Friday, December 29, 2017

Kismet Trinket Boxes....

As part of a gift for a relative, I decided to make a set of rectangle Kismet Trinket Boxes by Sew Sweetness:

I had asked if they were interested in any additional fabric storage containers and they responded with that they love some with lids.  This particular pattern fit the description.

I made pattern pieces by drawing and tracing. Then, I carefully cut out all the pieces for each box and pinned them together.  The zipper instructions were a little difficult for me to understand but I finally managed it.  Here's my versions:

I love how this little boxes turned out.  I hope that the recipient likes as much as I do.

Here are the notions that I found to be very useful:

seam ripper and it was new, a Sew EZ Fingerthing, and Wonderclips.  I've included links to Etsy for the same items.

All in all this was a challenging project but fun.

Happy Stitching!

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Sewing Pants for Women...The Three-Headed Dragon of Pants Construction, Part 11

Continuing with the Sewing Pants for Women by Else Tryoler.  Today, will we talk about sewing instructions for perfect fit:

With your trusty needle for a lance, you must slay this awesome dragon!  Use this chapter for a shield!  Know thy pants sag and bag and won't sit down and half the battle is won.  The other half can simply to avoided.

Pants were originally designed for men, by men.  In attempting to fit them to malady's more diminutive waist and rococo hips, the pattern-makers applied what know they had --- all of which had worked for men -- and what usually happened?  This!  Pants that bagged in front!  The center front seam took off like a ski jump --- bias all the way!  Figure 32 illustrates such a seam in action.  Its only possible use is to fit the figure beside it!  Pants hang from the waist, just like a tailored skirt.  Try taking a straight skirt pattern and changing the front seam to a bias.  What happens?  The skirt would pouch out in front like a cow-catcher, wouldn't it?  That is exactly what pants do when their center front seam is cut on the bias.  The evidence appears as baggy wrinkles across the crotch.  The fault lies in the design of the pattern itself; there is no cure for it.  If you already own such a pair of pants, look for another brand of pants.

Pants that sag in back

The same principle holds true here.  If the center back is cut on a distinct bias --- and you are not --- you are in for a bad case of the sags!  (See Figure 33)  It is not a question of too much length in the back seam.  It cannot be cured by "taking a little tuck across the seat".  Such a remedy would be about as effective as giving aspirin to a drowning man.  So it is with a bias-cut seat seam.  Alter, adjust, take tucks, let in, and let out all you want, but nothing is going to change the basic situation.  A bias-cut seat seam sags because it is  bias-cut, and there is nothing you can do about it.  It you are chagrined owner of pants of this description, throw a coat on over them, and dash out for another pair.

Pants that won't sit down

Perhaps you know the ones we are talking about.  When you sit down, they pull down in the back.  The effect ranges all the way from discomfort when sitting to a general public announcement of what you wear beneath those back-sliding pants.

What do do about it?  Well, you can always balance yourself on the end of your spine, like a board propped in the corner, for there is no handy relief for your distress.  The fault again is in the construction of the pattern:  the old devil, bias back seam, is with us again.

Think of it this way.  Picture the seat curve of your pattern as a contour chair.  Could you sit in it comfortably, with suitably erect posture, in no danger of sliding off?

In Figure 34, the broken line represents the back center seam of the pair of pants with sitting room; the sold line shows a bias seam guaranteed to keep you in misery for the life of the pants.  The distance between the two is your margin for composed sitting.  The solid-line bias seam, forced to conform to the dotted-line straight seam when you sit down, pulls your pants down in back exactly the distance between the two.  Look for pants construction with a seat seam shaped like a dotted line, or put the shape in as shown in Figure 34.  You will most likely have to add to the side seam.

Recognizing a well-constructed pattern

Now that you know all about the wrong sort of construction, just what do you look for to assure no-bag, no-sag, sitting-down pants?

A good pattern has a fairly straight up-and-down center seam in both front and back.  Remember that pants hang from the waist just like a slim, tailored skirt.  The center seams must be straight or the skirt will flare: the center seams of pants must be straight or they will bag.  There will be a tiny bit of bias to a well-constructed pattern, just enough to accommodate the human figure, but never enough to condemn you to eternal bagginess sagginess ad miserable sitting.  You should be able to sit on the seat curve without sliding off!

Compare Figure 35 and Figure 36.  In Figure 35 you see a well-constructed pattern.  See how the hips curve to accommodate a woman's shape.  Notice that the center seams are virtually straight up and down.  In the poor construction in Figure 36 the side seams at the hip-line are quite straight --- and the center seams are cut on the bias.  Here is what happened; the curve was taken off the hips and put in the center crotch seams.  There is probably the same amount of room in the two patterns, but it is in the wrong place!  The Good Lord put your hips where they are --- and that is where the curve must be.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Knitting Cables, The First Samples ....

