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Here’s something I discovered today I wanted to share (in case it could help someone else)… I have a new theory on why tops and dresses tend to gape on me at the neckline.  Allow me to demonstrate with a picture…

my-fitting-issue

Yes it makes sense now! Most peoples shoulders slope more than mine, I have quite square shoulders so by taking excess out from the shoulder seam it fits better.

Note: The diagram is exaggerated and inaccurate but you get the idea! Perhaps it counter-intuitive to remove fabric near the neck if you have boxy shoulders, but for some reason it worked for this pattern. I did remove a lot less, and it what I did take out was less slanted than what I drew in mu crude drawing.

Simplicity 1693 was the pattern used. I am not exactly over the moon with the results…

newlook-1693

Anyway this is the top before the alteration…

gapey shirt

And after…

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So it is an improvement, but I don’t know if I like the loose fit on me but I do love the fabric!

I had a dress in the same colour and print when I was a little girl and it was my favorite dress. I have plenty more of this fabric left, so I am sure I will make something much cuter with it.

I am happy I tested out this pattern in a fabric I had plenty of, because I dont know if it is worth making again. If I do make it again, I want to do the bias binding before I sew up the site seams, and it will probably make it 100 times easier!

I did cut out and sew a peter pan collar, for this top, but I left it off, because I felt like the girly fabic and combined with a collar in the same colour would be too sickly sweet. Don’t get me wrong, I love to look a bit twee, but I am supposed to be a bit more grown up at this point in my life…

peterpancollar

Perhaps I can use it on something else. I just discovered a quick way to get the collar to look good:

peterpancollar-howto

Tip: Its worth investing in some good quality pinking sheers. I used my new ones to grade the seams on my peter pan collar and it worked a treat! Just grade the seams with the pinking sheers and go over the seam line with a point turner and press. Super quick!

I left of the interfacing, to see how that would change the look of it.

Anyway thats the end of my story.

I have something much more exciting for the next post, it just may be my favorite dress ever.

Heres a teaser (from when it was a W.I.P)…

bestdress

I have enjoyed reading everyones 2013 recaps. All of the sewing blogs I read are full of sewing inspiration but its reassuring to read that everyone has sewing fails from time to time.

Sometimes it’s impossible to predict which projects will be the highlights and which ones will go unworn, but no matter how the projects turn out its good to know we are always learning more and advancing our sewing skills!

Hope everyone is having a good 2014!

-Kath

The dress is done (will post it tommorow) I thought I would share some notes and work in progress (sorry last boring post I PROMISE).

Here’s a sneak peek at the front of the dress:

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Above: The zip is straight IRL I promise! it’s just how the fabric is lying, dammit!

Working with Butterick 5607 was good. I cut out a size 8 (for reference I am B 34/35 W 25-26 H 34 )

Recently my body has changed so I feel like I am fitting for a different one now. I don’t actually look any different, It’s just that clothing fits me differently. I guess it’s a symptom of walking everywhere and being low on money.

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Above: Look at the SEXXAY styling from envelope it came in! 90s wedding/prom look! OOOH YEAH! (hehe sorry)

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Above: My initial alterations. You can see the first lines where I took it in at the bust.

I drafted my own collar. I drew some VERY rough guides on my muslin of my desired collar because I wanted to get an idea of how it would look like.

I also drafted a wacky ‘all in-one facing’. I generally prefer linings to facings, but I am planing on wearing the dress during the Australian Christmas (summer) so I wanted it to be light to wear.

Oh yeah I also shortened the dress A LOT. I forgot to record how much I shortened it by (SO ANNOYING I should always record these things. It’s helpful!) 😦 Anyway I would guess I removed about 20-23cm or over 8-9 inches from the hem.

Fitting: I found myself removing some excess in tiny amounts at the upper bust, bellow the bust and a little at the waist (getting rid of the excess in the princess seams or panel lines).

