Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Fabric Friends

Since leaving high school, I have owned four sewing machines - a Kenmore, a White, a Janome, and a Bernina. Each had its purpose. The Kenmore was a prize, awarded to the most promising sewing student when I graduated and although I no longer have it, I remain incredibly thankful for that machine. It kept me sewing. It was eventually replaced with a White Jean Machine which I thought would be the only sewing machine I ever needed but I outgrew its capabilities and bought a secondhand...

... Janome which I used for many years. Janome machines were - at that time - predominately for sewing fashions and Bernina machines were much coveted for free motion quilting so when I started quilting, I bought a second hand Bernina 1020 which is the machine I still sew on. I gave the Janome to my daughter and have - for years - told her that it's a fabulous machine. And it probably still is. But...

... my Bernina is better and it does "tricks" the Janome can't do. When my husband comes later this week, he's bringing the Bernina and I'll use it to finish up the bra tasks and then, when we go home, I'll take the Janome back and trade it in on a simpler, lighter, more efficient machine for my daughter. It's time for this one to move to a new home.

My daughter wears a difficult to find bra size and now that she's nursing and has increased cup size, she wears an even more difficult to find bra size. The plan was to adapt the regular bras that fit her well using the info I'd researched only a bra her size typically has a wide strap and one hook on a wide strap is more of a swivel than a support. It didn't work. Neither did plan B.

Monday night, while not sleeping, I mentally evaluated a series of ideas for what would work. When I got to two hooks, a button, snaps, my mind fast forwarded to why not use the same closing structure on the straps that's used at the back of a bra? Since it folds over the fabric you're stitching it to, that way I could finish the cut strap edges neatly with two or more hooks while maintaining the integrity and structure of the original bra... easily... and cheaply... because luckily the hook and eye tape is sold by the meter at Fabricland and is on sale 50% off. YEAH

Above is our prototype. That poor bra has been through the ringer with me trying this and that idea but this final option is going to work. I'll repeat the treatment on the other bras when my Bernina arrives and include the elastic ribbon that secures the upper strap to the bra band so that the straps don't fall off her shoulders. It'll be good - enough - perfect and just in case you ever need to convert a bra, above is how I adapted the info at the original link.

I've been to Fabricland twice, both times for bra supplies. This morning, I also had time to find two fabrics for myself. I couldn't get the true color of either in the same photo. The fabric on the left is a lightweight, lilac, denim chambray, slightly darker than shown, and the fabric on the right is a rayon polyester blend, slightly brighter than shown. It might look familiar. I sewed a blouse that didn't work with the same fabric and regretted using it because the fabric was so amazing. Now I have more. Bought in the bargain center. For cheap. YEAH.

On Sunday night, I had coffee with Terry, above, a blog reader, and on Monday night, I had coffee with Cindy, a sewist that I met at a workshop in Portland a few years ago. On Thursday, I'm meeting with Mary, another blog reader. What fun! I love how we can have so much in common with people we barely know or have never met before and can meet up, chat, share, have a great time, and learn from each other. That's another really good thing about sewing - fabric friends. YES YES

Talk soon - Myrna

- fabric friends

Monday, April 29, 2013

Not Enough Of A Mess

Later today, I'm going to do some sewing... on my old machine... on the kitchen table... at my daughter's house... and convert those bras. What fun!

My daughter is doing a fabulous job. She's very capable and it's wonderful to watch her confidence grow. Daimon has filled out and grown in just the few short days I've been here. Apparently, I'm earning my keep. Jessica says she doesn't want me to go home yet. That's way better than my mother is driving me crazy - LOL.

I love this picture of my son-in-law - Kyle - with both Daimon and Chloe. We weren't sure how Chloe was going to settle in but after one night of wondering what was going on, she's doing great and seems to worry constantly about "her" baby, checking out the crying and watching the crib.

Daimon had a play date yesterday. His friend is exactly one week older. Unfortunately, he also lives two hours away but...

... it's great for my daughter to be sharing this experience with her friend who is just a little bit more experienced. She has a sixteen month old son as well. LOVE the way Daimon is rebelling and not watching the camera as directed. Makes me laugh.

It hasn't been all babies... I've also done something new... but first the back story.

