Tag Archives: alteration

Red Leaf Clover (Round two)

Clover---round two

Grum.

So. Still not the best photography, but at least it’s not the iPhone. I lightened the crap out of things to make the wrinkles etc. show better.

So, at this point I have lowered the rise in the front 5cm, tapering to 2.5 at the hip and zilch at the centre back. And this time (yay!) the zipper held out long enough to take some actual photos.

So at this point I’m seeing two major problems, aside from generalized looseness:

1) wrinkles at side-seam along hip. Several of you in the last post (thanks so much, everyone!) attributed this to excess hip curve, and you’re probably right. On the left side the zipper has forced this extra length into a single large fold at the bottom of the zipper, on the right side it’s more distributed.

2) bagginess at front crotch. I obviously need to research this. These aren’t strain wrinkles—it’s more like there’s just too much fabric here.

Minor problems include

3) dip at CB still there. If I lower the sides more, this may help, but really a bit of extra height in the back will be a must for next time.

4) wrinkles and looseness along legs. There’s some width that can be taken out here, I think.

Next up, I did what I should’ve done before I ever cut, and dug out my pattern for the Burdastyle Ellen Pants. This is the one that created the Businesswoman Pants, and while the fit isn’t totally perfect, it’s hella better than this pair, at least so far. The only reason I didn’t before, aside from laziness, was that the Ellen isn’t drafted for stretch fabric, so I wasn’t sure how precisely comparable they would be.

Crotch Curve Comparison:

Ellen vs. Clover

So this was the REALLY interesting part. I overlaid the two patterns. The solid paper is the Ellen pants (cut to a size 34 rather than my usual 36 as they run large). The tissue is my tracing of the Clover (size 2 grading to size 4 at the waist).

The biggest single difference is the rise in the front. It’s more than an inch higher at the centre front, and substantial. The rear rise is almost identical—a smidge lower at CB, a cm higher at the sideseam. There’s a slightly greater curve to the hip in the clover. The back piece is slightly wider in the Clover, but then the front piece is slightly narrower, so I think the overall width is very similar (and Ellen is non-stretch!). The spookiest thing is that the diference in rise doesn’t even out at the side seam—the rear side-seam is higher, when the crotch curves are lined up, than the side on the front, which means that there’s some odd shifting of how the halves are going to fit together. That’s boggling my brain, I tell you.

The crotch curves are almost identical, up to and including the much longer rear than front curve. This is the bit that really threw me for a loop, because I was expecting there to be a significant difference, not just a few mm at the back of the rear crotch curve. Now maybe having the front fly on the Ellen masks certain things, or maybe it’s just that they’re in non-stretch fabrics, but I never saw anything in any of my Ellens like the folds I have in the Clover.

There are a few other differences—the Clover legs are much narrwer, especially as you go down, than the straight-legged Ellens. But on the whole—scary close.

So I think I’m going to cry Uncle, seam rip the entire kaboodle, and recut following the Ellen pattern at the top. And then maybe consider taking in the side-seams until the stretch factor is properly accounted for.

And this, Ladies and Gentlemen, is why I’ve stuck with the same two pants patterns this whole time…

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Red-Leaf Clover

Colette Clover pants. You can see from the wrinkles that the waistband at the side isn't pulled as high as it can go.

Or, possibly the worst-photographed post ever.

Did I mention my camera charger didn’t come home with me after the holidays? So yeah, the last few posts have been iPhone photos. Painful, I know. I’m working to get the back-up camera functional again (battery issues, but at least it uses standard AA batteries), but as of this moment you get iPhone photos.

So, after making little jeans for everyone short in the family (or at least that’s what it feels like…), I was in the mood for some new pants myself. And frankly, I’m a little bored of Jalie 2908, although I do have fabric for another pair for myself planned.

So I pulled out this red stretch (?twill? Sometimes it looks like twill, other times not.)

