Monday, January 27, 2014

Lady Skater

Hello from the Siberian Tundra!  Will this cold ever end? ever?
We have no school today and it's about -35° F with the windchills. Last night we enjoyed a blizzard warning with 60 mph winds. I seriously though the house was going to blow over!  We enjoyed it by watching the Grammy's and playing Uno as a family. It was a good time.
Tonight and tomorrow it is supposed to hit -50° F with the wind. YUK! I just got the message that school is closed again tomorrow.  It is nice to stay inside but the kiddos are getting bored! lol.

So, to escape some madness I retreated to my sewing room.  I had the lady skater cut out for the last two days now.  I only made one alteration for the first run. I adjusted for the square shoulder as I normally do.
I used a nice soft cotton jersey/spandex-y blend of fabric.  I didn't measure but we'll call it about 2 yards from the stash.

For the trial run it went well.  The instructions are super easy to follow.  The dress sews up pretty fast - I mean I started at 11am and was finished by 1pm.  I stitched each seam with my regular machine first, then serged.  My high bust is a 36" so I was between a size 4 and 5.  I traced a size 4 everywhere except the bust area - graded to a 5, and the hips on down where a size 5.

Here are the results:

Loose in the sleeves and bust. VERY loose/wide in the neck both front and back. 
Next time I will do my usual slope of 1/2" out of the necks
*note* I didn't finish the hem or sleeves - because of fit this won't leave the house*

As you can see, I need to do a swayback adj. in the next version. 

Overall I like the pattern I just need to tweak some fitting issues.  You will most likely see more versions at a later time.

Stay warm! And smile often. Here is your laugh for the day:

(oh, and yes, I do)

Stash used for this: 2 yards

Stash used in 2014: 8.5

~ Happy Sewing! ~ Kristin ~

Saturday, January 25, 2014

It's finished! (finally, lol)

I am more than pleased with this Alma. Especially since so much work went into it!

But, some quick words about my photo shoot. Mr. Sunny's friends are moving from OK to WI and will be staying with us about a month until they find a place. Therefore we had to clear out K's room so they could stay there. K's bookshelf ended up in my sewing room :( where I like to take pictures. My other favorite spot is in the kitchen/dining area. However, because the dryer is broken, that spot is filled with drying racks and clothes. lol. Chaos I tell you! New dryer will be here Wednesday. Friends (with their 3 yr old) will be here next week. Lets hope I survive.

Onward. Here is the progress of the alma for me.

Whew, that is a lot of work!  Much thanks to all your patience and help!
It all paid off. I love the fit of this one.

My hair? oh yes, chopped 10 inches off :D It feels so nice. 

 Here is the final breakdown of alterations:
  • 1/4" added to sleeves to add in a bit more room - result is they are much less restrictive. 
  • Front and back:
    • 1/4" sloped out from neckline tapering to 0" at bottom hem
    • 1/4" square shoulder adjustment
  • Front alone:
    • 1/2" added to center darts to lengthen them
    • curved the bust dart -drastic improvement
  • Back alone:
    • 3/4" swayback adjustment
    • 1/4" taken out across entire back, horizontally at waist
    • 1/2" added to hips

Fit is spot on except a tiny poof in the back above my waist. I'm wondering if I have a "narrow" back or maybe even a short back (? lol) and feel like putting in a fish eye dart there. But it isn't terrible.

Also, I wanted this to be short sleeves, not cap, but couldn't get the sleeves to feel right - they were super restrictive (Joy, I needed to perfect your sleeve cap flattening technique here).

On my other Alma the zipper bugged me quite a bit. So I put in the zip upside down, when closed the pull tab is at the bottom (my waist) now and not in my armpit pissing me off!  Plus, I added a zipper shield so the scratchiness doesn't get to me. This feel so much better now.  Here are the fly shield pics.

Stash used for this: 2 yards

Stash used in 2014: 6.5

Fabric out: 6.5
Fabric in: 17 yards :( sorry! I couldn't pass it up. I got a box of wovens and knits for only about $1.18/yard including shipping - and it was nice big pieces of 2-3 yard chunks. That is too many cheap clothes to pass up!!) lol.  Oh well.  I'm still using up my stash. I have a huge pile of "to makes" on my sewing bin.

Let's get back to knits, they are so much more fun.

~ Happy Sewing! ~ Kristin ~

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


Progress is being made.

2 back darts, 4 front darts. shoulder seams. stay tape at shoulders and necklines.  facing has been attached and understitched.