Last fall, I bought Stacy London's book The Truth About Style and loved it so much that I bought another copy for a friend for Christmas. In the book, Stacy comes across as honest and approachable, two characteristics I really appreciate and - especially since I'm that way myself - I enjoyed her tell it like it is style. Although the women profiled were vastly different, I could relate to parts of everyone's story including Stacy's.

Perhaps because I've experienced it on a very small level, I have a low tolerance for star power and find it annoying when people like Stacy are fawned all over and  placed on pedestals. Why? They are real people with real stories doing - hopefully and luckily - a job they are good at and enjoy. I think she's quite good at what she does and has had some wonderful opportunities that we can all benefit from including...

... the book and her show, What Not To Wear. Since I rarely watch television, I'm quite possibly one of the last people on the planet to see this show. I watched my first episode this past Friday with my daughter and then another two on-line episodes on Saturday afternoon with my sleeping grandson while his parents napped. I can see myself watching more episodes especially as I learned a lot and I liked the commercial free, watch it any time you want, YouTube option.

The episode Jessica and I watched was Squirrely Nerd Gets Fashion Chemistry about a thirty-year-old scientist who had finally finished her schooling and was emerging into the work world. She was both afraid of growing up and had a strong belief that looks, fashion, and being pretty were not compatible with working hard and being smart and taken seriously. Why is this such a common misconception - that somehow we have to choose one or the other rather than both... or... worse... that nature has somehow chosen for us?

If you haven't seen it, this is an episode worth watching, especially the ending. The final images clearly illustrate the confidence that comes from knowing you look your best. You see Lizzie blossom, emerge, and come into herself over the course of the week. She completely changes her opinion about "pretty" and admits there's a whole portion of her brain that is now learning and expanding. YES. We are not all or nothing, beauty or brains. We can be both.

This discussion about the frivolousness of beauty is one that has come up in several variations throughout my life because I've always enjoyed fashion and hair and make-up and think that looking our best is critical to living our best life. It came up when I was a student, a hairstylist, a cosmetician, an interior designer, and currently with my fashion sewing and yet in each of these situations I have seen both with myself and with my clients that feeling good about how you look and the space you inhabit grows confidence and confidence is always attractive. Why should we settle? If we're buying a coat... or even a couch... why shouldn't we buy the one that resonates with us, the one that co-ordinates our inner and outer worlds?

When I read the book - and again when I saw the show - I thought about how much I would really Really REALLY enjoy a makeover of this caliber. I don't imagine I'm alone. While I have learned a lot from reading and from my own experimental journey, to have someone who truly knows what they're doing help me - hands on and in person - to determine the best styles for my figure and my fashion personality would be fabulous never mind that I'd love to see myself with a haircut and make-up that truly flatters me. I think we all have a more beautiful woman inside yearning to be explored and revealed. I would love to know that I am, at that very moment, as beautiful as I could be and then take that feeling and that learning forward ONLY... I'm not the kind of person who gets picked for this type of show. Aside from where I live, my daughter says I'm not enough of a mess. I'll take that as a compliment BUT...

... can you imagine looking through the Vogue pattern magazine with Stacy at your side? What about fabric shopping? How fun that would be. Sigh. Wishful thinking. Bet I'm not alone. I read that sales of sewing machines have skyrocketed since the Great British Sewing Bee first aired. LOL - maybe there will be a sew your own make-over reality show some time in the future.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - sleeping babies and the hope of summer. It's supposed to snow tonight!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Mary & Terry

Just a quick posting for Mary and Terry to say that I received your emails about coffee and replied but it may be coming from a weird address as I'm sending it through my on-line webhost.

Mary... I'm hoping for coffee and fabric on Thursday night. I sent you my daughter's phone number but if you didn't receive it can you email me yours? Thanks.

Terry... I have your phone number and I'll call if I don't hear from you. I was thinking either Sunday night or Wednesday morning.

AND... for the rest of you... a quick picture and more later.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

To Help And To Hug

My daughter asked if I'd sew her a Moby wrap. I had no idea what it was however there's a detailed tutorial at this link and in the end it boils down to a strip of fabric roughly 21" wide by 5 yards long. If you use knit, you don't need to finish the edges and if you use cotton, you do.

