Sunday, October 28, 2007

Miscellaneous: pants fitting 2 / Vogue jacket / answers

Pants fitting 2
It seems that I finally made the right changes to the back of the pants pattern. See the left leg on the picture. AND see all ripped stitches. Never used my seam ripper so much as this week.

The solution in the end for me is basically this:
1. Add more body space by taking space away from the center of the back pattern (see my first post on pants fitting) and adding the removed space to the side seam
2. Make the crotch a bit deeper
3. Lengthen the back crotch line a little in the waist (in my first pair of pants I already added 1 cm, now I added 1 cm more. This last point has nothing to do with the wrinkles, but with appropriate moving space and being comfortable)

In the picture on the right you can see the changes, the black line is the line that was used on the pants on the left. The seam ripper was not intentionally photographed, but it shows how near it was to me.
So in the end no fish eye dart or diagonal wedges for me. Though the site of Debbie was very helpful in understanding the problems.

I'm very happy I have found the solution, but the downside now is that I look very critical at my other pants. The black one, of which I not yet published a picture as they were unclear, I now see with different eyes, and I don't like what I see. Like with learning to do a FBA earlier this year, this knowledge of changing a pants pattern will change my sewing of them. And hopefully take the fitting issues at a higher level for me.

Vogue 2987
In between the changes on the pants I made the preparations for my Vogue jacket, that I want to use in the Timmel swap. I'm still not sure I will definitely enter this swap, but thanks to an answer of Carolyn to my post on my doubts for this jacket, I see the jacket more as a challenge then a problem. Thanks Carolyn.

Pattern and changes
  • Traced a size 12, tapering down to 16 at hip height
  • Lengthened 5 cm (2 inch) at the waist and 2,5 cm (1 inch) at the sleeve
  • Did a FBA to add bust-space

The fabric I bought for this jacket looks a bit like suede, but after I washed it, it was not stiff enough for the jacket. I decided to underline it with a fabric that I bought some time ago at an online shop here in the Netherlands. When it arrived it was a huge disappointment, as it looked so different from what I had expected. Not something for me at all. But now I can use it.
For the front I used fusible interfacing, and left the darts free. But the darts are stitched to the underlining, to make sure I can more easily sew the dart later on.
There are 18 pieces to this pattern, of which 14 had to be underlined, this meant 28 pieces to underline! So I did this a few at a time, and now I'm ready to go on.

But my sewing spirit is very low at once, so I'll take a break for a few days. A lot of business work to do (not to speak of the huge amount of ironing and other house related things).

It was nice to have so many positive comments on my bra. Thank you all. Let me answer the questions:
1. I did not use a commercial pattern. This bra was basically drafted from the other bra pattern I use for myself now for two/three years.
2. No foam was used, but I used a double layer of lycra for the all black undercup. This lycra btw is the same color black as the lace, but it's different in the picture.
3. Fabric used: black lycra and non-stretch lace

If you have more questions on lingerie making, please feel free to ask. I'll be glad to help if I can (but remember, I'm not a professional, just someone with experience in lingerie making.)

Have a good week all, I'll not be blogging for a couple of days.

Friday, October 26, 2007

This item does fit

Thanks for the positive comments on the pants fit. Yesterday very late at night I tried the fish-eye dart, but it dit not solve the problem. Most probably I need to do a diagonal wedge, but my DH is not the best judge in these matters (I showed him the pants and he said not to fuss any more, they were much better already, and certainly better than anything rtw). Sweet, but I want them to really fit. Tomorrow I'll be seeing my mother, and will ask her to pin the extra width away and try to solve this fitting issue. Keep you posted, as from the comments I've seen that more people are strugling with this.

In the meantime I've something to show you that does fit: my new bra. I've started taking a few lessons again, so every two weeks on Thursday evening I'm trying to extend my knowledge of lingerie making. This is one of the results. This item has perfect fit, and I wanted to make it symmetrical, with good result.
Special about this one is the (non stretch) lace that goes under the under cup and makes a diagonal into the side panel.
One picture to illustrate how I made this with a little dart. The dart is edgestitched, because of the real small seam.

