Oh Frabjous day!

… to keep up the literary theme, although it’s been a while since I read the Jaberwocky, so I don’t think I’ll go any further with it today. My mother preferred reciting “The Walrus and the Carpenter” for some reason. Which always made me sad when they eat the oysters. That might be why I don’t much care for Lewis Carroll (shocking, I know).



My patterns arrived! Happy dance! I made my firstest-ever Etsy purchase a month or more ago, two vintage patterns from the Cupcake Goddess’s Etsy Store. I excercised great, great restraint and did *not* order one of her darling tailor’s ham and sleeve roll sets, although if she ever does some in spiderwebs or skulls (preferably black and pink) I might not be able to resist.

Why so long? Well, aside from the fact that I payed by echeque, which takes some time to clear, the package arrived in a plastic sleeve from Canada Post apologizing for the damaged condition “it was received in”—edges chewed up and water-damaged; it apparently spent some time lost in transit. My heart pit-a-patted.

Fortunately, Her Divine Cupcakeness had packaged the envelopes in a sealed plastic sleeve (complete with well wishes) within the cardboard shipping envelope, so all was well. I am now the proud owner of Butterick 3364, a fitted men’s shirt pattern, and Simplicity 5728, an adorable little dress. Both date from the 70s, the dress earlier, the shirt, I think, later.

Butterick 3364 and Simplicity 5728

Let’s start with the dress.

I bought this pattern for one reason and one reason only. At my grandmother’s house on the family farm, in the closet of my mother’s old bedroom, hangs a dress of almost exactly this same pattern. Even the colour and print are very similar to the long version. The only glaring difference is the fold-over collar. And I always have liked that dress—which fits me divinely, or at least did last time I tried it on, probably when Syo was a baby—except for the fabric, which is a godawful, polyester-knit-flannel-scratchy stuff that could only have been spawned of the 1960s-70s. The little floral print is a bit twee, as well—I don’t really do prints, as you may have noticed. But the bones of the dress, the lines—killer.

So when I saw this pattern, in a 34 bust, I almost bought it straight away. I forced myself to wait on it, but a month later it was still there, and I still wanted it. So I jumped.

The only downside is while it’s a 34 bust, which is only one inch over mine, it’s also a junior petite. The junior part is good—I am not exactly full figured—but, er, it’s drafted for someone five foot nothing. That’s 1.5m for the metric folks who aren’t clinging illogically to an arbitrary and outdated measuring system. That’s a more than half a foot shorter than me.

Still, adding length can’t be that tricky, right?

So, stand by for Adventures in Grading… although given how prolific I am when it comes to sewing dresses… well, it may be a while. Ceylon has been marinating for several months now, after all.

Butterick 3364 Views

The shirt, obviously, is for my hubby. I’ve been wanting a princess-seamed shirt pattern for him for a while, ever since I saw Peter’s version. You see, y’know how you look at the measurement charts, and very often ones’ bust measurement, say, is several sizes smaller than one’s waist measurement?

Well, my husband has the opposite problem. In fact, the man has a 40″ chest and a 32″ waist, which would make him spot on for his size… if he were female. This is when he’s “fat”(he also has Body Issues to do an anorexic proud)… any number of times during our marriage he’s had a 28″ waist, which is the same as mine on a good day. That’s an 8 to 12″ drop from chest to waist. Mine is about 5”. On a good day. The bastard.

McCall's 7123 front view

Anyway, all bitterness aside, this means that most dress shirts fit him like the boxes they are. Which is fine if that’s what you’re going for, like the shirt I made him last summer… but I can’t help but fantasize about something different. Something a little more fitted, that actually flatters the body he’s got. Especially nice, this pattern has options for with and without princess seams, including back darts like the tailored men’s shirt draft Laurianna posted on.

And I love the idea of making him shirts because, although he wears them frequently, he won’t wear any with breast pockets, ever, and far prefers a mandarin collar to a roll collar. Which reduces the selection in RTW by about 80% right off the bat. But for me—it just means I don’t need to fuss with de-70s-ifying the collar that comes with the pattern (although really, it’s not at all bad by 70s standards anyway).

