All posts by sdbev

TRTank III

Wasn’t intending to  sew a 3rd tank right now. It’s too close to fall to be sewing summer things. But I had just done a good job straightening my fabric when this red stripe decided to be a nuisance again.

I bought this  knit  on-line and was disappointed when it arrived. It was advertised as a rayon knit. Which it was but the knit was so thin.  What’s up with that?  The last few years I’ve stopped buying “sweater knits” because they are aren’t going to make anyone sweat. Transparent sweater knits for heaven’s sake. The white stripe of this knit is almost that bad. Anything dark (know of any darker body spots on the upper body?) are going to show. In addition to that, there were two worn spots like this:

I didn’t ask for a refund. I figured there was enough for a tank top and as insubstantial as the fabric was, I wouldn’t be using it for winter wear. I folded and put it in my stash. Where it, like the fabric of the previous TRTank, rolled about causing me endless work just keeping it out of the jaws of the Roomba.

Finally I had enough and decided another Tank, even this late in the season, would be welcome.  I hung it on a hanger intending to work on it in a day or so. That’s when I realized how slippery it was.  It would not stay on the hanger for more than a few minutes. I started spray starching it. Which  helped with the hanging. I took longer than expected to start sewing with it. So everytime I had to get into the closet, I pulled it out and spray starched again.  Must have starched it 4-5 times. Even then it was a bear to lay out and cut.

I have noticed a few cowl neck tops coming across my Pinterest feed and in RTW.  They make me drool. I like a good looking cowl. So why was it that I couldn’t find a cowl in my pattern stash?  Finally realized that my Fit For Art Clever Crossings variation had a cowl for the surplice and the Neckline variations  had both a shallow and deep drape neckline.  I compared the drape neckline to my T front. The deep  Drape neckline is 2″ wider at CF and about 6″ taller.  Thinking this could make a nice looking drape, I opted to use the deep drape.

Why I didn’t morph the pattern piece into a full instead of half piece, well it’s beyond me.  I used the full back with neckline darts but the front I opted to lay out, cut one side, the flip and cut the other.  That’s when I discovered that in addition it’s other faults, the grain is skewed. I don’t want to hear about how knits don’t have a grain.  I’m telling you that the fabric was twisted and skewed and I had a heck of a time cutting the front and keeping the stripes horizontal. Ditto for the back.  At this point, I hoped I would be sewing a wearable muslin.

Hurrah!  I like the cowl!  It would be OK for it to be a little deeper but this is attractive and modest, two things the FitForArt patterns do very well.  It is obvious that FFA patterns are not drafted for Hollywood stars or others who feel they must reveal all.  I do wish I had used an  extended shoulder.  For a long time I’ve loved the balanced shoulder-with-hip silhouette. Between 120 and up to my current weight, this is the silhouette that makes me the most satisfied with my body.

I’ve really become enamoured with stripes ever since I realized they don’t have to match!  Stripes can be turned in different directions! I cut the sides cross grain.

It’s like a little surprise. Plus I didn’t have to worry about exactly matching stripes. I did try to roughly match but the way this fabric was skewed, I didn’t hope for success. When cutting the back it skewed so greatly, I thought this top would be a wadder. Dead before it was even hemmed. Imagine my relief:

This back view is where I would really appreciate the shoulders being balanced with the hips.

One of my continuing complaints with on-line fabric shopping is the lack of weight descriptions. Oh they say light, medium etc. Or transparent/translucent. I think sometimes, as in buying this rayon knit, that I’ve had enough experience with the particular fiber/weave that I can confidently purchase. Truth is, I’m missing critical info. Had I known how light and squirmy this fabric is, I would not have purchased.  If I get another like it, I’m going to bin it immediately.

