Friday, September 26, 2014

3rd Challenge Winner + 4th Challenge Announced: Lady in Red

The winner of the 3rd Challenge is...



Congratulations Sue! You have won three free patterns from Fabric Mart Sewing Pattern Collection!

Unfortunately, someone has to go home. We're sorry to see Sarah from Musings of a Seamstress leave the challenge. As always, great job to each and every one of the participants. This entire challenge is truly a challenge to add into your everyday life! 

Winner from the Flickr Page: Kitty from Denver Sews is the winner of a free pattern from the Fabric Mart Sewing Pattern Collection. This was a randomly selected drawing. Please email me 
(fabricmartblog{@}gmail.com) to claim your prize. 





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There are a number of challenges in the sewing community that have sewers create their signature little black dress. We did the Little Black Dress Challenge in last year's Fashion Challenge. I've seen the White Dress Challenge on Pattern Review, among many other similar challenges in the online sewing community. I wanted to do a challenge where we focus on one color and when I thought about red, the first thing that came to mind was the song, "Lady in Red" by Chris De Burgh.

I have heard the song many times, but never knew who it was written about or why. After doing some research, I found out it was inspired by a time he saw his wife from across the room in a nightclub. He didn't realize it was her and later on realized that so many times people never appreciate that the most important person in their lives is taken for granted. You also fail to notice what attracted to you to them in the first place. 



In this challenge, I would like you to create the perfect red dress. It can be any version of red - burgundy red, bright red, red-orange, etc, just as long as it is red! If you need to send me a photo for confirmation, you can definitely do that.

I would also like you to create a story for us. Are you going out with your husband on a romantic date or a fun night out with the girls? Where will you be going? What will you be doing? Your dress should be able to tell your story. 




We will be judging on a 1-10 scale (10 being the highest) using the following criteria: 

Fit - Does the dress fit well? No unnecessary pulling in problem areas? Is it flattering to your figure? 

Creativity - Does the dress have something interesting about it that sets it apart from your everyday dress? Also, did you come up with an interesting story to go along with this dress?

Craftsmanship - Did you put a lot of care into the construction? Top-stitching straight, careful overall construction, etc. 

Presentation - While we totally understand not everyone has a professional camera and the perfect backdrop for photographing their creations, (Me included!!) you are in front of a world of other sewers! Make yourself look presentable. Submit a photo of the front, back and side view of the garment, as well as a "presentation photo" (this should be the best photo!) Detail photos are also requested so we can be better judges. So if you do some embellishing or a specific technique, zoom in and share with us! (Not all photos may be used in the final blog post, but shared with the judges.)

Guest Judge will be Laura Nash from Sew Chic Patterns. I interviewed her earlier in the summer during the In the Studio series. Read her interview here. 
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Entries are due by Tuesday, September 30rd, with viewer judging on Wednesday, October 1st-Thursday, October 2nd. The winner will be announced Friday, October 3 and a new challenge will begin!

PRIZES!!
The winner of this challenge will receive a Sewing Room Assortment pack which will include thread, a square ruler, grosgrain ribbon, scissors, and MORE! You will also receive a free 10 yard Mystery Bundle packed with beautiful fabrics from our website. 




Reader Participation! 
Don't forget!! If you are watching from the sidelines, you can participate in the challenge too! Head on over to our Flickr page and upload your finished red dress! Follow the same rules as the Challenge participants. Upload a photo of your finished garment by Wednesday, October 1st (made during the challenge please, no previously made items!) We will have a random drawing for the Flickr winner! They will win one free pattern of their choice from the Fabric Mart Pattern collection. (All prizes are sent to winner at the end of the challenge.)

Ready, set, go!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Fashion Challenge #3 - Inspired by Ready-to-Wear -- What They Made!!

