Monday, April 19, 2021

Challenges - The fun kind

 I have sewn a couple garments in the last month, both for Garment Designer software challenges.  The first one was the Ruffle Challenge. The challenge was to create a pattern in Garment Designer that used the Ruffle feature.  Garment Designer software will quickly create the pattern for a circular ruffle for a  hem length, to a user specified width and flare.  In my inspiration file, there were three versions of  garments that had a ruffle starting in a front yoke and spiraling down the sleeve. That was the pattern I chose to make.

I drafted the blouse  pattern in Garment Designer and manipulated the sleeve hem  to  be a diagonal seam from armhole to hem in order to generated the ruffle pattern of the correct length.  To keep the blouse from being too frou frou, I made it from a pink cotton chambray fabric.  It looks good with blue or white jeans. 

My blouse won the Challenge!  A small nominal prize, but it brightened my day. 

  The next challenge was the Creativity with Stripes Challenge,  I am ineligible to win any other challenges this year, but I can still participate.  I had a lot of  weird shaped scraps of black and white stripe cotton lycra fabric left over from the body suit I made back in Jan 2019.

  I threw half of them in an apple green  Rit Dye bath. I drafted a  basic T shirt pattern in Garment Designer (replicated a favorite Burda T Shirt)  and did some create piecing with the green and black stripe fabric.  My mother called the result a "shadow effect". 

 The back was looking a bit boring with black and white stripes and one green sleeve. So I pieced the  letters "Au", which  are the first two letters of my name and the Periodic Table abbreviation for gold, on the back.

 To wear with my rather different T shirt, I decided I  needed a different pair of pants. I collected up all the pants patterns I have with the  popular Art to Wear "lantern" shaped leg. Patterns like the Trio pants from Sewing Workshop, Vogue - both Sandra Betzina 1355 and Marcy Tilton 9035, and The Cutting Line - Discover Something Novel pants

From these patterns I chose the  Tilton Vogue 9035. Because it was the only one with a fitted waist. All the other patterns had elastic waists.  

Gathered fabric filling in what little waist indentation I have makes me look block shaped. I avoid gathered waist garments. Of course I didn't think it through and realize that a fitted waist meant basting and fitting and resewing. Sigh. Not a fast sew, but  it did result in a a cute pair of pants. Fabric is machine washed, lightweight, wool gabardine that has been topstitched using beige thread.

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Vogue 1768 - Tilton Top

 Vogue 1768 pattern, by designer Marcy Tilton, is described as a Misses semi-fitted, pullover peplum top with asymmetrical seaming, and raised notch collar.  

You must be "on your game" when making this top.  There are asymmetrical pieces to  cut and sew together, mitered corners and a lot of topstitching.     I loved the front, but when I  looked at the back line drawing, I thought I was looking at the line drawing for a different pattern. For example, like McCalls 7513.

McCalls 7513

While the front had asymmetrical seaming, and irregular shaped flared peplum pieces attached to the bottom with curved seaming, the back had shoulder seam princess seams and a straight seamed lower section with pleats.   I have always liked the Tilton sisters' designs for their unique style lines.  To the best of my recollections, their garments always included repeats or references to the garment front design lines in the garment back.  I confirmed this by going out to Etsy, doing a search on Tilton patterns, and comparing the front and black line drawing of many of their patterns. I am not sure what happened on this design. 

 I may be a bit sensitive to the consistent princess seam thing, associating it with  "inexperienced designer" because of a personal experience.  Long ago I took a pattern design class at G Street Fabrics  where I  drafted the pattern for an Armani jacket.  I had a picture of the jacket front which had armhole princess seams. But no picture of the back. So I blithely put shoulder princess seams in the back.  The instructor suggested  I use armhole princess seams in the back to repeat those in the front.  

So I  redesigned the back for this top.  I made the original back of a muslin fabric and basted it to the front to make sure I liked the fit. Then I took the back muslin and drew my new style lines on it.  I cut along those style lines and added seam allowances.  I added the armhole princess seams. I added  two overlapping peplum pieces attached with a curved seam. I added a bit of flare to the  peplum pieces to replicate the function of the pleats in the original design.  The fabric used was a light weight ponte knit of  an unknown blend from the stash.

