Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Garment Sewing Class:  We are doing collars and collar stands in the Garment Making class.  I spent the morning making samples for each student with upper collar, under collar and collar stand.  It is a great group of students.  They will get to learn Pam Erny's turning the point technique and Margaret Islander's burrito technique.

Today I received my 100% cotton Bare Knits from Nancy's Notions.  I am excited to get started sewing each piece.  The feel and look really great.  The weight is nice and they are opaque.  I have been very disappointed with the knits and jerseys that I have purchased from cheap online vendors. They look good on the computer, some die in the wash, most start to pill immediately.  I sew things that I want to wear and that work with my other wardrobe.  It makes me really unhappy when they become rags after 3 washings and have to be thrown away.  I have high expectations for these knit pieces.  Stay tuned.

Now I have made the Bare Knits top.  I have washed it a few times and it is holding up really well. This fabric is not shown in the current catalog but is available on Nancy's Notions website.

My successful sewing with a plan Finally


Last October I agreed to do a program for Sew Fitting, a neighborhood group of the Atlanta Chapter of the America Sewing Guild.

It took several months and false starts to find the right print fabric for the project.  I planned to use the print in several garments, a dress, top, jacket and culottes of slacks.  I would use some solid that appeared in the print to make other jackets, tops and slacks.  Since I started with a print instead of a "neutral" (ugly) I will have ten pieces that play nice together.  From those ten pieces I will have many many outfits.  The photos will be posted this weekend when my photographer is available.

Wardrobe for travel or life

The Inspiration: I found that many small collections of a dozen or so garments are presented at the time of fashion week. I became intrigued with the fact that there were 2 or three principal fabrics that were used in several different garments. That was the inspiration that started the process.

The Process: I began looking for the feature fabric as soon as I agreed to present the program. That was a long journey. I wanted 10 yards of a cotton sateen print. I found a few that had the wrong colors or a mix that did not appeal to me. I found something that might work on Craftsy. They only sell 4 yard pieces. So I was off searching for other sources.

I finally found the piece on Gorgeous Fabrics. I wanted to get a swatch but they only had 19 yards. Likely by the time I got the swatch the piece would be gone. I ordered 8 yards. It was a border print with the white down the middle. This presented some design challenges.

I drafted two dress patterns, three top patterns and I am working on the jacket pattern from my master patterns. I made samples/muslins of each pattern and tweaked them a few times. The jacket will be done shortly but I want to make a sample before I make it in the feature fabric.

Designers take all year to work on two collections. I have a much greater appreciation for the process. My work was based on design for fit and esthetics of how it looked on my body. I have some more ideas in mind that will use bits from the fabric in other garments.

I have assembled many groups of fabric for making swaps. I never got beyond the first pair of pants or top. There were always pieces that worked but did not inspire me. I really like to idea of using a focus fabric that I really love and building around that. Boo to all those who say start with a (ugly or uninspiring) neutral.

I have found that most of my red family fabrics work with this piece. I will be making a red wool crepe jacket, red wool pants from Vogue fabric that was too light to become a jacket and black tropical weight wool pants.  I have a deep pink jacket made from a Caroline Rose piece at Gail K Fabrics.  This was an orphan but now works well with this print dress and top.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Developing Master Pattern: Ruched side front

The photo of the half scale demonstrates how to slash and spread your side front princess pattern to get the ruching.

Developing Master Patterns Class

ruched side front on shoulder seam princess dress

In our Master Pattern class yesterday Geannene had a pattern for a dress with a ruched side front. My recommendation is that Geannene use her side front and slash and spread to achieve the same result. I have used the half scale bodice and cut it to make it a shoulder seam princess line. I made several cuts to but not through the side seam and pulled the inside seam line apart to form a curve. This is how the ruched side front pattern was made. I have attached a scan of the piece that I made. Geannene, I recommend that you do this rather than trying to fit the other pattern. The more cuts that you make and spread the more curve you will get and the more ruching you will have. The general principal for gathers, ruffles and ruching is a ratio of 1 1/2 to 1. In other words if the part of your pattern that you want to ruch is 6 inches you may want to start with the circumference of the curved part at 9 inches. You can check the pattern that you brought today and measure the front piece where the ruching is eased into on the front and measure the ruching circle. This will give you the ratio that the pattern company used. I would then use this ratio on your top as well. You all are the designers now and can make details or add details..I am impressed with the work that you all have done and the progress that you have made. I will look at my several pattern drafting books to recommend some that show how to draft details like collars, ruching, necklines, yokes, etc. Connie Crawfords book is good and so is Helen Joseph Armstrong. There are several less technical books on the market to and I will look through my collection to see which I have and you can take a look at them.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Get Fitted: Blouse or Top Sloper Instructions

