Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Grading for a Larger Size

This will be good practice. That's what I'm telling myself.

Remember the latest Eva dress that I made for a friend. Well, it's back to the drawing board on this one. It doesn't fit. I've been informed that the sleeves and bodice are too tight. My linen dress was given as a test garment and I proceeded after being told that it was a size too small. Sadly and foolishly, I proceeded without seeing it on my friend or getting her measurements and just went ahead with sewing the largest size that the Eva dress came in. I know, I know, what the heck was I thinking? This is why I typically stay away from sewing for others--fit. Fit is always the biggest challenge.   

There is only enough linen fabric to make one more Eva dress so I have to make a muslin. I should have made a muslin in the first place.  

Grading a pattern. Yeah if you listen to all those folks trying to sell patterns on Etsy they'll have you convinced that it is an easy process. They must be professionals. And why is it that there are no modern sewing books that help with grading a pattern? There is a lot of information out there about alterations but there is a difference. Grading is used to change a size whereas alterations are more specific changes to a certain area of an individual's shape. I guess it's deemed un-necessary in the day of multi-sized patterns.  

The only mention of grading for changes in size can be found in my vintage sewing books from the  early to mid-1900s or my vintage Threads magazines.  
Grading, or the increasing or decreasing of the size of the pattern, is a fundamental process of pattern making that every user of patterns should understand, especially the professional worker (Women's Institute of Domestic Arts and Sciences, Ltd.). 
And this is why I shouldn't be sewing for others. I found some encouragement in the April/May 2017 edition of Sew News when I read, "[g]rading up two or three sizes is definitely possible, though it's easier on simpler patterns with few pieces." The Eva dress is a simple design. I can do this!  

Threads magazine, September 2006 (number 126), warns that "pattern sizes and ready-to-wear sizes aren't the same. As a general rule, your pattern size will be two or more sizes larger than your usual ready-to-wear size." This makes sense as to why the Eva dress didn't fit my friend. I only wish I discovered this important piece of information before I worked on the dress.    

I do like that the Women's Institute of Domestic Arts and Science book on Pattern Designing explains how to do both the slash and spreading method as well as the shifting method.  Threads magazine, June / July 1990 (number 29), also contains an excellent article. Off-the-Chart Sizes by Nancy Bryant details the slash and spread method for sizes up to 22 and grading measurements for collars and cuffs. I am going to try the shifting method since it is a simple design without any darts.  

Well, stay tuned and we'll see how this turns out.  

Happy Sewing!     

Friday, 15 September 2017

One More Copy: Simplicity 2372

Just over three years ago I made Mama R a navy satin crepe dress. I was surprised when she recently asked for another one. Hmmm, curious, I inquired what was up. Apparently, the original has some water stains from when it was pressed and water leaked from her iron.

Of course, it was no problem since I still had some left over fabric. When we found this satin back crepe fabric in the bargain centre at Fabricland years ago, we picked up all that was on the bolt. There was more than five metres for sure because I was able to make two dresses and a cardigan style jacket. It was a good deal and even though I was reluctant back then to sew satin back crepe, I have since overcome my apprehension as I learned a few tricks along the way.

This is the last of the fabric in this colour. I wish I could say that it was the last of the polyester satin back crepe but I picked up some more in a light blue colour thinking that Mama R would like it. I was wrong. No idea what I'm going to do with the last of the satin back crepe in my stash. Satin back crepe robe? But I digress... The fabric was pre-treated with a tumble through the washing machine, a tumble through the dryer and a good press before it made it to the cutting table.

The pattern is Mama R's go-to-favourite, Simplicity 2372. Same changes as the last half dozen or so that I've made previous to this one, so I won't bore you with anymore details. The only other change that was new was to the hem. I had to baste this one three times before I got the length right. Mama R was trying it on with a new pair of shoes.

The Stats:

Fabric:  2.3 metres

Interfacing:  0.5 fusible

Zipper:  22" invisible zipper

Basting tape:  44" double sided tape

Pattern:  Simplicity 2372

Additional Tools & Supplies:  Cutting table, pins, scissors, sewing machine, invisible zipper foot, regular zipper foot, blind hem foot, serger, threads, iron, ironing board, sleeve ham, tailor's ham, hand needle, and coffee.

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Updating With Some Parisan Logic

I've been cleaning out my closet. I'm clearing out all of the items that are taking up room in my closet that I don't enjoy wearing or just don't fit into my current lifestyle. My new philosophy is that life is too short to wear uncomfortable clothes or anything that doesn't make you feel your best.  

First up is this t-shirt.

Made in August 2016, this gray polyester knit t-shirt is the worst for pilling. And I really dislike fabrics that do not hold up. Call me a fabric snob but I don't hold a lot of trust in the polyesters that I'm seeing in the stores.  Parisan Logic to apply here:  sew with quality fabrics.  

Talking about less-than-desirable polyester fabric, I would really like to throw this one out but I'll hold on to it for awhile longer because I could wear it to work where I wouldn't mind if it gets ruined. I work in a dusty environment where there is a lot of physical work, not somewhere I want to wear my best clothes. Parisan logic:  Say no to trends.  Just because scuba knit was the new fabric everyone was sewing doesn't mean it would work for me.  

Another polyester knit that doesn't cut it. It's too warm to wear in the summer and it doesn't keep me warm in the winter. This was actually my muslin it helped to see that the neckline was too wide so I guess it served it's purpose.  Parisan logic:  Know what works.  

What was I thinking when I made sleeveless pullover top in a boiled wool?  Oh yeah, I was thinking about wearing it with that gray t-shirt. It's just not practical.  Parisan logic:  think capsule wardrobe.  

Yeah, another polyester garment. But that is not why this one is getting the boot. Not everyone looks good in a wrap dress. I'm one of those people. Parisan logic:  A good fit is everything.   

