Friday, March 22, 2013

CB Spiral Top in Knit

No sooner did I finish my test of the CB Spiral Top when I knew I wanted to make it in a striped knit. This top is so easy to convert to a pullover top using a knit. Just leave off the front facing, which is cut on, and add a seam allowance.


The fabric is this great lightweight sweatshirting I purchased from Marcy quite a while back. An oatmeal and dark grey stripe, and there are flecks of black in the oatmeal stripes. For the neckline, I used a binding. The knit is a 2-way stretch, so I had to use the stripe in the long direction (I would have preferred the short direction, but it just wasn't stretchy enough). I cut the binding so as to favor a grey stripe at the neck.

And that's pretty much it! I just love this pattern and already have plans for another, though I'm not sure how soon I will sew that up.

If you're getting this close to check out the stripe matching, you just might get hurt!

I'm not sure that I will get much sewing done this weekend. I expect to see DD2 on Saturday. DD1 is flying in today from university on spring break and we are going to hang out on Sunday. She wants to go to the gym with me and then go shopping. I need to do some snoop shopping as I am thinking I might make a dress to wear to DD2's upcoming graduation and I don't know what suits me.

I hope you have a good weekend!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Jalie Yoga Pants - 3022

I need some new TNT pants that are more fitted, so I decided to try the new-ish Jalie Yoga pants pattern, 3022. This pattern calls for a 4-way stretch knit, but I didn't have a bottom weight 4-way stretch knit, so I used a 2-way stretch ponte.

I traced off a size S, based on my hip measurement. I made no other changes to the pattern. These fit great! I love the RTW look, fit, and styling of the Jalie patterns. The 2-way knit (instead of a 4-way) was no problem at all.

These pants were folded up in a suitcase for a few days, hence the wrinkles. I was too lazy to press them for the pics.

In the interest of full disclosure, I saved the following picture for last.

I have been feeling that many of my clothes are making me look a bit frumpy (having lost 22 lbs so far). I can take in some of my things (though not all), but I haven't yet started the altering process, which I really hate. This top, which I really like, is one I can't easily alter because of the cool pointed asymmetric pocket, which is sewn into the side seam.

So, for the photos, I used a technique used frequently in professional photo shoots. I used a hair clip to clip the back of the top to remove extra fullness. I even took a photo of the back so you can see my naughtiness. I wish it were only that easy to alter for real!

I really love these pants and need to make a few more pair!

A couple more things:

Vote for Rhonda!

Rhonda Buss, of Rhonda's Creative Life, attended Sew Expo in Puyallup as one of five semi-finalists to appear in a spot on the sewing television program, Sew It All. After that presentation, which you can view at the link below, she made it to the finals. It is now down to her and two other contestants who are competing as a sister-in-law team. I thought she had a great entry – you can see her video if you click the following image link.

Please vote!

Finally, I'm sure you have seen that the blogosphere is a-twitter with the news that Google Reader is going away on July 1st. I guess Google just isn't interested in being in the biz anymore. But all is not lost - there are other alternative readers out there. In fact, Mary, of Mary Sews, has written a nice post on replacements for Google Reader. Personally, I don't use Google Reader, I use Blogger Dashboard, but you don't have that unless you have your own blog on blogspot.

I decided to add a widget to my blog to make it easier to follow using Bloglovin. (You can see it in the upper left corner of my blog.) I experimented with Bloglovin' and it's great. It's easy to set up, easy to use, and you can choose to have your favorite blogs sent as an email if you prefer. In fact, Jillian wrote a nice post on how to set up a bloglovin' account. And it's free!

Thanks, ladies, for all of the useful info that you share!!! The internet/blog sewing community is fabulous!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Renfrew Take 2 - with Zipper

You may recall that I tested the Renfrew top in a size 12 recently - it has a very nice cowl neck. I wanted to make another in a larger size and I wanted to include a zipper at CF. (An idea I saw in RTW.) The zipper ends at the cowl, so it is functional, but not particularly useful.

The fabric is a novelty knit from Fabric Mart about a year ago. It has a black underlayer and a mottled grey-ish knit overlayer. There are circles cut out of the over layer, exposing the black under layer.

Once again, I did the Vertical Only FBA. On this version, I had to narrow the shoulders by about 5/8". Once again, I left off the bands and the hem and wrists. I otherwise made no changes.