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Tank 2

I bought this ITY fabric…

….because I was fascinated by the print as it appeared on Fabricmartfabrics web site. When the fabric arrived, it was bright. Like glowing in my hands bright.  I’m not a dramatic person. Not an alpha.  I don’t crave attention nor have I ever had a burning desire to lead the pack.  I’m more of a romantic. Maybe with a gamin twist.  Like many people, I’ve had to adapt my personal inclinations and clothing choices for my job. The point is, can you see why this stunning print could have sat in my stash for a few years?  Well it didn’t really sit. It rolled to one side or the other. Hid between other fabrics. Wiggled forward and onto the floor or backward, also onto the floor where the Roomba would try and fail to eat it.  Recently,  I’ve been forced into straightening my shelves and have picked up this same fabric at least 3 times in the last 2 weeks.  Last time it had rolled  into a tube and was once again working itself into the Roomba Feeding Zone.   I decided to use it.  Right Now.

I also decided to make a couple of changes to my pattern.  First, I cut a copy from from fitted front and back-with-CB-seam.  Labeled these new copies as Knit,  Sleeveless, Extended Shoulder, w/o Bust Dart.  Long label and tedious to write out on all 3 pieces and the envelope where they will reside. Oh, forgot, I also included the date 201908 (which means Aug 2019).

There are 2 other pattern alterations  not discernible from the label.  I trimmed 3/8″ height at the shoulders. I’ve adapted the pattern for the small 3/8″ shoulder pads I always slip into place unless I am wearing a  tank or sleeveless garment. I also added 1/4” to the back and front side seams and on both sides of the side-piece.  1/4″ may have been a little too much. As you can see from the side-view (above) it’s getting a little tenty. The label did include a reference to the rotated bust dart (i.e. the w/o bust dart).  I moved it to the hem.  Started to move it to the shoulder but that would have introduced a lot of fabric above the bust.  I am hollow chested. Lots of fabric in that area = bad idea.  I have in the past simply eased the but dart area to the side piece. I wanted dart-less because I had a difficult time easing on  the previous TRTank.

I scooped the front  neck after cutting out the fabric.  Only thing noted on my patterns is a 7.5″ neckline depth which is the deepest I want.  Any deeper shares “the good china”.  The FOE in the pic is actually a dark, almost purplish blue. It matches the deepest blue in the fabric. There are also black swirls so I could have chosen black FOE.

I think the CB-seam may not have been the best choice with this fabric

I think the interruption of the printed pattern emphasizes the extra curve created by my round-back alteration and also brings attention to my lower-right shoulder. I love sewing. Love the fit I can achieve.  The problem is, you start noticing little things like the effect of the CB line with a print. You start noticing poor fit and badly used patterns on others as well as yourself. But the real moral of the story is in today’s full-body pics:

No matter how well nice a garment looks during fitting, wear will distort it.  Look closely (click on the pics) at the shorts above and then at the final fitting of same:

TR-Tank

In May 2017, I converted the Tabula Rasa Jacket into a vest by ditching the sleeve and altering the side piece just a bit (detailed here.)   Once that was done, it was a short step to doing the same thing to make a Tank or Sleeveless top from the Tabula Rasa Tee (detailed here.) Then seemingly, I forgot about about this pattern. .   I have a lovely knit fabric which an even more  lovely print I wanted to use, but only had about 1.25 yards.  Suddenly the Tabula Rasa Tee bubbled up in my memory.  Even the long sleeve TRT is amazingly conserving on fabric.

There were 4 vertical repeats of the print. I wanted to use it the best advantage and made both copies of the front and back pieces and converted them into full pieces (vice the normal halves that we use). I also rotated to the shoulder, the dart created for my round-back alteration.  Being summer, I scooped both front and back necklines, just a little.

I wanted to cut the sides from the solid black areas but they simply were wide enough. I chose instead to center the sides along another repeat.

After the first fitting, I let the side seams out 1/4″ from waist to hem. Finished neckline and armscyes with FOE; hemmed at the coverstitch.

I added a 1/4″ ease to the front, back and side pattern pieces for future use.
I had forgotten how much I loved these patterns because I haven’t used them since Oct 2017; almost 2 years. When I pulled out the storage box for the TRT/TRJ , I was amazed at how many variations I have. I really worked this pattern. Why had I forgotten it?  Don’t know, but it’s back in rotation now!!!

