Friday, March 20, 2015

The Scout Tee revisited

Spring! Time to revisit the Grainline Studio Scout Tee. I made it a couple years ago and kind of moved on. Yes, it was hard looking at all the Scouts that were being sewn and reviewed back then. But without a bust dart, the tee just didn't fit me well. Other patterns beckoned.

A few days ago, I was going through my white blouses (my favorite color for tops) and decided I need a couple more. Something in a cool cotton, but with a bit of a sleeve. Lightbulb moment - why not work on the Scout Tee.

Adding a bust dart is really easy. Slash 3 times, spread, and cure - the Fit for Real People method. The pics below are from a tutorial on BurdaStyle, which uses the same method.

My only additional change was to narrow the side seam towards the bottom edge.

The sleeve alteration is easy as well. Jen has a tutorial for it on Grainline Studio! My new sleeve is 15" long, measuring from the top shoulder notch, and includes a 1.25" hem allowance.

Oh, I also cropped the tee - turned it up 4.5". 

Fabric: Paper White cotton broadcloth shirting from Fabric Mart. The skirt is a cotton jersey tribal print from Girl Charlee. And the pink hat is from CVS!

I really like this cropped look for summer skirts and  pants. Other things happening...changes in the garden (with help!).  I've been slowly filling in the 'warm' end of the garden - 3 additional areca palms,  a couple epidendrum radicans ground orchids, heliconia, and flax. I also put 11 philodendron bipinnatifidum in front of the fence. Funny, the birds don't like the white fence - but the philo's will be big and full in no time. This is Florida!

Bye for now - Coco

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Simplicity 1804 Knit Dress - a little different

I'm still using up fabric I bought to muslin my Mother of the Bride dress - like 6 yards of this cotton/poly jersey from Girl Charlee. The print is not quite my favorite, but the fabric is a perfect weight for this maxi from Simplicity.

The pattern has been around for several years, and I've given it a pass a couple times. But I liked the idea of the cut-on sleeves on View B and the little twisted front drape on View A. Worth a go...

In the end, I left off the drape and reshaped the sleeves :-) And my favorite part is the shape and fit through the bodice.  

Just a few sewing notes:
  • Sewed a size 14, which has a bust of about 37".
  • Raised the front neckline 2 1/2". The original neckline was low...which is OK for an evening dress, but not exactly comfortable for out and about. I've seen this worn with a cami to fill in the neckline. But why wear more clothes!
  • Lengthened the bodice, front and back by 2 7/8". Otherwise the gathers would have been right at my bust apex. I've noticed that a lot of sewists have made this adjustment to the pattern.
  • Added 4" to the skirt length, based on the waistline mark. But ended up removing 4" and still taking up a 1 1/2" hem! And I'm 5'7". Crazy. 
  • Left off the waistline seam elastic - the fit is close without it, I'm not sure why it's suggested.
  • Changed the sleeve by lopping off the pointy parts. I made them to the pattern first, I really did not like the points! Without them, the sleeve looks like a long butterfly sleeve.

I'm not over the moon on this one, but I think it's my fabric (that print)...the dress is really comfortable and has good lines. The bodice is so pretty - I'll try it again.

Bye for now! Coco

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Terra Pants - Fantastique!

Okay, I love these Terra Pants from Pattern Fantastique!

I think that, every once in a while, one hits on a pattern that just works - it feels right, looks right, is interesting, unique, and fun to sew. I've had such a good time the past 3 days, sewing this funky muslin of the Terra Pants.

It was hard to find any pics of these pants. I found a couple that weren't very telling, so I decided to just give it a go and hope I didn't end up looking bow-legged and drowned.

Actually, they're really cute, extremely comfortable, and, yes, a little bow-legged.  They also fit incredibly well! I love the narrow look at the waist that is accentuated by the fuller cut going down. And I think the cropped length provides a perfect balance.

