Category Archives: FitForArt

TRT with Lace Hem

I had one goal in making this TRT: checking the fit after the Pink Lace Tee disappointed me with its drag lines. But I  may as well have a little fun too, eh?

My fabric is an ITY purchased I think about a year ago.  I like the blue color but was undecided about the print both when I purchased it and when it arrived. It just didn’t say me.  While I wasn’t thrilled about the fabric, I knew it would be an excellent test, being of the same fabric previously good TRT’s were constructed with, or if something is wrong with the pattern I won’t be upset if this doesn’t turn out well.

The fun bit is adding a 6″ lace to the bottom of the sleeves and hem.


Oh and adding a keyhole neckline.  There must be hundreds of ways to make and finish a keyhole, I have a whole Pinterest board of them. I chose to create the keyhole with a facing

and bind the edge of the neck, slip stitching across the open keyhole space.

I’m happy to say this fabric cut from the same exact pattern version as the Pink Lace fits as nicely as ever.

I’m also happy that the print looks nicer in garment form then it did as flat fabric.  I’m not entirely sure my blouse is finished, even though it needs no further stitching.  I’m looking at the visible proportion of lace to bodice.

I like the swish and fell but I think there is just too much visible lace.

or maybe not enough?

I’m also thinking, I might like a bit more shaping. Maybe some elastic at the waist?  Not sure and of course, if I don’t fix it soon, it will be like this until it goes into the trash.



PS I have the TRT down pat.  Even with the extra steps required for keyhole-neckline and lace hems, I had this done in 4 hours from start to finish. Yeah!  Love TNT’s!  Yeah!!!!


PPS Re Fitting:  I see hints of the issues which plagued me on the Pink Lace TRT.  Partly I think I have a posture issue in addition to one shoulder being lower than the other. It’s been noted that I may have one leg shorter than the other.  I never seem to be straight in the pics; always leaning slightly to one side.   I also tend to stand with my weight on one leg or the other.  When I purposely stand with the weight evenly on both hips/legs and feet about shoulder-width apart, the drag lines just don’t appear.  But, I do have unnecessary ease through the body of the garment.  I  want a little more ease. I want the garment to skim my tummy and hips doing no more than indicate I have such assets.  Also, this is a basic T-shirt design. It’s even named Tee which is derived from men’s Tee shirts which are unfitted (and men often wear one size too small in order to show off their own assets.) IOW it’s supposed to have excess ease. So far, I’ve worked on variations to the basic pattern. Now  I may work on introducing a little more shape. Just for fun. KWIM?


Tabula Rasa in Pink Lace

After struggling to fit (and not entirely succeeding) two pairs of jeans, I wanted an easy sew. Something in the cut, serge, wear genre. I pulled out my Tabula Rasa Tee pattern then looked at fabric. I talk about refolding the fabric stash as if it is some sort of chore. Truth is I like handling my fabrics and I find it helpful.  During that September Sewing Room Gussy I separated out the sheers. Mostly because they contain a lot of so-called sweater fabrics that are absolutely useless in the winter unless they are underline. In that stack was a beautiful pink, knit lace. 100% polyester and Yes I did know when I bought the lace would need consideration if it was to be any type of garment. My solution was pairing with another sheer, a pink cotton knit.

I cut the two fabrics separately i.e. I cut the all the pieces out of the pink knit first; repeat for the pink lace.  Then I placed the two layers together and serge finished all the edges. Because this is a pattern I’ve made many times before I don’t have much to say about the tissue changes.  I opted to use the back with the neck darts which I left unsewn. Wonder how that worked out? I modified a technique often used to snug up knit necklines using ribbing. For my lace, I used my Curve Runner to measure the back pattern piece

I multiplied that by 2 (full neck length) and then subtract the dart (3/8*2*2 dart leg width *2 legs * 2 darts).  Then end result was 8″.  So I laid out my  straight ruler and measured 8 inches. I don’t like to work with short fiddly lengths, so I didn’t cut the elastic right away. But I did mark it at the 8″ length and again at 4″ , the middle.