The Explorations of Cables has been an interesting class so far.  Here's the first two samples:

Here's what I've learned so far:

1.  Cast on using the long tail cast on method in pattern.
2.  Tighten up the first stitch between a knit and purl.
3.  Tighten up the last stitch on a row.
4.  New techniques in binding off.
5.  How to read a knitting chart.

Don't you think that is a pretty good start?  I can only hope that the rest of the class in this enlightening.

I will admit that the hardest thing is reading a knitting chart especially for creating cables.  Hopefully, I will be able to get the slashes and such, and it will sink in.  Right now, I still have to look at the written description but with practice I should get there. 

Please note, that these samples have not been blocked.  As a point of reference, I'm using Lion Brand Wool-Ease yarn.

Happy Stitching!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Bendy Bag....

As part of a gift for a relative, I decided to make a pair of the Bendy Bags by Lazy Girl Designs. 

Here is my effort:

I thought that they turned out fairly well even with the issues that I had.  I am unsure of how long it actually took me to complete these little bags because I worked on them over a couple of days. 

The fabric was a joke on my part.  This particular relative had asked for $1M dollars and one of the bills on the fabric is a $1M bill. 

I did draw out the pattern pieces for this project.  I did cut out the pieces individually.  Next time, I will stack all the fabric and cut out in one swoop.

Things that I found confusing in the directions:

1.  The zipper - The instructions for the zipper application were good.  What a found a bit confusing was that the supply list says that the zipper size is 14" or longer but the directions are written for a 14" zipper only.  Once I realized that the zipper diagram was representing a 1" grid, I figured out how long the second cut on the zipper was suppose to be and where the stitching on the zipper was suppose to be.  I also missed the bit about the zipper casing and had to redo that part. 

I think that was the only part of the instructions that I had any issues with.  Fortunately, all issues were correctable.

I may make these again.  Little bags to organize stuff in are always needed. 

Happy Stitching!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Sewing Pants for Women...Sewing Instructions For Perfect Fit, Part 10

Continuing with the Sewing Pants for Women by Else Tryoler.  Today, will we talk about sewing instructions for perfect fit:

The assumption is made that you have not begun this DIY pant without a pattern.  Of course, commercial pant patterns have their own set of instructions.  Don't toss them out!  You will need them for all the little details that lend style to the pant.  Pockets, belts, slits, and loops are all details that should have detailed how-to's on your instruction sheet.  The first thing to do is read over both these instructions and the pattern instructions.  Note where and when to refer back to the pattern instructions.  Otherwise follow the instructions below:

The Groundwork

Test your pattern in denim:  Make your first pair of pants in an inexpensive cotton material such as denim.  This pair is a trial run, subject to minor re-adjustment and trial-by-wearing.  Do not choose muslin for this purpose.  Using muslin makes fitting trousers more difficult, and, besides, why not have pants worth wearing in public.

Cut your fabric with accuracy:  This is many a slip twixt snip and fit, and what isn't there cannot be added.  By the way, if you would like to achieve that very tapered look in pants, choose a fabric with give.  It is a quality that can be determined by hand-to-hand test ore found with certainty in a stretch fabric.  Don't look for true taper in stiff and hard-finish cloth.  It can't be done.

Choose your zipper location:  This is a matter of personal taste  We assume that you choose your pattern with zipper site in mind.  If not, barring interference with the style of the garment, the decision is now yours to make.  As a general rule, a zipper placed either in front or back is preferable for full and rounded hips.

Do not stay stitch:  If your instructions call for stay stitching, ignore that part.  You will find that these fitting instructions require occasional stretching and easing of the fabric.  Stay stitching will interfere with that because of the inflexibility.

Preliminary pressing:  This is an important step that comes before you sew a stitch, so turn to the pressing section on  future section.

The Actual Sewing

1.  Center back:  Figure 28.  Stitch darts.  Seam back center together (leaving opening for zipper, if desired) stopped at the lower curve about 1-inch short of the leg seams.  Stretch the seam about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch, depending on the give of the fabric through the lower curve in back only, when stitching and pressing.  This stretching will not only mold fit right into your pants, it will also prevent split seams at this point of great tension.

2.  Center front:  Figure 29.  Stitch darts. Seam front center down to about 1-inch from leg seam. Leave zipper opening, if necessary.

3.  Leg Seams:  Stitch inner leg seams.  Stitch outer leg seams, leaving an opening for the zipper, if not already provided for.  Press seams open.  See future for pressing.

