Friday, September 08, 2017

Butterick 5493

For today's project I am revisiting Butterick 5493 which I first blogged about here.  If you scroll down on that post to the solid green version you will read about how I messed up the pattern and how I'm not happy with the shoulders that stand up away from my body.  I have enough of this green crepe left over that I can use it to make another one.  This will be a good comparision as I will cut this one on the grain as the pattern calls for and then I can compare the difference in drape.  I spend hours yesterday re-drafting the pattern.  First I traced out a fresh version.  This involved grading down because the pattern set starts one size above my size.  I must have bought this pattern in the very early days of sewing when I still believed that the body measurements listed on the pattern were what you go by.

Once I had the fresh pattern drawn out in my size I made my bust adjustments; I lowered the bust point 1 1/2" and did a 1/2" full bust allowance.  I then added 1" in length at the "lengthen" line to accommodate my back waist measurement and another 1" at the hem as a fashion choice.  I want to wear it as a tunic over my green cammo leggings.

I basted it for fitting and the bust was too low - by an inch!  So back to the drawing board, I again altered the pattern by raising the bust dart 1".  I made that change on the garment and took it in at the sides from below the bust dart tapering in 3/4" at the waist and back out to the hips.  That was enough for one day.

Back at it today, I was test driving some new feet and decided to try sewing a narrow hem with the sewing machine on this top as opposed to the rolled hem I did with the serger on the first version.  It turned out beautiful!  Now I have to think about how I want to do the neck and armholes.  I'm not sure I want to use the store bought bias binding as that didn't work out so well last time.  I wonder if a facing would look better.  Hmmm...

Today I am questioning my decision to change the straight sides to more fitted sides.  Yes I know I like a more fitted garment but this changes the whole look/style of the top.  It doesn't hang as well and feels uncomfortable, like it is pulling.It would have been better shaped with darts, but again that changes the whole look.  I think I will remove that alteration.

I removed the alteration taking in the sides.  This gives me a looser, flowy top.  I only hope that the washable marker I used to mark my alterations truly is washable.

I ended up making my own bias binding using these directions from Craftsy.  For the record a 20" square gives me approximately 15 feet of 2" bias strips.  I then used this method to attach the binding, using two rows of stitching.  I pressed it well after both the first stitching and the second.

The shoulder seam lays much flatter on this version.

After this was all said and done I have a much better shell than the first version.  I tried to adjust the gaping shoulders on the first one and saw that the bust darts are much too high, and it pulled and twisted.  I think the bias cut wasn't working as well as I would like.  Version 1.0 is definitely a wadder, but 2.0 is a keeper, and I have an adjusted pattern I can use again.

V1 on the left, V2 on the right

To finalize this never-ending post, I thought I would post a comparison pic of the two tops; V1 and V2.  To be honest I think at first glance V1 looks more flattering on Gertrude here.  But a closer look shows that the shoulders are off.  Also the bust darts look correct on V1 but that's because Gertrude has a higher bust than I do.  V2 fits me properly.  V1 was tapered in at the waist.  I may still play with that on V2, because I do think it is more flattering.  And I think I prefer the curved hem shape on V1 as well as the serged rolled hem.  I love how my narrow hem turned out on V2 but I just think that V1 looks better as a tunic over leggings with that lettuce hem.  The necklines are different because I used the vee neck version and cut my own scoop on V1 and used the scoop neck version out of the pattern for V2.  The neck and armholes were bound on both versions, but V1 used commercial tape and V2 used self tape.  V1 was cut on the bias and V2 was cut on the straight grain.  I'm not noticing a big difference with how it drapes, but V2 is definitely more comfortable to wear.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Playing With Some New Feet

My mom brought over a bunch of generic feet that work with Bob, the new Brother machine.  That reminded me that I had bought a bunch of generic feet myself for Betty (the White) just before I bought Phoebe (the Pfaff).  So I hauled them all out to see what would work and what wouldn't, and to play a little bit.

