Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Kate and Sam's gifts, personalized cookbooks.

Inscribed: "Kate and Sam, Don't let an old oven hold you back! - C. Kimball"

Inscribed: "To Kate and Sam - "Sincerely Yours"! - Howard McGee"

We matched, and I love birds.

Colorado small batch whiskey, for a manly man.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Crepe Sewalong: Muslin II

Behold, Muslin II. I'm making progress. This should look familiar, but better. I have made many adjustments, and the bodice fits better then it started. Alas, I am not there yet. Read on for details about what I have done and what I have yet to do.

Bodice Front, altered original
Bodice Front, comparison
* original pattern is in red, the new pattern with alterations is in blue

Front Changes:
1 inch Full Bust Adjustment
lowered bust dart 1 inch
1 inch "sway chest" tuck to shorten front chest length
lowered neckline 1 1/2 inches
decreased armhole depth by 5/8 inches
lowered front dart 2 inches
shifted front dart toward side seam by 1 1/2 inches
added 2 inches length to center front, tapered to original side seam

Bodice Back, altered original
Bodice Back, comparison
* original pattern is in red, the new pattern with alterations is in blue

Back Changes:

eliminated waist dart
3 inch tuck removed at shoulder, tapered to nothing at side seam
1 inch swayback tuck (proved to be an erroneous alteration, see below for details)

After about five hours of work today, muslin II is sewn and ready for analysis. It's not perfect, but I think there has been progress. It does needed tweaked again. I am hopeful I only need one more muslin to perfect this. Any and all suggestions are welcome.

Muslin II Bodice Back:
The back now lays nice and smoothly across my shoulders. The giant 3 inch tuck really eliminated the gaping shoulder issue. I also eliminated the back darts since I have a thick, straight midsection (no reason to nip gently in at the waist for me!). Both alterations worked well.

In Muslin I there was still some gaping and falling at the shoulders that I corrected by tucking the front bodice shorter in the chest. I am not entirely sure I have the alteration perfect, but I can positively say that the shoulders are a snug fit now. Everything stayed in place as it should.

I am concerned about that pull line at the shoulder, wrinkling from the armpit to the "bra strap area." Not sure where is too tight to cause that pull... I am wondering if perhaps the arm hole itself is a bit too small and I need to drop the side seem a tiny bit for ease...

Also, I made a swayback adjustment in this version that I need to correct. It turns out I should not have taken that tuck. I need that 1 inch back in order to allow the lower waist seem to run parallel to my waist. Even still, there is a bit of excess fabric under the shoulder blade. I wonder if I should put a new, smaller, angled waist dart in to control that poofing, but I might just wait and see if waist ties help the fit, rather than fiddle too much.

Muslin II Bodice Side:
The front armhole exhibits MUCH improved coverage since I made it shallower by 5/8 inch. You can really see the improvement on the first image of this post compared with Muslin I images. My bust dart is still too high, despite being lowered by an inch already. Also, the bodice is slightly blouse-y under the bust, I will try a curved dart to nip this area in a bit per Gertie's instructions. Plus, I know that in the final dress a sash will cover some of this area too. All in all, the side looks good.

Muslin II Bodice Front
* font darts pinned into a curved dart, which gives a more fitted (and I think flattering) fit.

I am really optimistic about this front fit. It looks better than most bodice fronts I work with. That said, the bust darts are still too high. I need to lower another inch or so. The waist darts look really good. I think they are in the right place under my bust. They could stand to be lowered another 1/2 inch, and made to curve for a snugger under bust fit, as seen in the second picture.

The shoulder and front chest are really looking pretty solid. There is a tiny bit of excess in my armpits, but if I tuck it out then it becomes hard to move my arms up, so perhaps this is the price for ease of wear?

There are diagonal drag lines between my left side dart and my right bust apex. My right bust is a bit fuller, and I think it is pulling the fabric. Not sure how to fix this, except I might sew my right bust dart a tiny bit shallower for more ease. The drag lines are eliminated when I curve the waist darts, so perhaps a combo of lowering and curing these darts will fix the pulling.

Areas of concern for version III include:

Back Shoulder: The inside shoulder, near my neck. It seems to be pulling. I usually need a high round back, but assumed I would not on this wrap back style. Could I need a little bit of a high round on the upper shoulder to release this pulling? Then again, is adding a high round back sort of like putting back some of that big tuck I took out at the shoulder... I do not want to undo progress.

Back Sleeve: The sleeve, as it seems to be pulling, especially on the lower armpit area. The interesting thing is that it does not bind or constrict at all as I wear it. It doesn't feel too tight, only looks it. I wonder if slightly lowering the side seam in the armpit by about 1/2 inches would ease some of the strain? I also wonder, alternatively, if redrafting a bit of the curve of the sleeve shape would help. It feels low, and when I look at the stitching line, it is odd because it kind of arches near the armpit, then dips lower around the outside arm. I think a gently, even curve might be more flattering. I will have to look at slightly redrafting the sleeve hem shape.

