Tuesday, September 23, 2014

McCall 6464 Making the Adjustment - Points of Reference

Good morning everyone,

A few days ago, I published a post on McCall 6464, a new dress I'm making in celebration of my birthday. In that post I provided a few photos showing the pattern adjustments needed to get the best fit for me. One of my dear readers asked if I would provide more details on how I go about making my adjustments. Of course, I agreed to share more information. But in doing that, I must say that these adjustments are especially made for me. Each of us have a unique size and will need to make adjustments based on our own unique requirements.  Second, there are so many approaches to pattern fitting.  Each of us has to determine which technique is best for us.  I follow the Palmer/Pletsch fit system and use tips from a variety of sewing friends and bloggers.  In this post  I will provide a few more details for the adjustments made for my version of the McCall dress 6464. Also, I will provide a list of references and resources that may aide in the fitting process.  But first, here is the comment from KJ2007 and my reply.

McCall 6464 - More details on how to fit (FBA, Prominent Shoulder Blades, and Sway Back).

Each McCall Palmer/Pletsch patterns includes details and illustrations on how to fit the pattern.  This information is part of the guide sheet. It is not uncommon to have four sheets consisting of quick, product reference, and details on how to achieve a well fitted garment.  I've used Palmer/Pletsch patterns for years.  Their patterns feature a variety of styles and the fit tips can be used to fit other patterns.

Sorry I don't have personal illustrations of some processes.  The patterns do have all of the steps. I only included a few illustrations in this post

Getting Started:
  • Select the right size.  Very, very important step.  Don't skip.

  • Tissue Fitting Instructions - Built-in Fit.  This is one of my favorite things about the Palmer/Pletsch pattern.  All of the alteration lines are drawn on the pattern pieces.

  • Tissue Fitting Instructions - Getting The Tissue Ready.  Use 1/2" tape to reinforce the tissue pattern around curved areas 5/8" away from the edge of the pattern.  This will allow you to try on the tissue to determine where alterations are needed.
  • Tissue Fitting Instructions - Try on The Tissue.  Pin the bodice together and try it on.  Start with analyzing the back.  You will need someone to help you.   There are lines on the pattern for back adjustments.  Measure the distance from the pattern center back to your center back.  Check the length.  Make sure it falls in the appropriate place on your back.   Assess the curve of your back upper and lower.  Cut and spread where needed and fill with pattern paper.  
  • For me, I cut the vertical line from the shoulder to the waist and spread 3/4" for my prominent shoulder blades.  I only need more room across my shoulder blades.  So I add a shoulder dart or ease in the excess at the shoulder seam. There are tucks on the lower back pattern pieces to make a sway back adjustment.  Typically, I make a 1/2" tuck across the back.  Sometimes I need to curve the center and side back seams in those areas as well.   Pin the back and front bodice together again.  Make additional back adjustments as needed.  Pin out excess as needed. and mark your pattern.  Next, determine if a FBA is needed.   "Measure from the pattern center front to your center front.  That is the amount you need to add."  
  • For me that amount is greater than 1".  So I use the "Y" FBA.  The lines are on the pattern piece and the steps in the guide sheet.  Here is how the FBA looks for my measurements.  Now I need to make a bust dart and make the waist dart deeper.

  • "If the bodice comes to your center front, but you have a gap in the armholes add 1/2" in the bust width to make the armhole smooth."

  • Because my body shape is an inverted triangle.  I don't need the extra width below the bust.  Often I removed the excess during the sewing process.

Should you make a muslin?  Yes.  I make the body upper muslin about 85% of the time when fitting a new pattern.  The tissue pattern response differently to the curves of our body than fabric.  Fabrics come in a variety of weaves.  Some may be loose while others are very tightly woven.  Knits have variations of stretch.  So make a muslin out of fabric with a similar weave as the fashion fabric for the garment.  Sometimes you may need to make more changes. 


Palmer/Pletsch - Fit for Real People.  Acquire this very useful book.  It will provide a step by step process for making fit adjustment for all body types.  This technique can be used for any pattern.  Palmer/Pletsch has a series of books on fit available on their website.

Vogue Sewing - This is a must have in your sewing library.  It too has tips on making fit adjustments.

PatternReview.com - has tons of resources available to members and non-members.  This is where I found several sewing experts and bloggers who shared tips and techniques on fit.

Workshops and Seminars - I had the pleasure of attending two excellent workshops:  Palmer/Pletsch and Power Sewing.  Both are worth the money and time spent. 

