UFO Completed

This blouse was cut out and set aside over 2 years ago.  That definitely qualifies it as a UFO (Unfinished Object). Sometimes it is just more fun to cut and sew something new than go back to something you never finished. But, I really don’t want UFOs sitting around; too many other projects swirling in my brain.

But…You cut out an item at a sewing retreat.  Then you come home, unpack from the retreat, set the item on the shelf in a ‘project box’, then the next time you start to work on something, those items in the project box are forgotten.  You start something new!  A system for UFOs is a separate blog post, but I do now have one.

Given the amount of time that passed since it was cut out, and the fact that I have learned a lot more about fitting my body since then, I wasn’t sure it would even fit me. I think I used my sloper as a basis to make sure it would fit. But I didn’t keep many notes.  I quickly basted the shoulder and side seams; tried on the blouse to see if it was worth finishing.

I have been on this fitting journey for a few years, so I wasn’t quite sure where my mind was when this was cut. Lo and behold – the blouse was going to fit…and look pretty good. No round back problem, enough circumference…ok…let’s get this thing done. The bust dart was rotated to a tuck in shoulder seam, so I rotated my dart there as well.  I initally selected this pattern because of the neckline. My neck is short, so a V-neck looks best on me. Amazingly the blouse fit fine.  So, I decided to finish the blouse and along the way I made a few adjustments.

Pattern Number:  McCalls 6564 (A Palmer/Pletsch style).  These patterns are great because they do have a lot of fitting information.  But I used my sloper to make my changes.  This pattern is out of print, but available on the McCall’s pattern website.  Probably available on EBay and/or Etsy as well.

Fabric:  A stretch rayon print, purchased from Fabric Mart in May, 2011.  Yes, it has aged.  And I have another piece of this is a slightly more melon colorway.

Finished Blouse:

McCalls 6564

Changes made:  As you can see from the line drawing there is a belt that goes around the waist and ties on the side.  I had the belt on, but the blouse was too short to keep the belt.  It just didn’t flatter me.  I should have made the longer version in the pattern.  If I add 2-3 inches to the top next time, I could keep the belt.  So, I removed the belt and shorted one end of it into a tab.  I put a button hole on the tab, then attached a button to the dart where the previous belt had been.  I also put a snap on the side right to keep the left side in place when buttoned.

I also faced the hem rather than turning up a hem because the blouse was too short.  I probably could have placed the white flowers a little better, but it isn’t noticeable in wearing. This dress form is not exactly my shape

All in all, I think this will be a good blouse for summer.  I plan to wear it with beige crops or ankle pants.


Sloper to Vest

I have been trying for some time to have a library of slopers to use for garments.  I have a side dart blouse sloper, 2 t-shirt slopers (1 with a dart and 1 without).  I also have a shoulder princess jacket sloper that I can adjust for a blouse.  My latest sloper was with an armhole princess style.  Given my D-cup bust, common thinking is that I should not use this sort of princess seam.  The shoulder princess is better for a more gradual curve over the bust.  But sometimes I don’t want to use the shoulder princess.

My reason for developing a library of blocks is I can use these blocks to make any style of garment I want – change collars, sleeve styles, lengths, etc.  In this post I will be talking about the armhole princess sloper.

Made To Measure Sewing Patterns - Princess Seams Dress with Short Sleeves

I purchased the pattern to use for this sloper from Bootstrapfashion.com.  They create custom patterns based on your measurements.  As part of their pattern collection, they have a number of basic blocks available. I have had pretty good luck with the patterns I have purchased from them.  I’ll do a separate post about those experiences.

Back to this sloper…I made a mock-up from muslin fabric and a friend helped me tweak the fit at a retreat in August, 2015. The main tweaks were to add the rounded back adjustment and adjusting the princess seams.  My plan was to make a simple, no closure jacket from this style, using a great silk suiting.  Butterick 6139 is the pattern I chose.

I was planning to use a faux leather for the sleeves.  Now that we are into spring, I decided to make a sample first to make sure I like the style before I use my more expensive fabric for the jacket. I used a lavender faux suede from stash.  My process was to use the adjusted sloper pattern for all body pieces, and copy the front styling from the Butterick pattern.  I cut and sewed the pieces together.

