Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Simplicity 3743 - View C

As promised, here is a closer look at Simplicity 3743 - View C.

I made 3 pairs of these for DD to take to camp. The first I made as a muslin. For that I used an olive-colored denim I had already. The only alteration I made to the pattern was to lengthen it by about 2 1/2 inches.

The back fit DD pretty well, but as you can see, the front is on the large side. I didn't really have time to get that taken care of, but definitely will if I make them again anytime soon.

I will also tinker with putting some pockets in, since there were none included.

The other changes I made fall into the category of "embellishment". First, I mock-felled the inseam and the crotch seam. Then, I hemmed the bottoms with decorative stitching.

I used a leaf stitch on the green pair and a loopy kind of stitch on the two tan pairs. If you stand back a bit, the loopy stitch looks kind of like a decorative coverstitch.

This pattern was really quick and easy to put together. I was able to get all three pairs finished by the Sunday before DD left for camp.

Normally, this would be a pattern that I would highly recommend for a beginner, and it might be OK for the top (dunno really, didn't make that), but the bottoms are missing any instructions on how to make the casing for the waistband. I think a beginner might find that disconcerting, although you could get an idea of how to do it by following the instructions for the casing on the sleeve.

I know though that if this had been my first pattern, I would have gotten really confused.

Anyway, here are a couple of shots of the tan shorts and the stitching I did with those.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Been busy...

Haven't had much time to post this last week or so.

I've been busy sewing (wow! what a concept!).

I've broken one of my sewing rules, but in a good cause as I have made progress on two of my goals.

I broke the rule that says not to have more than one project going at a time. I'm not finished yet with the wrap version of Simplicity 4076. But, I found I needed to set that aside for a bit to run through a quick project for my daughter.

The two goals I got to work on were 1) making something for a family member, and 2) embellishement.

DD is going to camp this coming week and didn't have enough shorts to wear - 2 outfits a day for 5 days are needed. DH and I hunted high and low on the internet and in a couple of brick-and-mortars for just plain old inexpensive, non-jean shorts. We found a couple of nylon shorts at Campmor.com but couldn't find any generic cotton or cotton blend twill-type shorts anywhere.

Seriously. Those that passed the modesty and style tests (no short-shorts, no fashionably ripped or torn shorts, nothing that had any sort of sluttish or attitudinal sayings stamped on the a**) either didn't have any good colors (white pants for a pre-teen at camp?), or the right size wasn't available.

So I decided to make her some. I happened to have a Simplicity pattern (3743) that I purchased recently for the top, but which also had a pattern for some simple elastic-waist shorts.

I got started on them about a week-and-a-half ago and finished up the 3rd pair just now. A more formal "review" will be coming shortly. In the meantime, here's a sneak peak.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


A call has gone out in the sewing community to alert folks to the story of a young lady from New York who has been missing since Memorial Day weekend. Here is her story:

Police step up hunt for missing graduate

Thousands of people go missing every year. Unfortunately, only a very few ever get anything more than passing attention.

America's Most Wanted: Missing Persons Resources

Center for Missing and Exploited Children

Center for Missing Adults

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Focus your mind...

I've been thinking lately about how I want my sewing to progress. I find I need some focus, because there are so many things I want to do. It would be all too easy to attempt to do too much at once and not get anything accomplished.

So, here are my top goals, pretty much in order.

Goal #1: Continue to work on fitting issues
My body is definitely not "ideal". And now that I sew, I think I can fix a lot of the problems I've had over the years with RTW clothing (YEA!!!)

Goal #2: Learn how to make pants
This folds right in with goal #1. My non-ideal shape makes it difficult to find pants that really fit. You folks who analyze clothing fit for fun would have a field day with me! :) I've made a simple pair of drawstring capri pants (Simplicity 5562), and feel like the tinkering I did on those worked well. Now I'm ready to move on to making pants with zippers and real waistbands.

Goal #3: Sew more for my family
I really want to get into making things for DH and the kiddies. DH is especially interested in having me try outdoor/camping/hiking clothing.

Goal #4: Embellish, embellish, embellish
After I started sewing, I started paying a LOT more attention to what other people wear. And I've noticed that in many instances, when I say to myself, "hey, I like that", some sort of embellishment is involved.

That's still an awful lot to get done, but trust me when I say that's narrowing it down quite a bit!

