Category Archives: 1011 Rochelle

Xmas II

I’m running out of time. Our celebrations begin Dec 2 and I need my Xmas dress done while I still have time to sew.  It irks me that I started this by sourcing fabric back in September. I figured 3 months was plenty of time.  Now I’m nearly at the drop-dead date, without a drop-dead dress.  I considered a statement I wrote yesterday ” I’ve aged as most of my family members but they can still pull off se%y looks.”  That’s true. So I asked myself, what were those sexy looks?  I can distinctly remember dark colors (black, navy blue) as well as Christmas Red and Green. But I also  remember close-fitting garments or at least curve-skimming;  fabulous jewelry and 6″ heels. OK, I’m not doing the heels.  I can’t walk from parking lot to table in those kinds of heels.  I’ve purged my shoe wardrobe.  I’ve got pretty shoes but low heels. No more than 1.5″.  That will have to do unless someone physically carries me everywhere. As for jewelry, I had planned to wear my show stopping rubies.  They are enough to make a statement but  not so big as to be wearing me instead of the other way around.  At this point, shoes and jewelry are what they are. But I might have time for another dress, IF… if I shop the stash and if I don’t have to fit a pattern.  I don’t have time for 2-3 muslins. I don’t have time to shop for the perfect fabric.

So I think back to my fitted patterns. It just so happen at the time I was wearing the final version of Loes Hinse Rochelle (1011)

As a top (that’s me on the left) it is amazing comfortable while still being fitted. So I added another IF…if I can find in my stash an ITY suitable for a cocktail dress and lengthen the Rochelle to dress length.

Searching through the stash took an hour.  I really wanted more color.  I’m afraid that the dark blue is part of what made the last dress look dowdy. Also afraid dark colors might have the same effect on any winter, cocktail dress. Winter because I want sleeves, long sleeves. I will be wearing heels but probably will be wearing tights instead of skin-colored hose. Guys, it’s December in South Dakota. It’s cold even before the wind chill factor is applied.  I lengthened the pattern first.  Having finished matelaise dress, I knew that dress length should be 36″.  I added enough to make the pattern 39″ long which would give me a deep 3″ hem or room to adjust length if necessary. I found several fabrics.  My favorites were short.  Ah crap!  That’s a result of no longer buying a flat 4 yards.  I buy by intended purpose. 2 yards for pants. 2 yards for blouses. 1.5 yards for T-shirts. 1 yard for sleeveless. But I prewash and some of these 2 yard cuts end up being 1.75 yards and even less. I’d rather prewash and be short now than finish a garment and never able to wear it because the first cleaning shrunk it beyond use. So yes it was annoying to pull out a beautiful fabric and then put it away.  I settled on one with a back up.  My selection is a black ITY with a glitter design.  The design looks like a pheasant or chicken cock to me. Hopefully everyone else will focus on the glitter.

I cut my fabric, taped my necklines and serged shoulders before checking neckline depth. I marked the neckline by slipped the mostly open and undone garment over my head and settled on my shoulders.  Then I cut a 2″ binding and did a classic ‘up and over. binding.  For those of you not familiar with my term, the binding is stitched to the neckline and wrapped up and over the to the wrong side. It is then top stitched from the front.  I placed the binding so that the wrong side would be against my skin. That meant a little less glitter on the public side but much comfort on the inside.  I cut 3/4 length sleeves. That’s what looked good previously.  I don’t have the time or fabric to fool around. I cut what has worked. I serged the sleeves to the armscyes and basted the side seams before trying it on.  Not sharing pictures, but the only thing I changed was hem depth. I used a 2.5″ hem.

Did the Rochelle make a nice dress?:


Yes.  This looks perfectly nice.  Will it make a good cocktail dress?  While the matelaise neckline kept diving, the ITY is fairly stable.  I would not have minded this being an inch deeper. However, I’d rather have it at this depth than the other.  The Rubies will be beautiful snuggled into this neckline.  Of course you’ll have to imagine me in black heels and tights and I promise to wear a smile.

It’s good and definitely enough for this year.  Next year, I’ll start in September but I want to work with an even more fitted garment..


Much lightened photos just to share more style lines


Muslin 4 (LH1011 the Rochelle)

It’s not just that’s I’m pig-headed -which I am- but that I really need a procedure for fitting new patterns. My procedure for Connie Crawford patterns doesn’t work with the other patterns I’ve been sewing. So yes Muslin IV (four not intravenous): I measured bust waist and hips of the pattern; subtracted seam allowances and my body measurements.  I traced the neckline shoulders and armscye of the small but bust, waist and hip of the large because that should result in  5″ bust, 3.5 waist and 3″ hip ease. These numbers are more in keeping with what I want to see on a woven.  However, I’m using the same 25% stretch knit fabric because, well I still have 2 yards and I’d like to use it up, as well as I’d like some fabric consistency.  I know without a doubt that fabric alone can account for the differences in look and fit.

