Category Archives: 6299

A mini Wardrobe

When I trotted upstairs with my new blouse, I realized it worked beautifully with my recently drafted and sewn skirt…


… and the yellow blouse, also recently completed

I had envisioned the blouse as a fall-garment. Standing there in the closet and looking for a 3rd layer, I couldn’t help but think it was perfect!

As I looked further I realized , the corded pants

… completed August 2 and also for as a fall garment would work well and extend the wear of the Rose Print Blouse into fall, a time when you started the day with a 3rd layer (The Yellow Blouse) and  finish sleeveless (the Rose Print Blouse).

Although I confess, when making the Rose Print Blouse, I was thinking of the skirt and maybe the shorts embroidered at the end of July….

… which look quite nice with the Rose Print blouse as well.

 

I am sure there are other item in my closet that will work nicely. I do tend to stick with the same range of colors, wide though that may be.  Still, it continually surprises me to find that so many items work together.

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6299: Rose Print

South Dakota, my “neck of the woods”, is rapidly approaching the end of summer. By the time this post is published, we may indeed be into Fall and I will need to put the summer wear away. But a few weeks ago, I started noticing that several of my summer items were near their  end. They’d really started losing their eye-appeal even though I’m personally fond.  I do see that my ITY’s, poly knits, seersucker, twill and denim seem to last many seasons. Often I must change sizes before I need to discard these hardy fibers.  But my beloved rayons (both knit and chalis woven) and cottons, Oh and the rare silks I acquire, usually need to be discarded at the end of 1 or 2 years (and they are worn for maybe 3-4 months each year). When I put the summer wear away this year I will be discarding  4 blouses that are ratty and possibly another 3 that I just don’t like the top all that well. (OK it’s possible the last 3 will be stored just in case I don’t get the sewing done I’d like before next summer).

Before I get to the point of tossing or storage, I’ve started making new.  My first is a lovely rose print purchased from the Walmart tables at least 15 years ago.

I think it may have been a Home Dec/upholstery fabric which I don’t let bother me. I look at the fabric; feel the drape and weight. Originally I had thought this would make a beautiful jacket (I liked y work jackets to be special.). Never go around to making it for work. About a year or so after retirement I realized I would not be wearing jackets as much as during my working years. This fabric languished.  No sewn because I didn’t want a jacket. Not donated because I loved the print. I folded it. Shuffled around on the shelves. Moved between categories (tops, colors, muslins even). Always, it stayed on the shelf. Mostly cotton, maybe a little poly but not much. It does wrinkle and until I wear it once or twice, I just won’t know how much it wrinkles.

The blouse I am replacing

was constructed from a lovely cotton remnant (another fabric I could not bear to just discard) and  Connie’s original 8- piece draft of 6299

Eight pieces: is front, side-front, back, side back and lower skirt pieces for each. I shortened it to top length because I wear more tops than dresses.  I loved fitting it. Can you believe that? I loved fitting 6299. I had already fit Connie Crawford 0456 discovering that  with the seam in the right place (armscye princess) fitting was limited to adding a 5/8″  Round Back alteration (RBA) and tweaking the armscye seams both front and back . OMG! I hadn’t had such an easy time fitting in years. YEARS I tell you, just years. AND THEN fitting 6299 was even faster.  What should have been a muslin, became wearable. I truly wish I had finished this first 6299 better because it might be wearable another year or two were it not for the raveling of seams and tapes.

Moving on…. This was a 3-hour blouse. Mostly serger sewing with bias-tape finished neckline and armscyes. I machine hemmed using the blind stitch of my Brother Dream Machine (no I’m not buying the new XP unless I hit the lotto).

I can see from the side photos that I may need to tweak a little more

The right shoulder, my lower one, has a swoop from back, under the arm and back up under the bust. That’s not visible on the left, but I am saw folds in the back indicating too much ease. Until I looked at the back straight-on and it’s rather nice. So maybe just the way I was standing?

I am still thrilled with 6299. It is a regular in my wardrobe but you would be hard pressed at times to say it was the same pattern. have made so many variations including a button front, collars, joined upper and lower piece, multiple neckline changes and sleeves. Yes! I add a sleeve using armscye template and sleeve. It has become a wonderfully versatile pattern.

Blue Maxi

… with a black background.

I’ve been planning this particular garment even before I made the previous version.  Even before I bought the lovely viscose/nylon fabric from Craftsy.

I paired the above fabric with a solid black ponte already in the stash.