Although Chloe thinks this is her fabric, and gave me that what do you mean it's for the baby look, I had a black with white cotton batik in stash that was perfect... especially as I'd looked at it the week before and wondered what will I make with this? I'm not overly fond of matching motifs and these would definitely need to be matched.

I ripped the fabric in half, serged, turned and hemmed the edges, and gave it a press. I made two in an hour. The fabric was $2.50 a meter in the bargain center last year. Five meters. Two wraps. $6.25 each. If you buy a wrap, they range radically in price. This one is $140.00 for organic cotton. I'm not sure my cotton is organic. I'm not sure I believe that any cotton is truly organic. BUT... I'm using stash and this is good.

At the bottom of the tutorial is a comment made by one woman wishing she was crafty. Making this wrap is not rocket science. Use a knit and all you need is scissors. I saw this all the time when I was teaching - fearfulness. The fear of making a mistake or of getting it wrong stops many people from even trying and it's through the process of trying, experimenting, seeing what happens, getting it wrong, correcting, improving, and ultimately growing our skills that we learn. Allowing fear to intrude holds us back from some amazing creative journeys. Put one step forward. Try. The world will not stop turning if we mess up a bit of fabric and even then we can take it in different directions. 

The baby hands and feet fabric is flannel. I used this exact print to make a receiving blanket and crib sheet for my daughter and bought yardage for a sheet for grandbaby only the mattresses today are much deeper and the fabric is not wide enough. Instead, I sewed two more receiving blankets and two burp cloths AND...

... two more New Look 6735 t-shirts in a black wool jersey. That's four t-shirts in three days that fit fabulously - the positive benefit of all that fitting shell work AND of following up curious questions and trying "it" to see what happens. It is DEFINITELY worth the work. No fear necessary.

This morning, I'm packing and then on off to help my daughter and son-in-law and to hug grandbaby in person.  Regular postings will start again around May 8th although there may be a posting or two in the middle with a little bit of Grandma gushing and possibly some fabric finds. They live between two Fabriclands and both have great bargain sections.

After two weeks away from my studio, I'll be desperate to sew again. I have some knitting packed as well as black and white supplies to convert a regular bra into a nursing bra. You can't find flattering nursing bras in my daughter's size and it is - IMHO - important to feel good about how you look. Jessica (my daughter) has the sewing machine that I gave her when she moved out - a VERY nice Janome - so we'll haul it out of the closet, give it a little workout, and make-over a few bras. I've tried to pack whatever I thought I might need since the sewing bug hasn't caught my daughter... yet... I still have hope.

If you're in the Calgary area and would like to get together for coffee, send me an email at myrna (at) myrnagiesbrecht (dot) com. I'll be near the Chapters close to the corner of McLeod Trail and Southland in South East Calgary - quite close to the Carriage House Inn - and between two of the Fabriclands. I'm planning to go out for a bit in the evenings to give them some family time. I'd love to get together and chat sewing.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful -  sewing skills, sewing enjoyment

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

An L Shaped Armhole

Paisley is my favourite print of all time. I have loved it since I was a little girl and unless it's a truly awful piece of fabric, it's always on my wish list. In December, Marcy Tilton had a remnant of a green and purple paisley on her website and Howard...

... bought it for me as part of my Christmas gift. It's gorgeous. Quality. The kind of fabric you just love to wear. Several months later, in her booth at Sew Expo, Marcy had another remnant of a green with purple, striped tissue knit. I thought the two would go well together and hoped to find a third fabric but...

... that didn't happen. There wasn't enough of the paisley to match the print down the center back seam. I think this is a doable compromise and since I'm not behind me, it can't drive me crazy. It wouldn't have worked to piece the back and one sleeve out of the tissue knit and the front and one sleeve out of the paisley because the tissue knit is a substantially lighter fabric so I used it for the sleeves and the neck binding. The pattern is New Look 6735... again ! ! ! ! !

Believe me when I say that the sleeves look vastly better in real life. I've always heard that the camera doesn't lie. Yes, yes it does. That truth has become increasingly real since I started illustrating a blog years ago. What the camera has to say can be greatly distorted. My arms don't look so chicken drumstick leg in person and of course...

