Saturday, December 12, 2009

Embarking on a pants project....

So, I find myself hard to fit (as afore mentioned) and I have this pair of jeans that I've loved til wholly.

Before I found them in this situation, I bought a pattern, and then when the pants gave up the ghost, I took them apart to compare them to the pattern. Of course they don't match at all and I also dont think I got the right size.... so I decided to disassemble my jeans for use as a pattern.

I took them apart over the course of the week and then tonight dug out my Starch....

....and mixed a fairly strong batch in a spraybottle and starched the crap out of my worn out jeans to use them as a pattern. Here you see my waist band...

...yoke of the back of the pants the old zipper (which I will reuse since it is in fine condition) and the zipper flap.

Here I've got it laid out to figure out how much denim I need of my stash so I can preshrink it and hopefully get them sewn together tonight.

You can kinda tell by the picture how starchy the material is because its nearly shiny... seemed necessary though, because the fabric was nearly misshapen from having loved them so much.

Here goes nothing.....

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Sewing Hiatus

My first garment made from scratch (pattern as well) went ok. I made a funny snaffoo putting in the invisible zipper backwards - not exactly invisible, but it looked ok, so I left it. It was a princess line shirtdress of sorts, I obviously need to learn how to do collars..... but the construction of the body of the garment worked well and it fit me. I need to take a bit more out of the center front when I do closures on future garments, but I've got an excellent start.

I have, though, taken a small hiatus from sewing to learn to knit. I never quite had the patience before and I was always trying the "throwing" method because that's the most popular here in the states.... but it's for the birds. "Continental" makes so much more sense and I watched a youtube video where a lady said that when they taught knitting to crocheters, they always teach this method.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

On Fitting Sleeves - Threads

Here's another.....

On Fitting Sleeves - Threads

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Making Sense of Pattern Grading - Threads

I've always had trouble with patterns not being the right size and I stumbled across this article today, and thought I'd post it - first to share with others, and second so I could come back to it later. I bought some fantastic retro patterns and of course they are all a size 12 or something tiny and since I wear a G bra cup I'm considered a pattern size 24 or 26 depending on the company.

The other thing that is great about cutting to pattern grade (read the article...) is that you can do pattern alterations while you have the pattern all cut up to do pattern grading..... hmmm I think I'm on to something here.....

Making Sense of Pattern Grading - Threads

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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Good news! ... well for me anyway....

Went home for the weekend and my mom looked at the sloper I had created in it's "so-far" state. She (with her whole life of experience) was really impressed and her only criticism was about the sleeve (which I had ascertained I did not have enough wearing ease yet) and the back seams weren't as smooth in the shoulders as they could have been after the alterations I had made and she pinned them for me how she would do them.

Monday, September 28, 2009

I just discovered blogging from my phone and while it works, my phone won't email pictures because one of the applications you pay for with this phone is picture sending and I refuse to pay for it.

For the sake of documenting the process, my sloper seems to be coming along rather well. I went with a basic princess line sloper for this first one because my Halloween costume will be based on that design, so I'm really working on hammering out that sloper to have a good, well fitting design. I took my design that I drew (on graph paper), added seam allowances, printed it off at kinkos, then added another 1" to each pattern piece to give me AMPLE alteration room and when it comes down to it I basically altered it back to the the size of the drawing. I did have to make some changes that were necessary and so I have sewn and seamripped the whole thing 2 or 3 times to ensure the changing of the flat pattern correctly and get the proper fit. It sounds very tedious, but that is why I've only posted twice in a month.... I've done little bits at a time so as not to be absolutely frustrated about sewing and resewing... which is why I've never had the patience to do this before. It has probably taken me 10-15 years of maturing to quit swearing at craft time and not expect myself to just sit down and sew something all together and perfect in the first sitting.

I took the advice of many websites and I made a ducttape form of myself for doing fitting on and I have found it to be irreplaceable in making alterations to the back because I can hardly pin and make changes behind me where my arms don't reach. Absolutely necessary tool when sewing for self - especially when others around you don't have the concept of pinning correctly.

More later....

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Deal of the century/best $45 I've spent on sewing....

I've been looking for good reference books to learn from since my mom, who's been a professional alterations seamstress for 25 years, lives in Minnesota (and I'm in Georgia). I've read TONZ of reviews on amazon on different books and the only thing "bad" that people have had to say about Singer Sewing Reference Library books is that they are being re-published without the Singer name on them so some people have bought the same book twice without realizing it. So I googled SSRLibrary, and I found an auction on ebay with 10 of the books!!


I started this blog like a month ago and forgot about it. Since writing this I've received and read most of the books. I am in LOVE with the Singer Sewing Reference Library! The pictures of the techniques are phenominal and they have explained things better than any other tutorial I've seen anywhere for free. The only thing wrong with them is that some of the clothing in the pictures are a little outdated, but for the demonstrations they seem to have picked classic pieces that transcend the current fads. I've already gone to these books several times for the items I am currently working on. Nothing completed yet, so I'm not confident enough to plaster pictures all over, but down the road you may see tutorials..........

