TRB with LH Cuff

I knew when I purchased this off the net (possibly fabricmartfabrics), that it would be a blouse, slightly oversized, with long sleeve. I love to make long sleeve blouses in multicolored prints.  I like to wear them over  T’s and Tanks for climate control, but also because I think the multicolored print pulls together i.e. finishes a look.  For that reason, I stitched this blouse with 3/8″ SA instead of the 1/2″ it was fit.  I want just a smidge more ease when I wear it as an over blouse.

I have several prints in my stash I want to use as blouses. I’ve been delaying making these blouses, for want of a perfect-fitting, sleeved blouse.  After my TNT review, I realized there was no need for further delay. I have the Tabula Rasa Jacket converted to blouse!

My change to the pattern was small. I marked where I wanted to shorten the blouse for use with a cuff. I calculated 1.25″ for the hem and another 1″ to offset not using a shoulder pad. Then I drafted my LH cuff which is nothing more than a rectangle 4X12″. The cuff would be easier to cut with a ruler. But  I forget a lot these days and even documenting in this blog doesn’t make small details easy to find. So I’ve started drafting these small easy to cut pieces to have a physical reference at hand in the future.

I’m calling this the LH cuff because I first saw it on Loes Hinse Tunic Blouse which I can no longer fit. The good news is that the cuff is simplicity itself. A rectangle sewn and overlapped at the seam line.  I overlap just the seam allowances. Mine are 1/4″.  No doubt my instructions aren’t enough for you to replicate. The pattern does have excellent instructions and I recommend its purchase. My fitting issues notwithstanding. After all, my fitting issues are due to my aging body not Loes draft.

I will be altering the cuff further. The 12″, even after seam allowances and turn of cloth, is too long. It will be 11″ long. Same width. I think the 4″ is good. The sleeve however is too long. I realize now my calculations did not accommodate the width of the cuff. I need to shorten the sleeve another 1.5″.  (I want the sleeve to blouse a little. So I want the cuff smaller than the sleeve and the sleeve a little longer than exactly enough.) For this blouse, I’m simply folding the cuff in half so it is visually 1″ wide

A few notes about the fabric. I believe that is cotton with Lycra. Certainly  Lycra for the stretch.  It is a crepe weave which makes it wonderfully drapey.  Interfacing is one of those things I really disagree with Peggy over. I think use of interfacing should be judicious; with a purpose. To listen to Peggy, you’d think it was a sin.  I did not want my front to drape. I wanted it blouse like.  I cut a wide front facing and fully interfaced it. I did use a very light weight interfacing.,Pro-Sheer  Elegance Light from Fashion Sewing Supply.

The print is small flowers in orange and yellow with a some green leaves and black dropped in wherever there aren’t flowers or leaves.  I think it will look better with my black based garments i.e. black pants, black and white printed blouse. Yet, I’m not entirely unhappy with it paired with the blues I was wearing in the pics

About the collar:

No it didn’t come with the TRJ pattern or any of the variation packages I’ve purchased.

I drafted it per Peggy’s instructions i.e. measure the neckline draw a rectangle the length of the neckline and desired width. I deliberately made my length 2″ shorter than the neckline.  I like a notched collar. I also made a pattern piece and marked the shoulder points on the pattern piece. I did however check out some of the collars in my possession. Based on them I curved the neck-edge portion of the collar from shoulder to front edge. I curved up just 1/4″. I interfaced the collar too. Same interfacing. I really do think collars and hems look better with a little interfacing. Not necessarily tailoring weft, but a light interfacing.

The one bad thing about this blouse is that I know I won’t be wearing it immediately.  I like to wear my sewn items fairly soon to check out the fit. I’ve noticed that fitting during sewing is only like 90% of the story. It’s that bit of what happens when I wear the garment that can be a killer. I’ve had fabrics that handle well during the 2-3 days of construction that drape and drag, just ugly by the midday of wearing.  Have you forgotten my complains in several of the last posts that my pants which were beautiful during fitting; photoed well several times during winter, but when I checked everything before putting away they had developed ugly X wrinkles. Can’t tell you how disappointed those were. But anyway, this blouse it pretty darn good. Into the closet it goes.