Sewing Bloggers:

I follow several bloggers who share fit information:

Ann Steeves of Gorgeous Fabrics Blog - Ann has several post on Fit.
Debbie Cook of Stitches and Seams - Debbie has several tutorials available on Fit as well.
Diana of SewPassionate - Diana has links to Lessons and Fit Videos on her blog.
Marji Graham of Fibers a Float - Marji does not blog very much these days, but she does share some fit information on her blog.

These are only a few bloggers that have help me with online fitting information.

Search Online for Fit Techniques and Videos:

Google Search on key words to find information on fit.  There are times when I'm starting a new project, I will Google the pattern to see if anyone has try it.  You may also Google:  full bust adjustment, pattern alteration, pattern fitting, how to fit ...,

My Pinterest:

DIY Tutorials - Sewing and Other Crafts - Here is where I collect helpful craft tips and techniques.

My Blog:

FBA and Dart Rotation

Sway Back

Example of Tissue Fitting

I hope this is helpful.

Happy Sewing!


Monday, September 22, 2014

Meshed in Anna Sui Lace - Teach Me Fashion Two Tone Singlet

At first sight, I ordered Anna Sui's Black Multicolored Stripe Lace. The lace has texture and has a soft embroidered feel to it and the mesh is smooth and silky. I love working with it.  The lace and mesh were combined to reduce transparency (first version for DD) and the ponte knit was used for the lower portion and the neck and armhole bands.

A few months ago Harrison from Teach Me Fashion asked me to test their Two Tone Singlet.  Last week I was able to finally complete a top that was post worthy.  The top pictured here is my third attempt.  I made it for myself, making a few adjustments.  But I couldn't address my requirements for a FBA without altering the block design.  Plus it wasn't flattering on me.  So I worked towards making the top for my daughter. 

The sizing is a little different from the big four patterns.   I would say it runs small.   I usually make her a size small.  In this pattern it was too tight across the bust.  The second top is a size medium.  That was perfect for her.


The top does look like the photo.  But the version on the model appears to be a larger size than she normally wears.  She appears to be about the same size as my daughter.  The top looks like a large or x-large.

The instructions were great.  They are included with the pattern download.  Additionally,  Teach Me Fashion includes a video on how to make it on their site.  I didn't have any problems following the instruction of the top.

This is a cute trendy top that can be made in a variety of fabrics.  I liked that it sew up very quickly and you have the option to color block it. 

Instead of making neck and armhole facings, I made bands using a black ponte knit.  My DD was very pleased with the results and wouldn't mind a second top. The Anna Sui lace is a great fabric to play up the color blocking aspect of this little trendy top.

Happy Sewing!


Sunday, September 21, 2014

McCall 6464 - Notes on a Pattern My Peacock Dress

Today is my 52 birthday.  I'm very thankful to be in the land of the living. This year has been  challenging for me for many reasons.  But I will not go into that now.

This post is about the birthday dress (Peacock dress) that I had planned to finished by today.  I like Rhonda's idea of naming her creations.  (I think I need a matching fascinator.) So I took a tip from her and decided to name this dress, the Peacock dress.  The colors of the fabric are vibrant like the feathers of a male peacock.

I'm using McCall 6464, the 3/4 sleeve with the straight skirt.  The good thing is I've already made the bodice adjustments that I require.

FBA:  I may need to relocate the dart, but I'll determine where once I start to sew the dress.

Swayback and Prominent Shoulder Blades:

I forgot to make the tuck on the side back pattern before taking the picture.  But you can see where I made the tuck.  Palmer/Pletsch includes the lines, which is very helpful.  You can increase the depth if needed.  The adjustment for the prominent shoulder blades adds width throughout the back pattern.  I only need it in the upper back area.  It's not needed below the bust area.  The excess can be removed by increasing the depth of the seams where needed.

That's it for this post.  Enjoy your day!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Trendy Embossed Faux Leather Skirt - McCall's 6842-A In Review

Today's post is on trend with a little circle embossed faux leather skirt for my daughter. She loves McCall 6842 and has been asking for a skirt since I purchased this pattern several months ago. These days we are seeing fuller skirts in all types of textures and lengths. Also on trend for this fall are embossed leather minis. So for this project I decided to combination the two trends and came up with an embossed faux leather mini circle skirt. My DD is well pleased with the skirt and has already asked for another.
This isn't the first time I reviewed this pattern. I made it for myself last winter. So I won't take time to described it again. That information can be found in my first post. What I'd like to review is the sewing process and how I handled the faux leather. I purchased the fabric at Vogue about a month ago, thinking it would be a great fabric to make my daughter a skirt. It looks like some of the embossed leathers I've seen in stores. The feel is smooth and supple. The wrong side is knit. So the fabric has some stretch to it.

