Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Summertime Is Coming - I Can't Wait To Wear My New Dress Butterick B6674

Finally, me and my DD spent the weekend taking pictures of all the garments that I've made over the past month and a half.  It was a sunny day, but cold.  I didn't want to go outside for most of the photo shoot. 

First to show is Butterick B6674.  This was the first garment that I made during my recovery from what could have been a bad case of the flu.  I was eager to get to my sewing room after the news of the "corona lock down" for the state of Illinois.

The deets on the pattern review and the sewing process are here.

Thanks for stopping by.

Happy Sewing!

Monday, April 20, 2020

The Pleated Wrap Dress - Butterick B6703

If you follow me on Instagram, you've seen my posts on "My Dress Projects" that I'm currently working on.  I "need" some new ones.  Lol.  Actually, I've been making so many masks.  I need to get back to making other things.

This Butterick wrap dress is relatively new, published 2019.  I haven't made a wrap dress in awhile.  So, I put this one next on my list to sew.

Butterick pattern description:  Wrap dress has semi-fitted bodice with tie closures, front pleats and narrow hem. A: 3/4 sleeve with double-stitched hem, straight skirt with right front pleats. B: 3/4 sleeve with flounce. C: long sleeve with elastic casing. B, C: flared skirt.

I made view A with a ton of adjustments and process changes.  Honestly, I started to write this as two post instead of the one.  But I have some other posts I want to get to this week.

This pattern comes in size groupings (8-16) and (18W- 24W).  I used size 16 with modifications.

The instructions were typical.  Some I didn't follow because there are other construction processes that I like to use.  There is nothing confusing in the instructions.  The pattern is raked: easy; and it was.

My dress has a lot of changes, but it does look like the dress pictured on the envelope.

There are several things I like about the dress and a few things I disliked about it.  First, my likes: wrap dress, pleats, sleeve variations, skirt-waist dress, and knit comfy.  My dislikes:  I didn't like the way the tie worked and the neckline finishing.

The fabric that I used is from Minerva Fabrics.  It is a very nice jersey knit with about 30% four-way stretch. The John Kaldor Abstract Floral Print Stretch Jersey knit has some of my favorite colors.  Yes, I know it looks a little Fall-ish.  But these colors work well with my skin tone.  I used a sharp sewing machine needle, size 12. The jersey and microtex needles produced a lot of skipped stitches. 

I made numerous pattern alterations and a few construction changes:

  • FBA - this one was huge.  I probably created more work for myself.    Anyway, I began with slashing the front right bodice to add more width and a little more length.  Pictured above.  To eliminate the gapping neckline, I made a small tuck.  With the added width, I had to make an additional pleat at the waist.  The remaining width was removed from the side.  Sorry, it's not pictured here.
  • For the left bodice front, I needed to also add more width and length.  That change resulted in the adjusted above.  Similar to the right side, difference is an additional dart at the waist.  The rest is the same as the right front bodice.

  • Prominent Shoulder Blades, Swayback, forward shoulder Adjustments - First I slashed the back from the shoulder seam to the end of the back (at the waist).  Then I create a small dart at the shoulder so that the shoulder back and front seams are the same length. This change also increase the  width at the waist. I removed the excess at the waist.  Not shown in picture. Next for the swayback I added a tuck starting at the center back and graduating to nothing near the side seam.  Also, I added a center back seam for a better fit.  Finally, for the slightly forward shoulder adjustment I added a little vertical length as needed.  See shoulder seam area.

  • Now for the skirt - almost always I need to lengthen the skirt.  In this case, I only lengthen it by 2".  I could have added more.  I like my skirt to fall at the bottom of my knee.  So next time I'll at 1.5" more.  So lengthening is easy.  With all the changes to the bodice, some changes are needed in the skirt. 
  • Let start with the back skirt.  It's the easiest.  In additional to lengthening the back skirt, I added the tucked amount from the back bodice to the bottom of the skirt.  The compensated for the curved back area.  The left skirt front was lengthen the same as the back.  For the right skirt.  I added width from the waist to the hem to create an additional pleat.  The number of pleats in the skirt, now match the number of pleats in the bodice.  (Note:  This was an after thought. After I noticed that the pleats were off by one.)  Barely noticeable though.  So I had to make adjustments to the top and bottom of the front right skirt.  See picture above.

