Monday, March 31, 2014

Pattern drafting – dress version 2

This wonderful spring weekend I did not do a lot of sewing, instead I enjoyed the weather and went for a long walk on Sunday. We got lost a bit and it was even longer than planned for, and together with the running I did on Saturday, I was exhausted yesterday evening.

Based on the comments I did manage a few alterations though at the pattern and made a quick second muslin on Saturday night. The shoulders are 1 cm wider, which made the neckline go up a tiny bit, just enough to be more comfortable. The original pattern was followed more closely by adding a bit of the bust dart onto a dart following the diagonal line. The remainder of the bust dart was shifted to the line where the upper part and diagonal line meet. Clear as mud?

This time the right shoulder doesn’t seem as much off as in the previous muslin, but the sleeves are not in yet. The back looks a bit too long, which I couldn’t really see last time as I had put in a zipper that was too short.



I’ll discuss the result with my sewing teacher later this week and hope to sew the real dress really soon.

And for those of you interested in pattern drafting, through Pinterest (Vicky, thank you!) I found this Australian site with awesome illustrations of designs and the way the pattern is constructed. Very, very informative. A wealth of knowledge shared.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Pattern drafting

I’ve (finally) succumbed to the idea that I should try to make my own patterns. One of my Dutch commenters has asked a few times why I did not do that, as I was always so struggling with muslins, patterns etc. I did learn the basics of pattern drafting years ago but never got round to properly doing it for myself, did think it was too much work. Going to the sewing class with my fitting issues I was convinced that this was a good thing to do after all and I started drafting the bodice part, first on default measurements, after that on my own measurements. Surprise, surprise in my last lesson, the fit was actually rather good first time round. Combined with the fact that I sewed a wadder of a blouse this week which I tried to fit properly from a pattern and failed horribly in the armscye area, I will continue to work on pattern drafting.

My next lesson isn’t till next week, but I’m going fast forward and tried to draft a dress from BurdaStyle’s April issue and even made a muslin of the top part already.

It’s dress no. 117 which I discussed with Hilde and Joana on the day we ran together. We all had seen it in the previews and thought it might be nice to all sew this and wear it on or next get together. I got the magazine and to my disappointment, it was a petite sized pattern. As I’m already 6 cm taller than the normal length BurdaStyle is drafted for, petite sizes are definitely not for me.  So it was either de-petite the pattern and do the other alterations I do for most patterns anyway, or draft my own pattern.

First result, I thought I might need the extra space in the front to get the skirt hang properly, but have pinned the darts in the second photo, which is much better. I will transfer the changes to the pattern and the crossing part will not have the dart. For now I kept the normal bust dart. No FBA!

The neckline is too low to wear without a cami most of the time. Making it higher would make the lines very different. What do you think?

The zipper for the back was not long enough which makes it look a bit frumpy. Very clear is the difference in both shoulders, an area to change on the right side.

Though I messed up the first time drafting this, it was relatively easy. It took me two evenings to get here.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

About a pattern, running, fabric and a new bra

There’s a lot to write about, I did quite a few sewing related things this week and/or shared them with sewing friends.

First of all I would like to thank Barbara, one of my readers that I met when she visited The Netherlands last autumn. We had a very nice evening at the time and have been in contact since. She sent me this wonderful Montana pattern. I was a great admirer of Claude Montana in the 80’s and had a few of his patterns, but not this one.  This pattern will be in my to sew list for next winter.


Last Sunday I did my first official 5K run, together with sewing friends Hilde and Joana. The photo is from before the run ;). For all of us it was a feeling of great achievement, to be able to do this when we only started running a few months ago. I wrote about this here. Let’s do it again ladies! Marta came to cheer us on, it was a lovely afternoon.


Then I spent a few days with my friend Valerie in Zeeland, where we enjoyed sewing, chatting and going to the fabric market together.

This is my haul, can you see the black/white/grey preference?


DSC_0594 DSC_0593 

And what did I sew? I finished a bra for my daughter that I started months ago and made myself a new one. It’s made from non-stretch lace. The narrow elastic that is normally used to stitch behind the scalloped edge of the bra I now used as accent. At the top of the cups it’s a bit shorter so that it will still have its purpose of keeping the lace to your body.

I’ve played a bit with the pattern pieces and redrafted my tnt pattern to have one long straight edge at the side cup. The shape on the dressform looks a bit strange, but it’s a good fit on me.

That’s all for now, I’m hoping to do a bit of sewing later today, now it’s usual Saturday routine.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Ziggi jacket done

The last steps on the jacket took me a while, but finally I can post pictures of the finished jacket. I totally forgot to take photos from the inside. I’ve used a beautiful black silk for it, that I bought in New York too.

For me this is a souvenir jacket, most of the materials were bought during my stay in NY in October when I met up with Nancy.