That includes this one too. It was conservative enough for working in a catholic school but it wasn't my style. I did like working with the vintage pattern and underlining a garment.  Parisan logic:  Dress for yourself, and only yourself.  

This Lynn Mizono top was a fun make. And I do love the cotton print but the sleeves are too wide and don't quite work for my lifestyle.  Parisan logic:  Simplicity is king.  

Well, even though I'm saying good-bye to these pieces I don't regret making them. Okay, maybe the pilling polyester and scuba knit. Just kidding. All of these pieces have taught me some valuable lessons, increased my sewing skills and I had fun sewing them.  

Happy Sewing!  

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Silk Infinity Scarf

This evening there was a simple sewing project that came out of the workspace. No pattern, just a beautiful piece of silk.  

I started with less than a metre folding it in half width-wise and carefully pinning wrong sides together with silk pins. Can I just say that silk pins are excellent to use for light weight fabrics. They're worth every penny.  

I sewed a 3/8" seam and then trimmed before turning, pressing and finished a french seam.

Right sides together I stitched the selvage edges together making sure to leave an opening to turn it over and then hand stitched the opening close.  Easy peasy.  

This beautiful silk fabric is a Fabricland find. Just like working with silk pins, this fabric demands a fine needle both for hand-stitching and the sewing machine. I tested several needles and threads before proceeding and ended up going with Klassé Sharps #70, 2.6 stitch length on the sewing machine and polyester thread.  

The Stats:

Fabric:  0.7 metres

Additional Tools & Supplies:  Cutting table, scissors, silk pins, thread clippers, hand needle, iron, ironing board, and coffee.  

Happy Sewing!

Friday, 8 September 2017

In Sewing News Today...

Well, that went fast!  

I'm talking about round 1 of the Pattern Review Sewing Bee contest. The first round was a pencil skirt and today is the deadline for the entries. It's not going to happen for me. I'm working later today and right now I'm up icing my back/shoulder when I should be in bed sleeping and dreaming about fall sewing projects. I popped my rib last week and that has been playing havoc in my sleep patterns and sewing schedule. But I digress... 

The folks at Pattern Review threw a wrecking ball into this round and added it had to be inspired by a piece of music or by a musician. I found a photo of Miley Cyrus wearing a metallic pencil skirt  while doing an internet search that reminded me of this piece of fabric in my stash. 

I thought this could be fun but I'm not all that comfortable with knee length skirts so I thought I might try to get away with something longer.  

Enter out-of-print (OOP) Vogue 2091. I was thinking about the skirt portion of view C. I know, I was probably pushing the pattern envelope on that one. And even though I'm missing the deadline and won't enter it in the contest, I just might go ahead and make it for fun. There are so many creative entries so far, I especially like reading what song, artist or musical genre inspired the entries.  

In other sewing news... 

I recently found this pattern, OOP Vogue 9951, over at Etsy and I have a beautiful silk plaid fabric that I would like to try view B in but the pattern says that it's not suitable for plaid. Do you listen to the fabric suggestions on a pattern envelope? Or are you a rule breaker? I think I'm going to go ahead and break some rules. Fingers crossed it works out.    

Well that is all in sewing news today. I'm going to try to sneak in a few more zzz's.  

Happy Sewing!  

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Blue Linen Eva Dress

There are plans to sew one more Eva dress by Tessuti Patterns but this one is not it. This version is for a friend. A very patient friend because it should not have taken me as long as it did to make it.  

The fabric is 100% linen from my stash. I used the steam method to preshrink the fabric before I proceeded with cutting it out. Tessuti patterns come with all sizes XS to L which was really handy. I didn't use the order laid out in the pattern instructions, instead I sewed it up as I did the other versions I made for myself.  

The Stats:  

Fabric:  3 metres 

Bias Tape:  2.8 metres

Fusible Tape:  1 metre Knit-N-Stable tape

Additional Tools & Supplies:  Sewing machine, walking foot, regular presser foot, cutting table, measuring tape, markers, Burda tracing paper, serger, threads, scissors, thread clippers, screwdriver, tailor's ham, iron, ironing board, pins, many breaks and coffee.  

Happy Sewing!  

Monday, 4 September 2017

Labour Day

For many of us, sewing is a creative outlet, a labour of love. I know that I enjoy my sewing time. It is a time of leisure filled music, challenges, breaks and even making time for tea. I don't enjoy repetitive sewing. Like those times when I have stacks of microwave cozies to sew for an order or metres and metres of rolled hems to sew for church decorations. I feel trapped by time trying to meet a deadline and putting my body through the strain of sitting at the machine, mindlessly sewing straight lines and repeating, over and over. And as we're celebrating Labour Day this long weekend it has me thinking about workers that have worked long and hard for rights we enjoy today? Rana Plaza is fresh in our collective memories but the plight of textile workers has been a historic one that has travelled across many borders. 

{Source:  Eaton's Archival Collection}

Many battles were won and lost in the fight for workers' rights. In nineteen thirty-one Canada was home to a general strike of dressmakers, resulting in an unsuccessful fight for workers' rights. Many working in the textile industry here and abroad still work for the legally allowed minimum wage and in physically demanding jobs putting their lives and health at risk. Yet, we still seem to be oblivious to this when we're out shopping.  

British journalist Lucy Siegle highlights the fact that despite campaigns like Fashion Revolution and patting ourselves on the backs for labour right gains there is still a great deal of exploitation that's occurring through fast fashion. It is not just fast fashion that is the culprit, there are other areas that we can make a difference.  

So, how are you marking this long weekend? Will your sewing be making a difference?  

Grading for a Larger Size

This will be good practice. That's what I'm telling myself. Remember the latest Eva dress that I made for a friend. Well, it&...