Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Pattern Morph Part 2

I was attempting go from the blouse with set in sleeves in the top drawing to the T shirt in the bottom of the drawing.

Changes I made to Pattern Front

1.Discarded front yoke piece
2. Smooth out lower armhole
3. Remove facing and added 5/8 " SA (seam allowance) to center front
4. Used raglan sleeve pattern from another pattern

Changes I made to Pattern Back

1. Added seam with 5/8" SA to center back
2. Divided back neckline in 6 equal parts
3. Redrew top of center back and side back sections to correspond with markings, This created seam lines radiating from neckline similar to front.
4. Used raglan sleeve pattern from another pattern. Required some changes to back sleeve seam for my unique body shape

After cutting out the fabric, I sewed the garment together using machine basting stitches. It was late and I was tired. I inadvertently sewed the sleeves on backward. The fit was horrible, It took several minute for panic to subside, and logical brain functions to resume. I restitched the sleeves in correctly. The fit was fine, so I resewed all seams using shorter stitch length, except the side seams, which I left open so the garment could be laid relatively flat for coverstitching. All seams were pressed open
I made a template for the openings from the swim suit pattern. I laid the template on each of the five seams on the front, aligning the center of the opening with the seam line. I marked the shape with wash away pen.
I cut out the middle of the shape, leaving 3/8" of fabric beyond marked line to turn under.
I turned under the 3/8" and hand basted, being careful not to stretch.
The seam was top stitched on both sides with a narrow 3 thread cover stitch, using variegated thread (Maxilock Swirls Polyester). The cover stitch was sewn so the chain stitches were to the outside and the double line of stitching was to the inside. I had a horrible time sewing the cover stitch around the openings because they were hidden under the pressure foot and tended to wrinkle and bunch up. I tried ironing a large piece of dissolvable stabilizer to the wrong side of the front, under the openings. But any time I moved the fabric, it came unstuck. So I hand basted the openings to a large piece of wash away stabilizer. This kept the edges of the openings from stretching. My coverstitch machine has a large pressure foot that starts behind the needles and extends to an inch in front of them, effectively blocking the view of the fabric any where near the needles. After many attempts, I learned to visualize the needle location to the edge of the opening, under the pressure foot. I also learned how to remove three-thread cover stitch quickly (pull on all three threads at the same time at the same rate). I believe I did each of the seams with an opening, at least three times. The armhole and back seams caused no problems.
The neck was finished with a simple band attached to the wrong side, wrapped to the front, turned under and top stitched. Sleeve and garment hems were done with matching white thread
In hindsight I think I would use one of these alternate methods to stabilizing the cutout openings
1. Steam a Seam to hold the hem under and prevent stretching.
2. Face opening with silk organza or similar sheer strong fabric, It would be held in place to the wrong side with the coverstitching.

Not everyone has a cover stitch machine, and believe me when I was having all my difficulties, I was also thinking of alternate techniques for top stitching the cutouts and seams. These included decorative stitches on my regular sewing machine using the variegated thread, decorative stitching over coordinating 1/8 ribbon, or couching decorative yarns or narrow bias strips cut from coordinating printed fabric.
This is the one of the few times I have made significant design changes to a pattern. I think what gives me the greatest satisfaction is that despite a lot of frustrations, I just kept plugging away, trying different things. until the problems were resolved. I now feel more confident attempting other sewing challenges.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Pattern Morph

Pictures of all the SWAPs are up at the Timmel Fabric site. Check them out. They are all wonderful!