... I'm not standing perfectly still all the time. My goal with this t-shirt was to see if I could improve the look of the lower armhole curve. I wanted it to come further down in a straight line from the shoulder before curving under the arm. In my posting What The Dart Did, I referred to Ann's posting both of which talked about an L shape versus a J shape. I have an L shaped armhole.

On the pattern piece, along the armhole curve, is a small circle. From center front or center back to this circle is where you measure your center front width and your center back width. My center front width is 14" which means that the measurement from center front to this circle needs to be 7" and then the 5/8" seam allowance. In my size, the measurement was 7 1/4" so I made a 1/4" narrow chest adjustment. Because I didn't alter the side seam this lengthened the underarm by 1/4" so 1/4" was added to the sleeve at the side seam.

The edge of the ruler on the right shows a parallel line 7" from center front. The ruler on the left shows where the seam line would run 5/8" from the cut edge. See that gap in-between? That's the extra fabric that's driving me crazy plus that curve cuts in under the arm. You can just see the dotted line below the small ruler. That's the cutting line of one size smaller. If I...

... move the ruler in to measure 5/8" from that line you can see that the gap is removed. The next size down may not always work. It is not the answer. The answer is a longer line down from the shoulder with a tighter turn into the underarm. In this case (and whenever I can) I can use one of the drafted cutting lines for the smaller size and that's much preferable - and more professional - than winging it my own. Using that curve moved the sleeve in another 1/2" so that 1/2" was also added to the side seam of the sleeve for a total of 3/4".

The same adjustment was made to the back armhole and the same amount of width added to the back sleeve seam. The 3/4" in front and the 3/4" in back equalled 1 1/2" which provided the additional bicep width that I needed. It's interesting how as you work through them, the answers make increasing sense and it (as in making adjustments) is so much easier. My immediate reaction was yeah, yes, now I don't have to do a bicep adjustment and it's a confirmation that I've made the right adjustment. The pink lines in the image above show the altered cutting lines and you saw the results with the paisley t-shirt. This is...

... much preferable to the cutting in right under the armhole look of the cardigan above that was drafted from my earlier version of the TNT. As I said yesterday, the changes are barely and better. Subtle changes can make a HUGE difference.

LOL - when I cleaned my closet, the lace skirt went to the recycle bin and looking at this picture, I think that was a good idea. A-line skirts are always recommended for my figure type and slim, longer style skirts are not and yet A-line shapes make me feel wider while a long pencil skirt makes me feel slim and elegant. If I do wear an A-line skirt, it'll be of a lighter, flowing fabric but it's most likely to not get worn often and to move through my wardrobe quickly. It'll be fad-ish like this skirt was. And then - to be contrary - I like A-line skirts on dresses.

The purple cardigan was one of my favourites and I wore it regularly only it was wearing out and pilling so badly that I finally took it out of circulation and now I'm looking for another fabric to re-sew it with. It has to be light and flowing and lettuce edge well for the ruffle but be substantial enough to not show every lump and bump for the main garment pieces. Next time, I'll add more wearing ease. When I made it, I didn't think about how it would be worn over another garment.

This is an old picture however... the black line is the traced pattern and the red line is the draft of my armhole in the Pattern Master Boutique software. The red line illustrates how long and deep my armhole needs to be. You can see that it's very similar to the shape I drafted. The garment above had more wearing ease than a t-shirt does.

Working through this alteration process with the fitting shell has been a good journey. I now recognize and understand my shapes better but I still can't believe that I wandered away from using Lynda Maynard's Demystifying Fit method of pattern adjustment. Some time soon I will be reloading PMB and re-creating my fitting shells and working with them again but only after I've figured things out on my own because it's good learning to know how and why and what relates to what and that learning process helps me and it helps me help others. My friend Patti is always asking how did you know that? and my reply is always that I learned it the hard way, through trial and error.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - to have worked through and resolved the bulk behind the back armhole and the armhole shape. YES YES !

