Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Little Grey Job Interview Dress: Simplicity 1277

dress front
back view
side view
I don't have it in me to do another write up of this project, but here is what I posted on PatternReview.

Pattern Description:
Simplicity amazing fit dress pattern for miss & plus sizes features bust darts & contrast side panels. individual patterns included for slim, average and curvy fit & cup sizes b, c, d for miss & c, d, dd for plus.

Pattern Sizing:
I got the plus envelope.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
More or less considering my struggles with all my fit issues.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Pretty much yes.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I liked the styling lines, which is why I bought it. Nothing in particular I disliked because I think all my fit adjustments would have been needed on any dress pattern. The "amazing fit" process with cup size bodice pieces and hip size skirt pieces did simplify things a bit.

Fabric Used:
A mystery knit, I want to say some kind of jersey, cotton or rayon or a blend of them. I bought it at the thrift store years ago, which is why I didn't do a two-tone dress.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

Fit adjustments

Widen skirt at hip through hem by adding width and waist dart front and back (back already had 2 darts I made one bigger, front had zero, added one)
Lots of pooling in small of back, also gapping at back neckline so took in entire center back seam for 1" reduction
Took up hem about 2"
Took in shoulder line inner and outer, neckline now looks like boat neck, also offset the straps to modify gapping at front neck
Took in excess gapping at armhole front and back by moving inset seams toward bodice
Style and construction adjustments
Didn't use contrast panels
Used a knit rather than recommended woven
Using a stretchy knit meant I could remove the zipper altogether
Using a knit and the zillion armscye modifications meant the facings weren't worth it, so I used a bias facing technique.
I used a bit of ribbon and a plain straight stitch to stabilize the shoulder seams.
Also added lingerie keeper straps after these photos were taken!

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Now that I've made all these changes, I would 100% make this again (with more fit adjustments like to neckline width front, neckline gaping in the back, raise the armhole depth, lower the bust point, and preferably eliminate the front skirt darts I added. I do want a slip, though, because knits cling against tights, for sure.

Pattern review agrees, this dress is worth it!
dress with leather jacket

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Jeans Butterick 5403 checking in...

I've been working on jeans for several days. I cut a 3X muslin and tried it on and it was ridiculous. I took 2 inches out of the front and back crotch length, I took another 1.5 inch height  off of the yoke, then I started working on the waist. I took several inches in on the waist tapering down to the hip. At that point I decided to cut another muslin. I modified the pattern to more or less duplicate what I'd done to the muslin. I added two inches to the inseam, to make it my length of 30 inches. I'm cutting the second muslin right now. On the legs I managed to cut the back but the front I didn't have enough muslin fabric length! So I'm patching some more fabric so I can cut the full leg. Next I'm going to cut the yoke. Hopefully by the end of the day I will've been able to try this muslin on.

 Denim fabric
I'm not sure which is more exciting, having custom fit jeans or this awesome denim I snapped up at a Joanns sale. If I recall correctly, it is made in USA (I wouldn't have bought it if it was a shitty import). It's cotton, and non-stretch.

Look at this ridiculous yoke, so tall. Wish I saw this picture before I started. Also ridic for a jeans pattern? No fly shield, no coin pocket. Butterick no longer offers a plus size jeans pattern.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Chiffon blouse: What a journey!

Well I made the last few stitches today and now it's hanging on my wall :)
Of course it's not really done until I've worn it... And I will take pictures when I do.
My overall impression of this experience has been that this is an easy pattern, chiffon isn't hard to work with if you have plenty of tricks, and I still really love this fabric.
I very much like having stripe matched as much as I did.
The hardest thing was finding a usable hem finish. My machine roller foot would just not work with chiffon. Too squirrelly. I ended up doing a hand rolled hem.
The most annoying part was when I found a bright pink stain on the bust piece!
I had to recut the piece. I did have plenty of yardage left over so it was more irritating than anything. Here you see the piece is wrinkled because it's wet. While working on this garment I kept it flat and starched.
Speaking of washing, after I cut I realized I had never washed the fabric. Usually I was right after I buy but this fabric just got bagged and then ignored for a year. I believe in washing before cutting.

