Category Archives: 59269 My Hearts A Flutter

Story of the LAST UFO: Princess HAF

My fabric is a silk jacquard that I thought would be perfect in a YED. Unfortunately that project bombed.  I was left with large pieces of an expensive fabric.  I attempted to recut using my woven sleeveless sloper, my tank top and finally the HAF I was so pleased with.   Unfortunately, none of the pattern pieces could be shuffled to fit on the available fabric. Then I remembered, I had converted one of my woven slopers to a princess seam.  I could do this.

I set off immediately and copied the last version of the HAF.  I rotated the armscye dart to shoulder

returned only 1/2 of the hem flare to the back shoulder

I find I like a little of the back shoulder dart rotated to the hem because it gives me a touch more ease across my shoulders and hip.  However rotating the full dart to the hem makes the back hem flare a bit.

Split both into princess seams and added 1/4″ seam allowances.


Because I’ve done this before, it was a pretty quick pattern drafting experience!

Rarely do I copy or make facings.  I did this time because I like big facings but didn’t want a princess seam in them.

Then came the fun of arranging the pattern pieces on the fabric.  I was able to fit the  side front and side back onto the previously cut front and back pieces.  I did try to align the grainlines.

Center front and center back needed to be placed on the big ‘ol left over piece. I did it but by placing these pieces cross grain and I admit, I’m not real sure how close the grain lined up.

I quickly sewed this together. Princess seams, shoulders, neckline facing, armscye finish, side seams and hem.  I was trying for minimal fabric  handling because the fabric has already been handled several times.   Good plan but…

First I mangled the appearance of the shoulder seam by trying to stitch in the ditch to secure the facing.  Usually that goes pretty well because I have a special foot with a little blade that will ride in the well of the seam. Didn’t do so good this time.  I gave it a thought and covered the mess with a very nice trim:

I finished the armscyes with bias tape, my favorite, turned in side so only top stitching is visible.

I attempted an heirloom, machine-stitched, blind hem which almost worked.  That never worked on my Ruby but this is ‘good enough’ . I need to work with this hem a bit more and perfect it because it looks like it is hand stitched – when well done.

Unfortunately the final analysis is not good. I did make sure I was using the same right side. Difference in color has to be the result of grain.  I did not stay stitch or tape the neckline. Consequently it sticks up oddly and attractively.

The front is equally unattractive…

… and the sides have an unattractive droop not seen in any of my previous HAF’s.

I suspect a couple of issues. Maybe silk Jacquard is not a good choice for this design (too soft and drapey?) but there’s also the question of whether the grainlines were aligned.  (This is one subject I just do not agree with Peggy Sagers.  I think aligning the grain is important and I’ve had more than the garment above to prove my point.)  I think too, that the fabric had been repeatedly pressed with the first attempted garment and then the repeated attempts to use other patterns.  That could have stretched the fabric in unknown ways.

Finally, my princess seams did not align at the shoulder.  I don’t understand that. The front and back shoulders are the same length.  If I divide them in half, the resulting seam should align when sewn.  It didn’t.  Same thing that happened to me the first time I drafted princess seams.  Like that time, I will adjust the pattern so the princess seams line up.  I’m not sure that the proportions i.e. the width of the centers to the sides are my best either.

Sadly, this garment will be going in the trash.  I don’t like it even well enough for a donation. But I did get a nice muslin and have direction for perfecting the Princess Seamed HAF.  AND I FINISHED MY LAST UFO.



My HAF: Almost There

As planned, I trimmed the 1/8″ from center front. But when I got impatient and trimmed 1/2″ from the side seams.  It almost worked!

My underarms are just a teeny bit too tight and too high . After this pic, I let the side seams out 1/4″ which makes it perfect ease.

I’m not going to have the appearance of side seams that are straight up and down. Or , at least, I don’t expect it because I truly am the pear-shaped. I’m narrow at the top and wide across the hips.

That noted, I do think I’m about as close as possible for me to having captured the fit of the HAF as drafted by Louise.

My fabric is a rayon linen blend. I think a low quality linen was used.  The fabric has some stiffness and raveled badly.

