Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Thoughts on Blank Slate Rose Tee

I like knit top patterns that are more than a basic tee, such as Jalie 2806, HotPatterns Sunshine Top, my beloved Ottobre tees, etc., and which have a bit of design "fullness" in front to cover my own "fullness." Enter the Blank Slate Rose. I bought/downloaded this pattern about 8 months ago and it's been in my queue for a while. Finally, its turn came.

The pattern calls for a woven fabric to be used where you see a print in the pattern photo, and the designer and most others I've seen who've made it (#bsprosetshirt) have used solids for the rest. If you know anything about me, you know I'm a prints and knits girl. Give me All the Print Knits!

I had some Liverpool scraps left from my Slouchy Cardi which I used to "opposite" color block. I did interface, (with a non-stretch fusible) the pieces which called for woven to be used, mostly because the b/w print is a *very* drapey, silky knit and it definitely needed some stability when used around the neckline. There are front and back facings on the inside which I also interfaced, but with a knit fusible on those, for a bit more "oomph." I did not interface the solid black pieces at all.

I'm very happy with how the neckline turned out, even though I generally hate facings in knits. The shape, width, and depth are perfect for me. Next time, I will definitely just bind the back neckline or turn and coverstitch, but a facing on the front in this design is actually needed for stability, and to cover all the piecing so the insides are pretty too.

The pattern went together well but it's not for an abundance of accurate markings. Look at the notches above ... they aren't even close to being correct. Sigh. I suppose it's a good thing these notches weren't even mentioned in the instructions, right? :-) Speaking of which, the instructions are  illustrated with mostly photos, which is OK, but the instructions for attaching the facings are just plain a bad method and will give you a lump at the shoulder seams if you follow them. My advice is to sew the facing shoulder seams together/press and the bodice shoulder seams together/press, and then join the facing to bodice at the neckline, RS together, stitch, and turn. In other words, the usual way. :-)

As usual, I laid my TNT Ottobre tee over the pattern pieces and compared. Below is the back. Can you see how straight up/down this original pattern is below my TNT? I'm not that shape, so I reshaped the armholes and waist/hip curves. I did the same for the front, which was also straight up/down.

Below is the pattern sleeve behind my Ottobre sleeve. Yikes. Good thing I was already planning to use my Ottobre sleeve.

I've been wanting to add a flounce to a short-sleeve knit top for a while and finally I did. Watch out, because I love it and I'm going to add flounces to all of my short sleeves. Maybe kidding.

Seriously, how fun is this?

I dug out my 1/4" downturn feller for my coverstitch machine …

… ran the flounces through it before they were attached to anything …

… and Voila! Perfect hems on a curve. Now I'm really adding flounces everywhere. :-)

I'm very happy with my top and will definitely make it again because there are a lot of color/print blocking possibilities with the neckline, and all of those pieces were accurate and sewed together well. But if I'm being honest, I don't think this top would have fit me as I prefer below the neckline without sewing a muslin and tweaking if I hadn't substituted my TNT shaping. I'm just curvier than it is (was).

After finishing the top, I had some scraps of the print left. Too big to toss, but maybe too small to be anything. Well, with some creative cutting and thanking my stars that the fabric is 4-way stretch, I was able to eek out a McCall's 7386 skirt. I love this skirt. I must have at least 8 of them in my closet now. I love the slightly flippy, slightly pencil, slightly A-line shape all in one skirt. It's perfect for the office. I'm sure I'll keep making it for years.

The finished 2-piece dress on Zillie …

… and on me with those awesome work bathroom selfies.

Oh, and remember I said I had to creatively cut the skirt pieces? Well, I also had to piece a section, which turned out to be the CB hem area, which hardly shows now. I'll never point it out off this blog.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

In the Folds FREE Slouchy Cardi

What's better than a FREE, fast & easy sewing pattern? How about a FREE, fast & easy sewing pattern that will fit lots of bodies?

This is the Slouchy Cardi from In the Folds, offered for free download (FREE!) by Peppermint Magazine, here.