Silhouette Patterns 611, Maggie’s Blouse

I knew I wanted this collar as soon as I saw the envelope

I didn’t even need to see the POM broadcast  although I did. Watch the broadcast that is.  I  liked it so well, I even worked sewing  it into the que pretty quickly.

I traced my normal sizing i.e. Size 4 across the shoulder and bust with 1/2″ added to waist and hips.  I found the interesting 2-piece blouse sleeve during tracing.  Usually I see the 2-piece sleeve in conjunction with a jacket or coat. It is possible to achieve a superior fit with this type sleeve so I’m surprised I haven’t seen it more widely used. But this is Summer.  High Summer in South Dakota where you are lucky I am even wearing clothes and sewing instead of sitting in front of the A/C. So  I did not trace the sleeve.  I made a sleeveless blouse.    I made  my 5/8″  shoulder slope  and 5/8″ round back alterations before fetching my recently received armscye templates.   OMG these are wonderful.  I slipped the acetate sheet for the sleeveless armscye under my tissue paper ; aligned at the new shoulder point and underarm; then traced.  So e-a-s-y.  I’ve been using manila folders cut along my favorite armscyes. Using the templates was even better. Well worth the few $$$.

My fabric is a rayon challis, but I must say I’m a little disappointed. It is a recent purchase and lacks the body, the heft of the challis that I had fallen in love with and have  been purchasing for years.

I am well acquainted with the shawl collar.  Did some serious testing way back when.  I was using La Fred’s Athena Blouse which had a beautiful wing, shawl-collar plus square-set armscyes.

I don’t think you can find the Athena pattern any more.  Mine is preserved with fusible interfacing.  Point is, the winged shawl collar and square armscyes were a challenge. A challenge I spent several hours; days  trying to find an easy sewing procedure that would also produce professional results. Oh BTW, this was before the Internet.  I had a few dressmaking references; a few friends and a lot of scraps on which to practice. Morale of the story is, I never forgot that quest for knowledge.

Which made sewing SP611 very easy.  I well remembered that hard-won knowledge. I measured and marked exactly on the stitching line at the square corner of the collar and the neck edge of the shoulder.   I stay stitched exactly on the sewing line.  Reinforced the stitching with Frey Check; clipped  when dry.  Clipped all the way into the corners.  If you want a clean, angular  turn, you can’t leave a thread uncut.    I stitched the undercollar CB seam together; carefully pressed. Pinned the CB in place and then pinned the square corner. The instructions will always have you sewing this in one fell swoop i.e. across one shoulder, across the back neck, across the other shoulder.  Doesn’t work for me.  I always manage to get a little fold/pleat or miss stitching something.  For me, I pin the next place I’m stitching–leave the rest free to move about. Start by pinning and stitching from CB to the neck -edge of the shoulder and stop. Repeat on the other side again pin then stitch from CB to neck edge of that shoulder.  Check carefully then stitch from shoulder neck-edge to shoulder armscye edge and repeat on the other side.  Yes, I am sewing 4 lines of stitching. Short lines.  I am pinning, starting, stopping and checking 4 different times.  Then I serge finish the edge in the one-fell swoop not worrying about corner. Just zoom, serge, done.  As long as I follow this procedure, I produce a perfect shawl collar. Everytime.  If I don’t follow my procedure I goof it up. Everytime. Adding the facing then is a breeze. Pretty much straight quick sewing. Confession, I serge the facing to the blouse.  I stop to understitch the collar and press carefully. But I happily serge.  For this blouse I stitched-in-the-ditch to secure the facing to the blouse at the neckline.  The collar and front edges are all top-stitched at 1/4″ and the  facings are  secured at the shoulder-armscye.

I am disliking this fabric.  It wants to cling. I have another picture where the back hangs perfectly but the pic is fuzzy/out-of-focus.  I hope this is not the ‘new normal’ for rayon challis. I’d be very disappointed.

