Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Patrones Blusa

The Palmer Pletsch fitting class was interesting. It was held at All Brands Sew &Vac Center, the local Baby Lock, Pfaff dealer. A woman that lives near Richmond taught it. She had just returned from Oregon, newly re-certified as a Palmer Pletsch instructor. We did all the steps described in the book Fit for Real People (FFRP). She measured our high bust and full bust and told us which size of the McCalls 2718 fitting shell pattern to use. She measured very snugly and put me in a size 14 B cup. I normally use a size 16 pattern for tops .We cut out the pattern, reinforced the seam lines with clear tape, and clipped the seam allowances. Next we pinned in the darts and fitting folds, pinned the front to the back and put on the pattern for our first fitting by the instructor. My back fit fine, but the center front had a gap of 1.5 inches, so she had me do a Y seam full bust alteration. I have never done a full bust alteration. It was an interesting exercise, and it worked. I got the extra fabric in the front that I needed to make it fit well. The instructor did many of the same fitting tweaks I do myself, so that made me feel more confident about what I do on my own. After the class,I took the altered pattern home, and put it on my dress form to check that the form was still a reasonable facsimile of me. The pattern fit well and doing this helped reinforce the fitting processes that were demonstrated in the class. I also learned a great deal by watching her fit the other 5 women in the class. I realize now that the purpose of the class is to teach fitting skills that can be used on other patterns. A fabric shell made from the altered pattern is skin tight. It has no wearing ease. The class did not address how to use the fitting shell when making garments from other patterns. I need to check the book to see if it addresses this.

In continuing my preparation and research for my ASG presentation about using international pattern magazines, I decided to make a pattern from Patrones, a Spanish language pattern magazine. Some of the things I discovered from the experience: I miss having directions. 2. Online language translation sites do not work great for sewing instructions, and 3. I do not wear the same size in a Patrones pattern as I do in Burda pattern. I picked Chanel blouse, # 27 from issue 267 . It is sleeveless, with diagonal tucks over the bust, a divided collar and back princess lines. I had skipped right over the photograph, but the line drawing caught my eye. My original thought was Hmm, interesting use of tucks, not the typical horizontal or vertical tucks ones sees on blouses. My next thought was " tucks over the bust, what if they stick out like a louvered window?" That is when I went back to the photo for a longer look. It didn’t seem to be a problem on the stick person/model used in the photo. I wasn’t sure how well this would work, but I was intrigued. I used a soft cotton, very similar in feel and weight to fabric sold as "pima" cotton. It came from a table of odds and ends at Hancock. The design and fabric worked surprising well together. The tucks are on the bias so they go over curved surfaces without sticking out. Shaping is also provided by a small dart, really a repositioning of a tuck on the armhole edge, that creates an un-sewn dart underneath the other tucks. And the bottom most tuck is only caught at the ends, which makes it sort of like an accordion pleat, able to expand and contract.

I found that I like to have sewing directions, especially on styles I am not familiar with. I had questions about an odd shaped pattern piece I didn’t recognize, what kind of closure to use, and how to finish the armholes. I actually typed up the Spanish directions from the magazine and ran them through Google Translate. It really didn’t help much, except to tell me that there was a back zipper closure. I also tried to used the Spanish to English Glossary insert that was in my copy of the magazine, and my son’s Spanish dictionary. There were still some key words I couldn’t translate from any source. (lorzas and costadillo). Without directions, my sewing slows down. I have to think through every step, considering different techniques and their pros and cons. For example, on this blouse I think you were supposed to use facings on the sleeves, A facing shaped piece was shown on the layout drawing. But there was no information on how to finish the neck edge after applying the collar. I ended up using self-fabric bias strips to finish the armholes and inside neck edge and it worked well. The only alterations I made were to cut the collar height down by .75". It looked oversize when I did the first pin fit. I also enlarged the neck opening, and adjusted the collar length for the bigger opening. Based on the measurements in the magazine, I thought I would be a size 44. The patterns are in sizes 38,42,46. I think the instruction said for a size 44 cut between the size 42 and 46 lines. I also checked the measurements of the pattern pieces. I cut out the size 46 thinking it would probably be slightly big, but that I could always take it in. Hmm, the fit is rather snug. Not uncomfortable, but not how I usually wear my tops. DH liked it, which is also an indication it is rather formfitting. Next challenge… Mrs. Stylebook.
Answers to questions in recent comments:

Linda. I can ask the Palmer Pletsch instructor if she travels to teach classes. I believe she does. Also I would be glad to share the meeting topics from our fashion focused ASG neighborhood group, if you need ideas.

Kathy, Yes, I think Burda Jacket 104 could be made with a zipper inserted in the front seam. That is actually what I plan to do. The unfinished jacket and zipper are hanging in my sewing room.
Debbie, Yep, I have a built in triple stitch, in the 4 Way and 8 Way stitches. Busted on the "Have you read your machine's user guide? question.


  1. Audrey, the top turned out great. It fits perfect and is very flattering! Good color for you too.

  2. I agree, it's beautiful! I remember once a few years back at my quilting guild, Judy Murrah (a member) had a friend (her editor) come do a fitting class using P/P...it was amazing how much better I felt about how I tweaked patterns after the class!

  3. Super cute blouse! The fit is great. I bought this issue of Patrones because of this pattern - it's the only way I'll ever be able to own Chanel apparel!

  4. Beautiful top! It doesn't look snug at all, and is very flattering.

    I've found the same sort of frustrations with non-English pattern magazines. I don't need step-by-step instructions, but there are little things about the pattern that I wish I could translate.

  5. Your top turned out very pretty! Makes me want to start searching for that issue of Patrones!!! Mary

  6. That is a beautiful blouse and the color looks great on you. The fit looks good to me too.

  7. That top is very flattering on you. Lovely work.
    Have you checked Paco's site for translations? He posted a whole slew of translations of sewing terms, but I'm not sure if they're Spanish/English or Portuguese/English.

  8. found it!
    Here's the url (it's Spanish/English): http://pacoperaltarovira.blogspot.com/2008/05/diccionario.html
    Unfortunately I didn't find either of those terms, sorry.

  9. Hi Audrey, and thanks for your beautiful compliment on my June Capsule Collection. Can I say, your choice of projects are great!! and green looks great on you. I'm drooling over the green topstitched jacket... totally love it. I'm such a fan of Palmer/Pletsch and have several of their DvDs, which have and continue to help me tremenously with learning to sew.

  10. I LOVE this! The detail is modern and yet feminine. It looks marvelous on you.

  11. This blouse is beautiful and so flattering. The color and design are just great on you.

  12. I'm pretty sure "costadillos" are princess seams.
    "Lorzas" are pintucks.

    Hope that helps!

  13. I am new to your blog and am looking at your older posts. Just wanted to let you know that you look fantastic in the blouse. It is beautifully made and beautiful on you. I found it esp interesting that the bias fabric made the pin tucks work without sticking out. Ingenious. I, too, often wear things larger because I am self conscious of my post baby tummy, but seeing this blouse on you inspires me to think out of the box going forward.

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