Result?  The armholes were very high and somewhat tight.  This is to be expected since I was using a dress pattern as a starting point.  I lowered the armholes a bit, using a vest pattern as a template, so decided to keep this as a vest.  The sleeves will also need to be adjusted for a jacket.  The verdict?  The fit is very good.  But the front looks odd hanging open.  It seems like it needs a button or closure.The front has wrinkles coming from the shoulders to the armhole. If I place a pin in the center as a closure, the wrinkles disappear.  It just doesn’t sit right hanging open. I am now trying to decide what sort of button or closure to use.


I’m Back!

Wow!  It has been 10 months since I visited my blog.  I have not been good at tracking what I make, learn, etc.  So, I will just ahead to the present and go forward.

I attended a “Bodice Making Workshop” sponsored by one of the ASG chapters.  I am alwddays trying to solve for my narrow upper chest and twisted sleeve issues.  We used McCalls 6927 as the fitting garment.  It offers cup sizes and according to their instructions, a D cup was my size.  But it was too big.  I did use the right size for my upper bust measurement.  With some tweaking (raise the shoulder seams, add fabric to the back center seam to compensate for the pattern being too small everywhere else), I got a pretty good fit.  Just didn’t know what to do about the too large bust cup.

P1000511 (800x600)

The workshop ended so I drove home.  I played around more with it that night and also the next day.  I was able to accomplish the goal.  In the end, I used a previous sloper that had the right bust cup size, but only a waist dart.  I moved the dart to the side, tweaked the shoulder and armhole a bit.  Two more muslins and SUCCESS!  I recopied the pattern to a new piece of paper.  I could make a sleeveless shell, or a sleeveless button front blouse/shirt and know that it would fit the way it should. The pattern piece looks odd, I know, but I guess that is the way I am shaped.

P1000512 (800x600)

My next step with this is to draft a sleeve using information from a Craftsy class.  It is called Patternmaking and Design – Creative Sleeves with Suzy Furrer.  My hope is that it ‘works’, unlike the sleeve from my sloper class taken a couple of years ago.  That sleeve was very wrong.


I have been trying out cardigan patterns.  For summer I need cardigans in my ‘best’ colors due to my tendency to be cold inside air-conditioned buildings.

First I tried a pattern mash-up.  I used the base of the Pamela’s Patterns cardigan from the Twin Set pattern (used previously for the navy glitter lace cardigan).  I traced the pattern, then traced the front “band” of McCalls 5890 (Sewing with Nancy Knits pattern) onto the edge of the Pamela’s Patterns cardi.  I use a red rayon knit.  This knit was very thin.  It was a recycle use of the fabric from a  pullover cape I made at Halloween 2013 to be Little Red Riding Hood.  I was not happy with this cardigan – I didn’t like the fabric nor the finishing of the seam at the center back.  The front band is cut-on and really needs to be doubled and sewn on so the center back seam is finished – or can be cut on the fold.


The second cardigan was made from a two-sided knit purchased from JoAnn Fabrics in 2013.  One side is a black and white horizontal stripe, and the reverse side is a black background with white polkadots.  Some people had issues with this fabric, based on posts on Stitchers Guild, but I pre-washed and had no problems.  I made the body from the two-sided fabric, and the sleeves from a black ponte knit.  I also cut a long strip from the black ponte knit and made a band going around the back neckline and down the fronts.  I cut the band at 2 1/4 inches wide, doubled it and sewed it on.  I pressed the seams to the inside, then top-sitiched along the front edge.  I also added some black ponte faux welts to the front.  The fabric seemed too light to include pockets.  I wouldn’t use them anyway. Buttons will be added to the front – pictures to follow.

I also made a t-shirt from the fabric – using the striped side out, and the polka dots as a binding around the neckline and armhole.  I used the Judy Kessinger t-shirt pattern.  I had taken her class at All Brands in June 2013 and made a fuschia ponte t-shirt with a v-neck and flounce along the neckline.  Judy suggested I raise the back neck and add some fabric across the back.  I traced her pattern, then used my sloper for the neckline and shoulder seams, along with the back armhole.  This is actually a little large, and I don’t think I needed the changes to the back neck and armholes.  I think the fuschia top fits just fine.  This is a ‘twinset’ and even though it is black and white – the white is not too bright.  I think the black could pass for a dark navy – so it will stay in the wardrobe.