We're in the 3rd week of the Fabricista Fashion Challenge! In this week's challenge, contestants were asked to create a new garment based off of a RTW garment in their wardrobe. They were also asked to blog about the process on their own blogs. This way they can explain about it in as much length as they would like and were also able to put as many photos in it as they would like! Scroll through the submissions and vote for your favorite! (Voting link is at the bottom of this blog post.) Be sure to click on each contestant's blog link to read about their process in making a new garment from a RTW garment. 


This week's challenge will be judged my myself (Julie) and Dana Bontrager from Dana Marie Designs! Dana has her own line of fashion patterns. I interviewed her back in June. Read the interview here.

Winner of this challenge will receive a Free Knit Bundle and three free patterns of their choice from the Fabric Mart Pattern collection.

Reader Participation! 
Don't forget!! If you are watching from the sidelines, you can participate in the challenge too! Head on over to our Flickr page and upload two photos - the original RTW garment and the new garment made using the RTW garment. Follow the same rules as the Challenge participants. Upload a photo of your finished garment by Wednesday, September 24th (made during the challenge please, no previously made items!) We will have a random drawing for the Flickr winner! They will win one free pattern of their choice from the Fabric Mart Pattern collection. (All prizes are sent to winner at the end of the challenge.)


Let's see what the contestants created...


Ann from SewBaby

I bought this navy sleeveless top from The Limited a few years ago, and reach for it often.  The neckline is flattering, the fit is perfect for me, and it’s versatile enough that I can wear it with just about anything.  Why, oh, why didn't I buy it in every color?  


So, for this challenge, I decided to copy it. I’ve looked at it from the inside before, and was very curious how they put it together. The front neckline was a mystery to me. Was that a dart?  Or a pleat? Or ruching? I honestly sat and looked at this piece for a couple of hours, scratching my head, as to what this pattern was going to look like. This is when you really start to appreciate all of the work that pattern designers do!  

I gathered measurements from the original top, transferred this to my plastic sheeting, and got a pretty good idea of how they put this thing together. It really was clever. What looked like it could be separate pieces, was actually just one piece that was slashed, gathered , folded, and pleated. I made up a muslin. Not perfect, made a few changes. Now was the time to transfer this to my pattern paper marking all of the important points.  
 


I cut out my teal green jersey and transferred the markings precisely using a tracing wheel and colored wax paper. My jersey is a little thicker than The Limited top, but I’m pretty thrilled with how this mimics the original! It only takes ¾ yard of fabric, and I can see making this up in a bunch of colors and prints. 





I was so happy when I received this week’s challenge! As much as I love sewing my own clothes, I’m constantly inspired by RTW fashion. I decided to copy a dress that I’ve had for about 3 years and worn regularly, even though it’s actually a maternity dress! To create the pattern, I used a combination of patternhacking, the rub-off method, measuring, and guessing. You can read the full report on my blog. There were certainly some challenges to duplicating a maternity dress, but I was determined to make it work! 


I dutifully copied my favorite parts of the inspiration dress, like the waistband shirring, the cowl neck, and even the hidden modesty panel inside the bodice. The hem is tiered for much-appreciated extra weight, keeping the skirt nicely in place. 


The original dress is a medium weight rayon/spandex knit, so I selected a similar cotton/rayon/spandex knit from my stash. Both dresses are so soft and comfortable, pregnant or not! Copying this dress was an amazing challenge, and I can't tell you how awesome it feels to be wearing an exact replica of something I've loved for a long time. I learned a lot, tried some new things, and now I have a beautiful dress to show for it!




Dina from My Superfluities
Click here to read more about Dina's Process

In June 2013 I decided to finance a Bernina machine from my local fabric store.  Eventually I decided on which machine would be my "forever" machine (it dang well better be!) and when I went to the stores to sign the papers, I was wearing one of my most favorite summer sundresses, the Garnet Hill Knit Tiered Sundress (which you can see on me here in this post--second to last photo).  As I was walking around waiting to get the paperwork in order, one of the managers there looked at my dress and said, "well, now I guess you can make yourself a version of that pretty dress with your new machine."  I just kind of chuckled, thinking he was putting WAY too much stock in my abilities as a sewer.  

