Sewing Vloggers

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Who owned this pattern?

Recently I've had the opportunity to charge ahead on a long anticipated project, searching down some great thrift shops. This has not been easy.  Little did I know it was as simple as putting into Google "thrift shops near me". It has been a fun and interesting process and I have scored a serious winner out of all that I have visited so far. As has always been my experience,  thrift shops affiliated with churches or synagogues seem to have the best and most interesting offerings. Isn't that what we all want? 

Let's face it. Goodwill and Salvation Army are simply giant spaces filled with beat up fast fashion from the local Walmart. At least, that has been my experience since moving to NH. Keep in mind, I am talking about sewing affiliated options. I am looking for clothing made of fabulous fabrics with sections large enough that I could cut them up and sew them into great upcycled garments. I want tablecloths and linens I could dye and paint and get really creative with. Nothing like that at our Sally Mae. Nothing! and its huge. I knew I would have to hit the road and I did. 

There was the shop in one of New Hampshire's very affluent towns, a town based on old, old Yankee money. It was church affiliated and held some amazing garments. They were so amazing that they were all pretty much small sizes and high end designer, the real thing, not the outlet imitations. There was Lauren, Tahari, even a Chanel, all suit after suit, all vintage and you know worn to Sunday service for decades. They were so beautiful I was tempted to buy one or two to just bring home and ogle. They served me no sewing purpose as they were so beautifully cut and well fitted with small sections of fabric that harvesting  was impossible. Five dollars a jacket and very dated!  I moved on. 

I will spare you the others that were either toy or child centric, so nothing in those for me.  Then I found another church affiliated thrift. This was a hoot and I struck gold.  The place was behind a lovely Episcopal church but behind and across the street in what looked like an old gas station, one outfitted to do mechanical work. Talking to the church ladies let me know that all proceeds went to help animals, to animal shelters, to feeding them and getting them neutered. Wonderful, not what I expect but a great idea. She said that is what the parishioners voted on and I told her I thought that was really special. The store was mobbed and was organized but with that slight bit of mess that made it fun. I saw things that I had recently seen at antique shops for much more but I wasn't there for that. This was a college town, lots of beautiful art and jewelry and every thing very reasonably priced It was a vast room of bric a brac, clothing, home goods and all just really interesting.  I found my place. A shelf full of old fabrics, all labeled and neatly wrapped appeared but in front of it was a filled  apple basket. In the basket I saw large patterns peeking out that could only be Vogue Designers. Do I see the last letters of Miyake, as in Issey Miyake? I started digging. There were numerous Miyakes and there was only one I owned. There were Byron Lars patterns, a designer I love who is so gifted and I wish Vogue still carried.  Donna Karan, Geoffrey Beene. on and on. I grabbed them all. At 25 cents each, I had plenty left to keep shopping. I strolled through scads of exquisite scarfs, beautiful designer sweaters in great shape, wonderful kitchy home goods and there were tons of lamps, one of which will definitely come home with  me on the next trip. Finding this great shop, which the church ladies tell me turns over a huge amount of merch each week, has really made me feel like I have found my home now. Yay!

I am so thrilled about this particular Byron Lars pattern,   Vogue Attitudes 1620. It had notes and scribbles on the envelope from the owner. I wish I knew her. The pattern was still in factory folds and clearly she never got to make it.  You can see she had her own ideas about how to make the blouses collar. It is an exquisite blouse, isn't it? 

The back of this blouse , the solid part, had many curved and shaped sections stitched together and hugging the hips. The yoke and these sections were solid. The rest of the blouse was sheer.

 Our pattern owner scribbled her own ideas on the back. Those diagonal lines are hers and I guess indicate where she would use the sheer fabric.  Did her sheer fabric have lines in it that she wanted to place on the bias?

Did the fact that the blouse had 28  pieces stop her from proceeding? Or did she own all those  designer patterns in the apple basket and just never got around to it?  I guess I will never know. I do know that Byron Lars is an incredibly gifted man and you can read how he started, his influences, etc in this Vogue article. I hope we see more of his work and  maybe his patterns too. In the meantime, I'm going to fondle the goodies from the apple basket and make another trip back this week!!!...Bunny

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Petited and De-Volumized Picasso Pants , #3


Pardon the weird shadows.

I have just finished my third pair of Picasso pants. Yes, I do love them that much. I did a lot of messing around with this iteration and while they share all that makes them wonderful, I made them work for me a bit better, I think. 


Once again I am using the Picasso Pants and Top from the Sewing Workshop. This is a design by esteemed knit pattern designer Linda Lee. She has been designing patterns independently for decades. Her patterns are wonderful, IMO. They certainly can have a bit of an artsy vibe but can also be as simple as a collared shirt or a pencil pant. They all share incredible details, usually not evident until you go to make them and the designs are brilliantly nuanced, something so lacking in today's Indie designs. I love to sew them. They exhibit the touch of a gifted designer. They are also well produced with QC not an issue, something I have run into with other big name Indie pattern designers. You won't find that with Sewing Workshop patterns. 