I changed the style up by putting a slit in the front.  I think that kind of styling pairs nicely with the nailed down facing. I liked the single row of top stitching so well I did a second.  If I’d planned ahead, I could have done the top stitching at my cover stitch. The cover stitch would have replaced serge finishing of the facing edge and two rows of top stitching. What’s not to like about that. Note to self: plan a-h-e-a-d.

But I’m almost there.  My HAF is just slightly too narrow and too high beneath the arms. I changed the pattern by adding 1/4″ at the back underarm tapering to nothing at the hem.  Honestly, I don’t think I can make it any better.


I’m thinking, planning and putting together the materials needed for a jacket. The jacket is needed to complete my basic blacks.  I think careful consideration is in order. Jackets can stay in my closet for years. If they are well made. If they are more classic. If they have more neutral rather than trendy details. So while I’m planning the jacket, I’m working on UFO’s including this new one:

Vogue V8025 is one of the cutest dresses.  I made and posted this version back in July 2012.  Unfortunately, the straps would never stay in place on my shoulder.  I added bra carriers (a snap set at each end of a short strip of ribbon).  I added elastic and a clingy plastic.  All of which promised to solve the issue but didn’t. I even shortened the straps even after having carefully adjusted their length at the time of constructions. Nothing worked.  Although I wore this dress rarely, every time I fussed with the straps trying to keep them in place and keep my bra straps covered.  I reached my end point last week when what should have been a relaxing dinner ended up being a continual touching, shuffling, rearranging of those d@^^^ ^^ straps. I came home vowing to wash and donate. Let someone else have a pretty dress.  But then, I really do like the fabric (a rayon woven to look like linen) and the colors and the print. So instead of trashing I decided it would do perfectly for Test #2 of my HAF approximation.

After washing the dress, I cut off the scraps and side seams.  I pressed carefully and equally carefully arranged the fabric on the cutting board. I love rayon but in some versions, this linen weave being one, it’s as crawly as a crepe weave.  I trimmed 1/8″ from the center front and 1/4″ from the side seams of my pattern. Then I arranged the pattern pieces on top of the fabric. Interesting, the back pattern would not fit on the back of the garment. No biggie.

I wanted a slightly different neckline.  The high neckline of the HAF would be my choice for a white or even black shell worn for business. But my more casual life and the fact that it is summer determined a 2″lower neckline.  Since I frequently use this neckline, I made a template for future use.

There were not enough scraps for facings.  I had a linen-weave rayon in the Under 2’s but it was heavier.  I prefer my facings to be the same weight or lighter. So instead I chose white batiste. I could use the back pattern piece to cut my back facing. Because of the altered front neckline, I chose to arrange the cut-out front on the batiste to cut the front facing.

Cutting the front facing

Sewing was really standard. Tape front neckline and back shoulders. Serge the  shoulders. Stitch the right shoulder 1/8″ deeper/lower. Apply the facing — no vent needed. This lower neckline will easily slip on and off.  I did not nail the facings in place i.e. top stitch. I secured the facings with a combination of stitch-in-the-ditch along the shoulder seams and bar tacks along the center front and back seams. Yeah, the upcycled garment had center front and back seams. So this version had to have them as well.

I finished the armscyes with single-fold bias tape. Turned up my hem 1.25″ and blind stitched at the SM.

Notice:  No fitting. Is that supreme confidence? You bet. My sloper has only caused fit problems once and I think that was a fabric issue. I was pretty sure this version wouldn’t be too small; the armscyes too deep or shallow; and ditto for the neckline.  I have to credit Peggy Sagers here, too. I’ve been writing down and remembering “my measurements” which included how deep I like necklines.  I really wish I had expanded from bust, waist, hip to these finished measurements long ago. In my defense, the idea was so new and Peggy the ‘lone voice in the wilderness’ that I couldn’t wrap my head around what she was saying. It took a while and some experience!

And the result?

Pretty good I think!  I need to trim another 1/8″ from the center front. The shoulders sit too wide but because of the mini-cowl (even though much less than the previous test), I think it would be better to trim a little from CF.