Little did I know that eventually he would be right, but it took Fabric Mart's Fashion Challenge competition to make this dream a reality.  Because he was right, I *did* want another version of this dress since Garnet Hill no longer made them, and to get my hands on another version would mean my hands would actually have to do the work to construct it!


It turns out there are a gazillion tutorials on how to make tiered skirts and dresses on the internet, but barring a few, most are for little children, which while adorable, will definitely not work for me in my current body shape.  ;-)

But in the end, and after (I think) 16 hours of work on this project, I am far happier with this result, since I suspect actually copying from the garment you love will yield a far better duplicate.

Now I own a nice paper copy of this pattern and can remake this one whenever I feel like I need another casual dressy summer sundress in my closet (and if you know anything about me, you know I LOVE a great sundress). Read more about this on Dina's Blog.






Nakisha from Sew Crafty Chemist

Initially, I had a different plan for this weeks challenge. You can read about that mini-saga on the blog. Thankfully my plan B was an ace plan after all! I wore this outfit to run errands and go to the salon on Saturday. Ironing the top, I saw all the past shine spots from a too-hot iron...the tiny pin-prick holes that have developed...the faded color...I knew that recreating this top would be a great idea! 


I used the pin method to copy the pattern. The front is cut on the fold, the back has a seam. I made sure to fold it at center and traced off the front and back pieces. There are several ways to do this but I like the paper on top. This way I create a line with my pin pricks but also by indenting the paper. The curves were finished off with my French curve.


I knew I was going to make Vogue 1411 out of this berry colored ponte and my fabric choice was sealed. I used this "paint splatters" jersey from Fabric Mart. I picked it up on my last jumbo knit order and it was a perfect match to my pants fabric!!!



Sarah from Musings of a Seamstress
Click here to read more about Sarah's Process


This week we were challenged to copy one of our favorite ready to wear garments.  We were to use the RTW garment to get the pattern for our version.  This definitely challenged me as I have never attempted this before.
I spent 2 days trying to figure out what I wanted to try.  I decided not to do a t-shirt because it would be too simple.  The problem with that is that T-shirts make up the majority of my RTW.  I thought about doing a jacket that I love but I really didn’t want to try to copy the pattern as it has a lot of different pieces.  Plus I had a different idea on how to recreate that garment, which unfortunately didn’t fit within the rules of this challenge.  So in the end I decided to copy my newest pair of Express Skyscraper jeans this time and I will be attempting the jacket later on.

RTW Jeans
Jeans have been something on my must make list for the longest time.  Why not try to tackle them now?!?!  I began by searching Pinterest for different copying techniques.  The first method I tries was where you put tracing/pattern paper under the garment and trace around the piece.  I totally failed at this. It was not good.  Then I tried the painters tape method, I found it on Cheap and Picky.  This actually worked out really well.

Remember earlier when I said I had never tried this before?  Copying RTW and making jeans?  Yay, so I don’t know what I was thinking when I decided that regardless of those two things I didn’t need to make a muslin!  Possibly because I liked the way the RTW fit, but I cannot answer it because I knew the stretch of the denim was greater than the stretch of the fabric I chose.  But I was stubborn and forged ahead. Guess what?!? They soo did not fit.  So, it was back to the beginning.  I needed to add width to the legs and I did not want to add it to the inner seam or outer seam because I didn’t want to change the pocket size nor the crotch depth.  So I split the front and back legs, the waistband and the back yoke parallel with the grainline in spots where the split would go from the top all the way to the bottom without affecting the pocket or crotch depth.  For the front I added 1″ and for the back I added 1/2″, because the back was already so much bigger than the front.

