Couture Lunacy

Exploring Fashion One Thread At A Time


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Another Flower Top Finished and Sweater Update

I love it! From Vogue 8151

I love it! From Vogue 8151

My second flower top is finished! The only tiny quirk I don’t like is the hem. I was using a double needle that broke and I had to trim off part of it and start over. I think the double needle broke because I had a different kind of thread in one of the needles. Anyway, not having two spools of thread (and frankly just not wanting to be bothered) I did my own double hem stitch. It’s okay. Here’s the back

flowertop2back

This is a very flattering shirt. The curves are all where they should be and I was amazed that the dart was great in a knit. I am going to make more of these but for now I’m heading back to another pattern I also love that I adjusted to fit. I would have made these last two out of that pattern also but I mistakenly ordered less fabric than I needed. This pattern only uses 1.75 yards – but it uses it all. I have many t-shirt patterns and am going to get going on a couple more after the Holidays. I think I’ll be baking until then.

In the meantime, I have snuck up on completing my Boxy sweater. So far this is where I’m at

sweaterforme

There will be multi-colored ribbing on the sleeve cuffs and also on the bottom. I really love the way this has turned out. Since it’s the first sweater I’ve had any hopes of finishing without major mistakes (knock on wood) I am super thrilled with it.

That’s what I’ve been doing – plus a little planning for sewing after the Holidays – here’s a pattern high on my list

Vogue 1367

Vogue 1367

I have several fabrics for this shirt. I may need to invest in an edge-stitch foot before I start though.

So fun times – I was glad I could finish some things without tearing out my hair!

 

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A Glimmer (or two) of Light Dawns

A month or so ago you may all remember my complete disgust with Vogue 8937 and the fabric choice I made. The fabric was a silk boucle’ with little or no staying power. It was a loose weave and it raveled something fierce – and it grew.

I had approached this jacket from my dearth of sewing skills. I think I can safely say this is the first time I’ve used boucle’ for anything. And it was sad.

In my last post about this jacket entitled “A Wadder” I made an offhand comment about needing to interface all of the fabric to keep it from growing. From little acorns……………..

Since that failure, which smoat me in my heart and made me weep, I have been searching for the why. I have found it. You MUST stabilize a boucle’. Wouldn’t it have been great if I’d looked for that information first? Then the jacket would still be alive and not in a landfill in Maine …………….

There are various blogs on the net – particularly this one – http://www.brensan.com/Garment/Techniques/BlackBoucleJacket.html which give you all the steps necessary to complete a stunning boucle’ jacket.

I am a very lucky person. I do still have some boucle’ – a beautiful black wool with multi-colored puffs – waiting to be put to use in my stash. After I gather ALL of the necessary interlinings and linings and read the directions several times again – I’m going to attempt that wadder and turn it into a thing of beauty!

Vogue 8937

Vogue 8937


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Work Work Work – And Fun Fun Fun

What have I been doing? Surprise! I’ve been sewing. Since the failure of Vogue 8937 – which I will insist to my dying day was the result of lousy fabric, I have finished one awesome top and started another.

Here’s the pattern I used – 

Vogue 8151

Vogue 8151

This is a Sandra Betzina Today’s Fit pattern from Vogue. I had read many great reviews on this pattern and I did try it once before. I didn’t like it. It was all my fault. I hadn’t cut the right size, didn’t lengthen the shirt and just generally messed up. But now I LOVE THIS PATTERN.

This time I did cut the right size, after tracing my pattern. I then had a decision to make about darts. Darts in a knit? Well yes it does work. I did also lengthen the shirt by two inches to a length that’s much more comfortable for me. I also fiddled with the neck band and made it smaller to give it more snap. 

Here’s the first shirt all done –

flowertop

 

For some reason the photo looks straight up and down. It is not. It fits like a dream. I only had to do a tad bit of adjusting when sewing the final seams. I took out about 1.5 inches to get the fit I wanted.

I had so much success with that one – I started another one in a really neat fabric.

secondflower

With this one I attached the neck binding before folding it in half and did the fold after it was attached. A little stitching in the ditch and I have a very neat neck band. Here’s the back –

secondflower1

 

Is this not CUTE? 

