Friday, October 29, 2010

Getting the perfect fit....

I use Singer "The Perfect Fit" and Palmer/Pletsch " Fit for Real People," to guide my alterationtechniques. I love these books. I learned my lesson the "longer, more expensive way" a few years ago. I lived in California at the time. I decided I wanted toenhance my sewing skills by taking a tailoring class at a local community college. I had owned Singer's "Perfect Fit" and"Tailoring" for years before that, but felt it couldn't be enough to just read the books. Silly me.... My sewing instructor seemed to be teaching these books word for word (for that matter, "technique for technique"). I learned a lot in the classes, but I also learned that Singer, Palmer/Pletsch, and Ledbetter/Lansing (Tailoring....) are pretty much all I need. I do love watching sewing shows and any other tutorials I find on blogs. I wish there were more sewing bloggers who did video tutorials/vodcasts (hint, hint ladies....:-)).

I began the jacket with the standard alterations for me: Full bust alteration (FBA), shortening the gaping neckline, and reducing the bunching in the upper back. Almost every completed jacket or top I’ve ever made gave me problems with the neckline (e.g., too much cleavage or gaping). So, the neckline alteration is pretty standard for me now. One inch will usually suffice for the correction. It’s the same for the back—I find it makes for a smoother look in the back if I shorten the upper area by one inch.

The FBA is also a standard for me now. I’m getting pretty good at doing them from memory. If you're a C-bra cup or larger, you probably need to make the alteration as well. If you find that your tops, dresses, and jackets pull across the front, you need the FBA. I think it takes some practice to build your confidence in this particular alteration--especially if you're altering a garment with princess seams. A one piece front is fairly straight-forward, but a princess seam and/or designer embellishments can make the project more complex. Incidentally, the front piece shown above doesn't illustrate the last alteration of lengthening the front one inch to accommodate the changes made to the side front. A few months ago, I spent an entire Saturday in my craft room doing FBA on seven patterns. I made other alterations to the patterns as well, but the practice on the FBA was invaluable. Vogue 1042 uses snaps 5/8” fabric covered snaps for the jacket closure. I intend to use buttonholes and buttons instead. I love a beautiful button, so it’s an excuse to head to one of the local fabric shops here in town to find some nice ones.

I'll update again once I've cut out and begun the assembly of the jacket. Blessings, Vita

Monday, October 25, 2010

I’m setting some big sewing goals for the next few months and into the new year. My current project is Vogue 1042. I think it’s from spring 2010. Anyway, I like the off-white iteration on the pattern packet. I have some off-white suiting I’ve been looking forward to using. Although I like the jacket and slacks combo, I’ve chosen to go with a Claire Schaeffer pants pattern instead, Vogue 7881. I love the pants. I went with the couture view and lined the pants as well. I made only one alteration to the pants—I’m a little thicker in the waist, so I added an inch to it. They handled the change well—it didn’t seem to distort the design at all. I know this will be a favorite of mine. Claire Shaeffer's patterns are great! I have several of her jacket patterns as well. I can't wait to make them.

Moving on....

Well, I’ve started a new project…. My biggest challenge is overcoming my disappointment when a garment doesn’t progress as I’d like. I don’t mind “do-overs.” They just tend to zap some of my energy. I did, however, gain one valuable lesson from the brown suit attempt (Vogue 8543). The full bust alteration (FBA) I made to the jacket worked out well. The fit was beautiful. I will finish the jacket at some point and, perhaps, pair it with a print skirt for the spring. After the skirt went bust, I used a basting stitch to assemble the jacket just to check the fit—a sort of “pseudo-muslin.” It was great. It confirmed that I had a pretty good handle on the FBAs. I’ll be back soon with updates on my new project.