Copy of RTW
All in all, I think they turned out pretty well for my first pair of jeans and my first RTW copying experience.  I would love to make these again.  Luckily I wrote construction details down as I was going.  Way to go foresight!!  I am going to make a few adjustments to the pattern before I do that though.  I want to add a little more to the center front, as these pull slightly, therefore exposing a bit of the zipper.  I also want to find a better stretch denim.




Sue from I Love to Sew!
Click here to read about Sue's Process

Holy crap!   I've only ever created one garment from a RTW piece and it wasn't for me, it was for a friend.  And, furthermore, I have been weeding out RTW from my closet and replacing it with my own creations, I mean why not?  That is why I sew, right?  To create a unique and custom made wardrobe that is not only fun to create (it is therapy after all!) but a pleasure to wear since I get to hand select the style, color, fit, and fabric. I think I am inspiring myself! So, with much nail biting and some trepidation, I set forth to make something that I'd actually want and enjoy wearing. 

But....there are so few things to choose from!  A dress?  I probably have more of those than I need. Pants?  I made a pair of those last week and I need a break from pants. Top? I've also got quite a few of those and ..... Jacket?  Maybe I am onto something here....keep digging in the closet and Viola! A jean jacket I've worn the heck out of is lurking about and yep!  We've got a winner!  

RTW Jean Jacket
I really love the contrast fabric on the cuffs, pockets, collar, and lower band.  Now to decide fabric, details, and pattern.  I previously made Butterick 5616, but the styling is a little off--not bad, mind you. I had something I could work with! 

While the pattern is boxy, I can fix that with some alterations on the style.  Now for the details.  I love those little pockets on the chest of the original garment.  They don't add any bulk to the outside and the way the pocket bags are topstitched from the outside is pretty cool and a very clever design detail.  I've never seen anything like that in a pattern and I was certain I could figure it out.  Also, the pattern isn't long sleeved, but that is an easy-peasy fix by lengthening them about 5 inches.

Since Butterick 5616 was my base, I pin fit the tissue to the original garment.  I had to work out how to make the front into three instead of two pieces which proved to be easy.  It also allowed me to make the jacket more fitted than the original as I scaled those pieces somewhat so they took the front in about 2.5 inches overall.  I also had to reconstruct the cuffs and lower band and cut those in half lengthwise and create a two-pieces or a band and facing, likewise with the cuffs. 

Topstitching fulfills my need for preciseness--is that a word?  I love to see how exact I can make it. Also, don't you think that is the hallmark of a well constructed garment?  I certainly do!  I copied most--about 95%--of the features that were topstitched on the original onto my garment.  
Copy of RTW
Oh yes, I almost forgot about that cute but pesky little pocket under the flaps. I really thought it was fun to make the pocket bags out of the cotton, just like the original.  It did cause me a few head-scratching moments but I figured it out after employing my seam ripper too many times!  Has any one ever seen a pattern with pockets like these before?  If so, I'd love to purchase it just so I can read the directions!  I am very pleased with my new jacket.  I'm not sure I am ready to ditch my beloved RTW dark jean jacket, but I may have to after I wear this one!  Being allowed to participate in this even had stretched my creativity and my sewing skills! 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Winner of the 2nd Challenge & 3rd Challenge Announced: Inspired by Ready-to-Wear

The winner of the 2nd challenge is...



Congratulations! You have won three free patterns from Pamela's Patterns!

Unfortunately, someone has to go home. We're sorry to see Jess from The Sometimes Sewist leave the challenge. As always, great job to each and every one of the participants. This entire challenge is truly a challenge to add into your everyday life! 

Winner from the Flickr Page: Melody M. from Sew Melodic is the winner of a free pattern from Pamela's Patterns. This was a randomly selected drawing. Please email me 
(fabricmartblog{@}gmail.com) to claim your prize. 