4.  Curved seams:  Figure 30.  Finish curved (crotch) seams.  Reinforce by stitching again from start to finish of the curve.  Clip the inner curve to 1/4-inch of remaining seam, both front and back.  These clips, should be about 2-inches below the hip-line.  Press front and back seams open from waist to clipping.  Curved seam between the clips is not pressed open, but is trimmed down to 3/8-inch.

5.  The zipper:  In preparing the pants for the first fitting, you may simply baste under one side of the closing and mark the other side with colored thread for an accurate pinned closing or place the zipper.

6.  The waist:  Ease waist on to waistband.  There should be about 1-inch of ease in the waist seam to be eased on to either waistband or facing to prevent any drawing or pulling below the waist.  If you are using a fabric that does not shrink readily, stitch seams or darts slightly deeper at waist.  Do no ease through center back between the seat darts.  Direct the ease evenly to all other areas, or concentrate it more where curves are more pronounced.  Close with buttonhole or hook and eyes.

7. Hems:  Turn up hems.

8.  Pressing:  Press crease in front to just below darts.  Do same in back, stopping at crotch length.  Follow crease markings in both.

Questions:  What do you think of the stretching and easing mentioned?  Do you do either when your making a woven or stretch woven pant?  Does this apply to knits?

Happy Stitching!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Craftsy Got Me Again....

I have purchased many classes over the years from Craftsy.  Somehow, I never finish and sometimes don't start them.  I just want them.  I've been pretty good over the last year or so not purchasing classes.  However, I'm always looking.  You never know when a good class will show up.  Then, Black Friday rolled around and you know there were really good pricing on classes and it included some of the classes that I had in my list of maybes.  Unfortunately, I noticed issues when I selected the classes and requested help. Sadly, I didn't get my Black Friday deals.  I was working with support on the issues and a work around was figured out this past week. 

So, I waited for another deal and you know it came.  I picked two classes:  Explorations in Cables and The Swing Skirt: Techniques & Construction.  I have high hopes for both classes.  I have started samples for the knitting classes and the skirt class I have watched the videos up to the point where I need fabric.  I will share my samples from the knitting class and maybe discuss things that I learned.  So far, it has been really good.  I'm trying to work along with the video which means that I'm slowing working through each lesson.  With any luck, it will be a great learning experience and I will be able to move it forward to my actual knitting.  I'm not sure how much of the The Swing Skirt class I will share.  It may just be glimpses now and then.

What do you think of the Craftsy classes?  Are you good about following through with watching them and doing all the samples?

Happy Stitching!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Fabric Collection is Growing....Again

Oh, yeah, I HAD to purchase more fabric today.  I really needed it.  Here's what I ordered:

How could I resist this cute little placemat panel and of course, the red check for the backing?  I have batting in the stash.  See I'm still doing stash reduction.  LOL

Then, I also purchased fabric for a Craftsy class that I am taking:

This is a cotton jersey.  I hope that the colors are good together when they show up.  This is for a skirt class that I'm taking.  I'm hoping the class is good.  I'm definitely looking forward to it.  With any luck I will get it before the end of the year.

Now, for something I bumped into today at  Minimum quantity of 2 yards.  What?  When did this start?  I really didn't want 2 yards of each of the jersey fabric.  Hopefully, I will be able to use the extra yardage.

Happy Stitching!

Monday, December 18, 2017

Easy Knit Blanket Sweater....

I started this earlier in the year.  I really indented for this to have been finished last winter but too much was going on and the finishing part is the part that I do not like.  I used the directions on Mama in a Stitch called Easy Knit Blanket Sweater.  Check out her version as mine as a little bit different.  Here's my finished rectangle:

It looks like I finished the actually knitting in the middle of June.  Just 6 months to get around to doing the finishing.  I will admit that my life has been a bit crazy in the last 6 months but it is finally calming down.

Here's the finished version:

 You can tell that this is a difference is casting on and binding off in this picture.  It looks like one side has more stitches than the other.  I think I need to practice more to get a more elastic bind off.

Here it is on:

This will be perfect for taking along to church and such.  Sometimes, you just need another layer with the fan/air/whatever is blowing.  It does feel a little bit big but for what it's doing it's fine.

I used the Bernat Blanket yarn that I found at JoAnn's.  It is 100% polyester and very cozy.  I used one strand of yarn.  If I was doing this again, I would use two strands to make an even cozier little shrug.

I think this is the end of my unfinished projects from the year.  Now, I will move back to the sewing room and finish up holiday stitching.

Happy Stitching!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Sewing Pants for Women...The Dress Rehearsal - First Fitting, Part 9

Continuing with the Sewing Pants for Women by Else Tryoler.  Today, will we talk about the first fitting:

If you have faithfully learned the lines of the Seven Giant Steps to Pants Perfection, your anguish will be at a minimum.  However, even with best of all possible plays has a few awkward bits.  In our case little individual body quirks you didn't know you had may become apparent.  Take heart, you must remember to take back any little oddity back to your pattern and make the changes there as well as in the finished product.