I did not change the neckline at all. It’s a higher neckline, but happily it’s a comfortable/non-strangling one (a rarity among patterns with high necklines!).

I originally created two muslins/toiles for this project, but I ended up making more fitting adjustments on the dress after I made it in my fashion fabric as well. But after all the tedium I now have a pretty rocking basic a-line dress pattern :)!

I usually work with linings or bias binding, so I had to look up some info on pressing collars and facings in my trusty sewing book.

Note to self: When pressing facing. press down the middle of the seam first spreading them apart,trim/grade seams them press ALL the seams TOWARDS the facing (not towards the garment).

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 Attaching facing or lining to a zipper opening by machine (how-to):

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I know a lot of people know this technique already, but for those who don’t: I swear by it it!

Use a narrow sewing machine foot, move your sewing needle position, Sew over facing with wrong side out and zipper sandwiched in between. Then turn your facing the right way out and poke in cover with a pencil or point turner. NO pesky hand sewing (because I ain’t gonna live forever!)

Now come the pictures of how I attached the facing to the armhole without any hand sewing.

This is a weak attempt to remind myself of what I did.

I WISH I could explain this, but it seems impossible to explain without a video. The pictures are really just a reference for me for next time. :S

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My boyfriend and I are renting a small apartment in the city. We love it here and I feel like it’s cozy BUT the one thing that has always bothered me: the vertical blinds on the main window. Not my style at all!

They were already installed before we got here.

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Luckily my darling Mum came over and helped me make them so I could remove those blinds (in a way that would not damage anything)!

I prefer curtains and I am not a fan the color of the blinds were. They actually look better in this photograph! In real life they were more of a mix of gray and green I call the colour ‘greyige’ I also disliked how when you opened them. they would open like this…

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I was brought up in a house with big windows and lots of natural light. That is how I like to live,windows open in the daytime to let the light in and see the trees outside!

Here’s how it looks now…

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lightin

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It was a challenge because I could not take off the rod/track or replace it with a new one.

I attached the new curtains by putting them AROUND the original track/thing that the blinds were on. Boy was it hard to get the little straps of fabric up and around the rod like so…

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I sewed the straps of fabric to the curtains, then I sewed pieces of Velcro to the straps and the other side of the curtain.

Despite the fact that they stay up with just the Velcro, I put safety pins in near the straps for extra assurance!

I was so lucky that my Mum did all the calculations for the window and hemmed them. Best mum in the world! It took my mum and I many hours to cut, press and hem them.

Then I spent many additional hours with loud music on, sewing straps and attaching Velcro.

We get so much natural light in during the day now, even when they are closed. I bought the fabric from ikea. It’s cotton sort of medium weight.

Next post will be back to the regular scheduled program. That is: Dresses I make. The mod dress just needs facing and zipper attached. I also have new short do. Cant wait to show you!

Come to think of it…

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Feel free to have LOL at my initial muslin for the Mod dress. The fit is good now and I drafted a collar, which is sort of bigger than intended. Anyway finished dress will be posted soon!

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So the yellow Burda pleated blouse (from the last post) is now complete.
Let me share with you something embarrassing. It’s enough to make any kind of pattern maker recoil in disgust. Below is my makeshift dart…

The reason why it’s so horrid looking was because I was fitting (and re-fitting) on the already assembled shirt (so I was not working with a flat piece) therefore it was hard to record the positioning of the dart accurately. Sewing the next version of this shirt should be interesting haha!

The next picture is of one the amended side seams on the pattern piece. When I take the side seams in, it’s common for me to keep the piece I cut off/removed and then sticky-tape it back onto the pattern (away from the seam). That way if I need to retrace my steps I know how much I have removed.

Does anyone else do this? In this case I took the side seams in a bit and realized I needed to take the seam in a second time, so thats why there are two pieces stuck to the inside of the pattern.

Ah fitting and pattern modifications what a boring, yet necessary evil.

Onto something more fun…The next project.

