Monday, May 20, 2019

Diorella drama

I fell in love with the Diorella (HP1199) when it first came out a couple of years ago.  The neckline darting appealed to me as it was different from what I was seeing elsewhere. Like the La Strada T before it, this elevates the shawl collar to a whole new level.

The delay in me sewing it is beyond this blog. Water under a bridge of excuses and personal choices. What matters is that it is finally done. Twice.  In one weekend, too boot. Ok. One week, but there was minimal weekday work, and 90% of everything was done a week ago Saturday and today, so that is one weekend, right?

Since Trudy started selling, I have been sewing a size 14/16 top, depending on the wearing ease.  The 16 more to do with me being lazy and not wanting to alter for fit and it was deemed "close enough", the 14 because that was my "normal" size. Version 1 was done in a 14, no alterations as this is a loose fitted design. My front panel is a woven cotton that I loved the pattern of.  I thought it might be a bit too stiff for this, but deemed it OK for the muslin, so off to the races I went last weekend. And stumbled at the curve. Or rather, the pleats. They just would not lie the way I wanted them to regardless of clipped curves and basting. I KNEW it was the fabric. Sigh. The fit was loose even with the Gals being what they are, however, so off it went for a week, half done.
The pleating looks not too bad on Mindy, but it is not as flattering in reality because of the fabric. (see below for comparison shots)

Reflecting over the week on what was going wrong, I was frustrated.   Since the Sewing in the Sun session, where normal was tossed out the window to the gators, I decided to go down a size and used a very lightweight knit fabric for version 2. I added some to the sideseams just in case and because the neck o the 14 felt too restrictive, I added an inch to the CB neckline seam and to the back yoke piece at CB as well. Hindsight, I needed the neck, butcan take out/add shaping at the sides as there is enough wearing ease without what I added.

I like the armhole binding treatment, but recommend stitching down the seam allowances at the binding area so as to not have irritation there. That is the one downside to the binding in the flat.

The cut on facing pleats require careful choices of fabric. The woven cotton was not drapey enough for the hanging over the bustline.  There was the fell of tenting happening, so CF shaping was added. The knit onionskin, draped oh so much nicer. Note to self, do not wear the paisley knit with dark pants ... that is the shadowing under the thing fabric.

All in all, I am happy with the top. Will likely make a 3/4 length or long sleeve for cooler weather,

Sunday, March 24, 2019

UFO Sprint - part 1

I am blessed to know and be friends with a few writers. They allow me to encourage them and to comment occassinally on their works in progress.  One specifically, has returned the favour by pointing out to me that when I was complaining about body image and size that I can sew. So I should DO SOMETHING about my issues that way.  Captain Obvious moment, I know.  But she had a point.

So, this weekend, whilst Sasha is writing, I am working in my shop in solidarity.  I am in the world of the UFO - the Unfinished Objects.

Task 1 - mend 2 pair of RTW pants (completed)

Task 2 - add lining to jacket conversion since Spring is teasing us, I need to get a jump start on the spring office wardrobe. Will post before and after shots of this when completed.

Task 3 - finish a pair of pants from the Florida  trip (hangs head in guilt that they are still not done), but the goal is to wear them with the jacket conversion this week! Feel free to nag me ...

Task 4 - cut and sew new top to complete outfit. Not sure if this is realistic for today, but am going to try. If not tonight, then will aim for tomorrow.

Sewing in the Sun 2019 - Post script #1 Muslin, Muslin, Mulsin!!!

Aside from the amazing pant progress, I came away with some other thoughts from the weekend.  Seeing as this is my place to ponder, I am taking full advantage of my own platform.

As I want to keep these posts from being over long, I am going to deal with these in separate posts.  Here are the four areas I will be covering over the next few days:

  • Sometimes the obvious is not the right path
  • Patience matters
  • Fabric choices matter
Muslins. To some an unnecssary evil, a tedious trial, a painful process or something to be avoided.  I am one who used to avoid them on patterns that were easy or not fitted as they seemed to be redundant. Why take the time to muslin a T shirt/A line skirt/shift dress/ {insert your choice here}?

Because it matters.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Sewing in the Sun 2019 - Tummy Tamer Pants

These were a challenge pant. A challenge to my personal view of myself. Can I wear a close fitted pant and not look like a sausage?  I have an aversion to under dressing my age, and slimfit were not in my comfort zone. This weekend was a way to confront all those self images head on and just blast through.  I bought this pattern because Pam Erny posted about how she loved them and that she had reduced the height of the cut on waist and still maintined the shape.  That convinced me to try, and I ordered the pattern and some aubergine stretch twill just for that design.

At last!  After teasing the Tamers, here they are...