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Tickle And Need Method

On Thursday afternoon, I pulled all the t-shirt fabrics out of the stash closet, wrapped them around my body, marked where the fit looked good, and then measured between the marks to size the stretch. In one of her videos, Peggy Sagers tells you to do this and then to sew the size that corresponds. So if you wrap the fabric around and between the pins it measures 34", you would then sew the size with a 34" bust measurement. This works BUT not quite the way Peggy says. She tells you to go ahead and sew that size and everything will work out. I say go ahead and trace that size, make your usual alterations, and then there are greater odds it will work out. It's a good tip. It works.

New Look 6735 has been my T&T t-shirt pattern for a few years now. Having worked out a new set of alterations with a lot less gyrations, I wanted to see how the resulting pieces would differ from the ones I'd been using. The short answer is barely but better. With the pattern traced in my typical size, I wanted a fabric that matched that sizing to sew the (hopefully wearable) muslin with. This blue/grey/purple burnout was perfect because it is also...

... a print and a print is especially useful when you're not quite sure you've made all the right adjustments but you know you've made the major ones. It'll hide minor imperfections.

With a stretch fabric, I wasn't sure how much hip differential to add in the back so I traced a larger size along the side seam and then added a back wedge which I then ended up taking out after fitting. Once the seam was permanently sewn, I thought perhaps I'd taken a bit too much and when I compared...

... the cut out wedge of fabric to the inserted wedge of paper, I was right. I'm working on another version. For this next one, I traced the pattern with no wedge inserted and I'm focusing on the shape of the lower armhole. More about that tomorrow.

Do you remember this picture of my stash closet from a few weeks ago and...

... this picture of my clothes closet? Do you see what they have in common? There's about the same ratio of colors, textures, and prints. When I finished the t-shirt, I took it upstairs to the closet and noticed immediately how it went with a large portion of the other garments. It certainly wasn't deliberate but it did remind me of a conclusion I came to a few years ago.

Although I always start with the best of intentions, I have never finished a SWAP plan - nor any other wardrobing plan for that matter. In fact, it seems the minute that I state I have a plan, I'm seduced away to some other goal. I've read numerous books on developing your style, dressing for your body type, and finding your fashion personality and they fascinate me. I've learned a lot from the descriptions especially about why I like a particular color, texture, print, or style. I've made some mistakes - and I'm sure I always will - but over time I've become increasingly confident with my choices to the point where most of the fabrics I buy, and the garments I sew, work well together. While not planned, my wardrobe does organically evolve. Let's call it accidental wardrobe planning.

The thing that always detours me from developing any wardrobe plans is the curious question and it's the process of exploring those questions that has led to better results both in terms of developing patterns that fit and flatter and in terms of developing a fabric stash and a wardrobe of clothes that fits and flatters. It's a win-win.

Often it's a question or comment that gets me thinking which is one reason why I really appreciate the feedback and discussion. Thanks. Right now, I'm exploring Debbie's comment about the front armhole looking like it's cutting in. I haven't liked that shape for a while and it was time. After that, I have a few more questions waiting to be explored and I imagine even more will develop so it's unlikely I'll be doing any specific wardrobe planning in the near future. It's more likely that I'll continue to sew by the tickle and need method alternating between questions, occasions, shiny objects, and holes to be plugged. And that's okay. It works too.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - less alterations, better fit,

Friday, April 19, 2013

A Blue Grandma

My hygienist married late in life to a man who had children with children and became an automatic mother and grandmother. She says it's working out wonderfully and she loves it. I took the more traditional route of birthing the baby and raising the woman who then birthed the grandbaby.

On Tuesday, I traced, altered, and abandoned three patterns and I pulled out fabric after fabric only to change my mind and pile it on the floor still in its flat form. I was waiting for a phone call. I waited all day and into the next morning before my daughter called. It is MUCH easier to have the baby than to wait (im)patiently. Grandbaby is now huggable. When my girlfriend called last weekend, she said to be sure and let her know if I was a pink or a blue Grandma. I'm blue and he is - of course - the cutest baby ever.