After much hemming and hawing, I cut out the size 2, which is my actual hip size, grading to a size 4 (which is not quite my actual waist size) at the waist. The long view finished inseam is listed at 27″, designed to fall just above the ankle. Dear readers, 27″ is a longish capri length on me.  Since it’s winter and my desire to make a pair of pants that would look funny with socks is at absolute zero, I decided to lengthen them to a more normal, scrunch-around-the-ankle, skinny length. I added 6″ (15 cm.) I had some misgivings about the rise, which some people have reported as a bit high (and we all know I’m a low-rise kind of girl), but figured I would keep it as-is for now, as that’s something which can be tweaked after the pattern’s cut. The crotch-length was a little disconcerting, as the horizontal leg of the back L seemed really long, but the horizontal leg of the front L was really short, so I hoped it would even out. It’s different from most of the other crotch-curves I’ve seen, so I was kind of curious to try.

Clover crotch-curves

And then I took a deep, deep breath, and I cut into my precious* red twill.

It is my intention for these, eventually, to be a sort of wearable muslin. Uncharacteristically for me, I basted them together just to check the fit—I’m planning on completely re-stitching everything once I have them fitting how I like.

I didn’t get any full-length pictures. The legs are pretty much fine—skinny, long enough. I may take in the outseams above the knees about .5 cm on each side—enough to bring me down, basically, to a size 0; I think this fabric has a bit more stretch than the pattern may have been planned for (I wish it had a stretch guide, or at least listed %stretch rather than %Lycra.  % Lycra is not very useful at all in predicting how much a fabric stretches, in my experience.) Alternatively, I may just like my pants tighter than was originally meant. Which is probable, too.

Anyway. The rise in the back is good, although it does that dip-down thing at the middle of the back. I would not want it any lower, that’s for sure.

Front view. You can just barely see that my belly-button is immediately above the waistband.

The rise in the front is a full 5cm (almost 2″) higher than I’d like. The pin in the front shows where I’d like the bottom of the waistband to fall in order to get the rise right.

The size of the waistband seems good as long as I don’t interface all stretch out of the waistband. (Though I suppose this will be different once I change the rise, anyway.) There is not much gaping at the CB, which is a common problem for me, so that’s good.

Unfortunately, the crappy zipper I threw in self-destructed within about 30 seconds of me putting the pants on, so I’m frantically pinching the one hip together in the pictures.

The front crotch seems a bit odd, I think because the curve is so shallow, but I’m hesitant to mess with it at this point. Maybe later. If any of you know what these wrinkles mean (left side of the photo, the right side is being pulled off by the issues with the zipper) please let me know! 😉

Anyway, I think I’ll be able to make some quite nice pants out of these, once I have them tweaked a bit. But some tweaking is definitely required.

And unpicking. And, y’know, reading the actual instructions.

*in the sense that I have been looking for a fabric like this for ages, not in the sense that it was expensive—it was definitely not.

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Syo Sews

Syo sewed so well. Also she's wearing a shirt I made her.

While I’ve been dithering over the hubs’ coat, Syo seized the opportunity to sneak onto an unattended machine and whip up a little purse. Her being extremely proud of her creation, she asked me to blog about it. Me being putty in her cute little fingers, immediately snapped some photos and set to.

Look! It opens!

Look! Not only does it have a strap (thankfully using up the last of that trim!), but there’s even something approaching a seam-finish on the end of the fold-over flap!

Ok, so I may be a little bit exuberant. Here’s the thing. She sewed this on her own. The only thing she asked me was whether she could use the machine (yes, dear, just don’t sew through your fingers, k?). No hovering, no planning, no supervising every seam-allowance and pivot and backtack.

People, this is how I learnt to sew (when I was probably right around Syo’s age, maybe a smidge older). Grab fabric, think (or don’t), and go. Doesn’t work? Try again. Something you never thought of goes wrong? Oops, that was a learning experience!

I’m not knocking anyone who learnt to sew properly—it’s probably a much faster, more efficient way to learn. But it’s not how I learnt, and trying to teach my kids feels… forced. Weird. Stressful.

This wasn’t stressful. This was great.

Shot with tree.