It's so hard to see any details with all these dots, but here are a couple closer looks at the waist area. A nice wide waistband, chunky belt loops (a narrow loop pattern is included as well), and an open pleat on each side...

The slant pockets are structured, bagged, and sewn like those on a man's trouser - I think they're lovely and by far the nicest draft I've ever sewn.

A couple sewing notes:

  • I sewed the size 12. Nita-Jane and Ben, the designers/pattern makers, advise a smaller size to lift the waist and achieve a slimmer look. And a larger one for a more relaxed look, with a slouchy dropped front waistline.
  • I split the waistband at the center back (as on a trouser) and sewed the center back seam last, after attaching the waistband. This is a great way to keep the door open for backside and waist adjustments. 

Center back just prior to closing it up.

  • I had to redo the zipper insertion completely. The seam allowance in the crotch is only 1cm, and the instructions just can't don't set the zipper back far enough to hide it. Being a good sport, I first sewed the zipper using the instructions...then took it out, added width to the seam with a folded band, and redid the insertion. Ah. Won't do that again - I'll be using a 5/8" allowance for both the back and front crotch seams in the future.

    If you need help with the zipper - Jen, at Grainline Studio, has a great tutorial as part of her Maritime Shorts sew-along. Note: please increase your crotch seam allowance to 5/8" before you cut your fabric!

  • And I used a hook-and-bar closure at the waist, instead of a button. Buttons under a belt buckle make me nutsy.
  • The instructions. The drawings are great and the text is awful :-) If you have experience sewing trousers, you won't have any problems. If not, prepare to read carefully and perhaps back up your understanding with a google for more info. 
A view of the back, which has single darts and a nice fit. I opted out of the back pockets for this muslin, but the pattern comes with both patch and welt pocket patterns...and even directions for either a single- or a double-seamed welt!

Well, these are my new spring/summer pants! I've already ordered two print denim fabrics, and I also have a solid marigold twill that will make a 'dressier' look. I plan to crop this Salme Pleated Tee shirt (I'm not fond of fussing around with tucking in a shirt) and also make a couple cropped Pattern Fantastique Aeolian Tees to go with...

Ciao! Coco

Tuesday, March 3, 2015, yacht, or pants?

Fabric: Laguna stretch knit in emerald...the last of it!!

Kind of quirky, but I always look up the name of patterns put out by Indie designers. Like the Aeolian tee shirt (Aeolis, western Asia Minor, populated by the Greeks before 1000 BC?) Now I've sewn the Style Arc Lucinda pants. hmmm. A tiny town on the north east coast of Queensland. A steam yacht commissioned by the Queensland government in the late 1800's. Neither of the latter?

I was drawn to the clean lines (and cute drawing) of these knit pants and decided to give them a try. Style Arc made it much more affordable with their Etsy site - this PDF version was USD $8.50, and included 3 sizes (I ordered the 10,12,14 option). The new site, which is PDF versions of all their patterns, has me back in the game. Just the shipping from Australia is USD $14, which made the printed patterns really dear.

This must be a very new pattern. I found only one post, by sewing on the edge - thank you, Barbara! And no pics on real people from Style Arc. 

A few comments on the pattern:

  • Sizing - Style Arc provides finished garment measurements for a size 10. Somewhere, and I cannot remember where or find it again, I read that they have 2" grading difference between sizes. I laid out the pattern in both the 12 and the 14. Sure enough, 2" difference, 10 to 12 to 14.

    Caveat - these are knit pants. While the 14 has a generous waist and reasonable hip, I was concerned about the upper thigh measurement. Not the hip - on the leg, the thigh. The lower love handle place. Very few pattern makers provide this measurement. Yes, I'll share! On the 12, 4" below the crotch seam line, 24". On the 14, same place, 26". 
  • The seam allowances are only 1/4". I drafted my tissue with 1/2" seam allowances and sewed with a 1cm seam allowance, my favorite. The little extra allows for a nice clean cut at the serger.
Picture break...