Daimon Luke, 7 pounds 1 ounce, born on Wednesday, April 17th at 7:37 AM and according to his mother - and I totally agree - absolutely perfect. It's amazing how quickly you can fall madly in love with someone you've never seen face-to-face or held yet. I can't wait to snuggle. I'll be going soon, some time next week. They want some time alone as a family first and that makes perfect sense. It's such a special, once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Now that I know grandbaby is a boy, I immediately went through all the patterns at BMV and there are hardly any children's patterns for boys. Kwik Sew had the most selection. Above is KS3398 - cute but not what I was looking for. If you know of a good children's clothing line of patterns, please let me know.

This is our first grandchild. I've thought long and hard about what to do to mark the occasion. If I was wealthier than I am, there are numerous options but we're not exactly rich so I need to keep in mind that I have no idea how many grandchildren I'll eventually have plus I'd rather spend the money visiting, snuggling, playing. Relationships are far more important than stuff and this grandbaby lives way too far away - nine hours if I drive quickly - and his parents live in a small apartment with no guest room. Hotels and extended stays get expensive so...

Grandma is going to sew something individualized for each grandchild she gets. A gift that is meant for that child alone, never to be shared with a sibling or a cousin. I'm not going to rush choosing and it won't be sewn in an infant size so it won't show up for a while which means that in-between there will be other gifts but not large chunk of change expenditures. That's just not possible. But lots of little spoils are. Do you have grandchildren? How do you approach this? I could use some Grandma to Grandma advice.

When I was expecting my daughter, it was at the end of my cross-stitching stage and the beginning of my quilting one. I stitched the Dale Burdett alphabet bears and put them in a strip pieced quilt that is tied at the corners. It's in excellent condition because it was only used as a wall hanging. One thing I've told all my children is that fabric is my thing and they are not to feel a responsibility to any of the items I've made if they don't want them so when my daughter said that she didn't want these colors for the nursery, we discussed what could happen with the quilt. I'm going to take it apart and make an alphabet book with the letters and possibly a build-a-tent-quilt with the other blocks. It depends how well it comes apart but I think it's doable.

I brought the quilt home with me the last time we visited our daughter and son-in-law and I may take it back this time along with my seam ripper. I'm particularly fond of the P. I remember the day I stitched it quite well as I was home from work sick and my hands were so sweaty the fabric was limp and then I needed to unpick some stitches and ended up tearing the Aida cloth and had to come up with a way to fix it that involved interfacing and FrayCheck. It worked. Over twenty-six years later, you still can't see that oops. Good.

HOWEVER... I have a few more days and I would really Really REALLY like one or two new t-shirts to take with so I'm cleaning house this morning and spending the weekend sewing.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - safe deliveries, quick communication, and the most beautiful baby in the world

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Comparing Curves

Sewing can be hugely satisfying when it's going well and hard on the ego when it's not. Luckily, it's satisfying enough, frequently enough, for me plus - as you know - I can't help but follow up those questions that wander through my mind. I do get to great results... eventually. Today's posting is two out of three. It's also encouraging to walk into my closet and know that all my favourite clothes were made by me. The fit might not be perfect now but it was definitely the best I could do at the time with the skills I had and even my least well-fitted garment is far Far FAR better than ready-to-wear. This is good.

I just realized that if I set up the tripod in the studio and open the French doors, I can take pictures against the wall in the hallway... by myself... with the tripod and the timer. This is much better than waiting for someone to help although I'll need to fix that patch on the wall sooner than planned plus I'm incredibly self-conscious having my picture taken and listening to that beep, beep, beep countdown just about does me in. I'm going to research a remote. Maybe that will help. Otherwise, I just get stiffer and more false feeling by the beep. Chloe thought the whole thing was rather fascinating. Her head swiveling antics made me laugh. Do you think they have modeling classes for adults? That could be fun and helpful.

This paisley t-shirt is New Look 6735 - the pattern I've been using as my TNT for several years. The front is one piece with easing at bust level. The back has a center seam that flares below the waist  and the side seams are curved. I've made this pattern in a range of fabrics. When the fabric has less lengthwise stretch, I substitute a bust dart for the easing. With this particular t-shirt, it was supposed to be a quick sew to test the alterations and not a "real" garment only it turned out to be one of my favourite t-shirts. Luckily, there are no headlights because I didn't even try to match the print.