I cut fabric, serged CF and CB then basted (with water-soluble thread) the shoulders and side seams.  The result was not wonderful but not really bad.  I tweaked the shoulder slope by pinching the muslin and repeated darting at the CF CB and underarms as I did on Muslins 1 and 2. Each dart is only 1/4″ more than the default seam allowance, unlike the 3/4 and 1/2″ wedges of the previous muslins.

The hip lacks sufficient ease. I had to tug the hem downwards or it would to creep up to the middle of my back. Sure sign for me to add hip ease.  I like the shoulder slope now and the shoulder looks about the right width.  I think the wrinkles below the underarm are from the altered size and shape of the armscye.  I’m hoping the weird drag lines result from a combination of the two issues (hip room and armscye shape)

The front is starting to look like the much too large Version 2.   The neckline is lying smoothly. The shoulders are about the right length. I might want them 3/8″ wider.  The fabric isn’t stretched tightly across my midsection. All good things.

Keeping in mind that I’m Grandma (not bunny) shaped, this is beginning to come together. Clearly from the side, I can tell the armscye has to be redrawn and I’m in urgent need of a little extra hip ease.  That bust dart is wanting form again.  Hope reshaping the armscye will help. Back to the sewing room

I copied the fitting tweaks to my tissue.  Trimmed the front side to a size medium and then traced the original armscyes to my tissue pattern. I recut my fabric to reflect the changes. Then I serged the shoulders (I think they’re done) plus basted the side seams with a 1/4″ seam allowance

While this is an improvement, it’s still not a garment I’m proud to wear. I still feel the hip doesn’t have enough ease which will negatively affect the garment and maybe in several places.  I can’t add fabric, so in the next pic I removed the side seam stitching from hip to hem.

I like the front. Yes I do. I'[m not all that bothered by the dart which wants to form between armscye and bust or the drag lines below the bust.  Now that the back isn’t distorting the entire garment, I think the shoulders and neckline are near perfect.  I’m inclined to believe  smoothing the front below the waist would have resulted in the entire front between bust and hem  looking very nice.  The back and side view are,,, interesting?  The back should not be cupping below the rear.  Is the fabric already stretched-out of shape?  I’ve only tried this on 4 or 5 times. Seconds on my body.  Not even a full minute. I see the masses in the center back what you don’t see is the center seam of upper back is very curved.  I might need that much curve in 4-5 years. For now, I really need to reduce  the curvature.  Although I’ve carefully reshaped the armscye I’m still seeing the U’s (side view) that indicate the armscye needs to be deeper/wider.

It had already occurred to me that it would be easier to create this style by copying my sloper, adding CB and CF seams and rotating the bust dart to the CF.  I was looking not merely to fit the pattern, but to discover how to fit all Loes Hinse patterns to my body.  I’m disappointed to have completed 4 muslins without producing a better fitting garment.  Fortunately, my “muslin” fabric was old and inexpensive.  At least I didn’t waste a good fabric.

At the moment, I’m not sure what my next step is.  I still desire a procedure to follow when fitting new patterns not merely to fit this one.

For any of you following along, I would urge that you not use this particular experience of mine to finalize your purchase decision. I have fitting issues that I don’t know what they are and so don’t know how to fix them. This pattern, just like all of Loes Hinse designs, is really well drafted. It sews together easily. The extra shaping is a boone for mature bodies.  I take issue only with the fabric recommendations. I believe that there are significant differences between patterns for woven, including drapey woven fabrics and patterns drafted for knits. That she includes both fabrics is a red flag for me.  Perhaps it creates a prejudice which affects my experience. I don’t know. What I know is that it’s entirely possible any of you could take the same pattern and with your choice of fabric create a beautifully fitting garment.

Muslin 3

There’s an  axiom that goes

“If you always do

what you always did;

You ‘ll always get

what you always got”


Problem for me is that I can’t keep doing the fitting things I’ve done for the last 20 years.  My body changed about a year and half ago. I gained weight, but also changed shaped. For a long time I wasn’t sure exactly what had changed. I only knew that my standard alterations no longer produced satisfactory fit.  Several months ago I started working with Connie Crawford patterns.  I discovered the slope of my shoulder has changed significantly.  The slope also affects the armscye.  After weeks and garment after garment I can fit her top patterns but I do have to make an effort.  Fitting is not a straight procedure.   Worse for me, what works with CC patterns doesn’t seem highly effective with my other patterns.  I’m still missing something.  There is some bit of information or knowledge that I haven’t connected.  So I can’t keep fitting garments they way I’ve always fit them.