Click on the sizing chart below to enlarge it (or look at the sizing chart at the Peppermint Magazine site linked above). This pattern is drafted to be loose-fitting with a lot of ease, to give it that slouchy look. I'm not a huge fan of quite so much slouch so I picked my size by the finished measurements for Size F, which is still bigger than my actual measurements and gives me minimal ease, which is fine since the knit I used is plenty stretchy. (It's a Liverpool knit from Cali Fabrics, which is now sold out.) Because of the generous size range and sizING, this Slouchy Cardi will fit many shapes and sizes.

Here's the schematic for the pattern pieces. I wanted to point out the band piece and how long it is. (It's the sheets on the right starting at 35 and going straight down to 28.) Once you've got both band pieces sewn together and pressed, that's a LOT of curved band to wrestle with and attach evenly to the cardi body. Do not skimp on marking pattern notches (of which there are plenty, yay!) and do not skimp on pins. Do not do what I did and think you can just wing it, because you'll have to pin/re-pin about 378 times to get the band distributed evenly around the cardi body. Yeah. Not marking those notches was no shortcut.

And here's another of the fantastic work bathroom selfies. To make things even better, of course I used black fabric so you can't see any details.

In order to zoom in so you can see a few details, it meant including items that really showed the bathroom part of the "work bathroom selfie." It's hard to believe this scribble erasing is from a former graphic designer, but hey … I'm at work and this computer has no real photo-editing software so it was either this or a toilet and tampon dispenser. Hah. Anyway, the sleeves are finished with a wide cuff. This sleeve is not too long for me; I'm just holding the cuff in an attempt to show it better. I'm pretty certain that worked better in my mind. If you click the photo to enlarge it, you might also be able to slightly see the curved band around the cardi body. What you won't be able to see is the sideseam pockets, because I didn't add them. I was already below the pattern's stated fabric requirements and pockets just weren't going to fit.

Below you can see that this is actually a fairly long cardigan. I really love how easy but elegant the curved band is. With this cardi's slight cocoon shape, longer length, and dropped shoulders, I'm feeling 1980s goodness all over again. All I need is my shoulder pads and Aqua Net.

The last two pics are essentially the same. All I moved was my head, trying for that artful pose or something. Yeah, no.

And that's pretty much all I have to say about that (Forrest Gump). The dress I'm wearing is a Cashmerette Turner, made a couple of years ago, and still in rotation.

I know this essentially was a drive-by review, but that's just about how fast it is to cut and sew this Slouchy Cardi. Especially if you do 99% with your serger. I did use my sewing machine to edgestich around the entire band (but not the cuffs) and that's it.

* * * * *

On a different and more serious note, thank you for all of your kind words after my last post. The boys are doing OK. It was a shock, and still is, but we're moving on. All of the blended family came together in St. Augustine for a "Celebration of Life." It was everything it should've been and Mike would have loved it.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Love Notions Forte and Other Stuff

I'm back today with more of what I've been making recently (and more work bathroom selfies than should be in one post). Speaking of work—I'm off from tomorrow through January 1, which is TWELVE days (woot!) and I'm really hoping to get a few things done in the sewing room. December has sucked (see below) and I'm so ready for the New Year.

In the meantime, let's get back to the sewing stuff. Above is my Love Notions Forte Dress, sewn in October. I like the finished dress, but I took a few detours from the pattern to get there.

This is my second Love Notions pattern made up. My first was the free Laundry Day Tee (previously blogged here and here). LN has a "trimless" print-out, which I found worked better on the Forte than it did for me on the Laundry Day Tee. Me or the printer or the pattern? I have no idea. What *was* my fault was not checking which pages I needed for the View B dress I was making and instead, I printed all 104 pages. Yes, ONE HUNDRED AND FOUR pages. Good for me that I print at work. Bad if you're paying for supplies.

Another backhanded compliment (complaint) I have is that the pages are laid out such that you're only assembling one pattern piece at a time and don't need a huge tabletop to do so BUT … the "map" for the assembly is too light and low-resolution for my old eyes to see it clearly. The assembly diagrams are the pink boxes below. If you're looking at the PDF on a computer, you can theoretically zoom in to see the diagrams better (still low-res though). But if you're staring at the printed pages, it's a blurry mess. I did let the designer know and she responded, so hopefully this will be improved at some point.

