Couture Lunacy

Exploring Fashion One Thread At A Time

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Revamp of Vogue 1247 Complete

I loved the look of the top on the Vogue 1247 pattern by Rachel Comey. The shirt has such a casual yet stylish feel about it. The only difficulty is that the pattern only goes up to size 18. This is common in patterns from some designers. It’s very frustrating because there are those of us who can wear that style that are not small. I decided not to let the size bother me and bought it anyway – on sale, of course.

Here’s the technical drawing of the shirt and its components


If you look closely, you’ll see the bottom half of the front has four triangular pieces. The top portion has two pieces joined at center front. There are pleats from the shoulder and the line under the v-neck is really  two darts, one on each side.

Being somewhat mathematically challenged, I spent a great deal of time trying to figure out what the garment would measure in a size 18 when finished. Unlike most normal patterns, Vogue did not put this table in this pattern. Instead they marked the width of the finished garment on the pattern piece. Which was way odd because they had one width on the back and one on the front and there’s no way you could add them together and get a top out of it – it would be around 100″ around. So I measured each piece.

I figured the shirt would end up being 52.5″ when complete in a size 18. This is okay in a knit, but this will be out of a woven and that’s way too small. It also allows for around 12″ of ease in the design. So I commenced to adding 12″ to the pattern for ease to fit me.

You’d think that I would know there are two pieces to the front. Duh. Well I didn’t pay attention and I added 12 inches to one side. The next morning it dawned on me that if I did add that much to each side, I would effectively add 24 inches to the shirt. No way I need the shirt to be 76″ around!

Back to the slicing board, I cut out two of the 4″ pieces I had added to my pattern material. I then left only one 4″ piece which will add 8″ to the finished garment, making it 60″ around and giving me 10″ of ease in the garment.

I then had to add to the other pieces the same amount so they would fit when sewed and also add to the back pattern piece. I will make a muslin of this and see if everything fits. For those of you who have read this far and don’t sew – a muslin is just a trial garment which you do to fit yourself. You don’t have to finish it once you get it to the point where you like how it will fit. For this, I highly recommend a dress form because taking it on and off gets boring and you still can’t really see it. You need to look at it as others will look at it and this is best done on a dress form.

I may have to add more to the back piece. I’m not sure yet and I don’t want the back to be super baggy but I want the pieces to fit together. Since I did the enlargement of the whole front of the pattern, I don’t need to do an FBAfull bust adjustment – on the pattern.

Yesterday my latest and last big fabric purchase arrived. I have been maniacally buying fabric. I am now not allowed to go to the fabric website where I always shop. I must contain myself as I have plans in the fall I want to keep and I will need all the money I can get.

I was knocked flat by the absolute perfection of my order. Some of the fabrics looked not at all like I expected. Particularly the french cotton dots which I purchased in red/white and black/white. These will be the shirt that I made in the dark teal gauze. The dots were much smaller than I thought and I love it all the more for that.

I had been hankering after this Burning Torch embroidered cotton for months. Knowing that it wouldn’t be there forever, I finally got it. It is not inexpensive and I needed at least 3 yards. Here’s the fabric – which is even better in real life.


Also in the box were these two faux leather fabrics. These are so malleable and fine. The copper I had planned for a bag but I may make a vest instead or a jacket.

The white gold is destined to be a jacket.

I also received these fabrics

The navy print lacy fabric is fantastic with a tiny floral and a nice sheer but not too sheer look. I purchased 4 yards of this because of the width but also because I am unsure which shirt pattern I’m going to use with this.

After my fabric arrived yesterday I spent a great deal of time jumping up and down screaming whoopee! I love the fabric from Emma One Sock. I’ve never been disappointed in anything I’ve ordered. That I cannot say about every online purchase of fabric I’ve made. Although I am certainly not made of money, I do follow the concept that in fabric, you get what you pay for. There is nothing worse than doing an excellent job on a garment using cheap fabric. It will look cheap no matter how great you sew. If you like disposable clothes then it’s not an issue. I want stuff to last. I had my fill of disposable clothes buying RTW.