I decided to take another ‘run-at’ The Rochelle but with a different procedure. I remeasured myself. Thankfully, my measurements hadn’t changed. But I had to know. In particular I noted my high-bust measurement and checked that against the recommended sizing.  I know of the upper bust fitting procedure.  I haven’t tried it in past  because I’ve always been able to select by hip size, make a 1″ BWL and then a simple 1″ NSA.  Those two are so much easier than having to do the BWL and an FBA. Besides, I’m not chesty. I really think an FBA should introduce too much ease across my bust. But I’ve got to try something different. So I compared my upper bust measurement with the sizing chart and found that Loes recommends a size Small. Ummm.

So I measured the pattern at bust, waist and hip. Subtracted seam allowances at all 3 and found that a size Small on me would have 3″ ease at the bust, 1/2″ ease at the waist and -1/2 (negative ease) at the hip. With no love for negative ease, I traced a small neckline, shoulder, armscye and a medium bust, waist and hip.  The 1″ BWL was the only alteration I made.  I almost didn’t do that since a small was also visibly shorter than the XL I traced for the previous muslins.

I selected another old Walmart Knit fabric. Frankly, I had no confidence that the little ease I added would be satisfying.  I want my tops to range between semi and loosely fitted. Ading 2″ ease at the waist and 1.5 at the hips just didn’t do it for me. So I selected a knit fabric with 25% stretch.  This is a poly fabric about the same weight as a good T-shirt. If this muslin works it might go-with the Late Summer/Early Autumn 6PAC I’ve been working on. If not, oh well.   I cut the fabric; serged CB and CF but basted shoulders and side seams before sliding this over my head.

I have to tell you, it would not work in a woven fabric. Actually, I’m happy to know that my early assumption that the pattern wasn’t drafted for knits is correct. As a matter of fact, this feels and looks a bit like shape wear.

I wouldn’t wear this in public. Maybe as an undershirt. If it had more lycra. Once again the dart want to form above the bust and the curve of my chest is quite evident.  As are the curves along my side and the shorts I’m wearing today. Surprisingly, the shoulder looks too narrow (No I promise I did not make the NSA) but the neckline fits very nicely.

The back view almost looks nice. Instead of VPL I’m seeing VBL (visible brassiere lines) and the waistband of my shorts. Even with 1.5″ ease and 25% stretch, the muslin cups just below my rear. The back shoulder width looks good but I can see that the shoulder sticks up instead of following my natural shoulder slope.  I will need to adjust that shoulder.

As always the side tells most of the fitting story.  An interesting note is that the hem is level.  It’s probably held so tight it cant move anywhere.

This small/medium does NOT meet my fitting standards.

Fortunately.   I have 3 yards of the same fabric.  Back to sewing room.

The Rochelle Muslins

Yes that’s plural. Two muslins.

After the Madagascar, I wasn’t sure I wanted to trust Loes’ recommendation that the patterns work equally well with woven and knit fabrics.  It’s on the envelope “drapey woven, knit…” one right after the other.  The Madagascar would not fit me in a woven fabric even though I traced 2 sizes larger than recommended.  That’s me, YMMV. Firstly, I resemble Grandma not any of the Playboy bunnies. Secondly, I prefer the semi- to loose fitting.  I rarely use negative ease.  After yesterday’s  comparison of the Rochelle and Madagascar patterns, I made my typical 1″ BWL shortening the pattern 1″ above the waist.   My second typical alteration is a 1″ narrow shoulder adjustment. Recently, I’ve found that I need to increase the shoulder slope and that means I need to lower the armscye by the same amount. I didn’t do any of that.   I didn’t do the NSA because the shoulder is only 3-3/8″ wide. A 1″ NSA would have changed my boat neck top into a boat neck tank.  I knew I’d need to do something about the upper torso width and planned to pinch it out on the CB and CF seams. I demurred on the shoulder slope because as drafted the shoulder was about 1/4″ shorter but seemed to have the same slope as my personal block.  The Rochelle definitely didn’t have the same amount of ease across the hip as my sloper.  It’s about 3/4″ narrower which translates to 3″ less ease than my personal block.  My personal block was fit for a woven, non-stretch fabric.  I don’t make a block for woven fabrics and a second block for knit fabrics. I compared my sloper with the Rochelle which I traced two sizes larger than recommended and said “that looks like a knit pattern’.  I choose a knit fabric to make my first Rochelle.