I am focusing on the pants here. They run from XS to XXXL.  No body measurements are given for the pattern but there are finished garment measurements which will easily put you in the right size. 

This pattern is meant to be sewn in KNITS,  not anything else.  Did I do that? No. So keep that in mind as you see my results. The design as sold is cropped. Are mine cropped? NO. I am five feet tall. I could have cropped them but didn't want to on this pair. 

ETA: In the comments you will see that the pants are designed to be made in wovens as well as knits. Thank you to my very astute followers and as always, I appreciate your corrections. I do look forward to making a knit pair. So far, commentors have made wovens. Any knit makers out there? If so, please share your experience. Thank you. 

The pattern is pricey but goes on sale once in a while if you follow the Sewing Workshop on Facebook. It is also well worth it when you consider that you can make these over and over as I have. This is pair #3 and I will make more. 


This fabric is a Sevenberry Japanese fabric distributed by Kaufman.  It is called Nora Homespun. I have learned that Sevenberry fabrics can be twills, canvas, quilting cottons, barkcloth, you name it. I came across a description of this particular one as canvas. If it is I would say it is a light canvas. It does not have the feel of a quilting cotton or canvas to me. It is very linen feeling but is 100% cotton. It washed and draped nicely and released its wrinkles easily. I go into this fabric in more detail on this post here where I discuss more fully the unique underlining process.  The pants were underlined completely with 100% polyester stretch mesh in black. I picked that up at my local chain for 5.99 a 60 inch wide yard.  The mesh has worked out wonderfully. I have worn these all cotton pants all day and there is not a sharp wrinkle anywhere, despite sitting at my machine and computer for quite some time. The mesh has holes and therefore breathes. It was a great combo for underlining with the Sevenberry fabric.  I highly recommend underlining pants with poly stretch mesh. It is comfortable and does a great job of keeping wrinkles at bay, breathing, and assisting with the drape. This I learned from Linda Lee as well. 


This is where it gets interesting. I chose the smallest size, XS. It is a 42.5 inch finished hip width. My hips are 37 inches. My two previous pair were quite voluminous but frankly, I found them very comfortable and liked them that way. Then, my sister came to visit, super sewist that she is, and she tried mine on.  They fit her more snugly and looked awesome. She is taller and heavier than I am and the more fitted pant look fabulous on her. I decided that my next pair would have some of the volume removed. I did a few things to this pair to "petite" it more and to make it fit my particular body a bit closer.  I am happy with the results. You do need to know that the more voluminous pairs feel awesome. So is it a problem? Not really, but I like the idea of a look that is closer to the body  and actually having the fuller and the more fitted options to choose from when I make these up. I can see using the more fitted version for heavier wovens and the more voluminous, gathered version for a lightweight rayon or thin knit which is what the pattern is spec'd for.  Here is how I went about it. 


I reduced the length of the tucks, a bit hard to see here,  by one inch.
I used a 3/8th inch seam allowance where the pant legs connect to the lantern shapes.
These two moves gave me an ankle length version that I am delighted with for my five feet tall bod. I found the longer tucks of the original design released their fullness too far down and close to the crotch. 


These are the original pants with the 42.5 hips. My fingers are pinching out some of the ease. I love these pants. They have a flat front and an elastic waist elsewhere. I did the following to reduce volume.

* There are side panels. In the seam that meets the front with the side panel I reduced it a half inch starting at the waist and tapering to nothing at the knees.

* I added another half inch tuck to each side of the pant front as shown in the pic above therefore taking out 2 more inches but just at the waist. This helped remove some of the bulk of the elastic waist. 

* For the back I added a half inch dart on each side of the back, ending at the fullest part of my bum as shown in the green arrows.  At every step of these alterations I kept checking to make sure the elastic waist easily got over my bum. 


I think you can see these alterations made a big difference in the fit. I believe the folds on the right are simply a need for the elastic waist to be arranged a bit. Pardon the camera angle as well. I aimed it right at my bum so you could see everything which really looks like I am sticking it out at you all. So sorry about that. 

Here's a repeat pic. I think you can agree, these look pretty good with less volume. Now, consider that this pattern is meant for knits. I am using rather dense wovens for mine and I feel these accommodations make them work better. I have seen them made on Lee's videos in very lightweight knits and their fullness is gorgeous and the drape wonderful and flattering so I am totally confident that if I made them in a lovely rayon I would use the original fit. At least now I have two options for this  pattern should I decide to make it in a more heavy woven or in a lighter knit or rayon type fabric. These pants are so comfortable, stylish, and I LOVE them!...Bunny

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Sewing with Odd Textiles

 I am not a fan of artist Thomas Kinkaid's work, at all. 

I do not care for his subject matter which poorly mimics Currier and Ives which I do admire. There is always  enough illumination coming from the windows in his work to light up Times Square. While he certainly had a an artistic gift, his vision is far too commercial, never mind artificial looking,  for me. But here I am, the buyer of this, dare I say, nasty throw. 