In other news, I traced out the size F(2, but in length G/3) and size H(4) of the Jalie 2908 jeans, to make up for my nieces, possibly even for Christmas. I’m still in limbo over a shirt for my Dad… I have the fabric picked out, but the Negroni pattern I ordered at the beginning of the month (yes, I caved, finally) still hasn’t arrived. I have printed out a custom size (as far as I can figure going on my mom’s recollection of his measurements and some gentle prodding over the phone) of this pattern, but I’m a little worried that it’s going to fit like a tent, which is not really what I want to create. I’m planning a backup gift on that front, either way. On the subject of Mr. Isis (every time I type that I think I should just put “Osiris”)’s jacket, I did a second muslin, with a much fuller back and wider sleeves, after he very instructively flexed while wearing the first muslin and ripped the back seam open clear to the waist. We are having some issues over fit vs. freedom of motion; like many hard-to-fit people, he’s used to wearing knits or vastly oversized wovens. Anyway, the second muslin had a very curved back seam, a lot of ease rotated into the shoulders (basically I rotated some of the curve from the neck into a shoulder-dart, but I don’t plan on sewing the dart, just easing the fabric in), and has some big folds under the arm, all of which disappear completely when he crosses his arms. I tried to suggest (as I seem to recall reading somewhere) that a suit-jacket should lie smooth when the hands are clasped in front. He doesn’t consider this adequate. I think he’s on glue. The debate continues. Anyway, I think I can shave off a bit of the excess and get something that doesn’t look completely grotesque when he’s standing naturally.  Fitting muscles is weird. It’s almost like an FBA for the back, in an area that doesn’t happen to have any darts. (Boy has a drop of almost 12″ from chest to waist right now. That’s not only more than mine, that’s more than twice mine. The jerk.). At least widening the sleeves went well. I’d be tempted to try a larger size, but the shoulders fit beautifully.

Now if I could just find my roll of craft paper to make the rest of the pattern pieces… (I’m trying to save the wrapping paper for the presents…)

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On the Vogue Front

The next stage of fitting…

Sleevage. Fitting.

So, I slapped some sleeves onto my bodice-muslin of the Zoe coat, Vogue 7448, to see what they did to the floopyness around the front armscye. And also where the shoulders actually sit and things like that. Oh, and I added facings and the collar.

I think I should just suck it up and do the square shoulder adjustment.

I also think I’ve decided the front floopyness really boils down to my SBA being insufficiently agressive. If I stuff a fist in the side in front of my breast, it fills out the space quite nicely and the wrinkles disappear. (Incidentally, I took this photo wearing my padded bra, which does bring my bust measurement up to a proper size 12—34″. And it’s still floopy.

The only other thing (which doesn’t show in these photos) is how much the low armscye makes the arms bind when I put my hands on my hips. I’ve been trying to talk myself out of fixing it, but I just don’t think I can. Even the front floopyness doesn’t annoy me as much as that binding at the arms. I promise I’ll only raise it a centimetre or so. I’m sure I’ll still be able to get most of my sweaters underneath.

And the wearable muslin…

Vogue 7448 Sweater

Despite the fact that the fit is so-so and the internal finishing is abysmal, I really wanted to get something usable out of this. So, I grabbed some cream rib-knit that just happens to match the cream sweatshirt knit, cut a 3″ wide band (doubled), and added it to the bottom and made cuffs for the sleeves.

Buttons

Although I often really like cropped jackets, something about the position of the band has me not entirely convinced that it’s terribly flattering (maybe I’m just feeling muffin-top-conscious due to winter slothfulness and the depressing length of time since I’ve done a pretty, glamorous basement photo shoot. Oh, well. At least the jeans look good.)

I do quite like it hanging open, which is unusual for a double-breasted garment. The way the front hangs open reminds me faintly of those floppy-front cardigans.

Facing and under-collar

The buttons are cream, leather-covered buttons from one of my old-button thrift store hauls. The leather is pretty dinged up and dingy, but the colour was nice and I was willing to go with it for this particular garment. I decided to bind the inside of the facing and the undercollar with some nice patterned bias binding, which would be a lovely touch if the rest of the seam-finishing wasn’t so godawful. (er, nonexistent.) (Erm, buttonholes in rib knit. Bad idea, basically. Some kind of stabilizer would’ve been a VERY good idea. I thought of it just after I started the first one.)

I’m glad I made the full collar, though. This is the first time I’ve tackled one of those collars with inner corners, and it was a bit brain-breaky and nerve-wracking. I had to actually read the instructions. Definitely worth practicing.