This is a gathering foot.  I really don't understand how this one works, and clearly I didn't have it working very well.  It has a smooth underside that was hit and miss with whether it moved the fabric along or not.  I don't know if my fabric was too slippery - it is a crepe.  I would definitely need to play with this foot some more to get the hang of it.

This foot is a binder attachment.  It works with pre-folded binding.  I have other feet to try that I think fold the binding for you but I'm not sure if this one does - I'll have to play some more.  I used store-bought bias binding for this sample, and as you can see I missed sewing down the binding quite a bit.  I wonder if my binding needed ironing (it had been out of the package and was pretty wonky), or my needle position needed adjusting, or both.  There is a screw that adjusts the size of the opening for the binding; I may have had that too loose.  I definitely think this foot has possibilities.

The back side looks much better.

This foot worked a little better for me.  This funky looking thing is a hemming foot.  I would need to practice more but I think I'm getting it.  After figuring out the narrow hem foot (below) I may be more successful with this one the next time I try it.

Here it is in action.  I think I've got the fabric in the correct location, with the raw edge just butting up against the left side of the slot.

Finally, the pièce de résistance; check out this narrow hem!  This is on the bottom of a sleeveless shell, but it would be perfect on the edge of a scarf.  I am showing a good closeup here because - well just look at it!

Here is a better view to show just how small that hem is.  I am really happy with this one.

I did have to try it a couple of times to get it right.  This pic shows my third attempt.  First I double folded a narrow hem at the beginning of the seam and sewed for a few stitches.  Then I manipulated the unfolded edge of the fabric in front of the foot into the slot and continued sewing.

The important thing seems to be keeping the fabric at the correct width; as shown here.  The fold should just butt up against the inside right edge of the opening with the raw edge just at the left of the opening.  When I did my second attempt I had it too wide and it left a narrow band of fabric sticking out of the seam.  I was able to clip it and use it anyway but with the proper feeding of the fabric at the correct width that wasn't a problem with the third attempt.

Still to come - I have a pintuck foot to try.  I recently saw a woman wearing a black shell with pintucks down the centre front.  I loved the look and may give it a go for my next sleeveless shell top.

The New Kid in Town

There's a new kid in town.  Strangely I haven't come up with a name for this one yet, so it is currently known as "the Brother".  Maybe I'll call him Bob.  It's formal name is the Brother Fashionista NQ3500D.  This is a mid-level sewing/quilting/embroidery machine.  It's the twin of the Babylock Ventura.  That "D" in the name stands for "Disney", and yes, there are 35 Disney embroidery patterns on it.  Bob came from the Nova Sewing Centre in London, formerly the Sewing Superstore where I bought Phoebe.  They still have the same great staff and it was a pleasure to once again deal with Ivana.

I've been thinking for awhile that I'd like to play with an embroidery machine.  I was initially looking at the entry level ones sold at Costco, but decided I would likely outgrow one of those pretty quickly.  They tend to only have small hoops to work with.  The brother goes up to 6" x 10".

I was wresting with going with this combo machine or the dedicated Janome 500E.  I would have saved a little money going with the Janome, and had a couple more embroidery functions such as jump thread cutting and a 1" larger hoop, but I really liked the idea of having a good backup machine.  This really is a good machine, with the built in scissors, a pivot feature, a knee lifter, and lots lots more! (you are reading that in a tv commercial voice, aren't you?!)  Betty (the White) is going up to Mr. J's to live so that if I have any mending to do for him I can do it there.

Of course I had to try out the embroidery function.  Machine embroidery is a whole new learning curve, although I did spend the entire weekend researching everything I could find about it.  First I did a flowered monogram on a washcloth.  Then I did a basic monogram on a towel, that I am not as happy with.  It sewed well, I'm just not loving the style.  Finally I embroidered a gecko on the skirt of a peplum top.  This one I love!