I pinned one end to the back neck and began stitching with a triple zig zag set at 3.5 wide After a few stitches, I stretched the elastic so the first mark matched the center back

I stitched up to the center mark, then stretched the elastic again all the way to the other end of the neck; finished stitching; and cut the excess elastic.  The neck gathers slightly when the elastic is relaxed

I stitched shoulders together and bound the neckline edge. Totally finished:

So the back neck is not totally smooth as it would be had I stitched the darts. But it isn’t gaping  and I don’t have  a bulky dart back there, which is what I feared the two layers of fabric would create. Especially since I planned to bind the neckline. Yuck, I would have had darts of 4 layers covered by binding of two which wraps down, up and over. Another 6 layers. 10 total over each dart. Nope didn’t want that. I prefer the not perfectly smooth.

The 2nd fabric was way to wimpy for the cuffs or the neckline binding. I had to make the binding two layers using a 3rd fabric to underline the binding. Confusing? It’s nice to have a stash to find such solutions.  I didn’t really want to leave the lace at any of the edges which receive hard wear. Although I did for the hem. At the hem, I simply turned up my usual 1-1/4″ and machine blind stitched.

I’m not entirely happy with the fit this time.  Since I’ve loved every version of the Tabula Rasa T up to this lace, I’m blaming either the fabric or the duo layering.

It’s possible I just don’t have the garment sitting on my shoulders properly. I’ve never had the TRT lifting in the front or the drag lines visible in all 4 pics.

I’m not getting too worked up about fit because I don’t think this sweater will be wearable more than once or twice. In fact now finished, I asked myself why did I buy this fabric at all. I know without a doubt it will snag. It will get caught on things.  I’m just going to enjoy its beauty while I can and toss it the first time it gets badly snagged.


2017 Autumn 6PAC: Knit Top 2

Hmm, what is going on?  I look in the mirror and say “WOW this is great! I love it!”  Get the pics and say “????? WTF ???????”

This is once again the Fit for Art Tabula Rasa T I’ve made and loved a dozen times. I used the surplice front again and again paired with a full front. I really like eliminating all possibility of wardrobe malfunction.  Last time I followed directions and made the 3 tucks on the side to create the curved bottom hem. This time I said “why go to all that trouble?” Instead I got out my curve and a la Peggy Sagers, trimmed a curved hem

OK, I didn’t like the first curve when I compared to the full front and I cut it a second time.  My  first surplice T was pretty well-behaved throughout the day but not well enough that I wanted to trust 2 surplice fronts instead of the faux that I did. That curve wants to stretch. So this time, in addition to the full front, I  taped the surplice on the reverse side

I used bias fusible tape because it bends so nicely during application. If it doesn’t work, next time I will use the straight, fusible tape. I wanted to tie this top closely to my 6PAC’s theme. I cut a strip from the blouse fabric and wrapped it around the surplice edge before hemming the bottom edge.

OK hemming the bottom edge is why you’d want to use the 3 tucks instead of the curved hem. It was a pain. I resorted to running a basting stitch along the edge  to ease the hem to the body of the garment . Before setting this piece aside I added a button loop and hemmed the short,  left side.

I’d already decided that I wanted the short  edge to be free but kept in place with a button (so why did I do all the surplice stabilization? Oy Vey! Sometimes I do too much.)

This is really a pretty button. So sorry that my photography skills did not do it justice. I used to go to garage sales and look for buttons and other sewing stuff.  I think this is a button from one of those trips. I’m totally unsure of how old it really is, I’ve had it about 4 years. And it is all there is. I don’t have a second. I knew I would want to use it as a stand alone statement at some point. That time is now.

I finished the sleeves with another strip of fabric from Blouse 1

But finished the neckline with my new favorite, picot elastic

I  think, I’m hoping that this top has the same issue as Knit Top 1, ie  the polyester/lycra knit fabric.

As with Knit Top 1, both made from the same pattern and similar fabrics, this top is also too big. I’m not sure if I want to run them through the laundry first or just put them under the needle and serger blades. At least, I think it is an easy fix. Could be wrong. Could be I should eliminate polyester lycra from my stash and buying habits.

2017 Autumn 6PAC: Knit Top 1

This is getting to be a habit. Looking in the mirror, I think it looks fine. Not my favorite T, but no big objections. Get the final pics and think, I’ve got more to do. So it is done, maybe???

I’m using the Fit For Art Tabula Rasa T. I’ve fit it for knit fabrics. I don’t particularly like this color, even if it is one of “mine”.  So kind of a strike 1.  I selected contrasting colors from the blouse and  embroidered the front

while I was catching up on housework, laundry in particular and then stitched it together without stopping for a fitting.