  • Construction change - 
    • Neck Binding - I preferred to bind with fashion fabric.  So instead of bias tape, I cut a neck band about 22.5" long (3" shorter than the neckline) and 2.25" width.  I folded it in half wrong side together. Pressed. Attached it to neckline easing in the excess.  Then I turned the neck band to the inside and stitched again.  This creates a nice sturdy neckline.
    • Belt - Preference again.  I'm not fond of the twill tape ties on the inside.  I prefer to thread the belt through a slit at the side waist.  So that's what I did.  For the left belt, I made it long enough to wrap around the back to the left side with the length to tie the same as the right belt.  I created a small slit on the right side for the belt to go through.
    • For the narrow hem, I pressed the seam allowance for the hem, applied steam a seam right at the fold line.  Then turned the raw edges in.  At the areas where the belt is attached, I only  turned in the skirt.  Once the hem was finished for the skirt, I secured the belt by making another row of stitches 1/4" away from the edge.
A lot of changes, right?  Whatever it takes. ;-)  With all those changes, I MUST make this dress again.  At least one of the other views.

I like it, and I do recommend it to others.  You might want to make a muslin.  Sorry, I didn't this time. I thought I could wing it.  I think my dress turned out pretty good.  It will be in high rotation when the crisis goes away.

Thank you for stopping by and for reading this very long review.  I truly wanted to include all of the details of "my" sewing experience.  Yours may be different. wink, wink.  Anyway, have a great day!

Happy Sewing!

Spring Time In the Midst of the Covid-19

Spring has arrived with the sun so bright you can hardly keep from squinting.  It looks beautiful outside and perfect for a afternoon stroll in the park.  The air is still crisp though and no walking without a warm jacket.  This is one of my pleasures in this stay at home situation.

My favorite park is Veterans park in South Holland.  It's nearby and has a picnic area, playground, and a lovely pond.  There are also two gazebos, a huge picnic area, fields for soccer and baseball, and portions of the calumet river are on the east side of the park.  It's a great place to clear your head and get some exercise.

Often I come to this park to take pictures for my blog.  There are several beautiful flower beds.  And if you are lucky you may see the residential turtles sun bathing.  This is just an all around nice park.

My last week there was only one other person in the park other than me.  But yesterday, we (DD came with me) saw maybe ten people.  Most were with a friend or family member walking the trails or fishing in the river.  Social distancing was not hard to do.  When passing on the trail, people made sure they "distance themselves" from others.  It felt great to be outside.

I think I'll visit the park daily, just to get some fresh air and to take my mind off of the crisis.

Anyway, I just thought I'd post a few pictures of the park today.  Later, I post pictures of my recent makes and review a few patterns.

Stay Safe,

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Notes on a Pattern - Butterick B6090

Way, way back in November of 2014 Rhonda  helped me fit Butterick B6090.  It was a workshop that she and Susan Khalje hosted in Chicago.  Oddly, I never made the dress, but I knew one day I would.  At the beginning of every year, I review my list of unfinished projects and decide which ones to add to my list of things to finish the first half of the year.  I pulled this muslin from the closet to try on to see if all the adjustments were still valid.  Luckily, they were. 

Prior to coming to the workshop, I made this muslin.  It was made with my initial pattern adjustments listed below:

  • FBA
  • Prominent Shoulder Blades
  • Swayback Adjustment
  • Lengthening of the Sleeve


Lengthen Sleeve

Prominent Shoulder Blades and Sway Back

My goal was to see if Rhonda or Susan could help me get the best fit for this dress and to provide my with the best approach for fitting a non-princess seam bodice. I love the way Rhonda talked through all of the changes as she made them and show me how the change affected the look and fit of the dress. 

Below are explanations of the changes.

Please note: this post is mainly to express the importance of making a muslin and to provide some explanation of the fit process.  Some of you may need similar adjustments. So these details may or may not help you with your fitting process.   By no means am I an expert, but this process helped me get the best fit for this garment.

  • The full bust adjustment is usually the first thing I tackled. I start with examining the pattern and determining how much more width is needed to make the front bodice fit.  My adjustment can be anywhere between 1.5" to 2.5".  With this adjustment I decided to make two waist darts instead of one.  The FBA extended into the yoke pattern as well.  When I tried on the muslin, Rhonda saw a few more adjustments needed in the yoke, the side, and the armhole.

  •  The yoke had to be adjusted above the bust at the armhole and on the side of the bust at the armhole.  So the front armhole was decreased by 1/2", 1/4" in each area.  See above pictures.  Next, the side seam needs to be taken in starting 2" below the armhole almost to the waist.  The front sleeve was fine.
  • The prominent shoulder blade adjustment.  I made a 3/4" adjustment.  At the left shoulder seam I made a small dart and at the right shoulder seam I eased the excess to fit the front yoke shoulder seam.  This was a test to see which construction technique looks the best.  And the small shoulder dart was the winner giving a smooth seam and curve at the shoulder.

Left shoulder seam with dart.

Right shoulder seam with ease.