This week I’m staying with my friend Valerie for a few days and she did the photos (thank you!). It’s a day with a lot of sunshine and  wind, so the hair got a bit untidy. I think it’s nice to have a different location once in a while to have the pictures taken. We have been sewing together as well. I did a nice new bra, so more sewing news to follow.

I’ve posted quite a bit on the construction process already, so I’ll limit it to the photos now.

It was quite a lot of work to make this jacket, it still has a few fit issues, also resulting from using the thicker fabric. Those things do not hold me back from liking this jacket very, very much. It’s going in the closet for a while because it’s too hot to wear now, but will definitely wear it a lot next winter.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014



Life (read work) took the reign over my sewing plans, haven’t done much since my sneak peak picture, except for partially assembling the lining. And what does one do when spending long hours at a computer screen? As a break some virtual shopping and getting inspiration. I love the lines of this jacket by Marni.I’ve seen it on Net a porter.
Wanted to post a link but now can’t find it, it was new in the collection.

Must keep this in mind for spring/summer.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Ziggi jacket – changes to the pattern

Thank you for your comments on my running.It seems that sewing and running is a combination of activities regularly done. I do plan to make workout gear (e.g. Melissa’s legging pattern is in my to sew list), getting the right fabric is a bit of a problem. I might try to use some swimsuit fabric that’s laying around for a first try of the pattern.

Back to the Ziggi jacket. I hope to finish it tomorrow. Here’s a sneak peak again. I did say in a previous post that it might take me as long as a Chanel style jacket. I didn’t count the hours, but this certainly is a time consuming project.Mostly due to my choices of fabric (all seams have to be catch-stitched to lay flat) and finishing (piping added). Well worth it.

Before I show the changes to the pattern let me say that these changes are for my figure, they are not a mistake in the pattern. I prefered to have more waist definition too.
Combined with the full bust and narrow back figure I have , I made the following changes. Click on the pictures if you want to see them larger.

At the bottom (left side of picture) I came back to the original seam line (pattern is with 3/8 seam allowances), but otherwise took quite a bit of width out of the back, including at the top of the pattern pieces, that are sewn to the yoke.

At the front I took out a bit at the waist too. When sewing I straightened the line a because I realized I had to sew in the pockets/zipper and too strong a curve was not good there. The center front part was not changed.

The yoke was a bit more work. It had to stay the same length in the front, the shoulders and back had to be shorter. In the next picture you see the original pattern to the left and mirrored my new pattern piece. Most obvious is that the armhole part of the yoke (in the center) is more curved in the changed pattern piece.The length is the same.

This is how I changed it.
I drew lines from the shoulder notch to the neckline and a line from front to back seam.

The vertical line was cut from the back till the front seam, and from the edge to the front seam, leaving a little “turning” point. Of course it separated a little after this picture. It’s just important that the seam line is the point you’re working with, not the edge of the seam allowance.

Then the pieces are shifted like this, the front line is not straight any more, but still the same length. The back seam is overlapping, as are the lines at the shoulder. A little bit extra space is added, but I considered that too small to bother about and it was ok.

All pieces taped together again and the seams trued (straightened in this case). The shoulder seam was 11 centimeters and is now 10 centimeters. The back seam of the yoke was 14.5 centimeters and is now 13 centimeters.

If you want to you now adjust the seam allowances too,

Also check the changes to the back pattern pieces. The seams on these parts must together be the same length as the seam of the yoke. The other seams of the yokes are not changed in length.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

From sewing to running

This might be a bit cryptic title. What has sewing to do with running, apart from that you could sew workout clothes? For me A LOT. If you have been following my blog for some time you might know that I met quite a few bloggers and other sewista’s during the past years. A group of ladies meets quite regularly now and last November we met in Canterbury (UK). One of the ladies went for a run in the morning, and to make a longer story short: 5 others (of which I am one) decided to start running as well. We are doing the “From couch to 5K plan”, which aims to get you to run 30 minutes in 9 weeks. And I got there!! I did the 30 minutes continuous running. For me that’s not yet 5 kilometers, but I’ll get there too.

We don’t run together in real life, we’re too far apart and even in two countries. We’re following the same program and keep in touch by email telling each other how it goes, cheering each other on. We prepared ourselves, bought running shoes, downloaded the podcasts and started.

THANK YOU Joana, Marta, Hilde and Viv, I couldn’t have done this without you. I know you got there too or are close to it. Yeah for us!

We follow this program from the UK NHS. In the podcasts Laura talks you through the runs, and I can hardly believe that I never liked running before. I was not really a couch potatoe before I started, I went to the gym regularly and do quite a bit of walking and cycling, but always said that running is not for me. DH has been running for about 15 years, I was not understanding  the fun of it. Now I do, though I am not aiming for any long distances, there will be no marathon in my future. That would take too much of my sewing time ;-)

Next time we meet (which will be in Paris soon), my sewing friends and I will be running there too, so from sewing to running….


PS: the jacket is getting there, some decisions to make about facing fabric. Next post with pictures and progress again.