Thursday, May 21, 2015

No Provisions Provided

I thought the pattern I wanted to cut out yesterday morning was complete and ready to go. It wasn't. It was traced but not adjusted and has that ominous warning on the back - no provisions provided for above or below waist adjustments. That doesn't mean it can't be done. It means it's trickier than your usual lengthen-shorten line.

In fact, it took me a couple hours to make the adjustments since almost every piece is cut individually and there is an upper, middle, lower, left and right, front and back. I needed to take out an inch of length in three different locations as well as narrow the front and back shoulder widths and raise the underarm points. Sometimes, I think it takes me longer to prep the pattern than it does to sew the garment.

The pattern is Butterick 6138, one of Katherine Tilton's designs that has strong similarities to another of her designs, Butterick 6101 which was also on my to sew list so I made some more matchy-matchy pajamas.

I really like the way the hemline is done and the fit of the bodice and flare of the lower garment but I felt there was too much happening on my hips with the two pockets so I cut and stitched them out. The smoother look works a lot better for me and made me believe that the second pattern - Butterick 6138 - had potential. It's cut out and in the suitcase ready to take to the retreat with me.

This is the hemline detail I like. On the upper section, the hem is pressed up and then the lower section is sewn to it and stitched with a "flange-like" piece showing. This is a detail I can see myself using on some refashioning designs.

These images are of the left and right sides after I cut out the pockets. The look is a lot smoother with way less fabric - more hip friendly.

I started packing last night. This morning I have an appointment and then I'll finish, put everything in the car, and be off in the morning. I'll auto-post some images of what I'm taking and then post again next week from Ashland.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - one more sleep

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Pant Epiphany

A Whack on the Side of the Head by Roger van Oech is all about being more creative by thinking differently. Among the many things he suggests doing are asking what if, looking for the second right answer, and viewing the situation from a backward perspective. Often times while reading, I'd wonder how can I apply this to sewing? and the answer was rarely obvious and yet all of those questions were part of my recent pant epiphany.

I've talked about the importance of our vertical measurements and how the placement of the curves on the pattern need to match the placement of the curves on our body. I have a high underarm point, a short center back and center front length, and a shallow hip depth. It varies pattern to pattern but typically I've been raising the underarm by an inch and shortening the CB and CF lengths by 7/8" but I hadn't given as much thought to my hip depth. I think I've been working my way down the body.

Sometimes - when I come to a better answer - I wonder if I should go back and erase some of the postings about my fitting journey and yet perhaps my round about path will help someone else to get there as well. In the past with pants, I've lowered center front for a tipped waist and I've lengthened the back crotch length for a dropped derriere and I've squared the front and back crotch curves to match my shape and of all of those adjustments only one was correct - squaring.

BUT... what I find... and what's so wonderful... is that when I pay attention to the vertical measurements and how they interact with the horizontal ones, I eventually get to the right answer. Yesterday, I sewed the best pair of pants I have ever worn in my entire life... unless my ruffly little baby pantaloons fit better... but I doubt it.

A few weeks ago, I realized that I needed to remove more front crotch length from center front all the way across to the side seam without tapering. At first, I thought it was an inch and then I tried two inches and then I decided that the top of the waistband should be at my waist as opposed to the bottom and that meant removing three inches on most patterns.

Along with the front crotch length, I removed an inch from the back crotch length for the waistband but after that, I was tapering to the side seam meaning that while the front crotch length was shortened by three inches - two for the hip depth and one for the waistband - the back crotch length was only shortened by one inch for the waistband.

I started to get puckers at waistband over the hips which looked like too much fabric and at the same time, I kept pulling up on the back crotch to eliminate the wrinkles and thinking that meant the crotch curve had to go lower. I'd lower it and the wrinkles wouldn't disappear so it wasn't working even though it seemed the answer.

That led me to wonder, what if I went the other way, what if I shortened the back crotch length? I pinned a tuck - tapered to the side seam because the front had already been lowered - and it worked ! ! ! ! !

One of my favourite pant patterns is Burda 8157. It already had an inch taken out so I removed another two inches and shaped the crotch curve accordingly and then I sewed it as is with no fitting and...

... it's the best pair of pants ever... even with those wrinkles... that I've been pouring over Pants For Real People to diagnose. Before when I've sewn this pattern there has been enough hip ease however, with raising the crotch depth so much, the hip is now quite tight. That may be the cause of those wrinkles in the back or it may be because of high back hips requiring a "bump up" along the waist. I absolutely have to figure it out. I'm just programmed that way. It'll tickle at me until I do. This morning should help. I'm wearing the pants to journal and since the fabric is a very light denim, they will stretch out providing more ease. What happens with the wrinkles then will be a clue.

And then, of course, I wanted to fix all of my pants only I didn't want to take the waistband off every pair and not every pair needed the same identical fix however, most needed the back crotch depth shortened somewhere in the range of 1 3/4" - 2 1/2". With a few pairs, I made a fish eye dart that was widest at center back tapering out to midway to the side seam. On the...

