Friday, October 29, 2010

Getting the perfect fit....

I use Singer "The Perfect Fit" and Palmer/Pletsch " Fit for Real People," to guide my alterationtechniques. I love these books. I learned my lesson the "longer, more expensive way" a few years ago. I lived in California at the time. I decided I wanted toenhance my sewing skills by taking a tailoring class at a local community college. I had owned Singer's "Perfect Fit" and"Tailoring" for years before that, but felt it couldn't be enough to just read the books. Silly me.... My sewing instructor seemed to be teaching these books word for word (for that matter, "technique for technique"). I learned a lot in the classes, but I also learned that Singer, Palmer/Pletsch, and Ledbetter/Lansing (Tailoring....) are pretty much all I need. I do love watching sewing shows and any other tutorials I find on blogs. I wish there were more sewing bloggers who did video tutorials/vodcasts (hint, hint ladies....:-)).

I began the jacket with the standard alterations for me: Full bust alteration (FBA), shortening the gaping neckline, and reducing the bunching in the upper back. Almost every completed jacket or top I’ve ever made gave me problems with the neckline (e.g., too much cleavage or gaping). So, the neckline alteration is pretty standard for me now. One inch will usually suffice for the correction. It’s the same for the back—I find it makes for a smoother look in the back if I shorten the upper area by one inch.

The FBA is also a standard for me now. I’m getting pretty good at doing them from memory. If you're a C-bra cup or larger, you probably need to make the alteration as well. If you find that your tops, dresses, and jackets pull across the front, you need the FBA. I think it takes some practice to build your confidence in this particular alteration--especially if you're altering a garment with princess seams. A one piece front is fairly straight-forward, but a princess seam and/or designer embellishments can make the project more complex. Incidentally, the front piece shown above doesn't illustrate the last alteration of lengthening the front one inch to accommodate the changes made to the side front. A few months ago, I spent an entire Saturday in my craft room doing FBA on seven patterns. I made other alterations to the patterns as well, but the practice on the FBA was invaluable. Vogue 1042 uses snaps 5/8” fabric covered snaps for the jacket closure. I intend to use buttonholes and buttons instead. I love a beautiful button, so it’s an excuse to head to one of the local fabric shops here in town to find some nice ones.

I'll update again once I've cut out and begun the assembly of the jacket. Blessings, Vita

Monday, October 25, 2010

I’m setting some big sewing goals for the next few months and into the new year. My current project is Vogue 1042. I think it’s from spring 2010. Anyway, I like the off-white iteration on the pattern packet. I have some off-white suiting I’ve been looking forward to using. Although I like the jacket and slacks combo, I’ve chosen to go with a Claire Schaeffer pants pattern instead, Vogue 7881. I love the pants. I went with the couture view and lined the pants as well. I made only one alteration to the pants—I’m a little thicker in the waist, so I added an inch to it. They handled the change well—it didn’t seem to distort the design at all. I know this will be a favorite of mine. Claire Shaeffer's patterns are great! I have several of her jacket patterns as well. I can't wait to make them.

Moving on....

Well, I’ve started a new project…. My biggest challenge is overcoming my disappointment when a garment doesn’t progress as I’d like. I don’t mind “do-overs.” They just tend to zap some of my energy. I did, however, gain one valuable lesson from the brown suit attempt (Vogue 8543). The full bust alteration (FBA) I made to the jacket worked out well. The fit was beautiful. I will finish the jacket at some point and, perhaps, pair it with a print skirt for the spring. After the skirt went bust, I used a basting stitch to assemble the jacket just to check the fit—a sort of “pseudo-muslin.” It was great. It confirmed that I had a pretty good handle on the FBAs. I’ll be back soon with updates on my new project.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Brown skirt is a BUST! But there is HOPE...!

That's right...the skirt is a bust! I just couldn't work out the alterations for a smooth looking finished product. I was, however, able to make good use of the jacket that had already been cut out. I made some major FBA changes to the pattern. I went ahead and constructed the jacket just to see how the alterations looked. In short, the brown fabric became a sort of "muslin test." It fit beautifully! To actually construct the brown one, I'd have to deconstruct, interface, reconstruct and add lining. You get the picture.... At any rate, I look forward to trying the garment again with a basic fitted skirt. I'll need more practice on altering the Vogue skirt before I attempt it again. I still have my muslin for the skirt, so I'll do more work on it. I hate do-overs, but here's to MOVING FORWARD!!!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Passing on the legacy of sewing....

I had a great day today!!! I spent half the day teaching a friend to sew her first skirt. She picked up a pattern and some muslin yesterday at lunch. I was impressed by uninhibited she was as she looked for her first pattern. She didn't focus on what she might be able to make; she simply chose what she wanted to wear!! The pattern was McCall 5817. I was committed to helping her get through whatever first project she chose. It was amazing to watch her enthusiasm as she learned to prepare the pattern, make basic alterations and cut out her first pattern pieces. She even sewed her first straight and curved seams with ease! I'm so excited for her.... We made it as far as completing her basic skirt test garment w/two kick pleats (except for the waistband). Within 15 minutes of leaving my house, she called back to thank me again for getting her started. She also mentioned that I shouldn't be surprised if she has a new sewing machine by tomorrow. I really enjoyed watching the budding seamstress find her sewing rhythm. Whoo hoo!!!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

This skirt...aaarrrgghh!! (Vogue 8543)

So, the suit is coming along. I needed to make an FBA for the jacket. These are pics of the skirt. I'm not thrilled over it. There's too much fullness and curve in the high hip area. For me, it made the alterations challenging. I love the look of the seams with kick pleats in the back, but they don't translate well during execution. The seams in the hem make it bulky. If I do it again, I'll eliminate the pleat and just work with the seams. I may work on the jacket this week, but the skirt's outcome has me a little frustrated with the whole project! More later...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Vogue 8543

This is my current project. I have a beautiful chocolate brown poly/gabardine for it. I'll keep you posted.

Whoo hoo! New blog to chronicle my journey in pattern therapy. I've been sewing since I was 12 (a long time ago). I love sewing; however, I can never find the time to sew as much as I'd like. I'm committed to spending more time sewing than I am updating this blog. See ya along the fabric highway!! Marvita