I used the upper bodice pieces of B6299 adding panels 33×40″ of the viscose/nylon for the skirt.

I agonized over it for a while. Should I attach the skirt differently?  I used pleats just like Version 1, because they worked. Which direction should the skirt be cut? On grain? Cross grain?  Cross grain had a slight connection between printed squares which I thought would create a more vertical appearance. Being short all my life and now wide, that’s something always on my mind.  I also agonized about neckline shape and finishes. Finally opting for a faced V neck and elastic along the armscyes.  My facing is large. It is the center front and center back pieces but not the side front or side back. So it is almost completely self-lined. I could have stitched them together as one piece securing in place when I added the side panels. I opted to tack the side panels in place along the lower empire line. I feared that the V neckline might need adjusting and I wanted an easy option should that become real. I also wanted to snug the empire to my body a little bit and at the last possible second, stitched clear elastic along the empire seam.

I agonized about the front. Should it be left blank? Embroidered? Top stitched in blue or white thread. Should I find jewelry or camisole to fill in the neckline? It just seemed, not quite done.

From my jewelry collection emerged a small cloisonné pin purchased more than 15 years ago in Wisconsin and never used. I’m sorry that my pics did not turn out better. The best, was actually cropped from the full view of the front as I agonized over placement. On the Shoulder?

Center front?

I like both placements. I need earrings. (PS I will wear black sandels or black heels or black boots and if I carry a bag it too will be black.)

 

Summer Dressing

I’ve been rewatching all of Peggy’s video broadcasts. In case you didn’t know it, I’m really a fan. I know I let go of some snark sometimes. I had a hard time understanding Peggy’s process and it’s not easy for me to implement.  Sizing is still a big problem for me.  I don’t think I’m measuring my clothes accurately. I do get excited when get something right. Like when I found my sleeveless template and sleeveless armscye measurement.  I have to remember that I’m fitting patterns with Peggy’s instructions but they aren’t Peggy’s patterns. Even Peggy says she won’t drape someone else’s patterns. That’s because she doesn’t know what they’ve done and so she is guessing at to fix.  My experience with the 906’s supports her statement. Point is, I’m coming around to being a big supporter and eve trying her method where perhaps I shouldn’t.  Anyway the recent videos I’m watching have been showing how easy it is to take a one of Peggy’s  top patterns which you’ve fit and make it into a dress.  I don’t wear a lot of dresses. My uniform is pants (long or short), plus a top (blouse, knit top) and a wrap (something to add when I too cold). But when the summer temps start hitting 98, 99 and +,  I want a dress. A dress can cover everything up while still being cool. With an open neckline, the air circulates through the hem all the way up to the neck.  Choose a cotton or rayon and the air can circulate right though the fabric. Dresses are my goto for really hot weather.

I’ve come to accept that I will not be making garments with only shoulder and side seams. Not if I want them to look nicely on me. Even with that limitation,  I’ve got 3 top patterns I’m in love with, the Tabula Rasa Jacket/Blouse, the Tabula Rasa Tee and princess seamed  B6299.  I just used the B6299 for a summer blouse and think it would be perfect for a summer dress.  This is a variation I will use sparingly but often enough I prefer to have a pattern.  First I trace  my 4 piece variation  front, back, side front, side back. I make a rough guess and add  20″ length to each piece.  It’s a guess because while I like a Maxi dress, I’ve discovered they are a hazard to me on stairs. What I make is between maxi and midi.  I measure a dress in the closet to find the hem circumference. Measure my pattern hem and subtract the seam allowances.  I decide I need to about 2″ with 6 seams that’s about 1/4″ so I add that to each piece.  I take a long ruler and draw a line from the 1/4″ just added at the hem up to the hip. Do that once for front and back, twice on each side piece.

Then I start the process of pulling fabrics off the shelf; and putting them back up. I have several prints I bought thinking of summer dresses. The first ones I pull down are knits. I’m not entirely satisfied with my knit version of B6299 so I put all them away. Plus I wonder if ITY will be all that cool. I don’t think the air penetrates and ITY the way it does a woven cotton or rayon.  I pull down a couple of prints and actually get one ironed when I realized it is a stripe. I don’t want to mess with stripes. Or plaids. My patience has been worn down working with 906. I want easy. I’m willing to work on the length and hem circumference issues nothing more challenging.  I pull out a butterfly print on a woven rayon. Press and lay out pattern pieces. I’m short by about 12″. 2 yards of 56″ wide fabric is not enough for B6299 dress. I find a crepe de shine press and lay out the fabrics. Before cutting, I wonder about its temperature factor. Will it be as warm as an ITY?  It seems to me that crepe de shines are not all that breathable. This is an elderly fabric. I’m sure it would be better as a long sleeve, winter blouse. I put it away and go back to my butterfly print.  I’ll have to piece. Will the print disguise the piecing? Can I piece artistically?