When sewing with the two wrong sides on the outside, I had no problems. But any sewing with the right side out was a challenge. I do not have a teflon foot. So I used waxed paper when sewing on the right side of the fabric. This made it easy to sew. Any holes made in the fabric are permanent. So it is important to take your time and know precisely where want to stitch.  Work out all fitting issues before starting.

When sewing the zipper, I used very fine straight pins to anchor the zipper until I sewed it to the fabric.  The pins were strategically placed where I would make the final stitching. It worked and there is no evidence of additional holes along the zipper. When top stitching with the right sides against plate and the foot, I sandwiched the skirt between two pieces of waxed paper having the edges even with the edge of the skirt.

Only minor changes were made: I used a size 12 (size 10 at waist) only adding 1.5" to the length of it. To minimize the stitching, I didn't stay stitch the upper edge of the circle. I carefully made 3/8" clippings along the edge as needed. I top stitched the waist for added security. No pressing; but I thought about top stitching where the yoke and circle are joined. No hem; I've seem this treatment on garments made with neoprene as well as other RTW faux leather garments. Besides I thought it would be a bear trying to hem this fabric in the circle.

This is a great project to start my fall sewing. The pattern is easy and the embossed faux leather adds a little interest to it. My daughter loves the new skirt. My too! ;-) I'm sure this will be a favorite skirt for fall 2014.

Happy Sewing and Have a Fantastic Weekend!

PS - I'm still reviewing some summer garments.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Jean Pool 2014 - A Back Story of a Practicing Sewists

Good morning everyone,

Thank you for commenting on the previous Jean Pool post. Lately, I haven't been able to sew much, but wanted to keep posting about upcoming projects and overdue reviews.

Today I wanted to post a short back story about a refashion project that I did 40 years ago. The thought occurred to me that this may be a good post for a number of reasons:

  • To encourage a new sewists.  Often new sewists have challenges with very basic sewing processes and sometimes give up on sewing far too soon.
  • To document my thoughts one of the first projects I made when I was  about 11 years old. I keep this jacket/over shirt because I was proud of myself.  Proud that I completed it.  And I'm glad I continue to sew.
  • Patch work denim is on trend now.  It's everywhere and there are patterns you can use to make your very own trendy denim shirt.

Now my little back story -

I had been sewing about two years when I tried to make a patch work denim over shirt using old jeans that would have ordinarily been tossed in the can.  But the little creative me decided to use them to make a shirt.  I can't remember the pattern I used back then, back I can almost guarantee it was a McCall pattern.  Those were my favorite patterns at that time.

Truth be told, I had no idea how to make the shirt or how it would turn out.  But I was excited about the project and, in my mind, this would be a special project once it was completed.  Although my execution of simple sewing processes and techniques were less the stellar, I was proud to say I made:

  • Button holes
  • Attached a collar
  • Patched pockets
  • Made tabs for the sleeves and shoulder
  • Installed in-set sleeves

Did I wear it?  Oh hell yeah, I did.  I was proud and felt I accomplished a lot with my refashion project.  Was it polished?  No way.  It looked homemade.  Because it was a first of many things, I thought I should keep it to remind me of the project.  Every five or so years, I pull it out to look at it again.  Which each survey I compare were I was then and where I am now with perfecting my sewing skills.  Needless to say, I've come a long way from the 11 year old girl who wanted to make all of her clothes.  I happy that I stayed the course and didn't let anyone detour me from that goal.

Did people (peers) comment about the flaws?  All the time.  That did not stop me.  I was determined and knew that someday I would be much better at sewing.  So I pressed on.  Now today, I am able to make a variety of shirts and jackets.  I'm still learning new skills and techniques.  Sewing is still a huge source of enjoyment for me.

Jean Jacket of 2012 M5860

Now, for part two:

If you are interested in creating your own patch work shirt, try McCall's 6649.  This pattern gives many style options for a button down shirt.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Jean Pool 2014 - Jeans vs. Leggings

Is everyone getting rid of their jeans?  This year has been the year of the leggings.  It looks like leggings are replacing the long time wardrobe staple, jeans.  I can't imagine life without them.  A recent study revealed that there is a decline in the purchase of jeans.  How could that be?

I like leggings too, but they will never replace my jeans.  So today's inspirational post is all about denim.  Enjoy!


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