So do you have goals for your sewing?

Simplicity 4076 - View A - Still at it

Whew! This one is giving me a hard time. But I'm a big believer in what they call "iterative development" in the software industry. So, I've now finished with muslin #3 and will be moving on to muslin #4. I've made a few changes in each. I'm not going to let this one beat me! :)

Muslin #1
I wrote a little about this one already. But to recap, this was made up as per the pattern with no alterations except to make the sleeves slightly wider. The front gaposis was atrocious.

Muslin #2
For muslin #2, I slit the front pieces diagonally from about the center to the bust point and over lapped them by about 1/2". This helped the gaposis a fair bit, but it was still not "quite right".

I stared at this one hanging on Bessy for a long, long time. And reached a few conclusions:
1. The bust area still had too much ease. Especially compared with the waist and hem area.
2. The arms were too tight - even though I had enlarged them some already.
3. The waist and hem area was too tight.
4. The back right below the arms had something funny going on - I assumed because of the too large bust area. In any case, there were folds there.
5. The gathering on the left side seemed to be gathered too much. It seemed to be pulling things out of place.
6. I'm getting "puddles" of fabric right above my hips in back. It's either due to big booty, or sway back - I'm not sure which.
7. And finally, the front still hung a bit too low.

Muslin #3
For the 3rd iteration, I started with a fresh tracing. I figured that decreasing the bust area, widening the waist and hemline, increasing the sleeve width even more, and changing my technique for the gathering would help some, if not all the problems identified with muslin #2. I made all those changes using the pivot and slide method.

All of the adjustments seemed to help - although some more than others. The waist and hemline could use just a tad more space, and the bust area could be trimmed up just a tad too. Also with the adjustment to the bust, the folds that were in back have gone away. But a "new" problem has cropped up.

The width across the top of the back and shoulders is tight. I think this is what's causing the front to cross over lower than I would like. The shoulder seems are pulling out towards the shoulders a bit, which widens the neckline out, pulling the front more open.

The problem is not really new though. I noticed a similar problem when I made up the Paisley version of View D. The shoulder seems are pulling out a bit on that one too, causing the scoop to be wider and lower than I would have liked, although it is completely wearable. I think it's happening because I had to use one size smaller with this pattern than I would normally use (my size range wasn't available).

I'm floundering a bit on how to solve the problem. I gone back and forth through all three of my fitting books trying to find the best strategy to use. I think I'm going to try widening the upper back portion of the pack panel - and maybe even the shoulder area of the front panel. I'm also going to decrease the bust area just a shade more and widen the waist and hemline just a tad more too.

Maybe the 4th time will be the charm!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Apologies for reposts...

My apologies if you are using a blog reading application like Bloglines and you are seeing a number of reposts. I'm trying to clean up duplicate copies of pictures, and in the process the wrong one is sometimes removed. When that happens, I have to re-link the pictures and re-post the entries. You may also see missing pictures from posts for a little while.

Thanks! :)

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Fred the Snake

I've been working this weekend on my 3rd, count 'em 3rd muslin of Simplicity 4076 - View A. I'm having a bit of a hard time getting the sizing in the bust area right, among other things. So many others have done well with this pattern - it's getting a bit disheartening not to have it turn out right.

In the meantime, I came home from WalMart the other night with 3 yards of a snakeskin buttermilk knit from the $1 table - strictly to be used as muslin material.

DS took one look at it and said "Hey, I want to make a snuggle snake." "A snuggle snake?" says I. A snuggle snake.

So I decided to make this a "learn a little something about sewing" kind of project.

First, I had him draw his snake out. I used his drawing for the pattern.

Then I cut the snake out for him. I found some pink fleece scraps from an earlier project and made a tongue for our little buddy. I basted the tongue on one side. Then I had DS help me pin the pieces together. And then we sewed it.

Of course, big sis couldn't stand it. She had to get into the action.

Once we had the snake sewn almost up, we stuffed it (I had tons of polyfil left over from making Bessy). Then I hand sewed the opening up and put some eyes on.

For now, the snake's name is Fred. He's kind of lumpy, and his tongue is on crooked. But DS likes him a lot and the kids and I got to do a nice little Sunday afternoon project together. Who could argue with that? Update: The snake is "Freddie", not "Fred". I stand corrected.