The Coat Project: Alterations

I finally finished muslin 3, and I think I have it pretty much nailed. I’ve got a bit of twisting on the sleeve when my arm is down, but it disappears when my arm is up. I suspect that I forgot to add back some of the width I had removed on a previous muslin, so I think I’ll add back a bit more width to the shoulder. OK, it wasn’t there this time…. ???

Ed. note: I’m leaving this in here because it might be useful to someone else, but apparently it doesn’t apply because I think my muslin might have just been hanging up on the baggy t-shirt I was wearing yesterday. In case you are wondering, I got the idea from this pattern review for a Minoru jacket on PR. She said that it wasn’t enough length over the shoulder, and while I thought it seemed like it was exactly where it should be, perhaps it’s not. Or, maybe I screwed up the grain when I was hacking on that hot mess that is the sleeve.

BTW, if you are wondering about the alterations I did, here’s the list:

  • FBA (Full bust adjustment)
  • NWA (No waist adjustment AKA letting out a couple of the darts a bit)
  • Narrow shoulder
  • Broad back (using this method from Slapdash Sewist)
  • Forward shoulder adjustment (sleeves only, based on this method from PhatChickDesigns)
  • Full Bicep Adjustment (I got the method from the Better Homes and Gardens Sewing Book)
  • Also used the bicep adjustment from Nancy Zieman (note to self: learn how to draft sleeves)

I even have some pictures to show all the alterations I did so that you can get a better idea of the changes I made. It seems like a lot of alterations, and it is, but I learned quite a bit from them, and while my fit isn’t “perfect”, I’m not going to let the perfect be the enemy of the good. And lets face it, this is pretty darn good when you consider how many challenges there are to fitting my particular shape. I may make one more teensy adjustment–I think I’m going to make an angled fold in the front of the bodice to make it just a titch shorter along the center front edge, because I think that there’s maybe just a bit too much length there as it gapes…I’ll have to think it over, because the wool will be more bulky than the muslin is, and honestly, I’m not wearing the best bra I own either (OK, none of my bras are all that great right now) so I may need that extra room when I am wearing a bra that gets the girls up where they belong. I may have just talked myself out of doing that….funny how that works, isn’t it?

Anyway, enough blathering, take a gander at the pictures and see what you think, I welcome any and all comments/criticisms (as long as they are polite), because I’m not one of those people who asks for an opinion and then gets upset when it’s not what I want to hear–if I was, I just wouldn’t ask.

McCall’s muslin monstrosity

I love a bit of alliteration, don’t you? This post is going to be pictureless and a bit spazzy, because it was written over the course of a few days and I’m not sure how to go about fixing it too much while still saying everything I want to. A gifted writer I am not, but you already knew that. 😛

So I have been working on my muslin, sort of. I had plenty of holdbacks of the usual sort, ran out of muslin, guests, unexpected charity work, that sort of thing. Anyway, so I sewed up the bodice muslin last night, and it truly is a monstrosity…or maybe it’s my body that is a deformed monstrosity–nothing like making (or buying) clothing to make you feel like a complete and total mutant, wouldn’t you agree?

As per usual, I added an FBA to this baby, but after a recent growth spurt (seriously, boobs, please quit growing!!) I realized that I was going to need to amp up the adjustment, so I added a 2″ FBA. The funny thing is that the exact amount that I added to the bust area needs taken out just above the bust, so I’ve been trying to figure out how to go about it doing it. The shoulders are also really wide, so they’ll have to be fixed too–sleeves aren’t supposed to start 3″ down your arm.

So as you can imagine, after trying on my muslin, I went and searched through my books to see if there was a reference to an alteration that looked like it might fix my problem. I have two good sources, one is a 3 ring binder “Better Homes and Gardens Sewing Book” from 1972, and the other is the Nancy Zieman “Pattern Fitting with Confidence” from a couple of years ago.

Edit: I used the Zieman method, but unfortunately for muslin 1.5, it made the shoulders slope too much, and narrowed the shoulders about 1/2″ too much. Actually, this is mostly my fault, it’s an alteration for narrow sloping shoulders, and I’ve only got the narrow part, sloping is apparently not an issue that I have (I’m embarrassed to admit that I was previously a bit unsure). However, between doing that and widening the sleeve, my range of motion is pretty awesome. I think once I un-slope the shoulders and give just a titch more of width to the sleeves, I should be pretty close to being able to cut into my wool. I still need to test out the skirted portion though, because I’ve never worn a circle skirt, so have no idea how they look on my body. Hopefully the muslin will give me an idea even if it isn’t exactly the right drape for the cut.