Needing still:
zipper, side seams, topstitching on neckline.
sleeves, hem, belt.

I also printed and taped my lady skater dress pattern. Yay!

It's been a heck of a week here.  The start of it is that my dryer died. It went downhill from there. LOL. I'll spare the depressing details.
So I will leave you with a happy thought instead.
A small glimpse into a child's mind. It makes me happy to have moments like these in my life.
You know, because Cheetah has to be safe and all.

~ Happy Sewing! ~ Kristin ~

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Muslin #3 - You guys rock!

I love you guys!  You are so darn helpful!
I took everyone's advice from yesterday's post and went to work again on the muslin.
I redrew the back and cut it/sewed it new. The front I didn't redraw yet because it had some work left. I just hacked and slashed it up more.

I'm happy to say it is ready for the real fabric!!!
Here are today's changes.

1/2" sloped out of center back from neck to 0" at hip - 1" length removed, 3/4" swayback completed
still some small wrinkles in back - hoping challis will behave better than this stiff muslin fabric 

Look! Look at the line! The armpit to hip is STRAIGHT! Woo hoo! *jumps up and down ecstatically* 
Thanks to adding 1/2" to each side of the hip only in the back. (Ignore butt poof - you can't win 'em all)

The dreaded front is way better.  My right is altered. My left stinks still - ignore it. ;-)
I did a curved dart! It was easy as pie too. Apple pie - with a crust you make from scratch (gluten free for me please).  I still have to figure out the exact width of the curved dart - this was free hand. Loving that that bust to hip line is GONE!  I also took out the inch here lengthwise. (seam in middle); and kept the 1/2" slope out from neck to 0" at hip. 

So a huge, HUGE thanks to you guys. I really wouldn't of gotten this far w/o your help.  I'm off to re-trace the "fixed" pieces and cut the real fabric. It's a soft, yummy rayon challis.  Stay tuned.... :-D

~ Happy Sewing! ~ Kristin ~

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Alma Progress ~ Muslin 2

I'm getting there. I am making progress.  I promise a pretty Alma will soon follow; however, I ask for advice.  You guys are the best at giving sewing and fitting advice.

Tonight I sewed up Muslin 2. I attacked that beast like a rabid wolverine.  I threw caution to the wind and went with my gut.  There may or may not be any method to my madness lol.

Here are the results.

Conquered the back! Woohoo!  This is 1.5 inches out for swayback people. one and a half. omg. I need better posture.  I also must have a narrow back because I took almost 1/2 inch tapered to zero out of the back from neck down to the swayback seam you see in the middle.  This helped with the poof tremendously.  I also let out the bottom 2 inches of each side of hip - will add 1/2" to each side because 1/4" was still too tight. 
Question. see the wrinkles still forming above the swayback line on each side?  Do I need to maybe take more out of the width here? Or seriously more out of the height? Or just leave it. lol. 

Further visual of helped swayback.  I see my vertical line from armpit to hip tips toward the back. I will most likely add my 1/2"-3/4" to each side of the hip, only to the back as my larger rear needs more fabric. That should even this line out. Which will lead to a larger problem in the front but we will get to that. 

Ah the front. Where I need the most help.  So I added 1/2" dart from neckline tapered off to waist in the center front. I seem to have excess poof here. This helped some.  It also pulled in the vertical darts in the front which they then lined up with my bust apex.  I marked this apex and saw I needed to extend the bust dart by 1" - This was ONLY fixed on my right side (your left) where you see the pink marker.  As you can see on my left, those dreadful slanted drag lines are there but on my right they are much better.  (Oh, this also has my normal square shoulder adjustment). 

I have a ton of poof under bust. Almost like I need a swayback adjustment for my front too. (LOL). Question: why do I have this poof?  Do I need to shorten the front bodice? I think I'm grabbing about 1/2" each side in the below picture.  When I'm sitting this inch folds up under my bust, too.  Hmm. perhaps I just answered my own question. 

Here I am pulling the above poof out to the side. Now I actually have another issue.  When I sit down I also get a rather decent poof above the bust - at the top of the armpit, pretty much that goes horizontal all the way across.  This is also the only time the bust feels tight across.  Not sure what to do here. The bust feels normal/slightly large when standing.  

And there you have it. Muslin 2. I'm getting super close.  Just a few more tweaks :D

I appreciate all your help - seriously. I would have ditched this awhile ago were it not for your suggestions.

