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Thea saves the day

2010 February 18
by elizabeth_admin

I am a little late in writing this post about my lesson last week, but better late than never.  And a warning – this is a long post.

If you will recall I had made two muslins recently that required either a trash can or resuscitation,  The grandma skirt and the knit top from hell.  That post generated the most comments I have ever received for any one post.  I was overwhelmed by all of the kind words and moral support you provided as well as for all of the good ideas.  Thank you so much for taking the time to comment and for putting up with my whining about my weight and pattern sizes.  I’d like to highlight some of the comments:

Faye shared: “I am in the SAME boat … I still need clothes so I sew for where I am now, and will when I do lose the weight, I’ll sew for where I am then.”  I know you’re right, that I should sew for the body I have now, but I don’t want to.  *stamping foot like a toddler in the middle of a temper tantrum*  My urge to sew is negatively correlated to how out of shape I am, unfortunately.  Ugh! 

Sue suggested: “… none of us are going to fit into any clothing/pattern without some tweaking.”  As I shared with Karen on the phone the other night, I stupidly assumed that, after the sz 14 turned out to be too small, of course the sz 16 would be just right and would require no tweaking at all.  WRONG!

Robin mentioned: “I have TNT patterns that I use over and over.  When I want a new style, I work out a frankenpattern, rather than try to sew a muslin from a commercial pattern.”  I haven’t been sewing (i.e., producing) long enough to have any TNT patterns yet.  In fact, muslining the Simplicity skirt was my first attempt to find a TNT pencil skirt (post on TNT’s still in the works).  Read on further in this post, however, for more progress on this front.

Hatty pointed out: “Oh and another thing — what’s in your construction queue — that Burda cardi/jacket thing — that’s a definite no-no unless you are feeling devastatingly attractive and tall and willowy.”  OMG!  You’re right!  I am taking that out of the queue pronto.  Thanks for saving me from some more frumpy angst!

Helen bravely brought up: “You know, underneath all the stuff about your size there is that disturbing comment about ‘not expecting to date’ for some time, which we are all politely ignoring because it is so worrying.”  You are right too Helen, I should not feel that I have to be skinny to date, but while I understand that, I still can’t feel motivation to date when I don’t feel good about myself.  It’s a little bit of a catch 22.  But hopefully, after somehow working in working out again, I will feel better about myself and feel the urge to get out into the fray again.  The problem is, though, as a single parent, it’s hard to find time to work out without having to pay a babysitter to do so.  I can do it, but it’s a tricky business, can be expensive and you have to be extremely motivated work it into your schedule.

JC asked: “Did you enjoy your sew fast sew easy class?  Yes, I did.  I wrote a couple of posts about the projects I worked on in that class where I detail what I learned.  Check them out!  I highly recommend their classes.  However, one of the reasons I have Thea as my teacher now is that she comes to my apartment so I don’t have to pay babysitting on top of the class fee.

Now back to my muslin disasters…  I showed them to Thea and we went to work on them.  For the skirt, Simplicity 2452, I just needed to nip in at the hips and down the sides of the skirt a 1/4 inch on each side seam as the waist was fine.  When it was pinned to the correct size, the skirt looked exactly the way I wanted it to look: fitted but not too fitted.  It was the pencil skirt I have been searching for; the grandma skirt had disappeared.  Yeah!  I used the french curve ruler to redraw the pattern taking it in a 1/4 inch.  It was pretty easy actually.  See my adjusted pattern below.  So this could be my TNT pencil skirt pattern.  I am going to finish up this skirt even though the more I work with the fabric, the more I dislike it and I’m going to add a lining.  I want to see how it looks all finished to be sure I like this skirt pattern before I cut into any of my nice suiting fabrics.  I don’t want to make any more “muslins” for this pattern if I can help it.  🙂

2452 pencil skirt hip alteration

I haven’t finished the skirt so no pictures yet.  Be patient dear readers. 

