Progress in the Sewing Room

At Stitchers Guild, ejvc has started a thread to Pimp Your Sewing Room which dove-tails perfectly with my own plans to refresh my sewing room this year.  One of the things I have been doing is finding a permanent storage solution for the many rolls of ribbon, laces and trim that I accumulate.   I like this solution:

available on Amazon but I’m sure in other places as well. This pic shows if full of paints (I use this satchel for fabric and craft paints).  My Ribbons and Trim’s Satchel is almost 4″ deep.  When filled (which all 4 of mine are, the rolls stand up. Unfortunately if not filled the rolls tend to move about.  I sorted the ribbons and trims by color because generally I’m looks for a specific color or color range although sometimes I’m just looking for general inspiration.  Even though the satchels are transparent, I have problems knowing exactly which bin I want when they’re sitting on their shelf:

I sat on the floor to take the pic above. Normally, that’s not what I see. I see the edge with the thick handles and locks which is the reason I added the green stickers on top.

I wrote the colors in the satchel on the green stickers. They’re in pencil and didn’t photo nicely but they are changeable and visible enough for me.


Being able to find my stuff and having nice storage (i.e. Pimped out) makes sewing just a little nicer. Don’t cha tink?

Sheer Fabrics MileStone

A goal for two years running has been “Sew those sheers”.  I had to put a tickler on the calendar to even think about sheers. In the past I would pick up a sheer and then decide not to use it because “it would be so hard”.  Like several of my previous goals, using sheers needed a concentrated effort to gain knowledge and skills. Yesterday’s project with NL6213 was definitely a milestone for me.  I didn’t think of using sheers.  I knew I wanted to use that particular fabric for it’s drape and warm weather appeal. It just says spring and summer to me. I noted it was sheers and then thought, which solution? “Which solution” not it’s too hard but choose from amongst the skill set I have. I calling this goal done and blogging Light-Weight, Fusible-Interfacing Sheers-Technique here.

Using A Sloper for Fit

I used my sloper to fit NL 6213.  Read the full post here.

Rotating Bust Dart to Neckline

Read full post and see my sample HERE.

Adding Fullness to the Basic Block

Read my full post here.

A Semi-Sheer Solution

Big Facings:

A solution worthy of inclusion in my sheer solutions. Read my full post here

Finishing My Basic Block

Tweaking the basic block (Connie Crawford 1201) for with my  Craftsy sloper class (One Pattern Many Looks Blouses).  Read my full post here.

New Toy Alert: Curve Runner

When I need to measure curves, I’ve been using the FlexRuler.  But when I saw the Curve Runner, I knew I needed it. The first chance I got was measuring the curve along a hem. I placed the 0 mark at the edge of my pattern piece

and slowly rolled forward.  My pattern piece was more than 8″ long, so I started counting and continued rolling until the ruller met the other edge of the pattern:

I don’t have any problem with math. I could have just added 5 +8 instead of counting.  Either way, I’ve noticed that if I measure something once, I will want that measurement again. So I wrote 13 down on that edge:

The Curve Runner has a permanent home along side my rotary cutters:

It was so much easier to use than the Flex Ruler and we not even going to talk about trying to stand a measuring tape along the edge. It’s well worth my $20.

Now that I’ve used it, I think the larger ruler would have been better for me.  If you happen to want your own go here.

Muslin 4 (LH1011 the Rochelle)

It’s not just that’s I’m pig-headed -which I am- but that I really need a procedure for fitting new patterns. My procedure for Connie Crawford patterns doesn’t work with the other patterns I’ve been sewing. So yes Muslin IV (four not intravenous): I measured bust waist and hips of the pattern; subtracted seam allowances and my body measurements.  I traced the neckline shoulders and armscye of the small but bust, waist and hip of the large because that should result in  5″ bust, 3.5 waist and 3″ hip ease. These numbers are more in keeping with what I want to see on a woven.  However, I’m using the same 25% stretch knit fabric because, well I still have 2 yards and I’d like to use it up, as well as I’d like some fabric consistency.  I know without a doubt that fabric alone can account for the differences in look and fit.

I cut fabric, serged CF and CB then basted (with water-soluble thread) the shoulders and side seams.  The result was not wonderful but not really bad.  I tweaked the shoulder slope by pinching the muslin and repeated darting at the CF CB and underarms as I did on Muslins 1 and 2. Each dart is only 1/4″ more than the default seam allowance, unlike the 3/4 and 1/2″ wedges of the previous muslins.

The hip lacks sufficient ease. I had to tug the hem downwards or it would to creep up to the middle of my back. Sure sign for me to add hip ease.  I like the shoulder slope now and the shoulder looks about the right width.  I think the wrinkles below the underarm are from the altered size and shape of the armscye.  I’m hoping the weird drag lines result from a combination of the two issues (hip room and armscye shape)

The front is starting to look like the much too large Version 2.   The neckline is lying smoothly. The shoulders are about the right length. I might want them 3/8″ wider.  The fabric isn’t stretched tightly across my midsection. All good things.

Keeping in mind that I’m Grandma (not bunny) shaped, this is beginning to come together. Clearly from the side, I can tell the armscye has to be redrawn and I’m in urgent need of a little extra hip ease.  That bust dart is wanting form again.  Hope reshaping the armscye will help. Back to the sewing room

I copied the fitting tweaks to my tissue.  Trimmed the front side to a size medium and then traced the original armscyes to my tissue pattern. I recut my fabric to reflect the changes. Then I serged the shoulders (I think they’re done) plus basted the side seams with a 1/4″ seam allowance

While this is an improvement, it’s still not a garment I’m proud to wear. I still feel the hip doesn’t have enough ease which will negatively affect the garment and maybe in several places.  I can’t add fabric, so in the next pic I removed the side seam stitching from hip to hem.