I also have muslin 2.0 which is only half a bodice (note: I don’t recommend doing this–it’s really hard to determine fit this way, IMO) for which I fixed the shoulder slope, added more width to the sleeves, as well as doing this kind of neat adjustment to them where you scoop out the front curve of the sleeve and flatten the curve on the back–my sleeves are still too small, and also too small for the current armscye, however, I’m almost there. And I’ve got incredible mobility even though the sleeves are still too tight for bulky sweaters. Like I’ve literally never had such freedom of movement. I’m seriously considering drafting my own bodice block with these changes so that they are prepped and ready for future garments, I’m so excited about my ability to move my arms without pulling/straining/riding up. It’s like a fitting epiphany. I think I hear angels singing…..anyway, I think you get the point. 😉

So anyway, if any of you out there are more of a column shape (aka barrel-chested) vs. being an oval shape, stay tuned, because I have tons of pictures to help you as soon as I relocate the cord for my camera and get them uploaded. I’ll probably make that as a separate post(s), to make the process easier to understand.

Beautiful weather procrastination

I have traced off and started altering my pattern pieces for the coat project, but haven’t gotten further than that. The weather has been really nice, so I’ve been utilizing it to get a few outdoorsy type projects done. Namely, I’ve been trying to clean my garage. 😯 Picture in your mind a not-quite-two-car garage that is so messy/fully of crap that you have a small trail to follow from one end to the other–assuming you have the ability to wiggle enough to maneuver said path….well, it’s not anywhere close to what I’m hoping for it it be, but I can fit my car in there now, so I suppose that you could say progress has been made. I also cleaned out our little garden shed and organized it a bit better than it was. We got rid of several things that needed thrown away or a new home, including a table that I was hoping to refinish that’s been with us for probably 6 years. It’s obviously a project that just isn’t meant to be, and wasn’t in condition for anyone else to try and fix, so I threw it away. I kept the chairs though, they should be easy enough to finish painting and put new cushions on them–someday. 😉

The other thing that was done? New shelving in the laundry room. We put up 3 shelves, a bar for hanging shirts, and by the end of the week, there should be a table that flips up for folding/ironing. I’ve been working it out in my mind how I want the table to work, we’ll see if I’m half as smart as I want to think I am. So that this isn’t a completely pictureless post, here’s the new shelving in the laundry room.

Not beautiful, but oh-so-functional.

So anyway, about that coat. Like I said earlier, I’ve got the pieces traced off and am working on the alterations prior to muslin #1. I hope to have a muslin ready to show tomorrow. And hopefully it won’t hurt your feelings too badly, but I opted for the McCall’s pattern without the hood (Vogue won the poll by one vote). That neckline on the Vogue kept coming up, and practical (boring) creature that I am, I finally relented. If it seems like this pattern doesn’t flatter my shape though, I’m keeping the Burda in mind, just in case. And I’m picturing the Vogue in velvet or faux suede as a jacket for early spring.

Just keepin’ busy!

Hope everyone has been having a wonderful past couple of weeks! I have been keeping busy on my end, though it’s hard to tell sometimes. I’ve done some cooking, some sewing, and a lot of missing my hubby! He was gone all last week to some sort of work thing, which left me and the kiddo here all by ourselves–it was rough! 😦 But, he’s home now, and we’ve spent a lot of time catching up. 🙂 Unfortunately for ya’ll, it’s sort of like I haven’t been able to talk for about 2 weeks, so it’s all pent up desperately trying to get out. Fasten your seatbelts, this will be a long post! 😛

Last weekend was a wedding for a family member, and I need new clothes like crazy…(I rely heavily on jeans and t-shirts stolen from my hubby which wouldn’t fly at such a nice event) so I originally thought I’d sew up Simplicity 2403, but I ran into an issue with my muslin…for some reason the waist part was so tight there was no way I was going to be able to wear it. Because I made it in the largest size I had on hand, I decided to try a different project.

Enter Jalie 2561. If you’ve read any of my previous posts, you’ll know that I’ve made these once before….however….not only have I put on about 5 pounds since then, they were also extremely tight to start with (especially once I put the waistband on). Because of this issue, I decided to try and remake them in the size suggested by my waist measurement…..yeah…right… Turns out, making them based on my waist measurement turned these cute (and snug-fitting) pants into clown pants! 😮 I could have fit almost TWO of me in there somehow! 😮 I think I’m going to have to retrace this pattern about 100 more times to figure out exactly what size/range of sizes I need to get it to work, once I do though, they are definitely going to be TNT’s, because they are just so darn cute and easy to sew up.

