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.

* * * * *
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.


  1. Debbie, I've read your blog for several years, although I rarely comment. My condolences on your Ex's passing. Peace to you & the boys.

  2. Hi Debbie, I had already clicked over to thank you for all the reviews (I have considered the Forte pattern a few times, and am keen to sew another Nottingham with a lowered neckline like yours), but really wanted to say how sorry I am that you've had such a tough time, and that your ex has died so suddenly. I cannot imagine how traumatic it's been for you and the boys. Take care xxx

  3. My condolences to you and your family. Wishing you time to be together and recover over the holidays.

  4. I've read your column for lots of years and I remember your break up. He was still the father of your children and they must have been in a state of shock. I am sorry your loss.
    Changing the subject, you are always one of the most honest, and therefore helpful of pattern reviewers. I looked at the HP pattern and said not for me. I'm still not sure; we don't have the same figure type, but I will reserve judgement until I see you in it. I never managed to get my binders to work for me. Of course, I didn't actually spend all that much time on it! I love how perfect the front V came out. Would you by any chance be willing to make a tutorial on it?
    I hope that the new year will be better for you and your sons.

  5. I am so very sorry. Of course you’re upset. He was the boy’s father. Sending healing thoughts to all.

  6. Oh how sad for you all. So sorry to hear. An ex never really leaves your life when you have children together. On the sewing side you have been stitching up a storm. Looking good.

  7. I'm so sorry for your loss. thats really tough for sll of you.I am very thankful for your honest take on sewing, so I hope you have lots more to share after a long vacation! Hehehe I hope the sewing gives you peace.

  8. I'm so sorry for your loss, Debbie. Many hugs to you and yours. <3

    P.S. I love your rule for pattern matching. <3

  9. I love the Forte dress! If I saw you in person, I'd not be taking as much time to notice the tiny pattern mismatch as I did looking at your photos. If I did, that would be just creepy. And I probably wouldn't have noticed in the photos had you not mentioned it.

    Sympathies to you and the boys on the ex-H's sudden passing.

  10. I almost bought the ponte because of your recommendation but it’s really not on my list of things to sew this next year. I’m being a good girl and not adding to my stash.

    I was thinking of you a week ago when I was using my coverstitch machine. Thank you for noting coverstitch tips and sharing them.

    I’m very sorry to hear of your ex-husband’s demise. Happy your boys were able to see him.
    My sympathies.

  11. Oh, that is always hard. My thoughts are with you and your boys.

  12. Debbie, I am so sorry for your and your family's loss. It was devastating for me to lose my father when I was 40; I can't imagine how your young kids must be feeling. Best wishes to you and your family for this holiday season.

  13. So sorry for your family's loss and indeed it's a good thing that they were able to have that last moment together. I'm sure Alex will treasure it.

    Your latest projects are fantastic. I keep meaning to sew my ItS top and think I will while on vacay (I don't go back until the 2nd and possibly the 3rd!). I LOVE that fabric for the HP top too bad it didn't work out. It's so pretty!!!

    I made a dress from that orange/white print and my neckband was crap so it's in timeout. I need to redo it...that print is awesome!!

  14. Very sorry for your family's loss. I'm sure that was terribly traumatic. But thanks for this post, chock full of goodies. Great fabric choices.

  15. So sorry....that must have been (and still is) hard...

  16. Oh boy. I remember when you guys separated. I expect similar news someday. Keep taking those slow deep breaths ..

  17. Great that Alex and his brothers had that time, awful for you all. Sorry for your family's loss.

  18. I’m so sorry for your family’s sudden loss. That makes it so much harder to deal with.

    I am always glad to see a post from you though. Assume that your job is going well. Best wishes to you all for a better 2019.

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  20. Sending Light for the highest good to you and your family. You look so happy in your fun orange dress in the phone animation.

  21. I am sorry for your loss, but very glad that his sons had gotten to see him. It's a terrible thing to happen just before Christmas, made doubly so by the lack of notice.

    On the plus side, your dresses look great!

  22. This was an unexpected ending to a sad story. I'm sorry for your family's heartache.

  23. My sincere sympathies to you and your family.

    I love the color of your dress and it looks great on you. Cute animation.
    What a clever idea to sew a matching skirt for the Itch to Stitch top.

  24. Oh my goodness, Debbie. I am so sorry. I wish you, Alex, Tyler, and Michael peace.

  25. I’m so sorry for your family’s loss. 😞

  26. I have read your blog for many years and always enjoyed it. I am sorry for your loss.

  27. Debbie, I always look forward to your post! Thank you for sharing your real life as well.

    What a difficult December indeed. Yes, I remember when your marriage ended, but as someone eloquently said, your ex was still and always the father of your children, and still family. Loss is loss, and never easy.

    Beautiful sewing and as always, I appreciate all the pattern adjustments and your thoughts on such. You look great in the phone video too!

    Wishing you an easy 2019, if such a thing is possible!

  28. Both of your modelled outfits look great and you should definitely make a few versions of the dress after printing out 104 pages.

    So sorry to hear the news about your ex, it must have been a terrible shock for all the family.

  29. Been reading all your reviews since Pattern Review days of so many years ago. Love how you always explain so thoroughly and so honestly. My sympathies to you and the boys. ~Bev

  30. Debbie, I'm so sorry to read about the difficult December. I wish peace to you and your boys.

  31. OMG Debbie, I just saw this, and I'm SO sorry. What a shock. I hope the kids are okay, too.

  32. I'm late to the news here...catching up on blog reading I missed. I wanted you to know I am so sorry that you and the boys have had to deal with such a shock right at the holidays; praying for comfort and peace for you all.

  33. I really like and appreciate your post.Thanks Again. Keep writing.

  34. So sorry....that must have been (and still is) hard...


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