I like the front. Yes I do. I'[m not all that bothered by the dart which wants to form between armscye and bust or the drag lines below the bust.  Now that the back isn’t distorting the entire garment, I think the shoulders and neckline are near perfect.  I’m inclined to believe  smoothing the front below the waist would have resulted in the entire front between bust and hem  looking very nice.  The back and side view are,,, interesting?  The back should not be cupping below the rear.  Is the fabric already stretched-out of shape?  I’ve only tried this on 4 or 5 times. Seconds on my body.  Not even a full minute. I see the masses in the center back what you don’t see is the center seam of upper back is very curved.  I might need that much curve in 4-5 years. For now, I really need to reduce  the curvature.  Although I’ve carefully reshaped the armscye I’m still seeing the U’s (side view) that indicate the armscye needs to be deeper/wider.

It had already occurred to me that it would be easier to create this style by copying my sloper, adding CB and CF seams and rotating the bust dart to the CF.  I was looking not merely to fit the pattern, but to discover how to fit all Loes Hinse patterns to my body.  I’m disappointed to have completed 4 muslins without producing a better fitting garment.  Fortunately, my “muslin” fabric was old and inexpensive.  At least I didn’t waste a good fabric.

At the moment, I’m not sure what my next step is.  I still desire a procedure to follow when fitting new patterns not merely to fit this one.

For any of you following along, I would urge that you not use this particular experience of mine to finalize your purchase decision. I have fitting issues that I don’t know what they are and so don’t know how to fix them. This pattern, just like all of Loes Hinse designs, is really well drafted. It sews together easily. The extra shaping is a boone for mature bodies.  I take issue only with the fabric recommendations. I believe that there are significant differences between patterns for woven, including drapey woven fabrics and patterns drafted for knits. That she includes both fabrics is a red flag for me.  Perhaps it creates a prejudice which affects my experience. I don’t know. What I know is that it’s entirely possible any of you could take the same pattern and with your choice of fabric create a beautifully fitting garment.

Muslin 3

There’s an  axiom that goes

“If you always do

what you always did;

You ‘ll always get

what you always got”


Problem for me is that I can’t keep doing the fitting things I’ve done for the last 20 years.  My body changed about a year and half ago. I gained weight, but also changed shaped. For a long time I wasn’t sure exactly what had changed. I only knew that my standard alterations no longer produced satisfactory fit.  Several months ago I started working with Connie Crawford patterns.  I discovered the slope of my shoulder has changed significantly.  The slope also affects the armscye.  After weeks and garment after garment I can fit her top patterns but I do have to make an effort.  Fitting is not a straight procedure.   Worse for me, what works with CC patterns doesn’t seem highly effective with my other patterns.  I’m still missing something.  There is some bit of information or knowledge that I haven’t connected.  So I can’t keep fitting garments they way I’ve always fit them.

I decided to take another ‘run-at’ The Rochelle but with a different procedure. I remeasured myself. Thankfully, my measurements hadn’t changed. But I had to know. In particular I noted my high-bust measurement and checked that against the recommended sizing.  I know of the upper bust fitting procedure.  I haven’t tried it in past  because I’ve always been able to select by hip size, make a 1″ BWL and then a simple 1″ NSA.  Those two are so much easier than having to do the BWL and an FBA. Besides, I’m not chesty. I really think an FBA should introduce too much ease across my bust. But I’ve got to try something different. So I compared my upper bust measurement with the sizing chart and found that Loes recommends a size Small. Ummm.

So I measured the pattern at bust, waist and hip. Subtracted seam allowances at all 3 and found that a size Small on me would have 3″ ease at the bust, 1/2″ ease at the waist and -1/2 (negative ease) at the hip. With no love for negative ease, I traced a small neckline, shoulder, armscye and a medium bust, waist and hip.  The 1″ BWL was the only alteration I made.  I almost didn’t do that since a small was also visibly shorter than the XL I traced for the previous muslins.

I selected another old Walmart Knit fabric. Frankly, I had no confidence that the little ease I added would be satisfying.  I want my tops to range between semi and loosely fitted. Ading 2″ ease at the waist and 1.5 at the hips just didn’t do it for me. So I selected a knit fabric with 25% stretch.  This is a poly fabric about the same weight as a good T-shirt. If this muslin works it might go-with the Late Summer/Early Autumn 6PAC I’ve been working on. If not, oh well.   I cut the fabric; serged CB and CF but basted shoulders and side seams before sliding this over my head.

I have to tell you, it would not work in a woven fabric. Actually, I’m happy to know that my early assumption that the pattern wasn’t drafted for knits is correct. As a matter of fact, this feels and looks a bit like shape wear.

I wouldn’t wear this in public. Maybe as an undershirt. If it had more lycra. Once again the dart want to form above the bust and the curve of my chest is quite evident.  As are the curves along my side and the shorts I’m wearing today. Surprisingly, the shoulder looks too narrow (No I promise I did not make the NSA) but the neckline fits very nicely.

The back view almost looks nice. Instead of VPL I’m seeing VBL (visible brassiere lines) and the waistband of my shorts. Even with 1.5″ ease and 25% stretch, the muslin cups just below my rear. The back shoulder width looks good but I can see that the shoulder sticks up instead of following my natural shoulder slope.  I will need to adjust that shoulder.

As always the side tells most of the fitting story.  An interesting note is that the hem is level.  It’s probably held so tight it cant move anywhere.

This small/medium does NOT meet my fitting standards.

Fortunately.   I have 3 yards of the same fabric.  Back to sewing room.