Today I will be back in the sewing room working on the muslin for the shirt. As fast as I can because I can’t wait to get to the main event!


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Wear What You Sew



One rule I make for myself when I sew garments is that I must wear everything I sew. This does mean that, on occasion, I have projects I do not finish. I don’t have many. The last one was this dress made from a Marcy Tilton pattern



I like Marcy’s patterns. They are sometimes complex to put together. Like this one was, I found it easier to just put it together in my own order. The cut out was the hardest part as some pieces needed to be cut and flipped and others cocked oddly from usual pattern layouts.

I can’t find a picture of the dress I made. It must be on the other log-in I have. At any rate, let me describe this for you. I used a green/brown tie dye look jersey with a crepe feel to it. For the bottom and side panels I used one of those fabrics with ruffles stitched every inch or so over mesh. It was in a lovely brown/grey/blue and coordinated well with the main fabric. The only problem was the give in the fabrics.

I made this dress in the largest size and then found that the fabric stretched out so much my hands couldn’t reach the pockets. I worked and worked at this dress. While I was trimming the seams to finish them – the unthinkable happened. I cut a 3″ hole in the back of the dress. After all that work. I covered it with a 3″ piece of fabric sewn over the back at the top of the skirt. Okay, but not great.

Then I put the dress on. I could only think of a frump. She did advertise this as a French House Dress but it  just looked like a house dress on me. I put it away. I’m not sure if I trashed it yet or not because I love the ruffled fabric and can probably use that as a sleeve or trim for something. Probably I have enough for an overlay on a tee-shirt. At any rate, this was definitely a wadder.

Given the difficulty of the layout, the sewing instructions and the general appearance of the dress bagging, I don’t think I’ll ever do this again. If I do, it will be out of fabric with less stretch and more oomph. It can be done out of a woven, but I would need to do a FBA on this with using a woven. We’ll see. Right now I have many more choices so this will wait until I need another challenge.

Sewing beautiful clothing to me means simple clothing. Clothing with good lines that skim the body and don’t WEAR the body. I don’t want my clothes to be the first thing people see. Instead of “Look at that top” I want them to think “Wow she looks good.” I don’t want my clothes to announce my presence in the room.

Since I was 17 and blue jeans became the norm – yes blue jeans were not everyday wear until 1969 – I have been most comfortable in jeans. I do dress up occasionally if I need to for work or a special event. Then I will still wear pants, but usually black pants.  When I did antique and quilt shows I would dress artsy. I am a great fan of Flax clothing. These are remarkably simple pieces that coordinate beautifully and have that air of an artist at a gallery.

A simple jacket is absolutely a requirement in my closet. Actually more than one! This is my newest pattern just received from Style Arc in Australia



This has very simple lines but will be flexible enough to wear with jeans or dress pants. I also purchased her Diana top



to wear under the Abby cardigan. This top is simple. I do find keeping the V-neck in a shirt difficult when sewing, but a little interfacing at the V makes this a lot easier. Chloe also suggests using swimsuit elastic around the neckline to prevent stretching and this is a great idea. I have clear elastic I used in sleeves and on the shoulders to prevent those areas from “growing” so this will work well around the neckline.

Both of these patterns have infinite possibilities. They can be dressy, casual or really dressy. And Style Arc patterns are one piece – in Diana there is simply the front and the back in full size pieces. There’s no need to cut on a fold so you can place a print where you want it to be without difficulty. The instructions assume that you know how to sew. It is not that a beginner can’t do these patterns at all. These two in particular are great for beginners. It is just that you must be willing to look things up if you get lost or don’t understand a construction step. And Chloe is awesome about emailing you back if you need a bit of help. She also has sewing tutorials on the website.

Fashion week just happened in Paris. I do get quite a lot of inspiration from couture clothing. This year for me it is about color and texture. I am looking forward to incorporating some of these concepts into the patterns I make for myself. It’s scary but it’s fun. Now if I could just get the hang of the surface design thing. I’m thinking silkscreen would be best but I don’t want to use someone else’s designs. So I’m back to the drawing board! I love unique ……………..