Friday, September 11, 2009

The (not so) simple top

I thought that this Burda top would be a nice quick garment to knock together, but appearances can be deceiving!

While it is a very basic pattern, with only a CB seam, arm and neck binding and a cute back panel detail, it is essentially a tube and therein lies the problem, because I am not!

I cut a size 40 which generally speaking was a good fit, except for some serious underarm gaping. And as there is no side seam, this presents a bit of a dilemma in terms of how to adjust the pattern.

Here is the original pattern.

What I needed to do was take in the underarm, but without altering the hip too much, so how to go about it?
There were a couple of options:

1. Slash through the pattern where the side seam would be ( Burda very kindly included a notch to indicate this, thank you!) and close out the extra under the arm (in my case I needed to take it in by 4cm under each arm), and widen the hip slightly.

2. As above but pivot the dart into the gathered section of the back so as not to alter the hip width.

The trouble with these 2 options is that the CB is thrown off grain, which in a plain fabric is not too much of a problem, but would look seriously whacky in a stripe or print.

3. Overlap the side seam evenly from underarm to hip and add extra length to the CB back panel to maintain the hip width.

4. Or just whack in a side seam to create some shape from underarm to hip.

After mucking around for far too long with the pattern (and taking dodgy photos of the pattern pieces on my unwashed floor) I came to the conclusion that such a simple pattern shouldn’t need so much major surgery. So I decided to just sew an underarm dart.

It’s not pretty, and it kind of defeats the purpose of the original pattern but it fits, and I will most likely wear this style of top under layers, as the world doesn’t need to see my underarms jiggling around these days (still photography is allowed, it’s amazing what a bit of teeth clenching and arm flexing can achieve!).

So what about the construction?

The instructions seemed way to complex for a simple tank top, so I ignored them and just whizzed it up on the overlocker, substituting self fabric arm and neck bands for the facings.

The Burda instructions advised to sew the hem first, and then apply the back panel, but I didn’t want any visible topstitching in this fabric, so instead I gathered and pinned the back to the panel, keeping the hem allowance free, then turning the allowance up behind the panel and then sewing the top to the panel.

The hem allowance can then be flipped over and you have a nice neat finish.
Because this method secured the hem, and I had a fairly generous allowance (1.5 inches) and the hip fit quite snugly, the hem naturally sits in place without needing any stitching.

I also fused the back panel and this helps it to keep its shape (word of warning, it helps to use stretch fusing, I didn’t as I was being stingy, oops frugal, and as a result the hip fits a little more snugly then it probably should!).

Look Mum, the back panel matches perfectly with my jean pockets (on purpose of course)!!

Another gratutious shot of me pretending to have taut underarms.

All in all I am pretty happy with the result. So much so that I made another in my black and white spotty fabric AND it took less than 2 hours AND that’s with Miss C ‘helping’.

Phew, I think that this has been my longest post ever! Now I had better get back to my real job and pay some attention to that Uni assignment that has been lurking in the background.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

One garment down.......

....another nine to go!

I managed to whip up my first wardrobe contest garment today, a BWOF stretch top from the April 2009 issue. Despite having a subscription for the past 10 months or so, this is the first BWOF pattern that I have actually made up and I was curious to see how they would go.

Here is a mini storyboard of fabric, original photo of the design from the mag and technical drawing.

Here it is on me.

Not bad. Bit slouchy, but then so am I!

Back View.

The nuts and bolts.

Need a bit of a sit down after all that posing.

What do I like about BWOF?
The fact that as you trace off the size that you need from the master sheet there is no wrestling with a multi size pattern that has lots of tricky cutting out bits. I also like the fact that you add your own seam allowances. Why Burda insist on telling you to add 1.5cm seam allowance to EVERY seam is a bit of a mystery to me though. Especially on patterns designed for stretch.

So I ignored Burda’s instructions and added my usual 3/8” (or 1cm if you work in metric) and 1” for the hem. I didn’t add s.a to the neck though as I cut a self band instead.

I also assembled the whole thing on the four thread overlocker.

What don’t I like about BWOF?
Well not much really. The instructions are a little hazy and I think that some things may go amiss in the translation from German, but this top was pretty straightforward to assemble. I generally ignore pattern instructions anyway, so I only really looked at the instructions to check for anything unusual.

The fit was a little on the large side, and if I make it again I will go down a size, but for this print I think the slouch factor works.

The length of the top was too short for me (I have a weirdly long torso) and as I didn’t check the length on the pattern, I added a hip band to the hem (cut approx 2” narrower than the hem circumference to sit firmly on the hip) to compensate. Otherwise I didn’t veer off the beaten track at all for this design.

It will be interesting to see what their more complex designs like jackets will be like to make up.

And on top of that I even managed to clean the bathroom!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Getting organised

The clever folks over at PatternReview currently have a wardrobe contest running – sew 10 garments in 12 weeks! Just the motivation I need to get serious about making a proper summer wardrobe.

In addition to making the target number of garments my own personal goal is to only use patterns and fabrics from the stash. Not that I have a choice as I have ZERO discretionary fabric funds at the moment.

I am allowed to buy notions, but given that my local op shop sells zips for 20c this shouldn’t be a problem!

So here's the plan Stan:

I have picked out a mostly black and white theme, based around a black chambray and the stripe cotton seersucker that I used for the harem pants. I do have a tan cotton drill that will be a jacket of some sort, and I thought that as it is summer, instead of lining, I might bind the seams with a watermelon cotton print that will be my token nod to colour!

First cab off the rank will be the stretch tops.

Nice and quick and will give me a chance to test out some Burda WOF patterns.

A garment a week from here on in, I promise!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Looky what I found!

A copy of Winifred Aldrich’s Metric Pattern Cutting! For one dollar!
Actually it was less than a dollar because I got a few other things as well.

But boy am I chuffed. I have been on the lookout for a copy for ages but even used ones go for at least US$50 and all my patternmaking notes from College are long buried in the store room and as I don’t make patterns all the time I often forget details, especially grading and stuff, so I really needed a proper reference book.
We used the Aldrich books as a reference in College, as they are industry standard as opposed to home dressmaking, and they are brilliant; easy to follow, lots of pics and very clear instructions.

The best bit is the chapter on how to draft your own set of blocks based on your personal measurements, which will come in very handy when Miss C leaves home and I can spend more time sewing!

Now all I need is the childrenswear one.

Better go and donate some stuff to charity now to balance up the karma.