B6299, 4-Piece, Armscye Princess-Seam for Woven Fabrics

I am so pleased to present:

So I bombed with the Sateen 4-piece version; recovered somewhat with the Red Crinkle version, and now rethinking  a woven version of the 4-piece  B6299.    I’ve added 1/2″ to the side seams of the side front and side back pieces.  Then I acknowledged that I curve outward instead of inward at my front waist. After careful consideration, I left the back pieces alone, and  straightened,  made the front and side front less indented at the front waist:

I hope you can see where the arrows are pointing.  I’ve smoothed out  the curve less than 1/4″; closer to 1/8″.  I think it worked really well.

One other, I hope, minor change is that I also converted to one of my favorite styles for summer, the button front.

My fabric is a linen purchased some 8-10 years ago at  the now defunct Mill Ends in Sioux Falls SD.  I prefer blends i.e linen-silk, linen-cotton and my favorite linen-poly. Yes I like just a slight bit of poly. I think poly helps fabrics resist wrinkling and is often more comfortable because poly seems to add a little stretch but not as much as Lycra would. This is a heavy linen but very smooth.  I had only 1-1/4 yard. For a long time debated how to use this short yardage with the big print. My usage now  boiled down to wanting suitable fabrics for  sleeveless, summer patterns without adding  half or three-quarter yards to my remnants. The 1-1/4 yard,  52″wide fabric was perfect. I had mere scraps left over.

I lament that I used to be able to donate all such remnants to the Goodwill/St Thomas and other charities who could sell natural fibers for rags or as recycled fibers for mattresses and other goods. When last I asked, staff at the Goodwill had no idea what I was talking about. So I assume donated small yardages are no longer a valued commodity. 

I  bound the armscyes with bias tape and stitched the side seams. Was well on my way to turning up and hemming the bottom edge when I remembered that at the first (and only) fitting I had intended to deepen the princess curve right at the armscye. Left side is not as bad as right

but both could be a little better. I absolutely must tweak the right side more to conform with my bodily curves and lower right shoulder.  Must remember/write myself a note: Princess seams especially on right side need to be 1/8-1/4″ deeper.

I thought the 1/2″ I added to the seams would be too much ease. As a minimum, I thought I would need to sew the side-seam allowance deeper at the underarm. But on me, my blouse feels great with all that ‘extra’ ease.

I like the B6299, 4- piece adaptation really well. I like it better than the Tabula Rasa Vest/sleeveless top. It is important that I mark the notches on the princess seams; and there are additional seams that the typical tank top doesn’t have. But, this  style looks so much better on me and  it is fast to sew. Not as fast as 2 side seams. But faster than marking and sewing the darts I would need. It’s well worth whatever extra effort I need to make for the 4-piece pattern. This is my new TNT sleeveless tank top pattern.







Open Front Blouse

I purchased this fabric earlier this year from Craftsy. It was called Italian Floral Woven.100% polyester.  It does not feel like polyester. Crepe weave. Light. Drapes like a gorgeous rayon crepe. It’s called ‘Italian’ but it definitely reminds me of Indian fabric printing blocks.  When I purchased I didn’t know if I was making a blouse, a dress or what. A skirt would be stunning in this fabric and print.

Last night it told me what to do.  I pulled out my TNT  Tabula Rasa Jacket to make  a light weight layer for those cold places I find myself in. I planned for navy-blue, bias-tape,  front finish with a button about waist height. I didn’t want to put a buttonhole in  this fabric. But realized quickly my second choice of a hair-band button-loop wasn’t going to work either. It was too heavy. I ended up binding the front and neckline and allowing it to drape.  I may go back and add front ties. Not sure.

Because the pattern is already fit, this was super quick to sew. I had it cut and photographed in about 3 hours.  The only issue was that the fabric wanted to ravel.  I stopped during applying the bias tape along the front band to apply Frey  Check along the whole edge.

I top stitched 1.25″ deep hems for the sleeves and lower edge.  I like the weight that a hem adds.

I may want to hem the sleeves a little higher or even cut off an inch and rehem. I had forgotten that myTRJ pattern is fit for 1/2″ shoulder pads. Without the pads and with this fabric, the sleeves are a bit long.

This jacket demonstrates why I love TNTs. I created a lovely garment in mere hours. Spent most of my thought solving creative problems – like comparing 3 shades of bias tape to pick the best.

An important waste of time

I’m looking for seams other than the typical shoulder and side seams.  I know I cannot get the fit I want when only using those seams. I’ve been wondering if a raglan style would be an easy fitting choice for me. Could I somehow pinch along the raglan line to create the fit I desire?

With that in mind, I bought Jalie 3245.  Jalie is famous for their RTW fit. Well RTW doesn’t fit me, but Jalie pants are dang good.I hoped for the same luck with a Jalie top pattern.

