Sunday, July 17, 2011

Game On!

In a supreme act of confidence or blatant self-delusion, I entered the "One Pattern, Many Looks" contest at As described in the constest thread, "The main focus of this contest is to see how you can make the same pattern look very different by using different fabric, trim and color combinations." So no major drafting changes, which is fine with me since I have, oh, zero drafting skillz.

I selected McCall's 2818, a Palmer/Pletsch, Classic Fit Pattern. My fabric is metallized quilting cotton purchased at Joann. I was hoping to end up with a wearable muslin. I selected my pattern size, 12, based on my high bust. After tissue fitting, I lowered the bust apex by 1" as always and cut my fabric. I encountered some difficulty during assembly easing the princess seams; there seemed to be quite a lot of fabric to ease. I'm surmising that the metallic finish on the cotton was the cause of the problem.

Anyway, once all the main pieces were assembled, complete with zipper I tried on the top. WOW, what a disappointment. There was quite a lot of excess fullness along the princess seam above the bust apex and the front seemed to be just a tad too wide above the bustline.

Being spatially challenged, I had no idea how the fabric I had pinned out of my top related to the flat pattern pieces so I decided to follow an excellent piece of advice from Belinda at
"Let the toile tell you how, what and where to alter."
My toile, or muslin in American-speak, certainly had a lot to say. I pinned out the extra fullness and marked my fabric. Then I took everything apart, altered my pattern pieces based on what the muslin was telling me. I was hesitant to recut because the new pattern pieces were dramatically different from the originals but I trusted my muslin, took the plunge and cut. And it fits!

There are still issues. First, my alteration radically changed the shape of the arm scye. I don't think I can alter my facings to match so I'm going to have to finish them with bias binding instead. Since the armhold facing was integrated with the neck facing, well, yeah...that's getting the bias binding treatment, too. Also, the upper chest is still just a tad too wide and I'm not sure how I'm going to fix that yet. I might just try a small, inverted box pleat at the center neckline edge. Not sure.

Anyway, I'm pretty sure my muslin will end up wearable, at least for knocking around the house and garden (good-bye farmer tan!) and I'm confident I can whip up a couple more of these before the contest deadline. So there you have it!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Black Linen

The other day my husband and I were getting ready to go out to dinner to celebrate my dad's 85th birthday. I was wearing this top and was opining...okay, I was whining...that I needed a black linen jacket to wear with it.

It's not as though I don't have a jacket pattern that would be perfect in linen. I do and how cute is that pleated peplum in the back?

I even have a piece of black linen. I'm just not sure if it's "the right linen" for a jacket. Hopefully, someone can chime in and help me out.

This is actually a linen/rayon blend that is fairly lightweight. Held up to a window, you can clearly see daylight through the weave. I think it might be too thin for a jacket, or at the very least would require lining. Does anyone have any thoughts on this? Too thin? A different design, maybe?

Not Quite What Was Expected

I fell in love with this pattern the first time I saw it; I really liked the bodice with overlay. However, when it came to actually making the top, the bodice with overlay caused me some problems. I needed to lengthen the bodice by 1 inch, which seemed pretty straight forward; however an unintended consequence was too much fullness in the overlay across the bust. I actually set the top aside for about a month and worked on some Christmas sewing because I was pretty stumped about how to remove the fullness.

So I finally took the plunge to finish is. I tried on the top and pinched out the fullness over the bust, which was about 1 inch at the side seam, tapering off at the bust apex. Then I took the whole thing apart and stared at it for a while. Finally, I decided to just position the overlay under the bodice with the placement that I wanted, smooth it all out and trace the outline of the bocide onto the overlay. Then I put it all back together and was grateful that it fit reasonably well.

The only other thing that caused me a problem, and caused me to scratch my head as well, was the sleeves. I have what could only be described as fairly burly forearms. But the sleeves, which on the pattern looked as though they were close fitting, were enormous. I first sewed them with the regular 5/8 inch seam allowance, tried on the top, and could only laugh; they were absolutely ludicrous! I ended up taking the 5/8 inch at the underarm seam, tapering to 1-7/8 inches at the hem! I'm not sure what was up with that. I'm pretty sure that most women would need to take them in even more.

The last thing - and this is no fault of the pattern - is that my top is far dressier than I expected. I'm sure this is due to my fabric choice. But now I have a really cute, fairly dressy top that I'm not sure where I will wear it. It's just a bit too dressy for the grocery store, gardening or scrubbing the bathroom. The photo on the pattern jacket shows the top in what appears to be a solid cotton knit. View A is drawn in a print and I thought it still looked fairly casual, which is probably where I got the idea that I could use the red and black jersey and have an every day top. My bad!

The top is still just a tad short from shoulder to bodice seam but other than that the fit is reasonable. As I mentioned, I would not recommend this pattern to someone who would need to lengthen the bodice unless they also needed a full bust adjustment. The other thing that happened by lengthening the bodice is that the v-neck took quite a plunge. So I tacked it at a more modest level. I also tacked the overlay to the bodice to keep it in place.

I may sew this pattern again, but it is far more likely that I'll try a wrap top that does not have a horizontal seam under the bust.

On the other hand, my husband loves it.

(Note: Garment was completed and reviewed at Pattern Review in January of '08.)

Adding to the Pattern Stash

Because you can never have enough, right?

Simplicity patterns were on sale at Joann today for $1.99 so of course I had to make a special trip to pick up a few items from my wish list.

I picked up six patterns for $11.94, a savings of $87.76 off retail. Not that anyone actually pays the marked price, do they? I don't think so. I hope not.

Of the six patterns, four are for jackets or coats.

S2150: I've been lusting after this one since I first saw it last month. I like View A, the denim jacket.

S2508: The white one is awfully similar to a coat my daughter's been wanting.

S2560: Oh, won't I just be the trendsetter in this one!

S2341: I have BIG PLANS for this one. More on that another time.

The other two patterns are for tops.



Two of the patterns - 2560 and 2364 - call for knits, which is pretty unusual for me. I really need to get over the fear of my serger and I love these two patterns enough that they just might motivate me to do that.