Gahh, it is so against my taste. Why did she buy it you ask? Is she really going to use it, never mind make clothing with it? Heck yeah! I bet now you are really scared. You see, there I was in this gift shop in North Conway, NH, good ole ski country, with about 200 other tourists and saw this thing. Peeking out was it's back side. Now that is what caught my eye. 

The  throw was large and the colors were beautiful . The shapes from the front side were pretty amorphous on the back and could be worked around. I would bet the farm it was acrylic and it was pretty tightly woven. I bought this beauty and tucked it away knowing one day I would make it work. It's day has come.  But first I had to make it garment worthy. That started with a wash and dry and it came out beautifully as you see it. Click the pic to see it up closer. 

I had the pattern picked out, something extremely simple but with a lot of style and a garment that I love to wear. More to come on that.

  I figured the best way to make this work would be to  block fuse a tricot interfacing to the back of my pattern pieces.  This would do a bunch of things. 

* It would secure the weave and prevent catching and snagging. 
* It would stabilize the fabric for the garment I was  making. In it's current state the fabric was thick but almost too soft and  drapey. 
* It would underline the fabric, not needed by the pattern but nice to have. 
* It would give a smooth surface to land against what I wore underneath, nothing loopy that could catch and snag.
* It let me fudge around with the grain which is working out beautifully due to the design as  you will see. 

I laid out my throw on the cutting table, fashion side up and carefully place my first piece where I wanted it to go. I put a lot of thought into where each pattern piece would be best cut.  I then allowed for at least another inch all around and cut my block. As luck would have it, the blocks needed were the width of the the interfacing. I carefully picked it all up and moved to my ironing area. 

I  laid out the interfacing on the back of the throw, my idea of the back, and then folded it so it would fit in the  "fold"  of the press. I find this the most efficient way to press large articles. I used a silk setting with the massive steam these put out but first I lowered the top of the press to within about a half inch of the fabric and then let it steam. I wanted to make sure I got all the shrinkage out of everything, interfacing and fashion fabric. Then I lifted the top again, took my hands and smoothed out the interfacing again as the last steaming caused it to move around. Once all  smoothed again, I did the actual steam and press to secure the interfacing to the fabric. Seven seconds and permanently bonded! 

You can certainly press this with the iron but it was far more efficient to do this job with a steam press if you have one, fast, smooth and permanent.

These blocks were for my front and back bodices, similar in size but just different enough to be a problem if mixed up. I made sure I marked which piece was which with some tape. 

I still wondered about keeping the weaving secure and started to make samples of overstitching on the fabric. The jury is still out on this and I will sleep on it. It may be overkill or it may not make any difference at all. We shall see.  I do have some contrasting fabric to cut out for the design but did manage to get a section completed. I think it will be quite nice!

ETA: For those who are fans of Kincaid's art, I respect that.  We all have developed our taste thru a lifetime in very many varied ways. For those who love his work, more power to you and may you enjoy it with all your heart. For myself, I prefer more of a Shaker aesthetic. Sorry if I offended anyone's sensibilities. That was not my intent. 

And for my final surprise, here is the pattern I will be making with this fabric. It is a TABARD from Sandra Betzina, Vogue 1569. I absolutely love long sweater vests and have literally worn a couple of woolen ones to death. I saw this pattern and it was instant love. I knew immediately what fabric I would use. ;)  I will be using some lovely black wool for the contrast. More to come! 


I finished my next Picasso pants and have a near complete blogpost on them. Hubs and I did a fashion shoot but could not get clear pictures. I tried everything which meant I ended up taking my DSLR to the camera shop. They knew the issue right away and I came home with a repaired camera and ready for another go at getting pics. The weather is now not cooperating but as soon as I can I will have that review up and running for you. I love my new PPants. In the meantime it's full steam ahead with my Kinkaid throw project! And I bet you thought is was a throw away!................Bunny

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Lining/Underlining with Stretch Mesh, Why would you?


This is the back of the  fabric I am using to make a pair of pants. From the front it looks like a cross dyed linen. I knew it was cotton and not linen when I purchased it. I love cross dyes and this one had the look of indigo and seemed like a nice weight with a  linen-y look. You are looking at the wrong side, which I never looked at in the store. I came home and looked the fabric up on line and Kaufmann calls it a canvas, OK. After washing I went to press it before cutting. As I lifted up this fabric that I thought would make wonderful pants, I noticed an area that I could see through. Then I noticed more. Then I realized the entire yardage was made of thick and thin areas as you see above. Well, I sure missed that in the fabric store and that just wouldn't do. Do I can my excitement and make something else like a top that I don't need right now? I slept on it. The next day I decided I would underline the fabric and all would be fine. Each pattern piece would have it's own lining stitched to it and would be treated as one layer but made up of two. Now, what to use?

