Needed alterations

The Yellow Striped 5682

I do look in the mirror before taking final pics. Then I am always shocked with the camera reveals fitting issues I didn’t see. I thought the Yellow Striped 5682‘s were really good until I saw

This pattern has never pouched out like that in front. Never! So I looked carefully at the other fitting pics. I groaned and said, “It isn’t done.”  Which meant that I had some quality sessions ripping open seams. I was pretty sure the issue was at the pocket.  I was using pocket style new to me and I had never add and therefore tested a front pocket on this pattern.  Since I was fairly sure the pocket was at fault, I knew I had to  rip open the waistband; remove the top and understitching; the cover stitching. and then rip open the side seam. Initially I thought of seperating the back yoke from the bottom leg but finally decided to trim any excess at the top i.e. where the WB facing is applied. I wasn’t enitrely sure what was wrong but I did remember thinking I had more space between the pocket and waistband than I saw on the picture of the Airlie. So that’s where I started. I basted a line along the top edge of the pocket welt. Basted the side seam and tried them on. Well I was getting there so I did it a second time, leaving a thread width between the waistband and the pocket which resulted in removing about 3/4″ of the pocket back. When I stitched the side seam together there was about 3/4″ of the back yoke left free. I aligned the facing to create a smooth curve crossing the side seam and then trimmed all the excess.  Finally, I stitched the facing back in place doing the understitching and the top stitch but not the cover stitching. The result:

Still room for improvement, but much better.  To tell the truth, I don’t like doing alterations because I always make a better garment if I can get all the fitting changes made either at the tissue stage or the fitting stage. Somehow ripping open seams, cutting, trimming, restitching never works as well for me. As always YMMV.

I have a second alteration that of the Maybe Finished Blouse.  Usually, I love the peplum and I think it looks good. Well it definitely did with the Slashed Neckline

But in this crisp fabric I just wasn’t sure. DH confirm my suspiciouns and so I spent 3 days altering. First I took in the back seams to make it a closer fit. Then I took in the side and front seams from waist to hem. Then of course, I had finish the hem again and any top stitching etc, etc but the final result, well I can live with:

Hmm, time to get a hair cut, cause those 2 are ready for fall wearing.

May Miscellany

Wish I could say I’d taken a spectacular vacation or something since the last time I posted, but, no it’s been life as usual. I’ve had a few *bad nights, but mostly it’s just stuff that needs to be done that has eaten up my time.  I cleaned out the Sewing Room Closet, as much as can be done.  It is also my off-season storage so there are clothes hanging and boxed year-round. It had a few UFO’s most notably the various unfinished pairs of 3418 pants. (That’s a big fat fail for me.) Those pants are destined to be next winter’s pj’s and have been boxed with the rest of the winter clothes. The only projects now hanging in the closet are the drapery fabric for the living room and the summer bathrobe to be completed shortly. IOW the Sewing Room closet is now devoid of everything except the winter coats in storage and the current projects.  Yeah!!!

While I did a lot of cleaning and mending the biggest project was switching winter for summer clothes.  This year summer arrived abruptly and about 3 weeks early. As I switched seasonal clothing I realized my summer sleep-wear consisted of 2 tank tops and a T-shirt. All 3 are candidates for disposal. But I need sleepwear. Being in desperate need of cooler sleepers, I opted to pair the T-shirt with a pair of long johns.  After amputating the legs and adding binding, I have at least one reasonably OK set:

Believe me, I’ve worn worse. So have you (don’t try to  tell me you haven’t slept in your husband’s ratty T-shirts.) However, first on my sewing list are new summer pj’s.

With that, let the sewing commence.



*Like many middle-age and elderly Americans and along with a few other chronic but controlled conditions,  I suffer with reflux. Mine is compounded by Barretts disease. It keeps me up and miserable; usually ruins my next day as well.  I

Upcycle to an Upcycle

I turned my attention back to Upcycle #2

which I posted on November 18. I just could not become comfortable but again, I love the fabric.