Heres a look at it so far. The fabric has such a crazy print and I  happen adore over-the-top geometric prints…

I am making a dress using simplicity 2444 again.

I altered the pattern slightly and removed excess from the top of the neckline so that it would not gape so much, so I wanted to test the modified pattern using a fabric that wasn’t new or super fancy.

The fabric began it’s life as a spaghetti-strap sun dress. Thin straps are unflattering on me  but I knew I had to salvage the fabric because I loved the print so much. There is only enough of the fabric for these bodice pieces (the sleeves and the skirt will be a soild black).

The fabric was also very see-through so I had to underline the bodice pieces (I used a bleached calico).

To underline the pieces I machine-basted around the seam allowances of fabric and underling pieces, basing the underling and the fashion fabric together.
I also machine basted the dart markings (the basting had to be unpicked once the darts were sewn together). Underling is time-consuming, but it gives the fabric a lovely weight and really enhances it. Love it!
If you underline by hand sewing, give machine basting a try! It is so much quicker. I just length my stitches and make sure the tension is loose.

I am also going to line the bodice in black (yes I am slightly crazy, but you know I hate facings in dresses).

Simplicity 2588 another pattern I am looking forward to trying for the first time (I love raglan sleeves and princess seams!)…


A lot of these project runway patterns have a lot of different styles/pieces in the one envelope.
I often create a smaller envelope to hold the other pattern pieces I’m not using. This envelope is just made from thin note paper and can can then go inside the main envelope. That way I can isolate the pieces I’m working with and avoid confusion.

I feel like this post may have been a little boring, but sometimes it’s good to share the process. Next up is my finished top! :).

I live with my boyfriend now and he knows not to use the good sewing scissors, but I thought some fellow sewers may get a kick out of my scissor warning.

Do not use for paper or you will destroy me. LOL!

Above: don’t you hate this effect?

So as I mentioned in the last post a lot of commercial patterns (including butterick 5032) gape on me. There always seems to be excess fabric near the neckline that is lose. So in case anyone else has this problem here is how to eliminate it on the pattern.

You cant just take it out of the middle of the pattern because it will affect the grainline and the waist measurement so here is how to do it.

Note: I am obviously not a pattern maker or pro I am just self-taught so I don’t claim this is the best way. But anyway here is my way…

1. So after making a muslin or prototype try the dress on and pinch and pin out the excess fabric and measure how much you have pined out is the amount you want to take out. On one side of my bodice that was 2cms (making it a total of 4cms excess fabric, but 2cm is the amount we want to remove because we are only working with one side of the pattern).

2. Make a copy of your sewing pattern (So you still have the original pattern if the modifications are turn out to be incorrect)

I made a copy by putting Burda tracing paper and pattern weights over the bodice pieces and tracing it being sure to mark all notches and darts on the new pattern. Dont know why I photographed the original pattern over my traced one but um yeah should be the other way around.

3. Mark out a triangle, wedge/dart shape that starts at the neckline and runs all the way down touching the waist dart (or original dart). The distance of line I have drawn with red indicates the amount I want to remove from the pattern (in my case 2cms)

4. Cut along dashed lines. Where to cut is shown above as indicated by the green dashed lines in the picture above. where these darts meet in the middle cut leave 1-2 millimeters (or a tiny bit of paper) so that the pattern is not cut directly in half.

5. After you have cut into all the dashed lines move green dashed line so that it is touching the other thinner green line (that is adjacent to it but not dashed) and tape shut. and you have removed the excess. The waist dart (blue dashed line line) will have opened up more and now be bigger (this will NOT affect the waist measurement)

Below: temporary dart is now taped shut and bottom waist dart is larger resulting in the excess being removed.

5. Add paper to the now larger gap in the waist dart. If necessary add paper and blend and the neckline too.

6. Above is the new gape-free pattern piece. I used the same method to remove excess in the back bodice pattern piece too.