January 25, 2014

Striped Dress in Navy Butterick 5453

Obviously I am currently sewing another theme: Stripes. I am digging them in this instant satisfaction project. Butterick 5453 (OOP). The pattern was a speedy sewing project even with my addition of a hem band and sleeve bands. The bands are merely rectangles cut the length of the hem and sleeve openings; folded back on them selves and then attached to the dress.
The neckline darts on the upper shoulders coupled with the raglan sleeve (that view C offered) is what drew me to this project. My typical shoulder adjustment for a set in sleeves could be avoided in this dress design, I could have adjusted the shoulder width but it would have been a 3/8" adjustment and my main goal in this project was to complete something stead fast from the stash and feel sewn satisfied. 
The contrast banding was not added exclusively for color effect, I did not have enough yardage. The navy is a stripe cotton stretch suiting, 2 yards which I found in the stash. Can not make the dress in one fabric, just add another fabric right? I scoured the scrap box and found a solid white cotton twill. The white contrast fabric has a surface texture in an Aztec design (1980's vintage scraps), it really does not show up in the photos and you have to get really close to the dress to see the variance but it is the right amount of quirky that really makes me enjoy wearing the otherwise traditional dress. 
As a rule I tend not to wear white, I am a sloppy lady, I spill diet soda or coffee on myself on a semi-regular basis. For some reason I thought I could get away with the white accents on this dress. Wrong. Prior to this impromptu library photo shoot I had dinner at Szechuan House and when I arrived home I noticed that I had dribbled udon noodle sauce on the dress!? I am the kinda lady that can wreck a frock within an hour. Thank goodness it did not show up in the photos also I got the stain out. 
Bad thing about instant satisfaction projects, I get super lazy and oblivious to problem areas. Now I can see that I really need to get back in there and contour those bust dart points for future wear or... I need to invest in a bullet bra.

Inner garment view front and back

January 24, 2014

Progress Update on the Challenging Coat Dress

This is the current internal state of my coat dress (I described the beginning of the process here). I know it looks quite scary but she is actually progressing beautifully. 
By no means is this project speed sewing. I am taking my time and even allowing the time to set all the seams allowing each to cool under the clapper. 
After stitching the darts I added the back stay to the upper back. The back stay will keep the shoulders and arms from stretching. Because this pinstripe wool is a stretch fabric which I turned to align the pinstripes to my liking I MUST reinforce the back and arm holes or it will be ruined after one wear. 
The sleeves were by far my favorite, I really love set in sleeves (Crazy right). I added  a bias sleeve head and distributed my ease in the sleeve cap. 
Then I steam set the cap securing the crimping . Making it a dream to set in to the body of the dress. 
For the record, working with wool is heavenly. 
Inner Sleeve View
The Stitchless Zipper
I have not been able to find an example of a stitchless zip for reference and therefor I am only working from the verbiage of  Couture Sewing Techniques by Claire B. Shaeffer
According to the text, in order to apply the technique the garment must have a backing. I am using a front facing as the backing along the front opening. 
 I have graded down my seam allowance to eliminate the bulk of the wools and interfacing
Then I Fell stitched the edges of the zip to the facing. The text says to stitch to the seam allowance but I will be adding a lining to cover the zip edges. Besides when have I not changed the rules?
As an extra measure I also machine stitched my zip to the facing. This was not a necessary step but it lets me sleep better at night knowing that zipper is never going anywhere. 
Finally I blind stitched the edges of the facing to the garment body. Not one of those zipper stitches can be seen from the garment front but by NO means is this a zipper that was not stitched. 

It is now time to add the lining and then the collar to complete the garment. 
I feel as if I did enough hand stitching with that zip... yet I am trying to persevere and blind-stitch the hem bands, wish me luck. 

January 18, 2014

Shift Dress Sew Along: My Unwearable Muslin and Standard Pattern Adjustments

Simplicity 3833, pattern size 14 constructed without alterations
I have never participated in a sew along but when Rosie Wednesday's Shift Dress Sew Along popped up in my blog reading immediately I jumped on board. I love 1960's and therefor I adore a good shift. A big plus, I had the pattern in my stash, so why not?! 
In case you have not gathered, I do not like to muslin my projects. I sew by my own special set of rules on the topic: 
  1. I will make a muslin if I am using my own patterning. 
  2. I will make a muslin if I am sewing for someone else. 
  3. I do not need to muslin a "big 4" pattern because at this point I have a pretty good idea how each brand fits and I can just use my personal measurements to adjust the pattern. 
Melody, then why would you make an unwearable muslin? Well you see, I always tell you that I have a standard go to set of alterations for my projects: "Square and broad shoulder adjustments and petite torso adjustment to accommodate my frame." 
After reading the lovely Carolyn's (Diary of a Sewing Fanatic) adjustment post for The Shift Dress Sew Along it occurred to me that maybe someone out there would like to see how I have to adjust my patterns. 
So I made the shift from Simplicity 3833 right out of the envelope, I used my high bust measurement (35" or 88.9 cm) to choose my pattern size (14), and as it turns out the fit leaves something to be desired. From the waist up the dress is NOT comfortable and I CAN'T move my arms. 
My face says it all
So as you can see a perfect fitting garment can be a little more involved than selecting the correct pattern size. Custom fit begins with accurate measurements and measuring your own back side is next to impossible, find a friend. 
The Vogue Sewing Book, Copyright 1970
Broad Back Adjustment
How to tell if you need this Adjustment:
  • Bodice wrinkles & pulls across fullest part of back
  • Tight when raising arms. 

