Saturday, December 28, 2013

Slow Start

I have been sewing, just not as fast and constant as I want. I'm blaming Christmas dinner hangover. Ugh. I feel like I've gained 20 lbs this month. I haven't, but I haven't been very good either. I *know* what my New Year's resolution will be, and I don't even usually make resolutions. But I want to fit into ALL of my clothes again and now that I'm settled into my job, the pity party (read: food medication) is over.

Wednesday night, Alex was whining (not really) that his purchased key lanyard had met its demise. I'm not sure exactly when he started wearing his keys around his neck, but whenever it was (probably at least as long as he's been driving), he's been doing it ever since. Having to put his keys in his pocket Thursday morning threw off his entire workday zen/balance. Overly dramatic much? Hahaha.

So, sewing mom and stash to the rescue of course! Grosgrain ribbon? Check. Key fob hardware? Check. (Yes, really ... and I even have more.) Tag to disguise a mom-sewn item? Check.

My choices for wide-ish grosgrain ribbon in the stash were limited. I needed one I could fold in half (for strength) and which was not entirely too girlie. This brown/aqua stripe fit the bill best. The unpressed ribbon is on the right below. Cutting the length of ribbon, pressing in half, and then stitching the halves together and over/through the hardware took all of about 10 minutes. 15 tops.

A thread change and then sewing on the label cut from some old pair of jeans years ago took another 2-3 minutes.

And that was the extent of my Thursday sewing. But all was right in Alex's world again as he left for work Friday morning. And he even likes this hardware better than the lame clip of the purchased version. So I call that a sewing win, even if it was only 20 minutes.

Yesterday, having had success with the SBCC Tonic tee, I bought and downloaded the SBCC Mimosa top and muslined it. Both for fit and for construction testing.

The 16 PDF pages for this top were also to be butted together when taped, instead of overlapping, but the "missing bits" of the pattern lines were easy enough to fill in where needed. Even though I did pay for this pattern vs. the free Tonic, I still didn't really mind filling in the lines since the butting up/taping is easier than trimming 2 sides and then overlapping sheets. In other words, this method was a lot faster and I think even more accurate in the long run. For the Mimosa, the separate pages/tiles of the PDF print-out were also numbered so there was no guessing as to what page went where if the printed pages happened to spit out of the printer out of order. Which they did with the Tonic. Ahem. My fault on that.

Before I get into the fit of the muslin, I want to mention a few observations. First, if you look at the coral Mimosa from the SBCC website above, you should notice a back neck facing. It doesn't exist in the final pattern. Instead, there is a pattern piece for bias binding. I think this is better. But don't expect instructions for attaching it. As I mentioned with the Tonic, these are not learn-to-sew patterns. In fact, there's not even a cutting layout given. Which I actually like since I never follow suggested layouts anyway and it saves on printing output too. Grain and fold lines are marked as you'd expect, which is all that's really needed.

The instructions are fine (with one semi-mistake, noted below) but they are in bitmap format instead of a vector PDF. If you don't know the difference, in layman's terms ... a bitmap is like a digital photograph where resolution (file size and pixels) counts, and if resolution is too low, you won't be able to print a clear (unpixelated) rendition. This is the case here. I hope the pattern designer is reading, because I want to suggest that she keep the instructions in the infinitely scaleable vector format and save as PDF, like the Tonic instructions, because the print-out as-is is only so-so. Readable, but blurry. And so easy to make perfect if staying with vectors.

Onto the muslin.

Overall, pretty darn good for a first muslin and the top looks like I expected from the SBCC website. I cut the same sizing as for the Tonic ... which was a straight XL for all of the front and back shoulders/neck/arms, then blending to XL+1/2" for the back bodice starting below the armpits. I did not do an FBA and there is plenty of bust width/length for me. But the bust dart is pointing about 1-1/2" too high for these non-perky girls. That's an easy fix and I've already box-cut around the dart and moved it down on the pattern to be ready for the real fabric today. I also cut the pattern the full length of the biggest size because the hem allowance is only 3/4". I think I might want another 1" and will cut the next one with that additional length to see. I anticipate that most of that will be used as hem allowance, since I prefer a deeper hem.

While my bra straps are technically covered, the neck opening still feels a little wide over my shoulders. I added about 3/8" to the width at each shoulder for the next make, and will show the altered pattern piece when I show the final fabric top. Lastly, as far as fit, the dart in the raglan sleeve poofed on me, because I didn't make a square shoulder alteration for the muslin. I've now done that for the next make (same pattern piece to be shown next time).

The semi-mistake in the pattern that I mentioned above is the mark for where to place the ties. It's just not in the right place to allow for the seam allowance to attach the facing. (The sleeve notches don't match up to the bodice either, but that may be as designed ... IOW for identification only ... since you're never instructed to actually align the marks.) As long as you remember to ignore that mark for the ties and just place them lower with the seam allowance in mind, you'll be fine.

Finally, I also think I may change up the sewing order and attach the front neck facing before I've attached the back bias but after joining the front raglan seams (did you follow that?), because as you can see in the 2 photos above, my joins are not exactly even. :-) I'm still thinking on this and probably won't make up my mind until I'm actually at the sewing machine with the real one.

Which is where I'm headed now ...


  1. I have that very same ribbon! Great lanyard and love the label to hide the "mom-made item". :)

    My mom wears her keys around her neck ( dad does too) and now you've given me a great idea for Christmas next year!!

  2. I am glad you are testing this pattern for me, I was going to buy it. I love it when you give an honest assessment of the pattern. I look forward to the "real"one.

  3. Love how you narrowed the ribbon for strength and sewed the label on. That is such a good idea for keys and a great use of stash ribbon. I learn something everytime I read your blog.Aren't we all lucky that Alex's key holder broke? Lol!

  4. Clever practical Mum to the rescue ~ the things you whip up are just amazing! Enjoy sewing your top today ... J

  5. Excellent work on the lanyard. You have a very lucky son. Very informative review on the top too. Looking forward to seeing the real version.

  6. You've put me in the sewing mood, Debbie. Lucky you! 5 days off. That's a great thing about the bigger offices. There are only 3 of us in my office! I figured many offices were closed. Our phones were pretty dead and I was getting a lot of out of office replies! Have a happy new year!

  7. Very interesting series of posts. Thanks for putting me onto a new pattern company and for pre-testing these patterns for us. Happy New year to you.

  8. Very interesting series of posts. Thanks for putting me onto a new pattern company and for pre-testing these patterns for us. Happy New year to you.

  9. I love your key fob, Debbie! I have a company issued key fob (though it's actually for a badge) and, now I'm thinking, why not make my own?

  10. A label to hide Mom-made!! Hahahaha!


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