The long cut in the pattern is for the lycra part. The scribble says that I must remember to add 1 cm seam allowance on that side. The seam allowance on the

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Pants fitting, part 1

First, I'd like to thank all who commented on the fitting issues for my pants. I did look at Debbie's site and somehow thought it would not be the "one" answer to my problem, as I've become convinced that there is no one-step solution for me. But I think I have found part of the solution there. Tonight I spent adapting my pattern and making a muslin.

My starting point, after reading all the information was the Threads issue of January 2006, an article by Joyce Murphy Adjusting pants from waist to seat. In this article she describes "body space" as an important point in fitting pants. And it does make sense to me, as women have very different shapes. One needs more space in the front, and others (like me) more in the back.
The picture above shows the body space in my pattern, which is 15 cm. I tried to measure my own bodyspace by taking two rulers, and it is 19 cm, which means that 2 cm more is needed (half of the extra width in the pattern). The article describes how this must be done after pin-fitting the muslin, but as I have no one to help me with that, I tried to do it in this more theoretical way, by measuring.

In this picture I tried to show how I measured this (alone in the house, so no one to take a better picture). Standing with by back to a wall, one ruler to the wall, and the other over my front, meeting in a 90 degree angle. My ruler has white space to start with, so the actual size is 19 cm.

The adjustment that follows from the article can also be seen in the first picture. The 2 cm is taken from center back, and added to the side seams.

After this adaption I made my muslin, and this was the first result.

Not too bad, the diagonal wrinkles are gone. The white is waistband interfacing, that I added to get a good impression of the fit with waistband.

This is the result of stitching the crotch a bit deeper. Not a great improvement.

And this is the result after pinning extra width away. (Did you ever try to pin pants you are wearing on the back? Not a great experiment!)

This is where I stopped tonight. This looks much better, and I think I now need the fish-eye adaption on Debbie's site. But that is for Friday.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Patrones pants

Today I was able to get some pictures for the Patrones pants on me, which I finished yesterday.
The PR review is here.
In general I'm quite pleased with these pants: the front is good, the pockets went in smoothly and the fabric feels very soft on my skin.

I'm not so pleased with the back. This is an issue I presumably always had with pants, but that I only became aware of because of taking pictures for my blog. I will stop making pictures from the back ;-).

Look at this picture of the back. Wrinkles, and though I have read a lot about fitting pants, I'm not sure what to do about them. Is it just taking pictures and am I being too critical or is this a problem that can be solved? If you know what could help, please let me know. I would like to make a pair of pants without these wrinkles.

Saturday, October 20, 2007


Carolyn asked me to write about the problem I have with the jacket relating to the swap plan. For those not knowing swap=Sewing With A Plan and I want to join the Timmel contest that is held the beginning of next year. This contest requires 11 garments, 1 jacket, 6 tops (not all tees) and 4 bottoms that all must be matched. Extra is the rule to use a wardrobe pattern, of which you must make 3 items at least.
My problem with this jacket is that I'm afraid that the neckline will not work with every type of neckline underneath. A blouse with collar might be a problem. This restricts my choice of tops.

If this is true, I could make a jacket with an easier to match neckline. The rules of the contest don't say that the jacket must be from the wardrobe pattern. But:
1. I don't have any other wardrobe pattern
2. Big 4 patterns are expensive here, and I buy them only when the patterns has something very special to me, like the jacket of no 2987, which I won't find elsewhere.
3. Julie doesn't sell them, so I can't buy one from her as qualifying buy to enter the contest, which

I'm not willing to spend money on a pattern that I don't really want, only to enter a contest that I like for the purpose of the plan, staying focussed and to join the experience with other sewers. Winning is not a goal, don't care about that at all, making 11 matching garments is a goal, and I would have won enough if I reach that one.