After all of that, I decided to just make a dress. To go with my Jalie 2561, I had planned to make up a drape-neck top in a silky print that I had. Even though I had ran into a snag with the pants idea, I couldn’t get the drape-neck idea out of my head, so I decided to make a dress out of the drape-neck top I was working on. Enter McCall’s 6069. I merged it with my custom drafted drape-neck top and made a very cute dress for the wedding in just a few short hours. 🙂 It has a chain going across the back drape to keep it on my shoulders (instead of the fabric tube suggested by McCall’s) that is held on with hooks so that I can take it off to either change it out according to my ever-changing mood or just to wash it. 😉 I found an adorable belt at Vanity, broke out my cute strappy heels, and was fairly pleased with the result. 🙂

Front View

Back View

Sorry for the bad pictures. This was me throwing it on a couple of days later (and it had been crumpled up in the wash pile since I’d worn it), no undergarments (I wore it with a strapless bra and a waist cincher to the wedding), and it smelled awful from being worn during the 100* heat in a church with minimal cooling abilities. (Everyone was a sweaty mess–but it was still fun! 🙂 )

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the fabric I made it in! This knit was such a dream to sew on, the print is pretty cool (even though I hate houndstooth), it has excellent wearability (no wrinkles even after being wadded up in the basket for several days!) and it feels pretty luxurious against the skin. It also had the perfect amount of drape for the style of dress that I made, which is something I have trouble with on occasion.

The past few days I have been spending time with the hubby, cleaning up my Singer 301-A so that it’s ready to go as my topstitching/buttonhole machine, and cooking.

Speaking of the 301-A, here it is in it’s (slightly ugly) glory! 🙂

Singer 301-A

I’m not going to try and sugar coat it…it’s ugly. I mean, it’s brown, for Pete’s sake! They could have least made it metallic blue or heck–black! But, she purrs like a good little kitty, and I think I’ll call her Tabby. 😉 There’s definitely going to be some getting used to the setup, especially the reverse feature, because it’s totally different than what I’m used to. I’m also going to replace the foot pedal getup, because it’s kind of a safety hazard, but I’ll keep the old one just in case.

Tabby got a good washing and waxing today before her internet debut too. I used a product called TSP (which is usually for cleaning the grime off of painted walls) which I was assured that it wouldn’t take any paint off. Near as I can tell, the only thing removed was the grime…lots and lots of grime. After that I even put on a rubbing compound to take off the dead paint (which there was surprisingly little of) and then I waxed it with plain ‘ol turtle wax. I’m sure there is someone out there right now gasping in horror, but I assure them that the machine looks better now, and I can use it without fear of getting gunk on my fabric (because it looked/felt like someone had parked it next to their Fry Daddy and made about 30 batches of chicken nuggets *yuck*).

Anyway, I should probably stop gabbing and get to work on something productive…like supper! I have two hungry males to feed, ya know! 😛

New stuff for me!

I’m a very naughty girl, I went shopping today for patterns. Mostly, I needed a pajama pattern for my little cousins’ Christmas presents. I had a McCall’s that I thought I could tweak to work, but honestly, I think the top for that pattern is pure trash, so I went in search of a new pattern. Yep, they are Kwik Sews. 😛 3 of them, in fact. 🙂 They were 10% off, and I also had a $5 off coupon, so I basically got 1 pattern free. I’m pretty excited about that. 😀

So anyway, on to the patterns I got! 😉

I really wanted this one, but they didn’t have it in stock :-(, so I ended up with this one:


I think it'll work for a boy too, right?

I’m not really sure why this pattern wouldn’t work for a boy too, as long as I left off the lettering and used non-girly fabric. So, I’m going to do it, and I’ll let you know how it turns out. 😉

And while I was there, I couldn’t help but look at some of the other patterns they had, so I ended up with these two as well:


Others have made it cuter than pictured.

I’ve already scrounged PR, and others have made this dress look a lot cuter than you might guess from looking at the envelope. The printed catalog actually has a better picture of the dress as well, so I have little doubt that it’ll be cute. I’m hoping it really is quick to sew up, since I’ll want it next weekend.


Workout clothes!

I’ve been in need of some workout clothes, or at least some comfy yoga-ish pants to workout in. Jeans just are awkward to work out in, and I’m sure that everyone else prefers I’m wearing some sort of pants instead of my underwear or blinding them with my brilliantly white legs. 😛 Plus, I think the top will be cute without having to show my midsection, and I don’t think it’s dorky like some of those swimsuit tops that they make for everyone that doesn’t wish to wear a bikini. I think I’ll get quite a bit of use out of it. 🙂

As soon as I’ve finished those I get to start on DH’s new work wardrobe! I’m terrified that I’ll screw up the “tailored” pants, so I’m procrastinating. The longer that I procrastinate and worry about it, the easier they’ll be…or at least that’s how it usually works. 😉

*Sigh* those are the projects that I’m preparing to start, what’s everyone else sewing up?