So I've barely come out of the sewing room since I brought the Brother - sorry, Bob - home the other day.  Phoebe (the Pfaff) doesn't need to worry, I'll still be using her regularly.  Mom brought over all kinds of generic feet that will work with the Brother, but I still don't have an edgeguide foot for it.  Seeing as I already have a couple of those for Phoebe, I don't see a need to run out and buy them for the Brother just yet.  With the edgeguide feet, the extended table and the IDT (built-in walking foot) I think Phoebe will still be my best option if when I do any quilting.

Monday, August 28, 2017

New Diaper Soakers

I received this message from my daughter the other day - "I forgot to mention again thank you for the new pads!  They work perfectly and are saving my shells big time."  Apparently the extra layers, the substitution of a plush bath towel instead of thin fabric store terrycloth, and the extra 8 square inches coverage are making a positive difference.

About two years ago I was busy making fitted cloth diapers and soakers for my granddaughter.  The other day Daughter asked me to make some more soakers.  Well, this is what you get when your mom is a packrat.  The first time around I made the diapers and soakers with brand new fabrics and diaper flannel - after all, it was going to be touching my precious grandbaby's delicate skin.  Fast forward a couple of years and it's all about the "what do I have on hand?" lol  This batch is made from leftovers from various jammy pants.

The only modification she asked for was to make them about 2" longer.  They seem to get wet in the front but not the back, so this time around I added an extra layer in the front.  The original ones had three layers.  The new set have flannel on each side and sandwiched in between are a layer of micro fleece, a layer of terry (from an old towel - much plusher than the new terrycloth I bought at the fabric store last time - and an extra layer of either micro fiber or micro fleece over the wet zone.  Once again there is a snap to help hold it in place.  I didn't bother with a plastic backing this time as it doesn't seem to do much good.  Maybe they will dry quicker without it.  I am hoping that these will stand up to an 18mo's needs a little better.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Wonder Woman! Lutterloh 298-225

Lutterloh 298-225

I bought this Wonder Woman flannel back when I first got back into sewing, about four years ago (Is that all?  It seems like so much longer!)  I've made myself a couple of other pairs of pyjama pants, in fact the first thing I posted about when I got back into sewing was a pair of self drafted pyjama pants.  But I have been sitting on this favourite piece of flannel, afraid to ruin it.  I finally cut into it today.

  The self drafted pyjamas I made back then were ok, although a little short in the rise.  I've also made pyjamas from Big 4 patterns, but they always seem to be so baggy.  And in all cases they never seem to be long enough, even after adding extra length.  They start off fine but then seem to shrink even after the flannel was pre-shrunk.  This time around, as I've been flirting with the Lutterloh patterns, I decided to give this one a try.  And I'll come right out and say it - I've never had a pair of pyjama pants fit me so well.

They are not too baggy yet plenty roomy enough to be comfortable sitting or crouching.  The rise is the perfect height.  And as far as length?  The finished length in the picture above is the finished length on the pattern as drafted with no adjustments.  I have never had a pattern that I didn't have to add length to.  I noticed this also in a pants pattern that I drew out but haven't made yet - they were plenty long enough.  I did leave myself 1 1/4" for hemming so that I can let it down in the future if I need to.

 I first basted them together to check the fit.  Then I sewed them properly, very similarly to a pair of jeans.  I sewed each seam first with a straight stitch and then serged the seam allowances with a 3 thread stitch.  I then double topstitched the seams over the front and back crotch as well as the inseams.  I did a single topstitch on the top section of the sideseams to the bottom of the pockets.  I reinforced the pocket opening with twill tape to prevent stretching.  The waistband is a separate band instead of just a fold over casing, and I attached that the same way - straight stitch, serge and then topstitch.  The pattern calls for a tie cord as well as elastic in the waistband but I just used elastic.  I don't usually bother with the tie cords in pyjamas.  About the only change I would make if making these again is I would make the pockets an inch or two wider.  They are deep enough, just a bit narrow for my taste.

This is the third pattern I have sewn from Lutterloh and I have to say that I am a convert.  The real test will be with a pair of pants.  I just have to decide which pants pattern to try first.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

More Circle Skirts

I made these two circle skirts for my 18mo granddaughter.  Aren't they adorable?!  Ok she's wearing it inside out in the above pic but still - adorable!  I used this tutorial which is what gave me the circle skirt bug in the first place.