Now the only trick will be getting him to actually wear a fitted shirt. (See above about Body Issues.)

In Lady Grey News

Padstitching in action

… a relentless weekend of hand-stitching has produced results. I have pad-stitched lapels!

I did something resembling pad-stitching on the collar of Tyo’s coat, if you recall, but only after it was constructed, relying on the thickness of the fabric to let me bury my stitches within the fabric; the actual stitch used zig-zagged back and forth, rising to the surface in a tiny bite at each corner of the zig zag. Anyway, another idiosyncratic feature of an idiosyncratic coat.

But this time, I determined that I would do my research first. Unfortunately, the

format of Gertie’s video on padstitching wouldn’t play on my ipod, the main computer was off because it’s been randomly shutting down lately, and the padstitching illustrated in the taloring book Santa’s going to put in my stocking didn’t look much like Gertie’s either (it was pretty much straight along the lines). I also checked out my Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing, which had padstitching more like what I thought Gertie was getting at.

Pad-stitching for zig-zags

After a certain amount of experimentation, I got it figured out (or I think I have), and if you do it right you can get the illusion of a series of zig-zags of thread across the surface… I don’t know if that’s actually important, but it looks nice. Now I just need to brace myself to finish the bound buttonholes. Inspired by Kbenco’s long version (in turn, apparently, inspired by my winter coat, yay!), I decided to go for four, functioning buttonholes, because A) I liked the higher, shorter roll of the collar, B) I think it looks better if I am not wearing a belt, and usually I don’t like things belted at my waist), and C) it’s more like Tyo’s coat this way.

This is what happens when you hold the pad-stitched lapel upside down

Hmm, maybe C) isn’t actually a good thing.

Now, the miracle of pad-stitching is not really obvious when you look at it flat on, or even when worn, so let me demonstrate (see left). Even if you hold it upside down, the curl remains, flexible but undeniable. Nifty!

Anyway, that’s already more post than I imagine any of you wanted to read, so I’ll let it go at that.

And, as the Cupcake Goddess says:

Happy Sewing Adventures!




Filed under Sewing

17 responses to “Oh Frabjous day!

  1. oh what a great idea for the husby’s shirt. mine has the opposite prob in that he LIKES his shirts slim and they’re darn hard to find in his small size. i asked about making him one, but he didn’t care for the pattern i found (read he’s freaking picky)!

    congrats on figuring out padstitching!! i can’t wait to see the final lady grey 🙂

    • Mine is picky, too—and I won’t let him see this pattern because there’s no way he’ll be able to see past the 70s illustration to the coolness of the lines. Silly boys :).

      Finding small mens’ clothes is tough. We spent a lot of time in the boys’ section when my hubby was slimmer.

  2. I love a good mail day! I eyed that 70s’ dress pattern in her shop as well, it’s super cute. I’d love to see it on you! It will be impossible for you to look little-girl-like with your cool hair 🙂
    Have fun with the men’s shirt! You know, we think our bodies are hard to fit, but theirs are just as complicated, never mind any body hang-ups they have. Great job on the Lady Grey padstitching. Lots of sewing adventures ahead for you!

  3. I can’t wait to see that dress. I love the pattern. I’ve been wanting to make a long winter dress. I’m excited to see your Lady Grey! — though I am a little jealous over how quickly you are getting it done :).

  4. Oh, I will follow your hubby shirt making progress with interest. I find they are harder to fit than women. My bloke is a 44″ chest with a 32″ waist and he likes his shirts fitted. Add to that muscles between shoulder and neck with require a sloping shoulder adjustment … it’s been a nightmare to fit him! Perhaps I will try a princess seamed shirt for him. I have that same dress pattern and periodically consider making it, but so far haven’t gotten around to it.

