Sunday, August 20, 2017

More Circle Skirts

I made these two circle skirts for my 18mo granddaughter.  Aren't they adorable?!  I used this tutorial which is what gave me the circle skirt bug in the first place.  I used foldover elastic for the waistbands even though I didn't fold them over because it seemed like a softer elastic to have against little one's skin and also because I was able to get a decent colour match.

Next on the agenda?  Well I am going to take a break from the sewing room for a few days but I want to draw up this Lutterloh pattern, 298-225.  I've been sitting on a length of Wonder Woman flannel for years and I think her time has come.

On a completely different topic there is a discussion on Pattern Review about storing your pattern tracings.  This is the back of my sewing room door.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Circle Skirts - Lutterloh 300-104, 300-89

Corrie's Eva wearing a fabulous full skirt
I love Coronation Street and have watched it forever.  Aside from the story lines (which drive me crazy sometimes) I love seeing what folks are wearing.  They have a few characters wearing some really nice things lately.  The other day I saw Eva wearing this box pleated full skirt and fell in love.

I bought a gorgeous piece of cotton sateen in a hibiscus print.  I thought Lutterloh's 300-104 (on the left) would fit the bill and set to drawing it out.  I washed and ironed my fabric and laid it out on the floor to accomodate the wide pattern.
And then realized my 56" wide fabric was a tad too narrow.  I thought ok, no problem, I'll just pinch out the middle of the pattern to make it less of an arc.  Well I would almost cut that piece of fabric in half before I would be able to get it all on the fabric.  Time for a plan "B".

Not to be deterred I thought maybe instead of a circle skirt I could still get a full skirt out of 300-89 (on the left).  I set to drawing this one out.  There are four panels on this one instead of two, so maybe this will work?  Well it turns out the panels on this one are too wide as well.  Back to the drawing board.

By this time I was feeling a little frustrated.  I had started my day by having to give my cat a bath for reasons I won't go into.  Who knew cats don't like baths?  Have I mentioned she has all her claws?  Anyway, I decided to throw caution to the wind and make my own pattern.

I started with 300-89 as a base for the waistline.  I then figured out the length I wanted and marked that as my widest point; 22" to work with what I thought was my 45" wide fabric.  In the clear light of the following morning it turns out the fabric is 56".  To draw my hemline I elongated each side seam until they crossed, then used this apex as the centre point to draw my radius (hemline).  I think it worked because the hem looks even.

After doing all this work I laid the patterns out together and found that other than the length I had basically reproduced 89!  Which is just as well, as I'm sure I will still use 89 at some point as I love me a long flared skirt.

I used the waistband from New Look 6107 because I like a nice shaped waistband and the pockets from Butterick 6049.  These pockets are a nice size yet look invisible when my hands aren't in them.  I understitched them and pressed them really well using my clapper.  I used an invisible zip in the back to the top of the waistband so I don't need any other closures.  And I hemmed it to the middle of my knees for a modern fun look.

I'm so glad I remembered to steam and hang the skirt for 24 hours before hemming.  Being that much of the hemline is on the bias it did stretch overnight.  Take a look at the uneven hemline after hanging!  I basted the hem, trimmed the excess, serged the edge and then used a blind hem stitch.

Overall I am very happy with this skirt.  And look - I can wear it with my blue Lutterloh top!

You've Got to Teach Them Young

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Pegged Skirt Using New Look 6107

I made the peplum top from Vogue 8815 about a year or so ago, and have been intending on making the skirt from  New Look 6107 to go with it ever since.  Well I finally got around to it.  I thought that a pegged skirt would look better with a peplum top and after doing some research I decided that I didn't need to buy a new pattern, I could just use this one to adapt.  I took one of the versions hanging in my closet and pinned the sides, starting below the hip, to a total of 1 1/2" in from the sideseam at the hem on each side.  Well this was clearly too much pegging - I could barely walk!  I then tried halving that to 3/4" each side and that was perfect.  After pegging it I had to take it in 1/2" along the whole side seam to drop a size since I have lost some weight.  All in all I am very happy with this outfit.  It can be worn as separates or together like a dress.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Simplicity 1696 Revisited

Before and After - Simplicity 1696

I first made and blogged about this pattern five months ago.  I was happy enough with them although they didn't look like the pattern pic.  I wanted a more fitted pant, closer to a jean, which is what I thought I would get with this pattern.  See the extra folds of fabric under the butt in the left view above?  I wasn't thrilled with that.  I've only worn them once, and since every time I've put them on I felt they looked worse.  I had taken apart the side seams a month or so ago to remove the piping and try taking them in but because of the front pockets I wouldn't be able to do this.  So I sewed them back up and left them to languish in my closet.