I think it is oversized due to stretch differences of the fabric which I did not check for or take into account. This is not the typical rayon or ITY knit.  It is a polyester/lycra combination which is lovely in the hand but a little difficult to sew with (it want to creep) and, as you can see it drapes and stretches very similarly to slinky.  I think the fix is easy.  I need to take out the shoulder pads, stitch the side/sleeve seams at least a quarter of an inch deeper; then put the shoulder pads back in. I’ll probably serge the suckers because I think narrower seam allowances behave better.

One kind of minor mistake, I wanted a 3/4 sleeve. I love 3/4 sleeves every season except mid-summer. Somehow 3/4 sleeves add a visual balance to my figure. More importantly, they are very well-behaved and keep out of sinks, dish water and knitting machines.  I need to change the marking on the pattern. Maybe I should make a separate 3/4″ sleeve piece. I did for the short sleeve. I mean once you find the sweet spot, you want to reach it every time. For now, marking the patter will do. If it really bothers me, I still have about 1/4 yard left and can add  cuffs.

Not troubling me at all are the neckline and sleeve finishes.

I used picot elastic, sometimes called lingerie elastic stitched to the edge which is then flipped to the inside, leaving the picot showing, and top stitched along hem. Makes a very easy and lovely finish.

Also being this was a TNT, I was done in about 2 hours not counting embroidery time. I used my Dream because it’s largest hoop would stitch this design in one hooping. I wanted to test the possibility that I no longer require a stand alone embroidery machine.  I am having issues with my Viking. Not eager at all to buy an embroidery only machine. They are big $$$.  Sign, have to admit I won’t be happy with only a 4 or 5×7 hoop so it’s big $$ or nothing or maybe I can arrange my time so that I embroider when I’m doing something else, like housework.  My test did work. The Dream produced this 22K+ stitches, 2 thread changes design in about 45 minutes.  I’m not sure it was at full speed.  I don’t trust full speed. I’ve seen full speed disasters. But point is if the Ruby Viking can’t be fixed for a reasonable amount, using the Dream is a viable option.

2017 Autumn 6PAC: Jacket/Blouse 1

Well, maybe almost done. Let me explain.

The fabric in this first blouse is pivotal for my entire Autumn 6PAC. From it, I chose the color of both pairs of  pants and the other tops.  I pressed the 100% rayon print and laid it out with my Tabula Rasa blouse pattern pieces. Realizing I would want to wear this blouse over the other tops, I put away the blouse pieces  and took out the larger jacket version. Because I also want to use this as a blouse, I used the button placket variation.  I thought of adding the little stand up collar but it’s just not me. A stand-up collar will irritate me all day long.  The last stand up collar blouse I had,  I cut off and converted to a deep scoop. But I wanted a collar for this blouse so I chose to use the spread collar.

I did something wrong because my collar doesn’t quite look like the package.

Pretty sure this is my fault. I’ve changed up pattern pieces to suit my personal neckline depths. I added length to the spread collar but, I think, not enough. Oh well, an option for a future blouse, eh?

First possible change is the length

Because I wanted to use my blouse as a lightweight jacket, it is longer than my blouses will be. I am not, nor have ever been, a fan of the shorter-hemmed outer layer. I want my layers to extend in length as they progress to outer-most.  Which means, when I get around to needing a real actual jacket I may want this shorter.  Something I want to resolve in the near future but dang! It’s just too hot right now.

A probable change, is sleeve length

I was not expecting the sleeve to extend almost to the knuckle. I prefer my sleeves at or just below the wrist bone. My pattern is fit for a shoulder pad which I  have inserted. ATM I’m considering possible changes and there are options. I could hem it at 2″ instead of my standard 1-1/4; or I could add elastic at the wrist which would cause the sleeve to blouse just above the wrist or…  well I collect a Pinterest board of sleeve options . Which may be the reason I can’t choose i.e. I can see so many possibilities I can’t make up my mind.  Besides, when I’m moving around

it’s hard to tell that the sleeve length is a problem.  However, I can see that my roomy blouse is roomier than I expected. Which is a 3rd possible change.  I’m not a belter well I collect belts but other than jeans, I rarely wear a belt. But maybe a little elastic in the back? Or darts? Or a tie – or is that too juvenile?  I don’t know and I don’t have a Pinterest board. Maybe I should make one?  But the point is, I don’t like the roomy blouse on top of the roomy pants. Pants aren’t going to change, so what can I do about the blouse?