Well I've run out of things to say so until next time...

Monday, February 8, 2016

Chiffon blouse: Sewing progress

The bodice is complete and here I have basted it to the skirty part. Do you like my stripe matching at center front? Eh pretty good?!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Let's make a blouse!

At some point last year I was shopping with my mum in Santa Barbara. We went to Fine Fabrics on State St. and picked up an amazing length of snake print silk chiffon in white and teal. I knew I wanted to make a sexy, floaty top with it. The owner helped me eyeball how much to get and I ended up with 2.75 yd because she cuts generously.
You know how it goes. The fabric sat around for a year while I was busy with other things. And so 2015 was the year I did no sewing. Well 2016 is upon us and my obligations have mostly cleared up. The chiffon started calling to me.
I contemplated for literally weeks before I decided on the kind of top I wanted. I knew I wanted maximum floatiness. I considered how it looked over white versus black, and black won hands down.
Print over white is ethereal

Print over black is vivid

 I considered getting silk charmeuse (satin) or silk crepe to underline. I looked at pictures of slips and chemises from the 1920s to the present. I rejected bias cut because of the stripe found in the snake print. I considered drafting something myself. I considered various kinds of darts.
Then it came to me. I had a sleeveless blouse pattern, that I'd used before, that would probably work with a woven.
Fabric is striped

Saturday, December 13, 2014

More Baby Clothes


Just did the onesie on the left

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Blue Silk Blouse

Windy day
Lovely Blue Silk. I love natural fibers!
I wear a lot of separates, so for my latest project I decided to make a blouse. I recently finished the skirt in Simplicity 3688 and a while back I did the pants. Obviously I was happy with the 1940s style, so I decided to go ahead and do the blouse.
When I saw this blue silk at the fabric store, I was blown away by the vivid blue color. The blue did lose a bit of punch after I washed it, but I didn't let that stop me from forging ahead. This is a lining silk, so crinkles quite a bit, like parachute jumpsuits of way back when.
I did make a few adjustments to this pattern. I changed the neckline to be faced, added shaping to the back, took in the shoulder point a little, redrew the sleeve to be larger, took up the hem, and took up the sleeve for lack of fabric.
Now that I see the pictures of it on, I know I still need to work on some fit concerns. I will definitely make this blouse again. It's much easier to perfect the fit when reusing a pattern. Furthermore, this pattern is great for plain colors, which I wear often.
I took these pictures around Chico. The earrings, bracelet and broach (on chain) are Swarovski, and the jeans are NYDJ. The plain neck of this blouse is great for jewelry, no? 

Sleeves are just below elbow length

I added shaping to the back

Thursday, January 16, 2014

First step is to always MEASURE!

I have made a PDF MEASURING CHART that can be filled out or printed.

By garment type:
  • For dresses, measure 1 through 14 and A, B, C.
  • Skirts would be 2 through 6, and 12.
  • For sleeves, include 15 through 20 and D, E.
  • For pants: 2 through 6, 12, 21 through 24, all Fs, and G.
  • H is just for jumpsuits.
Or keep it easy and measure them all!

Use the space on the bottom to add relevant sizing information, for example: is perfect size 6 pant at Banana Republic; left shoulder higher; gave birth 12/2013. Weight if you find size and weight shift together. (None of these things are true about me.)

Monday, December 30, 2013

Websites for Parents

Over a series of classes I've had to come up with good internet resources for parents (parents-to-be, guardians, etc). It's a lot of work to go to waste, and these links should actually be helpful. (If you are a professional dealing with parents regularly, you might need a list like this yourself.) Check it out.


