Sewing Vloggers

Sunday, September 15, 2019

P Words - Petite and Proportions



On the nightstand next to my side of the bed can always be found a few sewing magazines. It is my "go to sleep" reading. There is a mix but mostly they are from my collection of Threads. I have never regretted dragging those mags from home to home over the years. I know, I can get the DVD archive but I just love turning  pages and reading from them as they lay open and propped up on a pillow on my lap. A screen does not give me the same thrill. Besides, it is part of what they now call "sleep hygiene." Screens are not recommended for good sleep hygiene!



Lately I've been enjoying a batch from 2001. Wow, there were some serious and inspirational articles in that time frame, Threads at it's best! Just look at the titles listed on the cover! One article really caught my interest recently, so much so that I felt a blogpost might be the place to further discuss. The mag is issue #94, May 2001 and can be found starting on page 48. It is six pages long with lots of photos! The article is about fitting and styling for petite women. Four lovely women have been chosen and they are shown wearing their own clothing which have made and quite nicely. There are comments from them about how they like to dress and some great comments from the author, Karen Howland. 

Let's talk how petites dress and what looks best on us. I am no style expert and sometimes I just want to wear something I love that really does me no justice. I think we all have those pieces in our wardrobes. But I've lived with my five feet of height a long while and made lots of style booboos along the way.  I think I now have a good idea of what looks good with my size and coloring and how to make a pattern or design work for a petite. Frankly, I feel it's all about proportion. If the proportions are off, The perfect color won't fix that. This article reflects the patterns of the time, 2001, although I would wear the clothing of one of the women today but just change the colors and prints. I did actually find a lot about the garments similar to what women of the same ages shown are wearing currently.  Here are a few bullet thoughts triggered by the article. . I am not showing the pics from the magazine, copy write, respect for the women and all. You don't have to have read the article to get my gist. 

5'3" and beautiful Julianne Moore in a dress that is comfy and does nothing , NOTHING for her loveliness. 
  • Quite a few of the garments were quite voluminous, lots of fabric and draping and long. We see this today as well  in Lagen Look inspired patterns and clothing. IMHO, these garments swallow petite women. I tried some. They swallowed me and as much as I wanted to be the cool girl looking so artsy and like I just left the gallery, I ended up donating them all. Some were quite nice but really not doing the petite form justice. OK, some petites are short AND round but adding all that fabric just emphasizes that, IMO. Those styles can hide a lot but I have seen petite and curvy women who emphasize their curves and they look fabulous. Think fit and flare as one example. 
Sherry Shepard in a fit and flare dress that complements her beautifully. Now picture her all layered up in Lagenlook.
  • Because petites are short, their waists can seem more vertically centered than their taller sisters who may have longer legs or torsos. Looking at the Threads photos shows Bird Ross wearing a dress with a waistline just a little above normal. It just looks so good on her. I have seen this silhouette being used today and the painted top I just finished  has that "lifted" waistline. 

  •  Why does it work on petites? It gives length to the lower torso. Nothing looks good cut n half, people. When I did custom window design one of the first things I learned is to not cut the window in half. Dividing the space in thirds, fifths, or sevenths is far more interesting. Those 6 foot runway models with the blazers ending at the fingertips? That is probably a third of their length. On a petite that blazer divides the outfit in half, not a good look. 
I love this tucked in tee, great proportions and she is a curvy petite. 


That brings me to the biggy. Petites need to be aware to not divide themselves in half.  It's just not our best look. FWIW, I've done it more times than you'd think. I make a beautiful jacket, a lovely skirt, and what is wrong with this and why don't I want to wear it? Well, it cuts me in half and it just doesn't look that good even though the separates are beautiful on their own. 

Vogue 1644, show that crotch line, petites!

  • Petites are the Queens of the short top, the short jacket, worn with longer culottes, maxi skirts, long wide pants, yes. It's all about proportion. I had a pair of pants for years I wore till they fell apart and I got more compliments on those pants than any I've ever worn.  They were classic slant pocket, wide legged, almost floor scraping wool flannel pants.  The truth is that it wasn't the pants. It was the proportions of the outfit.  I ALWAYS wore them with a very short sweater, top or tucked in white, tailored shirt. My legs looked longer. I was not cut in half. I really think if you have a tummy or booty you can still wear a long skirt or pant with a shorter top like the one above. It doesn't have to be Brittany Spears short but just don't let it cut your body in half. Again, all about proportion for petite.  Raise that jacket hemline!
Vogue 9347

  • And one more comment about petite proportions: take that down to the details. Those big collars, capelets on the shoulders, pockets, etc.-----CUT THEM DOWN. Make them smaller like you are. Don't let those details wear you. Wear those details so you can shine in all your petiteness.  The grey top above is a perfect example. I would cut the collar height back maybe a half inch and definitely cut the cuffs back maybe a 1/4 inch as well. I would get the big buttons but probably in a color the same as the fabric. I almost always cut back any collar or pocket at least a quarter inch all around as the design allows. It makes a difference. Would you like to wear a voluminous dress, feel cool and flowey in the summer? I hear ya. Just cut it down so your not covered in what looks like your next load of laundry. Let yourself show. 

