Sunday, January 30, 2011

Simplicity 2852/3634 – Fuchsia Frankenpattern Top

To come up with this top, I started with Simplicity 2852, view B.  I kept the sleeve cap but borrowed the rest of the sleeve from my holiday cowl top pattern, Simplicity 3634.  Two inches were removed from the hem to convert it from a tunic. I also lowered the neckline on the front yoke by two inches while raising it a half inch on the back.
I had planned to sew some pin tucks on the front yoke and add some pockets into the side seams with tabs and buttons. However, once I started handling the fabric I immediately minimized the details. The fabric is a micro-suede knit from  Sticky. Well, the iron wouldn’t slide over it. I resorted to blasts of steam, which actually worked quite well. The serger didn’t appreciate the fabric either, but fresh needles (Schmetz stretch, size 14) made a huge difference - no more skipped stitches. The Bernina and the coverstitch were fine. No complaints whatsoever.
So, a simple top to wear with jeans and those black pants I made last week.  The color is great, but I’m happy there isn’t more of this fabric in the stash…

Monday, January 24, 2011

McCall’s 5239, View B – Classic Fit Pants

I’m eager to sew the Schnittvision pants, but from prior experience I know my chances of success are enhanced if I first compare an untested pattern to one that fits. So, with that in mind, I pulled out view B of McCall’s 5239 and matched the front and back pieces to the Schnittvision pieces.  The clear plastic pattern is the McCall's pattern. 
I trace my patterns using 3 or 4 mil plastic sheeting. It is meant for covering furniture, floors, etc. when painting but it is great for tracing patterns too. Inexpensive and easy to find, I usually pick it up at Target though I've also found it at Wal-Mart, Lowe's and Home Depot.

From the crotch up, the patterns are quite similar (in size, not style) and I’m thinking it should work.  My concern is the close-fitting leg – looks like jean styling to me. Unfortunately, I’m in need of office appropriate pants. So, I’ve put the Schnittvision pattern on the back burner and sewn the McCall’s pants instead. Yes, I even used the stretch cotton fabric that was intended for the Schnittvision pants. I need to find a heavier weight stretch fabric before I attempt them. 
McCall's 5239
Schnittvision Vol. 7 Pants

The McCall’s pants went together without any surprises; boring but can’t be helped.  I tried to take some photos wearing the pants but none of the detail, fitting or otherwise, showed up.
They fit reasonably well and starting with a size 18, I've made several changes to the pattern: 
  • Shortened the crotch length
  • Shortened the inseam
  • Removed an additional inch from the top of the waist, tapering to the original seam allowance at center back
  • Added to the side seams from the mid-hip to the waist
  • Made a vertical tuck on the front pattern piece, incorporating the front dart and removing a total of 3/4" from the center of the front leg.  This is the same as the "flat back adjustment line" that is often included on the back pattern piece. 
And, as always, I sewed 1/4" twill tape into the outer edge of the pocket facings and into the waist seam.  The twill tape keeps those seams from stretching out.  One thing I didn’t do was to interface the hems of the pants.  I want to do that on the next pair and see if it makes any difference.
One of my long-term goals is to have a master pants pattern that I can use to make style changes.  I would love to try different types of pockets (including welt pockets), pocket flaps, etc.  However, it doesn’t make much sense to spend a lot of time on details until I get the fit thing figured out.
I’ve also put together another t-shirt Frankenpattern. Other than being much too long, it looks like it will fit.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Butterick 5555 – Loose-Fitting Top

I’d made this top several days ago and have been dragging my feet posting because I’m just not thrilled with it.  It started well enough as I made my usual pattern changes which included adding to the hem of view A (three inches) and shortening the sleeves (one inch).  I raised the center front opening about 5/8” while narrowing the bottom of the opening. I also added a strip of fusible interfacing to the part of the belt that wraps around the waist.  That will help keep the belt from folding over on itself.

The polyester fabric came from the local JoAnn’s or Hancock’s several months ago.  I don’t remember which. All I do remember is that it was an inexpensive (clearance) purchase and when I got it home, I wondered what I was thinking buying such a non-breathable fabric when it was so hot outside…
Shortly after I tried the nearly completed top on and walked around, the belt slid to my hips.  Disconcerted, I sewed thin bias-cut belt loops, opened the side seams at the waist and inserted them.  The belt loops corrected the slippage, but I bet I end up adding elastic to the waistline.  I’ll wear it a time or two first.  Maybe it will be all right.

In other news, I finally purchased the Schnittvision Neo Chic Collection, volume 7.  It contains thirteen garment patterns. I had first learned about Schnittvision from The Selfish Seamstress blog.  I kept postponing buying the software because it isn’t in English.  Really, it is straightforward after a visit to Google Translate. 
The software creates the patterns based on the body measurements you enter.  It takes fewer measurements than Bernina My Label to be able to print a pattern. And, like BML, seam and hem allowances are included. I bought volume 7 for the fitted leather jacket pattern, but to see how the software works I’m starting with pants. The pants require fewer measurements than the jacket. Also, right now I need pants more than I need a jacket.
My 64-bit operating system computer wouldn’t print the pattern but I had no problems when I used DD#1’s discarded 32-bit laptop.