I made not 1 but 2 muslins. I used knit fabrics  with about 30% stretch, just as the pattern specified. My bust size is between y and z  but much larger at hip and waist.   I opted to use size Z for the first muslin and add 1.5″ to the side seams. During the 5 fittings,  I kept taking in and taking in and taking in. Side seams, sleeve seams even the CB seam that I added when making my 5/8″ RBA. Finally  I said “Peggy is right. When the muslin is just too big it’s easier to start over”.

So I traced size X. Added 1/2″ at the underarm 1.5″ for waist and hips.  I keep forgetting that draping does not mean ignoring my known figure variations. I absolutely am still short-waisted; still narrow shouldered. This time I made the 5/8″ RBA, added the center back seam with an SA of 1/4″ and also did a 1″ BWL.  I was not sure how to apply an NSA and planned to create a dart at the shoulder during fitting

Size X fits across the shoulder and upper chest. No dart needed for my narrow shoulders.  However it’s  too tight  at the bust, the back and hip and like a tourniquet across the biceps. I was really surprised. I went back and rechecked the two fabrics for stretch. Nope both are  about 30% – more like 32, 33%.There is maybe 1/8″ difference between sizes of the  raglan; about 1/4″ in the body of the garment.

Muslin 2 should not have been this tight.  The fabrics are similar. The sizing is not that greatly different.  So what’s  causing the huge change in ease?  I let out the side seams of Muslin 2 which added 1″ ease. Felt it mostly in the stomach and hip; I cut the sleeve along the midline and added a strip of fabric adding about 5/8″ ease to both sleeves. They felt more comfortable but would have require more.

So I said to myself,  what does need to be done?  I think I need each body and sleeve piece to be 2 pieces when cutting. I would have a total of 8 pieces to sew together and that more seams to tweak during fitting. I would need to add at least an inch ease to each piece.  Then I could  pinch all seams making closer fit as needed.  OK that would give me all the circumference that I need.  Then I would need to work on the armscye:

There is lots of fabric pooling along the sleeve side of the raglan. I wasn’t sure what to do on Muslin 1, where I had way too much ease.  A fisheye dart in the direction of the fold  had no effect. Darting from raglan seam 3″ into the interior helped some but how do I put that dart into the sleeve pattern? And do I want to?  Do I want to sew a dart every time? Could it be moved? Yuk I couldn’t imagine making the neckline even more angled than it is. How do you move the dart to the bottom of the armscye? Can you?

Muslin 1 had too much ease. Was that the problem?  No because the ease I added to Muslin 2 so the bicep would better also formed those folds:

Whoa! Wait!  The point of this exercise was to see if a raglan style would be easy to fit. I’ve now spent 2 days and still have no idea how to introduce the roundness I need right where I need it. Time to say: Goal Achieved.  I know this will not be easy.  I can tackle this again when I feel like taking on a big challenge. Or, I can axe raglans from my sewing repertoire.

So this was a waste of time from the standpoint that I don’t have a wearable garment nor a usable pattern. But it was important that I take this journey so that I know raglans will NOT be an easy fit.

The one catch?  I have a raglan sweater I bought from Walmart that looks like it was custom knit for me. It fits beautifully. I’ll always wonder if I could achieve the same fit at home.

6299 Red Crinkle

That thought I had at the end of yesterday’s post? It went to an embroidery project already in progress. I had intended to use my TRT for this 100% cotton crinkle fabric. Crinkle acts like a cross-wise knit and benefits from less circumference.

I embroider a rectangle slightly larger than the front pattern piece. To precisely place the embroidery where I desire,   I created a full pattern for the front only.

That’s the only pattern change. Swear. Yet you can see that the pattern which was  too tight yesterday – even with minimal 1/4″ SA — is now exceedingly  roomy

It won’t always look this roomy. Typically when I launder crinkles I will broom-stick it i.e. twist tightly until it twists back on itself and secure with rubber bands or nylons. Wash and dry until the interior is dry (sometimes that takes a few hours).   When it comes out of the dryer, I smooth out and even press the worse creases. The resulting garment  will be much closer to the body but still very comfortable.  I’ve not broom-sticked this top because I wanted to ensure that all the embroidery stabilizer was removed in the wash. Next time though….

