Fall 2016 Sewing

I began my Fall sewing in August.  I love Fall, and the colors that go with it because they are MY colors.  I reorganized my closet (yet again) and found I was woefully short of clothing in olive green.  And I always need tops.  I chose to sew a variety of knits in a variety of styles.  As long as i have been sewing, I still run into things that can cause frustration.  These fabrics did just that – caused some frustration.  I used patterns I have used before, so that helped a lot and the fit of everything makes me happy.  This is probably the first time I have been happy with everything I have made.  I am trying to get over being so critical too.  First up – a couple of “tissue knits”.  These are thin, sheer, burn-out type knits.  I used the Fit for Art Patterns Tabula Rasa T-Shirt pattern here.

The contrast is a brown cotton burnout knit from Mood Fabrics.  I don’t recall where I picked up the green and brown knit – even though I have a ‘card system’ where I keep track of key information for a fabric, I am not always diligent about writing down every piece of information.  I am thinking I may have picked it up on a NY Fabric trip – I usually try to look for unusual fabrics.  I had to underline the print and the brown at the side seams.  I used a tricot lining fabric from the stash.  I did not underline the sleeves.  Seams were sewn with a slight zigzag, then serged.  Hems were done with the zigzag.  I haven’t worn this yet (still too warm), but I think I will like it.  Due to the step of underlining, it was a little time consuming for a ‘t-shirt’.

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Item #2:  I used the Judy Kessinger Fit Nice/Sew Slim T-shirt pattern, with her Therese Tops variation. For this variation, you add a wedge to the side seam before you cut the pattern.  You end up with a slight flare at the sides.   I like the look – there is not too much volume/flare.  The photo looks like there is flare in the front, but there is not when it is worn.  But again,  have not yet worn it as it is still in the 90’s here.

Fabric used is a fairly substantial knit; a ponte-like fabric.  I think it is a poly spandex but beefier than usual.  Again I used the same brown cotton burnout for the sleeves and the neckband.  I made a V-neck for this, and followed Lynda Maynard’s directions in one of the Craftsy classes – Essential Techniques for Sewing Knits with Craftsy Sewing Instructors.  (This is a class made up from excerpts of other classes).

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The last ‘project’ is a twinset.  This fabric was a nightmare!  It is a slippery poly/spandex, 4-way stretch, with tone on tone texture.  The pattern in the texture was horizontal, but I turned it so it was vertical.  With the 4-way stretch, I felt that would work.  The t-shirt took  much longer than it should have.  The pattern used was the Pamela’s Patterns Perfect T-Shirt #104 here.  I have made this several times; however this time I narrowed the area above the bust and it fits much better.  I made it sleeveless, and used binding as a finish for the armholes.  I also lowered the neckline a bit.

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I used the same fabric to make a cardigan, using Pamela’s Patterns #111 Cool Cardigans Banded front.  I have used that pattern before, but this time I made two changes.  I narrowed the area above the bust and cut the sleeve smaller.  These changes were made based on the sloper I have developed for wovens, and the sleeve drafted for that sloper.  The cardigan progressed quickly since I had all the kinks of using this fabric worked out from the t-shirt.

 

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And both of them together…

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I am quite happy with all of these pieces and feel they will serve me well during the fall.  I have brown, olive and khaki bottoms to go with these.

Pants 2

I know I have been away for a long time.  Life really got in the way!  Actually work got in the way…so ready to retire!

Follow-up to the previous post on the Eureka Pants.  In a nutshell, still not happy.  I attended the June class I mentioned in the previous post and had another fitting.  I had lost about 10 lbs since the 2014 fitting, so there was a bit of change.  I made a ‘wearable muslin’, or at least I hoped it would be wearable.  It was not.  I used a stretch woven with very little recovery.  Consequently my pants grew as I wore them.  I put them on fresh washed, drove 40 minutes to my ASG Fashion meeting and when I got out of the car they looked like they were two sizes too big – excess fabric everywhere.  So the cause here was bad fabric.  Solution:  thrown in the trash.

I then cut a new pair out of a stretch woven brushed twill.  It had much less stretch than the previous fabric and was a bit heavier.  I took this pair to a sewing retreat, hoping I would finish them and have a wearable pair of pants.  I did make changes.  The original pattern has a back zipper.  There is a supplement to the pattern called Sporty Details, which has instruction and pattern pieces for a fly front zipper, outside pockets, etc.  The idea is make them more like jeans so the pattern has instructions on modifications to your trouser version to give these more of a jeans fit.

I traced the pattern that was fitted in June 2015 and adjusted for the sporty details.  This pair had too much fabric in the front below the zipper.  The front thighs also seemed to pull when walking.  This pattern is still not right for me and what I think is comfortable.  I don’t really know what changes to make at this time to turn this pattern into what I like.   Solution – thrown in the trash.

I had made the StyleArc Barb pants and was happy with those.  I used a relatively lightweight ponte knit.  I compared the Barb pattern with the Eureka pattern and they are very different.  If I get the urge to play with pants again, I will go back to the Barb pattern and use a stretch woven.  I don’t mind the elastic waist and if I get a good pair of pants, there are a number of changes I could make that don’t affect fit (adding pockets, narrowing the legs and adding a vent, etc).

Next post will talk about what I moved on to after these pants.

Pants

Perfect fitting pants seem to be the holy grail of sewing. Pants are difficult to fit due to various body shapes. I have been trying to perfect pants for a long time. To this end, at one of the Expos in October, 2014 I was fitted for the Fit For Art pants pattern called Eureka! Pants That Fit. Then I did nothing with the pattern. That is the problem – I am an unfocused sewist. I move on to the next shiny thing before I finish the one before. I am trying to do that less.

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Fast forward to June, 2015. Our local ASG chapter hosted Rae Cumbie, the creator of the Eureka! Pants That Fit pattern for a pants fitting workshop. I debated long and hard about spending the time and money on this workshop since I had already shelled out for 1 fitting and did nothing with it. So, I decided to make a ‘mock-up’ of the pattern with the changes that were given to me at the 2014 fitting. If I could get this done in time, I would attend the class so I could receive more fitting advice from the instructor. Working full time interferes with my free time!

You see, this is at least the 3rd time I have been fitted for a pants pattern by someone and had not been happy with the results of the other fttings. I am unique – RTW pants fit me just fine. I just don’t like the high price, nor the small selection of colors and fabrics available in my size. Besides – being able to sew pants that look good is just a personal challenge and goal.

I got the mock-up done, registered for the class and dragged machine and other assorted materials and tools to the class. And, boy am I glad I did! It took 3 tweaks of my mock-up to have the pants fit as well as possible. I came home, made the adjustments to the pattern and proceeded to use “good” fabric to create a real pair of pants.

I chose a cotton/lycra spandex blend. I must have some stretch in my pants for comfort. The instructions say that you should trace the pattern and remove about 5/8″ from the seams when using a stretch fabric. Since fabrics can vary so much, I decided to cut the pants from the pattern I had just adjusted. You can always remove fabric, so if they were too big, that would be an easy fix. They were too big. Plus I wanted to narrow the legs and shorten them to ankle pants.

I basted the new pair together, took them in where needed, traced the pattern I had adjusted, and then cut off the extra from the pattern. This now gives me a separate pattern to use with a stretch fabric.

The pants are almost complete; they just need the waistband. They have a back zipper and I prefer a front zipper or elastic waist. Those are easy changes now that the pattern fits! Pictures to come when the are complete.