Now for the fitting:  Be sure you have sewn a belt onto the waist, or that you at least have a band basted to it.  Pants hang from the waist.  Don't try to hold them up with your hands and achieve fit at the same time!  The closing should be basted under on one side and the other marked with colored basting stitches for an accurate pinned closing.  If you are quite hippy put zipper in front or back, otherwise at any place you wish.

1.  Check the waist band for comfort, letting it out or in as needed.  This will affect the darts, making them deeper or shallower at the right place, either front or back.

2.  Check hip comfort, letting in or out slightly at side seams.

3.  Check crotch length.  Does it hang too low?  Then pin an even tuck all around the hip-line.  Is the crotch too short? Go back to Sewing Pants for Women...Preparing the Pattern for Alteration Step 2, Part 3 for the alteration. If it is only a matter of 1/4-inch or 1/2-inch, drop the waistline that amount.

4.  Check the crotch width.  Are you comfortable?  Is there a pull across the front or back at the crotch level?  Then let out the seams on the inner legs at the crotch point.  (See Sewing Pants for Women...Preparing the Pattern for Alteration Step 4, Part 5)  Perhaps there is too much leeway in this area.  Take the seams in, especially if you covet that cupped-in look of the younger generation.  In this case, taper a sharper inward curve down to the knee line.

5.  Check the back rise.  If any droopiness has crept in, or the seat does not hang as straight as you would have it, pin out a tuck across the seat. (See Sewing Pants for Women...Preparing the Pattern for Alteration Step 1. Part 2) .  If your pants pull in the center when bending or sitting:

      a.  Look at the waist center, front and back.  There may be too much dip or drop.  If this is so, set the waistband higher, tapering to nothing at the sides.

      b.  If more rise is needed, alter pattern by opening at center back about 1/2-inch and re-mark pants with altered pattern.

6.  Check for leg comfort.  This is a matter of taste as well as fit.  Take in or let out seams by the same technique you learned in { Step 6 }.  Be sure to keep the crease-line in the center!

A smile is a very pleasant thing indeed, except when it refers to wrinkles in the front of your pants!  Among the familiars of the garment trade, "pants that smile in front" is the euphemistic term used to describe garments with wrinkles that flair upwards from the crotch, as in the illustration.  And it is nothing to grin about!

The cause is varied:  there may be insufficient crotch width.  In this case the malady can be cured by referring back to crotch width alterations in Sewing Pants for Women...Preparing the Pattern for Alteration Step 4, Part 5.  There you will find instructions for widening this area.  Often, wrinkles are caused by too snug a fit through the hip at the side seams.  Misjudged hips or heavy thighs may need more breathing space.  Release the side seams and see if that doesn't do away with the unwanted smile.

To cup or not to cup -- that is the question!

The cupped-in look is a modern trend among the young-at-heart.  See the illustration.  Perhaps you admire it, perhaps you don't.  There are followers in both schools of thought.

This contour fit is achieved by reducing the crotch points in back only, and by deepening the seat curve.  The crotch curve must be a straighter, downward plunging line with a sharp turn inwards.  See Figure 31.

Perhaps you are not devoted to the cupped look, but find that there is simply too much fullness across or just below the seat.  Making the crotch curve a straighter, down-ward-plunging line or giving it a sharp turn inwards (or both) will serve to remedy the situation.

If any of these last-minute changes have cropped up in your fitting, and you have conscientiously made the changes to your pattern, you can go forth knowing that you are now the proud possessor of a true-blue pants pattern this is yours, all yours!  The final sweet reward will come when you sit back and dream of rows upon rows of perfect pants that are yours for the making!

Question:  What are you thoughts on these alterations?

Happy Sewing!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Sewing Pants for Women...Preparing the Pattern for Alteration Step 7, Part 8

Continuing with the Sewing Pants for Women by Else Tryoler.  Today, will we start with Step 7 of the seven giant steps to pants perfection:

The Back Rise

What is the back rise, anyhow? When you look at the blueprint of a pair of pants, the back rise is your sitting room.  It is the extra bit of length built into the center back seam to give you the necessary leeway for sitting, bending, an walking.  No one can appreciate it more than the poor unfortunate who has heard that ominous rrrrip in public.

Therefore, if you are intent upon constructing a pair of pants primarily for action -- to wear for golf or bowling, or mountain climbing -- you will want to be sure that they have the necessary back rise to make such activities possible.  By the same token, if you desire pure chic and fashion, the amount of back rise will determine whether they do hang arrow-straight from the seat.  In either case, too much of a good thing is going to give you that dreary droop in the seat that has a way of making a pair of pants look tired.