Front darts: They both need lowered, and the waist darts need curved for under bust definition.

Front neckline: I may or may not deepen this a little bit. Any

What issues do you see? Suggestions welcome and encouraged.

The Swayback Mistake, documented:

I did take a swayback adjustment between Muslin I and Muslin II, which proved an error. I thought I would document the alteration and the result for educational purposes.

Muslin I, no swayback tuck, yet:
Looking at the fit, I thought I saw excess fabric "puddling" around my back curve. I had already tucked out a big chunk in a tuck from the shoulder, and I thought these wrinkles indicated that a swayback tuck would also be in order.

Muslin I, tucked for a swayback
To test, I pinned out a swayback tuck in Muslin I to see how it affected fit. With the 1 inch swayback tuck, the wrinkles were gone and things looked in order. Looking back, I can now see a drag line of strain along the top edge of the bodice back, along the seam line, that I think indicates the swayback is pulling too much. But at the time I thought a new muslin would magically correct some of the wrinkles, since the pins would be gone.

Muslin II, pinned with swayback adjustment

This is Muslin II, which was cut with the swayback adjustment. As you can see, if I pin the back with the waist seams parallel, I end up with a wacky poof of excess of fabric in the lower back. The only way to eliminate this excess was to angle the back at an angle, leaving an angled "wedge" of not-overlapping fabric at the waist seam (see below). This wedge looks strangely familiar to the sway back tuck I took out of the pattern, leading me to think it needs added back.

Muslin II, pinned as though no swayback adjustment made
As you can see, if I allow the back pieces to overlap at an angle, I pull out some of that weird poofing. This makes me think the swayback was unnecessary. Only a Muslin II will tell.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Crepe Sewalong: Muslin I

Crepe Dress Muslin I complete and ready for critique. It's not perfect, it's not abysmal, and my general consensus is that just like Palmber/Pletsch suggests, it is important to fit the back first. Notes on each area below. Comments welcome and encouraged.

Note: I made one change to the pattern before the fabric muslin by completing a 1 inch Full Bust Adjustment, which also meant redrafting the waist darts. I retained the waist dart's original size, which also gave me a 1 inch wide waist adjustment, adding some width around my middle.

Original Muslin I - No Changes (yet): A glaring issue with the back surfaced right away, so rather than critique the fit before my first round of necessary alterations to the back, I waited to critique the front, side, and back fit until after fixing the glaring issue. Read on for the "post-tuck" summary for further fit analysis.

Fabric Muslin Front - no changes (yet)

Notice how the shoulders are falling out and away (exposing my bra!), and leaving the neckline too wide? This is because the back is too big. See below for images of the too big back, the tucks, and the front neckline after the back excess is tucked out. Things improve. Remember, fit the back and you often also succeed in fitting the front!

Fabric Muslin Side - no changes (yet)
Fabric Muslin Side - no changes (yet)
Fabric Muslin Back - no changes (yet)
Fabric Muslin Back - no changes (yet)
The back obviously needs some work, so I choose to adjust the excess at the shoulder blades before worrying about the front fit. After all, fixing the back will change the shoulder fit, which will ultimately change the chest and front fit. Remember, fix the back first, make a new muslin, and then once the back is well fit, look to changes in the front.

Post-back tucks:

Back with Tucks (two different types of tucks)
I took two tuck styles. The diagonal tuck I describe below is on your left (my left too, since this is the back). The horizontal tuck I describe below is on your right (my right too!). My husband helped me pin out the excess on the back, and his instinct was to tuck out excess in a diagonal, as on the left. My instinct was to take a horizontal tuck out of the shoulder blade, as on the right. Both tucks are drafted to taper to nothing in the sleeve/arm area, much like a swayback adjustment. So, which type of tuck is better?

I should also note that the waist darts in the back are oddly placed on me. They are waaaaay too far toward the side seem. I should either eliminate them (the choice I am leaning towards), or move them under my shoulder blade, about 3 inches closer to center.

I also need a bit more length on the wrap, so I may just add about 2 inches to the edge where the wraps attache and true up the back angle. I will wait to release the darts and see what I need in added length.

Diagonal Tuck
This diagonal tuck actually retained the seam line of the back (it looks off, because the upper seam allowance above the tuck is folded in, while below the tuck the seam allowance is out. In reality, the stitching line matches perfectly.). I am not sure yet how this shape/angle of tuck affects the grain line of the pattern layout. However, it seems to be superior in wrangling in fabric around the armpit area.

Horizontal Tuck
The horizontal tuck is closer to a Palmer/Pletsch alteration style, and I think that might be because this type of tuck retains the grain line of the fabric better. However, the horizontal tuck does seem to leave odd bunching and excess both above the tuck near the armpit, and below the tuck along the back. I see a swayback adjustment in the future. My instinct in leaning toward the diagonal tuck on the other shoulder. What do you think?