I know that from time to time I try to make tunic length blouses and I’m never happy with them.  I didn’t intend for this upcycle to be a tunic, but I think that’s the basic issue. Well, the flash of white I kept seeing didn’t make it any better.  It took only a few moments to trim away the lace; it was cheap lace from Walmart so I didn’t bother to rip. I measured the length from shoulder/neck to raw edge hem. 26.5″ No wonder I was unhappy.  I cut my blouses 25″ long and hem them 1.25″. Along with a 3/8″ shoulder seam allowance that means my preferred finished length is about 23.5″.  So next step was trimming away at the raw edge to produce my preferred 25″. Followed by turning up and stitching a 1.25″ hem. Result:  Happiness!

Actually, I wish I had upcycled the original dress shortly after the holiday for which it was constructed. Because while it is still pretty, it doesn’t have the RBA and uneven shoulder alteration I need for perfect fit and that shows up pretty obviously in the side view and to a lesser extent the back

And yes it is the RBA responsible for most of these drag lines especially the drag lines from the bust.  I think that is so odd. Can understand totally if you strongly disagree that the RBA is responsible for the bust lines.  All I can say is, when I make the RBA, they disappear. Swear.


TNT Parade

I was disappointed that Jalie 3245 Raglan top proved not  easily fit. On me. YMMV and certainly Jalie’s draft is not to be blamed.   I threw the traced pieces away and, undecided whether to keep or discard the originals, stuffed the pattern back in an envelope. Then I begin to think of what to sew next and my mind turned to the collection of TNT’s I have now developed.  There is

 The Tabula Rasa Tee(TRT)


Neckline package for  more variations.

The Tabula Rasa Jacket (TRJ)…

converted to the Tabula Rasa Blouse (TRB)…

and Tabula Rasa Vest (TRV) with  other variations possible.

Between the two patterns TRT and TRJ I have over 20 patterns/styles if I count the easy switch between swing or straight and vest or sleeveless blouse.  I’m getting a lot of mileage from these two patterns and have to say they were well worth my $$$.

From Connie Crawford I now have

B0456 which I can make about 3 variations more if I include adding collars, changing hems and shoulder lines.

B6299 which will  be overworked. It offers armscye princess seams in an  empire style with either pleated or tailored ‘skirt’. It is dress-length which I’ve already made blouse  length and am planning maxi length.  I’ve also converted it from 8 pieces to 4 pieces. It is such a basic pattern I expect to graft many sleeve and neckline variations.  Iit was drafted for wovens , I accidentally converted it for knits  — unlike the Fit For Art patterns for which I purchased separate knit (TRT) and woven (TRJ) drafts. (PS there is quite a bit of difference between the two drafts.) I’ve lost count of the possible versions for B6299.

For bottoms I count

Trudy Jansens 906 for which I already have multiple variations including a yoga and a DG2 Faux Jean; and it converts from woven to knit fabrics with a simple increase of seam allowances.

  2nd pants pattern is Jalie’s Eleanor although I seem to need to tweak it a bit. It is excellent for knits especially those slinky numbers.

My 3rd layers are all courtesy of Walmart. There aren’t pattern pictures because I simply measured and stitched by examining my original purchase.

The Knit Shrug

Long Shrug



I don’t include some of my recent successful sews as TNTs. For example Bog Coat and variations are not really TNT yet. I haven’t been able to eliminate the U’s along the side because I can’t figure out how to add an RBA. I’m not counting Burda #124 2009-03 because I replaced it with B6299. I’m not counting  my Silhouette Patterns.  I think I’ve fit them, but faill when trying to use a  good fabric . Also not sure I will continue working with the Silhouette Patterns  I own because I’ve discovered that I need lots of seams or darts. I’m unsure about my slopers. I keep tweaking them. Again I think they are fine. I think I’ ‘ve tweaked and fit my slopers but the next time I go to use them, I have to pinch at the bust or armscyes or add CF length or or…   Well, something’s not right. I think I need more seams and darts even in my slopers.