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3rd Challenge: Inspired by Ready-to-Wear

Everyone has a favorite garment in their wardrobe. Even if you are a home sewer, nine chances out of ten this favorite garment is not made by you (but maybe it is!) Every time I sew, I try to make each garment my favorite thing to wear, but it just doesn't always work that way. So whether your favorite garment is handmade or not, I want you to dig in your closet for your favorite ready-to-wear garment. It can be a dress, pants, skirt, top, cardigan, anything! Use this garment as a pattern to create a duplicate garment out of a fabric(s) of your choice. You can make an alteration of the RTW item if it doesn't fit you in a particular place, but the objective is to create a duplicate, not an altered version of the original garment. You will be using this garment as a pattern!

There are a number of resources out there that can help you with this process. I found this informative video from Nancy Zieman of Sewing with Nancy to be helpful. 


That's not all! Since all of you have blogs, I would like you to write a blog post on how you created the copycat garment. As always, mention any alterations you needed to make to ensure a better fit (if neccessary.) Talk about how you used the original RTW garment to make the new RTW-inspired piece. 

We will be judging on a 1-10 scale (10 being the highest) using the following criteria: 

Carrying out the Challenge - Did you successfully create a new garment using your favorite RTW garment as a pattern/guide? Don't forget to show us the original RTW garment!

Process Explanation - Did you explain to the viewers how you went about copying the RTW garment and making a brand-new handmade garment? You will need to create a post on your blog. (I will link your post up with our blog.)

Craftsmanship - Did you put a lot of care into the construction? Top-stitching straight, careful overall construction, etc. 

Presentation - While we totally understand not everyone has a professional camera and the perfect backdrop for photographing their creations, (Me included!!) you are in front of a world of other sewers! Make yourself look presentable. Submit a photo of the front, back and side view of the garment, as well as a "presentation photo" (this should be the best photo!) Detail photos are also requested so we can be better judges. So if you do some embellishing or a specific technique, zoom in and share with us! (Not all photos may be used in the final blog post, but shared with the judges.)

Guest Judge to be announced!
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Entries are due by Tuesday, September 23rd, with viewer judging on Wednesday, September 24th-Thursday, September 25th. The winner will be announced Friday, September 26th and a new challenge will begin!

PRIZES!!
The winner of the 1st challenge will receive a Free Knit Bundle and three free patterns of their choice from the Fabric Mart Pattern collection.

Reader Participation! 
Don't forget!! If you are watching from the sidelines, you can participate in the challenge too! Head on over to our Flickr page and upload two photos - the original RTW garment and the new garment made using the RTW garment. Follow the same rules as the Challenge participants. Upload a photo of your finished garment by Wednesday, September 24th (made during the challenge please, no previously made items!) We will have a random drawing for the Flickr winner! They will win one free pattern of their choice from the Fabric Mart Pattern collection. (All prizes are sent to winner at the end of the challenge.)

Ready, set, go!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Fashion Challenge #2 - It's All About the Fit -- What They Made!!

Wait till you see what these ladies created for the All About Fit Challenge! I think most of you can agree that fit is one of the hardest things about sewing. These ladies did an amazing job creating well fitted garments. Some contestants went for a more casual look while others went for an evening look. Take a look at everyone's finished garment and vote for who you think created the best well fitting garment. You have until Friday morning at 3am (eastern time) to cast your vote!

This week's challenge will be judged my myself (Julie) and Pamela Leggett from Pamela's Patterns. Pamela is a fit expert and will be giving each contestant feedback on their garments. Thank you, Pamela, for your help in the judging process!

Winner of this challenge will receive THREE FREE patterns from Pamela's Patterns.




**Don't forget, if you would like to participate in the challenge from the sidelines, post your finished garment on the Flickr page! You will be entered into a random drawing to win a FREE pattern from Pamela's Patterns!**

Let's see what the contestants created...




My 28th wedding anniversary is coming up, so I decided to make a special occasion dress for this challenge.   My husband’s favorite color is purple, and our bridesmaids wore eggplant satin gowns, so I grabbed this eggplant satin as a nod to both of those things. 



