Thursday, April 30, 2009

SWAP Diary April 30th, 2009 Done!

Yikes, it has been almost a month since I last posted! April has flown by.

We had a lovely vacation in Barbados, We rented this house, complete with pool and a car, in Holetown. It was a block from the beach. My husband found it while doing Internet searches for rental villas. It had rave reviews from previous renters and they were accurate.

It was a lovely base to explore the island. The beaches are very different depending on what side of the island they are on. My sons preferred the waves of this Atlantic side beach, to the tranquil scenic and tourist populated Caribbean Sea beaches.

We were the only people at this beach and the waves were quite strong. I sat on the sand admiring the view and at the same time praying I did not have to use my rusty lifesaving skills.

We toured caves, watched monkeys swinging through the trees, went sailing, swam with enormous sea turtles, and ate a lot of fresh fish. We ate in a couple of nights and I cooked some of the unfamiliar fruits and vegetables, like christophenes, and breadfruit ,we found in the local grocery store. I downloaded recipes off the Internet (the rental house had a computer with high speed access). I especially enjoyed that.

Barbados is one of few Caribbean islands, of the 17 or so I have visited, that has fabric stores. I had hoped to visit the stores and write about my visit. Unfortunately with the limited time, and being the only vote for "fabric shopping", I wasn’t able to visit any of them.

I returned from the beautiful tropical weather, and the bright colors of the houses and flowers, to the task of finishing up the jacket for my SWAP. A jacket made of brown wool. It was a bit of a chore. I so wanted to be sewing summer clothes in bright colors and light fabrics. But I got it done. The instructions are in the Dec 08 issues of Lady Boutique magazine.

.The jacket style is a slight variation of the jacket wearable muslin I made earlier. The same collar, which goes with the tops beautifully, but more fitted, with a piped sewn on belt. I also added piping to the front edge. I originally made the piping out of a weathered leather look vinyl, but the belt with the vinyl piping proved to be so heavy, it affected the hang of the jacket. I made more piping of brown silk dupiani. It worked much better. The jacket fits fine and coordinates with all the other garments in my SWAP. Now I have to take pictures. The clothes in my SWAP are winter clothes. Last weekend, which would have been a great time to take pictures, the temperatures were in the low 90’s. I have a tentative agreement to pay my teenage sons to take photos of me wearing the garments in locations or doing activities where I would wear them in a typical week. But I didn’t want be red faced and "hot and bothered" in the outside pictures. So I pushed my luck and put off the photography sessions, hoping for some cooler days before the submission deadline. Looks like my luck is good, as it is in the 60's today. I hope the cooler weather will continue tomorrow, which I have off for the company "Derby Day" holiday. A tradition left over from the time the company I work for had a plant in Louisville, Kentucky. Rather than deal will high absenteeism, and on the job intoxication the Friday before the Kentucky Derby race, they closed the whole plant. The Louisville plant is long gone, but hurray for traditions!

Friday, April 3, 2009

SWAP Diary April 3rd

I finally finished the next item in my SWAP. A pair of brown denim jeans. In preparation for drafting a jeans pattern, I did a lot of reading and research which included the following;

1. Measured favorite well fitting jeans.

2. Studied the instructions for drafting jeans in various pattern drafting sources to see how patterns are drafted for different shapes. These included;
Weekend Designer Jean Draft
Metric Pattern Drafting for women’s wear, by Winifred Aldrich.

3. Took my own personal hip and waist circumference measurements in front and back segments, not just full circumferences. Anna Zapp describes this in her book “The Zapp Method of Couture Sewing” and sewing instructor Cynthia Guffey also demos this in her pants fitting classes. But Cynthia advocates takes measurements every two inches from waist to hip. From this I learned I need more fabric in the front at 2 inches below my waist for my tummy, and then back equals front until 8 inches down from waist when the back need more fabric because of my butt. This is shown below on a dress form. Put a piece of tape on both sides from waist to hip. Mark 2 inch increments.on the tape starting at waist. Measure from centerline of tape on one side to centerline of tape on the other side, on both back and front at each 2 inch increment.

4. Turned a few pairs of well fitted RTW pants inside out, with one leg inside the other, so I could look at the shape of the crotch seam as well as the amount of space between the center back and front seams.

5. Re-read Threads magazine articles "Making Jeans that Fit" (Mar 2004) and" Design Your Own Jeans" (May 2008), The lengthy answer to a Fitting column question about crotch length in the March issue was very helpful too.

I made a muslin of the pattern out of a red and tan checked fabric so I would have woven vertical and horizontal lines in my muslin. They looked like clown pants. During one fitting session, DH happened to see them and asked diplomatically "Where are you going to wear those pants? I assured him they were not going to be worn in public. My personal shape is a low flat butt, high rounded tummy, and no leg curvature below the widest part of hip. Many RTW pants, and especially McCalls and Butterick patterns, which fit in the waist, have too much fabric in the butt and outer thigh. Sure enough the muslin had excess fabric in the outer thighs, and at the top back center seam. There were issues in the crotch area and I ended up adding 3/4 inch to the front and back crotch length at the crotch point. On all the LB pants pattern drafts, the center line of the pant leg is equal distance from the crotch point and the side, and it is used as a reference for all dart and styling detail. So I also had to re balance the leg patterns around the new center line and redraw the darts and pockets. I really need to draft only the basic shape and fit it, before drafting style details. It would save me a lot of time and effort.

The finished jeans fit okay. I think they need some tweaking; scoop out the front crotch to address the wrinkles there and remove even more excess fabric in the back side legs. They are a little long in the crotch, but I can’t change that easily with all the top stitched yokes near the waist. I may slim down the legs even more.

But all this will have to wait for a couple weeks, until after we return from our spring break trip to Barbados. Right now, I need to find out if my bathing suits still fit, check the expiration date on the sun block lotions left over from last year, sort through the snorkeling gear,…….later guys!