In response to Debbie's comment yesterday that my fit preference seems to be body hugging, I'll describe the fit of the three t-shirts profiled and would appreciate feedback on how they look in terms of fitted or over-fitted. They do not feel over-fitted however, I certainly do not want to look sausage-like... so just in case....

This t-shirt skims my body. If I suck my tummy in and turn, my torso moves within the garment. It fits the closest at the bust and doesn't cling to the hips which means that it doesn't try to walk up my body all day long. Because I'm so curvy, if a garment is too fitted, especially at the hem, it will walk and it drives me absolutely crazy to be pulling down my clothing all day long. The same with sleeves. I like a generous bicep width so my upper arm doesn't look like a drumstick and a wider hemline so the sleeves won't stay stuck up my arms every time I move and constantly need pulling down. This t-shirt is very comfortable. I can - as Elizabeth said in Magic Bullets and Purgatory - forget that I'm wearing it.

You may need to enlarge these images to see exactly what I'm talking about but this is Vogue 8536 AFTER I had tweaked the back fit somewhat. Before the tweaking there was a lot more bagginess above the waist. After tweaking there is still too much ease above the waist while below the waist the back clings and wants to walk up. It shouldn't. There is more than enough circumference.

In the front, I added a 1" FBA and substituted the easing for a dart. It fits comfortably over the bust and clings through the hips. This is really quite strange because, as you can see, it's not a lack of width. I've pinned out the wings at the side seam. It's something in the cut of the garment over the high hip and tummy. I really like the shape of the neckline. I'd copy that to another top.

The version I'm showing you is my second try. I added flare at the side of the back piece so I could maintain the ability to cut on fold. Below is...

... the back of Vogue 8691. The flare in this garment is distributed across the entire back. If you click through to the pattern, you'll also see that I've changed the hemline in the back to be straight across. In the front, I eliminated the flare turning it into a princess seamed t-shirt but not just any princess seamed t-shirt. The fit of this particular back is far better than any other princess seam pattern I've tried so far. Very. Flattering.

Adding a center back seam to Vogue 8536 could improve the fit but it would also substantially change the pattern so I may as well use the one I've already tried and tested. If I want to avoid princess seams in the front, an option is to pair either the New Look 6735 or the Vogue 8536 front with the Vogue 8691 back.

This is the back of Vogue 8691. It fits smoothly without clinging. There is enough ease at the hips to keep the garment from walking and not enough that it flares away from the body. It feels much like how I described the paisley t-shirt.

And this is the front. I think it needs a full bust adjustment. I've been debating that for a while and will probably add between 1/2" and 1" for next time. In this case, I would have done more work on the sleeves - as shown by the pins below - only I was in danger of over fitting and tweaking the poor thing to death so I decided to leave it as is and see if a trip through the washer works any wonders.

This version was cut using the same pattern pieces as the black and white version that I showed earlier this week and yet I took it in an additional 3/4" at center front and center back. That's the fabric factor and illustrates why when you're creating a TNT pattern, especially one from a knit, you need to use the same fabric muslin to muslin because even though you've made that pattern before (and I've made this one five times) the fabric factor can make a HUGE difference. Multiple seams are certainly a fitting advantage.

I have quite a few princess seamed patterns for blouses, skirts, and dresses but surprisingly only two other princess seamed t-shirt patterns in my stash. The first is Vogue 8323 which I've made four or five times and the other is...

... Vogue 8699 which I haven't made even once. It's similar to my version of V8691 above only there are shoulder princess rather than armscye princess seams in the back. I like the way the seams on the Vogue 8691 back are further over under the armhole.

When my friend was over the other day, she was wearing Vogue 8871 shortened to a top. It looked fabulous. The curved side is similar to Katherine Tilton's Vogue 8710 but the shaping through the waist is much different. I don't have this pattern... yet... but after seeing Patti's it's on my wish list. I imagine now that I'm in the process of coming to terms with the need to embrace princess seams - LOL - I'll be ordering many more like this although you really don't need too many as long as you're willing to play with what you have...

... and I am... later... this afternoon. This morning, I'm taking Chloe to the puppy parlor to have her hair and nails done (go figure) and then I have a few errands to run including a stop at Fabricland. After that, I can work on another top.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - positive comparisons