Remember that you cannot always have comfort for activity and an extremely straight hang from the seat to hem.  More active sports usually call for Bermudas or pedal pushers, and a slight sag in the rear is not as noticeable in this length as it would be in the long, tapered pants.

Take your fabric into consideration, too.  A soft fabric with more give through the seat will require less rise.  Woolens and unlined knit fabric (or knits) need very little, and a stretch fabric needs no back rise at all.

It is difficult to determine just how much rise a pattern maker has built into his pattern.  When you cut a pair of pants from a pattern be sure to leave extra seam allowance.  That is, add 1-inch instead of the usual 5/8-inch to the center, waistline, and side seams in the back.  Add 1-inch allowance to front waistline only.  See Figure 23.  Broken lines indicate seam allowance.

The dismal results of too much back rise is a seat that droops and hangs down like the tail of a whipped puppy.  The fault cannot be corrected by taking up at the wait, nor is it associated with the length of the crotch.  If you find, at the first fitting of pants cut from a pattern, that this is the case (as in Figure 24), pin out the excess rise in a tuck across the seat at the hip line.  Starting at center and pinning tuck along hip-line, taper to nothing a the side seam.  You will transfer the same amount to tuck to the pattern by cutting the pattern along the hip-line, from the center back seam to side seam.  Then overlap the lower half over the upper half a the center back seam and taper to nothing at the side seam.  Reshape the crotch curve slightly, as shown by the broken line in Figure 25.  Also, use these directions for alterations on read-made pants. 

Having now adjusted the pattern to the exact amount of rise needed by you, rip the side seams of your garment down far enough to permit re-placing the pattern upon it, and re-mark to the new dimensions.  You see now why we warned to leave a little extra seam allowance when cutting from a pattern for the first time.

In altering a pair of ready-made pants for which you do not have a pattern, drop the waist the same amount that you pinned out across the seat a center.  See Figure 26.  The broken line is the former stitching line.  The side and the center seam mover over and assume a new position.  See solid line.

How do you know how much back rise to eliminate?  For long, glamorous pants that look their best when hanging in a die-straight line below the seat, a shorter back rise is required.  Take out 1/2-inch to 1-inch by cutting the pattern from the center back seam along the hip-line from center back to side seam.  Overlap the correct amount at the center, taper to nothing at side seam.  Adjust the crotch curve as in Figure 25.

Pants intended for more strenuous sports need more rise for movement.  Cut across the hip-line from center back to side seam, and pin pattern to an insert about 1/2-inch wide at the center seam, tapering to nothing at the side seam.  Adjust the crotch seam as in Figure 27. 

Modern pants need a deeper curve than patterns and ready-made pants allow.  The curve must be deepened on a pattern or pinned in on ready-made pants.  For a cupped-in look, the curve must be fitted deeply, and a small amount tapered off the crotch point in back.  See "Crotch Width Alteration", Figures 12 and 13 in Sewing Pants for Women...Preparing the Pattern for Alteration Step 4, Part 5.  These alternations apply to the back ONLY.  They will not work on the front.

Question:  What is your thought on this method of altering the back rise?  Have you tried it?  Did it work for you?

I stumbled upon this alteration accidentally when I was taking a pant drafting class.  It was the only way I could get the wrinkles under the butt to disappear.  The teacher told me that it was an incorrect alteration.  However, the next iteration of the class did indeed show that alteration. 

Next will be sewing instructions for the perfect fit.

Happy Stitching!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Tawashi Knot...

I found the Tawashi Knot on Ravelry here and thought it was kinda cute.  So, I decided to attempt to make one with left over cotton yarn from the kitchen towels that I have made this year.  Here's my version:

I did make a small mistake on my version but I can't really tell that it affected the end result much. Since this version is made out of cotton, I don't think it will be much of a scrubber but it will certain work as a dish cloth.  The recommend yarn is acrylic but I think I'm going to try a different "yarn" to try the next one.

This was a fun little free project.  Just right to make little bits of yarn disappear.

Note:  I saw many complaints about the directions for folding this.  Just follow the directions/pictures and you should be okay.  I got it on the second try. 

Happy Stitching!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Knitted Kitchen Towel....

I finally finished the second kitchen towel as this post back in April.  It's amazing that so much time has past since I started the kitchen towel.  Here is the towel in the reverse colors from the one made in April:

This time, I actually followed the directions exactly.  I like the stripes slightly better in the first towel along with the darker color of the body.  What do you think?

