Sunday, March 30, 2008

Simplicity 3536 - View A

Here is my more formal review of Simplicity 3536 - View A

As I have done in the past, I'm going to follow the format used for reviews from PatternReview.

Pattern Description:
This is a set of patterns for 3 different knit tops each with 2 variations - so 6 variations total.

I made View A, which has a cowl neck, longish sleeves, and runching at the sleeves and hem.

Pattern Sizing:
Size P5, which is what I used, ranges from size 12 to 20. I started with an 18 and made alterations for fit from there.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes, the results matched the photos and drawings pretty well.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes, I found the instructions pretty easy to follow. I will note, as others have done, that instructions for the shoulder seams and front facing require careful review. Otherwise, they're apt to be misinterpreted. The instructions are good here, it's just a bit of a tricky process.

The pattern itself seemed to be well marked. I didn't notice any obvious mistakes in the drafting.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I LOVE this pattern design - the cowl neck, the runching - all very cute. On the right kind of body. But sadly, mine is not the right kind of body.

My hips are wide, my rear end large, and I have some pooching going on in front. This did not go well with the length and design of this top. The blouse came down below my pooch making it rather visible when viewed from the side. And the length caused the runching to fall around the widest part of my hips. Fabric pooling about my hips is not a pretty sight!

My shoulders are wide, as are my upper arms, but my bust is small in comparison to the rest of me and age is causing my girls to slowly travel south. These things in combination did not work with the top part of the blouse.

The shoulders on this blouse are fairly wide apart, and the cowl plunges pretty far down. The result? A scoop of nothing much showing in front, and nothing really to offset it in the bust area. (To put it bluntly, the top part of the blouse would have looked a lot better if the girls were larger in relation to the rest of me).

Fabric Used:
I only got as far as making a muslin version of this top. For that I used some kind of double knit print from the $1 table from WalMart.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made:
I only made adjustments for fit. I widened the sleeves by 2", the waist by 2", and the hips by 2".

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I will probably not sew this view again, although I think I would eventually like to try view C. With my body type, I'm not sure the other views would ever have looked right on me, even when I was a much, much thinner girl.

If I were to sew it again though, I would attempt to make it shorter so the runching falls higher up, and I would raise the neckline some. And if I could figure out how, I'd widen the should seams a little.

I would recommend this pattern to others. It is a nice pattern and it goes together easily. At least, give it a try.

Very nice pattern, but not for me.

This is (one reason) why I make muslins

I actually started the previous post on muslins more than a year ago, and only got around to finishing it up and publishing it today.

Here's what reminded me of it:

This is my muslin version of Simplicity 3536 - View A. I'll do a more formal review later, but I wanted to address the muslin aspect of this project.

Why? Because I'm stopping with the muslin. I will not be moving on to using the very yummy fashion fabic I had in mind to go with this pattern.

Why? Because after making the muslin, it became very clear that I would not be happy with the outcome.

Who cares? Ummm, I care. Who wants a blouse they don't really like? Actually, I like the blouse. I just don't like how it looks on me!

This particular project reinforces the notion for me that muslins are the way to go. I was pretty disappointed in how this turned out. But no where near as disappointed and unhappy as I would have been if I had "made it for real" and had been as displeased in the results.

Ah, I can hear you now. "But Janimé, isn't this in contradiction to previous posts you've made about not waiting for perfection, or being open to new ideas and experimentation"?

I don't think it's a contradiction. Making muslins is how I keep the door open to new ideas and experimenation, frankly without busting the budget. I can't have too many failed experiments with $8 to $10 per yard fabric, or I won't be able to keep sewing. (YIKES!!!! EEEK!!!! even the thought of not sewing is horrid!).

Muslins, Wearable Muslins, and Test Garments

I wasn't long in the sewing world before I started hearing the words "muslin", "wearable muslin", and "test garment".

So what is a muslin? And why should you care?

The term "muslin" or "making a muslin", generally refers to making a "test" copy of your garment. That is, trying out a pattern with an inexpensive fabric prior to making it with your chosen fashion fabric.

The term originated from the name for a particular kind of woven cotton fabric that was traditionally used to make the test copy. Muslin fabric can still be purchased today and can be used to make muslins, among many other things.

A "wearable muslin" refers to a test garment made with a less expensive fabric than the chosen fashion fabric, but turns out itself to be wearable. I like those!

People make muslins for various reasons, including:
1. Going through the construction process for a particular pattern.
2. Trying out alterations that are made for fit.
3. Trying out new ideas and techniques.
4. Getting a feel for how the finished product will look.

I'm sure there are more.

I always make a muslin prior to using my fashion fabric for all four of the reasons listed above. I'm not nearly comfortable enough with my sewing abilities to pick up a new pattern and try it out on more expensive fashion fabric without trying it first on some good old $1 fabric from WalMart. Witness the fun I had with the wrap view of Simplicity 4076!

I'm also still learning a lot about what will work for me in terms of looks, and what will not work so well. Putting a muslin together helps me understand how a pattern will translate from the picture (usually of someone half my size) to my own wonderful, but definitely not size 3 body.

So should you make muslins? Like so many other things in sewing, it's a personal choice. But it's a choice I highly recommend. The payoff for getting a garment that I truly like is worth it.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

PowerDry T-Shirts are done!

Remember the stack of PowerDry I started with back in November? I finally finished up with it last weekend. Man what a journey!! I made 12 T-shirts in all, one for each family member in Periwinkle, Teal, and Raspberry.

Here's what the stack started like:

Here's what it looked like after I got all of the fabric cut:

And here's what the finished shirts looked like:

Notice two of the shirts have been decorated. I got Paintstiks for my b-day back in January, and used my Teal shirt and DD's Teal shirt as canvas for a little experimentation.

I like how all the shirts turned out. But can you say, "Janimal won't be doing this kind of thing again any time soon"? I had no idea it was going to take me this long to get the shirts done.

They're done now though and I can finally move on to other things. Whew!

Patterns Used:
Kwik Sew 3043 - View D - XS (for DS)
Kwik Sew 3043 - View D - L (for DD)
McCall's 4872 - View B (for me)
Kwik Sew 3299 - View A (for DH)