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.




Saf-T-Pockets Traci

Having decided that shoulder seams and side seams are not enough shaping for my body, I continually look for patterns that also contain seams and darts in that 10″ region between shoulder and bust.  That being my current frame of mind, I really zeroed in on SaF-T-Patterns 2017 “Traci’s Top”

It is a shoulder princess seam with additional horizontal additions i.e. the empire and an upper bodice yoke.

Yeah, I purchased quickly and without much further thought..

Does anyone other than me get upset with the lack of landmarks on today’s patterns?  I planned to use Peggy Sagers LCD method of fitting because it works for me.  However, even Peggy says she wont drape someone elses patterns because she has no idea what decisions they had to make. So feel kinda on my own.  I perused the instructions and opted to trace a size large because that’s what the designer recommends for my bust measurement.  Now here’s where my gripe comes in. Before I cut fabric, I like to measure across the bust, waist and hip of the pattern to be sure there will be sufficient fabric to start with; but nooooooooooooooooooo there isn’t a bust point, waist or hip marked unless it is some special  and cryptic notation I don’t get. I’m left to  wonder and guess where these landmarks should fall.   I can only hope that I have measured in the right places in which case the large will be big enough in these zones.

I sort through my stash and choose a rayon challis I’m not entirely loving.  I’m not wild about the print. The colors are just sort of meh. BUT perfect!… for a test garment. Just before laying out the pattern pieces, I decide to do my 1″ back waist length adjustment, just as I used to do. I mean I used to trace a pattern and immediately add 1″ narrow shoulder and back waist length adjustments.  I can’t count on that being the right answer  any more.  Looking at the pattern pieces and the checking the measurements on the pattern envelope, I decide  the BWL is a safe bet and an 1/2″ RBA is also needed but I should wait until draping to make any other changes. .

I cut all my pieces from my rayon challis fabric and baste them together.  I tried to place my pieces to take advantage of the print. Don’t think I did a good job, but I tried. I didn’t want to fiddle with a center front placket and simply scooped the front neckline  8″ below the shoulder point.  I did take initial fitting pictures and …

… they weren’t wonderful.

However, I could tell that with my 1″ BWL, the lengths were about right. I went immediately from (L)ength  to C(ircumference).  I pinched out 1″ at the underarm (removing a total of 4″ circumference at the bust).  Everywhere else the circumference seemed to be OK.

I proceeded to D(epth) considerations. I increased the shoulder slope 1/2″. Left looked good. Right, not so much.  I increased the entire right shoulder seam allowance  1/4″. That’s typical for me and  it worked this time too. At least, the right looked as good as the left. The front was looking pretty good. Oddly the side backs looked like I had rouched them when  joining to the center back piece.

I unstitched the side backs; cut 1/2″ off their tops and stitched back together. Not sure what heppened their because the seams walked perfectly. I must have stretched the side backs either when handling or stitching. At this point (Fit04 and Pic set 05)  I decided to restore the armscye.  I had been surprised when I compared my sleeveless template to the original pattern and the pattern was a near match.  But that changed, of course, when I took away circumference at the underarm and length with the shoulder slope adjustment.

I tried, really tried all the way through Fit 05, to like the pointy hem

Other than the swish factor, I H-A-T-E it. HATE HATE HATE. That’s pretty strong . But I at the very least,  strongly dislike the pointy  side seam hem .  After Fit05, I rounded the points and finished my blouse with a rolled hem and bias tape for neckline and armscyes.


So, I’m not wild about this top. The fabric print has something to do with that, also the hem. Another fabric would correct the print issue, redrafting the hem might take care of the my issue with the points.  But I also  do not like the gathering at the upper back bodice where it joins the yoke.

I’m not even sure why it is there. If I make this again, and that’s a pretty big IF, I’d remove the gathering. Not even convert to pleats or tucks. Just G-O-N-E.

All the changes I made to the upper bodice, raised the empire on the right side  to within 2″ of my underarm. It makes me wonder if I have made the correct fit alterations.  I’m not anxious to repeat 6 fittings.

BUT, what I absolutely love is that I think I confirmed my personal fitting theory.   By selecting patterns with darts and seams between shoulder and bust, I am able to more quickly fit patterns to my body.


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.)


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.

SP575 Sleeveless Version

Having decided I might use Sonya’s blouse again, I transferred my alterations to the tissue copy; folded originals and put in a 9×12 mailing envelope and was putting my copy in another envelope…. when it occurred to me I should just do the sleeveless version now. In quick order I decide I should take it up a notch by narrowing the shoulder and creating a neckline more flattering for me. I traced the back and front of the upper bodice/yoke sections. Marked 1/2″ from the armscye edge and that’s where I lined up my sleeveless template. I can understand why Peggy seems short on words. This is so easy. It raised the armhole, narrowed the shoulder and created a sleeveless armscye in about 5 seconds. You just slap the sleeveless template down there and run your pen along the outside. Since this is  a sleeveless, presumably summer garment, I also widened the neckline. Again measuring 1/2″ from the neckline edge along the shoulder. On the back, I aligned my curve with the mark and the existing CB neckline; drew my new back neckline.  On the front, I made by 1/2″ mark on the shoulder but also marked 1/2″ up from the bottom yoke edge. I traced a V neckline between the two marks again using my french curve.  It is a shallow V.  Making the changes to the sleeveless bodice was really quick. 5 minutes or less.

I chose a fabric, pressed and laid it and my pattern pieces out on my cutting table. Turned off the light and went upstairs. This is my habit. I find it gives me time to review the changes and plans I’ve made. Sometimes I remember something really important. This time I realized I was not taking advantage of the white and yellow strip seersucker. On my first layout I was matching stripes when I could have been playing with them. Next day I spent a few minutes drawing bias lines on the center front and upper bodice pieces.  I laid the sides out on the straight of grain;

upper bodice cross grain. Center front and center back are on the bias.

While this pattern isn’t quite a TNT, it’s so close. I loved how quickly it came together. In an hour and 20 minutes I had basted the side seams, serged and stitched all the others; applied my facings, buttonholes and buttons. I was ready for a first try on which I expected to be good… but not perfect.

It did not disappoint. I spent a few quick sessions tweaking the seams.  I took the underarm in 7/8″ zeroing about 5″ down; increased the curve of the princess darts about 1/4″ above the waist; and offset the back to add 1/2″ ease.  My butt still needs a little ease. Someone will suggest a sway back alteration but I’m looking at the side diagonal pulling from the hip and the tightness across the hip. I think I need a little more ease.

Overall, it fits a little more nicely then my previous short sleeve.

The extra inch I added at the hem, makes the proportions more pleasing though I don’t discount that the slightly more fitted silhouette contributes. I’m on the verge of calling this a TNT. As I said, I need to add a little more hip room and I think I’d like to tweak the fit in the back a little closer. But I like it.