Friday, August 23, 2013

Dress not working for me


I made a second muslin and solved a few fitting issues, but it's not there yet and I'm giving up on this dress. Sorry to disappoint those of you who hoped to see my version first before making it yourself. I'm looking forward to versions of those of you who can tackle this pattern.

I have spent quite a few hours on it till now and not convinced it will ever suit me well. This pattern is difficult to adjust for curvier figures. I thought I could deal with the pattern alterations but it's too difficult for me. Ann worked on this dress too and gave a comment on my previous post that she thought there were issues with the instructions. I'm not going to go through all the instructions in detail now. If you're going to attempt this pattern it might be good to know this too.

Hope your sewing has better results ;)

Monday, August 19, 2013

A puzzle

I fully agree with the comments on the dress that the front didn’t look balanced. Partly due to the unfinished state of it, partly because it was not yet fitting well. In the meantime I’ve finished the seam allowances of the front and took a good look at the fit. It indeed needs more space in the hip area and I wanted the center front higher. No easy task with this pattern with all the special shaped pattern pieces.

An example: there are no shoulder seams as they are on the back (decided to leave them as they are, there are changes enough). I have drawn a line from the shoulder point to the neckline to make a reference point for the neckline change. It took me quite a lot of time for all pattern changes and I’m not even sure yet that it’s correct. Still have to change the facing pieces. I’m debating making another muslin or taking my chances with a risk of complete failure and loss of fabric. Making this 3 times is not a fun idea either. Guess that I know what to do: another muslin.


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Quick muslin


I’m not often impressed by Vogue patterns enough to justify the cost of buying them, even when they are on sale. But this time the Donna Karan dress that featured the e-mail announcing their new fall patterns immediately caught my attention. A beautiful dress in my opinion. Last weekend the patterns were on sale again. I ordered it on Friday and it arrived yesterday. Quite impressive as it had to cross an ocean. Once here I had to start working on it. Yesterday evening I traced the pattern and cut it from the one knit in my stash that had enough yardage, but perhaps not enough “body”.

The pattern piece with all the pleats in it has a lot of lines. Very good was that the different sizes were distributed over 2 sheets. Sizes 14 and 18 on one sheet, the other 3 sizes on another sheet. It made it clear which lines belonged to the sizes. If all 5 would have been on one sheet it would have been a mess.

As all of the pieces are cut from one layer of fabric, it is helpful to cut two sleeve pattern pieces. It makes it easier to place the pattern pieces correctly (only one pattern piece is on the tissue).

Tonight I sewed the body part, mainly to check the fit. The pattern pieces are as fascinating as the dress looks and it’s a bit difficult to define where to widen for the hip area (a must for me). Also there are no finished measurements on the pattern pieces, so impossible to know whether Vogue has designed this with wearing ease and how much. This would have been helpful information. I started with a size 14 and widenened the skirt after I had determined where about I had to change.

Sorry for the not so flattering photos, taken from a too short distance. I did not finish the collar part. Size 14 is a bit wide in the back (as usual) but I think it’s ok in the front. The neckline could be raised a bit, also on the Vogue photo it’s a bit low. It’s not hemmed yet, the length will be fine when it is. The opening in the front is not ok though, it’s too open when walking to  my liking and planned use of this dress. The pattern needs a bit of tweaking to fit me, which is no surprise. The result isn’t too bad though. Will this work?

What do you think?

And what do you think of the different left/right shoulder angle, which is on the back. I did not realise it until I saw the photo on me and noticed the different angle immediately. I’m inclined to either make it in the same angle or make the left shoulder straight like a normal shoulder seam instead of an angle.




Answers to questions in the comments: Marie,  unfortunately   I don’t know an online bra course. I’m glad to hear the tutorials are helpful.

Alison asked for a source for the interfacing. I buy it at Kantje boord and have bought it online from Wien2002. It’s an Austrian site in German only. The main think it’s thin and it doesn’t stretch. It’s called tule or non-stretch chameuse.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Sewing bra cups with interfacing

Most of the bra’s I make have interfacing. In one of my  tutorials I describe using a special fusible interfacing, but I don’t use that any more. I have realised that I do a few things different nowadays and I’m working on an updated version.

Below is my default bra that I have made in a lot of variations. These are my latest additions to the lingerie drawer.


Usually I use a non stretch interfacing for the under cup and the side cup, which gives me the support I need. For a neat way of finishing also on the inside I do the following:


Pin right side of lace to right side of the under cup. Pin the non stretch interfacing layer on top of the lace.  The lace is now sandwiched between the under cup lycra and the interfacing.


Sew the seam with a straight stitch.


Turn to the right side and edgestitch the under cup. I use the invisible hem foot for this with the needle position to the left. While doing this I make sure that the lycra and interfacing are folded down properly. I do this by tugging it a bit with my fingers, I don’t use pins.

Trim the seam allowance.


The result on the outside of the cup

And on the inside.

For this bra on which I’m working now I then stretched the lcyra a bit over the interfacing as described in this post. The extra is still on the cup and has to be trimmed.

The side cup I sew in the same way.