So I guess this is one of those “time will tell” garments. I’ll probably wear it a bit, because I do need sweaters, badly. I may fall thoroughly in love with it… who knows.

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The perils of tissue fitting

And other good ideas

Tissue-fitting

Baby steps continue on Vogue, 7448, henceforth to be known as the Zoe Coat. I am *this* close to convincing myself that I can splurge on some really nice wool and thinsulate to make an uber-winter version as my prezzie from Santa, although if I have to order anything online the time-frame is getting iffy. We’ll see.

So, I decided to try and tissue-fit my altered pattern pieces on my theoretically-me-shaped duct-tape double.

Now, I do not wish to completely malign duct-tape doubles. I suspect when done really well, and stuffed with a lot of attention to detail, and treated with appropriate respect thereafter, they can probably be pretty useful. Mine is a bit lacking. Another layer of duct-tape to stabilize would probably have not gone amiss. I should’ve been a little more careful in the stuffing, especially of the shoulder region. The fact that my kids think it’s the cat’s miaou and have had oodles more fun with it than I ever have doesn’t help, either. But it is still generally me-shaped.

So. I pinned my pattern pieces, noting centre front and centre back locations, and tried them on the double.  As you can see above (please ignore the awful background) the main issue seemed to be that the waist (which is supposed to be slightly raised—from past experience this is about 1/2″ above the natural waist) still appeared to be a couple of inches too low. There was also a lot of room in the bust (or rather, a lot more room in the bust than at the waist), so I added another tuck to shorten and did a modest Small Bust Adjustment. This is actually my first formal SBA with a dart, although I’ve smoothed down princess-seams in the bust area plenty. I tend to wear a bra with wovens, and my bras are all psychotically padded, so I’ve mostly been able to get away with the bust as drafted.

For good measure (considering all the height I’d taken out at this point), I shortened the bust dart by a centimetre or so.

Muslin---Stage 1

And moved on to muslin (stage 1). Apologies for the fuzzy photos, I am far too lazy to re-take them. This is what happens when you let your fingers or arm come between the camera and your photo-spot when setting up the self-timer. 😛

Several things became instantly obvious.

Firstly, I had taken out too much length. Obviously my duct-tape is not quite so double. (I suspect she’s compressed in length from being left standing from time to time.) I actually pretty much like where the bottom of the pieces is, but of course there needs to be a seam-allowance below that. /sigh. When I tried it on I thought the back was too short (remember I took 1 cm off the bottom of the back as part of my swayback adjustment), but actually as worn it hangs straight, so that’s a win.

There’s a lot of gaping in the back, at the neck and in the sway-back area.Fairly easy to fix by tweaking the back seam. I’m wondering if the neck-gaping is exacerbated by the need for a square-shoulder adjustment, though. I had hoped that since the pattern is designed for shoulder-pads, I wouldn’t need one, but it would probably have helped.

The front waist seems about right, and shoulder and side-seams fall in pretty good places. The point of the bust dart is high, but I think not problematically so. The big issue in the front is that folding in the front armscye. Those of you who are fit-gurus, please comment! My Singer Sewing Reference Library volume “The Perfect Fit” suggests two fixes for this, a minor one which is basically the same as a sloping-shoulder adjustment on the front bodice piece only(which is pretty much the opposite of what I need), and a major one where you take a dart out of the pattern at the armscye and then kind of smush it flat so there’s no dart there on your final piece. This seems annoyingly imprecise, but would probably work. Of course, these armscye issues are also affected by the sleeve, so I’ll be setting in sleeves before I make a final decision. I find it particularly interesting that the “fold” doesn’t point to the bust, but rather beside it

EDIT: Just a random bit of life I can’t resist putting in. Yesterday our area was in the grip of a fierce chinook windstorm. The wind was breathtaking, but even more amazing was the temperature—even with all that wind, it was WARM (comparatively) outside. Being good Canadians, we promptly kicked the kids out of the house to enjoy the weather.

This morning we turned on the Weather Network and learned that our area had received hurricane-force winds yesterday and that people had been urged to stay inside and away from windows.

Oopsie.