  • I could tell from the pattern layout that it has a very short rise, front and back - I calculated the total crotch length at 27", including the waistband. So I added 1 1/2" at the center front, cured out to 1/2" at the side edge. And added 1/2" across the entire back top edge. And needed every bit of the extra length in the rise.
  • The inseam is generous - I'm 5'7" and took up a 2 1/4" hem. 
  • The pattern difficulty is rated as Medium. Actually, it should be Easy. But the instructions assume one knows how to sew a pair of pants. Pretty much 'sew the seams and add the waistband'. Nothing there for the beginning sewist. 
How about another Hot Patterns Joyful T, done in lightweight cotton/rayon knit...

Well, I'm not over the moon with these pants - but I might make some more. Maybe in a fun ITY knit! Style Arc recommends jersey or slinky knit. I think 4-way stretch is really important to keep away the baggy saggy knees and so on.

Bye for now - and goodbye forever, emerald blue/green Laguna stretch fabric from Craftsy!


Saturday, February 28, 2015

Made a joyful Joyful Top from Hot Patterns...

How did Mr. Lizard get in the first pic? Handsome little guy...

I've spent 3 days finding the joy in the Hot Patterns Joyful Top. And I've got it!

A preface: I love Indie pattern makers. So many new ideas and designs. I can spot a Koos or Tilton or Comey from a far distance. But the Indie designers are so much more fun.

Not always easy - their concepts might not match up with their patterns. But I appreciate the concepts. Which leads me into the Hot Patterns Joyful Top. It's a free download from Trudy and Jeremy, right here in Florida (relocated from the UK). With a little plug for a lovely charity, what a great pattern.

I was drawn to the pattern because it's such a fresh look. And I've been searching for new ideas for spring and summer tops.

Love it!

Fabric: Lightweight cotton jersey, Holly Lobby  Shoes: Kork Ease buffalo leather sandals, Sundance

and the back...

I know it's black and hard to see - but here are pics of the front flounce and back gathers...

From concept to reality. When I laid out the pattern, which is a PDF, 32 pages taped together, I could see that things were not what I expected. The back is not 4 or so inches longer than the front. The flounce is not really very long.The back yoke is very narrow, side to side, and very very high on the back. 

I have to take a break here and bend at the waist with an acknowledgement to Emily at Fabric, Thread, Clothes? Her review and post on this top is the only one I've found! There are no pics on the Hot Patterns site of someone wearing this top. Emily's muslin confirmed what I was seeing in the pattern layout. Thank you, Emily!

I made a lot of changes to the pattern, so I've just shown them on a copy of the pattern layout.

Edited to add a tip: just remembered! when you tape the pattern together, just butt the paper edges to one another. They aren't meant to overlap. You have to 'imagine' the lines flowing across the edges. I found this tip on the Hot Patterns Facebook page...after pulling out my hair and reprinting the pattern a few hundred times.

 Such a cute top.

Other sewing notes:
  • I sewed the size 12.
  • My neckline is finished with a binding, rather than a narrow hem. 
  • And I added sleeves. My right upper arm is bandaged, elbow to shoulder, due to my scleroderma, for 8 months now. Which is why you see so many garments with sleeves lately on my blog. I wear sleeveless around the house, but enjoy having things I can wear outside without a cardi! I used the sleeve from the Dixie DIY Ballet Dress, which worked really well. My change to the top pattern was a simple 1/2" extension of the outside shoulder with a little redrafting of the armscye.

So - I love my top. I'm sewing a white one tomorrow. I did put a lot of time into redrafting the pattern, but I enjoy this part of sewing. 

If you make one, you might consider widening and dropping the back yoke. And narrowing the flounce. I don't think this pattern would work well in woven cottons, but lightweight knit and chiffon, voile, mesh knits...yes.

Parting shot. The Easter bunny came by. Hope he comes back.

Ciao! Coco