Monday, March 30, 2015

Simplicity 1382

I totally love this dress for my grand-daughter Hannah. The fabric is a soft cotton, white polka dots on a purplish navy background, found in the quilting section of our local Fabricville last year. Intended for a shirt-dress for myself, which never got made, I discovered the bag of fabric with thread and buttons in my sewing room. I'm glad it didn't get made into a dress for me. I can't wait to see this on Hannah. She is growing into such a beautiful young lady and I think she will enjoy wearing such a feminine dress.
You can't see the details because of the dark colour of the fabric, but the bodice is princess seamed and is stitched to an inset waistband. The skirt has gentle deep folds in front and back, a very grown-up look. I remember having a Vogue dress in the early 90's that was similar to this and I loved it. Almost a vintage feel to it.

The pattern is Simplicity 1382. I cut between size 10 and 12 as Hannah is about to turn 11 and she is a slender girl, perhaps a little on the petite side.

There is enough fabric left over to make a dress for her sister Sarah who is three. She is at that finicky age where she only wears certain things. Right now it is leggings and a skirt, pretty hard to get her into anything else. But perhaps if she can see that she could look like her big sister, she might be persuaded to wear a dress. We shall see; if not some other little girl will benefit from the dress, I am sure.

I will ask their mom to take photos when they get the dresses. Which should be in a week or so, as I have to sew the second and then mail them both to Ontario, close to a thousand miles away.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Current Projects

I have been working on getting a tried-and-true basic dress using this pattern.

The pattern is Butterick 6186, a pattern by Connie Crawford. It is a princess-seamed dress with the seam coming from the armhole rather than the shoulder. It has a back zipper, but I imagine if you used a knit fabric, you could eliminate the zip.

I sewed this in a cotton batik fabric from my stash, figuring that if it worked, it would be a wearable muslin. But I'm not so sure about the fabric, it's a bit loud for my usual taste. Perhaps on a summer day with the grandkids, I could wear this, I don't think I would wear it anywhere else.

My first impression was that the fit was pretty good, letting in or letting out the side seams, taking in the princess seam above the bust to eliminate the armhole gaping. Of course, one alteration affects another area and fiddling with the armscye resulted in having a sleeve that was too large. It will have to be reduced in the next version; for this one, I simply made a pleat at the top of the sleeve and called it a design detail.

But one, or rather two, issues have me puzzled. The shoulder seam is not straight on me. I have noticed this before in other patterns, and years ago in a couture sewing class, this was pointed out. So it is an issue I have always had, it hasn't come about through too much time leaning over a computer or sewing machine.

Last night, I dug out three fitting books to sort this out. Sandra Betzina's Fast Fit doesn't talk about this at all. The Singer Fit book mentions it, but doesn't really tackle it well. However, I did find it covered in detail in Pati Palmer's Fit for Real People. It comes along with another issue, a high rounded back.

I had no idea that this was a problem, but sure enough in this muslin dress, the back zip stands away from my body in the top 4". Just like the pictures in Pati's book. She says to correct this issue first as it will affect the shoulder seam. She also says that people with this problem often feel as if their blouses and dresses are pulling to the back and collars of shirts seem to choke them. Yes, I have to admit I have that problem.

So this will require another muslin, making that alteration and then redrawing the shoulder seam. Funny the things you learn about yourself when doing basic fitting. I didn't know I had a forward leaning head, but I guess I do.

I will try to take a picture of the problem, perhaps someone who reads this can suggest a fix.

This minor blip calls for doing something simple and straight forward. So let's bring on a dress for grand-daughter Hannah who will be turning 11 next month. She is a slender girl, perhaps a little shorter than the average, so I will cut between the lines of the size 10 and 12 to make her a size 11.

I had bought this fabric last year to make a shirt-dress for myself, but didn't get around to it. I found the bag last week, with pattern, thread and even buttons for the dress. There is enough fabric to make Hannah a dress and a matching dress for her baby sister Sarah who will soon be 3.

So simple sewing of a pretty sun-dress for Hannah, and a second muslin of the Butterick pattern. Inspired by Carolyn of, I want to have a basic dress pattern that can be used by itself or to compare the fit of other patterns.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Kwik Sew 2849

This afternoon, I did the final tasks on this shirt, the hem and sewed on the buttons. This was a pleasure to sew. 100% cotton is the easiest fabric to sew and press. 
I used the collar technique that was illustrated on Tasia's blog at
Previously, in my shirt-making, I have used Margaret Islander's technique of the "burrito" wrap on the collar. I found Tasia's method easier and it assures a better result as I think you are in more control of the process. 

This was the pattern that I used, Kwik Sew 2849, a pattern that was in the huge pattern stash. I don't know if this pattern is still in print, it probably is. Kwik Sew keep their patterns for a long time, as most of them are classic designs. I did switch the sleeve when I realised that the long sleeve did not have a cuff. I simply substituted a sleeve from another Kwik Sew pattern, blending the cutting lines into the sleeve from this pattern.
A satisfying sew. 

And I can blame Tasia and Amanda for enticing me with more shirt fabrics. These three came this week from Amanda's site,  They are lovely fine shirtings and I am looking forward to more shirts in the next few weeks. The first one might be a sun-dress for grand-daughter Hannah though. It is time I sewed something for her.
Instead of wearing knit tees all the time, I am going to switch it up to more cotton shirts this spring. My favourite fabrics, tiny prints, are all back in style. As an aging hippie-type, I am glad to see them.