My standard 5/8″ shoulder slope is usually enough to remove these drag lines. On this side, I’ve also done a 1/4″ lower shoulder adjustment. which means I stitch the right shoulder seam 1/4″ deeper than the left.   Actually, I am hoping the drag lines are the fault of  the fabric and not the need for further fitting adjustments refinements.  It could be the underarm business. At the last second I decided the armscye needed to hug my body just a little more. While the rest of the side seam is sewn 1/2″ deep,  at the armscye it increases to 3/4″.

Like the Athena,  I am unlikely to have more than 1 version of  Maggie’s Blouse  in each seasonal wardrobe.  It isn’t a one-and-done but is unique enough to be remembered–unlike a T-shirt.  I’m looking forward to the fall and winter versions just so I can try out that sleeve.

Linda Tunic Top

I am so pleased with this top, I am gushing.  This is my first Angela Wolf pattern. I am using her Linda’s Tunic Top

Should be able to click this pic and go straight to buy. NAYY. Just a happy customer

Although brand new from Angla Wolf Patterns, it has very classic lines and I might add, is very usable.  I’ve already started a Pinterest board with ideas!

I am always so happy to see multi-sizing. Some of those other single-size patterns are well worth while, but it is harder for me to alter the tissue to fit.  I used my woven block, Silhouette Patterns #600 Classic Blouse to make a quick comparison. From that I decided to trace the size 14 yoke; trace 16 across the bust and ease on out to the 18 at the hip.  I traced but am not using the sleeve pieces and the collar. I intend for this to be a garment for high summer when I really want to sit around naked in front of the A/C. Sleeves and any high neck  can be unbearable during those few weeks.

I’m using a recently purchased fabric. Actually from my July trip when I saw the oncologist who told me I was cancer free at that moment. It’s bright sunny colors definitely reflected my own happiness and looked just like summer to me.  This 100% cotton crinkle fabric is easy to handle and very comfortable to wear.

Let me send buckets of love for this placket

Placement is marked on the pattern — you know right where it goes. I buy from another favorite pattern co that, shall we say leaves a lot to your imagination. That’s great when I get to the creativity, but when I’m first learning the pattern, I appreciate the precision Angla gave us.   All the pieces are nicely drafted. Angela provides a nice booklet type set of instructions and supplements them with video.  I watched ** LESSON 1: HOW TO SEW FRONT PLACKET & COLLAR  when it first came out and then again the night before I started my Linda Tunic. She recommends cutting the plackette pieces a little long for ease curing sewing.  I found that to be a really good tip. I didn’t have to worry about lining things up exactly. Just stitch as directed and trim to size.

When wearing I found it tended to be just a little low for me. This may be a result of my sewing process (like using multiple sizes) so don’t expect that to be a problem.  Myself, I simply added a joining stitch in the bottom 1.5″.

Blue arrow point to the extend of the joining stitch.

Once cut, interfaced and pressed, the plackette took me no more than 5 minutes to sew!  Usually I spend long minutes getting a plackette in place.  No stitches were ripped. I did stay stitch and use a little Frey Check in the corners when I clipped them. Easy. Peasy. Done. I’m so thrilled with it.

Next I joined the yoke to the front and back. I skipped Angla’s gathering instructions. Yeah, I cranked my serger differential up to 1.6; put the pieces together and zoomed. I did eyeball about an inch at the start and end of each seam and tried not to gather when those areas. But if it happened?  Oh well.

Then I finished the neckline and armscyes with bias tape.

Took more time than the plackette probably because they are so long. Also the pressing. I use commercial bias tape and press it before application.  I use that press not just to get out the few lumps which form when the tape is wound around the card, but to precurve the bias.  I find that areas pre-pressed tend to lay flatter on the body during wear.  To me it is well worth the time spent but it does mean I prepressed, then stitched to the garment with  right sides together. Flip up and press. Then fold around the edge and press. So the bias is not on the public side, I  fold all to the wrong side; pin and press again before top-stitching.  I have in the past and probably will in the future discard the last fold and press. When done that way the bias becomes an embellishment, a trim, instead of just a finish.

Once that was done and the entire top quickly steamed again, I basted the sides with water-soluble thread and tried it on.