Happy Stitching!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Sewing Pants for Women...Preparing the Pattern for Alteration Step 6, Part 7

Continuing with the Sewing Pants for Women by Else Tryoler.  Today, will we start with Step 6 of the seven giant steps to pants perfection:

Leg Alterations:

How tight should a pants leg be?  A woman with particularly heavy thighs or heavy knees will be more comfortable and look more presentable in wider ones.  A pleasing hem width would be one equal to the calf measurement.  For a semi-tapered look use the calf measurement minus about 1-inch. 

To widen a pants leg:  Add an equal amount to both Front and Back at the hemline, continuing up in the same manner past the knee line.  Taper in to the lower hip line.

To attain the popular tapered look, first check your chart for your instep measurement, or you'll have a lovely pair of tapered pants you can't get into!  Taper an equal amount on all four seams at the hem-line, blending into the seam-line and running slightly above the knee.  For very slim legs, taper all the way to the crotch and hip line.  See dotted in line in Figure 22.  Whenever you change the width of the legs, it must be done in equal amounts on all four seams to keep the crease line in the true center of the knee line. 

Question:  Can you tell that this is written in the early 60s?  How does the statement in the first paragraph apply to today or does it?

Happy Sewing!

Friday, November 24, 2017

New Patterns....

I haven't looked at new patterns in quite a while but I have finally decided that it didn't hurt to a bit.  You know I found something that I would like to get.

This is Vogue 9291.  I really like View C and I like View D.  I'm not 100% sure that you need a pattern to recreate either look.  I usually see capes like View C done in a fleece but this pattern calls for a coating.  I'll have to think about that.  I think I would prefer something a little lighter than coating.

Surprisingly, this was the only pattern at the big 4 that was of interest.  Now, I need to think about whether I really want to recreate this.  I did find online tutorials for View C and generally they are called a Tuck Cape.

What do you think of this style of cape?

Happy Stitching!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Sewing Pants for Women...Preparing the Pattern for Alteration Step 5, Part 6

Continuing with the Sewing Pants for Women by Else Tryoler.  Today, will we start with Step 5 of the seven giant steps to pants perfection:

Waist and Dart Alternations

By manipulating the darts in a pattern you are molding your figure on paper, much as a sculptor does in clay.  Is there a great difference between your waist and hips?  Then it follow that you will need deeper darts, or more of them.

A curve on you requires a dart in the pattern.  We cannot change your curves but we can change the darts to fit them.  Study your figure in a mirror to assess what the measurement chart has told you, and roll up your sleeves.

To adjust waist:  Take your waist measurement and add 1-inch for ease.  This is a very important one inch, for when it is properly eased onto your waistband it will eliminate all the unsightly wrinkles sometimes found below that area.  When sewing, direct the ease to the places where the curves are more prominent, such as over the abdomen or above especially full hips.  Otherwise, distribute the ease evenly, except between the seat darts where none at all is required.

To make the waist smaller:  Study your figure.  Do you have additional curves at the sides below the waist, often called a "shelf" or "pillow"?  If you do, place an extra dart in the waistline of your pants.  It can be located either in front or back, depending on the area of greatest need.  This dart, usually about 1/2-inch deep and 2-inches long, is called a baby dart because of it's small size  It is placed halfway between seat dart and side seam or front dart and side seam.  See Figure 15.  A slightly deeper and longer dart is used to fit a protruding hip bone at front running down to meet the most prominent point of the hip.

Depth and length of darts:  The length and depth of darts can be changed to fit your individual figure.  Always remember this about the length of darts:  they must never run over the curve.  Darts are used to provide fullness for a curve below.  If they do not stop short of the fullest point, their purpose is defeated.

Look at Figure 16 and see how the back dart stops above the fullest part, indicated by the hip-line.  It an stop as much as 2 to 3 inches above the this point, depending on the need of your figure.  Notice that it is a much deeper dart than the front dart, indicating that the back curve is more prominent.

The story for the front dart is quite different.  The lesser curve of the abdomen requires that the dart be bother shorter and shallower.  But quite frequently the front dart and the back darts are pictured as being of equal length and depth!   You will recognize this familiar problem.  The long line of that front dart looks very striking in a sketch, but has the opposite effect on the body.  If the dart is stitched down straight over the tummy (which rides rather high on most of us), the result is a distressing pull and a fullness at the end of the dart.  You may have had the same experience with a skirt, which, fitting too tightly across the tummy, puffed out below.  The front dart is too long and this is what to do about it.

In either a pattern or a finished garment, reduce both the length and the depth of the offending dart as shown by the broken line in Figure 17.  You may make one dart if you need extra width to enlarge waist or split it up into two smaller darts, as suits your fancy.  The chart below will guide you in assessing the proper dimensions.

*where there is an abundance of curves, two darts may be placed in the front or in the back.

Remember that your tape measure does not tell all.  Use a mirror and a judicious eye to judge your type of figure and the darts required.  You are working on a standard pattern or garment, so determine whether your figure is standard or on the plus or minus side in some places.

