WOW finished goal!

WOW because when I stated back in January that I wanted to purge my patterns, I really didn’t think I would get it done. Another WOW because I did.

It reached the point I could not jam my fingers into my pattern boxes.  I have 4 large storage boxes, a 2 drawer file cabinet and 4 smaller file boxes as well as several multi-age portable filers like this.

It was a long job but I must confess I didn’t do it all at once. Over a time span of about 6 weeks, I would make a list of patterns by categories. Go find them. Review and ask myself “Why am I keeping this?” and this discard or file away.  I was surprised at how many “duplicates” I had. They weren’t duplicates in identifying number or envelope art, but looking carefully at the diagram, they were the same.  Not even an interesting neckline, pocket detail or any other detail made one pattern different from the other.  It would appear that I’ve been victim of buying what I thought was a new design but was simply wrapped in a new package.  (They do that in books a lot.)I discarded a lot of “pillow case” patterns. They are too difficult to fit to my curvaceous body. I tend to look frumpy while I’d like to be a romantic-classic (with emphasis on classic).

For the most part, I failed in purging my Indy collection. I did let go of a few, mostly Style Arc (who creates a very bodycon draft) but by-and-large I just could not stand to see them go.  Maybe next time because they are becoming as common as the Big4.  Also did not purge Burda nor Otto. I may change their storage in future.

I winnowed my patterns and file then in boxes in one of  several categories:

  • Burda
  • Otto
  • TRT/TRJ
  • 6299
  • Jackets/Vests
  • Tops/Dresses
  • Misc: Dolls, Lingerie, Mens, Home Dec truly Misc(each  of the misc category has less than 5 patterns)
  • Bottoms (pants and skirts)
  • Indys (CLD, Connie Crawford, Jalie,Loes Hines, MacPhee, Hot  Patterns, Silhouette Patterns and My Drafts including those copied from WM

I still have a respectable collection. Thankfully it takes up less room and I have room to collect more!!!

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About the missing….

So, I admit defeat. I stored my pics at Photobucket for many years.  I was fine with the storage limitation and resisted upgrading. Eventually, Photobucket decided my photos could not be viewed, even by me, because I wouldn’t upgrade. What good is a host if you can’t see what it is hosting?  Initially I intended to find all the photos and load them to WordPress or my purchased storage. (Another reason for not paying Photobucket is that I am already paying for much more storage than I am using.) However chasing down the photos, cause remember Photobucket wouldn’t let me see what I had out there, chasing down the photos, matching them to the right post, right point of display became time intensive. I just don’t have the heart for it.

So I thought and I thunk and I tinked some more.  The purpose of my photos is to illustrate my blog posts.  Originally the purpose of my blog  was sharing SWAP. Found I loved writing for my Blog and started using it as my sewing journal. I am actually quite distressed that what I thought would be a permanent, electronic record I could always refer to, has become a series of writings missing the meat of my thoughts. The end result for me is that without the pics posted on PhotoBucket my blog no longer functions as my sewing journal.

Which brings me to the missing. I’ve decided to simply delete everything on Photobucket. So whatever pics Photobucket was blocking will now be missing. Since the meat of the matter, my pics, will be gone there is no real need for  old, incomplete posts. I will be deleting them too.  I suspect when I am done,  only post and pics from 2017 will remain. The others will be missing.

 

I don’t have a lot of followers, but I thought it only fair to warn you ahead of time. If you have links to my posts, they will be broken; and you will probably find missing links within my own posts.

A thank you

Before I start posting sewing/crafting projects for 2017, I especially want to thank you all for the compliments on my Christmas Day Blouse.

I was pleased with it and stunned by DH’s gift.  Your collective outpouring of compliments was totally unexpected. There were so many, I cannot thank each of you personally or enough.

 

…and now back to sewing.

 

Along with the patterns for 2018….

there are some things I’d like to do.

For starters, I want to purge those pattern boxes.  I have patterns I haven’t used in years and I’m not planning on using in the foreseeable future.  There was a time when I had plenty of space. Years of hard work, moderate living and an indulgent DH has changed the storage situation. For Christmas, I got a new set of bath brushes which I truly wanted. First issue was where to put them so they were at hand but not in the way.  So many things are now like that.  It doesn’t make sense to hold onto things I won’t use.  Frankly some should go in the trash but others can be donated and I may even give a few away on SG.  Never hurts to do something nice.