I need  places that can be changed at the pattern level. Yes I can pinch and dart wherever I’m having issues but when I transfer that to the tissue the problem reappears.  I can’t move the change or eliminate it. It seems as though  I am round where I am round. I am short where I am short. Tweaking the tissue doesn’t seem to work. Adjusting the fabric  in the exact spot needs to take place. For example, the plain old T. I can pinch a bust dart and eliminate the  drape lines in a test garment. I can move that dart to the hem on the pattern, as recommended by fitters and drafters alike. The next time I use the altered T pattern, the drape lines will return. Why? Because the fabric always wins. Because the fabric needs to be shortened or darted to mold to my curves where my curves are.

I’m really happy to have this range of TNT’s. However I’m a curious person and already considering working with other patterns.  I’m looking for patterns with  more seams, especially seams that bisect the armscye. So I’m looking for princess like seams and yokes. I may try a shoulder princess at least twice. Once to see if I  can fit and the second time to see if the changes work when transferred to the tissue. I remarked at the end of my raglan escapade that I might take that up again. I’ve already ordered a Silhouette pattern which has additional seams besides the raglan. Plan to try it at least twice as well. I searched through my patterns including Burda and Otto magazines and found at least 40 with armscye princess seams another  23 with yokes and an interesting 17 with odd seams that are a cross between armscye princess and a yoke.

And that’s not all.  I’ve been avoiding the stripes in my fabric collection .  I thought  were random some of my print fabrics where random. . But when spread out on my 2″ cutting board, the pattern  forms stripes. There are many that form diagonal and subtle stripes as well .   I’ve been avoiding these fabrics until I create TNT’s. I’m afraid  I will make wonky instead of neat or inspired stripes if I have to tweak and dart the fabric for fit.

No doubt these will keep me busy for a while.

I  have a huge pattern collection that I’m wondering if I’ll ever use again. I don’t expect to lose weight or stand straighter. It’s the age thing. I earned not only the wrinkles but all my figure variations through the life I’ve lived. Earned and owned. I’m wondering, especially since I could use the space, should I keep all those patterns and hope someday to get smarter and be able to use them or should I discard them now?

What would you do with patterns you’re pretty sure you’ll never use/use again?  Keep? Discard? Donate?


Summer Jacket #2

Couldn’t find a fabric I wanted to use as a 3rd layer for my brown tones and so I ordered a gauze print in tans and yellow.  I was disappointed. Rather than the tans I was seeing, the primary color was a mustard. Not French’s but the muted, muddied yellow of Grey Poupon. Neither color would have worked with all my brown based fabrics and clothes. So I hunted through the stash yet again and found a rayon, rib-knit fabric in cream stripes. I compared it with both fabrics in the stash and garments in the closet.  It worked well color wise but once again I was faced with a 1.5 yard length. That’s plenty for a T-shirt, even with long sleeves, but a jacket needs more.  I returned to the idea of the Bog Coat. Except this time I wanted to be able to accommodate my rounding back if only a little.  The pattern I chose is an oldie from the knitting side of my life:

I knit this many years ago as drafted and wore it as bathrobe for several years. Mine looked much like the picture in the magazine

The beauty of this pattern is that you are basically knitting 2 rectangles which are then cleverly sewn together into a kimono type garment.  The real advantage I see to using this shape now is the ability to add length at the center back. The disadvantage of this pattern is that I really don’t want a kimono sleeve.  I just don’t want a big floppy sleeve for this jacket. But that’s easy enough to fix.  I decided how wide I wanted my cuffs (8″) and then drew angled lines from the back to the cuff.  The finished top shape looks like this:

Like with my previous Bog Coat, I decided to create a pattern for future use. I know that I periodically use this style. A pattern will allow me to repeat exactly or to make changes based on experience rather than guessing.For the ‘skirt’ piece, I started with a rectangle 18″ tall and 26″ wide. Then I sloped from side seam to CB which added 1″ length (total 19″) at CB.

This is a half piece consisting of 1 front joined to half the back; back will be placed on a fold to create the full ‘skirt’ piece.


I reshaped the neckline to a rounded V. It’s my most flattering shape. I love that in a jacket/3rd Layer I can bring the point of the V down so low.

