Sunday, February 28, 2010

Round 2 - Muslin for Kwik Sew 3360, View B

I have reviewed the knit fabrics at Tammy's Fabric Emporium and I am stumped.  I need to make a fabric selection for the second muslin of Kwik Sew 3360, the mock wrap t-shirt.  None of the knit fabrics here are what I want to use for this top.  I even made a trip to the local fabric store.  Nothing.  They had nothing that I could use.  I do not want to wait until I can order something.  So, I am going to sacrifice fabric that is already here.  It may not be the best choice, but I suppose it doesn't have to be.  If I am pleased with the style and fit, I can purchase other fabric. There is always more fabric.  Right?

During this time of indecision, I have been browsing eBay looking at old sewing patterns.  I see so many that I want to buy and I have to exercise great self-control.  I have been surprised at the quantity that are in my size range.  The Vogue designer patterns from the late 70's and early 80's are my favorites.

I have also spent this time researching, via Google, pattern weights.  Looks like folks use all sorts of things, all the way from hockey pucks, quartz crystals and beyond.  Many use gigantic flat washers, doubled up and wrapped in ribbon or fabric strips.  I have some rocks, gathered from Whitefish Point on Lake Superior, that I am going to try out.  They would look fine in a bowl or a basket near my cutting table.

I think winter is about over here, so I need to get busy with summer styles.  I like 3/4 length shirt sleeves for the office and I skip the jacket.  My typical uniform consists of shirts with either pants or capris.  I rarely wear skirts or dresses.  I am not sure why.  So maybe I should make a few and figure that one out.

Wish me luck with the mock wrap.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Muslin - Mock Wrap T-Shirt

I took my Bernina My Label t-shirt pattern and used it to modify Kwik Sew 3360, view B.  This is a mock wrap t-shirt with a faux tank/camisole.  There are overlapping left and right front pieces and an inset that is attached at the side seams and the armhole fronts. 

The pattern instructions have the front left and right layers hemmed as one piece. I believe this is what causes the wrinkling. The inset piece sags as it is not attached at the shoulders.  It isn't any prettier on, though it does fit.

Three layers of fabric for a t-shirt?  I never wear jackets or sweaters indoors as I tend to get too warm.  Yes, I did indeed know that there were three layers before I started.  But, I was hoping....

I like the style and if made from quality fabric and accessorized, this could work in a business casual environment.  I am going to skip the inset (I will replace it with a tank/camisole from my closet) and redraw the side front piece to eliminate the overlapping bulk.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Muslin for Simplicity 4366, View C

Yesterday, I sewed the muslin for the pants.  It is now resting comfortably in the kitchen garbage can.  It was going to take too much work to get the pattern to fit me properly.  I am moving on.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Shirt - Review

It makes me smile!  The fabric is lovely, quirky and comfortable.  And, it fits!

For the button placement, I simply put a pin at the bust point and measured the distance from the collar band center to the pin.  I split the difference (4") and used that amount to distribute the rest of the buttons. 

Before sewing, I did not trim the collar and stand pieces.  I used the 5/8" seam allowances given.  No problems.  The pattern pieces for this shirt all matched up well and the sleeves eased in like they should.  There will be more shirts in my future!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Shirt - Done!

The shirt is finished and I will post a photo tomorrow.  I am not sure how the print will photograph, but I have to say that I like this shirt.  And, I am pleased with the My Label software!  It worked!  I have made three of the styles from this software:  the tunic, the t-shirt and, now, the buttoned shirt.  This software creates sewing patterns based upon your measurements.

As this was the first attempt from this pattern, I didn't want to dwell on fine sewing technique.  Therefore, I did not flat fell the seams or spend a lot of time on top-stitching.  I am not thrilled with the way I sewed the buttons on.  This was my first shot at sewing on buttons using the button sew-on foot.  I need to do some practicing before my next buttoned project.

Next up - the muslin for Simplicity 4366.

Randomness (read "lazy")

Yesterday, I visited Etro at Prime Outlets – San Marcos. They have beautiful stuff, I tell you. Just beautiful. The fabrics and colors spoke to me. Of the items there, the shirts made the biggest impression. All had the same, classic styling but with bright, detailed prints and made from silk. I almost cried looking at the well-made buttonholes......

I purchased the “Shirtmaking” book by David Page Coffin a few months ago and I am just now getting a chance to read it. There is a wealth of practical information offered and I look forward to incorporating some of the variations into my shirt pattern.

More on the shirt interfacing: I fused the interfacing to the fabric for the collar, stand and cuffs before cutting those pieces out. In the past, I always cut the interfacing pieces separately from the fabric pieces. No matter how careful I was in cutting the pieces out, the interfacing pieces never matched the fabric pieces. I often fused the interfacing overhang (and there always is overhang!) to the ironing board. Fusing and then cutting is better.