(funny sidenote: to get in and out of this sans zipper with both sides sewn I almost have to be popping my shoulder out.... It got old, fast. My chiropractor would be so proud lol)

~ Happy Sewing! ~ Kristin ~

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Ottobre 01/2009 #28 "Marja" Jersey Tunic

hippie flare? check
bell sleeves? check
loose fit? check
stash fabric? check. even better!

That is the mix for a great top for Miss K.
I had a blast making this.

The top is from Ottobre 01/2009 #28 "Marja" Jersey Tunic.  I also made the sweats for K that sort of "go with" this top in the magazine photos.  She's even wearing them in this photo shoot!

In the past I've had trouble getting the sizing down for Miss K in the Ottobres.  She is 128 in height but her measurements are all over the place.  She is not skinny, and not chunky.  Her chest and waist measure the same, and then she is cursed with my larger rear.  I measured every piece before tracing this to ensure it would fit and not be too small or too big.

I ended up tracing and sewing a 134 in height and a 146 in width.  There is a bit of growing room, but I'm just fine with that.
(loving the bell sleeves!)

I took my time sewing, going slowly and taking breaks when I needed to.  I sewed it over the course of 3 days.  It was quite relaxing.  I switched up all my thread (both machine and serger) to Gutermann.  It runs/sews and seems to last much longer than the "crappier" thread I was using. Plus the lint is far less.  I also switched up to sewing with a zig zag stitch set at 2.5 length and 0.5 width.  just a slight bit of zag to ensure a bit of stretching.  After I stitched all seams I then serged - sort of a way to double reinforce seams. These suckers aren't popping!

I followed the instructions - crazy concept, I know.  The sleeve heads had about 2.5-3" of easing to do. Yuk.  I chose to gather the tops instead.  I like how they look with the gathering at the waist.  I did the binding on the pockets as directed but the neckline I finished the way I like.  My twin needle finished up the hems quite nice - still on the zigzag stitch.  I also used fusible stay tape for the shoulders instead of elastic tape; however, I used elastic tape for the rest as suggested.

(a bit of room to grow still - 1.5 inches each side I'd say - K loves it loose)

Fabric: Stash fabric! Yes! Though not too long ago ordered.  I picked this up from fashionfabricsclub on 10/24/13. 1.5 yards that shrunk when washed to 1 3/8 yards.  It is a lightweight, cotton, pink, floral jersey knit in 60" wide.  $5.56 total.  I bought it exactly for this project and I'm happy I actually used it as such!  The "official" description: Soft Pink, Fuschia, Orchid, Yellow, Dark Brown & White Small floral print Jersey Knit fabric This lightweight knit is great for shirts or a child's casual dress 100% Cotton 60" wide Machine washable

Freaking love it! Can I have one? The neckline is a bit wide on K so I will most likely reduce her bodices to a 140 width from here out. Otherwise everything else is perfect.  She's already requested another one in fox fabric.

I'll leave you with a picture of the "redneck" fun the kids had with dad today.  Yep, that is the lawn mower pulling the sled.  hahahaha

~ Happy Sewing! ~ Kristin ~
Total Stash yards used in 2014 so far: 4.5

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Well, I did sew up some things...

First, some super cute humor to lighten the mood. I saw this online and laughed so hard.
Went to the fabric store for zippers only bought zippers - Went to the fabric store for zippers only bought zippers  Success Kid

Anyway, onward.  My bruised and battered arm is all healed up from falling on the stairs a few weeks ago.  My sinus infection/cold is also gone (yay!) so I have been pushing forward with the sewing.
I picked up another fitting book and have high hopes for my alma (will sew this up next week).  I am confident it will be awesome. Oh, and school started again, boo.

I wanted to get some fabric moving out of my stash so I grabbed this thin cotton knit with tropical birds on it to make K some pjs.  You can't go wrong with pjs.  I had 2 yards, the fabric has minimal stretch, and very soft.

Top is Jalie 2805 in size O for the width and M for the height.  Bottoms are Ottobre 06/2013 #38 in a 134.
The top fit nice, a tad snug.  The bottoms were really snug - I should have gone up a bit in size to account for the lack of stretch.  Live and learn.  2 yards out of the stash! Yay.

(omg is she getting my swayback already? lol)

the pants didn't survive the day - due to the tightness

Oh and I finally got a pic of K wearing the previous Ottobre 06/2013 #38 with a tons of stretch. They fit nice and will be great leggings. She thought wearing them around the house all day was fun.