Pattern details:
Pattern size: 18
Alterations made to be carried over to other pants

  1. Muslin 1 - 2" added to side seams; used cutline for size 18 as seamline
  2. Muslin 2 - full thigh adjustment from Miracle Pants added (approx 1" across the fullest part of my thigh running from crotch to knee)
  3. Muslin 3 - thigh adjustment increased
  4. Muslin 4/Prototype 1 - massive amount of fabric pinned out (yes, you can have too much of a good thing, in this case stretch of the fabric)

Muslin 1
Muslin 2 - Post thigh adjustment

Muslin 3 - reduced thigh adjustment

The final result are in a black poly stretch woven, so the detail won't show in the photos, so here is what you cannot see:

  1. The high waist has been lowered to suit my rather short ribcage
  2. This really stretchy poly meant that I could eliminate the back zipper
  3. This really stretchy poly meant that I eliminated the front darts
  4. No length added to the leg
  5. Final side seam was stitched with a slight bump at the top of my leg for shaping.  That is the unpressed bump you see in the photo below (compounded by the tucked in top)

Due to the stretch in the black poly, we (meaning Trudy - I just stitched it) changed the full cut on waist facing to  "Hollywood waist" a new term for me. Basically, we stitched an elastic to the facing and turned it to the inside and crack stitched it. This prevents the waist area from growing through wear. Also due to the fabric, we tweaked the crotchline at the inseam and reinforced the line with bias twill tape.

The biggest change to the pattern was the thigh adjustment.  I went into this weekend with a blank slate, akthough I was certain the issue that plagued my front was a tummy adjustment and hip adjustment.  After all, there is a pooch and some hips happening underneath, so that had to be accounted for, right?  WRONG.  My thoughts on this will come in a different post - where the obvious really isn't.

This pant took 3 muslins before Trudy said those terrifying words "You are cutting the next one in fabric! Oh yes, you are!  Do you trust me?"  I realized I really did, although it came across as deer in headlights and doubt. I was just so overwhelmed at the changes we were making on the fly and how successful they were.  By the time I was cutting into the next version, others were into their second pair. Not because I was hard to fit, but because we went incremental in the adjustements and the fabric.

Version 4 was in a 4 way stretch navy pinstripe. We watched it grow on me as we pinned it closer.  As we basted and fitted it right side out, I need to transfer all the new seamlines to the inside and then restitch.  That one is sitting in the suitcase for completion at home. No photos of those, I will take them at home and post them when they are complete.

Version 5 took the new muslin and went into the black poly I am wearing home. Note that I tucked my top in so that you could see the waist hip fit. So there is some lumps showing from that.  And the fact that I only had one cup of coffee to this point.
Front view
Back view

While I really want to make these in the aubergine, I am starting to think that I need to revisit the Tailored Track Pants and redo the muslin with the proper alterations

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Sewing in the Sun 2019 - More about Muslins (Tummy Tamers)

Tummy Taming Trousers v.01
Pattern pieces - Size 18

What I was told to do
- cut in a woven fabric (prefereably muslin) and add 2" in width at the side seams only. Add invisible zip, stitch darts down, put fronts together, then backs, then stitch from crotch seam down for each leg, then pin/baste sides

What I did:
          • cut the pattern in a size 18
          • no alterations to the pattern
          • folded the waist facing down to better guage the waist placement
          • Did all the stitching as advised. 

Close up of waist facing folded down
Traced pattern - green original cut line; red 3" cut line

Those are some very deep darts ... lots of shaping around the belly to be had there. Or not. Depending on if they are sewn on my body.

There is zipper extension at CB - this is important to notice as the instructions make the seam allowance here LARGER than the 3/8" stated. This provides more real estate for your zipper, which I like. I may enlarge it further in the final as I like facings.

LOVE the hip curve ... because well, I have some curve of my own. Thus the need to fit pants with help!  Take a look at the shaping on this puppy!  The stitch line shown is on the original cut line for the 18. The seam allowance is the recommended 2" for side seams only.

The instructions say to pin from the side as you should be able to reach and do this.  (Note to self - enroll in yoga classes as twisting and turning to see around the bustline is a laughable event, especially when wine was involved!)  I was not able to do this effectively, resulting in some bent pins as I tried to pin the waist/hip area. So I used a pencil to mark where the pins should be and then basted that way.

My intent was to stitch the pieces together so that all the seams were external.  But my brain did not send that memo to the hands that pinned and fed the fabric to the machine.  So the inseams and darts are inside and the side seams are outside on this version.

What the first muslin looks like (with the attempt at fitting the sides):

Here is the unaltered fit (again just the 2" on side seams) with a belt drawn on as I am adding belt loops on:

Again, the thigh work and we are also shortened the waist height a bit.  There is some reshaping over the CF seam and possibly the CB  as well.  Am cutting muslin 2 now.  Will post the after as well.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Sewing in the Sun 2019 Q&A

People are asking questions so I thought I would compile my answers into one place for the whole series of posts. This will be updated if people post more.