The upper bodice is 20″ wide and 31″ long. My pattern includes the cuff. Granted, most fabrics will not be wide enough. I will either place the pattern piece lengthwise/on grain or fold up the cuff and cut them separately.

Now someone is thinking this is not really a Bog Coat and you are right. The classic Bog Coat is 1 piece with a few slashes to define sleeves and center front.  The classic is very fabric conserving and among the  least wasteful of fabric. I relate this to the Bog because of it’s over all shape and again the clever folding.  I could sew the center back of the skirt to the back of the upper bodice and then sew the side seams and sleeves as is done with the Bog.  However, I stitched the  underarm/sleeve seams first, then joined the upper bodice and skirt with one long seam. Either stitching method is acceptable. Even if it is not, it is my garment and I’m going to sew it the way I want.

Before cutting I made a second evaluation of the fabric, layout and stretch.  I did not want the stripes to run horizontally across my body.  I’m curvy and stripes not only follow the curve but emphasize any curvature. But I was more concerned about my shoulders than my middle. I could just imagine the stripes making me look like a TeePee. Not the look I was going for. So I laid out my pattern on-grain but then it occurred to me that the fabric stretch was going to make this grow. How much?  The rule of thumb I got from experienced knitters is about 1″ per foot of length.  I put two3/8″ tucks in both parts of the bodice removing 3″ length and it wasn’t a bit too much. Remember this is a rib-knit with 100% stretch.

Before hemming and finishing, I slipped on my new cardigan (it’s a knit).  That’s when I discovered I could have removed even more length. I was happy that the hem was fairly level.

I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt because I nearly always need to rotate my pics. I can introduce error in that process. Also, it seems to me that cardigans tend to droop at center front.  I remember from my study of Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Knitting From The Top, that she recommended picking up a few less stitches along the center front bands to counter-act that natural tendency of knit fabrics. So I agree, that’s not a perfectly level hem but I didn’t take my scissors to it like I did with Bog1.

I turned the cuff up 1 color (about 7/8″) and top stitched.

At this point, I was once again faced with the fact I had planned and designed a plain, dull, uninteresting garment. Sigh, which is what I thought I wanted. However, I couldn’t stand another such blaaaaaaaaaah.   I cut 3.5″ fring along the hem.

Added a band to the front and fringed it 2″.

Somewhere in there, I cut two 18″ long strip and added to the front. Then added wooden beads to the bottom

I think I will wear this cardigan tied

Which is why I needed the beads.  I needed to be able to find the ties quickly. Beads that weight the ties are useful for that.

Fit is not as good as I would like. Front and back look fine, but from the side:

I’m surprised that I need only a 5/8″ RBA for blouse patterns. Any more than that introduces wrinkles and strangely makes the back peek up over the shoulder. So surprised I need 5/8″ on tops, but 1″ was not sufficient. Even in this pic the hem is not perfectly level. Could still be error caused by rotating the pic.  More importantly are the drag lines from bust to side and not clearly visible above, repeated on the back. The empire seam keeps them from repeating all the way down and forming into V’s.  Especially puzzling because I’ve never seen this on my other Bog coats including the one made 4 years ago and still in my closet.  Dressmaking is really challenging. You can do the same thing time and time to different fabrics and one day it doesn’t work.  Nonetheless, this garment is going in my closet.  I need it. It is simple enough to work with all my garments but interesting enough to satisfy my need for embellishment. Like the black (which I wanted to be grey), fabric for a tan/brown 3rd layer is still on my shopping list.  Sooner or later, I will be able to replace my cardigan with something I like even better.

Closet Review

This IS my last post concerned with th review of my summer clothes. Yeah!!

I started with 13 garments I would consider as 3rd layers during the summer.  This includes some blouses as well as actual wraps.  I’ve long approved of the blouse-as-a-3rd-layer look. I could but dating myself but that’s OK.  Part of finding a personal style involves accepting that others may have a few critical words. The point is having clothes that you love wearing, express your personality and are appropriate for the life you lead. For me that includes blouses as Summer 3rd Layers.

