Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Vogue 8637 - Marcy Tilton Pants

This is Marcy Tilton's latest pant and skirt pattern. I originally planned to make the skirt first, after a fellow sewing group friend made it and I tried it on and loved it (it looked amazing on her!), but I have been on a pant kick recently, so I decided to start with the pants.

The design of these pants is interesting, which you can see if you look at the line drawing. There are three pattern pieces — the front, the back, and the godet. It doesn't have a side seam, per se, but the front and back join for several inches at the hip, and the godet is inserted from the point where they intersect. It's very easy to construct, because you first attach the godet to the front, and then you attach that piece to the back, so there are no awkward corners to deal with. The godet is cut to be wide at the hem, but there are three darts to contain much of the fullness.

The finished hip of the size 8, the smallest size this pattern comes in, is 44". I decided that was perfect for my 40" hips. The waist of the size 8 is 33". This is a problem for me, since my waist is also 40". I couldn't do my usual trick of just drawing a line straight up from the hip without compromising the design of these pants. Widening the little seam at the hip would affect how the godet fits into the piece and I didn't want to increase the size of the godet. Instead, I slashed and spread the little extension that juts out at the side front, which you can see in the photo.

I also used the crotch curve from the Sewing Workshop Trio pants, since I like how those fit. I made the pants out of a very black ponte – the same fabric I have been using to test all of my pants. I bought 11 yards of it for $2.39 a yard, so I have been getting a lot of use out of it. :) I was pretty happy with the fit. The only alteration I made once the pants were made was to shorten them about 1.5", which is pretty typical for me.

I like these pants very much, though I wish they had a pocket. To add a pocket would compromise the interesting design, so I will have to think about this some more.

I lightened the pants in this photo so you could see them better. (Have I mentioned recently how much I love Photoshop Elements? I bought it for $30 on sale and it has been such a useful tool for editing photos!) I am wearing it with my Bells top that I reviewed last fall.

Here you can see the darts at the hem.

Do you think I need a new Welcome mat? :)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Sewing Workshop - Trio Pant

I finally made the Sewing Workshop Trio pants and I love them!

Janis, on Stitcher's Guild, has sewn some beautiful pants from this pattern, so I was eager to try them. I traced off a size small, though, according to the Sewing Workshop measurement chart, my hips are between a medium and a large, and my waist is off the chart (larger than a XXL). I can often get away with a smaller pant size since my hips are small and I increase the waist, as necessary. I didn't have to fiddle with these pants.

My first pair, using a black ponte knit, fit well, but were a bit short. I am 5'5" and almost always have to shorten things, so these must run short. I left the pocket off this first pair.

My second pair are from a brown stretch woven. This time, I included the pocket. I finished the pocket with buttons from my grandmother's button basket.

I had to lighten this photo a bit to show the pants better. I am wearing these with my new t-shirt with the Marcy Tilton neckline.

Worn with my Sewing Workshop Now shirt.

Pocket detail.

Cutting Line Designs - My Hearts A'Flutter Overblouse

Many of the sewists on Stitcher's Guild are fans of Louise Cuttings patterns, published as Cutting Line Designs. I have made two pair of pajama bottoms using her One Seam Pants pattern, but have not yet made a finished pair of pants because I still don't have the crotch fit right. Up until now, that has been my only experience with these patterns.

Louise's latest pattern is the Heart's A'Flutter shell and overblouse and I decided it was time to take the plunge. I was interested in the overblouse, but was not sure how it would work on my busty figure.

As luck would have it, a friend made the pattern right after it was released and let me try her size medium, which has a finished bust measurement of 55". I knew that the medium would fit me around, but was concerned it would hike up at the front. When I tried on her top, that is exactly what happened: the front hiked up and looked very "maternity."

To fix this, I altered the pattern using my friend's suggestion – I added 3" to the bottom of the center front piece, tapering it to nothing at the side seam. Since the alteration crossed two pattern pieces, I had to modify both. I did not alter the pattern piece that goes across the bottom front.

The fabric I used it a very wiggly, very ravelly, plaid rayon that I bought at Fabrix. This fabric has a mind of its own and I had to cut it out very painstakingly. Rather than deal with matching the plaid in all of the pieces, I took a leaf from Terri's striped version and changed the grain of the various pieces. I had much less matching to worry about.

I am wearing the overblouse without anything under it, but that is for the photos only. A shell or a cami will be needed for modesty's sake – the slits are a bit above the waistline and, as the body moves, you can see more bust than anyone would want – after all, it is called an overblouse. I do like this top. I am wearing it with my new Sewing Workshop Hudson pants, which I will review when I get some better photos. :)

DD1 suggested I wear her sunglasses. Too bad you can't see them better, because the lenses have diagonal lines across them. The height of cool. ;)

TNT T-Shirt with Marcy Tilton Neckline

I recently bought some fabric from Marcy Tilton's website that she calls Light on Water Shibori Microfiber. I decided to use it with my TNT t-shirt pattern, but to also use a neckline technique from Marcy's t-shirt CD. You can use this technique on any t-shirt pattern, which uses oak tag templates that you make using the original pattern.

Unfortunately, I didn't have the t-shirt seated quite evenly on my shoulders, but you can still see the effect.