Debra919 said...
What I want to know is how difficult it might be to add 2 inches to the sides with no lines to guide you... how do you do that, and are you supposed to know HOW to do it if you take her class?
Debra, it really is simple. All I did was layout my pattern on the fabric, trace around it and then mark 2" away in a different colour and cut on that second line. Flipped the pieces over and did the same on the second piece.  Here is a sneak peak of the second pattern at that stage.

Unknown said...
Hi Lorna, congrats on it your strong leg thighs( and cute butt and properly fit belly).
So your thighs had to be increased in size, to remove the back wrinkles? Jeanie
Yes.  Areas with more real estate need more coverage AT THAT LOCATION.  Adding to the side seams did not release the stress point where I needed it.

Sewing in the Sun 2019 - Unexpected Miracles

This series is NOT intended as a set of fit lessons. I am not an expert. This is just a record of what I am doing this weekend, for my body type with these patterns. This is not intended as a summary of the lessons learned Sewing in the Sun weekend.  This is just my projects, in the rough, with personal commentary.

This series is NOT going to be a complete review/play by play or substitution for attending the session.  What works for me will probably not be your solution. This became very obvious today, when all of us stood up and described the same fit issues (from our individual points of view) before we put out muslins on for analysis.  We all said the same or very similar words. But we all ended up doing did different alteration packages to achieve the same results. Why?  Because what we THOUGHT were our problems, really were not.

I have spent the past 20 years sewing pants. I have sewn jeans.  I have had varying levels of success before my weight and shape changes.  I had assumed that because I gained, I had to add where needed.  So I began chasing the Doormouse down the rabbit hole. Never getting where I needed (yes, I know, Alice chased the Rabbit, but Rabbit gives me wine, so I chase the Doormouse.  Because I hate Mice).  The amount of time I have spent never getting rid of wrinkles, frowns and smiles is legion.Other than my jeans, I usually wear a fuller trouser, so the issues that came up with the Tailored Track pants and the Miracle Pants were not as obvious and thus ignored. The more fitted pants, however, brought it front and center.

Thighs. Stairs, walking, hiking and a few years wearing combat boots have given me strong front thigh muscles.  By reading all the wrinkles and so on in the many books and DVDs, it seemed obvious ... it was crotch length and depth ...right?  Maybe?  Ish? Is the moon green on a Wednesday in June? Who knows?

Trudy knows.  She said your crotch is fine.  The bum is great (why thank you, lady!) and you really are OK in the belly. "But here ..." I pointed.  "And here?".  She shook her head and said "That is NOT your problem.  Your problem is your thighs. Lift your leg and see what I mean."  My head is still spinning.  Thighs. Not my belly. Way to boost my ego!  I have lost the weight of my world.  My belly is not the problem.  It is my thighs.

Two rounds of hacking and slashing later (and discovering that I had cut the inseam of the front at a size 20 and NOT the assumed 18), I cut into the ponte.  AMAZING!!!!  No wrinkles. Everything drapes so much nicer.
Edit point: This is where I also add that I cut back the inseam on the back one size to the 16 from the crotch seamline down. I maintained the crotch at th size 18 lines.  That, and folding up the hem, removed the back wrinkles in the muslin.

Somehow between muslin and ponte I lost height at CB, so I am doing an external application of the elastic.  (Had I remembered to add the Trudy suggested extra inch to the waist when I cut the ponte, this would not be a problem.)  As these are more of a lounge pant weight, it will work. That will be tomorrow morning.

I am NOT posting pictures of the alterations. I do have them, but I have been getting requests and messages asking for my notes so that people can follow along and use my alterations for their solutions.  As I learned today that does not work. So, if you were hopeing to see a play by play of this session, you won't.  You saw the before, you will see the after.  The in between, you will get highlights by text.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Sewing in the Sun 2019 - Musing about Muslins (Miracle Pants)

This series is NOT intended as a set of fit lessons. I am not an expert. This is just a record of what I am doing this weekend, for my body type with these patterns. This is not intended as a summary of the lessons learned Sewing in the Sun weekend.  This is just my projects, in the rough, with personal commentary.

The urge to start fitting this pattern was almost overwhelming!  It is like washing and styling your hair before you go get it cut ... you just HAVE TO, right???  So, here is it is ... all in its unvarnished and unaltered glory.

What I was told to do:

Cut the pattern in a woven, add 2" to the side seams, stitch the fronts together, stitch the backs together, then do the inseam from crotch down, per leg. Pin the sides together and baste (remember my yoga comment??? That reappears here!).