The shipping cost from Germany to Texas was more than the software, but being curious, I ordered it anyway. Besides, due to non-use, I’ve opted not to renew my Burda Style subscription. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had one of those crazy-lined Burda sheets laid out on the sewing table and just laughed and snorted until I finally fold the pattern sheet back up and file it away. I do love the styles though and really want to be in a mindset to sew them.  And, that will eventually happen as those Burda sheets are still coming my way - DD#2 gifted me a Burda Style Plus subscription!

So, I’m trying something new. Have you sewn anything from the Schnittvision patterns?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Ottobre Woman 05-2008-01 - Simple-Yet-Elegant Pintuck Dress

As you know, DD#2 had asked me to sew a dress for her.  She went through my Burda Style and Ottobre Woman magazines and chose this pattern.   We traced a size 40. Her fabric selection came from either Fabric Mart or, though I’m leaning towards Fabric Mart.  I don’t know what this fabric is - a cotton Lycra satin twill?  Well, whatever it is, it is lovely and a great match for this pattern.
We put together a quick muslin before the black fabric was cut. That let us know the dress needed to be a little longer. Other than length, no alterations were needed.
After cutting the black fabric, I sewed the dress according to the Ottobre instructions with the exception of the center back zipper.  Per her request, I eliminated the zipper.  And, since there wasn't a zipper that meant I could do away with the center back seam.  I was fine with that, as long as she could get the dress over her head.  The yokes were interfaced with black Pro-Sheer Elegance interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply.  Good stuff!
DD#2 liked this thread color and wanted it for the topstitching on her dress.  To beef it up, I used two spools threaded into one needle and the Bernina, as expected, handled it well.

She loves her new dress and plans to wear it soon even though it is freezing here. This pattern is easy to sew and since the dress also fits DD#1, I know I'll be making it again!

Monday, January 10, 2011

(Guest Post) No, it's not a muumuu.

It's not a muumuu, despite what you were hoping.  It's actually a dress-in-progress.  "So, dress-in-progress is a euphemism for an XXXL muumuu, right?"  Wrong, but it's OK to dream.
My mom (who you know as Sew There Tammy) is sewing this up for me as we speak.  She lets me do some of the easy stuff, but let's face it: the only things I know how to do are regular stitch and back stitch.  And even those not so much, because I forgot to put the foot down yesterday while making the muslin and things got a bit too "interesting" for my liking.  I thought I had broken her machine, but that shows just how little I know about how the thing works. 

I helped cut out the pattern pieces, but pretty much that's the extent of my contribution.  Well, that and my obligation to try it on every 5 minutes when my mom decides once again that there is absolutely no way that this will fit over my gigantic head.

So here's what she's making:  Ottobre Woman 05-2008-01 "Simple-yet-elegant pintuck dress" size 40

I got to go shopping in mom's fabric closet, and I picked out the black fabric.  To make it a little different, I opted for green thread, which you can see in the top picture because it looks like white.  And there is a belt-thing that will rope the whole dress in.  Don't worry.  It's going to be OK.

(Guest post by blahblahblog.)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

McCall’s 6051 - Ironing Board Cover

Well, my first sewing project of 2011 is a replacement cover for my wobbly ironing board.  I’m the only one that uses the ironing board and then only while sewing.  It really should be replaced with a more stable model but I keep stalling as it does the job.  For years now, we have been using a garment steamer for our clothes because it just is quicker and we no longer melt or scorch them. Most of the time, the ironing board is out of sight (and out of mind) behind the laundry room door. 
The old cover, made about four or five years ago, finally developed a few holes and some brown water stains. The stains didn’t bother me much, as you had to hunt for them on the dark fabric of the old cover, but it was the holes that sent me over the edge. The original Teflon cover looked pretty good so I didn’t toss it. However, I did add another layer of cotton batting to the foam and quilt batting already there.

The fabric of the new cover is a Laura Ashley cotton purchased from Fabric Mart back in 2009. For a pattern, I used view A of McCall’s 6051. This is the first time I’ve used a pattern for an ironing board cover.  In the past, I traced the outline of the ironing board and added a few inches all the way around.  This was a $.99 pattern and I figured it could save me some time.
The instructions call for a casing made with double fold bias tape.  I skipped that and instead serged the edge and then attached the elastic directly to the wrong side of the fabric, stretching it as I zigzagged.
It’s good to have a fresh ironing board cover and for me, akin to eating black-eyed peas at the beginning of the New Year!