I’ve made this pattern (b6299) numerous times; the 4 piece version the most often. It is an easy sew, just takes a little longer for the extended seams.   I stitch together with confidence from having made it so many times before. The one thing I was concerned with was sufficient walking room and that turns out to be totally unimportant. This pattern may in fact be just a little big on me.  Initially it looked rather like a large sack.  I cut the neckline a little lower and added 10″ of elastic across the back.

No quite so sack like, but I’m not sure the back was significantly improved. I did like the front and side views (above).  Did you notice the piecing at all?

I pieced the center back. I drew a diagonal line on the center back pattern piece

Laid out my fabric and pattern piece, then placed my ruler so it extended 1/4″ past the diagonal line

folded my pattern up and out-of-the-way

Before carefully trimming away

It’s sort of a repeat for the bottom half except placing the ruler on the other side of the line and folding the top part down and out-of-the-way. I end up with 2 pieces (4 total)

Where are serged together with 1/4″ seams. I didn’t make or have to keep extra pieces, yet I still have an easy pattern if I want to piece the back again. I can see doing that for a vent and using a contrasting fabric. Eyelet springs to mind. Can you imagine how beautiful this would have been if I had a cream colored eyelet on hand?

 

6299 Ruffled Blouse

This is why I love basic blocks.  I wanted another coordinating blouse for the yellow shorts.   I like having coordinated wardrobe pieces rather than ‘sets’ i.e. the same  top and bottom always worn together.  So I look through the stash and find a fabric that looks really nice. This is a light-weight, cotton fabric purchased from Craftsy earlier this year. The truth is the new fabrics  are more than just current and beautiful. They are easier to handle. They drape differently and surprisingly need less fitting effort. I’ve already spent my money on the stash so I continue to attempt turning it into items of use. I always look for something in deep stash. I’m always relieved when only the new stuff will work for the current project.

After the fabric, I look through my Pinterest files for inspiration and find

Tada! It’s my 6299 with a ruffled collar and sleeve. 6299 was drafted as a sleeveless bodice. I have sleeveless down pat. I’m struggling with re-fitting 906. I want this to be easy. Simple. I opt for ditching the sleeve work. I pull out my pattern pieces and the button-front created for a previous version.  Once again, beauty of a TNT. Fitting: done; button front: done. Two biggies out-of-the-way. I decide that I do want a higher back. It’s really an easy change. I copy the back piece; extend the CB line up about 2″ and then using my french curve draw a line joining to the shoulder. Not a big deal. In fact to copy the back piece, I placed the previous piece on top of the tissue and cut around it excepting the neckline.

So last thing I need is the ruffles. Time for a little pattern work. I overlap the front and back along the shoulder seam allowances and trace the CB, neckline, and CF.  I cut that so it is 3.34″ deep, the same depth as the unsewn shoulder. That gives me a facing. I think hmmm. I might want this so I copy the facing. Along the outside edge of the copy, slash and spread 1/4″ in 10 different places. Secure that with a little tape and cut a copy of it which will become the 2nd and narrower ruffle. I play a little with the two ruffle patterns and decide that my 2nd ruffle should be trimmed to 2.5″

I finished the edge with a serger rolled hem.  I wasted over an hour trying to use the rolled hem foot of my machine. I should know better. But I had to try. This fabric this style just seem to call for the more delicate finish of the hemmed edge. I’m settling for the serger finished edge because it is reliably beautiful all the way around and all the way around both ruffles. Couldn’t satisfactorily finish more than 4″ using the little foot at the SM.

By now, sewing the blouse felt like simplicity itself. I was finished within 4 hours and that includes the pattern work and foolin’ around with the hemmer foot.

I finished the armscyes with commercial bias tape; folded and stitched to the inside.

I did one try on before machine blind hemming my blouse. I checked mostly for enough ease across the hip while close enough fit under the arms. Looking now, it might benefit from being a little closer fit but hey this is summer time. I like light-weight, loosely fit cotton blouses in the summer. Don’t you?