What I did:
I did all that. :) 

Rear view, unaltered, side seams pinned on original cut line, s. 18
What a nice crotch curve that is ... such a  nice fit, you say. What you do not see in this photo is that the pattern is not fitted as close as it should be (Ithink) and then there is the major gap between the fabric and my back. Could be sway back or hollow back or just MYBACK.  Regardless, there is substantial space there, this IS the elasticated waist, though.  My fear is that the back will have too much bulk as is... I think something needs doing there. Then there is all that mess below the curve. We will see what tomorrow brings as this is a common occurence for me. 

Side view
 So, the side view shows that I am officially off balance. That could just be me twisting in the photo frame, but I suspect not. The front needs more of, well, everything except me! See next photo for that proof of life ...

Front view
So, this nicely shows that lovely hollow at the top of my thighs that causes issues with every pocket I add to pants that involve the side seams, also showcases my lovely belly below my button and the crease that lies above it.

When I was working on the Tailored Track Pants, I had similar issues and tried to self diagnose.   I did a full belly adjustment that bled over into other adjustments that led into still others.  At that point in the tailoring rabbit hole, White Rabbit hopped by and offered me a bottle of wine and said quit while you are behind and make something else.

So my lovelies, you have seen me in all my glory ... tomorrow, this pattern gets the Trudy treatment. Stay tuned!

Sewing in the Sun 2019 - The prequel.

A year ago, my friends Trudy and Jeremy over at Hot Patterns designs offered an extended weekend of sewing IN FLORIDA and aptly called in Sewing in the Sun.  I was swamped in deadlines at ork and could notn make it, but immediately added it to the budget and calendar ont he off chance it would be re-offered in 2019. After all, a weekend in JANUARY in warm and sunny Florida or stay at home in near zero (F) temperatures in Canada .... really, is there a choice?

When the 2019 event was posted as a pant fitting session, I jumped at the chance to get in on the action!  I booked myself in and put that budget to work! As this will involve fittings and photos and notes, I am going to summarize my thoughts at night and present my weekend immersion in pant fitting.

First off - the patterns.  The designs chosen by Herself (Trudy) for the weekend were two that were sitting and aging in my stash. While I do not mind fitting pants, I am not an expert by any means, and am never quite satisfied with the results. Mostly because I am never satisifed with the body shape wearing them, I suspect (but that is a whole other blog series, I suspect).  The two patterns were never sewn up because they intimidated the hell out of me. Both are intended for stretch fabrics and are close fitting. While I have sewn knit pants and stretch woven pants, the narrow pant and design scared me away as I felt it would show all the lumps and bumps unless I modified them so as to be a looser pant. Which defeats the purpose of the design.

So, I went shopping with the Senior (she who used to be called the Diva, but outgrew that stage and is now in her senior year at HS). She forced me into narrower styles and advised that she "would happily be seen in public with me if I wore them". High praise indeed!  So, fear hurdle jumped. No excuses.

Here are the patterns and my impressions:
HP 1127 Tummy Taming Trousers - a stretch woven, high waisted narrow pant with optional ankle crop length and CB zipper

  • Narrow pant - see para above. No excuses.
  • High waist is a new style on me. I tend to feel like I am short waisted, so this could be a fit challenge. BUT no excuses  - Pam Erny, respected sewer and interfacing goddess supreme loves hers and she decreased that height and still kept the look. So, no excuses.
  • CB zippers and I have a love/hate relationship.  I have a hollow type back/sway back (not sure the difference) and a curvy bottom, so invisible zips that could split are not my fave.  BUT those are fit challenges that I can overcome. So no excuses.
  • Stretch woven is a godsend for an office worker who sits most of the day. AND I have stash bought just for these at the time. No excuses.

HP 1227 Miracle Pant - a narrower knit pant with flat front but elasticated waist with an internal elastic application that eliminates the sweatpant look.

  • Narrow pant (insert broken record soundtrack here, LOL!)
  • Elastic waist with flat front - means I can wear to work in the biz casual office with a jacket
  • Ponte pants mean ultimate comfort - why not???
The task before arrival was to cut out a muslin of each pant, using a woven, fitting close to the body.  And bring fabric.  So I did. I am sitting now, typing in my hotel room in Florida. I left snow squalls and plummeting windshills today and am now sitting in capris and a tshirt.  About to go get some sun. :) More about muslins in the second post.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Spadina musings

Now that I have the garments chosen, I need to finalize fabrics and patterns.  I did some block draping with two knit prints that will be tops and the two skirt fabric options.

Tops - Pucci print and a silk jersey paisley
Skirt - wool grab and lightly felted wool

I also draped the Pucci as a wrap style dress.  I live the colours, it is most definitely my colour path, but am worrying the print will wear me rather than the reverse if I do this in a wrap.  I have never worn a large scale print like this full body.  Huge leap here...