitching the half-lining to the CB zip, serge finishing the bottom of the half lining and dress hem.

Later today I'll get out my serger and get that baby warmed up. We've haven't been as close as we should have lately and that's a shame. Hopefully I know where my needles are and will spend a good chunk of time setting up my threads and changing everything from regular serging to a rolled edge, test serge, etc. A jet-air Babylock it ain't! I dream about one of those...someday!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Summer's Second Wind

I'm getting my second wind right now. The summer projects are moving right along at an incredibly quick pace for me (being the slow sewer that I am it's kind of amazing).

My current projects, a summer top and a summer dress, are all cut out, interfacing is on the appropriate pieces for each project, the dress is partially underlined with Palmer/Pletsch Sheer Interfacing, and my darts are pinned for the dress and ready to be stitched. Both projects will be worked on at the same time.

Here's a pic of the dress front and back pieces partially underlined with interfacing. I would have pinked the bottom edge of the interfacing if it mattered, but it's not going to matter with this fabric. I underlined this area because I want it to be "crisp and fresh" all day, without the major wrinkled look. Seat belts, sitting in the car--that will make the dress look a little messy if I don't.

Also, I went to my local brick and mortar store today. There was this fabric that Ursula, the owner, showed me a couple of weeks ago. It is a fabulous knit print, but at the time I didn't know what I would do with it. Then I saw the patternless top featured in the July 2008 issue of Threads and knew exactly what the fabric would be perfect for. It just needed contrasting fabric, so Ursula picked out a cream-colored linen for the contrast band. She mentioned brown, but that's not my color. Cream will look better against my skin to match the print.

Here's a pic of the fabric and top:

The print fabric is like an EOS buttermilk and the creamy one is linen. I'm really excited about this top and so is Ursula. She said she had to see it when it was done. Now I'm off to work on things so I can get back to sewing.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Cutting day

Today is cutting day. I will kick my boys off the kitchen table to draw somewhere else for about an hour. They seem to instinctively know when I want to do something with my fabric because they make a beeline to the table. However, today I'm sending them downstairs to organize some books and other things. Before breakfast, they will clean up their crayons, markers, and papers they left out last night.

On the cutting table for today:

1. A knit top
2. A summer dress

Summer is quickly winding down so these have to be made up pronto. In September I will work on my Burda coat that I cut out last March (or thereabouts). There should be more time to get these things done. I resigned from my volunteer work last night, and it was a huge weight off my shoulders. Sometimes you just know when it's the right time to leave and it was time. Now I have some extra time to invest in some big projects without constantly being distracted by volunteer issues that kept creeping up all the time. In some ways I will miss my involvement, but I sure won't miss trying to solve the problems. In a way, it's a very liberating feeling.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Fitting Thoughts

This morning I was sitting in front of my dressform (it's not really that bad--it's right next to my computer) mulling over fit. I decided my darts were too long in the front and back, 3 1/2" to be exact, because they were not ending right at the top of the bump, whatever bump that was. Either my butt or my front hip bone/tummy.

So I took my pattern pieces back to the kitchen table and redrew my darts 3 1/2" shorter. Then I took a little bit more out at the side seams in the lower dart area to account for the extra width from bottom of the dart that will not be stitched because of shortening them. So that's where I am with fitting my dress. Then I got to thinking how appreciative I am of my fellow bloggers and especially their comments this past week.

Among them were the following:


Alexandra commented a few days ago, "...I agree with Linda, it's the fit that matters. I am a big fan of the Whatever Works method."

Likewise, Linda commented, "...I'm all for what works. I don't care what the alteration police say. It is the fit that matters. "


I think the predominant theory on fitting is to choose a pattern by one's high bust measurement. This DOES work for many people. I just don't like it for myself. It's the principle of possible pattern distortion with big alterations by working with a smaller size and the sheer number of alterations I'd have to do if I used a pattern by my high bust measurement that bothers me.

I have a fitting book on my shelf, "Every Sewer's Guide to the Perfect Fit." I love that book. IMO, it's philosophy is to choose a dress by the full bust measurement. That's probably why I like it LOL. I love FFRP, too, but their theory is a bit different. However, it IS noted in FFRP that choosing a pattern by the high bust measurement works for 90% of people. Maybe I'm in that 10% that it doesn't? I have had many problems trying to use a pattern by my HB (technically a snug 33 1/2") and I stopped using that recommendation. My base size is a 12 for patterns that have neck and shoulders and a 14 for ones that don't. And even though so many people seem to think that altering the neck and shoulders is difficult, I find it to be so easy. Why is that? Why do people think this area is hard?

Perhaps I have been influenced by my sister who is experienced in draping. She's a master of pinching, smoothing, and darting everything in place. I think many drapers probably prefer to fit from a full bust that fits. In fact, there are fitting experts that say, "FB What?" They don't know what a full bust adjustment is. They simply manipulate the fabric on the body or dressform. I like that concept. It's easy, doesn't require a lot of math, and it is quick. I think it works well on a duct tape, My Twin, or paper tape dress form too. Those mirror body quirks better than the commercial ones IMO, even with padding. The store-bought ones can't mimic my asymetry or fuller right side, but my DTD does.

Jean Haas' is one of my fitting idols. I took her duct tape dressform and pants form class several years ago. She does draping and is an incredible inspiration to me. Ditto with Shannon Gifford, however, Shannon is more of a flat pattern alteration person IMO. At least in her Patternreview classes I think. I have learned much from both these wonderful fitting gurus and their different perspectives. And that's exactly what they are--different perspectives, both with merit.

I think what I'm concerned about is that so many people are told, "Choose the pattern by your high bust measurement." But for some people, I don't know if that is the best sewing road for them to follow. It wasn't for me. I struggled for a year trying to follow that piece of fitting advice. And it IS good advice which works for many people. But it truly isn't for everyone, myself included.

This goes back to neck gape. Often people will post about terrible neck gape followed by responses asking if the pattern was chosen by the HBM. If the answer is no, then the recommendation is to do that. But you know, that opens up a new door of alterations--the FBA among other issues like waist and hip. It is times like this that I think, "Why not just handle the gape and be done with it?" If everything else fits fine, just tackle that one problem. This thought takes me to my current project, my summer dress. It's a straight 14. With, what I consider to be, minor alterations. Transfering the gape, shortening my darts, making the top of the back darts a little deeper, a little petite adjustment--all those are very minor alterations IMO. If I had chosen to make this dress by my high bust measurement and choose the 10, I'd have to do an FBA, make the waist and hip bigger, still work with the darts, fuss with the just seems so much harder.

But in the end, I think of Alexandra's comment about the "Whatever Works Method". Very wise and sage advice for fitting. Kind of like and I'm okay, you're okay kind of thing. Although my fitting methods seem far from popular than the standard MO of pattern fitting, it does work for me, just as others employ similar methods that work for them.

For those who alter like me, take heart in knowing (Twilight Zone type of music playing now...), We are not alone! :) I've often feel like I am, but it's nice to know I'm not.

Happy Sewing...and Fitting!