  5. I love that pad stitching!

  6. Lucy

    I do like Lewis Carrol’s poems, but his work in general and Alice in Wonderland in particular has always freaked me out since I saw an exhibition about it at Norwich Castle aged 11. They had historical information about how the hatters actually went mad from the mercury they used in the hats, and I haven’t been able to look at Tenniel’s illustrations ever since.

    In other news, hello! I can’t remember whether I’ve commented on here before or not? I’ve been reading for a bit.

  7. My husband also likes to mandarin collars on his shirts, so I know what you mean about RTW options being limited. Eventually I will get around to actually making something for him. Maybe.

    Also, enjoy mother/daughter matching while its still possible. Its a very short window.

  8. Sewista Fashionista

    I remember that itchy fabric that your grandma used on her dress! Even as a small child when I would feel itchy yarn or clammy stiff fabric, I somehow knew that those ladies had skill that far surpassed their materials. They acted like the materials weren’t awful which made me wonder further about the adult capacity for denial.

  9. Having patterns arriving with the mail is almost like Christmas everytime! At the moment, I am waitin for an order and I see myself going downstairs a few times/morning to check the mailbox,,, Is it bad doctor?

    Your coat is turning out great! I really like your precision!

    • I know! I had actually checked twice yesterday morning before the pattern came, lol.

      Thanks for the compliment… although I’m a little startled to see myself and precision in the same sentence ;).

  10. The lapel roll is impressive! I will try bound buttonholes someday. Padstitching…I don’t see it.

  11. hey chica! my head started spinning when I started reading this post – we were snowed in this weekend and I watched the tim burton alice in wonderland 3 times in the last 3 days (it’s on netflix on demand) and last night couldn’t stop saying jabberwocky like Helena -b-c….

    I am SO itching to make the boy a shirt! He is a suit wearer, or sometimes just a shirt and tie wearer (no suit jacket) and he thinks he’s giant! He has the same 40 chest/32 waist thing going on and his normal shirts are so baggy! I’ve gotten him to purchase a few fitted versions, and he sees why they’re better… oooo… I’m a little concerned, though, because he has a lot of that weird, muscles on the top of the shoulders by the neck thing going on and I’m betting he’d be hard to fit in a shirt – it didn’t really come into play fitting the (as-yet-unfinished) coat, what with the looser fit and the shoulder pads!

    And I TOTALLY cracked up about not showing your guy the pattern envelope. Dan, also, lacks vision. In fact, I occasionally photoshop suggested decor changes rather than explaining it to him because he just can’t visualize anything (hello accountant man!) Redoing our kitchen was an adventure in photoshop and illustrator that had me wishing that I had 3D architectural-type programs at my disposal!

    • LMAO at the visualization. I have that problem with the kids, too—Tyo especially will pick a design or pattern, and a fabric, that has absolutely no relation to the kind of “look” she actually likes to wear.

      Those men and their pesky trapezoids! I gather it’s the same as a slope-shouldered alteration, and I’ll probably be messing with it, too. Maybe we should bug Tasia to do a men’s shirt sewalong in the spring? 😉

  12. [Makes Homer Simpson Voice] Mmmm… new patterns 😉 🙂
    Ohhh, that dress & hubby’s shirt pattern look good!!

    I just got x3 Vogue Claire Shaeffer patterns (the one’s with couture tehcniques in the instructions) arrive to me from the US to the UK today – I was grinning like a Cheshire cat hehehe – so I feel the pattern-lurve 🙂

    (P.S. I’ve sent you a message through the BurdaStyle.com website (it should be forwarded by them to your email address.)

  13. LinB

    I wore that pattern, along with over 100 other girls, as our high school chorus dress in the mid-1970s! The double-knit factory just down the road sold us enough forest green (for the body of the dress) and white (for the “Italian” collar) for at least 150 dresses. Pattern came in a vast range of sizes — v. helpful — and was flattering to every body type. I loved that dress, even though polyester double-knit is hot in summer, cold in winter, and retains odor throughout its probably infinite existence. Still have the pattern. Should drag it out and make it again, for my 20-something daughter. In cotton, wool or rayon. Hmmm. Merry Christmas! Bonne Noel!

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