I would love to hear your comments on this subject or on the Threads article. Again, the clothing in the article reflects the times but Bird Ross has it all figured out. Her garments are quite different from the others but they look so great on her and SHE shines through. Being an artist she totally gets proportion and it shows in her clothing choices.  She was my fave of all the petites but I really appreciated how all the petites each had a very clear personal style.  I thank all the ladies in that article who so bravely put themselves forward and are all such incredible sewists! They are all beautiful! ..........................Bunny

Monday, September 9, 2019

New Look 6446 and the Holy Grail

I think I have found my pattern for the painted jeans romper (?).  In reviews it seemed a bit short waisted on most and some commented to that effect and said they would alter for that the next time around. I would not make this exactly as shown but this is the best base I found out there. I will "jean" it up with contrast topstitching and buckles and such. It is now the next project in the queue. Right now I am finishing up long needed draperies for the guest room, simple tabs with a faux roman shade beneath. 

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Sewing has its own set of Holy Grails. More than one is allowed, right?  Number One in my book would be the perfectly fitting pants pattern.  Another could be a White Singer Featherweight, found at a yard sale for 35 dollars and in running condition. How about the Greist Buttonholer? What would you choose as the Holy Grail of Sewing?  Well, from what I have read over the years, I found one yesterday at a local barn sale. May I present to you the Bound Buttonhole Maker! I am anxious to play with this and for an afternoon of fun at the going rate of 75 cents, I am such a cheap date!

Has anyone used one of these? 





I will do a bit of research on this before I decide to release it from it's long, plastic purgatory, then maybe some samples for fun. Can't beat a good New England barn sale!

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Do you remember studying Escher's Tessellations in math class?  Well, I have been really really looking into the pad making and have looked at a lot of patterns. I have figured out I have to make my own and that won't be hard. Why make my own? Because I want it TESSELLATED! If I tessellate the pattern I can cut it out so easily with nary a thread of waste and with a rotary cutter., zoom, ZOOM, ZOOM!  


You get the idea here but I will have to change this up as the pattern is not available, old old web page and it is meant for monthly pads, anyway. It won't be hard to come up with my own design which will have some changes from this one as well. Where's my graph paper?

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I have decided to try something new on the blog today. Let me know what you think. The colors offered for text in Blogger have black but it does not come out black enough for me. It really is a dark grey. It has been driving me nuts. I have seen this grey font being used all over, certainly not just blogger and it's a tough read. I have written the text in in Bold. Let me know what you think. I am not sure what I think yet but I was not happy with Blogger Black....Bunny








Sunday, September 1, 2019

Drips and dribbles!

You all know my pledge to work on one project at a time. Right now I am concentrating on a memorial project for a life long friend whose son took his life last year. He was a handsome, passionate  man besot by depression since his early teens. I am trying to honor him and his memory with a textile piece  showing his amazing skill at his chosen craft and his passion for pursuing that skill. So that's where I've been with my sewing time. I will not share this as it is personal and private to my friend and just not mine to share. I  do feel I have captured his heritage, his love of the Asian cultures and his skill that was recognized internationally. I am very near done.

In the meantime I have had many thoughts of sewing, what will I sew next, what is the buzz out their in the sewing net, and more. I will pass this on and hope you find it interesting. I'd love to know your thoughts on any of my drips and dribbles!
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I've seen a lot of talk lately about pattern weights. One FB page had people show their weights and there were all kinds, some funny, some clever, and some just utilitarian and isn't that what we just plain want anyway? 

I've tried all sorts of weights over the years and have two types both of which I equally love. What they have in common are a sensual smoothness that I really like to put my hands around, really heavy weight for their size, a large solid surface to lay directly on the fabric and they are just soothing to look at. One batch, what I am currently using now, are just big hunks of thick, smooth glass. People always ask where I get them. I get them at gift shops, yard sales and thrifts. Most seem to all have evolved from some sort of  destiny as a candle holder. The green square and the bright green circle were simply decorative pieces sold in gift shops. They are all heavy, smooth and work great as fabric weights. The long rectangle, my favorite,  is one of those things you would have to pry out of my hands. I put that one weight down on a grainline or fold line and I am good to go! 

The other group of weights that holds my heart  are my  beach stones. They are so very smooth, flat on one side, heavy, and all from Maine. My sis lived a block from a cove and beach for years and we would walk there and I always managed to bring back a few in my pockets for my collection. I think they are lovely and they remind me of my beautiful sister and the beauty of Maine, which I love. They are beaten so incredibly smooth by the ocean's power yet have only gained in beauty and function. An analogy to our lives? 