Stitching darts:  Figure 18.  With darts, the proof is in the stitching.  There is no hard and fast rule that says a dart must be straight.  The majority of figures will fair quite well with straight darts, but if yours is an abundantly curved shape use curved darts. Remember this when setting needle to cloth.

Another point, mark the end of your darts with a horizontal line so that you know when to stop stitching and end up with darts of a uniform length.  It doesn't matter whether you stitch from the waist down or from the horizontal line up.  Once you have placed your darts with the right depth and length, you may have a free hand in the rest of the operation and sew in either direction you choose.

Remember, in adjusting a waist, first adjust the darts for your abdomen and seat.  Do not make the common mistake of operating on the side seam only.

For a prominent seat:  figure 19.  Since you have selected your pattern by hip-size (pants patterns should always be bought by hip measurement) an alteration for an overabundant seat is actually a reduction in the size of the waist in the back.  Place a second dart 1-inch deep and 1-inch away from the existing one.  Reduce the original dart to 1-inch -- see the broken line on figure 19.

Figure 20. If further reduction is needed, take 1/4-inch off the center front seam, tapering down about 3-inches.  The method is illustrated by a broken line.  Do the same to the side seams both front and back.  No more than 1/4-inch to 3/8-inch should be removed in this manner.

To make the waist larger:  First adjust the darts.  Make them shallower or eliminate one dart all together.  For a particularly flat seat, decrease the seat dart to 3/4-inch or 1-inch -- then add the side seams, front and back equally.

Perform the same operation for an unusually flat abdomen. In this case, you will need only one dart about 1/2-inch deep.  If a still greater addition to the waist is needed, add it at the side seams, front and back equally.  Always work through the darts first, then resort to the side if more alteration is needed.

Diagonal darts, Figure 21.  Diagonal darts may appeal to you as a style feature, or as a solution for prominent hip bones.  In either case, change your darts to a slant-wise position.  Either a flat abdomen or protruding hips -- the two conditions often go together -- can be fitted by swinging the darts to meet the nearest prominent projection.  Darts are placed in your pattern to help you fit the complexities of your figure.  You are not bound to use them as is; you are free to move them wherever they will do you the most good.

Question:  Have you ever heard of making alterations at the center front either adding or subtractions?  I have always thought that this was a big no-no in the sewing world.  I did note that there was no suggestion of adding/subtracting from the center back seam.  Thoughts?

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017


I found this lovely tank by Nic+Zoe:


I love the styling!  Do you think the front is a double-layer with the top layer having a seam.  I have a pattern for a t-shirt with a similar neck opening, I think.  I haven't actually seen it since the move.  I think I may give this a try for spring.  This is actually part of the winter  retreat collection for Nic+Zoe and can be found on their website.  Price tag:  $98.00

Then, I found this:

Same styling but with sleeves.  Oh, I hope I can figure this out.  I love this, too.  This is part of the Inside Out at Nic+Zoe. Price tag:  $118.00.

Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Asymmetrical Skirt...

The sewing room is almost ready and I'm lining up the sewing projects.  I feel like I can spend days sewing.  I don't think I've had this long of a break in years.  Here's my inspiration picture:

This is the Nic & Zoe Mod Twirl Bias Cut Skirt.  This is pull-on style made from a cotton/rayon fabric.  Only $148, you can find it at Neiman Marcus.

I don't have a pattern for the pull-on styling but I'm really loving the hemline.  So, I'm going to go with this pattern from Silhouette Patterns:

The basic silhouette will be very similar to the inspiration photo.  I found a gray wool in the stash that will be perfect.

I think I need to check out tops and see what I have to go with all of these skirts that I'm planning.  We all know if there isn't a top that it will become a sad little orphan in the closet.

Happy Sewing!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Getting a Little Bit Crafty....

The sewing area is still in the organization stage and I have been wanting to create so badly that I have turned toward crafty.  A new house needs new decorations for the holidays, don't you think?  I created a wreath:

This is the very first time that I have done something like this and I'm mostly happy with the results.  I may play around a bit more with the ribbon placement, the greenery placement, and added a few ornaments.  I think it is could just be finished.

I found the tutorial for the wreath on youtube:  Ruffled Burlap Wreath.  The lady doing the tutorial gives information on where to get supplies.  All of the items for this wreath were purchased at Walmart with the exception of the ties that I'm using to hold the greenery picks in place.  Those were found among my husband's stuff in the garage. The ornaments found at the Dollar Store.

We were sad to find out that there isn't a Michael's nearby.  The closest one is an hour away.  Fortunately, family live in the town where Michael's is located so we will still be able to grab stuff there occasionally.  I kid you not when I say that Walmart's holiday picks selection was slim at best.  There was maybe 6 or 7 styles and that was it.  So, if for some reason we visit family before this goes up on the front door, I might change out the greenery picks.