My Patrones pants are not finished yet. I sincerely wanted to go on with it, but got sidetracked by the black pants because there was black on my serger. Good reason, isn't it? So I started serging the black pants (BWOF pattern) and went ahead with that one instead of the Patrones pants. The black one now only needs hemming, show you pictures soon.

Then I got sidetracked by a fabric that I bought recently and was hanging to dry (seldom use my dryer). So when I went upstairs last night to my sewing room, I was hanging there (dried) and ended up not sewing pants, but this Jalie top. The review is here on PR. Very easy, instant gratification, but as said in my review, the fabric must have more stability for this one (or would fusible interfacing help, what do you think?).

This is the pattern picture.

I bought the fabric for this top because it will go well with the Knip skirt I made earlier, and with the dark blue pin-stripe fabric that is my third pair of pants.
Further I plan to make the Vogue 2987 jacket as next more complicated project. I want to know whether this can be the jacket for my SWAP plan, if not I have a real problem for the wardrobe pattern that must be used in the contest. Perhaps I'll make a real Swap plan, just because the good things of it, without participating for real in the contest.
These are my combinations.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Answer to question

As a reaction on my last post Besosmom2 asked me how I would change the waistband for a RTW pants that is too big.
It's a lot of trust in my knowledge (thanks for the compliment) and I would like to answer, but my knowledge on alterations is not very good. I confess to prefer making new clothes to altering existing ones.
But what I would do is try to take out the extra width in the center back, and make an extra seam in the waistband. That is how I attach a waistband anyhow, with a seam center back.

If anyone who reads this has a better solution, please mention this in the comments.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Patrones pants

As said in a previous post, I really need some new pants and I managed to get three cut. And instead of sewing the most easy one first, which I originally wanted to do, I started sewing on the most complicated one. That's the Patrones pattern. As in BWOF the pictures just don't show the details clearly. I would think you want to see the single welt and the detail in the back, but a large belt hides these details in the magazine pictures.

For me this is the most complicated because it has
a. Single welt pockets
b. I've never made a Patrones pattern before.

The single welt pockets are not so difficult, but just a little more work than any other pocket.
Though the pattern seems quite in line with BWOF pants, (laid the pattern pieces on top of a TNT Burda pants) I cut with large seam allowances and traced the seamlines like I always do with tracing paper.

Other changes
  • The back yoke (?) I made smaller at the waist by folding the pattern piece together. I took the BWOF pants and took out the space that I had in darts there.
  • Made the side seams a bit straighter than the pattern, just personal preference.
Then I put together the pants yesterday evening with the largest straight stitch possible on my sewing machine.

The result is encouraging. Great fit (not bad it's a stretch fabric) and the only thing that needs alteration is making the waist a bit smaller in the front and attach the waistband a bit higher. The last is only for my own comfort, I just don't like low waistlines on me. Don't know if you can see it in the picture, but the waistline is also machine basted in a lighter color. The uneven part on my right side is the pocket facing, that still extends above the waist. I hadn't even finished the pocket insides when this picture was taken. The wrinkles are from sitting behind my desk in a too much time consuming effort to re-establish the internet connection for DH, who liked my pants very much.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Problems with pictures

Laura brought to my attention that the pictures from my last post could not be seen. This must be due to the fact that I abusively posted the same post twice, and deleted one. The pictures for both posts were removed from blogger :-(
Now I have restored two of the three pictures, but have difficulty uploading the third. Too bad, but I stop trying, want to get some sewing done this evening.

I still want to thank several of you for the "thumbs up" on my post about the mistakes. It certainly helped to finish the coat.

And Tany : I ordered two Patrones magazines, and received only one, with a message that something had changed in the distribution of the magazine and there were some problems with delivery. So I'm hoping that I receive the other ordered copy at sometime.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Marfy coat finished

Finally I managed to finish my coat. Pffff, it took some time but I think it was worth the time it took. It's not perfect, there are some details I would do different another time, but it was quite a learning curve. On the picture the front seems uneven, but this is not so. I think the coat needs a fifth button, now it tends to be open at the bottom. It's wide enough around the hip area, that's not the problem.
When I move in this coat the sleeves seem better then in these pictures, though they are not perfect. Must give that a bit more attention next time I make a jacket.