I also need to trim another 1/4″ from the side seams at underarm.  I have too much ease under the arms.  I need to increase that amount to 3/8″ at the hem because I still have too much flare. I don’t think the side seam angle is right but I don’t want to over trim and make it tight across the hips.  The original HAF was drafted to be close but comfortable fitting. I got the comfortable down pat. I’m working on close.



UFO-02: A New HAF

Earlier this summer, I was trying to refit KS2599 for summer dresses. It bombed (scroll down the link if you want to see the pics). I had thoughts of extensive alterations which I allowed to marinate as I continued my quest for fitting not only 2599 but also an attached cap sleeve.  Now closing in on September, I’ve decided to take this failed dress and make a HAF pattern that will fit me.

I’ve loved this pattern since it was first issued. It is so me. Fits beautifully in the upper bodice. Slim fitting but still loose through the torso.  I taped the  bottom flange to the upper piece and  cut it as one. Also only sometimes did I want  to make vents, so I added a bit more ease to the hips and eliminated the vents.  (It was still quite ease to make vents when wanted).  However as much as I’ve loved this pattern, I can no longer make it fit. In addition to my long known fitting issues, my shoulders have changed drastically. Oddly, copying my shoulder to a new pattern doesn’t work.

What does, is starting by tracing my woven, sleeveless sloper. To approximate the style and fit of the HAF,  I rotated the back shoulder dart to the hem.

For previous versions I’ve only rotated a portion of the dart, 1/8 or 1/4″. This time I rotated the full 1/2″.

Then I rotated the front bust dart to the armscye.

I was really surprised that my rotated dart was exactly the same width as Louise’s dart for my chosen size. I compared my adjusted sloper to HAF’s tissue by aligning center fronts with the sloper on top and sliding the sloper upward until the shoulders met — shoulders won’t match for me.   I discovered that my hips fall in between XL and XL+.  I used the XL+ to copy necklines and side seams. I didn’t trace the vents. I’ve worked with the HAF so much since it was first published that I finally understand mitered vents and can create my own. (Thank you Louise.)  I planned to eliminate the vertical darts of my sloper — just sort of ignore them. I added a 1/4″ SA to the center back.  Sometimes I like a back seam. Sometimes I don’t have enough fabric and the extra seam really helps. I finished my pattern by walking seams, transferring  notches and finally trimming the excess tissue from my sloper.

Looking at the pattern, I’m most concerned that I’ve added too much flare especially to the back piece. I decided to proceed as is. This is a test garment.  If I get a wearable , I will have a double win 1) wearable garment 2) salvaged UFO.

The fabric is a rayon challis, one of my favorites. The previously attempted garment had a back seam so I aligned my back piece with the CB seam stitching. Aligned the front on the fold of the previous failed front garment.

One of the things I love about the HAF is how quickly it sews especially if I don’t use the vents. I tape the front neckline and back shoulders; stitch the darts and then serge the shoulder seams. Because my right shoulder is lower, I take the garment from serger to SM and straight stitch at 3/8″, 1/8″ deeper than the 1/4″ serger seams.

I add the neckline facing next. One of the things I absolutely love about CLD is her wide facings. I hate, absolutely hate those narrow facings that are designed to finish at 5/8″.  Somehow, I can never finish them neatly and evenly.  Then, even though carefully understitched, they always want to pop out or wad up inside the garment during wear.  I end up nailing them in place. Which can destroy the look. But big facings, like Louise designs, are easy to handle and they stay in place. I didn’t use her pattern because I’ve got too many changes. I cut my facings  by laying my front and back pattern pieces on scraps and cutting around the neckline and armscyes.  Then I freehand cut from the center fold towards the armscye.  I interface my facings with fusible tricot.

Oh and I did nail these in place, even though it wasn’t necessary

I created a vent opening in the back using a small, like 1″ diameter hair elastic.  In the button box , I found the perfect yellow button — a left over from projects forgotten long ago!

I finished the armscyes with single-fold, black, bias tape turned to the inside and top stitched.