Here you see the pattern I will be using, the Sewing Workshop Picasso Pants pattern. This would be my third pair.  I had no idea I would love these pants as much as I do. They are very comfortable and I wear my first pair constantly. It is a heavy cross dyed  linen.  The other is a discharge dyed fine wale corduroy. I wanted more. The fabric for the third pair looks like an indigo dyed denim on its right side. You've only seen the back.  I thought, "well, I could just use my pant liners." But, I was afraid they would get hung up on the seaming. These pants are a lantern shape and each leg has six sections with lots of  seaming you can see above. I can definitely see my Bemberg pants liners getting hung up between the sections so that was out. I started this project in a 95 degree heatwave and the thought of any sort of full Bemberg type lining in these pants was just too hot of an idea to entertain. I had to give the pants some privacy, some weight and some comfort. What's a sewist to do?

Linda Lee, the actual pattern designer of these pants came to the rescue. She is one of a rare breed. Her sewing skills are fabulous and match her awesome design skills. I have found many pattern designers do not have the sewing skills to match their design skills and that's OK at times. There are also many pattern designers who start out as great sewists and think they are great designers but really lack in the pattern design arena. Linda Lee is the Wild Card Deuce. She has both talents and to the max.  I really respect her sewing skills and she has many books, DVDs and Craftsy classes out there to prove it. I highly recommend her "Sewing Knits from Fit to Finish" book. But back to mesh. When I was making a pair of flow-y and full,  almost sheer slub rayon culottes so was she on her youtube video and she recommended the "power" mesh lining (her term) for under the near sheer rayon. I tried  it for my version and loved the results which you can read about here. It took a bunch of sampling to get right but in the end, using the stretch mesh was brilliant and I knew I would use this technique again. 

Why would you use this mesh? Well, first, let's discuss what this mesh is. It is a 100% polyester mesh. IT IS NOT the nylon tulle that is used to make little scrubbing things for the sink.  IT IS NOT the nylon tulle that is used to make tutus and veiling and fluffy adornments for pews in the church at weddings. NOT THAT STUFF. IT IS MOST OF ALL NOT power mesh, that heavy duty mesh that is used for girdles, bras, swimwear and and anything else you can think of to hold in a mound of flesh. 

"Stretch mesh" or "Stretch Illusion" is what is used to give the appearance of skin on wedding gowns, skating outfits, ball room dancing attire. It can match your skin color and have appliques applied which beautifully appear to be floating on your skin but are not. It is faux modesty. Let them think you are naked but you know there is fabric there so it is OK. 

Stretch mesh is 100% polyester. It comes in the colors of skin but I understand it can be dyed and can be bought in every color imaginable as well. Vogue Fabrics carries a nice variety of skin tones. If you just need white, black or nude, you can find it at your local chain box for about 5.99 a yard which runs 60 wide. 

Now, why would you use it?

* It's mesh design breathes and it is comfortable to wear in hot weather, far better than any solid lining. It is never sticky. 

* It has weight. Using it as an underlining instead of a fusible to bulk up a thinner fabric, my issue, works wonderfully. Using a fusible for underlining, over time, runs the risk of delaminating, shrinkage of the fabric or fusible causing bubbling, and just not holding up to wash and wear like a non fusible. I will do a traditional underlining with my stretch mesh, cutting it out the same as my fashion fabric and treating the two layers as one.  I love the weight it adds to the thinner fabric. 

* It does not ravel and really needs no special treatment. My flowy separate lining  in the culottes had a raw hem and was serged for seaming. That's it. For this garment the mesh was simply stitched to the fashion fabric with a simple straight stitch and while I tried to complicate it, in the end the simple way was the best. 

* It has no grain. Cut it any way you want. 

* It feels nice. I like the way it feels, the weight, the airiness in the summer weather, just so much nicer than a solid lining. 

* It maintains that sheer effect of your fashion fabric without being sheer. See the post on my culottes  for more on that here. 

How do you sew it?

For this application here it is really quite simple. We are going to underline the fashion fabric and a few basic rules apply. 

The underlining, IOW the mesh, will be cut the exact same size as the fashion fabric and that goes for each piece.  You will find the selvedges of the underlining have a gathering/pulling  effect on the yardage. 

There is no way you can lay the fabric mesh out flat with the selvedges pulling like that and you can see the big ripples above.


This pic shows how I clipped the selvedge and the fabric now lies flat. Now I can cut out my pattern pieces.  Sorry for the moire effect, just happens. 

Let's look at that first blue fabric pic again. Do you see how the threads on the bottom left corner run downward?  Each side of your pieces will have a direction that the threads are flowing. We are going to sew DIRECIONALLY!  Our stitching will be done in the same direction as those threads. We will not sew against them.  Sewing against them can make your underlining bubble and shift. That means you will start and stop at each corner and sew in the correct direction. You may also have to put your fabric inside the machine harp, all to the right, to sew directionally.

Most importantly,  you will sew with your fashion fabric on top and your mesh underneath. If you have a walking foot or integrated feed built into your machine, disengage it for this process. Pin, yes, pin, your two layers together and stitch, fashion fabric on top, underlining underneath. Stitch all around but one side at a time, always stitching WITH the direction of the threads. 

