Friday, November 8, 2013

Somewhere In My Stash

My mind has been busy organizing and evaluating ideas for the skirt to cardigan refashion. I spent some time on the Internet, looked at the goal, and thought about the skills I could bring to the project. Yesterday, I worked on a muslin for the bodice and sleeves and that's tweaked and it's time for the playful part. YES YES ! ! ! !

But first... when I wore my new pants - the blue ones - they felt too short, just that little bit, enough to catch on the top of your shoes and drive you crazy. Since they're already funky, I'm debating how to add a bit to the bottom, perhaps something - not exactly like - but along the lines of - these grey pants. I'm not sure who the designer is but LOVE that look.

For the muslin bodice, the three patterns I started with were Butterick 5685 and Butterick 5966 both of which come with cup sizing and out of print Butterick 5145, quickly eliminating the first one because of the armscye seams, double breasted opening, and large collar. The other two were more along the lines of what I wanted with less changes. 

I started by tracing Butterick 5966 from the waist up and made my usual alterations for a narrow back and narrow chest. In the back, I made a 3/4" adjustment slicing along the bottom horizontal line ending at the underarm and folding the dotted line toward the solid one. This adds 3/4" to the side of the sleeve and creates a wider bicep BUT... that wasn't what I wanted to point out. Look at the shape of the armhole. See how it angles outward. My back armhole shape is an L shape so it's better on me if the line comes straight down and then turns toward the underarm PLUS...

... when I draw the line straight down, do you see how the cutting edge is actually 6/8" instead of 5/8" from the circle. From this circle to center back needs to measure one half of my back shoulder width. In this case, the back would have been 1/4" too wide. For some people, that's not an issue. For me, accuracy is one of the things I really like about sewing my own clothes plus I'd already added an additional 1/2" to my back shoulder width because this is a coat and needs extra ease. I didn't want extra on the extra.

For the bodice length, I marked the length of the size 14 bodice from Butterick 5145. On the chart, it shows that this is drafted for a 16 1/2" center back length and mine is 15 7/8" which is a difference of 5/8" so...

... I shortened the traced length by another 5/8" cutting on the upper dotted line in the image above. For the Butterick 5145 pattern, this is the proportion the designer wanted. Because I'm short waisted, I'll sometimes drop that slightly for a better look but that's something I need to evaluate on the body and - luckily - with a waist seam it's an easy adjustment.

Butterick 5966 has UNBELIEVABLY long sleeves. In the image above, I've already cut off the hem allowance and they are still 5" too long for me. The pattern has a two piece sleeve with easing through the elbow. It hangs beautifully even in a muslin. Actually, the entire bodice worked out pretty well. Other than shortening the sleeve, the only adjustments I need to make are a 1" petite adjustment through the armhole and across the sleeve cap which will also raise the bust point 1" as needed and - to compensate - I'll add an 1" to the length. I'll decide on the neck shape and collar later once I see how the design elements are coming together.

Here's how the skirt will be added. Right now, it has a frumpy look but you can see the beginning of the refashion. When I tried it on, the skirt was too tight through the hip. Somewhere in my stash is another two panels that I'll add to the circle - if I can find them - and if not, it's just an opportunity to come up with another answer and that's fine with me. I like the not knowing. It's always a fun journey.

While I was eating breakfast yesterday, I pondered my fridge magnet with this quote from Thoreau, wondering what does "the direction of your dreams" really mean? Is it something that evolves as we evolve? I think so. When I was younger, it was more about things like buying a house or taking a trip or building a career. Now, my dreams are about loving myself as is, where is; living peacefully; maintaining my faith especially in difficult times; building positive relationships with my family and friends; noticing the delightful details of each day like the way the sun lies on the mountains and the fog mists in the valley; being grateful for what I have and less focused on what I don't have; and enjoying the gift of creativity simply for the joy of making something with no expectations attached. And more along those lines. I like this direction of my dreams. What's your direction?

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - an engaging project


  1. Interesting detail on those pants - I could see that detail on the sleeves of a long day, when I can do more than just a walk-by of my sewing stuff!

    1. Yes. I've loved that picture ever since my friend forwarded it to me. Eventually, I - too - will do something with it. I can see it on a sleeve like you're describing.

  2. Myrna, I've been away from blog reading for awhile and caught up this evening. I so enjoy your blog! I wish we lived close, I know we'd be friends!

    1. What a lovely thing to say. Thank you.


Thanks for commenting. I appreciate the feedback and the creative conversation.