I modeled them for my mom the other day and she commented on how there was way too much fabric in the back.  So I decided to remake them from scratch to see if they could be something I would wear.  One of the first things I discovered when revisiting the pattern was that I had lost 1 1/2" in my hips in the five months since making these!  No wonder they were too baggy!  The second thing I noticed is that there is a whole section on fitting the pants in the instructions that didn't seem familiar to me at all, so I am assuming I bypassed them the first time around.  Did I even read the instructions?

I traced out the pattern going down one size and changed from the regular fit to the slim fit, seeing as I have a flat butt and not a lot of difference between my waist and my hips.  I sewed them up and took the pics shown below and at the bottom of the page.  I decided I needed to get rid of the wrinkles under my butt, so I took a scoop out of the bottom of the seat seam as recommended in the pattern.  I did this twice, but it is hard to determine how much of an impact alterations are having when your fabric has as much stretch as this fabric does.

Adj 1
Adj 2

I felt the legs were too snug at this point, not tight but they did grab onto my legs when I would sit and then stand.  There are 1" side seams so I moved that over 3/8" to go to a standard 5/8" side seam.  
Left: unchanged; Middle: Adj 1; Right: Adj 2

The final fit
Finally when I reattached the waistband I lowered it 1 3/4".  This had a big impact on changing the look of the pant from the old style dress pant to a more modern jean style pant.  This is obvious in the comparison pic at the top of the page.

All in all I am much happier with these pants.  I am wearing them now and they are comfortable.  If I make them again I will probably leave out the pockets and just topstitch them as faux pockets.  That would eliminate any gaping and I don't really use front pockets anyway.

Before adjustments
Before adjustments

Monday, August 07, 2017

Lutterloh 285 66 - Second Try

Lutterloh 285 66

 I wrote last week about trying out the Lutterloh system, and the fitting problems I had because I took my measurements incorrectly.  I have redrawn the pattern using my correct measurements this time, and the top looks and fits very much like the pattern drawing.  I had to lower the waist 1 3/4" and raise the bust dart 1 1/2".  Other than that the pattern gave me just what I expected from the pattern pic; size for size at the bust, 3" of ease at the waist and 1" ease at the hip.

Can you see the facing through the fabric?  Yeah, that had to go.
I tried making facings this time as the pattern calls for rather than banding as I did with the dark blue version.  I serged the raw edge just to help keep it smooth and flat because I was using such a lightweight knit, but as it turns out the facing was obvious through the lightweight fabric so I ended up sewing a second row of topstitching and then clipping the facing close to that stitching.  I don't know if the intent of the facings is to add some structure to the garment, and therefore should it also have interfacing?  That may work for a heavier knit, but just looks wrong in the really lightweight knit that I used here.  Of course there are no instructions with Lutterloh.  If I make this pattern again or another for a knit top with facings I think I will eliminate the facings and sew a single thickness band, without stretching it, to the seam allowance, fold it under and coverstitch it.  Done.

I'm quite happy with the style of the top, and was pleasantly surprised to find it is something I can wear with leggings.  And I'm happy enough with the system that I've ordered a couple of recent pattern supplements.  I love the idea that I can trace out a pattern for myself and then use the same template to make a pattern for my daughter using her measurements.  I am a Lutterloh convert!

Holding my coffee because I don't know how to pose!

Saturday, August 05, 2017


I have a bit of a fixation with hats.  I love them; I love trying them on.  I like the way I look in them.  But I don't often actually wear them in real life.  Last summer I found a very nice hat store while on a short holiday with Mavis in Niagara on the Lake, and of course I bought a pricey hat.  We found ourselves back in this store again this year and promised myself I wouldn't buy another one, although I was very tempted!

Then I saw this; fabric hats!  So of course you know where my mind went from there...

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree!
 Off to google I went in search of a pattern.  I came across this free one from Martha Stewart, and figured she would know all about hats, right?