I like this top! It is very easy to wear and the collar lays nicely. This pattern line is designed for pear shaped women. I am not pear shaped, but this top seems to work on most all body types.

Sewing Gadget - Headlamp

I recently spent a couple days sewing with a few friends. I was concerned about the available light so, in addition to my two Ott lights, I brought a Petzl head lamp. I love this thing! It focuses an amazing amount of light wherever your head is pointed. (To order your own through Amazon, click the picture above.)

What a goofball!

I also visited Loes Hinse's shop in Carmel. She is such a generous, kind person and a real character. I always enjoy seeing her. I have several friends who regularly travel to Carmel for her retreats. That is the best way to obtain her latest patterns. It's been awhile since she's released an envelope pattern, but she does have new designs available. I saw her spend a lot of time advising sewers on exactly how to alter her patterns to achieve the perfect fit, even if it didn't result in a sale.

Loes is a beauty!

I did make a few items over the weekend. Once I get some pictures, I will be blogging them!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Vertical Only FBA

I mentioned in my Renfrew Top post that I used a vertical only FBA. A couple people asked me for more details. I use this sort of FBA routinely in knits, when I am making a top with negative ease. (You can read more about negative ease in my Uber Busty post.)

When you have a pattern where there is enough width in the pattern piece to go around the bust, you may still need a full bust adjustment (FBA). This is because you still need extra length in the front to go up and over the bust. Unless, that is, you like tugging at your front hem because your top constantly hikes up in front.

In this situation, I perform a vertical only FBA:

  • Mark the bust point on the pattern tissue. (I never use the bust point marked on the pattern. I pin the front and back pattern tissue together at the shoulder seam and put it on my body. I line the CF up to my CF and mark the bust point with a pin/pen. My bust point is always lower and farther from CF than the pattern company indicates. This is why, by the way, I don't like patterns with the bust darts already drafted in – for me it's easier to add a bust dart than it is to move one.)
  • Slice the front pattern piece horizontally at the level of the bust point.
  • Add length evenly across the pattern piece. For my bust, I usually add 1" to 1.5", but YMMV (your mileage may vary). When you wear a RTW top, how much shorter is the top in front, due to your bust? That's about how much length you will want to add.
  • I also curve the side seam out slightly at bust level - I may cut this off later.

Here is the resulting Renfrew pattern piece, to give you an idea of what I mean:

How I sew this up depends on the fabric. In a stretchy knit, I ease this extra fabric at the sewing machine. (I ease it in over a couple inches at the level of the bustline - I do not ease it in over the entire side seam.) Note that I do not gather the extra fabric – I do not like the result when it's gathered. I just stretch the seam so that the back (which is shorter) meets the front (which is longer) and stitch.

In a stable/beefier knit, particularly if it's a 2-way knit and there is no stretch in the up-and-down direction, I sew it up as a dart. But I don't sew the dart until the shoulder seams are sewn, then I put it on and pin the darts right on the body. I do not like to sew darts in a stretchy knit, which is why I ease the seam in such fabrics, but do what pleases you.

After I sew the darts, (and possibly the sleeves if they are being sewn in flat), I pin the side seams, try the top on, and check the fit. I then machine stitch. I never just sew the darts or the side seams without pin fitting and I often tweak the fit at this point. It's really worth taking the time and trouble to get the fit just right – the result is much more flattering.


By the way, with only a couple of exceptions, most of you didn't mind if I turned off anonymous commenting, so I did. It has been a blissfully quiet day on the spam front. Maybe, at some point, I can re-enable anonymous commenting, but this is a nice break.

Sewaholic Renfrew Top

About a month ago Jillian turned me on to the Renfrew top. I saw her two Renfew tops in person and was impressed by the collar in particular. It's a cowl neck top that isn't too low cut or too revealing. I bought the pattern specifically for this cowl neckline.

To test the fit of the pattern, I used a stretchy, lightweight knit that I bought a year ago from Fashion Fabric Club but didn't really like it when it came. Because the knit is highly stretchy, I traced off the size that had 4" negative ease. That is typically how I like a stretchy knit top to fit. This meant I traced off a size 12, which seemed small, but the measurements were right.

I didn't care for the bands at the bottom of the top and the sleeve hems, so I left those off. I also did a 1.5" vertical-only FBA.