My  knit fabric is a  $1 Walmart  purchase made so many years ago I can’t remember.  I loved the color and made a top right away. Unfortunately, that top didn’t make it through the wash more than twice. The fabric just wasn’t sturdy enough to survive the modern washer and dryer.  The fabric has sat on my shelf since then. I hated to throw it away. It really is lovely. Not just the color but it has a shiny thread, soft drape and 50% crosswise stretch.  But I didn’t want to spend the time sewing a throw away garment.  I did feel it was perfect for now. I would be testing a new pattern and removing an old fabric from the stash. If I didn’t wear it but once or twice, well that would be OK this time.

So I cut fabric, taped the shoulders and neckline and basted together with water-soluble thread. BTW, I love how well Loes patterns are drafted. They go together so quickly. It seem like in no time at all I had this hot mess:

… and that’s the best it looked after 3 fitting sessions.  I’d taken in 3/4″ on every seam.  This looked even worse in the mirror. The photo makes you think there is hope.

Having none, I chose a different fabric. My second fabric is also a knit. It’s a pique with a very soft almost downy reverse side. I put that as the wrong side to be worn next to my body. The second fabric has only 25% stretch and just feels beefier but not like a sweater knit.

I pinched out a 3/4″ wedge CF and CB.  So unlike the blue, I didn’t stitch the entire seam at 3/4″. The wedges are about 3″ long. I also increased the shoulder slope pinching it 1/2″ at the shoulder’s edge and then scooping 1/2″ from the underarm to keep the armscye the same depth.  I shortened the sleeve 1″.  It needs to be shorter still. Also, I’m glad this is a knit. I would not have been able to put the sleeve on if I was working with a woven. It’s tight at the forearm.

I increased the curve at the CB waist  1/2″.  Still there is fabric puddling in the middle of my back.  I think the back is too wide overall but the front looks like it needs ease across my anemic bust. Despite the 3/4″ CB wedge the shoulders seem  too wide.  While the hip seems to be pulling and there is flare just below. Sigh, is the back too wide or not?

I always think the side tells the most about fit.  Despite scooping the underarm 1/2″, I’m getting those U’s that tell me the armscye is too shallow. I’m guessing scooping 1/2″ wasn’t enough. The whole armscye needed to be adjusted.  It’s almost begging for a dart in front.  That dart was never affected by adjusting the shoulder slope. I was hoping the sleeve would smooth it out. Now  I’m wondering if the whole armscye is just wrong for me.  Despite having traced 2 sizes larger than recommended, I don’t think I have enough bust ease. Not only is my shape pretty apparent, but the CF is rising.

It’s such a nasty surprise when one pattern fits beautifully and the next is way off.  I start tallying the changes I need to make and wonder if it is worth it. I’ve not been doing really well with Loes patterns since my shaped changed this last year. It could be time to say good-bye to this favorite designer.

A Comparison Loes Hinse Rochelle with Madagascar

It’s not De Je Vu, I’ve posted this information on SG before.

I’m a real fan of Loes Hinse patterns and style. I think she creates basic garments that are wonderful wardrobe builders. The patterns are pricey, but I use them multiple times. My only failures have been pants. Her pants draft just doesn’t work for me.OTOH her tops are the cornerstone of my closet.  Recently there was some question as to whether it was worth while to purchase the Rochelle (1011) because it looked so similar to the Madagascar (1012). At first glance, it looks like Loes had added sleeves to the Madagascar and sold it as a separate pattern. Not true. Let me show you:


I’ve traced the Madagascar on canary tracing paper. The Rochelle is on purple tissue. I’ve already fit the Madagascar so the back waist length has been shortened 1″, I’ve trimmed 1/8″ from the side and shoulder seams because I like to serge these. My default serger seam is 1/4″.  I also, regrettably, straightened the center front because I’m not chesty and I wanted to lay the CF on the fold. By default both patterns have shaping at all 4 seams: center front, center back and both side seams.

From this view-point, the patterns do look a lot alike. The Rochelle looks longer and may be 1/4″ taller at the shoulder. However the extra tissue at the bottom is because the Canary already has the 1″BWL.  I notice additional ease under the arms at bust and waist. There may be extra ease across the upper torso but I think it’s from the new armscye and wider shoulder. The Madagascar looks more like a raglan sleeve line.  It is not.

Madagascar Armscye

I’ve overlapped the front at back at the shoulder (by the amount of the seam allowance).  The armscye curves up into a peak but is not the same shape as a raglin sleeve would be.

Inserting the Rochelle sleeve would be difficult

I think that takes care of the thought that the Rochelle is a sleeved Madagascar.  The Madagascar sleeve cap is at least 1.5″ taller. Additionally, the curved underarm areas do not match from seam to notch. Both are longer than the Madagascar underarm.  I could make it fit, but do I want to?

Owning both patterns is an individual choice. Having made the comparison, I’m glad I do.