First issue was that the blouse is drafted for sleeves and I want sleeveless.  I used Judy Kessinger’s instructions from her Video Sleeveless Sleeve to quickly fit the bodice under the arm.  For me that meant increasing the seam at the underarm 1.5″.

The issue that surprised me was at the hem.

First off, I did not think this was a high low hem.  To me the low was really low and it looks like the tunic is wearing me.  Again, don’t expect to face this issue because you probably didn’t cut 3 sizes or use 1/4″ seam allowances along the yoke. The excess is all my doing.  Especially since I forgot, that chem-brain still kicks in- and did not make a back-waist length adjustment.  I’ve been so gaga over Peggy Sagers, her patterns and processes that I’ve forgotten little details which make most patterns work for me. Without the BWL the blouse is both too long and tends to pile up on top of the hip suggesting that I need a sway-back alternation. No, I just need to put in the BWL to lift the waist and hip shaping of the pattern up to my own waist and hip shaping.  I also cut the 18 length when I cut the 18 hip. I probably should have cut the 14 or 16 length.  At my tissue, I made a 1″ BWL above the waist and then 1″ tuck across the back just above the hem. That will solve the issue for future versions. For this version I just trimmed 3″ off the hem and added a hip vent

I am happy to say, I now wear my blouse instead of it wearing me.

..and I don’t worry about the few wrinkles in the back…

Love this pattern. Absolutely can see keeping one version for each season in my wardrobe and that’s before I even start considering creative variations.

**

I mentioned Angel’s videos.  Here’s a collection of them all pertaining to the Linda Tunic including some easy hacks she suggests!

Sewalong Part 1 Fitting and Fabric

LESSON 1: HOW TO SEW FRONT PLACKET & COLLAR 

LESSON 2: GATHERING COLLAR

ADD A CUFF TO ANY SLEEVE PATTERN

HOW TO ALTER FOR BUTTONS & SEW A BUTTON HOLE

Angla has a whole library of tutorial.  Just google @youtube Angela Wolf.  You’ll find them.  I subscribed. I feel a new compulsion coming on.

 

Workin’ a TNT

My inspiration was this top which crossed my feed several months ago.

I chose a rayon challis fabric.  It is a sister to the yellow of a few days ago. Both printed with nostalgic images of Diamond Head, hotels and palm trees.

Where the yellow print was monochromatic the fabric used today was more richly colored.

I pressed my fabric. Laid it out then lay my pattern pieces on top.  Hoping to add the lovely flouncing of the inspiration’s hem, I added 1/4″ to each seam at the hem tapering to nothing at either the waist or underarm.  Doesn’t sound like much until your realize there are 5 seams; each has 2 sides and so the net added is 5 inches.

Still not quite enough ease added so I may want to try this idea again and be a little bolder.

I also opted to use my extended shoulder template making the shoulder a little longer which better balances the shoulder and hip lines.

Overlapping the shoulder seams, I pinned the front and back together to trace the neckline. Similar to making a facing, I measured out 4″ to draw the outer perimeter.  Not wanting a facing or flat collar, I sliced from the outer edge to the inner on this new piece and then spread the slashes 1″.  As you can see from the front and back pics, I didn’t come close to the amount of flouncing seen in the inspiration.  Next time, I need to be a little bolder.

 

I finished the edge of my flounce with a serger rolled hem. Serged the flounce to the neckline right side to wrong side respectively.  A little pressing and flipped the flounce to the public side. This flips the serged neckline seam to the public side as well.  While it is hidden beneath the flounce, I like to top stitch that serged seam.  I think it helps the neckline lay correctly.

I do love workin’ my  TNTs.  It is so easy to indulge in creative exercises or to try a new technique; and you are nearly always assured of a wearable garment.

Summer Scene

Palm trees and islands adorn this rayon challis fabric making it a perfect reminder of summer travel.

My pattern, Connie Crawford 0456 is quite old. It has been reissued under another number which I don’t have at my finger tips.

I made small changes for this version but they make it look like an entirely different pattern.  Instead of buttons all the way down, the lower front is cut on the fold. I also trimmed of the points of the lower front.

No changes to the back.

It’s another lovely version of a TNT pattern.