I am wearing this t-shirt with Sewing Workshop Trio pants, which I will review separately.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Sewing Workshop - Mimosa Top

Spring approacheth. Heck, Spring is officially here, and it's the first one since I've returned to sewing, so I am starting to think about a spring/summer wardrobe. In particular, I am thinking about tops. Tops are a challenge for me, with my generous bust and "fluffy tummy", but summer tops are even more challenging, when you add in my "mature" upper arms, narrow shoulders, and my aversion to showing too much skin.

So, I decided to try my hand at the Sewing Workshop Mimosa top. This Asian-inspired top screams "I am for the small busted", but, heck, I am fearless about hacking up patterns, right? I started with a Large, which is usually the right size when I am adding a dart. Because the front pattern piece crosses the entire body, I added two darts in that piece. Each dart added 2" in width and 2" in length. (I recently realized that my FBAs weren't adding enough in length.) This made for a very big dart. But there were actually two of them in the front pattern piece, meaning there would be four when both fronts were sewn. I also moved the shoulder forward 1/2".

When I made the muslin, I realized several things. First, this large is very narrow across the upper back, so I added 1" to the CB seam (1/2" on the fold). The armhole was nice and high and hugged the body well, which I liked. I realized that I preferred leaving the second front dart unsewn - but leaving the fullness there. Otherwise it would have been four front darts when both front pieces were overlapped and closed, and I didn't like that look. I also reshaped the side front open edge to accommodate this unstitched dart.

I made the finished top out of a blue fabric remnant that I really liked. It is a linen look fabric, with a pronounced weave. It has a bit of a "homespun" feel to it. I believe it is a blend of cotton, maybe linen, maybe rayon, and possibly a bit of synthetic. It does wrinkle, but it also washed and dried well in the machine.

For the final top, I made a few more changes. Rather than attach a binding to the side front that is open, I hemmed it using the same technique as on the bottom. I mitered the corner between the side front and the bottom, so there were four mitered corners in all. I was reluctant to use a binding as wide as the pattern called for along the neckline, because the neckline was already quite high. I was also reluctant to cut the binding cross grain, as the pattern called for, so I used a narrower bias binding around the neck.

To close it, I found an acceptable, but not fabulous, button from my grandmother's button box. This box has mostly pretty nasty buttons – many of them cut off of clothing and quite beaten up. But for this top, it was fine. I placed the button where it fit best when the front was closed, ignoring the placement on the pattern. By this point, I had pretty much frankenpatterned the paper pieces anyway.

The final result? meh. It is ok. The first time I put it on and looked in the mirror, I got the overpowering impression of hospital scrubs. I hope no one else thinks that, since the funky hemline hopefully offsets that effect. :) It has a bit of the "loving hands at home" look with the imperfect, large dart, and the imperfect, bumpy bias binding. I do think it will work as a layering piece. And, if it's really hot, it's better than sweating in a long sleeved shirt, and it does cover me adequately (no small feat). But beyond that, I will have to wear it and see what I think. :)

I am standing on a fairly steep driveway in these photos. I am wearing this Mimosa top with my new favorite pant pattern - the Trio. I will
review it later when I get photos of my second version.

I tried the outfit on with the Valencia jacket I made recently. I thought it looked OK, but DD1 did not like it worn all together. She might be right – I haven't decided yet.

P.S. If you have a smaller bust, this is a goto pattern for many women. I have seen it made up beautifully in many different fabrics. Check pattern review, but I have seen it other places as well.

P.P.S. I wore the top today, on an unseasonably warm day. I like it! It covers me well, especially the armholes and cleavage areas, and it camouflages my tummy. I may make a couple of these for those hot days when you have to find something to wear. :)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Sewing Workshop - Liberty Top

Our traditional Easter High Tea. So decadent...

For awhile now I've been wanting to make a Liberty top. I have seen some really beautiful versions on the Sewing Workshop Gallery, Pattern Review, Stitcher's Guild, and in my own sewing group. Then, at our last sew group meeting, Heather Nishimura showed her latest version of the Liberty and I fell in love. Heather is one of those stealth sewists. She quietly, and without fanfare, makes the most gorgeous pieces. She always looks so elegant and beautiful - she really rocks her wardrobe. She had the brilliant idea of making a pullover using the Liberty pattern. She used a black/grey stripe knit (with the stripe positioned vertically) and placed the center front on the fold of the fabric. She finished it off with a turtleneck.

Well, I love knit t-shirts, pullovers, and the like, that have interesting details and this one was fabulous. I couldn't wait to try it out. I traced off a Large and added a dart. I tested the pattern fit using a light yellow cotton interlock someone had given me at our last Babes meeting. I finished the neckline with a binding.

My test garment, using donated cotton interlock.

For my actual garment, I used a Japanese knit from Emma One Sock. This slightly sheer knit has a weighty hang - really nice. For this version, I didn't sew the dart, I eased it. For the neckline I finished with a piece of the selvedge.

The second version uses a Japanese sweater knit from Emma One Sock

When I wear this top, the neckline pulls a bit to the back. The next time I make this top (and there will be a next time) I plan to move the shoulder seam forward 1/2" and to shorten the sleeves an inch. Eventually I want to make the pattern as shown on the envelope. It's a great one!

[Edited on 4/9/10.] Heather has sent me a picture of her striped Liberty turtleneck for posting! My understanding is that it will appear soon on the SW gallery. Isn't it gorgeous?