Another improvement that I have been thinking about is using a rotary cutter, a self-healing mat and the accompanying pattern weights instead of scissors and pins. I already have a small rotary cutter and mat that I had used for crafty things a hundred years ago. I need to create a few prototypes of the weights and see what works best. I have seen diverse items used: canned goods, large washers, small bean bags filled with uh, beans…..I need to think about it.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Shirt - Quick Update

I used the Pellon Shir-Tailor interfacing for the center front bands.  The other just seemed too lightweight to support the collar.  It was a good call.  Hopefully, I will get a chance to finish this today.  The white buttons I have are not a good match to the white in the fabric.  The larger ones are too large, so it looks like it will be the smaller purple ones.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Sorry, got sidetracked......

Check out this link at the UNT Digital Library: Work Clothes for Women. This little gem is Tammyriffic and summarizes what I am trying to do.  Namely, my clothes are to have the following qualities:
  • Action room - my clothes need built in room for movement
  • Design for service - simplicity and function, no extra frills
  • Cloth to wash and wear - no dry cleaning, please!
  • Becoming color - enough said!
  • "Safety first" features - to protect from clumsiness: no loose parts (dangling tie belts, drapey sleeves, etc.)
  • Time saving styles - easy on/off clothing to keep dressing time to a minimum
FYI, the fabric sample from my last post isn't junk.  It is screen printed Vera Wang , 99% cotton, 1% Lycra.  Well, it won't get finished talking about it.....

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Planning the Shirt

Here is the fabric I have selected to use for the shirt.  It is fairly lightweight and has a bit of stretch to it.   At first, I didn't want to use this striped fabric due to the vertical darts.  But, while I was out this morning, I saw two women that were wearing fitted, striped shirts and the stripe/vertical dart combinations were fine.

I have three types of buttons that would work for this project.  Two are pictured here. The smaller ones match the purple stripe and the larger ones match the navy/black color of the petals. I also have some white buttons that match the background.  I will decide which to use when I get to the buttonhole stage.  As for thread - whatever is in the drawer that matches.  I found some Pellon Shir-Tailor fusible interfacing for the collar and cuffs and a fusible lightweight for the center front bands.  I have read, in more than one place, that shirts should not have fusible interfacing.  But I have also read that it is the only way to go.  I will be using fusible for this shirt.

The fabrics I have gathered together are not exquisite.  Mostly cotton/silk, polyester and a few rayons.  There are also several knits, suitable for tops.  I did not purchase any wool as I want fabrics that are machine washable and dryable.  These fabrics were purchased because they were inexpensive and came to me, for the most part, with free shipping.  Whatever garments are made up, at this stage, are really just muslins. That I get to wear them is a bonus.  Once I have patterns for basic garments that fit, I will define a wardrobe path and follow it.  I do not plan on purchasing more fabrics until these have been made up.  Brace yourself.  You will be seeing some interesting prints.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Shirt Muslin

I've tried it on and cannot complain. The center fronts overlap without stress, my arms move freely and the sleeve length is correct. As this is a muslin, I did not set the sleeve in properly. I pinned it in flat and basted it - puckers and all! Same for the cuff. Before cutting this out, I will trim the seam allowances from the collar and stand pieces to 1/4".

Monday, February 15, 2010

Thinking about the Shirt

Knowing my preference for comfortable clothing, I purposely left off the front and back vertical darts when I traced the shirt pattern. I have reconsidered. I need to know how accurate the software is. Well, to be honest - the quality of the measurement taking.....I also need to know how this shirt will fit if I intend to manipulate darts to create other styles (I do intend to). The button placement looks off to me. Shouldn't there be a button at the bust point to hold everything together when you move your arms? And, what is up with the 5/8" seam allowance for the collar and stand? All this before I have even sewed up the muslin......

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Shirt Pattern: Traced and Initial Pattern Fitting Complete

I traced the shirt pattern, using 4 mil thick plastic sheeting - the type that is used for painting drop cloths. I prefer to use the plastic instead of paper. It is easy to find - this came from Target. It is wide and transparent. Strength is a bonus as it doesn't tear like tissue paper. I save the larger scraps and sew them together to use for the next round of tracing. I won't win any prizes for pattern beauty, but I can live with that. This looks like it could work. Let's see how it translates into fabric.

My Label Shirt Pattern

Last night, I printed the My Label shirt pattern. Low on printer paper, I opted for the Burda method, laying the pieces atop each other. This makes for 12 sheets of printer paper versus 36 and means less tape, too. The downside: now I will have to trace the pieces. could be worse. Unlike Burda, at least the seam allowances have already been included. Printer paper has been added to my shopping list......