I also removed/sewed up 1 yard of the only flannel in the stash.
Fun drama with this.  It started as 1 yard and I wanted to try the Jalie 3243 pants pattern.  Size O. Well, the fabric wasn't long enough so I thought "ok, I'll make capri's with elastic in the legs, cute."  I cut out the pattern and went to start sewing and found this huge hole in the fabric! UGH.

 So I proceeded to hack more off and make them shorts.  

And when ironing, found ANOTHER dang hole! 
Terrible fabric. I patched this small one quick and called it good. 
 My typical luck. K likes them, they are soft.  Plus They fit her well and now I can make her some cotton pants with the pattern.

I'm also working on this top with 1.5 yards of knit from the stash

and then moving back to the alma. Total I will have used up 6.5 yards of stash so far this month.

What are you currently working on?

~ Happy Sewing! ~ Kristin ~

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Epic Fail: Pattern fitting and alterations ~ Alma #2

Prepare for a long post.

Here is what I had typed out on Jan 1st.
  • This year I will slow down and take my time sewing.  
  • I will sew quality items I want to wear and that will wear well.  
  • I am going to take pattern fitting more seriously instead of being lazy and just sewing up a pattern to have it done.  
And then I started my first project for 2014 ~ A new Alma.  I sewed this up before and like the shirt a lot but it still has some minor fit issues.  Instead of tweaking my already traced pattern, I got it in my head to start over from scratch.  I brought out my two Nancy fitting books and started.

Looking at your body, measurements, and fit, is no easy matter.  It is hard to address those extra inches, lines, and bumps.  I re-took my measurements; somehow I gained an inch in the bust - I don't know how but I won't complain. :)
  • My new measurements 37-29-44
  • I'm 5'7" in height
  • I definitely have the genetic pear shape that runs throughout the women on both sides of my family
I know I have square shoulders so that wasn't a shock; however, when taking my waist to hip measurement I realized I need to add an extra inch to patterns here.  Typically patterns are made for a waist to hip measurement of 9", mine is 10".

With my trusty measurements in hand along with my Nancy Book and began the massive alterations to the Alma.  Nancy suggests taking your measurements from basically armpit to armpit and using that as your "right size". I came in at 12.5" which puts me in a US 8 for my top.  This will ensure the correct fit through the shoulders and neck area - the hardest place to alter. This will also prevent that terrible neck gaping I hate so much (suggesting incorrect size to fit bust, not shoulders).  Now I need to compare my measurements to the size 8 measurements on the pattern envelope.

Me Pattern Change needed
bust 37 34.5 +2.5
waist 29 28.5 +0.5
hip 44 40.5 +3.5
back waist 13.5 14 -0.5

The back waist indicates my swayback issues. Each "change needed" is divided by 4

Starting with the back piece I went in Nancy's order.
1. Hem (added 1" in length at waistline indicated by my waist to hip measurement)
2. Swayback -took out 1/2"
3. Square Shoulder Adjustment
4. Full Bust Adjustment of 1/2"
5. Waist increase of 1/8"
6. Hip increase of 3/4"

Seriously this took me like 1.5 hours to trace and correct each part individually on the back piece alone. Sigh. I was exhausted.  Then I went to the front which went faster at just an hour.  I didn't have the swayback for the front but had to adjust the bust dart and move the vertical darts down an inch front and back.  I traced my facings off the changed pieces.  Then I shortened/flattened the sleeve cap by an inch. Joy has an excellent tutorial on this.  I didn't want to ease in so much this time on the sleeve and also didn't want the gathers.

Now it is muslin time.  With all these changes I definitely want to do a muslin.  I excitedly sewed up the muslin and .... FAIL!  Why am I such a perfectionist? Why did I start this from scratch? The muslin speaks for itself:

URG. Madness.  The bad: sleeve shoulder is WAY too tight. There is a ton of fabric poof under my armpit.  The "armpit" of the shirt is nowhere near my armpit.  Poof under bust doesn't show my waist definition.  Poof in the back above the swayback.  The good? The shoulder width fits nicely, the hip area has more ease so it fits better than my last one.

This took any sewing mojo I had and squashed it.  Seriously, my other Alma fit better and all I did was size down to an 8 and square shoulder adjust it.

What I've learned:

  • overfitting a pattern is bad
  • If something fits well, don't try to re-do it 
  • stop being such a perfectionist!
  • pattern ease is not my friend; I like less ease in most my clothes

And now I've spent 3 days fiddling with this with no finished garment to show for it. Time to wallow in some chocolate and move on to the next project.

~ Happy Sewing! ~ Kristin ~