You have to trust me on this. It will make your sewing much much easier to do it this way. I spent a great deal of time sewing the bottom sections of the pants legs with the mesh on top. Of course I believed I would have to maneuver and push and pull that stretchy, airy textile and therefore it had to be on top. Took me forever and I was constantly playing with the mesh's stretch. Then I switched, on the long pant leg sections, to sewing with the mesh on the bottom and no Integrated Feed or walking foot engaged and the stitching flew along, was perfectly matched to the fashion fabric with no bubbles or stretches  and was just so easy and quick. Fashion fabric on top, mesh underneath, NO integrated feed or walking foot engaged. Okie, dokie? Let your feed dogs do the work. 

Now I know some of you are also  thinking why didn't she just shoot this thru the serger? Well, to keep bulk down and to use the plan I had in mind. My plan, which I used on my original pants, was to machine stitch the seams, serge them together, press to the side and then topstitch on the outside. The inside of the garment has little bulk and looks beautifully clean.  

The other technique I used, which I frequently do on any underlining is to stitch down the center of any darts before stitching the dart legs together. This holds the underlining fabric and the fashion fabric together perfectly while the dart is being made. 


I have found the combination of poly mesh and 100% prewashed cotton easy to iron without melting or such. I used steam, a higher synthetic setting,  a press cloth and a clapper for my seams. I put darts in the back of the pants and they took shape beautifully with steam, a cotton organdy press cloth and a ham. The pants aren't all together yet but so far I am really happy with my choice for the underlining and how that is going together. They look substantial  with their underlining. I can't wait to see how they drape in the end. More to come! .............Bunny

Friday, August 13, 2021

The Tee Journey is Over!!!

What a long, strange trip it has been, as Jerry Garcia once sang! The third tee pattern is the one that was the easiest to fit and with the least effort but that really is because I decided to change my technique. The  first two could have been easier as well or at least the second one.  You will understand as we go  along. I did make fit changes to this pattern as well.  Out of the three, Simplicity S9226, will be my go to. As I go through my review you will see why. 


This is Simplicity S9226. Looks like a pretty basic tee with two sleeve and neckline options. Remember, there is no description on the pattern envelope any more of the design. If you look on the back of the envelope at the line drawings, you will see there is a jewel neck version and one with a turtleneck sort of collar. 

I never read the notions list. I figured thread and a bit of interfacing  to stabilize my neck and hems were all I needed. But you must now be very careful about reading the back of the envelope and the needed notions when buying the SD Simplicity patterns. This top needs a zipper!!!  Do you see one in the line drawings? While I had just ripped out a perfectly good invisible 7 inch zip from a toss, did I really want a zipper in my tee? NO, emphatically said! I measured my head, too close a call. I decided to put in a slit and tiny button instead. Watch those new Simplicity envelopes closely, sewing friends!!!

  • I had to contort myself to take the pic with my remote of the back. The slit actually hangs nice and straight as does the back. No swayback needed. 
Next was picking out the correct size. We are getting into True Confessions territory here or just TMI.  I am the first to admit that I am not an expert or seriously experienced knit sewist. I love to tailor. I love  natural wovens, linens, wools, et al. I have cut my teeth on those fabrics and their construction and fitting. I love wearing woven clothing, rumply linens and tailored coats. I just don't do knits often at all so that means I don't know that much. Now this is where I am going to really confess. 

Having sewn mostly tailored wovens most of my decades and for roughly the first half of my sewing life not getting that great a fit, I was all ears when any fitting guru came along and I would jump on any bandwagon. My petite hourglass was hard to fit. Every pattern was one of two choices. Do I want to swim in it or have a tight bust which would only emphasize something I did not want to emphasize.?  I am going to tell you my current measurements only because it makes my point here very clearly. Before I went into Tee #3, I took very thorough measurements. It had been a while and I knew I had lost a bit of weight recently as well. Pre-menopausal this fitting issue was an even bigger problem than  currently but there is still the strong contrast and I still want a decent fit. 

Upper Bust-----29.5 inches
Full Bust--------34 inches
Under bust-----28  inches
Waist------------26.5  inches
Hip at fullest---36  inches

I always bought patterns by my bust and they were always floating on me at my neckline, shoulders, back, etc etc etc.  Then I tried buying by upper bust, well that size didn't quite exist so I just used the smallest size and added space at the side seams as I had no idea what an FBA was. After trying numerous fit gurus and methods,  Nancy Zieman entered my life. Her method of taking into account my narrow torso and what was at that time and even smaller waist and larger bust  and then accommodating my "other" issues worked and it totally changed my sewing life. From that day forward I learned how to achieve decent fit with all those wovens I loved to sew.  Wow! It made sewing so much more enjoyable and I was finally happy with my fit results.  Now, knits come down the pike. 

I just really didn't care for them that much. I didn't like wearing snug clothing, and unless they were a real sweater knit, they just did not interest me so I did not bother going to Stretch and Sew when my friends did. I never learned much about them. That was way back when and now that has changed. Knits have changed. I see beautiful textiles with digital prints and I want to wear them. I want to enjoy sewing them but also wearing them the way I like, skimming my body, not tight. What I have made with Zieman's methods just is not the best way. It was lots of work and did not give me the fit I wanted.  With Tee #3 I did not use her methods and I am really pleased with the results. I found the size 12 to be my exact measurements. Wha???? But I have been using a size 6 for years with Zieman's method. I decided then and there I would use the size 12 for any future knits.  I did do my usual petiting on upper bust, back and sleeves but liked the length of the top and left that alone. I also shortened the long sleeves to a 3/4 length, my always choice.  Hmmm,,,, once it was cut it looked freakin' huge. Did I make a big mistake?