McCall’s 9206 & Duplex Sleeve Tutorial

I’m finally getting my pictures uploaded as I type this, so I’m updating my review on PR also. McCall’s 9206 was supposed to be a simple kid’s shirt that I hoped would work for my little guy this winter since he currently has 1 (yes, really) long-sleeved shirt that fits him, and it’s in pretty sad condition. I had went to the city to the sewing store to buy some fabric, but didn’t get enough to make the sleeves (course, once you see the review pictures, you’ll see why I’m not too worried about this being the case on the rest of them) so I had to make some duplex sleeves to get the proper length for a boy’s long-sleeved shirt. And because I had to do some thinking on how to do this without something to compare it to, I thought maybe others were in the same predicament. It didn’t help that I am just not sure about sewing knits on a sewing machine, I was racking my brain to come up with a good way to do it on my serger, but finally opted to do it on the sewing machine because that seemed to be the only way to do it.

You can see my review of the pattern HERE.

On to the tutorial! 🙂 (NOTE: This is a mockup–it’s not perfectly straight or anything, but be sure to be more precise on your final product. :-)) I ended up with a gallery by accident, hopefully the pictures and instructions will still be fairly intuitive. 🙂

First, you’ll need a sleeve that has a long sleeve and a short sleeve option (McCall’s 9206 does) trace out the upper (short) sleeve, including the hem allowance.

Trace out the long sleeve version, including the hem allowance on your pattern paper, and determine where you need to cut off the top to match up with the bottom of the short sleeve. Once you’ve determined where you need to cut off, break out the scissors and whack it off.

Cut out your sleeve pieces as usual, and then take your upper sleeve fabric (wrong side up) and fold up the hem allowance. Press. Lay your lower sleeve fabric (also wrong side up) on top of the upper sleeve you just pressed, and pin. Once you have it pinned in place, choose a stretchy stitch on your sewing machine. On my Pfaff 2038, it was stitch 7–a “Closed Overlock Stitch”. I stitched with the left edge of my presserfoot against the raw edges of the fabric, but it’s really however you feel comfortable setting it up, as long as you have something to guide you.

Rinse and repeat, and VOILA! Double layer (duplex) sleeves! 🙂

Yikes! It’s a wadder!

You might recall that I was working on McCall’s 4381 a while back that I had some issues with and was going to go back and fix it….well, somewhere in the black hole of my sewing room are the directions for that shirt. However, I didn’t even get to the point where I would need them…while I was trying to rip out the stitches so that I could do my repair, I snagged some fabric and made a big nasty pair of puckering snags–right in the front. 😦 So, yeah….I trashed it. Apparently, the sewing-gods didn’t want me to finish this project.

I’ve had to postpone Burda 124A again too….everyone I know is having a baby! Yikes! So I’m drafting the pattern up for gifts for them. I’ve got a good base pattern, and a good memory, so I don’t forsee any major issues with the semi-draft that I’m doing for them.

New McCall’s

OK, aside from two patterns in particular, I’m sadly underwhelmed by the new offerings of McCall’s…perhaps I’m too picky? Quite possibly. So here’s my two picks:

I know, you’re underwhelmed too, right? Well, at least we can share in the misery together. 😛 That’s OK though, as I think I’m going on a McCall’s “diet”. I think I’ll probably try to save my money and purchase only Burda and Kwik Sew for the rest of the year….I prefer those to many of the other pattern offerings anyway. 🙂

Speaking of Burda, I’m almost finished with the 124A wrap top that I’ve mentioned previously. The built-in shelf bra is putting a kink in my progress (read: I’ve had to rip some stitches), but hopefully, when I’m feeling more capable I’ll get out of bed and into the sewing room! 🙂 Speaking of bed, I’d probably better get there–if I don’t rest up, I’ll never get over this crappy-ness I’ve gotten. 😦

Burda 124A–postponed.

So I was looking at it, and I’m just not sure how my ideas would work…therefore, I’m going to just add in a shelf-bra, but can’t do that until after I can get to the big city to buy the supplies. *Sigh* Such is life. I guess though, it gives me time to finish up the other projects I’ve started.

I also have to start on a “new” project–a car organizer from McCall’s. I’ve made it before, so I know what sort of things to do/not do this time around. A friend of mine had her first baby recently, so I really need to get her gift done so that she can start using it.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful day! It’s sunny and cool here this morning, perfect for the outside chores I need to do (priming the trim–Yikes!)