I used foldover elastic for the waistbands even though I didn't fold them over because it seemed like a softer elastic to have against little one's skin and also because I was able to get a decent colour match.

Next on the agenda?  Well I am going to take a break from the sewing room for a few days but I want to draw up this Lutterloh pattern, 298-225.  I've been sitting on a length of Wonder Woman flannel for years and I think her time has come.

On a completely different topic there is a discussion on Pattern Review about storing your pattern tracings.  This is the back of my sewing room door.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Circle Skirts - Lutterloh 300-104, 300-89

Corrie's Eva wearing a fabulous full skirt
I love Coronation Street and have watched it forever.  Aside from the story lines (which drive me crazy sometimes) I love seeing what folks are wearing.  They have a few characters wearing some really nice things lately.  The other day I saw Eva wearing this box pleated full skirt and fell in love.

I bought a gorgeous piece of cotton sateen in a hibiscus print.  I thought Lutterloh's 300-104 (on the left) would fit the bill and set to drawing it out.  I washed and ironed my fabric and laid it out on the floor to accomodate the wide pattern.
And then realized my 56" wide fabric was a tad too narrow.  I thought ok, no problem, I'll just pinch out the middle of the pattern to make it less of an arc.  Well I would almost cut that piece of fabric in half before I would be able to get it all on the fabric.  Time for a plan "B".

Not to be deterred I thought maybe instead of a circle skirt I could still get a full skirt out of 300-89 (on the left).  I set to drawing this one out.  There are four panels on this one instead of two, so maybe this will work?  Well it turns out the panels on this one are too wide as well.  Back to the drawing board.

By this time I was feeling a little frustrated.  I had started my day by having to give my cat a bath for reasons I won't go into.  Who knew cats don't like baths?  Have I mentioned she has all her claws?  Anyway, I decided to throw caution to the wind and make my own pattern.

I started with 300-89 as a base for the waistline.  I then figured out the length I wanted and marked that as my widest point; 22" to work with what I thought was my 45" wide fabric.  In the clear light of the following morning it turns out the fabric is 56".  To draw my hemline I elongated each side seam until they crossed, then used this apex as the centre point to draw my radius (hemline).  I think it worked because the hem looks even.

After doing all this work I laid the patterns out together and found that other than the length I had basically reproduced 89!  Which is just as well, as I'm sure I will still use 89 at some point as I love me a long flared skirt.

I used the waistband from New Look 6107 because I like a nice shaped waistband and the pockets from Butterick 6049.  These pockets are a nice size yet look invisible when my hands aren't in them.  I understitched them and pressed them really well using my clapper.  I used an invisible zip in the back to the top of the waistband so I don't need any other closures.  And I hemmed it to the middle of my knees for a modern fun look.

I'm so glad I remembered to steam and hang the skirt for 24 hours before hemming.  Being that much of the hemline is on the bias it did stretch overnight.  Take a look at the uneven hemline after hanging!  I basted the hem, trimmed the excess, serged the edge and then used a blind hem stitch.

Overall I am very happy with this skirt.  And look - I can wear it with my blue Lutterloh top!

You've Got to Teach Them Young

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Pegged Skirt Using New Look 6107

I made the peplum top from Vogue 8815 about a year or so ago, and have been intending on making the skirt from  New Look 6107 to go with it ever since.  Well I finally got around to it.  I thought that a pegged skirt would look better with a peplum top and after doing some research I decided that I didn't need to buy a new pattern, I could just use this one to adapt.  I took one of the versions hanging in my closet and pinned the sides, starting below the hip, to a total of 1 1/2" in from the sideseam at the hem on each side.  Well this was clearly too much pegging - I could barely walk!  I then tried halving that to 3/4" each side and that was perfect.  After pegging it I had to take it in 1/2" along the whole side seam to drop a size since I have lost some weight.  All in all I am very happy with this outfit.  It can be worn as separates or together like a dress.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Simplicity 1696 Revisited