I sewed the shoulder seams together, pin fitted it and stood in front of the mirror. The shoulders were hanging way off of mine. Other than that, IT FIT! and rather nicely, too. I thought it might need a very small swayback but decided to let that go until I saw the final tee and would fix that on a future shirt if needed. I also did not want to just hack off the shoulders and mess with armscye size and shape.  I opened out the top flat on the table, took my pattern and with all due respect to Zieman, was able to do a pivot and slide of 3/4 inches on each shoulder and therefore not change the size of the armscye at all. Yay! When the top was done and pics taken I could see that the reduction in shoulder seam made the sleeve cap work a bit harder to reach the seam so I will extend that a bit on the next effort. The diagonal lines in the sleeves, while not bad, are the result of the cap pulling hard to reach that shoulder seam. 
I really like these sleeves. They are the best fitting knit sleeves I've ever had. NO bicep adjustments, Yay! 

I did do one further fit adjustment I haven't done before and that is because I noticed it in my photos from this tee project. My shoulders seem to be sloping more with age and/or gravity. I did a 1/4 inch sloping shoulder adjustment as well for the first time. I am really happy with the fit of the size 12 knit. This bit of education has made me rethink pattern #2 and try again in a re-cut size 12! Sewing is a lifelong journey of learning. That is why it is such an exciting occupation.  For those who may be reading this and are newer sewists, you will always be learning if you are going to be a lifelong sewist and/or a sewist who wants to sew well.  It is a satisfying and even fun journey. If admitting that your way is the only way or that somehow patterns are the problem or that there is only one way to do things this is not the pastime for you and much frustration lies in your path. Be open. Always be learning. Always be open to correction and new methods. 


This fabric is a blend of 65% Modal, a form of viscose and 35% polyester. It is thin but not see through and has a very liquid-y drape. It is a tiny rib knit that you can see in the pic below which gives a better sense of scale. Nothing curled when I cut it and when I fused fusible tricot to the hems and neckline with pinked edges nothing showed thru. It was very easy to sew and topstitch.  It had no name and I got it at Joanns. 


This was really easy to sew but I did not follow directions. I chose to follow more contemporary knit sewing strategy. 

*Fuse tricot interfacing to shoulder seams, neckline, back slit,  sleeve hems and bottom hem.

*Sew shoulder seams

*Apply neck band

*Sew sleeves in flat

*Sew up side seams and sleeves as one 

* Sew hems

*Hand finish button and loop

I serged all the seams together after stitching on the machine. I used a simple straight stitch stretching lightly as I sewed. I did various stitch samples before sewing my top this way. 

Once again, I used Sara Veblen's method for inserting the neck band. Because the top required a zipper and I wasn't going to use one I serged the edges and pressed open the center back seam. I fused the top 5 inches with fusible tricot and left that open as a slit. I decided to close it with a little button at the top. But what about the neck band?

Veblen's method has you trial stretch/measure your neckband to get the correct length. No measuring! For this band I folded back 3/4 of an inch of band into itself. Then I used that folded edge as my start of the neckband. I then only measured to the center front. I doubled the unfolded neckband to get the proper amount need for a band that would have both ends of the neckband folded in on itself that 3/4 inch.  I then inserted it right on top of the folded edge of the slit. It worked fine. When it was all done I hand stitched the tiny button on and used perle cotton to make my button loop on the other side.  

The hems were stitched one 1/8th inch from the edge and then again 1 inch above that. No rippling at all. 

In Conclusion:

This has been one crazy journey, at time frustrating but in the end I have learned so much. I have learned to never take the final word on anything in sewing, once again! I have some great fitting knowledge in my tool kit now for knits.  I am humbled by the simplicity of the cure to my problem. I am appreciative, more than you know, for having  readers put up with such a struggle in all its details, more than you  really wanted to know.  If you have learned anything on this trip I hope it is that sewing is such a wonderful journey and like all trips, there are unexpected obstacles and problems to be solved along the way. We must be open to that and always be looking for our next learning opportunity. I see so so so much blame thrown around when garments don't work. Yes, these new SD Simplicity patterns have their weaknesses and I am not happy about them but I am the  first to admit that I needed to try something new to make them and any other knit pattern work better for me. I accept that. Thanks for coming along on this journey. And as Jerry Garcia also famously said, I am gonna keep on "....truckin'...".......................Bunny

Thursday, August 5, 2021

This Tee Journey Is Not Easy!

All photos have been wicked enhanced for contrast because of the black fabric. This makes for weird shadows and I apologize. 