Since I have sustained my sewing spirit with two successes, I am ready to go back to Vogue 8937 and try it again. The only decision is which awesome fabric to use (and no I will not choose a nasty fabric from the stash again.)

Further on the list is a great pair of pants that FIT – 

 


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Outside the Fatosphere – Wake Up Call #812

For once the plea for help and justice may have been heard. I have been reading that plus size clothing made the runway at NYFW this year. This is very positive news, but more would be welcome.

I make clothes for one basic reason. Because I can’t find anything in the marketplace, excluding jeans and some bras, that doesn’t look horrific on my plus-sized frame. Usually the plus-sized clothes I see are made of incredibly cheap material, in patterns no one would want to wear and cut on the idea that a big dump of square cloth will fit someone who obviously doesn’t care about herself at all because she’s fat. None of these clothes take anything near style into consideration. Nor the fact that I clean up well, as my Dad used to say.

Fat is a word that has no good connotations at all. It either means stuff you eat which clogs up your heart causing you to die young, or it means that you are the opposite of the worshipped body of the eons, the thins. But there is a whole population of non-svelte women dying to find a great place to buy clothing. And the marketplace is keeping them out. Why would this be? Isn’t there just one or two or maybe even three companies that would like to make a lot of money with a built in repeat business? All it would take is clothing with exquisite construction and fit and that added ingredient of style.

This fat-thin complex has been going on in America for as long as I’ve been alive. There has never been a time in the roughly 55 years that I can recall where buying clothing made me feel good. Except for when I worked out at Nautilus and got my fleshiness into shape. I was still large by model standards at a size 12, but I was a compact size 12 and I certainly looked good. This wasn’t sustainable because eventually we moved, there was no Nautilus near me and I quit pumping iron and kept cooking.

The problem that I now face – and why I sew – is not only the incredible cost of decent, long wearing clothes, but the sheer impossibility of finding them. I don’t require much, but I do want to look stylish. And I do want the clothes to be made well. Designer made well, as in when you put it on, you feel fantastic.

When we first came back to the US, I did some in-the-mall shopping. I had to go up to the second floor of Macy’s (where it’s hidden away) to find the plus-size department.  I shuddered. The clothes were shapeless, made from polyester in bright colors. I could see someone who was in her 80s or 90s wearing these. I could not see myself in them.

To give you a general idea – look at this picture

Photo credit blousehouse.com

Photo credit blousehouse.com

Goodness. Square, no shape, gathers everywhere and guaranteed to make you look like a circus tent. And to top it all off? These blouses probably cost a fortune. I don’t know. I wouldn’t go look at these. The fabric is horrible. The colors are garish and I can’t imagine that the construction is worthwhile.

Similar tacky-looking clothes are out there on offer anywhere you want to look. I call it the Walmartization of plus size clothing. We’re letting someone in China make clothes for women with curves and they look bad. Although I will agree that even thin people can have a rough time buying clothing that fits their budget AND them at the same time.

Some of the companies complain that it’s just too expensive to make plus-size clothing because their patterns can only be sized up a certain amount before they need to draft new patterns and plus-size women don’t buy that many clothes. Ha. If you take a look at the above picture, you will see why. Why would anyone consent to wear something like that? And something like that can be found in almost any place that sells plus-sized clothing. It doesn’t have to be this way. We only need a few enthusiastic people to change course –

And it’s not just in the RTW sector of fashion that thin prevails either. Take a look someday at sewing patterns available for plus size women. They’re not a pretty sight. We could use some decent, complimentary patterns too ………….

If there are any clothing companies out there that want to design fantastic, flattering clothes for a real women with curves to match, let me know. I have a lot of good ideas –


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Southwestern Top Finished!

southwest1

 

I have stuck the sleeve up in the air so you can see the fit on this top. It has curves in all the right places, although I could wish I didn’t have quite so many 🙂

southwest3

 

This view gives you a two-sided view of the line of the top. I like the fit on this a lot and will use this adapted pattern often. I used a twin needle to stitch the hems on the bottom and sleeves – pretty neat and looks “store-bought.”

southwest5

 

This is the whole top with the drape from the bust line down and shows the flare at the bottom – that flare was obtained simply by doing a FBA on the pattern and rotating the extra dart amount to the bottom. Love it.

southwest4

 

And here’s the back of the shirt – the same shape prevails and I like to think it is slimming – maybe not with this wild fabric, but slimming enough. I used my serger for all of the seams. I only needed the sewing machine for the hemming, applying the neckband and doing the shoulder seams because I added clear elastic to them to keep them from sagging. I’m very pleased with the serger and it makes everything neat and tidy.