You can see my new back door in the picture.  I'm so proud of how it looks.  This room will get a coat of paint soon. I will be so happy to have nice looking trim in this room along with lightening up the whole room.

Happy Sewing (or Crafting)!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Sewing Pants for Women...Preparing the Pattern for Alteration Step 4, Part 5

Continuing with the Sewing Pants for Women by Else Tryoler.  Today, will we start with Step 4 of the seven giant steps to pants perfection:

Hang of the pants at the waist and crotch width alterations

There is an old and weary joke about a person's legs being just long enough to reach the floor.  It is also axiomatic that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.  Now, suppose we start at the waist smack in the center of the back and envision two lines traveling to the floor.  If the person involved has a very flat seat, the route from waist to floor will be a straight line.  But if she also throws her hips forward making her tummy rather prominent, you can see the line from the waist to the floor in front has to travel over the provenience en route;  therefore it is not a straight line and is longer than the line to the rear.

A similar situation develops if the subject has a bustle back and a flat stomach.  In other words, it is possible for a pair of pants to be a different length from waist to floor in the front and the back.  This is also true of a person who carries no extra weight, but simply tilts her hips forward or backward so that her waist line is at a slant. See Figures 9, 10, 11.  These three figures each have the same hip measurements.  Figure 9 shows a standard (or perhaps ideal!) shape.  The anatomy is evenly balanced and requires little or no alteration.  Figure 10 shows a shape which is wider through the seat.  It is rounder in circumference through the hips, and is more like a true circle.  This type requires a longer line in the back to reach from the waist to the floor as shown in Figure 12.  Add 1/4 to 1/2- inch at the center back waist seam, tapering to nothing at the side seams.

Figure 11 is very flat in the seat.  This type requires a far shorter line from the waist to floor in the back.  In this case, drop the waistline 1/4 to 1/2-inch a the center back seam, tapering, as before, to nothing at the side seams.  You will find this technique illustrated by the dotted line at the top of Figure 13.

Look again at Figure 10.  Compare the distance between the Xs on this type -- this is called crotch width  -- with the distance between the Xs on the other figures.  Wider, isn't it?  In order to fit this type, the crotch curve must be widened by adding to the inner leg seam at both front and back.  See Figure 12.

Look now at Figure 11.  Judge the distance between the Xs on this type.  Her crotch width is narrower, isn't it?  Therefore less crotch width is needed in the pattern, so the inner leg seam is decreased at the crotch by about 1/2-inch in the back only.  This is shown by the broken line at the side of Figure 13.  It is sometimes necessary to alter this again after the first fitting.  If it then proves to be still too wide, in out a small amount at the front seam also.

Front alteration (the waistline seam):  If your abdomen is flat, no alteration will be needed.  However, if you tend to round out in front once the coning influence of a tight garment is removed, this is more apt to be a problem.  If this is so, increase the center front by adding 1/4 to 1/2-inch to the waistline, tapering to nothing at the side seams.  See Figure 14.

Did you notice anything with the terms in this section? I believe we would know crotch width by today is called crotch length.  What do you think?

Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017


Here's a view of some of the fabric organization in the closet:

In this picture you can see the collection of denim, fat quarters, holiday fabrics, interfacing, and mostly contained quilting scraps.  There is a shelf above that can not be seen.

In this picture, you can see the carefully folded fabric.  Fabric in this area is larger than 1/2 yard.  You can also see the sleeve board, a few hangers, towels awaiting applique, and more interfacing.

This is some of the carefully folded fashion fabric.  There are a few pieces in this batch that will be for muslins only.  This is a couple of shelves above this picture and a shelf below.  This is also a sewing machine under the last shelf.

This is another view.  Additional carefully folded fashion fabric with magazines, patterns, and a tiny bit of yarn (this is the only knitting stuff that has made it to the room).  There is a couple of shelves above with more fabric and a shelf below.  You can see the corner of my cutting table which will be in the closet and moved out to line up with the sewing table when needed.  Also, hidden by the cutting table is a couple of my sewing machines.

I think the biggest surprise with doing this organization is the amount of denim that I have collected along with the amount of quilting weight cotton fabrics.  Some of the denim is destined for a quilt and some of it is destined for jeans.  I suppose some of the denim can be used as a muslin for jeans.

If nothing else, this whole experience has certainly slowed down the desire to purchase more fabric.  Now that I can see the majority of it, I'm hoping that it will be considered first before purchasing more.  I do not have a large amount of knits so that will most likely be the exception.

Fabric folding techniques can be found in the blog post "Organization....Folding Fabric".

Happy Stitching!