I haven’t sewn with crinkles in a long time. I’ve forgotten what to how to handle them. Normally I prefer to finish necklines and armscyes with bindings but I realized the front neckline was going to be far to low and used the facing to terminate it much higher on my body; and big facings so they can be secured much lower on the princess seams. I actually hate the standard facing because it flaps about. A big facing like this, will become a bumpy underlayer. Secured by armscyes and tacked to the princess seams eliminates my facing issues.

I measured the armscye and decided at 22″ the crinkle had stretched too far during handling.  I cut my FOE to 21″ planning to have a 1/2″ excess on either end and a 20″ finished armscye.  In retrospect, I must be wrong someplace. The armscye is very high.  Not too tight but too high. I did not trim the 3/8″ SA, my mistake, but even that would not have made the armscye low enough for my tastes. Something still to tweak.

Serging the seams was a good choice. I don’t believe any of them were stretched or at least not stretched enough they couldn’t easily recover with a burst of steam.  The hem however was close to disaster.  I chose the knit, blind-hem stitch.  For the first time machine hemming on the Dream Machine failed me.  There were several large spaces as well as many 1/2″ gaps where the hem stitches didn’t secure. Usually it’s just a matter of keeping the fold bumped up next to the guide bar of the R foot. Another thing to tweak and puzzle out in the future.

I’d say that using my accidental Knit Version of 6299 was a good choice for the crinkle fabric. But then again the crinkle will adapt for me.  I could still need to tweak the Knit Versions for knit fabrics.


6299 2nd Look

After I finished 6299, I transferred my changes to the pattern pieces. I realized that I may have made some changes too soon. Such as I shortened the armscye early in the process. At the final fitting, my armscye was too high and too tight.  I decided to start fresh. I’m sure this isn’t the last time I will trace this pattern. It’s just that good for me. To preserve the tissue, I applied  interfacing to the original pattern pieces.

Pre-muslin changes:

  • Marked original tissue 5/8″ SA at empire line of all 8 pieces.  Overlapped upper and corresponding lower pieces along this 5/8″ SA
  • Marked new hem (Blouse -10.5) to offset the length changed by eliminating the empire seam.
  • Traced Size 16 (resulting in 4 pattern pieces vs original 8)
  • Added 1.5″ to side seams (side front and side back pieces)
  • Added 5/8″ RBA
  • Marked 1/4″ SA (-3/8″) along  all seam lines except necklines and side seams (to which I’d just added 1.5″)
  • Marked 3/8″ front and 1/2″ back  princess alteration between armscye and mid-point
  • Trimmed all excess tissue
  • Walked and trued all seams.

At this point, I have recreated Burda 2009-03 #124 which  may seem like a waste of time. However I hadn’t completely finished fitting #124 and was stumped by the final needed change. Instead of continuing that fitting experience, I will  work exclusively on 6299.

My next fabric is a 100% cotton sateen, blouse weight, purchased from Craftsy just a few weeks ago.  Looked much more interesting on-line than IRL, so if I won’t mind ruining it. I laid out the pattern pieces, cut and serged together front with side front; back with side back; and shoulders well, with shoulders. Then I basted side seams with WST and took my first set of pics. I was expecting to tweak the side seam at the underarm because none of my pattern alterations had addressed that issue.  But I wasn’t expecting this:

I was positive, that other than overlapping the top with corresponding bottom pieces along the empire line,  I had but copied the previous changes. (Except for underarm ease and shoulder depth which I delayed until fitting).  I was stunned to see and feel how tight the new version is.   But I thought, I’ve got a little fabric to play with to fix this.  I stitched the side at the underarms 1″ deeper merging out to a 1/4″ side seam allowance just before the waist and all the way to the hem. Because I could see it clearly sticking out, I also increased the back princess seam  1/4″ between  armscye and  midpoint. I thought “That will do it!”.

Well no. Not exactly:

PS I’m liking this fabric even less but realize it is my fault. I should have fussy cut i.e. carefully place the print.

I’m not quite sure how I lost the ease of the empire version but it’s clearly gone and I don’t have enough seam allowance to make it up.

In fact, this  reminds me of the fitting I’d get if I used a pattern drafted for knits instead of wovens. Hmm which gives me an idea.  I transfer the few changes made. Wrote in bold letters ‘KNIT’ and put it away.  Hmmmm that gives me an idea…..