Next I tried on the knit top for Thea and she thought it looked just fine on me.  She thought the pulling/wrinkles on the bust were part of the drape and didn’t bother her at all.  She liked the top.  I looked at it again with kinder eyes and just may agree.  Although I am waffling on it since I still feel self conscious about my thick middle section.  Thea said we could add a little more to the side seams on the front pattern piece under the arms for more room for the bust and see what happens.  I think I may try that in my ugly dots knit fabric.  Again, I don’t want to waste any of my nice knits on another muslin.  While Thea was there, I sewed on one of the sleeves and I had my first experience of too much sleeve cap ease.  New Look requires you to gather the sleeve cap before inserting the sleeve.  Ridiculous!  It’s a pattern for a knit fabric people!  How about just drafting a knit sleeve cap that fits into the armscye?  Brilliant idea.  Now let’s do that from now on.  I asked Thea to redraw the sleeve cap as I hadn’t a clue as to how to do that.  I’ll try it out the new sleeve along with the new front pattern piece on my next iteration of this top. 

6901 altered sleeve pattern piece

crappy sleeve insertion due to excess sleeve cap

lovely drape front -- best feature of the top

I thought I could salvage this top by removing the back neck facing and finishing it in another fashion, but I can’t remove the facing for the life of me.  It’s on there but good.  I could only get two inches unattached.  I am admitting defeat with this iteration.

the gosh durned stubborn back facing

The reason why I am working so hard to make this top and skirt work is simple.  TNT’s people.  I need ’em.  I want ’em.  They’re worth the effort, the tweaking.  Once I get these two patterns working for me for how I look now, (*sigh*) I can start ramping up the wardrobe factory production because I need a lot more work clothes.  A lot.  I am sick and tired of what’s in the rotation. I want some variety and more of it.  And I want it NOW!!!  And to be truthful, it isn’t hard to make these patterns work for me and my body.  The changes are simple and easy, so it’s not like I am redrafting the pattern.  I just became easily discouraged at first.  I was focusing on the wrong thing, my body, not the fit of the pattern.  Not that I shouldn’t get in shape or anything, but I can and will sew for the body I have now.  It will take time and much effort to get back to where I want to be, shape-wise, and I am going to need to clothe myself in the interim.  So I better get cracking!

So I am going to do a little poll with New Look 6901.  I will show you a picture of me wearing the top and you let me know via the poll what you think.  Deal?

Oh and I almost forgot!  Thea also looked at my alhambra clover fabric that was printed off-grain.  She thinks it just needs a  better pressing than I gave it previously and it should be fine.  Wow!  I can’t tell you how relieved I was.  However, I think I need a little time off from this fabric for a while before I reattempt cutting it again.  We need a break from each other. 

Happy tweaking everyone!

6 Responses leave one →
  1. Sue permalink
    February 18, 2010

    Go girl !!!
    You look great in the top, the top looks great on you. Sounds like you have worked the skirt out too. I’m so happy for you. 🙂

  2. February 18, 2010

    I like the top a lot: it fits you well, and has a delightful diagonal print. Cute look!

  3. February 18, 2010

    Congrats on your better fitting skirt and a top that you can tweak. By the way, I have that same top fabric.

  4. February 18, 2010

    I cannot believe how far you’ve come! You are sewing much more professionally than I ever did or will which is probably why I did not have much to say this morning. I have to start thinking about the next Larsen baby quilt which has to be done by August! Keep at it!

    Love, Mom

  5. February 18, 2010

    I’m on the fence here – I want you to make it work because I want you to KNOW you can make it work. Then I think you should look at the pattern, say, “I can do better,” and chuck it.

    I do like the drape; I just don’t see why every pattern I’ve ever seen with a similar drape has similar issues.

    Make it work.

  6. February 21, 2010

    Since I’ve started sewing I have committed to sewing whatever size I am at the time and subsconsciously work on exercising and eating right. It works and will say that my size ranges from pattern size 12 to 16 b/c of weight fluctuation and glad that I sew my own clothes for whatever size I am at the time.

    When I sew New Look tops I learned that I can cut a 14 top, but majority of the time I have to cut the sleeve cap a size smaller and sometimes reduce the sleeve arm even smaller. I believe you’ve answered why I do it… TNT – I am focusing on my closet being at least 75% of what I make and know TNTs will help me get there…lol

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