Monday, July 30, 2012

Hit and Miss

My two latest sewn pieces, made to be worn together, are a hit and a miss.  I love the pants and they are a versatile addition to my wardrobe. As for the top, I am not feeling the love.

I am always sewing a new pants pattern  hoping it will be the one that makes me look like I envision myself in pants; slim hipped, flat tummy, curvy butt. Reality is the exact opposite; wide hips, curved tummy and flat butt. There are ways to create the illusion with seaming and style details, but I am still trying to find that magic combination.

I wanted a slim fitting pair of bright blue pants, inspired by pictures of Peter Wu and Carole's lovely version.

PeterWu Pants

When I make slim legged pants, the issue I have is the sudden transition of my wide hips to skinny long legs. My  eye always settles on the widest expanse of fabric, right across my hips. So I thought vertical lines through that area might break it up. The pattern I decided to test this time was from the Italian pattern magazine, La Mia Boutique, Dec 2011.

La Mia Boutique Pant 1237

The pant pattern, # 1237, is designed to be made with a stretch fabric. There are top stitched creases on the center of the front and back legs. I did make a muslin and the fit of the lower crotch and legs was great. But the crotch was too short by 2 inches in both back and front. That is not surprising given my height.  I remember feeling like a giant in the land of smaller people, while in Italy during the 2006 winter Olympics. And there was too much darting in the waist and hip area. So I took the easy way out and morphed the legs of the La Mia Boutique pants on to my trouser sloper starting at the crotch line. It looked something like this.

The sewn crease can be done on any pair of pants.  Fold the front along the straight of grain at the midpoint of the leg.  Use the bottom of the pant leg to determine the center of the leg. Sew close to fold line the length of the pant leg.  A edge stitch presser foot, which rides along the folded edge of the fabric, makes it easy to maintain straight stitching along the fold. 
Top stitched Crease
La Mia Boutique pants
The latest issue of Burda Style magazine features this sewn crease on a pair of pants, and also  a pair of bright blue slim cut pants with a seam in the center front and back leg. A similar look to my pants.
BurdaStyle 8 2012 129
Ah, the coordinating top.   I like graphic prints and I like border prints. I found a fabric that combined both. I chose a simple pattern to highlight the print. The pattern is a 1970’s loose fitting top with gathering at the shoulder controlled by a drawstring. 

Butterick 6037
Butterick 6037 blouse

I am going to have to be in the right mood to wear this top. I like the loose silhouette, but the print is a bit bold and bright.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Purple on my Curple

It has been very hot where I live. When it is hot outside, I stay in and sew. Except for running outside to move the soaker hoses in my flower beds every few hours. My recent sewing projects were a couple of cool, cotton blouses and a hot colored jacket. One of the blouses was a pretty floral print with lots of purples in it. I made a short sleeved version of McCalls pattern 3799. A pattern I picked off the donation table at the sewing guild meeting.
McCalls 3799
The colors in this blouse prompted me to go "shopping from my stash". I found a coordinating linen fabric. It was really old, so I washed it several times to see if it would lose color or fall apart. There was no color loss and surprisingly few wrinkles.  The jacket pattern I chose was from the Spring/Summer 2012 issue of My Image pattern magazine.

 I have several issues of the magazine and have purchased patterns in envelopes from the web site My Image but never made any until now. I liked the style lines of this jacket, but was turned off by the ill fit of both jackets shown in the magazine as well as the line drawing, which made it look blocky and unfitted.

I wanted a pattern for a V neck jacket and I kept coming back to this one. For some reason I am really attracted to jackets with faced inserts in a open neckline, that suggest a collar shape.  Here are some similar necklines in my inspiration file.

When I was tracing the pattern, I was happy to find shaping in the pattern pieces. This prompted me to go to the next step, which was to compare the pattern to my sloper and measure the pieces to determine the wearing ease built into the pattern. From the My Image Help page. "Do not compare your measured sizes with the pattern, but with the size charts. The patterns are made with some extra, depending at the model." I traced a size 44, bust 40.6 in, waist 33.1 in, hip 42.9 in. As a comparison, a Burda size 44 is Bust 39.25, waist 32.25, Hip 41.75. My measurements match Burda's.   I remembered  hearing in the Simplicity pattern company tour that some pattern lines use a bigger block with less ease for a given size (New Look versus Simplicity) and wondered if that was the situation with My Image.  To determine wearing ease in the finished garment, I measured the pattern pieces at the bust, waist and hips, and compared those measurements to the body measurements for that size. Ideally, the pattern measurements should be several inches larger than my body measurements. There was minimal ease built into this pattern.  Only half to 3/4 inch over the bust, waist and hip measurements. Yikes, not enough for me! I swell that much on a good day. I like 2 to 4 inches of wearing ease for jackets, so they can be worn comfortably over blouses. So I add some extra width to the pattern pieces when I cut them out. I also traced a My Image  pants pattern and it had the same minimal ease.  I suspect this is the norm for this pattern company.

The pattern pieces were easy to find on the insert, and trace. My only complaints were that the grain lines and fold lines are labeled in Dutch, not French or English. And the waist was not marked. I always compare my sloper to a pattern because I have a long back and shoulder differences. The waist and shoulder neck point (SNP) are key to this process. The SNP was hard to find because of the wide open neck line. The waist I had to infer from the curves in the side seams. The English sewing instructions are not wonderful. It appears they were translated  from the another  language using an on line translation program. Seams extrude rather than extend. We are told to cut off the seams unevenly. Hey, that is what my serger does when the cutting blades are dull! There were spelling errors.  Tokes instead of yokes. Hmm, maybe tokes is the cause of the translation issues. Sorry, I couldn't resist that one. Writing directions is hard in any language, but then to translate them... I do have sympathy.

The pattern draft was excellent. All seam lines matched up perfectly and I enjoyed putting the jacket together. I did not do all the top stitching recommended and I left off the pockets. Things I did that were not in the instructions; put a pleat in the back lining instead of the seam, and added 3/4 extra length to the lining pieces to provide ease of movement.

My Image 1211

My Image 1211 back

BTW - curple refers to 1) the small of the waist before the flare of the hips or 2) a derriere, rump or behind.