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I have decided to make my own mini pads. I know...........but this is a thing, way bigger than you might think.  I buy these by the skillions and when I think of them all going into landfills....I never used pampers with my kids for several reasons but that was also a concern at the time. Our country's leadership may think we are floating through space with no consequences for our actions but I believe there are and try to do my part. Every bit helps plus I am just tired of buying these things. I will do some experimenting first as I have received many great ideas and suggestions. You have no idea how many videos, FB pages, and websites there are to make your own fem hygiene products, really. This is a big thing out there. I think it would be just an afternoon project to make tons, from what I have read. Next, I buy these by the tons and they can be made from scraps. I would stick to natural fibers only but will experiment with some PUL as well. This is not to soak up big bladder issues or period flow, just that daily flotsam and jetsum we femmes deal with. Keep you posted. I figure this is a project for a snowy inside afternoon this winter.  A special thanks to my sewing and blogging friend, Kathy, who sent me some PUL, which I had no idea what was, and I  greatly appreciate her kindness. She has an amazing Etsy shop you may want to check out. Her skills are impressive.

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I am in love with this pattern, Vogue 1642, which I think is a new release. There is so much  detail in this top, side seams with zips, that awesome neckline, those almost cargo pockets. Suggested fabrics are wool and fleece and I have so many wools in the stash that would work. The only issue I have with this type of garment, raglan, is getting the curve of the should right but I think a muslin and a couple of slim shoulder pads  will take care of that.  I have a yummy boucle that I think would get more real world wear in this top than in the Chanel jacket it was originally destined for. It's 100% wool and from Fabric Place in Natick, Mass.



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I have really been on a fabric painting binge and love doing just that! Just two weeks ago our twin grandchildren came for a few days and we did tie dye and what fun that was!  I have been haunted by this garment for some time and have everything to make it and paint it, except the pattern. 

This would definitely work into my lifestyle and be great for work and tooling around the house. I have a great stencil I can use and some dark wash denim for the overalls. My issue is the pattern. I have the Burnside Bib pattern which I love but that has a very defined waistline. I also recently purchased the Rosy the Riveter pattern from Simplicity and  that is not what I want either. 

I would like an overall with no waist like the one above, loose and happy. This would not be my going out of the house looking well dressed outfit, but something fun I can wear around the little boys I am with every day at work. They would love it, especially if I painted flowers on it  and so would I. Any pattern suggestions greatly appreciated. I came really close to making the Rosy the Riveter coverall but looking at it on others made me realized it fit like Carhardts or even ski pants, a full loose butt for movement and slim legs to keep the cold out, so quite functional but not very  flattering. It works great as a costume but that's not what I want.  I'm still searching and all help appreciated. 

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I was so thrilled with my one Dye na Flow paint experience that I bought this grouping.  I really look forward to using more of this product. (no affiliation, as always). I have so many ideas! I also purchased 4 yards of white linen on sale this week to play with my paints so we will see what comes of all of this.  60% off plus 20% overall, can't go wrong! I always stock up on linens at season's end, best time to buy.

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 I am REALLY tired of sewists blaming pattern companies for what is often their own lack of skill.  Most who have been sewing a long time will be the first to tell you they don't know everything. You can sew a long time and still lack skills and you can also be an incredible newbie sewist, striven to learn and open to every opportunity there is to learn so this is not cast upon a particular group of sewists. There are so many resources out there for quality help with sewing for all of us, whether longtime sewists like myself or newbies. And there is always asking. Please don't assume it's the designer, the pattern, the grading, whatever. Sometimes it is,  but go on a forum and just ask, don't assume. Many are eager to help unravel your dilemma in a positive manner.  I have seen so many blame fests turn into the realization that a bit of knowledge was all that was needed to make things work. 

Over and over again I see a sewist slamming a pattern company for being just horrible, having bad instructions, never fitting, when they do not do their own due diligence to make sure the pattern works. This is not just a Big Five thing. It happens in Indies as well. One of the biggest misunderstandings out there contributing to this is the concept of ease. That alone deserves it's own post and there may  be one coming but there are other things as well. Matching seams and truing them is another. And how about just buying the right size? I know it's tough when there is no one teaching us things until we get frustrated enough to just blame but let's just ask more and make it our business to be better informed.  

All skills require learning, practice and mistakes, over a period of time, to master. Ask a wood carver, a plumber, a baker. Nothing any of us do will come out perfectly in the beginning. We have to pay our dues, put in our time, make our mistakes, take responsibility, seek knowledge and move forward. We move forward by not blaming, by seeking more experienced help, taking classes and respecting those who are good at it. This goes for any craft or trade. I have a good friend who is a master plumber and we have great convos on just this subject. We need to recognize that  even after doing something for decades, there is still something to learn and still mistakes to be made. Let's stop the blaming. Yes, pattern companies are not perfect, but neither are all we sewists.  I know I will get the but , but, but, and yes, I know what you are going to tell me. But it's a two way street. Sewing is Fitting. Sewing is Pressing. Sewing is Learning, and it never stops no matter how long you have been at it or who you are. ........Bunny



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 be...