The pattern, Vogue 1118, has an asymmetrical bodice, curved skirt seams, lining, side zipper and back vent.  Of the 16 pieces in the pattern, I altered 14 of them!   The full bust adjustment was particularly tricky since one side has a dart, and the other has pleats.  I had to distribute the adjustment between the pleats to balance the larger dart on the other side.  To add length for my height, I increased the length mid-skirt across 6 pattern pieces, truing up the curves, piece by piece.


That's not all!  This summer, I found out that I have scoliosis- which means that my spine curves to one side, which required more tweaking.  The shoulder area of the design is also asymmetrical, so it is hard to tell what asymmetry is me and what is the design!

Working with satin was quite maddening interesting.   If you rip out a stitch or have a lump or bump, it shows.   I alternated the matte and shiny sides to accentuate the design lines of the dress.   I like how the fabric looks so different in different lighting.  With all of the fitting and fabric challenges, this tested my abilities to the max.   I learned that I have a lot to learn!  



I’m going to love wearing this dress.  It’s fitted, but comfortable.  Classy, but unique.  Sexy, but age appropriate.  Perfect to celebrate 28 years of marriage  My husband's comment, "Aren't you going to be a little overdressed for McDonalds?"  Husbands....(shaking head).







This week’s challenge gave me a great opportunity to refine the fit of one of my favorite patterns: the Lola Tunic by Victory Patterns. This pattern is designed to be made with sweatshirt fleece, but last winter I made one in interlock and loved how comfortable it was. However, the fit needed improvement as interlock is much stretchier than fleece, which resulted in lots of sagging. I could not simply size down as I’m petite and was working from a size 2, the smallest size in the envelope.


Working from last year’s version, I essentially redrafted the pattern for a slimmer fit. Specifically, I reduced the circumference of the horizontal “waist” seam all around the tunic. I also reduced the cup size along the princess seams, even though I’m a D-cup! That tells you what a difference fabric makes. I also removed a large wedge from the vertical back seams to eliminate unsightly pooling on my lower back. All these pattern changes needed to be precise across multiple pieces in order for the seam lines to match up as designed—quite a challenge for someone like me who is typically a more fit-as-you-go person! I also omitted the pockets as I felt they added extra weight on my hips when I was aiming for a sleek silhouette.


My leggings pattern is McCall’s 6173, which I love for its slouchy ankles. My ankles always get cold but the extra fabric keeps them warm. I had to make plenty of changes for my petite frame even though it’s only one pattern piece. I reduced the length in two places (which maintained the proportions) as well as shortened the rise. I also adjusted the center back crotch curve to fit my shape. Finally, since my fabric wasn’t as stretchy as others I’ve used for this pattern, I used ½” seam allowances instead of the standard 5/8”.


I’m thrilled that I now have two versions of the Lola pattern depending on what type of fabric I’m using. And we know from last week that I love pink and grey, so this entire outfit is a big winner for me!






I selected Burda 7137 because I have successfully created a fitted sheath dress in the past from that pattern (link: http://sewing.patternreview.com/review/pattern/96572).  BUT--here are two differences this time...first the fabric is a non-stretch wool gabardine with a non-stretch lining, and second, the fabric is a solid, not a print.  Because I *know* that stretch wovens with a print can hide a multitude of fit issues, I knew that with this fabric choice, I would have my work cut out for me, even though the first dress I made from this pattern was a slam dunk.  


I was right, btw.  The wool gabardine is beautiful, warm, and luxurious, but hoo boy was I glad I made additional changes to my pattern to accommodate the non-stretch fabric.  It fits very well now, but had I left the pattern the way I had made it for my last version, it would have been very close-fitting, which was not what I was looking for with this dress.  Beyond that, wool gabardine shows the fit issues much easier than other fabrics, so it really is not the best option for a very fitted garment. 