I like this coat, and think will wear it often this winter.

A picture of the inside of the coat, before lining was inserted.

Now on to a bit less time consuming projects, I really need a few basic bottom items. And I hope to cut 2 or 3 pants this weekend. Two patterns I made before and should be no problem, the third is a Patrones pattern. I ordered an issue for the first time and received it yesterday. What a great magazine, a lot like BWOF. I immediately wanted to make a few items from it. Yesterday evening I traced a pattern for pants, compared it with a BWOF pants pattern, and the crotch curve (always the problem point with pants), was almost the same! And as BWOF pants patterns have great fit for me, I'll try this one.
And though I don't speak a word of Spanish, it was very clear to understand which pattern pieces I needed.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Sewing books

When I started again sewing seriously for myself last year I started to buy sewing books . In English, as in Dutch there are only basic sewing books. I do have the Knip book, and it's fine, but it doesn't tell you about advanced techniques, like inserting a sleeve head, or adjusting a pattern for example, or the little tricks for doing something.

A great inspiration was Power Sewing by Sandra Betzina. Great instructions for so many things that make your self-made clothes look better. I only wish that some pictures were clearer, as imho a print or dark fabric don't show very well in pictures with instructions, and in a book I expect that is taken into account. Fast fit by her is also great for adjusting patterns.

When Carolyn posted on her ten favorite sewing books I was triggered to find the book Decorative dressmaking which she mentioned and to find a few other books on my wish list.
I found the dressmaking book which really is a source of inspiration (thanks Carolyn).

The two other books I ordered were more about techniques and up till now I'm impressed by Claire Shaeffers book. So much details, and a great help with drawing the lining pattern for my coat.
The book by Susan Huxley must still proof itself to me, I lost my way in the bound button holes instructions, so I did not use those, but other instructions seem fine.

This Burda book I still use regularly (it's a Dutch translation from a German original), I bought it in 1983, so it does not include new techniques as serging or working with knits and the pictures are really old-fashioned, but that's not important. For my coat I used the bound button hole technique from this book. The technique in Claire Shaeffers book was fine too.

I find it very helpful to have a few reference books near my sewing machine, and sometimes I just browse through them, as you easily forget

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Marfy coat - Mistakes!

My Marfy coat is now nearly finished, the vent in the back and the lining still to be done. But it were a couple of difficult days for me, with quite a few mistakes.

It started with the cuff. I knew the sleeve length was fine on the muslin, so I thought to make the cuff before inserting the sleeves would be easier.

1. I cut the cuffs of fabric, stitched them and they were too small! The sleeve width was definitely larger than the cuff width. What happened? I widened the sleeves, as I widened the whole pattern after making my muslin. I widened the cuff too. But I forgot that there were two seams in the sleeve, thus two times made the sleeve wider, but the cuff only once. There was just enough fabric left to cut new cuffs, which I then drew to the pattern of the sleeves, while Marfy made them just straight.
2. I used the method described in Sandra Betzina's book "Power Sewing" to insert the cuffs. Worked great. But then I realised that the lining should be there first. This was not described in the book, as in the example there were serged seams. I should have thought it through a bit more.

And then (I'm ashamed to tell this, this is by no means my first jacket!) I set in the sleeves wrong. Right sleeve in left armhole and the other way round. Made a lot of work of setting in the sleeves, doing it "by the book" and the sleeve head was really perfect. But the drape of the sleeve was not good. I spent hours yesterday ripping part of the seams and trying to make it work. No good, and I didn't see what happened.

Today my mother was here and we looked at it together. At a certain moment I said that I was going to take it out and redraw the pattern. When the first sleeve was completely ripped out, I at once saw what really happened and what I did not see before.