I discarded 2 that I seldom wear.  One is an artsy-fartsy thing that looks rumpled and disheveled on me instead of artsy.  I love the fabric (a silk crepe) and it was hard to sew.  Finishing it was a triumph. Several years later I recognize this is just not me.  The other was a cropped lace-knit. IMO ‘cropped’ needs careful coordination.  I never seem to find the garment to wear with it.  I discarded two for being too short. The 5th too long. I suppose I could shorten but then I’d also like to change the neck. Ah, once it gets to be a lot of work, I’m willing to let go.

What I have left is

7 third layers including 4 blouses.

I am concerned that I have only 1 neutral wrap (the cream, 2nd row, far right). I plan on neutral bottoms with matching or same-hue 3rd-layers allowing me to work with as many accent colors as I like in my tops.  Not only do I have only one 3rd Layer I would consider neutral, I don’t think it is at a flattering length.  Sadly I must admit that my 2017 Summer Sewing must produce 3rd layers.


  1. Bottoms to Sew
    1. Shorts: None needed
    2. Dress Pants: None needed
    3. Casual Pants/Jeans
      1. Black ranging to greys
      2. Brown ranging to beiges
      3. Blue ranging to light clear blues.
  2. Blouses
    1. Casual:  None needed
    2. Dressy:
      1. Black ranging to greys
      2. Brown ranging to beiges
      3. Blue ranging to light clear blue
  3. Third Layers neutral colors needed
    1. Black ranging to greys
    2. Brown ranging to beiges
    3. Blue ranging to light clear blue



Closet Review

With this post, I’m just one step away from completely reviewing my summer wardrobe and starting the sewing  plan for my 2017 Summer 6PAC.  I lightly starched (just a whiff of spray starch), pressed and placed my woven summer tops on hangers before setting up the tripod and taking pics. 4 each garment. Back. Side Right. Front. Side Left. 4. Each garment. 4. But it’s the best way for me to really see my garments and fairly evaluate .

As with my other summer clothing,   I tossed out anything needing repair before taking pics. I was, again, very demanding wit fit.  I’ve learned a lot in the last 8 months about what fits me and how to fix wrinkles I could never fix before. I simply don’t want to wear garments I would have accepted as “needed-until-I-get-smarter” last year.

I started with 15 woven sleeveless tops and winnowed away.  Really, I wasn’t surprised.  I did not start working with the RBA until much later in the year –just before winter.  I was almost eager to sort through knowing I could rapidly replace any discards with a top that fit better. So to me it wasn’t surprising that of the 15  garments I started with, I’m only keeping 4 for Summer 2017.


Summer Closet Review

Today’s headache ah review of my summer clothes is my category sleeveless tops made of stretch fabrics.  Why didn’t I just review all my sleeveless tops? I was hoping most of the knit fabric would fit nicely. Knits, IMO, are more forgiving in the ‘fit’ arena than are woven garments.  But it was not to be .

I started with a healthy selection of 12 sleeveless, knit tops.  Sadly, I discarded top after top because of the RBA drag lines. I finished with 4 sleeveless knit tops:

I’m only totally happy with the two above.  The black on the right is not showing well in this pics but it fits nicely and is just cute on me. But I have issues with the other 2

I just honestly don’t like the print of the one on the left. The fit is really nice and it therefore deserves its place in the closet.  I love the top on the right but the armscye is a little tight. I look at it and groan out loud when thinking of unpicking. I’ll work with it.  Besides I know how that elusive number Peggy Sagers is always talking about.  Measuring these babies I know exactly what size armscye I want and just as importantly what I don’t want to wear.

Summer Closet Review

I’m starting the year with 4 (3 if you don’t count the 3/4-sleeve on the far left) short sleeve tops. I don’t keep many of these because I don’t find my local weather to really be conductive to this half-measure.  I either need to cover my arms or I want the max air circulation possible and that means no sleeves. But for about a week at the beginning of summer and another week late in fall, the short sleeve top is my friend.  Keeps the chill off my shoulders in the AM, but is cool enough for the rest of the day.

