Thursday, September 27, 2012



I bought this pattern on impulse last weekend and boy, am I glad I did. Mostly because it really helped draw me out of this funk I've been in, sewing-wise.

I'm not sure if I've ever emphasized this point, but I am not a fast sewist. (Likely exaggerated by the fact that I'm not a patient one, either.) But sewing with knits is a big revelation. This top probably took me about... 6 hours? That includes all the prep work, cutting, fitting, and altering. I feel like, by some people's standards that might be a long time, but for me it's pretty damn fast.

(By the way... "prep work" included a step that I'm not sure was necessary. This fabric is an interlock knit that came in a tube, rather than a flat piece with selvages. When I pulled it out of the bag I realized I had no idea how to work with it. Some impatient googling led me to believe that I had to take the time to cut the whole 2+ meters down a single channel to establish grain... and guys, this is a TINY knit. Is that seriously the only way to establish grain on a tubular knit? Did the internet lead me astray? Anyway, it worked great but took forever.)


So here's the lowdown:

the fabric is a nice, substantial 50/50 poly/cotton blend interlock knit. You guys know I'm not really interested in using poly, but the choices for non-poly knits at my nearest fabric store were pretty slim. In any case, the fabric actually feels seriously awesome and was a pleasure to work with. That being said, I think the result looks a little more casual than I would like, due to the lack of drape in the fabric... a bit sweatshirt-y, if you will?

When looking at the pattern, my high bust puts me at a 10, my full bust puts me at a 12 and my hips put me at an 8. So I decided to follow the Lladybird method and just grade the pattern. I did a 10 for the shoulders/arms, 12 for the bust, 10 at the waist and 8 at the hips. Easy peasy.

This ultimately proved totally uneccessary. The whole thing came out too big, for one. For two, it must be years of squeezing my boobs into RTW tops, but I actually prefer a super tight fit on the bust in knits, so I think I would have been better just to leave the grading and cut a true size. (well, grading down the hips was probably wise.) The construction of the pattern is awesome, though, in that you sew up the arms and side seams in one step, so it's super easy to take it. I ended up just taking in 1/2" on each arm seam and at the bust, tapering out to nothing at the waist.

I think the fit is now totally wearable, although I still find the shoulders to be too wide and the whole thing still feels a tad loose. Additionally, the bands at the arms and hips (which, yes, I did remember to adjust accordingly) are not tight enough at all. I would prefer if bands of this nature were actually tight against my body with negative ease. Finally, I find the sleeve length isn't quite right for me... I think it needs another inch or so in length, or to be shortened to just above the elbow.

(Just a word about those fit comments... part of why I maintain this blog is to keep notes to refer to in the future. I'm not trying to dwell on the imperfections. And in truth I pick the photos that show the garment to its best advantage when possible, so the things I discuss might not always be visible. You'll just have to trust me :D).

Overall, I think this is the BEST pattern and I can't wait to make more of these. But, I think my preference would be to throw the whole "stable knits" thing out the window and start playing around with jersey, because ultimately I think this garment would suit me with a lot more drape to it. (Viscose knits, I'm looking at you.)

Be prepared for a whole host of thoughts on the idea of sewing cake... I'm sold.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Welcome, Fall.

Hello, anybody out there? I wouldn't be surprised if not, it's been such a long time since I've updated. I've been busy the last few months. I've been bumbling around a bit in the career department, which has been frustrating but also very empowering. There's something to be said for establishing your boundaries and goals and not settling for less. I've recently started a new position that feels like a much better fit. More flexibility, shorter commute, more responsibility, etc. Here's hoping the bumbling is over!

You might be wondering what's been going on in the craft department. The truth is, not much. All my yarn and fabric ended up in the freezer while we had a long and drawn out battle with moths in our apartment building. It seems they're gone now, so I'm slowly starting to unpack. However, what I have been doing regularly since the spring is teaching sewing! I teach mostly introductory classes at this awesome little local sewing lounge and it's so great sharing the sewing fun! So, most of my crafty energy has been spent helping people make pillows, tote bags, aprons, and pajamas, among other things. There is seriously nothing better than watching people realize that they can do it!

Anyway, now that we're settling into fall and the destructive pest situation is under control, I want to get sewing again for real. (I know, you've heard this from me before.) I have a lot of thoughts about this (as usual) but in the meantime I've decided that it's time I finally tackle the Perfect Fit Bombshell Dress class. I've already paid for the class and bought all the materials save for the boning (including real muslin!). No reason not to jump right in, practicality aside.

But if anyone is still reading, I would very much appreciate your advice. My one reservation about this pattern is the fit of the bust. It seems, when viewing the finished projects, that some look lovely and some look... well, not as lovely. In particular, it just seems that if not done right, the bust can end up decidedly... un-shapely? Or, at least, not the shape that I'm hoping for. I imagine this may be a major hurdle for me, being full-busted. 

I'm sure the best way to approach this is just to embrace the muslining process and see what happens when I adjust the fit. If it ends up looking frumpy, I'll have to re-assess. (I'm curious if the three-piece cup pattern is just inherently difficult to fit well to a fuller bust in a non-stretch fabric? I've inspected my lingerie drawer, and the most flattering similarly-constructed bra I own is actually five pieces per cup (one top and four bottom, vs one top and two bottom on the bombshell pattern).)

Any thoughts or wisdom on this particular issue would be most appreciated. I'm definitely thinking of this particular project like a puzzle and I'm looking forward to figuring it out.