New Stuff and weekend fun

I’ve got two projects going that I’m just itching to tell you about. Since most who visit here are garment-sewing people, I’ll tell you about the garment today and the doll next week. (There could be some additional progress on the doll this weekend, anyway.)

Line drawing of m5522 views B and DThis is McCall’s M5522, which I mentioned buying last Sunday afternoon. While at the store, I bought some broadcloth to make view D, but I am lovin’ view B now. That view wants something a little nicer than the broadcloth, though. If I make view B for 2007, I’ve gotta get on it before it gets too cool for those short sleeves.

This empire-style waistline (and I say M-PIRE, not OM-Peer like Stacy and Clinton–don’t they just make you want to throw up???) is very flattering for me and I’ve used it many times before to good effect. (I won’t bore you with another parade of garments I’ve sewn like this. Just take my word for it this time.)

During lunch one day this week I traced the pattern onto STP. (Those big tables at the office come in handy for more than meetings!)

I had bought the 8-10-12 pattern, since I usually start with a 10 and enlarge the front and chop up the back. This pattern has various cup sizes on it, so I started with the 12 and used the D-cup front. Now don’t choke. No, my bra cup is not the size of a baby’s bonnet–far from it. Look at your FFRP book and you’ll see that the cup on a 32D is the same as the cup on a 38A. Cup sizes as a single letter are deceiving.

The D cup front on the size 12 gives you 38 1/2″ at the bust, 30 inches at the waist, and 40 1/2″ at the hip. Sounds perfect! In fact, it fits Brunhilde like a glove:

Brunhilde wearing the new top Front view Back

Two items that will require alteration jumped out at me immediately. First, the waistline is 1 3/8″ below mine! My waistline is marked on Brunhilde by the elastic. The pattern waistline is marked by that ruler. The other thing is some back armhole gaping. I’ll rotate some of that to a shoulder dart and adjust the sleeve cap.

While I really would like to work on this and my jeans-style jacket this weekend, Mr H has invited me to go camping with him. I can’t pass that up, now can I?? Of course not! I’m taking some dolly projects and some books to read.

See you on the flip side!

Sold on Shoulder Princess

Yesterday I spent some time re-categorizing posts. There are 721 posts at this point–many of which imported from older blogs with no category. I knocked out about 150 of the remaining uncategorized posts yesterday. I also added about 15 more categories, which I’m not so sure was a good idea. That category list is getting really long.

It’s really fascinating to go back and read what I was doing a year or three ago. (It’s fascinating to me. To Me.) I get all nostalgic about what was going on in my life and why I was working on certain things. (Some things I’m glad to have left behind–like stripping wallpaper. Yeah, well…)

A common theme through many of my sewing posts is garments made with princess seams. Even though I know they are just a means of shaping a garment to fit the body, there’s just something elegant about a princess seamline. They aren’t pointy anywhere, they just flow from one curve to the next. If princess seams are new to you, maybe you should check out this (pdf) guide offered by The Home Sewing Association at . They’ve got some interesting takes on the subject, including some configurations that I would never have thought of. I usually only consider two–shoulder princess and armscye princess.

For me, shoulder princess is the princess-of-choice. I really love that vertical line going straight up to the shoulder. Perhaps I like it because it’s elongating visually. Whatever it is, I’ve used it more times than I can count.

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and that’s just a sampling…

Princess seams certainly give you more fitting opportunities. Check out this article from Sandra Betzina at HGTV about fitting a princess seam garment. With commercial patterns, the more seams you have, the better your chances of getting a good fit as you sew. You can let out a little at the waistline or curve inward to emphasize the bust. Fitting books have whole sections of special instructions for fitting and altering princess seams.

If you usually require a full bust adjustment (FBA) in your tops, you might wonder how that is accomplished without obvious darts. As I mentioned before, most fitting books show you how. Better still, Debbie Cook has a most excellent visual instruction on her website. (I really love those exploding darts!)

Over the years, I’ve put the princess seamline to work many times and am not done with it yet. One of the projects I plan to undertake in the near future is Nancy Zieman’s new jacket, McCall’s m5526. That jacket, with both princess seams and a waist seam, should be a sewing woman’s dream!

I’ll let you know how it works out.

FrankenTop, take 2

First FrankenTop

Looking at the original FrankenTop on me, I can’t really imagine why I would want it to fit any better. Of course–you know me–I had to nit-pick it some.

When I photographed it on Brunhilde, I discovered some horizontal folds below the armhole and the shoulder seam didn’t run along the shoulder just right.¬† (I’m wearing the top now, and those things are definitely still there although you can’t see them in the photo.)

Initially I thought I would rotate excess from the armhole into the bust dart.¬† When I studied the top, however, I realized that the problem wasn’t that the armhole was too long. The problem was that armhole was too high. So I did a sloping shoulder alteration along with moving some of the front shoulder line to the back to put the shoulder seam in the right location.¬† After all that, the front pattern piece looked like this:


You can see where I simply cut out the entire armhole and moved it down.¬† (That would be the L-shaped cut that begins in the center of the shoulder seam.)¬† Then I trued the shoulder seam.¬† If you’re interested in learning more about this alteration, it is illustrated in detail in this excellent PDF from the Texas Cooperative Extension Service–look at page 2.