I'm going to blame the cold I'm struggling with. That's some excuse (though a lame one).

Friday, October 5, 2007


I've decided to join the Timmel SWAP contest. I read about this SWAP before and this week read about this new contest on the blogs of Carolyn and Laura.
I'm fascinated by the idea of sewing a wardrobe. Earlier I published my own storyboard for a personal wardrobe plan for this autumn.

Regarding this contest I thought it would be too much work and planning, and I decided recently to stop buying fabrics from so far away as the US (or Canada in this case) as the shipping charges to Europe are high.

But after considering the fact that you are allowed to make two things before the official start of the SWAP on January 1, I thought this might be done. As it has to be finished in April, this means that it must be a late winter/early spring set of clothes for me. Seems so far away!

And as to not buying from vendors located outside Europe, I'm allowed to make an exception to my own rule :-).

Which colors to use? I have no idea yet, but would like it to be something original for me, as I tend to use the same colors over and over again.

Looking for inspiration I found this site: FashionTrendsetter:

From this site is the colorscheme on the left. One color I will NOT use is what is called Freesia. I can't wear yellow, and always avoid it.

But I like the Snorkel Blue, that might be one of the colors to start with if I can find fabric in that color. (Does Snorkel mean in English the same as in Dutch: a way of exploring wildlife the water?)

If you click Color trends >> Pantone Fashion Color Report for Spring 2008 >> Preview colors for Spring 2008 you'll find all colors predicted to be in fashion next year in a pdf file.

Also nice to visit:A museum site on different designers:

This is going to be fun!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Where to start

A few things to share.

1. Answer to question:
Nancy asked me a question in the comments section on the use of Power mesh in the side panel of a bra. I sent her a personal reply, but think this might be of interest to others too. This is a copy of the reply on the subject of Power mesh:

For the sides I just use lycra when it is not too thin. Another method (besides the power mesh you mention, which is hard to get here too) I saw mentioned (but did not try myself) is taking two layers of lycra, with the stretch of one layer different from the other.
I've tried the two layers of lycra with the same stretch direction in the latest bra I made for the undercup (the blue one I posted). This was a new technique for me, and worked wonderful.
Another thing I've done in the past is using tule (a thin, stretch type) as under layer. Remember the side panel needs stretch to close the bra properly.

2. A first picture of my Marfy coat.

Steady progress on this one, but it takes a huge amount of time. I do not keep record of the time I'm sewing on this (don't get paid for these hours anyway!) The pocket is stitched on top of the coat, so welts were needed, but not the pocket part you usually add to them. For a clean finish I used lining fabric, and cut the welt-opening. Then handstitched the opening. What you see is the back of the topstitching. After making the lining for the pocket I decided I didn't like my first topstitching, so I took it out and topstitched again.

3. Some inspiration!
What do you think of these drawings. A great inspiration source for pattern drafting. I once (>15 years ago) took a course in pattern drafting and since then I have these great drawings. Someone copied this for me. It's almost 1000 (thousand) pages, and on each page are four drawings for skirts/pants or just details for necklines, cufs etc. Should try some day to really draft such a detail.

That was a lot of posts of me this week, now I'm very quickly going back to my real work (without leaving my chair!).

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Burda 09-2007-105

This jacket/top is for my daughter, I posted on the change of the front pattern piece last week and this is the result. When I can get DD to show I'll make a picture, but 14-year olds are not always in the right mood :-).

But she is very happy with it, and so am I. Great fit in size 38. I love Burda! They have great fashion forward patterns, and once you know what changes you need, it's always the same (like Summerset mentioned in a comment).

In the comments on my last post Alex mentioned Jalie patterns to have a great fit too. And I wholeheartily agree with that. Through reading reviews on Pattern Review I got to know Jalie patterns and first tried the jeans jacket with great results. Since I have tried several others, and they are true to size! One of my next projects will be a Jalie top.