Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Top finished

The top I drafted is made up in fashion fabric. A remnant piece that I found at the fabric market last year. Did not know the contents but as it was a “Sigrid” fabric (as one of my friends immediately said when I showed the picture in our Whatsapp group) I had to buy it.

It was not complicated to draft and an easy make too. Only the point of the v-neckline requires some thought and I might do it a little different next time. There certainly will be a next time as I like the neckline a lot. The pleat is not something I will repeat too often, but it’s a nice detail.

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This was the original inspiration garment.

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PS: thanks to those who commented on keeping a diary of my allotment plans a few posts ago. I’m experimenting with OneNote and an (old-fashioned?) paper notebook. It crossed my mind to start a blog about it too, but I’m such a beginner. Plus the time it takes. Might change my mind.

Perhaps I’ll do a closing picture occassionally like this, my tomato seedlings and part of the plot (after some work has been done).

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Drafting (again)

When a pattern you draft does not give the result you want, you may get discouraged and think “why draft, I’ll use and change commercial patterns”. That’s what happens to me, until I realize that I have lots of fitting problems then too or when a garment comes along that I want to copy urgently. That’s what happened when I saw this thread on PatternReview discussing this top (which costs $ 400! I’ll never spend that much on a top):

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Quite simple looking, yet elegant. Very much a summer top, but also wearable under a jacket. Couldn’t help myself and tried to draft it. This is my muslin, based on my sloper drafted in Suzy Furrer’s Craftsy class.

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In her class on neckline variations Suzy Furrer shows how to draft a funnel neckline and an opera neckline but both in variations that stand away from the neck. I could use the information to draft this neckline hugging version.

My observations:

  • funnel neckline close to the neck
  • curved v-neck
  • 1 to 2 inched seam below lowest point of v-neckline, opening into a small pleat
  • seam in the back neckline
  • center back seam
  • no darts

For my version I chose to have a bust dart: removing all darts in the waist dart is too much on my figure and I think that being full busted that is just fitting better. I did not use a seam in the back neckline.

Hope the next drawings are clear in how I got to this pattern. I use inches in this description as I’m quite used to doing those now, having followed so many of Suzy Furrer’s classes. I use an inch ruler too when I do these markings.

The starting point: sloper draft of the front, shoulder and armhole dart closed and the space “dumped” into the bust dart. (alternative could be a blouse/shirt pattern with not too much ease).

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I went 1/4 inch in for the shoulder seam
(for those having done this sloper too: this is the 1/4 inch you remove from the moulage to get extra space around the neckline. I started using this point but it was too wide, so I went back to the original moulage point)

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From that shoulder point 1 1/4 inch up, perpendicular to the center front

Draw the curve, ending around the middle of the shoulder seam.

Decide where you want the v-neckline to end and draw a curved line to that point.

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I decided to have the center seam 1/2 inch below the bust line. If the pleat would start too high, it would open up which at bust level, not so nice probably. The pleat is 1 inch deep (you could make it less or more, it’s just what I thought would be about right), so the amount of fabric for the pleat is 2 inches. The front can be cut on the fold. As I’m used to I marked the darts as “not using them”.

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As last step I removed 3/4 inch from the shoulder width.

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The back: starting point the sloper again.

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Basically this is the same change: 1/4 inch into the neckline, 1 1/4 inch up, draft the curve and the neckline.

Remove 3/4 inch from the shoulder width and center the back dart again (I prefer to keep this dart too for better fit).

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The final pattern pieces. The orange dotted line is the line for facings. For the back I will remove the dart from the facing by folding it away. Or I could change my mind and make separate facings for neckline and armhole. First to decide which fabric to use for the top.

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NB: I folded out a little bit (about 1/2 inch) from the curved neckline to make sure the neckline doesn’t gape. This is more necessary for fuller busted women if I remember it right.

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Hope this helps some of you interested in drafting in general or this top specifically. It’s my interpretation of doing this. If you do this I do advice to make a muslin as I’m not a teacher and can’t guarantee this works for you too.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Sewing update

I’ve been busy with a lot of things, sewing was a bit on the background in the past two weeks. There’s a large painting project in my house that I started that takes quite a bit of time (2 staircases and 11 doors, discovered the white really needs two coatings to be solid, even though the original colour was just a pink white). More fun, but also time consuming in the next few months, we’ve started an allotment garden. The plot is not very far from our house, only a few minutes by bicycle, which is nice. I won’t write much about it here, but am thinking about how to record our experience with growing vegetables and fruit. If you’ve any suggestions on that, let me know.