... right side it is barely visible and I won't be wearing a shirt tucked in with any of these pants so it's all good. This morning I am cutting out some patterns to take along to the Design Outside the Lines Retreat and tomorrow I'll be backing up the sewing room so it'll be a few weeks before I can experiment with this learning some more but I know I'm onto a good solution. YES YES. My best pants ever.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - progressive learning, simpler solutions

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

More Matchy-Matchy Pajamas

Yesterday, I went through my closet and gathered everything up that might have been worn even once and washed it all. I wanted to make sure that everything in my closet was clean before I left on my holiday. Since I hang almost all of my clothes to dry rather than use the dryer, there's laundry hanging all over the house - on the railing, the towel bars, over the bathtub, across the backs of the dining room chairs, everywhere. Too funny.

For our cruise, I wanted some light weight, easy to dry, pajamas. I also wanted to test a few t-shirt patterns so I made another set of matchy-matchy pajamas with a wearable muslin as the top.

It's Butterick 5925 - one of Katherine Tilton's designs.  The first time, I tried the twisted collar in a contrasting white with black dots only I found the collar too chunky and since I needed to cut a larger size, I changed it the next time. I also left off the twist on the pockets.

My size is between sizes so I went down one only it was going to be way too tight so I re-cut the sides from the sleeves and the sleeves from the front and back and cut out a new front and back in a larger size. That worked.

With both the pants and top in this fabric, it's a lot of dots but the pajamas are very comfortable and should work great for our trip. I liked the simplicity of this top's design and although there's a fair amount of hip ease, I think it could be fun to play with. I'll try it again.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - a weeded garden and a clean fridge

Monday, May 18, 2015

Patterns To Play With

Saturday morning - at 6:30 - I went for breakfast with Barb and then took her to the bus, came home and then went for coffee with Howard and took him to the airport, went to journal, came home, and walked the dog - all before noon. Saturday is normally my sleep-in day. Obviously it wasn't so...

... I decided to sleep in on Sunday only my boys arranged to take me for breakfast to celebrate my birthday since I won't be in town on the day. I went to journal first and then met them at the restaurant at 9:00, came home, walked the dog, and worked in the studio for the rest of the day. This morning, the blog is set to auto post and I am - hopefully - still asleep. It's the only possible sleep-in day this week as I'll be spending the rest running errands, organizing to go, and packing.

I leave bright and early Friday morning and will stay overnight in Corvallis - about two hours south of Portland. I've arranged a coaching session with Gwen Spencer for Saturday morning. Gwen has a wonderful artistic sense and is fabulous at interpreting patterns in all sorts of unique and exciting ways. I want to know more about how she does that and how I can too.

This is an incredibly busy year but when it - finally - settles down in the fall, my intention is to focus on developing my design skills through refashioning and through series work. This week, I've been looking at patterns to play with. I want them to be sufficiently interesting to allow for all sorts of ideas and not so intricate already that they are constraining. I've decided to pick a few to start with and see what happens. I can adjust as I go along. 

Vogue 8691 is the pattern I've worked with the most often so far. There's something about its shape that resonates with me so I chose Butterick 5786 above and Butterick 6136 below for their similarities of a fitted bodice and flared hip. I also chose...

... the woven blouse pattern for its simplicity. There are all sorts of directions I can take it in without being constrained by the existing design lines although I'm not sure that's entirely good. More design lines might be good for me with their own challenges but I don't know and I need to start somewhere.

Vogue 9057 is a simple, basic t-shirt without darts or easing at the side seam. It's a good starting point for all sorts of designs along with being the type of garment I wear frequently. I chose it for that reason and..

... Indygo Junction's Modern Silhouette Vest for the exact opposite reason. I almost never wear a vest and yet this design has the potential to go in many directions including blouse or jacket. I've chosen to develop my creative skills with upper garments and keep the lower garments more simple, like resting places, or palette cleansers.


I've been struggling to figure out which jacket pattern to work with. Right now the choices are between Butterick 5891 above and Butterick 6177 below. With both I am....

... concerned about the amount of fabric through the waist so they may get tested and taken forward or tested and dropped. It depends. I'm trying to stretch myself in a new direction and away from my typical styling - like Vogue 8346 - but not stretch too far that I can't get anything done. I know I like shape.

This is where my thinking is starting. My goal is to find six or so patterns that interest me enough to make a half a dozen or more versions incorporating new learning and possibilities. I feel like I've taken in a lot of information in over the past few years with the design workshops and coaching sessions and now it's time to take that learning forward especially as my fitting skills and technical skills have the rust shaken off them are are back at the point where I can focus on the creative details. I've really enjoyed returning to fashion sewing. I'm glad I made that decision.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - quiet spaces, sleeping in

Friday, May 15, 2015

The Repair Pile

Mending is not my first love. I would much rather sew a new blouse with twelve brand new buttons than sew a button back on a blouse which is part of the reason for how the repair pile accumulated. The other reason was my epiphany around waistbands. Yesterday I...

... took apart the muslin of the purple print pants and put those pieces aside for refashioning along with the remaining yardage and then I lowered the waistband on three pairs of pants and fine tuned the crotch curve on another, added a waistband to a skirt, sewed the button back on to a pair of jeans, and shortened the sleeves on two sweaters. It was tedious and it took all day. I'm glad Barb was here to keep me company.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - no more repair pile