Sloper Instructions It is essential to mark and sew accurately to get an acceptable fit. This is a procedure to get the sloper well fitted. Be cautious not to over fit. You are not a statue. Movement, posture, fatigue, rest, shoes and under garments can all impact the fit. The sloper pattern must at least equal your full circumference at the fullest part of your body. I recommend Connie Crawford blouse fitting pattern number 1201. It is available on her website: It comes in 2 groups of missy sizes and 2 groups of plus sizes that correspond to bra cup sizes. Choose the pattern that includes your size and your bra cup size. Another advantage is that it is not just a bodice but goes down to the hip level. Measure all the way around your body at the fullest part of your bust. Write this number down here: (a)________________ Measure across the front of your body across the fullest part of your bust from side seam to side seam. Write this number here: (b)__________ Divide this number by 2. Write this number here: (c)____________. Choose a pattern size that is equal to your side seam to side seam measurements across the fullest part of your bust. Measure the pattern pieces to determine the width across the bust. Write that number here: (d) _____________ On the pattern mark the seam line on the side seam at the bust line and measure from there to the center front line. This number is 1/2 of the distance across the front from side seam to side seam and should equal the number (c). (d) should equal (c). Now subtract (b) from (a). Write this number here (e) __________. This will be your back measurement. Divide this number by 2. Write that number here: (f)______________. Measure the back pattern piece at the line that corresponds to where you took the full body measurement. Write that number here (g)____________. This should equal (f). cut a center back seam as this will be needed in the fitting the upper back. If you have a very full bust or a muscular and wide back it is possible that you will need different sized front and back pieces. Please let me know and I will advise you regarding the armscye and sleeve. You will cut the larger armscye on the larger piece and the smaller armscye on the smaller piece. You will cut the sleeve corresponding to the size that you cut on each piece and blend the sleeve at the top of the sleeve cap. Sewing the muslin sloper The muslin must be sewn accurately to determine the fit. Press your muslin fabric prior to cutting. The next step is to mark all seamlines on your muslin pieces. Staystitch the neckline, shoulders and the armscyes. Stitch from the wide to the narrow so that you can cause minimum stretching of these seam lines. Press the staystitched muslin pieces. Then compare the neckline, shoulder and armscye with the pattern to determine if there is any distortion. If so correct it by steaming the piece back into shape or marking the correct seamline onto the pieces so it can be sewn accurately. After stitching the seams press them flat then open. Cut 2 inch seam allowances on the shoulders. Stitch these on the outside. You will be stitching wrong sides together at the shoulders. Cut one inch seam allowances on all other seams. If using Connie's pattern cut as shown on the pattern pieces. Set both sleeves as you would in a garment. Add a center front zipper. It is possible that you will need an upper back adjustment which is then made from the stitched muslin. This adjustment may require the assistance of a sewing friend. If the back neckline does not sit at the base of the neck slash 1 inch from neck seamline from center back to but not through the back armscye seam. The muslin fabric will spread the amount needed. Measure this at center back and over the shoulder blades. On the paper pattern make slashes every 1/4 inch and spread 1/8 to 1/4 inch until you have added the full amount needed from the muslin.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Developing Master Patterns supplies list

Supplies needed: 24 inch by 30 yards architects “trash” paper, several very sharp number 2 pencils, plastic see through dressmaker curve (available from Peggy Sagers ot Dritz), 18” or 24” flexible ruler, L-square or T-square, hip rule is not imperative but very useful, enough “muslin” yardage to make your garment twice. (Muslin is for class 101). Large 3 ring binder for notes and records of each garment. The goal is that you will have several completed garments that fit. Most importantly, that you will acquire the knowledge, information and confidence to analyze patterns and use your own master patterns to achieve perfect fit and/or add the details to your own master patterns.