On to the next wardrobe piece!


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The Southwestern Top ……… Update

DSC_2399

 

I put in the sleeves and sewed the side seams up – the top looks gorgeous. I’m hoping I can get a great picture for you tomorrow. The line from the bust, where the top is fitted, to the hem, which is flared – is beautiful and gives this top great shape. I hope to be able to show this well enough in the photo tomorrow.

I’m being told by my photographer son to get as much natural light as I can so the picture will be sharper and it won’t wash out details ……… I will try.

I had a spooky few minutes with this top – learning to use my serger to sew in the sleeves and do the side seams. I am a slow adapter so actually using my serger requires me to jump unknowingly into the project! It’s so silly ——- but I feel accomplished today after getting this much done. Now I just need to finish the edges and hem it and I will use a twin needle for that – I love twin needles!


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The Southwestern Top

While I’ve been mooching around trying to talk myself into actually making something in the sewing room, I finally got the energy to cut something out and start on it. For once I had the right color thread to sew it! That seriously makes a lot of difference.

The pattern I used is a version of

V8582_large

this one by Marcy Tilton. I’ve made many tops from this pattern and I like it much better with the excess “wings” removed. With the wings on the top seemed too long and bulky in the thigh. I mirrored the side without the excess for drape, cut the pattern to match that non-draped side and then did a full bust adjustment on the top. You can see my explanation of a full bust adjustment here http://wp.me/p3i7tb-P.

Once that FBA was done, I had to “rotate the dart” because I don’t want a dart in a knit fabric that’s going to look odd. I rotated the fullness created by the FBA to the side bottom. This gives a nice shape to the top. It has a drape at the bottom creating a nice line from the bust down. It skims my stomach and hips which are definitely areas I want skimmed!

I love the fabric. I was a bit hesitant about the direction until I notice that most of the stretch is lengthwise so I had to use it in that manner. Had I tried to cut the top crosswise to have the pattern vertical, there wouldn’t have been enough stretch for the top to be comfortable.

So far I’ve done the shoulder seams to which I always add clear elastic and then fold over the seam allowance and topstitch toward the back. After that’s done I can trim the seam to neaten it up.

I cut my neckband two inches wide and sewed it into a circle. Then I did an overcast on the two edges because the fabric rolls a bit and the overcast stops it. On my Bernina this is stitch #31 and I use it a lot.

To step back a bit – the neckband needs to be shorter than the length of the neck, otherwise it won’t snap to the edge and you will get a baggy-looking neckband. Not good. On this top I first tried a band that was 75% of the length of the neck. That was too small for the style. It didn’t suite the nice flowing shirt so I cut another one 90% of the length of the neck and that’s what you see here.

The neckband of this top takes the most OMG panicky breathes while sewing. I mark the band in quarters and place pins in the marks. Then I do the same with the neck line itself. This way I distribute the stretch of the band evenly all around the neck. I have also overcast the neckline partially as a stay-stitching, but mostly because it gives a finished look inside the garment once the neckband is applied.

After stitching the neckband on, and congratulating yourself that you don’t have to take it off, all I do is press the seams down toward the shirt and “stitch in the ditch” created by the original seam. This forces the seam allowances to stay down when wearing and gives a nice finish.

I have only to put in the sleeves, sew the side seams and hem and I have a great top. This is a good three-season top because it is an ITY knit. I shudder at the thought of wearing it in 90 degree weather!

Here’s the pictures so far –

More to come ……… I’m getting new ideas ……… the more I sew, the more I want to sew ………….

I’ll show you the bottom drape once the sides are sewn up ……. you’ll be able to see the line of the top better!