Tuesday, 20 January 2015

M6991 Top

I've just done  a Pattern Review of McCalls 6991

McCalls 6992 View A

Thank goodness for a skimpy black bra..

Here's my silk top looking all innocent and picturesque. I can tell you right now if it wasn't real silk in double sided python print gorgeousness this top would have come very close to ending up in the dark recesses of the Spare Wardrobe Never to see Daylight again. Thank goodness I have been sewing for forty something years (gulp!) and knew that the lack of clarity with this pattern's description/instructions/drafting were not my fault. For the full rant please do read the pattern review linked above.

Basically the problem anyone would have with this view of a potentially great pattern is that bias armholes drop and you can't get away with using the same size armhole for a sleeveless bias drape top as you do for one with a roomy sleeve. Also the instructions that don't remind you to stabilize first.

I mean, I should have known but I suspect a beginner would have been in a real mess with this, so I will repeat here what I said in my pattern review: 

Come on McCalls! Draft a separate front piece for View A instead of giving us a second top nobody seems to be making, and give us proper step by step instructions for a bias garment! 

Having ranted twice, I feel much better thanks. I like the top. They're the in thing!
I will wear it to an upcoming party. I'll consider making it in silk crepe, if I find the perfect can't-tell-one-side-from-the-other print. This one catches the breeze and turns into a balloon. Ok I love it anyway..

Keep on Sewing,

Friday, 16 January 2015

Raglan top Butterick 3030


Every now and then I stop at one of my favourite second hand stores in a nearby town. It is a large barn like space with lots of books and it has the best selection of second hand patterns of any place I know. I was looking for swim suit or lingerie patterns because I am concocting a retro style swimsuit for my daughter in an effort to come up with something that matches her sketch & description. More on that later.

While I was at it I found Buttterick 3030 to make DD a work top from material that she had bought. She just wanted something simple, pull on, wash and wear. She liked it so I made this.

I modified the back by putting in a CB seam and a sway back adjustment. Then I put two vertical darts for a little bit of waist definition.

Butterick 3030, now OOP 

I haven't had a chance to see the top on DD. It was a quick make and something she needs that will not look 'wilted' at the end of the day. If it works there may be requests for more ..

The pattern's now out of print. I did a search and it is surprisingly difficult to find a simple raglan sleeve top pattern for wovens rather than knits but I'm sure there are raglan sleeve dress patterns that could be modified.

Edited to add I just came across Simpicity 1195 cocktail dress  It has raglan sleeves and princess seams. It's just too cute as a dress though ..

Happy sewing,


Monday, 12 January 2015

Alder V neck Variation

Dear Bloggers,

It's not often that I make something thinking it will not suit me then prove myself wrong! (Thank goodness for quick, rough unfinished muslins!) I was unsure about this view even though I was happy with my summery cotton Alder which I had to take it in as it was very loose through the body.  It runs big. I hesitate to say that about any pattern..I may be short and I may have lost weight but I am neither small boned or willowy. This bod was born for the tractor, not the runway!

Anyway, after figuring out that the skirt variation would not make me look like the fore mentioned tractor, or a four year old, I went ahead and drafted it with a v neck. Here it is.

I should post a pic of my muslin, I will try to add one later. Due to the muslin I fixed a floppy v neck and raised the whole skirt of the dress to make this work.

Edit:  Here's pics of the unfinished muslin. Do you like my 'studio' backdrop? It was worth a try. I might go further to the right next time and move my table...anyway...here's the cheap poly that convinced me there was hope for gathers, as long as I kept to the inverted triangle shape of the dress..

While I was shooting I did a plain photo of the zebra dress. It reminds me of 'first day at school' shots..

The modifications:

I needed the skirt to sit 2.5 cm higher than the size 12 line, so I raised it to the highest cutting line. I had to lengthen the front skirt insert at the waist to match. I shortened the back bodice to match the new skirt side seam and raised the back skirt at the waist by the same amount. I then straightened the curve of the back bodice to account for my sway back.

BTW even though I cut everything to a size 12 I left fullness in the skirt both front and back by cutting 14 in width because of the softness of my material.

I added 1cm to the edge of the patch pockets, like before. I also added in seam pockets to the side seams of the skirt. 

The material is a lovely rayon from Spotlight. Yes I said 'lovely' 'rayon' and 'Spotlight' in the same sentence! I have not bought much rayon in recent years, I am used to it being thin and poor quality but this was thick enough not to need lining and gutsy enough to have drape but soft enough to feel nice. Amazing! It was hiding near the craft section, folded on card like the quilting stuff is. There were a few prints..some were quite tropical. I'm feeling tempted to go get more ;) When I prewashed it the was some shrinkage but the quality remained good. 