Friday, February 12, 2010

Fashion Modeling

So, Frankenpattern t-shirt and pants. The pants are from McCalls's 5537 Palmer/Pletsch Classic Fit. I started with a size 18W and took off 1 5/8" from the top of the waist and took in the side seams, beyond the 1" seam allowances given, from the waist to the knee. I also shortened the legs. I used this pattern to sew up another pair in a grey stretch gabardine. I have traced the pattern for the BWOF 01/2008 #132 pants. The 01/2008 issue that I have is in German. Thank you Adam for the instructions translation! They may be next or maybe the My Label button shirt......don't know yet.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Another Frankenpattern T-Shirt

Well, I bought the thread. One spool. It was 50% off. Simplicity patterns were on sale too. 5 for $5. I picked up three.

The t-shirt has been completed and I will wear it tomorrow with a pair of black pants I had made about a month ago.

Frankenpattern T-Shirt

This is a t-shirt that I made a few weeks ago. I have already worn it a time or two. It was very easy to put together and other than the fabric, all that was needed was thread and a few inches of clear elastic to stabilize the shoulder seams. To come up with the pattern, I traced my Bernina My Label t-shirt front pattern piece and, using a ruler, drew several lines from the center front neck edge to the bottom corner, stopping right at the hem fold line. Then, cut, spread and taped the pieces down onto another piece of paper. The bell sleeve was borrowed from Simplicity 4076, morphing the upper sleeve from the My Label tee. I spent about $6.00 on this shirt. No, that doesn't include the My Label software. I spent $299.00 on that. The software expense gets to be spread out long-term and I am not including it. And, how would I? Gentle readers, please let me know as I have no idea how many of my garments will come from this software. To hem the bottom and sleeves of the t-shirt, I used the Bernina blind hem foot, #016. It worked perfectly with this sweatery type fabric. I have used a twin needled to topstitch other t-shirts that I have made and that has worked too. The chosen method just depends on the fabric and how close the thread match is to the fabric. This t-shirt meets the following requirements:
  • It fits
  • It is comfortable
  • It is easy to construct
  • It is needed in my wardrobe
  • It is machine washable
  • It is inexpensive
The sleeve can easily be changed, and as the weather becomes warmer, I can see matching this pattern with 3/4 and short sleeves in many styles. Pants are my biggest challenge. I need business style pants that flatter and are easy to construct. Front pockets are a necessity, as is a fly-front. Both are easy. For the fly zipper, I use Sandra Betzina's method from her "Power Sewing" book. Only, I reverse the directions to have the fly on the right side. I do not include a fly shield. Maybe, in the future.
Off to the fabric store for thread. Here's hoping to 50% off.....

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Simplicity 4366, View C

This is a "Threads Magazine Collection" pattern. I think it is out of print as I have had it for a few years. This afternoon, I cut a size 18 of view C, bootleg pants with a curved waistband and rear pocket flaps (decorative only), out of some black polyester nastiness. When held up to the light, the fabric is transparent and it feels unpleasant on the skin. Perfect. For a muslin.

Before cutting, I attached the fly extension to the center front. Lazy? Yes...especially as it is a muslin. I also shortened the legs by about 2". While the table was folded out, I cut out a t-shirt. A variation from my TNT Bernina My Label basic tee. I was ready to sew it up, but I couldn't find a good thread color match in the thread box. So, tomorrow I will go to the fabric store, fabric sample in hand, and purchase some. Tell me, how likely is it that I will walk out with only the one spool of thread? Hmmm.

My Tools

This is my fine Bernina 930Record. I bought the clear extension table from Love it!

This is my cutting table. Actually, it is a game table that I bought at a flea market about twenty-five years ago. The top turns and folds out to become much larger. The only thing that could be better, is if it were a few inches taller.....

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Sew it begins....

I want to use this blog to record my clothing construction journey. The goals are:
  1. Clothing that fits me

  2. Clothing that I enjoy wearing

  3. Clothing that I am proud of
This past year or so, I have been unable to find anything that fits right or that I am happy with. Most shirts are too short in length with sleeves that are too long. Pants that meet to fasten at the waist are too big in the hips. Petite length pants are too short and the regular length is too long. I do not enjoy making alterations.

Last summer, I took a leap of faith and purchased the Bernina My Label software. After taking and re-taking and entering many measurements, I have been able to print some patterns that fit. I have made a few tunics and several t-shirts. Next, I want to create a classic button shirt that fits. And, pants....I want pants.

A kind friend has given me a Bernina 930 sewing machine and I also have a Kenmore (I think it is a Janome) serger that I have had for years. The Bernina 930 is fairly new to me and each time I sit down with it, I learn something new. Tonight, it was how to make a decent buttonhole. Along with the presser feet that came with it, I have bought 3 pintuck feet (eBay) and a foot that sews buttons on (from the local Bernina store). Yeah!

And, for months, I have been purchasing fabric from (mostly $1.95/yd.) and ($1.99/yd.). It is all prewashed, folded and ready to go.

All is in place. All I require is the time and energy to produce. For now, I need everyday clothing. Shirts, pants, capris. May it happen.