To make sure the dress would fit me precisely, I added a 1/2 inch below the front dart end (and its corresponding point on the back), making sure to grade out from a point above that so the lovely curve of this dress's hipline would be intact.  I also made sure to keep my original square shoulder adjustment which worked well for me in the past.  Lastly, I deepened and lengthened the back neck dart since the original dress I made from this pattern has a bit of a gaping back.  



For anyone with a pear shape, you know how difficult it can be to find a fitted sheath dress without sacrificing either the fit at the top or bottom.  I have so many dresses that are either too large at the top and fine on the bottom, or perfect-fitting on top, but too tight on bottom.  I love that I can sew a fitted sheath dress to work for my exact frame.  :-)

I chose wool gabardine in a solid pine green color.  I love this color, especially for Christmas time, and the wool gabardine is so lovely and old-fashioned feeling.  The whole time I was making it, the smell of the wool brought me back to my grandma's closet.  I think people used this fabric far more in the mid-century than they do now.  I lined the dress in a poly of some sort that may have a touch of rayon.  It is a mystery fabric, but is lovely on its own, and suits the weight of the gabardine.  It is also slick enough to properly fall over tights without sticking to them.  I also chose vintage-looking buttons I found at G Street to top off the tab detail on the sleeves.




How can you use this solid garment in your wardrobe?  I will wear it at Christmas time, of course.  :-)  I have many occasions at that time of year that call for a conservative dress in a festive color or print.  I also will use this to teach in when I substitute at my kids' school, since it has a modest dress code requirement.  I also will use it when I want to showcase AMAZING accessories since the solid color lends itself to being the background for beautiful baubles and beads, etc.  I have very few solid garments in my closet.  I am definitely a print kind of girl, so I was glad Julie came up with this contest, even if halfway through I was shaking my head at how long everything takes me to sew.






When we first heard about this challenge, I wasn't sure what I should make.  I went back and forth between a dress and a button down shirt, but decided on the latter because it's nearly impossible to find a ready to wear woven shirt that fits my bust.  Plus, making one of these has been on my "to do" list for a while now, so I decided to finally take the plunge, and take a risk by making a type of garment I haven't sewn in about a decade. Really any dress would have been a much safer pick for me.



I chose to use Butterick 5678.  It's one of those ABCD pick-your-own-cup-size sort of patterns.  I measure into a 12-14 in patterns, but based on the measurements on the pattern tissue, I decided to go with a 10 (D cup).



I used a plain old woven for my muslin and made my final version in a stretch woven that I picked up at SR Harris in the Twin Cities.  It was labeled as cotton, but it is most definitely a cotton/synthetic blend (plus the lycra). It was not probably the best choice for this pattern with all of this top stitching, as it has a slight sheen and shows every stitch, but I'm happy with the flexibility it offers.


Fitting-wise, I ended up flattening out the top of the cup a bit, adding a small broad back adjustment to the shoulder area, shortening the whole thing above the waist by 1/2" and adding a 1/2" swayback adjustment.  In the end product, the back is a bit loose, especially compared to how well the front fits.  The sleeves seem long, but really need to be to account for the bending of the elbows; they are actually the perfect length as I type this.




This week's challenge had me quaking in my boots a bit! I decided to push myself and sew something I've never sewn before; a fitted, lined sheath dress!

While my garment fought me nearly every step of the way; I ended up with something that makes me deliriously proud and happy to wear! I love the fit I achieved on the bodice; my full bust often leaves me with a bunch of fitting challenges. It's a little more snug across the back skirt than I'd like, BUT I can still sit and bend in it!! It feels absolutely luxurious to wear!


I chose this pattern because it has been well reviewed around the sewing community and I thought it would be a nice dress to wear to celebrate my 4th anniversary. I used an amazing wool that I picked up from SR Harris, a warehouse here in town. I lined it with an acetate Vera Wang lining that I stashed from Fabric Mart sometime ago. This dress is just what I had in mind for a nice dinner out and I think it could easily be worn to a wedding or to the theater (I love live theater!).