In previous years I’ve tried to deep clean the Sewing and Stash rooms all at once in a one week period of time. I hurt too much to do that anymore . This year I tried cleaning a quarter of one room at a time in one month. I didn’t get it done. In fact, I didn’t completely finish even  the room I started, the room with all the machines! In thinking about this needed  task, I’ve decided I to break it up differently.  I will miss having both rooms sparkling clean at the same time. It is a pleasure to see all my fabrics and supplies clean, organized and ready to use. Truth is, it is more likely to get deep cleaned if I do one-quarter of one room each month. I think I’ll make a date on my calendar.  Last week of the month sounds good. Can’t go anywhere at the end of the month anyway. (No money. Typical condition of most Social Security Recipients. Please don’t call me an  entitlement. I know how much we get. I live on it every month and I know how much of my earnings went into that fund. It wouldn’t be a line item in the budget had previous administrations invested instead of spending the money. You borrowed from me. Time to pay up!)

Although, I do plan to do more going and less sewing next year.  I look back and I was really cranking out the garments. It was a feverish pace driven by my need: To Fit.  I believe that’s under control and plan to explore other things.  In fact as soon as the tree is down, I’m putting up the knitting machine. It gets expensive to heat this whole house in the winter.  By not sewing and heating those rooms, I save a great deal but I’m terribly bored because I’m also not going out in sub-zero weather. I’m old, not crazy. Sitting at the MK is a great substitute and still allows me some creativity with color and texture. I’ve yet to explore painting on knits and I have all the paints!  Definitely want to turn my attention to more embellished sewing projects. Basics are essential and I can now whip them up when needed.  Especially with ejvc reminding me to stop and evaluate my closet. It’s time to indulge in fun sewing.   I’ve picked up my pencil and a new Zentangle book.  I’m working towards reviewing the basics.  It is remarkable to me how drawing Zentangles starts the creative juices flowing. Remarkable. Exploring nature is always inspirational and with it comes some quality time with DH.  Tolerable Spring weather is 5 months away which only seems long when we are looking forward. Consider the last 5 months. Since August or end of July.  How quickly has that flown?

Yes I’m hoping for a good year. With health issues under control, creative projects at hand and good times with DH and our friends.

As you head out or stay in for New Year’s activities, know that I wish you the same. I would wish the entire world a Happy New Year.

Patterns for 2018

Looking back also makes me look forward. What do I want to do in 2018?  So I browsed my catalog for patterns and created a huge todo list.

Not surprising all the Fit For Art Variations

are on that list. I have loved the base patterns this year and will want more for next year.  The were so easy to fit to me — even with my new fitting requirements. I did make a few tweaks after the initial muslin and garment. The kind of things that happen after you wear something for a while and realize it’s off by a smidge. I also love these patterns because they are very conserving on fabric. With a little thought, multiple fabrics can be combined into very lovely garments. So yes, these are high on the todo list…

..Followed by a few more Silhouette Patterns.

OK so, 3413 is questionable. It’s a yoga pant with a side stripe which I thought would be fabric conserving i.e. get the fabric requirements under 2 yards. Given my track record, I think I’m more likely to develop a yoga pant I can love and make a similar pattern draft by using 5682. I refer to the fact that SP pants that fit me finish with little tents around my ankles.Not a current look or one that I love. I think as well it makes me shorter. Who wants to look shorter and fatter? Not me. So starting 2018, 3413 is a maybe.

#96 I want to use for a terry, bath wrap — using real terry cloth towels. I haven’t bought the towels yet so we’ll see.

#75 is an interesting cape/vest combination.  Peggy has shown both pieces worn separately as well as joined as the envelope represents.  It is intriguing to me.  I suspect it will be a one and done. But I’m not against such explorations.

#600 OTOH, I’m hoping to make my woven block. Yes, I’ve been that happy with 195 T-shirt especially after I rotated the dart to the armscye. There are so many things I can do with 600 including fit other patterns.