Let me back up and say I don’t even  keep many short sleeve tops. When I sorted out the closet there were 8 which includs RTW T-shirts. When I looked at the pics, 4 were discarded. Well they are going in the donate box. I don’t like the big V’s that form on the side the result of my rounding back.  I know the cause of those drapes now; and I know how to fix them. There’s no need for me to tolerate any top with that fit issue.

Summer Closet Review

I continue to review my existing summer review and have to say:  I’m glad I started immediately.  In a matter of a few days we went from 50F day time highs with ice crystals in the rain to 80F.  I need summer clothes now!

The next category I reviewed was Summer Dresses.  There are some days I can’t exist with a summer dress. They cover everything while allowing free-flowing, cooling air to circulate — everywhere. They are so perfect for get togethers even weddings because I can be a little dressy but still comfortable and coooooooooool.  But I don’t need many.  More than 3 and some will tend to gather dust in the closet. I discarded a few last year and sewed a couple which didn’t make it through the summer. A light weight linen was stiff and added pounds to me in every photo taken. It was a wedding. There were many. So I started this summer with 3 dresses on-hand and did I mention they are all long dresses?  I find the long dress is better at slimming my figure.  Between ankle and mid-calve so that I don’t trip going up and down stairs.  I knew one of my dresses probably needed to be discarded.  I made it several years ago using KS2734

and top stitched with embroidery thread.  Made from a high quality cotton/poly, the dress itself is still lovely.  The top stitching is shabby. Worn. No longer holds the vent in place.  In addition to that my pics show that my round back has added some ugly drag lines during wear. Yep that one is in the discard pile but with an RBA the pattern is still good to go for this summer.

The 2nd dress, I purchased off the rack at the end of summer. It’s one of those dress with multiple rows of elastic gathering across the bodice.  Needs no fitting really. I grabbed it and ran because I loved the color/print and they had one in my size.    It had one other definite advantage:  wide straps. Yep straps that would cover my underwear.  How many of you really want to wear a garment that shows your bra straps?  Even my new, edgy granddaughter thinks that’s gross.  I wore the dress a few times last year.  DH loved the color and told me I was lovely.  I took photos this year and decided he was seeing the girl he married rather than the woman I am today. Boy it is tight this year. I almost don’t need a bra. This dress has enough rows of elastic, stretched tight enough to hold my girls in place (I’m the Barely-B you follow. Not much to hold up. Anyway)   The proportions is all off.  This is just long enough to brush the tops of my knees. Not a good look for a short, plump, mature, well-padded woman. But I didn’t put it in the donate or discard box.  I played with the elastic just a bit and discovered the elastic was easily removed.  I love the color and print and once the elastic is removed I’ve got 1-1/4″ yard of 62″ fabric.  I’m thinking of making a T-shirt dress. T-shirt on top with this fabric added to the bottom to make a dress.  Anyway, currently it is one less for 2017 Summer Dresses.

The last dress really should be in the discard  pile.

It’s a rayon challis (love that fabric) made several years ago from KS2599

It has 2 issues.  The fabric is fading badly and I don’t like how close to the neck the shoulder straps are.  I prefer the armscye of my garment to go straight up making it look like I have shoulders. (I’m also the very narrow, very sloped shoulder blogger you follow.)  But I like how it skims all the lumps, even from the side view

Admittedly, I’m not terribly slender. No one would mis-diagnose me as anorexic. I know this.  But I’m happy when my garments just skim my curves so you can tell I’m a woman but can’t tell how many curves I really have.

So that’s it. I start with 1 dress I can wear; 1 dress I will use to make another, and 1 dress that I like the pattern but need to add an RBA to tweak the fit.  Those old Kwik Sew patterns were worth the money. Can’t say that for many of the newer patterns. The old ones were printed on heavy paper.  You got multiple sizes, all of them in fact. Usually there was one to three versions.  But most importantly to me, they were classic styles which could be easily adapted to trends.  It’s so much easier to create a wardrobe when I’m not fitting.