Even though I'd gone down a size from my previous alder I still raised the bottom of the armscye 1cm both front and back.  I added half a cm to the width of the armhole binding bands. It just makes them easier to work with. As before I shortened the length of the dress by 5cm all round then a further 2cm off the back dip, using my previous Alder as a guide.

Then I modified my pattern to make my v neck. I treat my patterns rough. I fold them, scribble on them and tape bits on to them...The beautiful thing about having a PDF is I can do something else later and print off some more pieces. 

First I cut off the self facing, leaving 3cm of width from the CF line as I was going to add my own facings.

To figure out the new neckline I pinned the shoulder yoke to the front body pattern piece (because the front itself does not go to the shoulder)  then measured my side neck to where I wanted the point of the 'v' to sit. This is your V measurement at the CF but - then go up 1cm for seam allowances, 1 cm for the fact that it will overlap, then 1cm for the fact that any curved neckline will tend to gape more than a straight line will. Then re-draw the new neckline with a gentle curve from side neck at shoulder level to centre front. If you look at my pattern piece you may notice that I also pinched out a skinny half centimetre 'dart' where my muslin had gaped.  

Basically measure to the start of your cleavage then go about 3cm  higher at the CF point of your 'V' - or to where you want. 

Here is Jen's Grainline Tutorial for V Neck Alder She scoops out the back neckline a bit as well, uses the cut on facing and just binds the neck. Her variation may make more sense than mine! 

Here's my redrawn neckline.

I  traced off a 6 cm wide facing.

My construction went like this:

Interface the front facings and one of the back yoke. I used very lightweight iron on interfacing.

Construct the fronts - do the darts, sew in the front skirt panels. sew on the facings and turn to the inside. Topstitch.

Sew the yokes together at the back neck, trim, press, topstitch.

Sandwich the front yoke seams between the yoke front edge seams and stitch, then turn inside out, grade, press then topstitch. 

Sew the back skirt to the back bodice.

Sew the back bodice to the back yoke seams.

Press under the seam allowance of the back facing. Topstitch in place over the back yoke seam.

Do the side pockets and side seams.

Do the armhole bindings. Do the hem, buttonholes and buttons and there you are!

My version is a bit fiddly but this is now my favourite hot weather dress! 

Don't forget Anne at Petty Grievances is hosting Jungle January. This dress is my jungly conttribution.



p.s. If you've come here from Pattern Review, welcome to my blog!

Monday, 5 January 2015

Alder Dress

A while ago when the Grainline Alder dress first came out I down loaded it, assembled it, took flat measurements, fiddled with it..then put it away. I think that was because I couldn't squeeze it out of my trial-run fabric or something. I got distracted with other things, as I tend to do.

Yesterday I finally pulled it out again along with this piece of stash batik print cotton and set to doing a quick Alder after half the blog world and then some had made it. I loved the Archer and this is so similar, especially to my altered Archer My Archer  ;)

I cut a 14 and found it too roomy then took the sides in to a 12. It is still loose, but in a good way. It has a nice swing.

There were not many alterations, mainly a sway back adjustment and  shortening the length by 5 cm and an extra 2 cm off the dip off the shirt tail. My body naturally does the high low thing so I'm carefull not to accentuate it.

I added 1 cm to the outline of the pockets as they are tiny. Yes my dress has  the patch pockets but  due to the busy print they don't show. Speaking of pockets this dress is screaming for pockets in the side seams.

I found the armholes go a little low and when I attached the self bias to the armholes I was careful not to trim any of the seam allowance of the armscye when turning down the binding and stitching it in place. If I make the dress again I will raise the armscye by 1 cm but go in a little bit at the top of the shoulder instead.

BTW if I hadn't taken in the sides of the dress by 2cm down the complete side seam the armhole would have possibly been to big to fix and that is the one thing I would be wary of in regard to this pattern.

Stylistically I guess the mannish armhole adds to the 'I chopped the arms off my boyfriends shirt' effect and it does not seen to be an issue in smaller sizes but just check! Measure your arm from shoulder bone to armpit and compare to the flat pattern armhole.

In spite of what sounds like a lot of complaining I have a feeling this may become my new favourite hot weather dress..

My next dilemma - will my zebra rayon become another variation of the Alder with gathers or does it want to be a Style Arc Lola ? Decisions, decisions.

*Actually I am wondering if the Alder with side gathers will a) be wrong for my body or b) be too .. ah.. young for me? Thoughts on this welcome. I don't want to be mutton dressed as zebra with frills :)  

Happy sewing,