Sunday, March 22, 2020

It's just a number ...

Muslin alert... Finally back to my Tailored Track pant. This was one of the projects left out of my Sewing in the Sun packing due to baggage weight and that has been aging since pre-sewing in the Sun 2019. I cut this in an inexpensive plaid stretch woven as I wanted to see if I could successfully match the plaid across the seams as well as achieve the fit I want.

This was cut as size 16 with the following adjustments:
- flat seat adjustment of about 1" (added back at CB)
- about 1/4" added to back inseam,
- full tummy adjustment
- 1" added to side seams in the hip area
- the elastic casing narrowed to a single width for a 1.5" elastic

This is very much a case of over fitting and being stuck on a size number. Why do I say that? Because I was determined that a 14 would fit as an 18 woud]ld be way too big ... Because I fit a pair of 18 Tummy Tamers with a LOT less hassle last year. Last year was all about scrapping numbers and going for what works.  Different wearing ease and design ease means I need different sizes. There is no one size fits all - if there was, we all woudl not be sewing!

The challenge now is to tape a new copy together (LOVE pdf patterns for this!) and lay over the Tummy Tamers pattern pieces to compare the two and adjust where needed. AND the Mainsail pant fit perfect out of the envelope. Different amounts of wearing ease, I know, but that alone indicates that I am starting in the wrong place for this pattern.

My take away from this? I am awesome at matching even plaids! They even match at the side seams! And yes, I did tuck the sweater in for the photo, but it would not be worn thus, so the tummy issue would be hidden if I wear untucked tops; which I would do over an elastic waist anyway. So, here is another one of my famous blurry night time pics of Tailored Track Pant Muslin #1/
The buckle at the lift hip is because the elastic twisted and I did not notice until after I had stitched the ends and closed her up.

Still something wonky on the back inseam happening. And I am NOT liking the angle of the plaid.  Wonder if deepening the curve would stop that ...

All in all, a good first muslin.
You can see in the front view that the tummy still needs a bit of help. The back looks 

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

#HPHAPPINESS2020 - 1262 Last Minute Make Poncho Sweater

This is not something I would normally consider wearing, but my desk at work has a draft that tends to hit me on the back of my neck and chill my forearms. And I happen to have some stunning stretch velvet that would be amazing and a faux fur that coords perfectly. Problem is, I already have a hooded cowl made up in it. Am also pretty certain that fur would be too hot. As a warmer weather item this would work for me, mid Canadian winter, not so much.

So, am pulling one together as part of my New Year's sewing marathon. It will be lighter weight Ponte in grey with a rayon knit floral print for the cuffs and cowl. To be worn with (yet to be made) HP 1221 Plain & Simple Tailored T.

Initial version:
Size: 12
Fabric: Lightweight Ponte in grey for body, rayon print floral for cuffs and cowl
Alterations: None at cutting
Concerns: the cuff may need to be recut in a larger size for my fabic; will determine that once they are stitched. The Dolman sleeve is going to be a bit wierd under the winter coats up here, but I can deal for the short commute relative to the time at my desk. The hemline opening makes this a topper and not a top.

Construction notes:
  • Taping the pattern took me about 30 minutes; that is probably a bit slow, but I am dealing with tendonitis in my left arm right now so have to take breaks to stretch and re-position;
  • Do not be afraid that the bodice pieces look small ... the sleeves make up for that garment width. I had to keep reminding myself of that as I worked.
  • The hem bands do not call for interfacing. While that is necessary for the draping, I think that if you use lightweight knits for the bands and want some structure, you should use a super lightweight fusible on the band (Pam Erny has a super lightweight fusible tricot that I love). I did not  interface as I want to see how flowy this is on completion as is. also, my trim is an interlock knit, so it curls when stsretched. Easy to notice when pinning. :)
  • The front hem band is plenty long. The guide says to not stretch and there really should not be a need to. Unless my fabric stretched on its own, mine was just over an inch too long, perfect for laying it out and pinning on the flat (crucial for not stretching) and having some overlap at the ends;
  • Pinning the sleeves to the front and back is a must.  Similar to a princess seam, there is easeing that must be done.  So, stretch is a must for your fabric, unless you want ruching from the neckline down to the notch. I found that applying some tension to the fabric as Ifed it through machine worked perfectly to ease the fabric without puckering.
  • You really notice the shaping on the front arm seam ... it is subtle, until you pin.  It is almost saddle shoulder vice raglan.  The curve will be very flattering.
  • The guide says to "join the underarm seams, finishing at the hem bands". I continued stitching to include the hemband as those ends were unfinished. I am assuming that this was the actual intent.
  • My knit fabric must have shrunk a bit wile pressing as one cuff is tighter than the other. As I have larger wrists, I will have to increase the size of the cuff, or use a fabric with more stretch next time. The cowl was tried twice with the twist, but again, not enough stretch.  So that will not happen. If there is fabric left over after the T, I may make the cowl in a longer version and not twist it.
Here she is. I had to take off the knit top underneath as the ponte was dragging on it and looked sloppy. Hopefully that will noy happen with the planned coord T. As you can see, the front length is generous indeed.  I am a large busted gal and there is no adjustment needed in this pattern at all.  Imight shorten the front a bit for proportion. The only reason it looks even with the back is because I have one leg forward. Otherwise the front is longer.  So, either the front grew as I worked it (I did not stay stitch as the ponte is quite stable - perhaps I should have listened to Trudy?) or the design wants more length up front.