The dress is in hibernation mode and might remain there for a while. It’s been a lovely excercise in pattern drafting, unfortunately not giving the result I wanted. It’s a real winter dress though (at least the fabric is) and though there’s still some snow left from this weekend, the sun that is now shining in my room is a promise of spring. The new buds are waiting too.

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In the time that I took for sewing I wanted easy projects. It was not lingerie this time, I made two tops and a knitting bag. The tops were really easy and did not take more than an evening each to make.

A classic and basic Ottobre t-shirt (issue 2, 2006) from a wool/viscose knit. Lovely to wear.

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Another Ottobre top, from the 5/2015 issue. The fabric is thicker, more a sweater than a t-shirt. I used my coverstitch with the looper side on top for topstitching. Also a project for the “use your magazines more” challenge.

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To conclude this update a “knitting bag”. That’s what I’m going to use it for. I restricted myself to using only fabric and notions I already had and I had to be a bit creative.

The pattern is the Retreat bag from Emmaline bags. Bunny made some fantastic versions of it that inspired me to buy the frame and try it too. (I ordered the frame from U-handbag, not affiliated). This large version is really large and perfectly suitable for a knitting bag. Handles might have been good, but I didn’t think of them when I made this. The page with the pattern now shows a wonderful youTube video with construction including handles. I’ll probably have to order more frames, my daughter wants one as well and it would be a lovely gift to make too.

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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Drafting a dress–5, sleeve comparison

As mentioned in my post of yesterday I’m doing a separate post on the sleeve draft. It’s a bit of a nerdy post probably. I write it for those of you who are interested in pattern drafting but also for myself, to remind myself of the differences now I’ve taken the time to do three drafts based on different systems for the same garment.

The result of the different drafts (focus on the sleevecap). First the Suzy Furrer draft. Ease is added before drafting giving as guideline 1/2 inch for dresses and blouses, 1 1/4 inch for jackets and coats. The total circumference of the armhole on the front and back + ease is a measurement on which the “square size” is based. The measurements for the square size are given in the book (or in the course materials from the Craftsy course). It’s the dotted line in the drawing. Based on this square the rest of the sleeve is drafted.

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Second the Helen Joseph-Armstrong draft. The guideline for ease is different and given as 1 1/2 inch for sizes 10 and above, 11/8 inch for sizes below 8. An armhole measurement formula is used for the draft and mentioned is that further changes might be necessary, based on form, posture etc. In my draft I used the formula, which gives a little ease. The cap height is important but no guideline is given which the height should be. I took 6 inches, which was the measurment I found in one of the charts for a size 14. The draft starts with the triangle between top and biceps line. I thought this was the easiest draft to follow.

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And third the Danckaerts system (It’s drafted with the front on the left side of the paper, but for comparison I’ve mirrored the image). This is a metric system and as such easier for me to use. It’s more more mathematical and instruction tells you that ease of at least 4 cm (about 1.5 inch) is necessary. Not too difficult as I’ve learned the method in a course, but instructions like 8/10 of armhole circumference + or – 1 cm are not the easiest if you do it for the first time. This sleeve is longer than the others, as the sleeve length is measured from the dot I’ve drawn on the dotted lines. Therefor it gives more space for the cap and the roundness at the top. In the drafts from SF and HJA the total length of the sleeve is the measured length. The Danckaerts sleeve has the extra space on the top.

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Comparing SF and HJA draft.
On top is the SF draft. Notice the different straight of grain line. When I saw SF do this in the Craftsy class it was the first time I’ve seen it. Mostly the straight of grain is the center line. The HJA draft has a bit more room in the cap, which was more comfortable in my mock-up sleeves.

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Difference between HJA draft and Danckaerts system.
There’s more room in the back of the cap, I’ve tried this before and it did not work for me. I know I need the curve like the other drafts. The front is similiar though.

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Different position of the elbow dart (SF and HJA). SF uses the measured distance and HJA instruction is take half of the sleeve length. A very distinct difference. In my sleeves the elbow dart of the SF sleeve seemed a little too high. Which is strange as it was the length measured. The HJA dart is wider (1/2 inch to 1 inch). The curve was more clear.

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This will be all my posting about drafting this dress. I’m still on the fence whether to continue or not. The fabric is lovely and I do have enough to cut a different front pattern. Any thoughts for an alternative front welcome! I will probably be sewing a lingerie set in the meantime.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Drafting a dress - 4

I’ve been working on the sleeves for the dress. The original has short sleeves and I intended from the start to make 3/4 length sleeves. Whicht meant of course drafting those too. I am rather intrigued by the various ways you can draft sleeves. Because of that I took my time and drafted several versions of the sleeve, using 3 different drafting systems: the book Building Patterns  by Suzy Furrer (same as in her classes on Craftsy), Patternmaking for fashion design by  Helen Joseph-Armstrong and the one-piece sleeve from the Dutch Danckaerts system from the book dresses. It’s fascinating to see the different approaches and still coming to a more or less similar sleeve draft. That certainly is true for the methods used by Suzy Furrer and Helen Joseph-Armstrong. The cap of the sleeve drafted by those methods was very similar, the way to get there very different. The Danckaerts system gives a different shape for the back of the sleeve, which I know not to be good on me but I wanted to draft it anyhow to see how it would be compared to the others. In my next post I’ll show pictures of the different pattern pieces and describe the different approaches in more detail.