For now, I calling it done. I can wear it as is and I do like it. I love the Tabula Rasa patterns.




Clever Crossings

Anyone out there a Fit For Art patterns fan? I certainly have become one. FFA released a new variations called Clever Crossings 

Now, I had considered this conversion on my own. It’s really not that difficult to create a surplice front from a pattern that fits. Problem is, most surplices don’t hang nicely on me. They gap; or they grow.  I ended up taking in the last surplice I did 7 times, 7 inches. Finally tossed the thing in the trash along with the pattern (I think an Ottobre Design). I’m not fated to achieve better results by creating my own surplice either. But it wasn’t the surplice alone that got my attention.  FFA has added shawl collar to the surplice; tweaked the surplice to have an upper insert, empire or curved hem or uneven hem created via side tucks. Most intriguing to me is the tulip sleeve. I simply had no idea how to go from the TRT long sleeve to the flutter sleeve. Alas, I will not be using the most interesting sleeve until fall. (I can’t stand sleeves or any kind mid-summer).

What they don’t advertise is the fitting procedure for the surplice which is included in the instructions. Generally I read through the instructions one and never consult them again. I’m looking for anything tricky rather than new. I’ve got lots of experience under my belt when it comes to sewing. Which translates to lots of preferred ways of doing things. I’m not doing something different just because it is in the instructions. Actually I’ve had several experiences where doing what was in the instructions made the process much more difficult and resulted in a  amateurish finish. But I do at least skim the instructions and stopped short when I realized I had not seen this method of fitting the surplice.  And I won’t be sharing that today either. It’s a process that requires either a genuine muslin that you plan to toss, or a wearable garment in which the needed change is discovered and then transferred to the pattern for the next garment. I decided upon the later because I’ve had so many surplices that fit nicely out of the envelope but as the day wore on needed more and more safety pins in front. I’d rather like to know the full extend of the needed alteration before slashing the pattern.

For $12 (plus shipping) you get a lot of pattern pieces. I don’t want  to dig through all that flimsy tissue every time I want a new variation. Besides, you have to sort through different cup sizes for the same pattern piece. So even though it took an hour,  I sorted through and  traced all the size Large, A cup pattern  pieces. I knew immediately I was not making a true surplice i.e. right and left sides do not have a surplice.

I don’t really think of this as a faux-surplice. It isn’t just bias tape or contrast band stitched to the front piece. It is a separate full left front and surplice right front.

I opted to stitch the 2 tucks


which create the asymmetrical hem

The pattern includes (and I traced) a pattern piece for a shaped front band and back band. Not sure why I traced those because I always intended to cut a strip from a contrast fabric to create the band. It’s a knit.  A cross-grain strip will wrap around that edge just as easily as a fussed-with shaped band.

Well I take it, back I didn’t always intended to use just the contrast band. I did consider using the contrast fabric for the surplice front or maybe substituted for back or side panels. In my head, those variations always looked like the Art To Wear of the person trying to use up scraps rather than the artist selecting materials. KWIM? Let’s just say I have a limited appreciation of Art To Wear.

I am puzzled about the final fit. The back really surprised me. This is the first time I’ve seen such tightness across the back and really narrow at the shoulders.

I do remember narrowing the shoulders about a half-inch and of course sloping them. I expected to make a small adjustment to the front shoulder. But along with the other fitting concerns, I just pleated the front shoulder of the surplice to fit the back

I’m reluctant to blame the fabric. I’ve used that too many times. It sounds like a goto excuse rather than a bona-fide issue. But this was not the best fabric. It’s a 100% poly that has been sitting in the stash for numerous years. It’s the kind that pills and will be in and out of the wardrobe quickly. Which makes it good for a wearable muslin i.e. nice enough that I can stand wearing it several times and discover any issues but I won’t have to tolerate its shortcomings for very long.  Back to the point, I don’t see any of these issues in my  first sleeveless TRT  nor any of the other sleeved versions. So are they fabric issues? Did they result from adding the surplice? Combining surplice with full front?  So what’s the plan? Well I like it:

So I’m going to wear it and check the fit of the surplice. I’m going to review my previous versions of the TRT and see if any of the others have a tight-fitting back and see how narrow they are across the shoulders.  After I take stock, another one of these is definitely in the works.

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.