Front with original back muslin

New Back 

 I like my back so much better. It satisfies my need for repetition and consistency.

Restyled Back

Vogue 1768

Friday, February 5, 2021

 Another  sweat suit  make using two more  Grasser Patterns  combined with some luscious organic tencel cotton stretch fleece (.76 tencel lyocell, .28 organic cotton .06 spandex)  from Ewe Fine Fiber Goods , a small/yarn fabric store in Charlottesville, VA.

The top is  Grasser No. 528. I liked the raised neck line, so cozy,  and the asymmetrical vertical pleats.  In reality the pleats don't stay neat and vertical. 

The pants are  Grasser No. 725. They are meant to be made out of a firmer knit like ponte or wool double knit. The drape and softness of my fabric affected the look of my pants. I took in all seams significantly to get a neater appearance and closer fit. The  instruction included two  construction techniques I had never seen before, 1. Using grosgrain ribbon in the hem allowance of knit pant to maintain the shape of the leg hems. 2. And for the waistband, using two layers of elastic to provide a firm but stretchy waistband and a crisp turned edge to the pant top.

The set is very soft and comfortable.  However it reminds me of pajamas and I don't ever wear pajamas during the day unless I am sick,  recovering from surgery, etc. This sewing project confirmed what I have always suspected, which is that I feel more attractive  and therefore more comfortable, in garments with a bit more shape and structure.    I love the neckline of the top  and hope to use it in another garment.

Grasser top 528 and pant 725

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Snow and Sweat

Ah how things change.  I have never been a fan of either sweatshirt/sweatsuit  styles or  independent patterns. But here I am sewing sweats, well leisurewear type clothing,  using PDF patterns.  Why? well .. Covid quarantining, retired but can't travel,  and between contracting jobs.  I get up early and go to my boot camp workout (yes, future DIL talked me into it).  Wait until my birthday when all workout attendees have to do the same number of pushups as my age. I will not be popular. I am home and showered by 7:30 AM. Which leaves me a lot of time to watch Youtube video's, go down Google gopher holes, and spend money. One day both Peggy Sagers and Linda Lee had YouTube videos about sweat shirting material and leisure wear patterns.  I perused LL's sweat shirting fabric and while they were very nice, they were expensive and would cost an arm and a leg to ship from Calif.  I found many options from closer sources.  It is amazing the fiber blends, weights, and colors that sweat shirting fabric comes in.  According to my Fabric Purchase spreadsheet, this is what I added to my stash.

And wouldn't you know it,  after making the purchases I found some sweat shirting deep in the stash. Big remnants from sewing little boy clothes, circa 2000.

Another time wasting activity I have is going on Etsy, typing  "PDF pattern top" in Search and scrolling through the huge number of  pages of PDF patterns. I look for  previously "not known to me" pattern drafters, in far away countries, in hopes of finding something unique and different.  One I found recently was Grasser patterns. They had some interesting sweatshirt patterns.    The sizes are Russian (so check your measurements) and include different heights. This is a plus for me when buying patterns drafted in locations where the average woman is not as tall as me. Prices are very reasonable. Instructions were good. Though there were some odd terms used (translations) but they were understandable. They only have A4 and plotter print options.  I deal with this by buying a couple of  reams of A4 (international size 8.3x11.7") paper from Staples, and put it in one of the  paper cassette trays of my printer.

I chose #513 to sew out of the heavyweight cotton  sweatshirt fabric.  The fabric  had the same type of body as one of the pattern's recommended fabrics - neoprene. It was fun sewing the undulating seams in the front and back that give the sweatshirt some shape.  The sleeves end in tapered shapes that tie. My fabric had absolutely no stretch. So instead of using the fabric as a neck binding as per the instructions, I made a shaped band in the width the binding would have been. 

What to wear with this sweatshirt?  Warning, I am taking the opportunity to be more creative with my wardrobe pairing.  Expected choice - an old pair of Vince wool joggers.

and for a fun skirt like alternative, the harem pants from the Issey Miyake Vogue Pattern 1328. 

 It snowed today. All very pretty. Just  enough so that the restaurant, where we had reservations for a family birthday dinner celebration,  decided to close.  DH is currently grilling steaks on the deck. Yes, in the snow.