Then I stitched the side seams and turned up the hem. Yeah, no fitting and I have concerns but I’m short on time.

Totally pleased with the results.

Yes, I have too much flare at the hem.  It’s OK but I really wanted to closely, as close as possible, copy the styling of the HAF.  Originally I thought the HAF’s side seams were 100% vertical. At one point I carefully examined the pattern and found that the side seam is straight  slightly anglee. I won’t be able to exactly duplicate  the side seam angle because I need hip room while at the same time I need to remove excess at the underarm

Fortunately, I only notice this ease during the pics. During wear, the underarms feel  good. I also note that I have excess width across the front. You’ll have to look closely at the front in the first pic. There are little waves, a mini-cowl if you please-which I don’t want.   So before the next version I plan to trim 1/8 all along the center front and another 1/8″ from the side seams.  I’m not really sure about changing the angle of the side seams which would reduce the flare at the hem.  Think I’ll leave that for yet another version.  I mean, this is a style I love to death. I have no problems filling my closet with HAF’s.



Sand Washed Silk

I was perhaps a bit naive.  I thought having fit the HAF for an ITY knit, that the sand washed silk tank for summer would require no effort.  It did occur to me that silk would not have as much stretch as ITY. I thought that wouldn’t be an issue because I’d sewn the ITY seams 7/8″ instead of 5/8.  Just for a little fit insurance, I added 1/2″ at the side seams when cutting fabric.

My silk is a 1.5 yard remnant from a long ago project. It has a flaw, a pulled thread that completely crosses the fabric about a foot down from one edge but there was more than enough for this tank even with the altered front piece. I added a 4″ wide piece which was embroidered and then folded and stitched to form a tuck.  This is a heavier silk and of course the sand washed side is textured.  It behaved  well when sewing and serging. I did use and extra pin or two keeping the long seams aligned and SAS to hold the hems in place while topstitching. I used commercial bias tape which is 100% cotton to finish the neckline and armscyes but merely turned up and top stitched the hem after serging the long edge and mitering the corners.

I serged the shoulders first and then, no longer ignoring that I have one lower , I stitched 1/8″ deeper along the right shoulder seam.  I find that’s just enough to eliminate 99% of the back and side wrinkles.

Except this time. First off, I really did need that 1/2″ added when cutting. In fact, the final line of stitching is only 3/8″ deep and I increased the side vent 3″. My side seams can really flap around! It amazes me that changing from a knit to a woven requires nearly an extra inch (each side, each seam) of ease. Then again that old trick for sizing knits, the “just go down a size” never worked for me.  Tell me it didn’t work for you either. Please.

At the same time that I revised the side seam depth, I also checked the bust darts. I’d managed to sew one 1/2″ deep and the other 5/8″.  I made sure they were both 5/8″ deep. It was a foolish hope that the remaining drag lines would simply disappear because of these 2 changes. Sigh, yes I did hope and I was disappointed. I started tweaking the shoulder seam angle. I increased the angle another 1/4″.  You probably don’t recall but I had increased it 5/8 for the ITY.  I now have a net increase of 7/8″ and still have gaping at the armscyes. More troubling is that the back neck is now standing up and away from my body.

2nd fitting, 3rd, Finished Garment

(Look closely in center picture at the neck edge.) Not much, but enough to know I can’t tweak the shoulder slopes any more. I increased the bust dart from 5/8″ to 3/4″ – something that I didn’t do on the ITY and then finally increased the underarm from 3/8 to 5/8.  I should know by now that my fitted garments will not have a vertical side seam. Since this garment should appear to have no waist shaping the side seam should and is oblique. Just slightly but visually oblique / to skim my pear shaped torso.

I still had gaping in the front armscye (far right photo is finished garment). But since you can’t see my bra and really wasn’t possible to tweak the 3 places (shoulder, dart side seams) again, I decided it was good and enough.  I planned to lower the armscye a bit – just scoop it like for a pants crotch – to remove some of the underarm U’s

2nd fitting, 3rd fitting, Finished

but then totally forgot. Yep had finished neckline, armscyes, side seams and was nailing the hem in place when I realized I hadn’t scooped the armscyes. OK will need to be done but not today — or maybe ever.  I mean, truth is  with each tweak, each 1/8″ adjustment, the fit was better and better. I think I’m at the point that I need to start fresh with 1″ seam allowances everywhere and fit for woven.  I marked this tissue “knit” and traced a new copy from the original pattern. But I have another project first and it’s still kind of cold to be trying on these light weight and sleeveless garments.