There are a number of hints and links to tutorials, etc. that are clickable within the PDF when viewing on-screen. Again, useless if you're looking at just paper. So, I have very mixed feelings on these features because once I'm ready to sew, I'm not next to a computer in my present set-up.

The pattern is touted to have a "full bust" version included. I looked at the tester photos and saw too many on which what is supposed to be an underbust seam bisected the bust instead. I don't know if those testers used the regular or full bust pieces. I don't know if they made any adjustments. I only know that after holding the pattern piece up to my own bust, I needed to do something. My quick fix was to just add more length, as shown by pink-lined addition below. I lost most of the inverted vee shape of the seam with this quick fix but at least it's under my bust. On a future version, I'll probably adjust my adjustment to get back some of that inverted vee shape.

I'll also lower and widen the neckline on future versions. This one is technically fine but higher/narrower than I prefer. Part of this finished shape/height is because I actually added a half inch to the height because some tester photos looked very low. Again, no info on what the testers may or may not have done so I was just guessing. The other part of the finished shape is because I used my coverstitch to bind the neckline instead of turning and topstitching. (Binding also meant I had to change up the order of construction so I could start/stop the binding at the center front.)

The binding looks great. The pattern matching across the CF seam, not so much. I stitched/ripped literally three times and it didn't improve. I decided to employ the 3-foot galloping horse rule. (That's the rule that if something can't be seen from 3 feet away while riding a galloping horse as you pass by, then it's good.) Seriously, not one person has come up to me to complain that for 2-1/2 inches down the center front seam, the pattern doesn't quite line up.

See … far less noticeable at this distance. Even less so on a live body.

Another problem I had with this dress was the sideseams didn't match. I'm confident I matched the correct seams and I'm also confident that pattern itself matches as it should. I think the fabric just stretched out from hanging on Zillie for a week or so. I tried to force it by easing the seams and ended up with this:

So I pressed, steamed, and clappered the heck out of the seams.

Better, but still wonky. Plus, I really wasn't happy with how the dress hung over my backside. I have erect posture and there was just too much length in the back bodice area before it hit my butt so it just hung badly instead of skimming. I thought I took a pic but I didn't find it, so you'll have to take my word on that.

So I took a hard left (figure of speech) and unstitched those wonky sideseams and then cut off the lower back …

… so I could add an adjusted back waist seam to get rid of the excess. Again, not scoring perfect 10s in the pattern matching but I was now limited by remaining fabric so I didn't even try.

And it looks fine. The sideseams aren't rippled anymore either.

My phone makes little animations when I take a lot of similar photos in a row. It cracks me up, and this one was actually pretty good. I really like the front drape of the skirt section. It's fun to wear because it has a lot of movement.

Now for some other October/November sewing. Up first, HotPatterns Garden Party T.

The pattern is great. My fabric and trim are crap. I'll be trying this again in another fabric. One that doesn't hold static, doesn't flip up, and doesn't feel like wearing plastic. And this from a polyester-print-lovin' girl.

One more pair of black Hudsons for cooler weather. Love these. Wear them all the time. All. The. Time. This is the best black ponte ever. From Cali Fabrics. I'm not affiliated at all, I just love this fabric. Go buy some here.

Lastly, another Itch to Stitch Nottingham top and McCall's 7386 skirt.

I used my lowered neckline from last time.

I love my clapper when pressing neckbands, so they stay curved and flat.

I also added about an inch to this version of the top (first version here) on the lengthen/shorten lines and I like the length of this one.

Also did the "faux tie" thing again.

One last work bathroom selfie.

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And now on a more somber note about why this December sucks. Many of you know that my marriage ended about 6-1/2 years ago. Very long story short, I was finally divorced two weeks ago, on December 5, here in Tampa. (My ex had been living in Virginia all these years but had flown down to Tampa for this.) After court, he drove to St. Augustine, where Tyler and Michael (my step) live. The three of them went to dinner that same night and while walking in the tourist areas of St. Augustine, my ex had a sudden and massive heart attack and passed away just minutes later. All of this is to say that it was huge shock and we're all pretty sad. (Luckily Alex did have dinner with him in Tampa the night before.) I couldn't decide whether it was appropriate to put this on the blog but all of my family has been on the blog at some point and so many of you have been there from the beginning so it feels like a kind of closure.