Connie Crawford 6299

I was really happy with my Connie Crawfords 0456,  especially about the fitting process.   I wanted to tweak a few style lines and I wanted to get to the point of duplicating my new maxi dress without its fitting errors. I worked on Burda #124 Mar 2009, because I wanted to know if the armscye princess seam was my magic wand i.e. the tool that would make fitting quick and easy.  Then,one day I was knocking around on Pattern Review and found Connie Crawford’s 6299.


I said “WOW. That is exactly what I’m  working towards”. I want a View  B maxi-dress and a View A tank top.  So why am I tweaking CC0456? Because I didn’t know 6299 existed.

I usually order Connie’s patterns in the range which includes the XL. For this pattern I had the choice of either 8-16 or  18W-24W.  I had to think about that. When I started working with Connie’s patterns I tried the W sizing.  It went badly.  I had to change shoulders and bust point; armscyes, waists. I mean every line had to be changed, usually considerably and still didn’t fit nicely without 3-4 test garments. For an XL  I do my RBA, BWL, adjust the shoulder angle, add to the side seam allowance and basically I’m done. Point is,  I don’t want to use the W draft and make all the changes but I think a size 16 will be too small .  Sigh, you seldom get to make the ideal choice — it’s just not in the running– and so you choose 2nd best or  3rd or 4th. Sometimes you’re even faced with choosing  between bad and worse. Fortunately, sewing patterns aren’t that critical a choice. I mean if you start somewhere and work at it, you can get to a good fit.

I had Pattern Review send the 8-16 pattern to me.

I’m expecting this pattern to work for me and  will want to make more copies in the future. I made the BWL to the tissue. It’s a simple fold and tape and  I always need it no matter the size so why not make it to the tissue? I drew a new hemline on the  tissue 12″ up from the drafted hem and labeled it “Blouse -12”. Then I traced the size 16 bodice and fitted skirt pieces down to my new “Blouse -12″” line. I rough cut around the pieces of my tracing and arranged them to take a few measurements. I can’t find the default seam allowance. I’m sure it’s there in the guide pages some place but I can’t see it. So, I’m assuming  5/8″ SA.  If using a 5/8″ SA, 6299 size 16 is going to be close.  I add 1.25″ to the side seams and leave the rest alone.   Thank heavens, Connie marked the bust point and waist.  I was able to measure and determine that the shoulder to BP was going to be too long.  I will cut the test garment as drafted, but I’ll stitch the shoulder seams at 1.”  Thankfully, Connie also made notches along the princess seams. So much easier to stitch those correctly when I have the notches.

I chose, I think a 100% cotton fabric.  I purchased this some 10+ years ago from the drapery section of Mill Ends Sioux Falls.  It’s a sweet print and will make a lovely  but comfortable summer top.  Since the length is 2.5 yards, I can totally screw-up the test version and use the rest of the fabric for a ‘real’ top.

I pressed the fabric with lots of steam; laid out my pattern pieces and  carefully aligned grain lines.  I stitched the pieces together using 1/4″ seam allowances and  water-soluble thread in the bobbin.  I was not planning to take pictures of the first fitting but it was so much better than I expected.

I was absolutely relieved that the blouse was too big. Yes there’s still things to be done but I’ve got the fabric to work with.

I did many small fittings, all in front of the mirror. I’d pin a change, then run to the SM and stitch the 3-4 inches involved. Thing is, after the tissue alterations, I was making tweaks not major changes. I started at about 10 in the morning. Worked most of  day (seldom am I able to do that) and finished up about 5 PM.  The final garment really pleases me

The side views, both left and right are pretty good.  I tend to think that I over shortened the upper bodice. I lowered the armscye 1/2″ just before applying bias tape.

The front looked dern near perfect with the first few changes. I did need to sew the princess seams (both back and front ) at the full 5/8″  and then an additional 3/8″ front (1/2″ back) from armscye to mid-point of the princess curve.

For this pattern, I worked the most on the back

and I agree it still needs a little help.  I wasn’t sure exactly what was wrong and kept making small tweaks. In the end, both the princess seams and the center back needed to be 5/8″. This was very surprising to me because initially I thought the size 16 would be too small. I thought using a narrower SA would be the key to fit.  I need to burn this in my memory :  for Connie Crawford trace  either size 16 or XL add 1.5″ to the side seam allowances for fitting; trim the rest to 1/4″.

I copied the fitting changes to my tissue. Even took the time to true the princess seams (cutting that much off really mucks up the line). I need to test my pattern one more time. I’m eager to fully fit this pattern. I think it is going to be  my TNT T-shirt/Tank top. I have a dozen fabrics waiting for it.