Really it’s just a nice summer blouse; fits well; in colors which flatter me and a print which speaks to my soul.

6299 6 Piece Blouse

I’m working my way up to making a maxi dress from a IMO particularly beautiful knit. I’m anxious about getting it right. So I made a blouse first.  Just to make this fun, I’m using a stripe, knit fabric I think from fabricmartfabrics.  My fabric is probably 6 years old and has  a flaw or two as well as a dirty  center fold.  I never trust the center fold to come clean; and there have  been times the fold remained even though the fabric cleaned up nicely. Even  repeated steaming may not remove the fold. If fact  I avoid cutting anything on the fold  as much as possible. If the pattern calls for ‘cutting on the fold’ I create a new fold on which to cut.  Well, moving on,  I think this is a cotton blend. Not sure if it has lycra or something else. It does have a 50% stretch- which was a bit worrying- and a curl that won’t quit.

I haven’t worked with stripes in a long time.  I pulled out the fabric and tried to  line up the stripes.  About 15 minutes later, I wadded it up; set  aside and pulled out tracing material. I don’t know why I even attempted to fold and align the stripes.  Really, once I’ve done the tissue work, it is quick to layout and cut not only stripes, but large prints and plaid.   I pulled out the top pieces of the 8-pattern piece version for B6299 and copied the back, side front and side backs. I  attached the tracing material along the CF edge and cut a mirror copy.

I took a look at the skirt pieces (a front and back) and realized that since I was cutting the larges size, they didn’t need to be trimmed. Concerned with having  enough ease I added a strip of tissue along the side seam and added 1.5″ just as I did for the bodice pieces way back when I started working with this pattern.

So the skirt is for a knee-length dress and I want a hip length blouse.  I measured against the blouse skirt pieces (the other half of the 8-piece set for 6299); measured up from the hem of these skirt pieces  12.5″ and marked a line. Then I folded up along that line.

I rather doubt I will ever want to make a knee-length dress. I could. I do; rarely. I do want a maxi dress from this very same pattern. When I’m ready to cut the maxi, I will fold the skirt pieces out flat and add  more length.

For now, pattern work done.

I laid out the pieces to cut the skirt with the stripe running vertically; the bodice with the stripe horizontally. As soon as I cut a pattern piece in fabric, I walked to the serger and serged all sides. The knit didn’t need finishing but the curl was beastly. To combat the curl, my construction procedure was  cut a piece, attach to previously cut piece; serge finish any raw edges. Repeat until all together. I basted the side seams at 1/2″ and tried it on.

 

One of the beauties of a TNT, is that even when some pattern changes are needed, the whole process is very quick.  I was ready for the first fitting in about 2 hours. I did not take pics of the first fitting. The pattern pieces I’m using were drafted for a woven fabric. Not surprisingly, the top looked too loose, especially  at the underarm; and it was just a tiny bit too long. I took up the shoulder seams 1/4″  and increased the side seam allowances to 3/4″. Except at the underarm where they were deepened to  1.25″.

I’ve noticed that the smaller the stripes, the better my stripe matching becomes. However I can’t complain about these. I really did not expect to be able to match the princess seams perfectly.  I’m most pleased that the stripes are level. I was afraid that they would be going up down around as they traveled across my curves.

I’m also please that I’ve avoided the ‘preggars’ (the appearance of a developing pregnancy that often occurs when wearing a empire style)

I had stitched the box pleat 2.5″ down from the empire. Later I tried the edge stitch the pleat to keep its crisp edge. I couldn’t stitch a straight line and didn’t want to go to the effort of WSS. I pulled out the stitched and pressed each pleat with max steam for close to a minute apiece. I’m hoping the creases are at least easy to find after my garment is laundered because that’s part of the ‘not preggars’ solution. The stitching and crisply pressed pleat help keep the skirt hugging my body instead of flaring. I suppose it helps that this not a light-weight knit. The heft of the knit helping to drag the skirt down instead of flaring.  (I almost didn’t use this fabric  thinking it would make a great winter top).

 

I’m looking forward to  another pattern variation  because I won’t want  the 5″ back box pleat nor the three 4″, front, box pleats  unless I’m making another maxi. I will  want a 1 piece skirt  back and 1 piece skirt front that fit smoothly with the upper bodice. Something that emulates CLD’s  Ebb pattern.  I think, though, I’m ready for the maxi dress in my dreams.

 

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.