Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Stretch & Sew 1550: Fitted Basic Dress


Seriously, how could I resist this beauty? 10 darts - 6 on the bodice and 4 on the skirt. I think it was first released in 1967, but this is the 1974 version. 

I changed the neckline to make it more of a scoop, and finished it with French trim. I also swapped out the sleeves. This dress only went to size 40, and I wanted size 42 sleeves at elbow length. So, I used the sleeves from a different Stretch & Sew pattern. I've noticed that some of the earliest Stretch & Sew patterns max out at size 38 or size 40. Later ones tend to go higher. It's not a problem, but just something to keep in mind as you're browsing around for these patterns if you are in the higher size range.

I did a small FBA on the bust, which moved the front waist darts over a little. So, I moved the front darts on the skirt over, too, so that they would still line up. 



I'm really pleased with how well I put in the zipper. It's not perfect, but it's pretty good. I love the 1974 instructions - which basically say, "Do whatever it says on the zipper package." I interfaced the edge with 1-inch-wide knit fusible interfacing, then basted the seam shut, used basting tape to connect the zipper to the seam allowance, and topstitched all of the way around the zipper.

Check out my awesome ponte knit! In some light, it looks purple. In some light, it looks royal blue. I love it all of the time!

I wanted to be able to fine-tune the fit, so I put the back together, the front together, and put the sleeves in, flat, before I basted the side seams and tried it on. I ended up leaving the top alone, but changing the side seams on the skirt from 5/8 of an inch to 3/8 of an inch, to get just a little more room in the hips. 

I used fusible web, for the first time, for the all of the lower hems. This is mostly because my fabric/thread match wasn't perfect, so I was afraid that even an "invisible" hem would show. I didn't think that a coverstitched hem would look right with a pattern this non-tee-shirt-ish. We'll see how it holds up, but I like it, so far. 

Looking at it on the dress form, I probably should have raised the waist a little bit. For my next version, I'll try to put it 1/2 an inch higher, and see how that goes. Otherwise, I'm very happy with the fit!

The bottom of the skirt hits me exactly at the middle of my knee. I'm only about 5'4", so a taller person might want to lengthen the skirt. 


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Darts in Knits and Stretch & Sew 1505

I had a little of that wonderful bird fabric left over, so I made a Stretch & Sew 1505.






It's a lovely pattern! I did a small FBA and lowered the bust dart a little bit, and ended up with this unholy mess of a pattern piece. I've become a bit stingy with my Swedish Tracing Paper, so I use scraps to fill in when I do pattern adjustments. 

I promised myself that, if this shirt came out well, I would retrace the pattern piece so that I would have a "clean" copy to use later. So, that's what I did before I put everything back in the package. 

I love the scoop neck on this one and the neck treatment is great. It's not just an attached knit band - it's what Ann Person calls a "French Trim." Or, rather, it looks like she had to start calling it a "French" trim after she couldn't call it Chanel Trim, anymore. 

A lot of people who sew seem to be shy about using darts in knit fabric. So far, I've had good results as long as the fabric is 100% cotton or a double knit. I've seen darts in higher-end polyester/spandex blends in ready to wear, though, too. If you snoop shop at White House, Black Market and St. John Knits, you'll see a lot of darts.

The main things that lead to successful darts in knits, it seems to me, are:

1) Use the "right" fabric. It would be asking a lot for a very slippery or thin knit to hold a dart. It's not impossible, I'm sure, but I would test, a lot, before I tried it. Right now I'm saving darted styles for more structured fabrics and dart-free styles for more floppy/stretchy fabrics.
2) Make sure the dart point isn't too close to the apex. This is always important, but looks extra-bad on knits, in my opinion. The dart is sometimes a little more stiff than the fabric around it, so instead of just crawling up the apex, it actually sticks out, away from the body! Not cute.
3) I use a stabilizer under the dart as I sew it, then tear it away after I'm done. This allows me to both  not worry about the dart stretching out as I sew and makes sure I can stitch off the end of the dart without worrying about the machine tangling up. I keep a big pile of 1-inch strips of stabilizer by the machine, to make this easier. 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Stretch & Sew


I have a bunch of these patterns. So, I made a spreadsheet. As you do. 


Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Butcher Apron

Just a reminder that the Textile Center's garage sale is coming up. I picked up this pattern at their smaller sale last Fall. Fair warning - I'll be the one elbow-deep in the vintage patterns. I really do use them, too. Take that, person who asked me if I do at that sale. Then, she called them "paper dolls." Weirdo. She was probably a crocheter.



Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Pink Out Day


I just found out that today is #pinkout day! The high temp. here today will be in the 50s, and, believe it or not, that's waaaay too hot for me to actually wear a hat. So, I'm sporting a little PussyHat pin on my bag. I designed it myself and I don't know if I can share too many details, yet, but you should be able to get the super-easy instructions for it soon.

There's more information on #pinkout day here and here.

#IStandWithPP

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Leggings

Work Friend: You didn't make your own leggings, did you?

Me: Of course I did!


I used Stretch & Sew 313, which is barely even vintage, in my opinion, since I was 14 in 1993, but I digress. 

Which means that I remember stirrup pants and I still hate them, so I made my leggings/tights stirrup-free but pretty long. 

I found a fabric at JoAnn's that is pretty heavy, has amazing recovery and was marked "workout to weekend." The pattern uses a cut-on elastic waistband, where you stitch the elastic to the inside of the tights, then turn it down and topstitch it in place. 

I used a tip that I read in one of the Stretch & Sew books for this - instead of pinning the elastic in place before you topstitch, just baste it down at the center and back seams (and side seams, if your garment has them). Then, you don't have to try to pull pins out as you're stretching your elastic to fit. 

Ann Person was on record as hating the look of zig-zag stitches on the outside of the garment, but I see this A LOT in activewear, so when my coverstitch refused to cover the super-thick elastic plus two layers of fabric, I just used a fairly wide zig-zag to topstitch. 

I hemmed the legs using the coverstitch, though. The leg and crotch seams were serged, with an extra line of straight-stitching inside the seam allowance of the crotch seam. 

It really is a fast pattern to put together, since it only has the two inside leg seams, the crotch seam and the waistband. 

And, yes, leggings aren't pants. But, they aren't supposed to be. If you really want to complain about this "new" fashion, it's been growing on us, as a society, for about 900 years. They're just more comfortable now that we have spandex.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Plain Black Skirt

Gym selfie, again. I know. 

This is Stretch & Sew 445, shortened quite a bit because I am short and I wanted it to hit around my knee and not mid-calf. It's a real workhorse pattern. There's probably a way to make the encased elastic waistband less bulky, but it doesn't bother me the way it is.