SO excited about the SSRL books!!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

What's YOUR bra size?

SOOO many people are wearing the WRONG bra size (I was included in that category... and I even knew how to measure, but I couldn't find the right sized bra till I went to a specialty store). So I stumbled on this page and wanted to "bookmark" it for later/pass it along.

I have not perused the rest of the site yet, but it looked promising....

Friday, August 21, 2009

Successful so far....

I've accomplished a couple of successful things. First, I was able to take my measurements and draft my first princess style sloper based on a design in the Ladies Cutting book. How I did it was rather genious, I thought. I bought graph paper and since the squares are 1/4 of an inch, I drew the pattern using the squares as square inches. Then I went to Kinko's and blew up the page by 400%. It cost me $2.65 to blow it up and so I figure I'll be ahead of the game if I can draw out my designs and print them for $3.00 considering most patterns are $15.00. I have not actually made anything yet, I did cut out some fabric (muslin) and pinned it, made changes to the paper pattern and came out with revisions. I have not cut out the revised version yet, but I did tape together the paper pattern and it seemed to hug my body like a sloper should. I've been too busy to get any further with this project, but when I do get the revision pattern blown up and cut out, etc... I will try and take pictures and post them.

In the mean time, I've found, which has some good ideas on it - the language is far simpler than the 2 books I posted, and it doesn't seem as comprehensive either. However, gathering resources is invaluable.

Here's a bra making diagram from

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Learning, reading and researching!

I've read all kinds of things since my last post, and the same website that is the internet home of Modern Pattern Design is also home to Ladies' Garment Cutting and Making, by F. R. Morris.

I searched this to try and purchase it and the prices were anywhere from 150 up to 250. So I settled for Copy and pasting into a PDF and printing it at the local printers. Cost me $36 - but now I have to figure out how to bind it.

The language in this book is insanely wordy for no good reason. So you can't sit and waste your time trying to read every last little description because your head will spin. I did NOT understand what they were getting at until I saw the Summary somewhere in Chapter one that boiled it down to far simpler statements. After I read the summary, I started to understand what the wordy paragraphs were getting at. Once you get past this the patterns in this book are amazing!! And you draft them from your own measurements, so in theory your final piece will be tailor made to fit you. It is a bit different system than the one in Modern Pattern Design, but equally as useful (I think).

On a different note, I drafted (successfully) a pair of my husband's shorts that were disintegrating from over use (they were the ones that fit the best) and basted together a pair of shorts that seem like they will fit upon completion. Pictures to follow when I get that far.

One last thing -- I found some vintage clothing that I LOVE from dustyrose4477 on Flickr and here in particular is my FAVORITE!!

This picture has crashed my browser like 3 times because it's so big... so I'm just going to post for now. If you're interested in vintage clothing, checkout dustyrose4477's flickr account... it's a great collection!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Interesting Bra Sloper Concept

In my quest for bodice sloper instructions, I stumbled across a bra design, based on a bodice sloper for creating your own bras. Thought it was interesting and that I'd pass it along.

Basic Bodice, Basic Sloper, Pattern Design

I have the HARDEST TIME trying to buy clothing - especially fitted clothing with nice seam lines. So I turned to the pattern world to attempt to make my own, but was SORELY disappointed that the pattern industry labels their sizes even smaller than ready to wear clothing, AND when you graduate up to "plus sized" clothing, they figure you must be a fat cow who needs to wear a tent. I like to think of myself as being a fairly average American sized person, I'm proportional, my bust and hips are bigger than my waist and while the charts say I'm overweight, I don't have too flabby of a body or anything unusual. I have bought pattern after pattern and even if I can find something in my measurements that is "supposed" to fit, the design is basedon a B cup - which I am not, so things never fit.

So I thought to myself, how hard can it be to draft my own pattern? Most patterns are based off a princess-line sloper garment and you change the design for the desired project. I started researching books on the subject and they all seem to be $100 texts, or more and I'm starting to feel like the art of sewing is so far gone into the craft world that those of us who rarely find something that fits in the store will be stuck paying a seamstresses custom sewing price -OR- having to take college courses where pattern design is offered.

And then I sumbled across a rare gem. In my search on, I was all set to buy this $20-$30 book that teaches pattern design and the 9 reviews were all great except for one. A lady who seems to be an avid sewer explains what exactly she didn't like about this particular book. She gave several suggestions for other books that were better authorites on the subjects covered in this book, and one of them is an old book she stumbled upon at a thrift store.

Modern pattern design: The complete guide to the creation of patterns as a means of designing smart wearing apparel by Harriet Pepin comes HIGHLY recommended by Amazon user Jaqueline Kiffe, and based on the description, I bought the book from my mobile a few days ago. When I was able to get back to work and use the internet, I googled the book to see if anyone else had any information on the book and was pleasantly suprised to see that the book has been typed out for use on the internet at: Now, this book was copywrited in 1942, so you may not like all the design choices (unless you're in to vintage clothing), but the drafting information is amazing. Very useful.

I have not drafted anything yet, but I am SUPER excited to start. I feel like I could design my own patterns, if only I had the basic know how that it seems this book provides.