After these additions to my drawer I hope to have some inspiration for regular garments again. My daughters bra is on hold for the moment as I have to order other wires. This is how the cups look now.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The carefree fly-front coat – Craftsy course

I followed another Craftsy class. This time the “Carefree fly-front coat” by Kenneth D. King. Need I say more? It is a great class with a wonderful teacher. He explains clearly what he is doing and why.  He shows the result of a part of the jacket (the collar, the way the sleeve hangs for example) and then shows you how to get there. The camera work is excellent.

It’s more than only a step by step guide how to make the coat/jacket: it is an introduction in tailoring. It’s not a beginners class and even though I’ve made a lot of jackets, have done my share of tailoring techniques  (though I admit to using fusibles, not the way mr. King does it of course!) I have learned a lot. I will re-watch this class again and make notes, which I didn’t do this first time round. I was hooked to my computer screen for the chapter of inserting a sleeve/sleeveheads/shoulder pads. He has his own method of defining the notches where the sleeve easing should begin and end. That sort of tips makes the course extra valuable.

A Vogue pattern is part of the course and at the start of the course some changes are made to the pattern to make the pattern for the coat Kenneth King is making. The original jacket only closes with a belt and mr. King adds a  hidden button closure to the pattern as well as a princess seam in the front with pockets in the seamline. The changes are easy to follow. The little trick of shaping the collar so that inserting it later is easier was for me in the category “how clever, why didn’t I think of this”.  But he does think of these sort of details. He said that the sharp corner is often found in European patterns and yes, that is what I have always known. I will adapt my pattern next time in the way he showed it.

The course has the following topics:



I truly loved this course and hope to sew a coat this fall using these techniques.

After yet another praise for a Craftsy course I want to stress again that this is a personal opinion. I bought this class in a regular sale and did not receive it for free.

I’m not as positive on all classes I have bought and even have written a negative review a while ago on one class on the Craftsy site (not a sewing class). You will not see that review on their site as  they show you only the 5 star reviews as long as you have not enrolled to a class.  I would like to read the less positive reviews as well prior to buying a class. I do understand why they don’t do that, but still.   Also: when Craftsy started (or at least when I discovered it) you could preview a few minutes of the class. That way you could hear the voice of the instructor and the way he or she instructs. It was a good way to decide whether or not to buy a class. This preview exists no longer and is replaced by a little introduction by the instructor or by a general introduction, more a commercial, not by the instructor (as far as I have seen).

In general I would like to read more reviews on the classes, either on blogs or on Pattern Review (which has a section for reviewing classes as well) . It would be nice if we all could be a bit better informed about the contents and details of a class and why someone liked it or not. We all have different interests and levels of sewing and with more reviews we can decide for ourselves whether or not we want to take a class, based not only on Craftsy’s own advertising.

That said: if you are interested in tailoring: take mr King’s class!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Using preformed cups – cut to size and covering

I was surprised that some of you were interested in my rant. It was about Burda asking for input so that they could make their product better, but in fact they wanted information to be able to please their advertisers more. Questions about what I do for a living, what I earn, what I spend on clothes, accessories, beauty products ….None of their business and not information to improve their magazine or site. The mood to rant is over and I’m looking forward to a fun season of sewing.
It’s been a very hot week here in which not a lot of sewing happened. We are not used to this weather and I am glad it will get back to more normal (agreeable warm) temperatures next week.

There was one thing done however: covering the next pair of cups for my daughter. Preformed cups are not always available in the right shape or color. The colors available (when you are lucky) are off-white, black or brown. When you want to use lace to cover, it might be necessary to cover the cups with lycra in a matching color first.
My daughter liked the bra I made, but found the center front a bit high and asked for a lower center front in the next one. I thought the best way to achieve what she wants was to copy the shape of her favorite rtw bra as much as possible.  Below how I did that. The cups are once again from Kantje Boord in another shape this time. I wanted to try both versions so that my daughter can decide which she likes best.

I pinned the cup int the rtw bra and traced the line of the cups

For future reference I noted the cup size on the part I will take off and keep. If this bra is ok I can use the top part as pattern to mark the next pair of cups.

After cutting the cup at the traced line the top was a bit thick. The cups are pressed very flat at the edges, but that part is now removed.

My solution: use a narrow zigzag stitch to thin it. Below you see the difference on one of the top pieces (only for the photo, no need to do this on the part you cut off of course)

The result on the cup.

A piece of lycra a bit bigger than the cup is used to cover it. Pin from the center and pull the fabric a little. Not too much, the shape of the cup should remain. Use a lot of pins where necessary. I found this easier to do on the smaller cup for my daughter than on my own larger cups. Less round makes a difference ;)

A little trick at the edge. I used a glue stick I found recently at a notions store. It’s my gadget find of the year, I have used it often already. It will wash out.
I glued the edges and pulled the lycra over it and pressed firmly with my fingers. If you don’t have a glue for this you can use pins, but this makes this step so easy.

The next step is to cut off the fabric at the edge and cover with fold over elastic.
I pin just the first part with one or two pins and then stitch and pull it over the edge with a zigzag stitch. The trick is sew a little bit, pull the elastic a bit and place it around the edge, sew a few centimeters…. Apart from the first pin(s) no pins are used any more. Slow and sewing short distances at a time are what is important here.

Whether you cut off the lycra from the other seams depends on the style of bra you’re making.  I trimmed all lycra to the shape of the cup apart from the armhole. I’m not sure yet what I will do with the band and cutting off can always be done.

Artificial light makes the color champagne instead of grey all of a sudden.