This top is a very quick sew. I am pretty happy with it, though maybe 4" negative ease is too much for me now, because the final top is a bit snug, especially in back. I think it would be ok if I wore it with shapewear, such as Spanx, but I don't own any shapewear. I have already traced out a larger size. I want to make the next one in a more stable knit, so I am going up by two sizes to a 16. (This pattern only goes to a size 16.)

Yep, too snug. Good thing I tested the pattern in a fabric I don't really care about. :)

Saturday, March 9, 2013

CB Spiral Top

I bought a pattern recently based on a post by Sew Ruth. The pattern, by Center for Pattern Design, and called the CB Spiral Blouse, is based on a design by Balenciaga. It is cut on the bias and consists of a single pattern piece. This sort of design really appeals to me so I ordered it right away.

The pattern comes in a size Medium which, according to the instructions, accommodates a bust size of 36-39". Because the pattern is cut on the bias, and different fabrics behave very differently on the bias, it's hard to predict how each fabric is going to hang or how the final top may fit. You can't just measure the flat pattern with confidence that it will just work. Also, because the pattern has no shoulder or side seams, you have less leeway to fudge the final garment.

Therefore, this is a pattern you really must test out. For my test garment, I used a fabric that a friend de-stashed - it's a loosely woven, textured cotton in a sage green color that has a nice drape. It has a subtle stripe. The pewter buttons are from my stash.

Alterations and Modifications:

  • The pattern has two lines where you can add or remove width to size up or down. I added 1.5" along each line, for a total of 6" of additional width.
  • The top is designed to be shorter in front and longer in back. But I felt that it was too short it front, so I added 1.5" at CF, merging it to the existing hem near the side seam.
  • I didn't like the fullness at the hem under the bust, so I took two generous tucks which are partially stitched down.
  • The pattern is designed to be a 3/4 length sleeve which is sewn on a spiral. I cut the sleeves to be as long as possible, given the width of my fabric. When I tried on the top, I decided I really liked the uneven edge, so I preserved that shape when I hemmed the sleeves.


I really like this top and plan to make it again. It would be fun to change up the neckline. I would like to achieve a non-ripply seam in the back, but am otherwise liking it very much.


On another topic. I have been reamed, for some time now, with spam comments. Most are caught by the blogger software and end up in a spam box, but I still have to delete each one manually. A few land in the moderated page, and I also have to delete each one manually. A few slip through. I am considering disallowing anonymous comments on my blog, as the lion's share come in anonymously. I kind of hate to do that, though, so tell me what you think.

I hope you are having a lovely weekend!

More Pics

The back is designed to drape at the hemline. There are no side seams or shoulder seams.
The primary seam is a bias seam that runs diagonal on the back. Though I did not force this seam, and I pressed it well, it does pucker a bit. I'm not crazy about that effect an am not sure how I can improve it on the next one.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Sunday Musings & Puyallup (Sew Expo)

My Sunday musing are intended to a) let you know I'm still around and kicking and b) share info/resources that have my interest. (I definitely am not getting as much sewing done as I sometimes do!)

I'm still alive and kicking. In fact, I have a top almost completely sewn and, as soon as I get off the internet, I plan to finish it.

Meanwhile, the book pictured here represents one of my many work projects that is finally out the door. (If you click the image it will take you to the book listing on Amazon.) I am so glad to have it done! No worries, though, I still have loads of other projects at work to keep me very busy. (This is one way you can see my real name, though I still won't be posting my actual name on the blog. I like to keep the worlds separate, Google-wise.)

Have you ever attended Sew Expo in Puyallup, Washington? I have not yet been, but it's on my bucket list. I am always hyper aware of the event. Partly because many of my friends attend. Partly because several indie pattern companies release new patterns to coincide. Partly because there is a fashion show I am interested in (this year Marcy and Katherine Tilton are doing it with Vogue Patterns). Partly because lots of people who go pull out all the stops to make really beautiful, creative pieces and I love to drink it all up and feast on the creativity.

So, I have become rather attached to reading real live postings about the activities at Puyallup, which ends today. Here are my favorite resources this year. If I have missed any good ones, please post them in the comments section:

Did I miss any other resources with pics from Sew Expo?

I registered!

Last, but not least, I registered for PR Weekend in San Francisco. I really look forward to meeting new folks and seeing friends at the event, where Sandra Betzina is the special guest. I believe registration is still open, if you are interested.

And now, I need to get off the computer and finish my top!