I can see this in a lux knit, perhaps something with some sparkle and fur cuffs and band.  This fabric is really too lightweight, I think, to pull off the look and do it justice. This was intended as a muslin, though, so am not worried. I can always go get some of the lovely cableknits at Darrell's for another one. Maybe in green if he has it.

When Mindy is wearng it, the hem is even ... I guess that means the extra length is a body growth issue and not a fabric growth isssue, lol! Will have to ponder that alteration a bit.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

#HPHappiness 2020 - HP1239 Beatnik Sweatshirt


Recap of First attempt details:
  • Size - 12 extended to size 14 in sleeve length
  • Version - faced neckline
  • Fabric - bamboo sweatshirt fleece
  • Changes - cut back on fold, reduced to remove seam allowance; top stitched the pleats in place vertically
  • Time - From opening package to topstitching the hemline, just under three hours
  • Concerns - Dolman sleeve and cocoon shape
Final version details:
  • Size - 12 extended to size 14 in sleeve length; extended arm length 2", narrowing slightly; adjusted sleeve facing
  • Version - collar band, extended one inch in depth to give slight cowl effect
  • Fabric - Red poly/wool boucle knit from Darell Thomas Textiles; facings are a rayon midweight ponte in black, not interfaced, but does give a hint of structure to the facings that the boucle needed.
  • Changes - other than the above changes, none
  • Time - From opening package to topstitching the hemline, just under three hours
The previous concerns about the Dolman sleeve are put to rest. Yes, there is a lot of fabric, but with this boucle, it is still lightweight and drapes so much nicer than the fleece. It will be a bit uncomfortable under some of my coats if I am wearing to work, so I will have to choose carefully on Thursday. other than that, I love this pattern.

I can see me morphing the pleating and the shape onto other sweater patterns as it sits PERFECTLY on my shape.  This one is amazing!

#HPHappiness2020 - HP 1239 Beatnik Sweatshirt


First attempt details:

  • Size - 12 extended to size 14 in sleeve length
  • Version - faced neckline
  • Fabric - bamboo sweatshirt fleece
  • Changes - cut back on fold, reduced to remove seam allowance; top stitched the pleats in place vertically
  • Time - From opening package to topstitching the hemline, just under three hours
  • Concerns - Dolman sleeve and cocoon shape


  • Could extend the hip to 14 at hemline if fabric has less give (like sweatshirting), not a need, but easier to get over the twins
  • Do not extend the hem facing without also extending garment
  • Adjust the curve on the sleeve/side seam as the hem is a bit too big and it is a bit visually bulkier than I want.
After wearing it around the house, I must say that I am really loving the shape. The pleats at the hemline are perfectly placed for my bust point and the entire treatment really is flattering. The Hi Lo hemline is the perfect proportion for me and provides the additional coverage and warmth in the back without being bulky in front.

My only spot that is giving me second thoughts is the sleeve. I live in Canada, where things get chilly. Wearing a t shirt under it last night had me grabbing a shawl to cover my forearms and the neck area. As the final version is for work, I think  the neckband will fix the latter issue. Am pondering an extended knit cuff to take it to bracelet length for that extra coverage. Am wearing a 3/4 sleeve t today underneath as it is quite blowy up here. So far so good, so maybe it was just the short sleeve that cooled me off?

Will post photo of final ... navy blue does not really show well on camera.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Ringing in the New

Last year I was abysmal at making the effort to sew. Lots of design ideas and fabric buying, but not much actual sewing. Lots of excuses, not many actual reasons.  This year, I am going to try HARDER.

Although I am not a fan of resolutions, last year I wanted to try something new as I vowed to make turning 50 into Fabulous. That led to Dragonboat on a rec team, then trying out for and then making it onto a competitive team. Since thatbworked out so well, I think Fabulous 50 deserves a Phase 2 - and that is where my sewing comes in.

I am going to make a minimum of one new garment a month, not repeating any patterns unless I do a redesign to the pattern. I am going to keep track of the Hot Patterns designs I use with the hashtag #HPHappiness2020.

Over the past years, it has become my tradition to spend New Year's Eve sewing something. I started early this year, as I have a goal of one new full outfit for work by Jan 6, maybe make this the start of a Christmas capsule? Which means RED!

Project #1 - HP 1239 Fast & Fabulous Beatnik Sweatshirt
I am tired of the standard hoodie/ sweatshirt. This seemed like a great way to update the standard sweater but with a retro flair. It reminds me of the outfit Audrey Hepburn wore in her movie "Charade". Here is the description from the website:

Loose-fit, pull-over, dolman sleeve
sweatshirt has a faced boat neck with
an optional banded collar, 3/4 length
sleeves & hi-lo hemline. Back has a 
center seam; your bust darts are
cleverly transformed into deep pleats
at the hem to create a cocoon shape. 
Hem & sleeves finish with facings.

A muslin will be needed as this is a relaxed fit which will mean I can go down in size. The Colman sleeve may be too generous of a slope for a busty gal like me, so that may need tweaking as well. The hemline shaping may need adjusting up to fit the hips.

The first attempt will be in a bamboo sweatshirting with faced neckline. Little stretch, so it will be best for the initial fitting. Final version will have the neck and be in a red boucle knit to make it suitable for the office.

My plan is to start with my base size 12, extending to a 14 in sleeve length. Will see how that works!

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