Well, at least they were away from windows…

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Frock Coat Muslin

Coat muslin, finished

Once again, I’m not allowed to photograph Mr. Isis in the muslin—heck, I’m barely allowed to PUT him in the muslin, and then it’s off before I have a chance to really check the fit. Argh. Anyway, I shall attempt to write down some notes of the fit so I don’t forget.

So, the good:

  • shoulder breadth is spot on
  • waist length  is good (I shortened 3.5 cm after comparing his neck-waist back measurement to that of the pattern)
  • sleeve length (I lengthened 3 cm in the pattern). I need to remember to add the flap for sleeve vents!
  • overall length is good, although I have to nail him down on that issue (see below).
  • collar fits nicely
  • a nicely small amount of ease in the sleeve-cap.
The bad:
  • Too TIGHT! in select areas.  My well-muscled hubs needs, at minimum, a broad-back adjustment
  • Full biceps adjustment

    and a wide biceps adjustment. The shoulders are really binding—I’m hoping that the broad biceps adjustment, which shortens the sleeve-cap as well as widening the arm, will help with the shoulder binding as well. I may actually just widen the entire sleeve a bit, too—really narrow sleeves is a problem I’ve run into in Lekala patterns before, in Tyo’s coat.

New Inspiration---the Prophecy

The annoying:

  • Christopher Walken in The Prophecy

    the other night hubs comes up with another source of inspiration: the coat worn by Christopher Walken as Gabriel in the movie the Prophecy. Fortunately for my blood pressure, it turns out on research that aside from the buttons and length (Walken’s coat is above the knee, a bit shorter than this one) it’s for all intents and purposes the same coat. However, hubs does need to decide whether he wants a single buttonhole or a bunch down the front. I HATE it when people I’m sewing for try to change the design midway through the process.

Things I still have to check because I don’t have photographs to reference:
  • side-seam (is it straight?)
  • rear vent (does it gape—do I need to add more room in the bottom half?)
  • sleeve length (double-check)
  • how MUCH extra space across the back does he need?
What’s particularly amusing to me is that some of these changes, in particular the shortening of the body and lengthening of the sleeves, are ones that I typically do as well. Which means that our children are probably doomed in this department. Sorry, kids.
And now the ten-million-dollar question—second muslin or not? >_<

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The Last Gasp of Summer Dress (Part 1)

Lonsdale at last!

Last night, in a fit of madness, I finally cut out the bodice for the Lonsdale dress*. Boo-ya!

So, what’s up with this? Well, I had traced out the bodice pieces in a straight  Sewaholic size 6 back in July (Yes, I’m a tracer. Especially when it comes to almost $20 patterns). Tasia’s size 6 matches my bust measurement, and the waist is only an inch off, which puts it closer to my measurements than any other commercial pattern I’ve run across. Yay! The hip measurements are way, way of—the Sewaholic line caters to the more pear-shaped among us, which I am emphatically not—but that shouldn’t matter for a dress like this. Which is probably why she came out with a dress like this ;).

Anyway, on examining the pieces, I decided to shorten the waist by a LOT. I have a short waist to begin with, and the Pendrell blouse (presumably based on the same measurements) was reported to run long in the waist. Also, there’s the waist-band piece, which will sit below the bodice. Trial and error has taught me that if I must have a waistband on a dress, I’d rather have it start at my waist and extend above. Visual attempts to lengthen my waist don’t seem to help—I get better results with a slightly raised waist. Or I think I do, anyway (think this dress). I took out about 5cm (2″), I’d say. So it will probably end up a bit higher than Tasia intended, but hopefully at a place that looks good on me ;). Remember there’s a 5cm-wide band below the bodice, then the skirt starts.

Closeups

In the photo I had folded up the bottom edge to to approximately where the seam will be. Since you can’t really see my waist well in these pics, I’ll throw in a slightly more inclusive shot:

Distance shot

Unfortunately taking photos at night in my bedroom with the flash and my backup camera doesn’t make for the best photos ever, but you should get the idea.

I should really make a swayback adjustment, though. Note to self.

Pretty instructions!

I have to say, I love Tasia’s instructions! Look at all those gorgeous little diagrams—barely a word, because barely a word is needed. Kinda like Ikea instructions. 🙂

Now to find time to actually work on it…

*Bonus points to the person who sees my big booboo in this photo.

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