I knew that I wanted to make a knit dress because I am really in the mood for fall sewing. One of my fall sewing musts is short knit dresses with sleeves.  The eggplant is a great fall color.  I am so glad my nephews helped me pick out this color.


When I think of a great fitting garment I think of a TNT pattern and my favorite TNT pattern is McCall's 5974.  The Perfect Knit dress.  This pattern is a Palmer/Pletsch pattern so it has a lot of helpful fitting information in it.  However, this is my 7th version of this dress, so I have a good understanding of what works and doesn't work for me.  




I made quite a few alterations to this version. I wanted to make the 3/4 length sleeves so that I can wear this dress all fall.  Unfortunately, the 3/4 length standard was about 5" to long for me, so I chopped it off.  Then the sleeves themselves were 4" to wide at the hem, so I took in each side of the sleeve by 2".  I tapered that 2" down to 1.5" at the under arm and then continued to taper it down to the original seam allowance at the belt.  This gave me a significantly better fit throughout the sleeve and the underarm.  You can see in the picture where I pinned it when fitting it, to figure out how much I wanted to take out. One of the other sleeve alterations I made was to the armscye.  I took off a 1/2" from each the sleeve head and the armhole so that the seam would hit right at my shoulder.  Without doing that the sleeve drooped done a little too much for my preference.  I also shortened the hem by 4" so it hit just above the knee.


I also eliminated the zipper since the knit fabric doesn't need one.  For the center front crossover I cross left over right instead because my right breast is a cup size larger than my left so when it is crossed right over left that difference is very noticeable and tends to gape open.. When crossed over opposite the garment appears even with no gapping.


I wore this to work today with my gray tights and gray sweater and it is a hit!  So many people complimented it and how great the color looks with my skin tone.  I also plan on wearing this with a chunky orange sweater and some tall brown riding boots.   Or even just a wide belt.  The possibilities are endless with this dress.  This will be a well worn dress this fall!



Sue from I Love to Sew!



Personally I like making pants. And while some people get annoyed reading reviews of the same pattern someone has created ad nauseum, I strongly believe that repeating patterns give you a chance to perfect the fit.


So what fitting issues did I deal with?
1.  Flat derriere.
2.  Wide upper thighs aka saddle bags--which btw are hereditary--thanks mom!
3.  Crotch curve--yes, everyone's is unique and I had to re-sculpt it to fit me!
4.  Waistline--no matter how carefully I measure and plan, I have to alter the waistline after I create the pants.  Luckily these days I have to take it in rather than out but it is tedious to get it perfect.






So, how did I do all this?
Flat derriere --I pulled out three sewing books from my library to figure out how to deal with this issue!  What happens to me is that I get a little pooling of fabric under my buns that looks like a cowl-neck.  I managed to take a 1/2" fold in the pattern tissue to eliminate the excess.  I had to work really hard not to over-fit in this area as I stated before my upper thighs are wider than I'd like so too much fitting accentuates my little pools of fat there.  So if you notice just a little extra fabric, that is a preference for me.

Because of the flatness, I had to rotate the back inseam to the front by 3/8" to get the inseams and outer leg seams to hang right.  I spent a great deal of time bonding with my seam ripper for this challenge!


Crotch curve issues....ah, the crotch curve!  I get these annoying little lines at the front crotch that I pinched out and took about an inch seamline. No more lines!

Back crotch curve was a different matter.  With that seamline I made a 'j' seam by taking in an additional 5/8" from the back seamline which can be seen in my photo.

Those were my main fitting issues.  Construction wise, I am very proud of how these jeans turned out!  They are very comfortable and I am very happy with the fit!  I like the addition of the white jeans thread I used to dress them up just a bit.  


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