My Day and My (Last) Night

In sewing, I am trying to understand tissue fitting, using my dress form: 

I can say that my first attempt to pin fit convinced me to add to the side seams at the hips, meaning that this top is graded from XS at the shoulders to S at the arm pit, grading out to a L at the hips. 

I never thought of my hips as large (~38″), but I do tend to have problems with my RTW shirts pulling and riding up. Maybe some extra room would help?

The top​ above is Kwik Sew 3242. It is just two pieces, with a wide scoop neck. I plan to alter the pattern somewhat by adding bands around the neck and armholes (the directions call for essentially facings). I think the result will look more professional…

This is what I’ve been working on outside sewing:

Socializing feral kittens!

Time Machine Tuesday: (Almost) First Dress

My one and only picture wearing the first dress I ever made--with much assistance from the costume shop manager who was teaching me to sew (1997).

My one and only picture wearing the first dress I ever made (1997).

Here is a little, tiny picture of me wearing the very first garment I ever sewed.

I made it while working at the costume shop at Mill Mountain Theatre, along with a few pillows. Since I was working as a dresser backstage, it behooved me to know how to do some emergency sewing. The costume shop manager taught me the basics, and guided me through making this dress.

Her help with fitting was invaluable, and I wish I had such assistance now, when I can actually sew a bit better than I could then.

This dress turned out nicely, though a little wonky around the neck (probably due to my bust size). It was lined, as I recall, with a pretty printed purple cotton.

I wish I had kept it as a souvenir of my earliest efforts.

Ascot Complete!

Here is my review from Pattern Review:

Pattern Description:
Patterns for scarf, ascot, bow-tie, cummerbund, and pocket square.

Pattern Sizing:
One size. But that “one size” is too short to go around my neck, let alone my husband’s!

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes, though the tie silk I used appears to be a bit heavier than what is pictured on the pattern cover. That means the tie itself is a bit stiffer. Hubby likes it, and it looks crisp and nice on.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes, this was a very simple project. It could easily be done in an afternoon. However, some steps depended on having some knowledge of technique. For example, there was nothing that told you to trim excess fabric off the corners before turning the ascot right side out.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
This is a nice looking ascot, but it is quite wide, and the neckband is short (as shown in the photos above, with my very petite dress form showing how very small the neckband is). I anticipate that will be a problem and the ascot will get less use than it would otherwise.

For comparison, I also linked photos of the ascot I made with a store-bought (white) ascot and a gifted vintage ascot. The center backs are lined up. Both are longer and narrower.

It probably would not be difficult to lengthen the neckband by cutting through the center of the pattern and spreading it an inch or two.

Update
To fix this problem, I drew a pattern for an additional 6″ band. Then I cut the ascot through center back and inserted the band. Now the ascot is long enough to go around my husband’s neck, and it looks really good. My husband likes the width.

Fabric Used:
Tie silk.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
None for this first version. If I make it again, I will have to add 6″ to the center.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Depending on my husband’s feedback, I may alter it and make it again. I will also look for another pattern with different dimensions.

Conclusion:
A decent ascot pattern, but not perfect right out of the envelope. The need to add 6″ to the center means that the package’s estimate of how much silk is necessary isn’t accurate, so I will have to piece together the next ascot because the length of silk I bought is too short.

Craft Room in Sewing Mode

A few weeks ago, I shared pictures of my finished and reorganized craft room with everything put away. Here are a couple pictures of it in “working” mode. 

I can fit three machines around my table, though it is a squeeze. Still, it works, and I can scoot the rolling chair from machine to machine easily.

I thought the room would be uncomfortable to work in, but with the mirror it feels larger than a windowless walk-in​ closet.

Around the table sit my coverstitch machine, my Brother 660LA, and Baby Lock serger. My trusty Molly is stored in the wardrobe. There is no way I can fit another machine at the table!

New Look 6470

On Thursday, I finished my first knit skirt sufficiently to wear it to dance class. I was surprised how much I liked it, because I picked the pattern mainly to practice working with knits and using my new coverstitch machine, ie I made this skirt to build sewing skills rather than because I wanted to wear a skirt like this:

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The flounce moves very well when dancing, and the skirt is actually a flattering length for me (knit skirts in stores are overlong for me, dragging on the floor).

In the photo above, I paired the skirt with the v-neck top (Kwik Sew 3115) that I made from scrap fabric.

Here is New Look 6470, which is now out of print but was very popular for some time for the crossover and 6470 (1)cowl-neck tops. On PatternReview, there are over 70 reviews of this pattern, though few are of the skirt!

Here is my review:

Pattern Description:
Misses tops and skirt.

Pattern Sizing:
A (8-18). I sewed a size 14. I hesitated about what size to make and decided based on the listed finished garment hip size: 40.5″. My hips are 38″, and I decided I wanted some ease since I used a very lightweight knit and wanted to be able to move/dance in it.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes. This is a very simple, four seam skirt. Just two pattern pieces!

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
Likes

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I used a new technique for attaching waistband elastic. 

This skirt is extremely simple: four seams, waist elastic/casing, and a hem. Considering how simple it is, it is fairly flattering. I wore it to dance class, and got complemented on it: “Great dancing skirt!” It is also quite comfortable, moves well, and does not fit too snugly around the legs. The flounce moves very nicely when walking and dancing! Overall, a nicer skirt than I expected.

Dislikes
I don’t like running elastic through a casing, so I tried a new method for attaching the waistband, which is described second on this page. In short, I ignored the directions in the instructions, sewed the elastic into a circle, then stitched it to the top of the skirt (1/4″ below the top), stretching the elastic to fit. Then I folded the elastic into the skirt and used my coverstitch machine to stitch the elastic down. It was my first time using this method, and with some trial and error it turned out reasonably well.

I also hemmed using my new coverstitch machine, and followed a tip by happycamper on the Amazon review page for the Brother 2340CV. I did long straight stitch an inch from the bottom of the skirt, then used that basting thread as the “hinge” for pressing the hem up. Then, when stitching the hem with the coverstitch machine, I pulled gently on that basting thread to help the fabric feed evenly. The hem that resulted was just beautiful.

Fabric Used:
A lightweight, denim-look synthetic knit. It looks nice, but I wouldn’t buy it again because it develops pulls easily!

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I am proud of my neat hem, made with my new Brother 2340CV.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I didn’t make any alterations to the pattern. I did make a minor “design change”: I serged the flounce to the skirt pieces, but when I wore the skirt the first time, I managed to rip that seam by stepping on the skirt. Ooops. I reserged that seam, then I topstitched the the flounce to the skirt. That should give a little extra strength.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I actually might! I’m not wild about elastic waistbands, but this skirt looks surprisingly nice, goes together easily, and is lovely to dance tango in. I dance a lot of tango, so it might be nice to have a couple simple, pretty long skirts.

Conclusion:
Super simple skirt, suitable for a beginner, that helped me learn several new skills. It moves well.