#425 is an interesting #600 variation with darts rotated to a center front seam. It is a look  I’ve seen pop up in various configurations in many RTW collections. Not only that, it is a perenial occurring every year at least the last 5-7 years.  It is passed ‘trend’ status and become classic. I think in part because it is a romantic, feminine touch. A few years back I tried the Otto Version(2007-05 #8 and Raglan 2017-02 #17). Alas, my fitting problems had reached the point none of my Otto makes looked like they fit. Sadly, I have not recovered from that period of time and honestly, if I can make 425 fit me, I see no reason to trace an fit and Otto.

#350 has the same interesting side panel as does SP’s knit raglan pattern 314. Sadly, it doesn’t have the raglan sleeve. It is definitely in the princess-armscye draft that I discovered last year is easy to adapt to my body.

I will take another stab Louise Cutting and Loes Hinse patterns. I’ve loved them for so long. Last year, every time I acquired a new bit of fitting knowledge  I’d try to fit them. Always without success. the way I’m feeling at the end of 2017 is that they may go the way of the Big4. (My biggest problem with the Big 4 is the inconsistent block. Even their descriptors, fitted, semi-fitted etc have no clear definitions. Every Big 4 must be approached as a brand new Indy -without a consistent style or vision.) Anyway, Louse and Loes are on the list.

Then there is this girl, McPhee

She’s a Canadian that creates the most interesting, simple patterns. I’ve collected several patterns over the years, but not once cut fabric.  The problem with ‘simple’ patterns, is they don’t have enough seams. They are therefor as impossible to fit as was Diane Erickson’s 3-fold Vest

Man I worked that one to death. I didn’t post because it was such a failure for me. Just as I thought I was getting somewhere with Diane’s pinch and fold directions, I realized I was creating an armscye princess. Question: why do to all this work to create a pattern I already have several fitted variations?  So I quit. Haven’t tossed the fabric. Still hoping I can upcycle it. Point being that while I am intrigued with McPhee, I may never comment again on her patterns and may indeed add them to the donate list. Somethings aren’t worth the effort I have to make. Of course and as always, YMMV

Next on the list, no surprise and also probably in-between makes of the above, are several pants patterns.

I very much want my Jalie and Style Arc pant patterns in rotation. Truly hoping my newly acquired fitting knowledge will make that possible for them and some other classics like the FFA Eureka, and the JSM block.  These are all well drafted patterns with specific styles and even fabric uses. I haven’t been able to use them because my body changed but I didn’t know specifically what I needed to change to make my patterns fit.

Did I skip over Connie Crawford?

A few years ago when I first fit her blouse block, I went bonkers acquiring Connie Crawford patterns.  I was surfing Ebay looking for an OOP Camp Shirt (2112). Even wrote her about it. She told me she had recalled it for a drafting error and issued an even better pattern. I thought 2112 had all the perfect elements of my ideal camp shirt while her other pattern, left me cold. But back to what’s on the list. Connie developed patterns for the large woman and she updated her draft as she learned more about what the large woman needs and wants.  It’s a good attitude but it means that her earlier drafts won’t fit the same as the later ones and each pattern must be started as a brand new indie. Fitting the block did not do what I wanted and I found myself having to do multiple muslins to fit each pattern.  I didn’t get too far because I still didn’t know what all my problems were.  2017 I picked out the patterns with armscye princess seams. incredulously, they were easy to fit. Knowing what I do now, I’d like to tackle some of the other patterns Connie published because they are flattering for the larger woman. BUT don’t be surprised if I toss a few of these. Life is too short for some headache’s.

Lastly, there are a few dress patterns I’d like to use, a handful of misc styles, and some interesting designers to explore.

I doubt I get all these dresses sewn. I don’t wear dresses very often. Mostly in the summer when they are cool dressing. I made a few dresses over the last few Christmases. They were worn once and hung in the closet forever. I upcycled them last fall and realized a dressy top and skirt would serve the same purpose and be more adaptable.

I think this pattern is just kewl and I want to make it.