Measurements needed: Back Width (8) and Shoulder (11) 
Broad Back Adjustment, The Vogue Sewing Book, Copyright 1970

How to perform the adjustment: 
  1. Calculate adjustment measurement: 
    1. Personal back width measurement: 16" (40.64 cm)
    2. Simplicity 3833 back width measurement: 14 3/4 "(37.47 cm) 
    3. Difference between the two measurements: 1 1/4" (3.18 cm) 
    4. Divide the difference by 2 (because you have two shoulders and you will be cutting 2 back pattern pieces). I will add 5/8" (1.59 cm) to the pattern for my broad back adjustment. 
  2. On the back piece, under the armscye, measure 5/8" (1.59 cm) down from the cut line and draw a line into the garment, then intersect that line up through the mid point of the shoulder. 
  3. Cut along the marked lines and slide amount calculated (from step 1). 
  4. Add a scrap of paper to the opening, tape to secure. Finish by redrawing the shoulder cut line and side bodice cut line. 
Broad Shoulder Adjustment 
How to tell if you need this Adjustment:
  • Armhole draws up over the shoulder causing wrinkles 
  • Pulls at the sleeve causing minimal ease for movement 

Measurements needed: Shoulder (11) 
Broad Shoulder Adjustment, The Vogue Sewing Book, Copyright 1970
Note: Because I have already adjusted the back shoulder width when performing the broad back adjustment (above) for this step I am only adjusting the front bodice piece to align the the shoulders.  
How to perform the adjustment: 
  1. Calculate adjustment measurement: 
    1. Personal shoulder measurement: 4 5/8" (11.75 cm)
    2. Simplicity 3833 shoulder measurement: 4" (10.16 cm) 
    3. Difference between the two measurements: 5/8" (1.59 cm). I will add 5/8" (1.59 cm) to the pattern for my broad shoulder adjustment. 
  2. On the front bodice piece, create a point at the shoulder mid point. Create a second point at the lower portion of the front armscye. 
  3. Connect the points. Draw a pivot from the point in the armscye through the seam allowance. Cut from the shoulder to the armscye point, then clip into the pivot without detaching the piece, creating a hinge. 
  4. Spread amount calculated (from step 1). Add a scrap of paper to the opening, tape to secure. 
  5. Redraw the shoulder cut line.
  6. Walk the Pattern. After the  adjustments, line up the front bodice piece and the back piece of Simplicity 3833 at the shoulder to make sure that they both are the same size. 
Square Shoulder Adjustment 
Square Shoulder Adjustment, The Vogue Sewing Book, Copyright 1970
For quite some time I was making my square shoulder adjustment by slashing from the arm and adjusting, because that is how I learned to do the adjustment from The Vogue Sewing Book. Then I happened upon a square shoulder method from Tanit-Isis Sews which I found works much better for me because I too do not need to adjust the armscye and add length to the bodice I already have a petite torso and enough shoulder issues. 
How to tell if you need this Adjustment:
  • Pulling around shoulders and armhole
  • I use the following tells: 
Measurement needed: Distance from dress to body 

Large Arm Adjustment
How to tell if you need this Adjustment:
  • Sleeve pulls due to a lack of wearing ease 

Measurements needed: Arm Circumference (13 & 14) 
I can not express how uncomfortable my arm is right now. 
How to perform the adjustment: 
  1. Calculate adjustment measurement: 
    1. Personal lower arm circumference: 8 3/4" (22.23 cm)
    2. Simplicity 3833 lower arm circumference: 9" (10.16 cm)
    3. Difference between the two measurements: -1/4" (1.91 cm). I will add 1/2" (1.59 cm) to the pattern for my lower arm circumference adjustment. 
  2. Trace the entire sleeve cap on paper. Draw line down the center of sleeve and the paper below pattern piece. Draw line across sleeve pattern piece 5/8" (1.59 cm) under sleeve cap. 
  3. Cut up through cuff hem line along center sleeve line; at the top clip to create a pivot. Cut into each side of the cross line creating pivots at each corners. Spread from center line amount calculated (from step 1) keep lower portion of sleeve cap aligned with original traced portion. 
  4. Trace new wider sleeve. Transfer markings, dart, grain line, and notches. 
I will spare you from viewing my sway back adjustment. I hope all my mess has been legible and helps someone.
At this point the upper bodice of  my Simplicity 3833 shift fits me and I am ready to cut the pattern! 

January 17, 2014

Lady Hoodie in Boucle

The weather decided to warm slightly this week so I ran outside to photo my lady-like peplum hooded jacket.
The pattern is McCall's 6442; it is described as a lined, wrap coat, with a flared lower edge. But when I looked at the line drawing I saw a hoodie, a very posh hoodie, a hoodie for a lady.
I figured I need a fancy fabric for my lady like hoodie, when I found a plaid boucle in my stash I felt it would fit the bill. And for a tongue in cheek Little Red Riding Hood effect I found a vivid red 80's floral rayon lining. 
Inner garment view front 
Inner garment view Back
Inner garment view cuff
During the set-in sleeve construction I cheated. Opposed to setting in 4 sleeves I opted for the standard two and applied the outer sleeve and lining to the finished jacket in one fail swoop. To finish my seams I serged all layers together. 
I also added a buttoning belt with carriers. I did not have enough fabric to make the tie belt and I liked the idea of a fancy closure. Breaking all the rules changed the front closure direction for no other reason than the fact that I liked how the hood liked at the collar line. 

Because I was limited by the amount of yardage in my stash I was not overly particular about the plaid matching on this project. I did however manage to sync up the back bodice and belt!
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