One of the tops in my SWAP is a knit T-shirt with raglan sleeves. The pattern I listed as using to make it is a blouse pattern with set in sleeves. I thought I would explain how the blouse morphed to the T shirt. I learned a lot from the process. I purchased white cotton lycra knit fabric from Timmel Fabrics to use for my SWAP. But I had the hardest time coming up with what to make from it. After looking through web sites at T-shirts for inspiration, I found one on XOOP,

It was a raglan sleeve T shirt, with cutouts on the seam lines of the sleeves. This triggered memories of a favorite bathing suit pattern with similar cutouts on seams radiating from the neckline,Stretch and Sew 1383.(doesn’t the model in the drawing look like Princess Diana?)
The swimsuit had smaller, more esthetically pleasing, cutout shapes. And there were three of them. Thinking about seam lines radiating from necklines, I remembered Vogue 8476, the blouse pattern I made recently. It had 5 seam lines radiating from the neck. I thought the use of small cutouts on 5 seams would be an interesting effect. Though this blouse had set in sleeves, the bottom edge of the yoke in the front seemed to be located where a raglan sleeve seam would be. The blouse had a fairly close fit so I reasoned that if I made it in the knit fabric, and took generous seams, it would fit like a T shirt. I originally tried to draft a raglan sleeve pattern using the instruction on page 128 of Dorothy Moore’s Pattern Drafting and Dressmaking Book. But since I was using a pattern with build in ease rather than a sloper made from my measurements , the resulting pattern was goofy looking.

I did learn from the formulas in Moore’s book, that the front neckline is divided into 6 equal sections, with the sleeve seam starting 1/6th of the front neckline length from the shoulder. The yoke seam on the blouse pattern was exactly where a raglan sleeve seam would be located.
Since the pattern drafting did not go well, I went looking for a existing raglan sleeve pattern I could use. I had a New Look, raglan sleeve, turtle neck pattern in my stash. The pattern for the sleeve proved to be a very close to what I needed on the blouse. I pinned the blouse pattern bodice on my dress form and also the sleeve pattern. The front fit perfectly, On the back there were gaps between the bodice and the sleeve, so I added about an inch to the back sleeve piece. Part of this was probably needed to accommodate my prominent shoulder blades and forward shoulders. My next post will describe how I created the cutouts and used a cover stitch to emphasize the seams.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

2008 SWAP Completed!

Yeah! My SWAP is done. The photos have been taken and submitted to Julie. I had to leave the photo taking until Friday, the last day to submit them, because of bad weather and lack of photographers. I realized I was living dangerously. Technology can fail at the most inopportune times and I was relying on my digital camera, computers and Internet access to work. Fortunately Friday was a gorgeous day for taking pictures, and everything went well. I am looking forward to seeing all the other SWAP's at Julie's Site The colors of my SWAP were gray, white, Caribbean blue and teal,. They came from a boucle tweed fabric that I did not use in the SWAP. I called it "Blue Skies will be Gray, Un-Teal I see you again." which reminds me of some of the goofy song titles of the music from the 40's and 50's, that my father enjoys playing, and his "punny" sense of humor. The blues were very hard to photograph accurately. Below is a picture of the 10 sewn garments and the patterns used to make them. One pair of pants was purchased, because the previously sewn Sandra Betzina pants I had planned to use didn't fit. More pictures can be seen in my SWAP Flicker album. The link is on the right hand side of the page. Today I plan to clean up my sewing room. And spend time in the yard weeding the flower beds and enjoying the scent of the wallflowers and lilies of the valley, and the sight of the pink azaleas blooming underneath the pink dogwood trees, flowering cherry trees and Chinese Fringe bushes.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Last Lap

This is going to be a short post. There are five more days to sew for the 2008 SWAP. I will make the deadline. On Wed. evening I finally made a decision on the pattern for my SWAP jacket. It is Vogue 2919, an Anne Klein design. I have been sewing all weekend and right now I am pretty tired. But the jacket is complete except for some top stitching and two hook closures. And I whipped up a easy knit top using a older New Look pattern, 6779. I have one other top cut out and partially sewn. I need to think about how I am going to get the garments photographed this coming weekend. What enticing bribes I can use get assistance from my three resident photographers? For the oldest son, a promise to take him out driving. He got his learners permit this weekend. Youngest son is easy, homemade chocolate chip cookies, DH, mmm I have to think about that one.