Along the same vein, I’d like to explore some of the ideas of Holly McQuillan, Modelista and Studio Faro. (Please forgive me if I’ve made spelling errors.)  I’m sure some others will come up during the year. I’ve already signed up for Silhouette Patterns POM. I mean every time Peggy does  a POM broadcast I want to buy the pattern. May as well get a discount, eh? I’m considering the Sewing Workshop sew along but I don’t love their patterns. SW patterns are interesting but few and far between suit my life style.  They are all expensive one-and dones for me although I find myself greatly admiring what others have done with SW patterns. And I’m still considering joining FB. They have a bad reputation of compromising your privacy without notice. I believe they have been successfully sued several times but that’s like closing the barn door after the horse is out. You’re still going to be chasing horses (who don’t like to be caught until they are tired and hungry rather like teenage boys.)

2017 the Almost TNT

I have 4 almost TNT pant patterns.

I think each needs a little length added to the crotch extension and may need to be scooped to match 6461 (last on the right). 6461 is a 4-piece leg.The yardage requirements guarantee it a place besides TJ906 as loved but not often used. I typically buy 2 yard cuts. 906 and 6461 absolutely require 2-1/4 yards. Not even my hacks can reduce that yardage requirement.  3200 finished with a 24″ hem which does not look like the pattern leg at all. 3414 also finished with the 24″ hem but I’ve been able to reduce it to 20″. Not only do the legs not look like the patterns, that width is not current and requires specific fabrics also not current to look good. Made of the popular Pontes  in today’s pants they look like little tents around my ankles. The hem and fabric requirements guarantee I won’t be using them often or will be fighting attempting to reduce the hem circumference without creating back X wrinkles.

6461 needs the back leg tweaked a little as well and maybe 1/8-1/4″ added to the crotch extensions. Tweaking the leg is easy enough to do because of the center leg seam. I already do the same to the TJ906 3-piece leg.

I think it is 5682 (2nd from the right) which will become the workhorse of my wardrobe (replacing Pamela’s Patterns 113 and Fit For Art Eureka of yester-years). 5682 will exceed TJ906 in 2018 for usefulness. I think it will need between 1/2 and 1″ added to each extension and scooping.  6461 is the first pant pattern with a slim leg that I’m able to fit. I do believe it is a combination of that back crotch shape and the extensions which solve my back X wrinkles.  It also needs the back leg tweaked. Somehow in making the crotches long enough, too much ease/fabric is drafted into the back leg. Too much for me. I suspect that may be true for others as many sewists complain about the “mess beneath the buttocks”.  After those corrections,  I can see multiple pocket and waistband variations including a Yoga pant.These possibilities have me eager to start sewing in 2018.

2017 TNT’s

In case you didn’t notice, starting yesterday I succumbed to need for reflection and projection.  It’s the new year which has that affect upon us.  We think about where we’ve been which naturally causes us to think about where we’re going.  One of the experiences I”m most happy about has been developing new TNT’s during 2017.

Somewhere along the line I realized that yokes  armscye princess seams would allow me to shape the top of my blouses more than 2 piece patterns.  I started looking for blouses with those lines. Suddenly Fit For Art patterns  jump on my radar and into my basket

They have become the back bone of my wardrobe sporting many of my own variations as well as Variation packages drafted by the designer.

Connie Crawford continued to be important designer for me.

Her draft keeps the shoulders more normal. Now, some women really do need patterns drafted for football shoulders (in which case, Connie’s probably not a good choice). Most of us however add mucho padding below the shoulder and retain the svelte shoulders of our childhood. The typical pattern draft doesn’t suit us at all.  On a few patterns I have taken 2″ away from the shoulder length. If a wide neckline is involved, I end up without a garment shoulder. Just a couple of seam allowances. I look into my closet and realize how many garments were made using one of the three above (0457, 5967, 6299) with a change or two. 6299 has its own file box due to all the variations! 0457 and 5967 were relegated to multi-page folders. (Something like this but with 6 pages). Between FFA and Connie Crawford, I really was cranking out garments.

Always curious and frankly stimulated by Peggy Sagers You Tubes, I made several purchases from Silhouette Patterns.

