Tuesday, January 27, 2009

SWAP Diary Jan 27 2009

Blouse 2 - Pleated Back Collar.

This pattern uses the Lady Boutique rounded bottom sloper as the basis for the drafting instructions. I had previously drafted this sloper to my personal measurements.

I drafted the blouse pattern pieces using the diagrams in the magazine. I shortened the shoulders by 1.5 cm. and raised the armholes 2 cm. on this blouse too. I see a trend here with LB drafting instructions ….. Either I will have to do this for every pattern I draft from this magazine or working backwards I can adjust my personal sloper to factor in the assumtions that there will be an armhole enlargement in all drafting instructions.

I was still not feeling confident enough to skip a muslin. This one was made in a cotton blend. A tie dye print with multicolored couched threads on top. It was one of those fabrics that I bought because I thought the color and texture was interesting up-close. I really need to remember to step back and view fabric from a distance, like it would be seen by someone else if it were a garment on a body. After I got the fabric home, it turned into one of those “what was I thinking” fabrics

When I tried on the completed muslin I got a bit of a surprise. With all my measuring, it hadn’t occurred to me to make sure the sleeve cuffs, formed by sewn pleats, would fit over my hands. They didn’t.

So the pleats are a little skimpy on the muslin and the appropriate changes were made to the sleeve pattern. Once I could get the muslin on, I was pleased to find that the neckline fit well. The neckline worried me the most going into this project.

The fit in the torso was loose. I had envisioned a semi fitted over blouse because the fabric I planned to use was a stiffer silk dupianni.

So to get the shape I wanted, I shorten the bodice pattern pieces by 2 inches to end at the high hip, and deepened the darts in the waist area extending them down to the hip to get a smoother look. Since the dart now took up fabric at the hip area, I had to add the same amount to the side seam. I took out about 2 inches in the bust area at the side seam. And because I did not want to change the arm hole shape (requires redrafting the sleeves) I pivoted the arm hole from the shoulder point to match the new side seam. (A technique found in Nancy Zeiman’s Busy Woman’s Fitting Book) I also added a center back seam for more shaping and faced the hem edge instead of using a turned hem as suggested. I am not a neat pattern drafter/modifier. When I got done with all these changes, I had so many different lines and bits of tissue paper taped to the original pattern, it is a real mess. I have to work on being neater.

The blouse turned out just as I envisioned.

The fabric is a rather light weight silk dupiani print purchased back in 2005 from www.fabricmartfabrics.com according to my Stash Inventory database. Because of the weight of the fabric, I decided to line the bodice with camel colored Bemberg rayon to prevent wrinkles and reduce stress on the seams.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

SWAP Diary Jan 14 2009

I decided to start with a simple blouse for my first SWAP drafting attempt. It is semi fitted with front and back vertical darts, a stand collar, and long sleeves with cuffs.

There are several different ways the patterns are presented in Lady Boutique (LB) magazine.
1. Instructions that specify the pattern measurements for each size
2. Pre printed patterns in limited sizes on a tear out insert
3. Drafting instruction which give dimensions for style details (collars, sleeve type, darts, pleats, etc) that you add to one of the 3 different slopers you have already drafted to your personal measurements.

This blouse was type number 1. The drafting instructions were specific measurements for Japanese sizes 9 and 13. (Not to be confused with US Jr. sizes). Based on a comparison of my body measurements to those in the size charts, I was a combo of Size 13 on top and 15 on bottom. But when I added up the finished pattern measurements in key spots, like bust, waist and hip, I found there were huge amounts of ease built into the pattern. Over 6 inches in the bust. Way too much for a fitted blouse with darts in my opinion. My favorite RTW blouses have at the most 4 inches of ease in the bust. So I used the dimensions for a size 9 on top, and a size 13 below waist, lengthening the torso and sleeves. I drafted all the pattern pieces including sleeve collar and cuffs. When I tried on the muslin, the torso fit great. The darts hit the waist and bust correctly. But the bottom of the arm hole was below my arm pit.

I measured the arm hole opening on some RTW blouses and a BWOF blouse and found that LB pattern arm hole opening was about 2 in (5 cm) larger and almost an inch lower. So I extended the side seam up and redrafted the armhole opening to be about the length of the RTW blouses. Then I had to redraft the sleeve pattern. I checked that the drafted sleeve in the bicep area was as wide as my RTW blouses and long enough to reach my wrist. Everything looked good.

An important lesson I learned from this experience: Draft and fit bodice patterns before drafting sleeve and collar. Believe me at this point the urge to go back to my TNT ( Tried n’ True) patterns was strong.

The fabric for the wearable muslin was a floral print of a roughly 50/50 blend of wool and cotton in a twill weave, which I believe is called Viyella. This was from my stash. It was purchased from Imaginations fabric club (some of you will be able to date it using with that info). It was very soft, surprisingly wrinkle resistant, and a real joy to sew. I am surprised that more of this type of fabric is not available now.

The completed wearable muslin fit well. But I felt the collar stood away from my neck in the front too much. So for the official swap blouse I raised the center front neckline to be closer to my neck, and because I did this, I had to redraft the collar to fit the new neckline.

The SWAP blouse is made of a silk print and was quick to sew once all the pattern alterations were complete.

I actually like the muslin so much I plan to add a different collar to it and use it for the SWAP. Not the same experience I had with the next blouse. More on that soon.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

SWAP Diary Jan 11 2009

I started sewing my 2009 SWAP garments during my 2 week holiday vacation. I spent a lot of time and effort planning prior to that. Some of it wasted on daydreaming about the lifestyle and the clothes I would like to make versus what my lifestyle really requires.Digging through my stash for coordinating fabrics, and perusing pattern magazines. I was ambivalent about churning out 11 garments for my current lifestyle and size again this year. I decided to incorporate a personal sewing/development goal into my SWAP. I want to improve my pattern drafting skills, so I challenged myself to draft all the patterns from instructions in the various Japanese pattern magazines I have accumulated. I chose the challenging "SWAP Trail". Most of the garments I chose came from issues of Lady Boutique, a Japanese monthly pattern magazine that features garments for the "housewife". The styles in Lady Boutique are a bit more conservative and traditional (Western style) than the other well known Japanese pattern magazine Mrs Stylebook. The quality of the photographs and printed pages are not as "glossy", and the age of the models is older (30, 40 and 50’s). There are lots of jackets and skirts, with a smaller number of knit tops, blouses and pants. The styles I selected are similar to those found in the big four pattern brands; Vogue, McCalls, etc., and that is actually my safety net. I wanted to be able to compare my drafted patterns to ones I had already made or that I knew would fit me based on past experience. And if I really start struggling with the drafted patterns, I wanted the option of abandoning them and switching to the big four patterns. Here is my storyboard.

and my fabrics.

Drafting instructions and pictures from the magazine are in my Flickr SWAP 2009 folder (link is on sidebar)

So far I am doing well. I have made wearable muslins of 2 blouses, 1 pair of pants and the jacket. And have completed one blouse and pair of pants. All were "learning experiences". More to come in the near future.