2nd fitting, 3rd and finished garment

Ach, so there’s room for improvement. I can promise you that RTW never fits this good. Heck after I press it next time, it will look even better.


Sewing I love To Do

No foolin, this is the kind of sewing which is immensely and personally rewarding to me:

I purchased this Silk Matka about 2 years ago.  During the pre-treatment, my 2 yard cut shrunk both width and lengthwise leaving me with 42″ x 1.5 yards.  Still enough for short sleeve.  It has not exactly languished. I’ve thought of it often and I couldn’t decide how to use it.  Now full into summer I wanted to test my go to woven/non-stretch tank top pattern, 59269 My Hearts A Flutter. This silk should be perfect with a little left over for another small project.

I have 2 HAF tanks already in rotation. Both are comfortable and look good from the front; OK from the back.  I’ve got  a little mid-back bunching and side views shows the back hem is sloping upwards.  Definitely a sign to me that I don’t quite have enough hip ease.  I did take time to compare one of my HAF’s to my traced pattern. I decided I would add 1/4″ to the side seams and 3/8″ to the center back to create a center back seam for more possible shaping.

Next I lopped off blocks from the fabric that would be sufficient for backs and front and began the real creative work: choosing an embroidery.   I considered several (about 30) and tested 5.   Silk Matka has a distinctive hand.  What I had in mind would finish fairly large.  I didn’t want to ruin the hand of the silk. Nor did I want the embroidery to fail during the garments lifetime.  Hence, test 5. I wanted tone-on-tone but wanted it noticeable. I mean why go to all that effort if the stitches just disappear? Which design looks good in multiples? Which design doesn’t harm the fabric or change the hand?  I don’t really know the answers to these questions or how the design really will stitch out before I test. Also, I was focused on maintaining the silk’s hand  and opted to use sticky, water-soluble stabilizer and with a water-soluble topper. (The water-soluble topper lifts the thread above the fabric surface, my preferred finish.)   44,000 stitches, two 14×8-hoop  hoopings and 2 days later: the fabric was embellished to my satisfaction.

I cut the fabric using the slightly modified HAF pattern. Taped shoulders, armscyes, and necklines then serged center back and shoulder seams. I basted the side seams; slipped the garment over my head and took initial pictures.  I decided not to increase any of the SA’s.  Using the 1/4″ added to the side seams added enough ease to skip the hem vents drafted onto the HAF.  I like the hem vents. They are a very nice detail. But I also like having the option to close the side seam all the way to through the hem.

I ripped out the basted side seams and finished the neckline and armscyes with 1/2″ single-fold bias tape.  Those of you with sharp eyes will see a pucker along the front neckline and that the neckline seems to “stand proud” in the front.  I think the “proud” issue is due to taping the neckline and then later finishing with bias tape. The neckline just lacked a lot of give which I normally see on a bias edge.  I’d press the pucker. Think it was gone and it would reappear.  I may need to rip a few stitches, press and stitch again to fix that issue.

I also finished the hem with a 1″ bias tape facing.  I liked the length during fitting and wanted to keep it that long.  A facing was IMO the easiest option for finishing that edge.

You know, I’ve been experimenting with chain and washers, right?  Attempting to add weight to avoid velcro-butt?  I didn’t add either to this shell. I didn’t want the risk of an experiment damaging the silk.  So the back might hang better with a little weight.  It might also be better if I added a slope to those 2.5″ shoulders or even adjusted the armscye depth which is pretty high and tight. It’s even possible that taping and then finishing the neckline and armscyes had a negative effect on the back. But I don’t see my back much and have decided to not worry about it this time.

I love the embroidery and wanted you to see it up close:

This is just so me.