I made mock-up sleeves of the two versions. On the right is the SF draft and on the left the HJA draft.

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The HJA draft felt more comfortable. Both had a few unwanted wrinkles.

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This meant (and I had to check my fitting books for that) that the sleeve should be rotated a bit to the front and after I did that, it improved, but I wasn’t there yet. On the photo below I also made the sleeve cap higher (the height from the biceps line where the armhole starts to the top of the sleeve) by basting it with a very narrow seam allowance. This gave a pretty good result and I can move that arm properly. I’m pretty sure that if I had adapted the sleeve drafted with the SF method it would have resulted in a good fitting sleeve too.

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Though I’m this far in drafting and constructing, I’m in doubt about the dress. When I first saw the picture of it a few years ago I really loved the design and thought it really would be a “me” dress. As it is I’m not so sure. Don’t know whether it’s the fabric or the design on me but I’m not as enthousiastic as I thought I would be. I might leave it alone for a week or so and see what I think.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Drafting a dress - 3


What lovely comments on my posts on drafting. Based on your comments I will try to give more details on drafting the funnel neckline in another post (if I can do that without infringing copyright) and will show you how I use my sloper to check a pattern. There were other questions and I'll answer these in another post. Never feel that you might not have enough experience to comment or apologise for being late with a comment. No need!! I love to read them all. 

Today two pictures of my progress. The front now stays in place, so the change worked. 



Aweful selfie photos in a mirror, you'll get the idea. The pleats are only provisionally pinned and I will change them a bit before closing the seam. Just wanted to know if I was on the right track. 

On the inside I used silk organza on the bias cut triangle at the waist to stabilize and used a little bit at the right front to eliminate bulk for the zipper in the side seam.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Drafting a dress - 2

First I’d like to thank those of you who commented on my recent posts. I have a few very regular commenters (extra thanks!) and recently I’ve seen quite a few new names too. Welcome to my blog and please share your thoughts. In a time that blogging is regarded obsolete by some it’s nice to know this is still a lively community.

Back to the story of the dress. I’ve cut and basted the dress and there was a moment of disappointment. The pleats did not form a nice fold, there is too much fabric. Worse even, the neckline was gaping a lot. So much that I don’t want to share a photo.

I think the pleats are just too long. As I said, I’ve drafted this dress two years ago and I’m not sure now whether I took out the space of the darts. Well, better too long than too short. I hope that these will be fine with some manipulation.

Part of the gaping is probably caused by my figure. If I would have an A or B cup it wouldn’t be so bad, but there is a bit more to cover. It would be fine if I could put on the dress and stand completely still all day. Don’t know about you, but that’s not the way I spend my days.

It was mainly the right front that was pulled away.
As you can see in the first picture of my previous post, I drafted a straight line to the waistline from the point where the left and front cross in the neckline. That is probably the main problem . The right front is not “anchored” properly. Back to the draft and making sure the right front is attached to the left side. Below again the sketch of what I did on a block from a book.

Instead of going down to the waistline, I extended the right front to the left side, keeping the line below the bust point (in this drawing on the bust point).

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I moved the top of the waist darts to the bust point. Something I’ve learned in Suzy Furrer’s classes (I keep referring to her classes, I learned a lot from those). She either uses a high or a lower point for the waist dart, depending on what you want to do with the pattern.

IMG_4568. The waist dart on the left side is cut out, the legs of the dart can be placed together, thus removing that dart (cutting one dart leg and moving over would have been enough, but thought this might be clearer).

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In the next picture the left waist dart is closed, as is the shoulder dart. The space of the shoulder dart is moved to the bust dart. That’s the extra space you see there under the original bust dart. That’s one option to get rid of the shoulder dart.

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A second option to remove the shoulder dart is to move the space to the waist dart.

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The last is what I’m doing. Keeping the original bust dart and use a wider waist dart. It will be covered by the pleats of the left front panel.

I’ve tried this extension on the front by cutting it from a piece of silk organza (thinking I might keep it that way) and have basted it to the front, waistline and side. A huge improvement. I will however re-cut the right front.

Hopefully I’ll get some sewing done this weekend, but I’m not sure.