Friday, October 18, 2013

Anna Dress Muslin

I'm working my way through an Anna Dress. Maybe two, depending on how the first comes out.

Muslin #1

I've been working on some necessary adjustments to the pattern. The principal thing I knew I'd need was a FBA. That accomplished, I realized I would need some other changes too. While I added an inch of length to the bust as part of the FBA, the bodice is way too short. While I am short (and particularly from bust to shoulder, which I did  shorten by 3/4"), my torso is actually pretty long from the bust down. I've never actually done a FBA before (which is funny, because that's a big reason why I sew), but am pleased with the result. While I have a couple fitting books, I do wish I could find a really good resource on bust-shoulder petite adjustments.

Version #2 

I added two inches to the gathered section of the bodice. I also had been debating on sizing. Muslin #1 was based on the US size 6, and was a little tighter than I'd like. If I were using a fabric with some stretch, I think I would have stayed with it, but I was getting progressively nervous so sized up a little through the waist. I also had to take some fabric out of the upper back, and did so following Ginger Makes' method.
(Is it me, or do independent pattern companies draft for broad backs? I don't think I have a particularly small back,  but I wound up having to invent some darts in the back of the Colette Jasmine, so I'm starting to wonder. On the other hand, it is more gapey on me than on the dress form...)


I'm planning to use a green and gold brocade from my stash for the dress. I think. If there's enough. I think I need to use a "with nap" layout, so I'm not sure until I actually get everything laid out.(And it's more green than the photo makes it's appear.)

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Cake Red Velvet Sewalong

Red Velvet Sewalong Penelope House
Next month I'll be participating in the Cake Red Velvet Sewalong. I'm moderately excited for this dress, since, although it's simple, it has a very similar silhouette to my two favorite (and most comfortable) dresses.

I also just bought some ITY jersey from (that I can't link to, because I bought the last of it). I've been experimenting with different knits, and I think ITY may be the answer to my question of what the knits are that look a little dressier, that are often used in rtw. (You know, the ones with a little bit of sheen to them, without being shiny.) Since there was so little left in this particular fabric, and it was on sale, I didn't bother requesting a swatch. If it doesn't for some reason, seem like a good fit for the Red Velvet, I'm sure I can find a use for it.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Not a Sailor Top

I recently made Cake Patterns # 2223, the Bonny Knit Sailor Top.
While I think the sailor-y version of this is cute, I'd rarely wear it outside of swing dancing, and we don't dance that much these days. It includes very brief instructions for making it without the collar.


I used a 7 oz teal rayon jersey. The fabric is not ideal here. It shows every lump and bump. If I wear a camisole under it, it is wearable. There's still a bit of unpleasantness over my stomach, but I think if I resume pilates/yoga I can probably get my stomach toned back up enough that that won't be an issue anymore. I've been slacking on the exercise. (And actually, it's not nearly as bad in the photos as it seems to me in real life.)

What I'm figuring out on knit weights:

(Table adapted and improved from a post  here.)
Weight Oz Notes
tissue weight 3 oz Fluttery and very translucent; layers must be doubled, at least in the front, for t-shirts
lightweight 5 - 7 oz Nice drape but will show indentations made by undergarments.  Could be an issue with rayon knits only at 7 oz? 
midweight 9 oz Firmer drape that skims more nicely over the body
heavier 10 oz Thicker, not at all drapey. See my Renfrew attempt.


Figuring out how to take these has been a pain. Any
place I've got a mirror has terrible lighting.

The pattern itself is quite neat. It's the first Cake pattern I've made. You customize the pattern based on your measurements (literally drawing some of the lines on, based on printed guides), and the result is a top that fits my figure pretty darn well. While I'm pretty short, I'm not exactly petite. My legs are short, my waist is long, but I have a high bust and/or am just petite from bust to shoulder. The result is that I think I need to do a petite adjustment so the sleeves sit in the right place.

I also had to re-cut the central panel as the neckline was way too low. Like not appropriate to leave the house in low. If I do a petite adjustment on future versions, that may solve this issue, but I'm going to have to do some testing as I go to make sure. When I re-cut the center panel, I added about two inches. Also, since the first version, with the top piece interfaced per the instructions, resulted in a neckline that wasn't just low, but also seriously gapey, I re-cut that piece too, doubling the height, folding it over, and stretching it taut as I sewed. Still not perfect, but better.

Because this pattern is a "riff," and the instructions are pretty brief (especially for the not sailor version), I'm not really clear if I did the neckline binding correctly or not. It seems like it might be best to do the binding, and then attach the center panel (i.e., in the reverse of how the instructions have it).

Part of the reason I was drawn to this pattern was the princess seeming. I have a rtw top that has very cute (similar) lines, and looks amazing on. In a less clingy fabric, I still think this has similar potential. (I'm also considering this book to learn the rub-off technique to duplicate it a little more exactly. I have terrible spatial reasoning skills, so while this would probably be quite simple for some sewists, I need more hand-holding.)

Oh, and I got a serger! This was the first thing I sewed using it. I've used one before (my mom has one), but I never quite felt I could justify the expense. So far I like it. Learning to thread  the lower looper was a major pain, but I think now that I've got it I should be fine.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Pastel Renfrew

Let's be honest: I like(d) the idea of a simple, pale pink t-shirt.  So I bought this Rosy Pink knit from GirlCharlee. The reality is that I don't look good in pastels. I used to know this, but apparently I forgot.
When I bought this pale pink fabric, I also bought a light blue. I now realize that that needs to be something else - either for someone else, or a different item. Right now I'm pondering some kind of skirt. Part of the problem here, I think, is that this fabric is a bit too thick. I seem to have over-corrected from all of the thin knits in stores these days. For a top, 10 oz. is too thick. What's just right? Anyone? Which brings me back to the skirt idea. Maybe some kind of pencil skirt.

Anyhow, so I made the Renfrew top. It doesn't quite fit right, and I don't know if that's an issue of the thickness of the fabric, or my grading between sizes. (In lieu of doing a FBA, I opted to try to grade between sizes, a la Lladybird, but I may have overestimated the waist size needed.)

I think I need to take up the hem band some,  but have been too lazy to try it out. Stretched out it looks okay (beyond the fact that it's practically a tunic), but there are some drag lines. I'll attempt it again, but will probably do a FBA.