The Tee Shirt Quest continues................and this was a story unto itself as well. I haven't hit the Holy Grail yet! I do have lots to say about this pattern. You may be thinking to yourself "she is really getting grouchy in her old age." Maybe I am but I don't think so. Yes, after a certain age our lips and what comes out of them do get a little looser but I am not getting crabbier. I just have a lot more experience under my belt at this stage and perhaps expect more because of that. The sewing world is changing and I am not sure quite what is going on with it as you will see in my review. Let's get started. 


The first thing my husband said when he saw the tee was, "Wow, that is gorgeous fabric." It really is and makes a great tee. It had the stretch needed and was from ancient stash. This fabric, which I think is a rayon/poly blend interlock, came from the Fabric Fix, an awesome Mom and Pop fabric store whose owner hit the Garment District every couple of weeks and brought back killer bargains on designer fabrics and sewing notions. I think I paid 3.00 a yard for this and bought tons. I made a voluminous skirt from this fabric that I wore to death for years at work. I still have the skirt to recycle its fabric. I wish you could see it up close. It is lovely and a delight to sew. It topstitched and eased beautifully. 


This is where it gets interesting! This is Simplicity 9229, cute little tee shirt number from "Something Delightful" ugh. You need to really look at this pattern envelope closely, the model and the back. I bought this pattern on a big pattern sale at Joanns about a month ago. I bought 4 tee patterns. Two were Simplicity with S before the number on the patterns and dated 2021.  Now I don't know what is going on with Simp, if they were sold off, acquired, owned by CSS, or Design Group, or Something Awful or what but things are different. These 2021 versions have a confusing guide on the back. It says Sizes and then underneath European. You take a look and tell me what that means. 

OK, maybe I needed more coffee, but I thought size 6 had a 32 inch bust.  Luckily for me I always flat pattern measure. Seems it was only 30 1/2. Now, for about 2 1/2 decades I have been achieving pretty decent fit with the Zieman method which put me into a size 6 with an FBA , not a big one. This pattern was way too small all over. I knew negative ease was involved and I don't like negative ease but this was beyond that. I ran to Pattern Review. Low and behold, the one review was having the same experience I was. I will let you judge for yourself here. The envelope and others like it also have no description of the garment which I found frustrating. I would think a description acknowledging the princess seams would be nice. In the photo above you will see that the cutting lines for side front are wrong for the size 10. They put the size 10 lines on the size 6 cutting lines. I did end up cutting  a size 10 and did an FBA and did a MAJOR bicep adjustment. Since I stopped working I am more active plus those health issues and have lost weight.  So my 107 pound frame jumped up in size, and after losing weight (only a number)  then I needed to add a lot more to that to get it to fit my bicep. There is just something wrong here. Read the PR reviewers comments as well, including those below her review. 

So I don't know what is happening at Simplicity but for the first time in forever, their sizing is not working for me like it has for years. 

I will be the first to admit it could be me but the PR review does give a bit of validation. I have remeasured myself and cutting out another tee right now with another pattern and we shall see what happens. 


This fabric was delightful to work on. The pattern did call for inserting sleeves in the round so I went with it being my first try  but next time will be in the flat. Between the last tee and this one I stumbled upon Sara Veblen's method of inserting neck bands and used it for this shirt. Wow, her tips helped me get perfection. I am really happy with my results and you can see her video here on the Threads website.  The pattern did not call for it but I stayed the neckline with fusible tricot interfacing.  Before I inserted the sleeves and after doing the neckband, I pinfitted the sides and they were fine, plenty of room. It did seem to need a bit of a sway back adjustment but I would catch that on the next make.  Sleeves went in. I did the hems and done. I tried it on and it did not fit. I don't know where the fit went but once the sleeves were in it totally changed and I had no extra seam allowance to play with. I was not going to wad this shirt. I loved the fabric too much. I ended up cutting gussets for the side seams.  They were shaped like picket fence stakes adding one inch to each side and terminating in a point at the armscye. Worked like a charm but took time, ugh. Size ten did not fit at ALL. You can see it does not have negative ease, but neither does the triple size 0 model on the cover of the envelope. Is it not fair to expect my ease to match that of the photo on the envelope? With no description saying "close fitting" or anything else, I thought mine would fit like the model's, at least in regards to ease. I hemmed the sleeves and hem with my usual manner. That means a fusible tricot applied to the full hem width and stitched on the edge and again about an inch further up. 

In Conclusion:

I don't recommend this pattern. It required me to rethink a method of fitting that worked for me for decades. I feel the pattern itself is faulty and it shows on the poor guide on the outside of the envelope as well as the printed tissue.  Upon further investigation of the back of the pattern you get a "6" size, a "32" European and a "34" in Francaise. Is Francaise not European and are these measurements or what? I think those may be just representative of further turmoil within this company and if so they better get their act together as their competition is nipping at their heels with foam dripping from their mouth. This pattern is not one I will make again. I have one more I will try on the cutting table as we speak. This five foot tall, 107 pound woman cut a size 12 based on my measurements. If it fits perfect, so be it it. Numbers don't bother me. Change without explanation does.  Maybe they took lessons from Nancy Zieman and redid their pattern slopers.  We can only hope..............................Bunny

Sunday, August 1, 2021

I've changed my mind!