  • Baby-Safe Safely surrender your newborn baby anonymously
  • Mother to Baby Fact sheets on in-utero exposures for parents-to-be
  • March of Dimes Non-profit seeks to educate for healthy pregnancies
  • Glowing Glow is a free fertility app






Butte County / North State / California

Friday, December 13, 2013

Simplicity 1947 Suedesays Men's Corduroy Jacket

View of Cascade range as seen from tracks in Durham, CA

It was in summer when I got the pattern and fabric for Simplicity 1947, a men's casual jacket with a bit of a 50s edge. I am making this for my partner Mike. Upon consult we are omitting the horizontal topstitching details, the waist tabs, and the hood. I have chosen a grey corduroy for the jacket and a checkered shirting in white and blue for the pockets; I will also use it for bias binding the seam edges.
I fabricated this garment in November. It took about one week for preliminaries (layout, cutting, marking), two weeks for construction (stitching and seam finishing), and about one more week for finishing (final topstitching, hand stitching).
There was a rough patch where the sleeves were too long. I cut them off, shortened the sleeve, and applied new cuffs (yes both of them ugh).
Waiting until a garment is complete to check the fit often results in extra work, especially if you have to rip out finished seams to correct the fit. It's very important to try on your garment at certain points during construction to check the fit and refine it. Pin-fitting along the way is easy to do and can save a lot of time in the end. -Mary Ray, Threads Magazine  "10 Better Sewing Habits" 
 Lesson Learned.
The day Mike opened up his holiday gift he wore it. The fit is good. I am happy with the hand of the cloth. Time will tell whether the seam finishes hold up in the wash.

My Review on PatternReview
This project took me the most amount of time of any garment so far. Overall I like the pattern, the fit is good, the styling is neat.
I made this as a holiday gift for my partner Mike. I made him a size L; he's a 40R. I made this using cotton corduroy; for the pockets and seam finishes I used cotton shirting. I used a denim needle. For hand stitching, I used a thimble.
For this jacket we chose to do view B and omit the horizontal topstitching, the tabs at the waist, and the hood.
The first regret is using corduroy and cutting it with shears. There's a lot of cutting and corduroy is TOUGH like denim. I complained so much afterwards about my hand and forearm that Mike bought me a rotary cutter and mat for the holidays. If you have to use shears on bottom-weight corduroy then DEFINITELY do your cutting over a couple of days.
The second regret is my choice of seam finish. I honestly think I did it wrong, for starters - I applied bias strips it like binding on a neck edge, rather than a 'hong-kong finish' where the back side is ironed out so it catches much more easily. OOPS. After the garment was washed I went back and restitched the bias strips by hand for maybe an hour.
My third regret is not checking the sleeve length. The jacket hangs off the shoulders in an unusual way, so I didn't thinking testing the sleeve against an existing garment would work. There's a lot of pattern pieces, so there was no way I'd make a muslin/test garment. I just dove right in and never made Mike do a test fit... until the cuffs were on AND topstitched. The sleeves were two or three inches too long: OOPS. I chopped them off, shortened the sleeves and took them in, and made new cuffs. It looks OK now. This particular error is also my own fault.
My fourth and final regret is the sloppy job of easing the lower edge to the waistband. It's not something other people would notice (I hope!) but once it was all pressed and I looked at it, I saw my error. This was the last step and by this point I was just over it, so the uneven easing stays.
The other parts of the jacket I had trouble with include getting the points on the collar and collar band to match (this may be the fault of the corduroy being such a wide wale). I had some trouble with getting even topstitches, but there's SO MUCH that by the end I was more comfortable. I also had trouble visualizing the construction steps of the flange - I ended up doing seam finishes on parts that were completely enclosed.
In the end, I think it's a nifty-looking garment and I wish I got to see it on Mike more.
I like the look of the corduroy and the construction details: the topstitching (I used the heavy buttonhole thread), hand buttonholes, even the flashy check lining fabric. I love the flange design and the exposed zipper with the big collar.
I didn't have any more trouble than usual with the instructions - I grade them a B. I look forward to doing the matching SuedeSays trousers.