  • As Rhonda worked her way around the upper back, she indicated that more room was needed in the upper back sleeve area.  She pulled out the stitches and re-pinned the upper sleeve to secure the change.
  • Next, she said that the shoulder seam was not aligned and that I needed to add about 1/2"to the back along the shoulder seam near the armhole and reduce the same amount on the front yoke.  I think this is a forward shoulder adjustment.  The shoulder seam should be parallel to the ear.  You can see the marked adjustment in the picture above. 
  • My initial swayback adjustment was not enough.  Starting from the right side front all the way around the back, I need to reduce the length at the waist.  So that the waist remains parallel to the floor all the way around.  The reduced length now needs to be added to the hem of the skirt so that the dress hangs evenly.

These changes were transferred to the tissue pattern to finalize the fit adjustments for this dress.  Now, this dress pattern is ready to make into my fashion fabric.

This process is so important.  Making a muslin gives you the experience of making the garment, testing not only the fit but also the construction.  You will be able to identify any challenges with making the garment.  Without the expense of cutting into your fashion fabric, you can determine whether or not you like the style. So many benefits of the muslin making and fitting process.

My next step for this project is to choose a fabric for the actual dress.  Hopefully, I can decide this week.  I think for sure I'll make two dresses.  A lot of work went into getting the fit right.  I'll be able to benefit from this exercise for future projects of similar style lines.  I'll use the muslin and the pattern as a point of reference.  That will save me some time with future adjustments.

I hope you find something useful in this post.

Happy Sewing!

Keeping Busy

This has been the longest three weeks ever!  I'm still recovering from whatever this is I've had for the past three weeks.  Being on lock down has given me a great opportunity to work on the "LIST" of many projects that I think about constantly while at my part-time job. 

Ask me how many things on that "LIST" have I completed.  The answer is not many, just a few.  My time is spent working on getting back to my 100%, reading/listening (Audible), working on my tasks "LIST", adding more things to the "LIST", and making masks.

Making masks started out being a donation project to those in my family who are first-responders and healthcare professionals.  That didn't last long.  Once I started sharing them, others asked if I would make masks for them.  I'm always happy to help, but it is overwhelming.  So many are in need/want.  Because of the huge demand, I started loosing site of my original goal.  After, making nearly 200 masks, I have no more elastic nor is there any to be purchase.  So my masks making project is finished. And I'm back to using my time to make other things and to continue to complete tasks on the "LIST". 

This is the first time I've ever experienced anything like this.  I'm praying every day that this soon will past.  And we will all get back to our normal routines. In the meantime, I hope everyone is keeping busy doing something that you love to do or tackling projects that are on your to do list. 

In closing, it's been a pleasure to support many who are on the front line. We are blessed to have them.

My DD with co-workers

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Butterick B5429 - Knit Top The Second Try

I had enough fabric leftover from the Sandra Betzina ruched top.  So I decided to use the remnant to make this Butterick twist yoke top. This was one of my late March quarantine sewing projects. This was I relatively easy top to make.  The twist construction was a little different from the more recent Big four pattern instructions.

This was my second attempt to make this top. Years ago when I first purchased this pattern, I tried the top and it just didn't turned out right, a wadder.  I think it was the fabric though.


Butterick Pattern Description: Misses'/Misses' Petite coat, top, skirt and pants.  Coat A is loose-fitting, lined with patch pockets and dropped shoulders.  Tops B, C are close fitting with front neckline twist, dropped shoulders and stitched hems.  B sleeveless C; long sleeves.  Straight skirt D has fron and back darts, back zipper and waistline facing, length is 2" above mid-knee.  Pants E have straight legs , fron and back darts, mock fly front, side seam pockets and waistband.

That is one long pattern description. 

Pattern Sizing:  Group pattern sizes (8-14) and (16-22).  I used the 14 with modifications and a little grading up the size.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?  Pretty much.  It could be a little more close fitting.  That's an easy adjustment.

Were the instructions easy to follow?  Typical and easy.  Nothing confusing.  With the twist, you just have to take your time.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?  I liked the twist.  I'm always looking for comfortable, simple knit tops with a "twist".   No dislikes.

Fabric Used:  I used Mood's Shaded Spruce, Baleine Blue and White Abstract Printed Polyester Jersey knit.  Unfortunately, it's sold out.  Here's the other top that I made in January.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I graded the pattern up and mini FBA, prominent shoulder blade, and swayback adjustments.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?  Yes and yes.  This is a good staple.  You can dress it up or down, down to lounge wear.  I recommend it to all level sewists if you have the pattern.  It's out of print (c 2009).

This was another quick and easy top.  Perfect for using up remnants.  I will definitely make a few more.  Good pattern for beginners.  A little twist to a basic t-shirt like pattern.

Parting Shot:   Reading or listening suggestion - "The Hiding Place" by Corrie Ten Boom

Happy Sewing!


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