I have said it more than once and I know others agree with me. "I can't be bothered to make a tee shirt that I can pick up for 3 dollars at WalMart." The truth is I extremely rarely buy a tee shirt and rarely shop at WM. I have tons of tee shirts. I used them as underlayer foils against the cold when I worked and they all have some sort of text or logo on them. They are the tee shirts that are "affiliated". I hide the affiliations under layers or wear them in the garden in the summer. 

I recently watched several  youtubers looking for well fitting tees. One really appealed because it was not skin tight and it still showed a women's shape. No boxiness here!  I thought I might have  the pattern in my stash and I did. Before this I had been thinking  maybe I should get on the tee wagon and search out a great pattern, one that I could whip out over and over, one that did not have letters on it, one I could actually wear to a friend's for a glass of wine.  I was currently looking for my next project and this sounded like a good one --- finding the Holy Tee!

I dug out the pattern that I remembered the  youtuber used, even if I couldn't find it on Youtube again. I looked up reviews and got to work. Here is my review:


This is McCall's 6964, an oldie but a goodie. My envelope says 2014. The interesting thing is that this pattern has actually been re-issued by Something Delightful (???) as Butterick 6848. Who knew?? Hopefully the directions have been updated as well. It has several neckline styles and a tank version as well. The tank version uses the exact same armscye as the tee shirt. Hmmmmm..... I chose View C, 3/4 length sleeves, my fave, and a rounded out neckline. 

I like to follow a pattern pretty closely the first time I use it. This made for an interesting ride. Open it up and there were 7 pages, to be expected but not quite fitting with the "easy" description on the front. It is all about fitting and I can see this blowing away a newbie but they might not get their hands on this OOP number anyway. 

The first page starts with the classic pics of views then one column with a small blurb about creative ideas and more on "tips for knits". One tip was to stabilize the shoulder seams. I thought this would have been more appropriate on page five where you actually sew the shoulder seam. This pattern broke a lot of knit rules for me. I expected more finesse from such an acclaimed sewing expert. No stabilization of neckline, shoulders or armscye was shown. The side seams were stitched closed before the neckband was put on, which drove me nuts and I also thought a bit unusual. I get that you baste the side seams to check fit but I would have pin fitted as I have done with my current tee project. I soldiered on. The sleeves were installed in the round "for better fit." You know me. I am a traditional sewist. I am a total round sleeve type sewist, but not for knits, people! It's a knit tee shirt. So there was that making the simple tee more complicated as well.  Then the final clinker was, and we are sewing with knits here that don't ravel, right?  The final clinker was turning the hem under a 1/4 inch on the raw edge of the hem and then stitching. Really? Knits only are specified on the pattern. Every step of the way this garment was made more complicated than need be and that did not include any of the fitting instructions. 

Now for the fitting. There is a lovely shape to the side seam and that is what makes this garment work. That is why the youtuber loved the pattern. If you have followed me a long time you know I am not a fan of negative ease. I cut wide seam allowances here and petited the pattern to make it work for me. I've lost a few pounds lately (unintentional) and there is more ease on me than what you see on the form, just a bit but it is exactly how I like it. The shoulders fit great on me. On the dressform, the nature of dressforms, the sewn shoulders don't seem wide enough. They are. I was concerned about the bust in this pattern. I usually do an FBA for a C cup. With the weight loss I did not need one but I read through the pattern to see what to do before I measured myself for my own needs.  If I needed that C cup, I had to add a dart!!!! Really??? This is a knit tee shirt.  Anything higher than a B cup is suggested to add a dart and the pattern shows how, a complicated process for any newbie on their own. If I needed that FBA I would have just done a cheater version bumping out the sides and easing it into the side seam, done. 


My fabric is a lyocell jersey with a bit of spandex. It is in a color that does nothing for me but will go with several things I own and I can make it a more flattering piece with a scarf or jacket on top. 


Well, you can tell from the pattern instructions that I would have gone about the construction very differently. I would have taped the neckline with  a fusible tricot tape. I would have used a more traditional knit method of construction, leaving the sides open until the neckline and sleeves were installed. I would never have turned a knit under a 1/4 inch at the raw edge of the hem, choosing instead to just trim back to the stitching line, which I did. 

In Conclusion:

I think this pattern could really flummox a beginner sewist. However, due to the really nice shape of it I would recommend it to those who are experienced with knit sewing and can follow their own method of construction. I also recommend it to those who prefer a top without negative ease. This skims and nicely. In the end, I like the look of my top and the shape. I did not like the pattern instructions at all.  I do hope the second generation re-issue by Butterick is more user friendly in it's directions and has a bit more finesse in it's directions for sewing and fitting knits.

I have already started another tee, another pattern and will have that review soon.  It is beautiful black knit I had in my stash and I am loving it. Above are a couple more knits that might make the tee project as well. Heavens, this last pattern bugged me. The current one is delightful, actually, Something Delightful, ha ha ha!!............Bunny

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