195 Sweater Set, has become my Go-To T-shirt pattern! 314 is the first raglan I’ve been able to fit in several years. It has a unique construction process which has prevented me from making some of the variations I would like. It is drafted for knits and is excellent for sweater knits. But I hesitate to use with woven fabrics.  My hack to use Silhouette patterns includes add 1″ to the side seams. My hack can really distort the pattern. A muslin is an absolute must. I can’t envision what will be needed to make a woven work.  575 is a cross between a yoke and a princess seam. It did give me the seams where I needed to adapt for my upper rounding. I’m not bigger up there (smaller instead) and my rounding in the change a change in posture.  Rather than a perfect pear, my pear is a bit more robust on the upper back. 575 surprised me by being lovelier and easier to sew then expected. When I was stitching the muslin, I thought this would be a one and done.  Instead I finished the muslin. Wore it the rest of the year and put it away for next.  It’s a good pattern for me.

Trudy Jansen’s Designer Jeans  is a cornerstone in my wardrobe.

.

I’ve always been able to fit this jean nicely.  It’s a combination of the 3-piece leg pattern, the crotch and fabric which makes this a perennial favorite of mine. Because of it, I always have pants I can wear with pride.

I still had my Walmart Collection, which by and large are oversized and casual, consisting of a Caftan, Long Shrug, Short Shrug, Ruana and Camisole.  I’ve traced a Raglan Sweater but haven’t muslined it yet. 

Of course there were some failures. I was unable to fit several past favorites: Louise Cutting, Loes Hinse, Pamela’s Patterns, Ottobre, Jalie or Style Arc.  I didn’t even try Burda who failed me years ago. There was also a meh or two. Traci by Saf-T-Pockets and 083 and another few by Silhouette Patterns which are wearable without shame. I just don’t love the sewn up item.

 

2017 the Year of Fit

Looking back at my sewing in 2017, I think the most significant, most interesting sewing was tackling personal fit. I still have sloping, narrow shoulders; and I’m still high-waisted. Those still have to be taken into consideration and adapted for; but I also discovered 3 important new alterations that I need

I think my learning may have started at the end of 2016, can’t find the exact post, when I started adding a Round Back Alteration (RBA).  Somehow, I always knew I would eventually need to do something to accommodate a round back. My profession, basically clerical in nature, guaranteed I spent most of my time hunched over.  The preference for a shoulder bag-to leave my hands free- further ensured that rounding.  For a long time other alterations (probably the narrow shoulder alteration) were enough to offset the need for an RBA.  What was oddest to me is that I never saw the typical stress wrinkles indicative of a round back. Which accounts for the length of time it took me to actually use an RBA. The typical wrinkles of a rounded back  are horizontal pulls at the back between shoulders.  My pull lines were diagonal from the bottom of the shoulder blades to the side seam and again from under bust to shoulder seam. They usually met on the side forming V’s. The rounded back made some interesting lines in my sleeves as well. All these wrinkles generated many suggestions for correction, all of them wrong. The RBA cleared all that up, even the sleeve wrinkles. Currently my RBA is 5/8″.

Working towards an RBA, I did a lot of work with yokes. Must have 5 pairs of PJ’s from that time where I was slashing and stitching across front and back on my way to discovering I needed the RBA and  an asymmetrical shoulder adjustment ASA.  The ASA cleared the pull lines remaining after the RBA which were always on the right side down just below the waist.  Someone on SG pointed out to me that I could have asymmetrical shoulder and hip. Turns out only 1 shoulder needs an adjustment. The same shoulder on which I carry my bag. Think there’s connection?  Currently my ASA is 1/2″ and I simply stitch the right shoulder 1/2″ from the raw edge. (After fitting a pattern, I trim shoulder seams to 1/4″ for easy serging.)

A third important fitting discovery is the longer crotch extension.  Discovered mid-Dec after an SG member discussed the wrinkles which form due to short crotch extensions.  I am delighted to discover this fitting change as so many pants patterns fit when they have 25″ hem circumferences but when narrow the hem, I develop X wrinkles in the back centered over the knee.  Nowhere else did I read that the crotch extension length could be a source for these wrinkles. I tried adding 3/8″ to both front and back (it is the front extension which causes those back pull lines). 3/8″ was pretty good but not completely comfortable (I could still feel some tugging at the back) so I increased it to 1/2″.

That’s my 3 new biggies: Round Back Alteration, Asymmetrical Shoulder Alteration; and Extended Crotches. I’m really glad to have acquired this new knowledge. These alterations, combined with the previous known, make clothes both fit and flatter my maturing body.