Before and After - Simplicity 1696

I first made and blogged about this pattern five months ago.  I was happy enough with them although they didn't look like the pattern pic.  I wanted a more fitted pant, closer to a jean, which is what I thought I would get with this pattern.  See the extra folds of fabric under the butt in the left view above?  I wasn't thrilled with that.  I've only worn them once, and since every time I've put them on I felt they looked worse.  I had taken apart the side seams a month or so ago to remove the piping and try taking them in but because of the front pockets I wouldn't be able to do this.  So I sewed them back up and left them to languish in my closet.

I modeled them for my mom the other day and she commented on how there was way too much fabric in the back.  So I decided to remake them from scratch to see if they could be something I would wear.  One of the first things I discovered when revisiting the pattern was that I had lost 1 1/2" in my hips in the five months since making these!  No wonder they were too baggy!  The second thing I noticed is that there is a whole section on fitting the pants in the instructions that didn't seem familiar to me at all, so I am assuming I bypassed them the first time around.  Did I even read the instructions?

I traced out the pattern going down one size and changed from the regular fit to the slim fit, seeing as I have a flat butt and not a lot of difference between my waist and my hips.  I sewed them up and took the pics shown below and at the bottom of the page.  I decided I needed to get rid of the wrinkles under my butt, so I took a scoop out of the bottom of the seat seam as recommended in the pattern.  I did this twice, but it is hard to determine how much of an impact alterations are having when your fabric has as much stretch as this fabric does.

Adj 1
Adj 2

I felt the legs were too snug at this point, not tight but they did grab onto my legs when I would sit and then stand.  There are 1" side seams so I moved that over 3/8" to go to a standard 5/8" side seam.  
Left: unchanged; Middle: Adj 1; Right: Adj 2

The final fit
Finally when I reattached the waistband I lowered it 1 3/4".  This had a big impact on changing the look of the pant from the old style dress pant to a more modern jean style pant.  This is obvious in the comparison pic at the top of the page.

All in all I am much happier with these pants.  I am wearing them now and they are comfortable.  If I make them again I will probably leave out the pockets and just topstitch them as faux pockets.  That would eliminate any gaping and I don't really use front pockets anyway.

Before adjustments
Before adjustments

Monday, August 07, 2017

Lutterloh 285 66 - Second Try

Lutterloh 285 66

 I wrote last week about trying out the Lutterloh system, and the fitting problems I had because I took my measurements incorrectly.  I have redrawn the pattern using my correct measurements this time, and the top looks and fits very much like the pattern drawing.  I had to lower the waist 1 3/4" and raise the bust dart 1 1/2".  Other than that the pattern gave me just what I expected from the pattern pic; size for size at the bust, 3" of ease at the waist and 1" ease at the hip.

Can you see the facing through the fabric?  Yeah, that had to go.
I tried making facings this time as the pattern calls for rather than banding as I did with the dark blue version.  I serged the raw edge just to help keep it smooth and flat because I was using such a lightweight knit, but as it turns out the facing was obvious through the lightweight fabric so I ended up sewing a second row of topstitching and then clipping the facing close to that stitching.  I don't know if the intent of the facings is to add some structure to the garment, and therefore should it also have interfacing?  That may work for a heavier knit, but just looks wrong in the really lightweight knit that I used here.  Of course there are no instructions with Lutterloh.  If I make this pattern again or another for a knit top with facings I think I will eliminate the facings and sew a single thickness band, without stretching it, to the seam allowance, fold it under and coverstitch it.  Done.

I'm quite happy with the style of the top, and was pleasantly surprised to find it is something I can wear with leggings.  And I'm happy enough with the system that I've ordered a couple of recent pattern supplements.  I love the idea that I can trace out a pattern for myself and then use the same template to make a pattern for my daughter using her measurements.  I am a Lutterloh convert!

Holding my coffee because I don't know how to pose!