What made me think about an alteration called “sloping shoulders” when the problem was underneath my arm? ¬† Funny what makes things click sometimes.¬† I was reading a sewing discussion board–perhaps at PatternReview, I really don’t remember–and someone was commenting that an inseam on a pair of pants was too long.

I had considered all sorts of things about pants and those wonky wrinkles under the seat, but never that an inseam was too long.¬† It makes perfect sense to me–the seam can’t go any higher so it climbs as high as it can and then wrinkles up.¬† Where would you shorten that?¬† At the top of the inseam.¬† What does that do?¬† It lowers the crotch depth.¬† That’s exactly what was going on with my top and the way I fixed it was by lowering the armhole, which happens to be the same alteration as the sloping shoulders one.

Here’s Brunhilde wearing the altered top:

Brunhilde wearing the new top

My low left shoulder still exhibits the problem a little.¬† I don’t want to make an asymmetrical pattern,¬† so I plan to be happy with it as-is.¬† This fabric, BTW, came from JoAnn’s and feels like rayon-lycra.¬† I really like it and hope it washes well.

Jeans-style jacket, tissue-fitting

The STP (Swedish Tracing Paper) has given me a whole new lease on tissue-fitting. I’ve used it on two pants patterns–which you have not seen–recently and feel very good about what I’ve been able to accomplish. It has nice body and I think it will allow my alterations to translate to fabric better than plain tissue which crumples and won’t spring out to it’s former place so well.

Here’s the jacket tracing pinned onto Brunhilde:

Kwik Sew 2895 pinned on Brunhilde

Many of the reviews say this pattern is large. I wonder if people just want a closer fit than the designer intended. There are 5+ inches of ease at the bust in my size (Medium). The shoulder length in my size is about 5 1/2″ which tells me that shoulder is dropped a tiny bit. (I learned from dealing with PatternMaster that most women have a shoulder length of around 5 inches–give or take a quarter inch.) When I look at the catalog page, I see a loose-ish fit with a slightly dropped shoulder, as I expected from my measuring. The panels are shapely, so I don’t think it will make me look like a sack of potatoes like those jackets I mentioned yesterday.

With the loose fit and dropped shoulder, I could easily stick a shoulder pad in, but I think I’ll fold out those two tucks I’ve made in the armhole and rotate the excess out at the yoke. When I do that, I’ll also shorten it above the waist by about 1/2″.

The pattern rounds over my back (ok, Brunhilde’s back) very well, I think. I later pinned the sleeve on, and it hangs nice and straight. That’s the good thing about having Brunhilde. Even though she’s much skinnier than I am, her lengths and posture are the same.

I’ve got to find a sacrificial fabric to try this out before I lose enthusiasm for the project. There’s a piece of Taupe Bronco that should fill the bill. It doesn’t look great on me, but it will go with stuff and may lend itself to some embellishment.

A little shopping for me and the Stump Sister

Dollmaking does not significantly increase the revenue stream of the local fabric stores–at least not at the rate I work. Taking a doll in there to find some trim causes quite a stir, however.

The Stump Sister had no arms when we visited the local Hancock Fabrics yesterday. She rode around in the cart with her bald head sticking up over the handle while I shopped. Plenty of people commented as I tried various trims on the front of her dress. I swear she looked pleased by the attention.

While we were there, I picked up some 99¢ McCall’s patterns and a Kwik Sew.

Kwik Sew 2895The Kwik Sew jeans-style jacket #2895 found its way into my cart because I’ve only recently (since the advent of MyShape) become aware that I really *do* look better in garments that fit more closely. I could have spared myself a lot of wardrobe mistakes had I realized the truth of that earlier. (Yes I’d been told, but somehow the *right* person has to tell me…at a time when I can be receptive.)

In any case, I believe I have two other jeans-style jackets–McCall’s 5191, which is universally unflattering , and Vogue 7610, also bulky and unflattering. I like the Kwik Sew view A which is a tiny bit longer and has no bands at the bottoms of the sleeves.  The reviews are generally good, and the photos on real bodies are flattering.

If I remember correctly, the length of the longer jacket is 23 1/2 inches, which is still 1/2 inch above my hip level. Since I’ll have to chop off at least another half inch above the waist, my jacket will be a bit shorter. (Short jackets are *good* for me.)  I traced it off and pin-fit it on Brunhilde last night. Perhaps I’ll be able to show you photos of the pin fitting later in the week.

The McCall’s patterns that I picked up were all new issues: 5522, 5524, and 5526. I’ve not analyzed any of these, but it does appear that the Zieman patterns fit the size they are designed for. That means I’ll actually have to start with a 14, which is my size according to my measurents, rather than a 10. It amuses me a little that one of Nancy Zieman’s books has you choose your size according to your chest width–which puts me in an 8. I don’t know if this pattern mentions choosing a size or not. Thankfully all the Zieman sizes are in one envelope.

There was some sewing this weekend, but I’ll save that for later.