Front with Tucks
This is a font image with the back excesses tucked out. (Also remember, the is the fabric muslin includes a 1 inch Full Bust adjustment). The front fit through the shoulders and chest was instantaneously corrected by decreasing the size of the back with the tucks. Both sets of darts are still to high, although the Full Bust Adjustment did lower the dart by about an inch and a half, making it much closer to my apex than before (you can see this clearly in the side views, below). The bust dart still needs lowered by about 1/2 inch. The waist darts are both too far center, and too long. There is a little bit of pulling in the center between the two darts and towards my fuller right side. I may need to let out the waist dart slightly to accommodate this.

Side with Tucks
You can see how the bust dart is slightly higher than my apex here. It should be an easy fix. The front of the bodice is shorter than the back. I believe I need to add some length to the center front, tapering to nothing at the side seem. this is surely because I have a full waist, hence more fabric is needed to cover it. Easy fix. I am also a bit concerned about the armpit area, as it seems to pull and gape forward a bit. I expect redrafting that armpit curve by making it more shallow will work wonders.

Any other thoughts? Please share.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Crepe Sewalong: Tissue Fit I

The Crepe Dress is progressing nicely. I have completed the first dreadful part, tracing and marking the pattern. Things always get better after this first step. Next, the tissue fit. You can see my progress here.

I am pretty impressed with the fit in the front. That dart is too high, but I am going to wait until after my Full Bust Adjustment to worry about it, as the FBA drops the dart position. I know I will need to bring that waist dart down a bit too, it is nearly overlapping my apex. However, I noticed I have other shirts in my closet with a high side bust dart, and part of me wonders if the drafting purposefully placed the darts this high, to somehow wrangle in the fabric and fit in the armpit/cap sleeve area. I hope watching other people's fitting and alterations in the Flickr group will help me figure this out.

As you can see, the center front does not totally reach my center front, but it is not abysmally far off ether. I am doing a small 1" Full Bust Adjustment, which is refreshing for me. I usually have to do more than 2 inches, sometimes up to four inches. This smaller bust adjustment means less weird contortions to the rest of the pattern, which should simplify fit later. Keep your fingers crossed on my behalf.

Thankfully, the center front looks pretty even all the way along my center front, which means I may not have too much of a wide waist issue to tweak. Again, I'll see after the full bust adjustment. The shoulder seems fine, the neckline width looks pretty good. I hesitate to be so optimistic, but this might be an easy fit!

Even the side seam is in the right position! It's not torquing too much toward the center front at the waist. Again, great sign.

The back looks pretty good. No high round back, since the deep V in the back wrap avoids my upper back. The only off putting thing is that the back dart is way over in my armpit. I am not sure that is the correct position. I may need to move it under my shoulder blade, or eliminate it all together to add a bit more length across the waist. The tissue is also gaping a bit in the shoulder blade area. I might just tuck that out of the pattern like one would for a sway back adjustment.

Next up, the fabric muslin fit. Onward and forward we go!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Crepe Sewalong: Fabric

Look! It's yards and yards of quality cotton lawn, ready for my Crepe dress. It took two of us to fold this up the other day, and the entire length of our living space, into the dining room. I picked up about five yards of this pretty stuff at my favorite Boulder fabric shop, Elfriede's Fine Fabric, early this summer. It was originally designed for another project, vintage Mail Order 4875. However, if you remember, that project stalled badly when my expert tissue fit result in a WAY TOO BIG muslin. That dress went on a long-term hiatus, but the Crepe is similar and I think the fabric suits it, maybe event better, thanks to the full skirt, sash, and of course the sweetheart neckline.

Anyway, I think it will be perfect for the Crepe dress. the shell fabric is an all cotton lawn. The lining is a lightweight silk/cotton blend lining. I have black lightweight Palmer Pletsch interfacing that I will be using for the first time and is reported fabulous. And I plan to pick up a bit of silk organza to stay the neckline and armholes per the sewalong agenda. The colors are sophisticated but the floral is feminine and soft. The fabric is light and soft with a gentle drape, but such a high quality that it is sturdy and opaque. But I plan to fully underline it anyway, as Elfriede would say "for modesty."

This will be a lovely spring/summer frock. I have a good feeling about this dress.

* Yes, that's a lemon. For perspective.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Colette's Crepe Dress Sewalong

I have ADHD of sewing (maybe more than sewing). I move from one project to another, rarely completing one. Thus, the Sencha blouse is on hold for a new project... the Crepe dress sew along. Yeah!

I am really optimistic about this dress. It wraps instead of button or zipper closures, which is brilliant for ease of fitting and simplicity of sewing. It has cute cap sleeves, that are not sewn in. The shape is flattering for all, and I even have the pattern and fabric already. Woohoo. See the examples from the Colette website for an idea of the project. I am already working on it!

Sewing optimism springs ever eternal.