Well she may know hats but I found the pattern to be poorly drafted.  The brim didn't match up with the crown.  I forced it to fit but I wasn't happy with it at all and I ripped it apart to start over.  I redrafted the pattern to make it fit better, recut the fabric and sewed it back together.  Success!

Hat 2.0

Once it was made I realized I could wear it with my graduation dress to an upcoming summer garden wedding.

Once I had a successful hat I thought of a variation where I could cut out part of the back of the brim so that I could lean back in my lounge chair without knocking the hat off my head.  Hence, hat 2.0.

Have I mentioned that an empty coffee can makes a good hat stand?

Next up I think I'll try one with a smaller brim, more like a bucket hat or a cloche hat.
More hats!
Actually wearing a hat in real life :)

Friday, August 04, 2017


I think I figured out my sizing problem!  And it is such a beginner's mistake that I am almost ashamed to admit it.  But fear not, dear reader, I am here to put aside my pride and let you in on a life-changing revelation.

I took my measurements wrong, but it is worse than that sounds.  I know that I pulled the tape quite tight when taking my measurements and I rounded down to the lower even number when I landed on an odd number.  I am used to working with Big 4 patterns and they always have so much extra built in ease (for my taste, anyway) that I thought this was the way to go.  So I just took my standard tape measure and remeasured.  I had a difference of 12cm to what my previous measurements were.  That's almost 5", folks!  How could I be off by so much?!  Well, now here's the embarassing part; I used the Lutterloh tape measure the first time I took my measurements and even though I KNEW that the zero wasn't at the beginning of the tape, I just automatically measured from the beginning of the tape.  For the love of Maude!  Clearly the measurements I took were way out in left field.

Now I can hear you wondering, gentle reader, how I could have been so far off my measurements and not know it.  I do sew for myself quite a bit, and should be familiar with my own measurements, right?  Well, I work and think in inches and know my measurements that way, but I measured in metric because that's what the system uses and that's the only option their tape measure has.  So to me it was just a number that didn't really mean anything.

To take it one step further I just compared pinhole spots on the tape from the old measurements to the correct ones, measured my pattern again and did some math, and long story short the correct measurements would have given me size-for-size across the bust and 3" of ease at the waist.  Looking at the pattern pic that sounds about right to me.

So now I think I will make myself a new pattern with the corrected measurements and make another top in a comparable fabric.  Let's see if it looks more like the pattern pic.  I'll report back.

UPDATE 2:  Second trial is posted here.


I was generously gifted a Lutterloh pattern drafting system by my aunt on her recent visit, and I spent a very long day in the sewing room yesterday trying my first Lutterloh pattern. I went with a sleeveless knit top. It went better than I expected, although I may have to do some more tweaking. I used my high bust measurement as recommended by many online folks because apparently using your full bust can leave too much fabric at the shoulders. I was using leftover fabric from another project (leggings for my daughter) to make a muslin so I decided the easiest way to test drive it would be to just make it. I could see from tissue fitting the pattern I would need to add 2" to the length to get the waist line onto my waist, which is my usual pattern adjustment. Other than that I just sewed it up. It is a tighter fit than in the pattern pic. That could be because I used my high bust measurement or it could be that I am not as slim as the model! It could also be the fabric; I used a very lightweight poly-lycra knit. I have a little bit of ease at the waist but it is smooth across the bust and at the armholes with negative ease. It does have bust darts and they turned out to be in the correct position for me (I did measure that before cutting out). I usually have to lower them an inch with big 4 patterns. I'm thinking that if I use a woven fabric I will need to do a full bust adjustment. I think I could use a stretch cotton weave to make this top if I added a side zip. The pattern called for facings but I always use banding with my knit tops so I just went with that. That did give me more of a crew neck that the pattern has, but it looks fine.  I was more concerned with testing the fit.

So all in all I am happy with my results. I have a wearable muslin and enjoyed the process of figuring out the pattern.  There are quite a few jeans patterns in the book and when I look closely I can see variations in the style and fit, so I may give one of those a try.  Also they have a leggings pattern which has curves on the legs as opposed to the straight line from crotch seam to ankle that the pattern I made from an online tutorial has, so that one is on my list as well. But next up, I am researching pegged skirts to make a matching skirt from the leftover fabric for my flowered peplum top.  There is a flounced skirt in the Lutterloh book; I can probably use the pencil skirt part of that (without the flounce) as I think it is pegged.  Oh, and they have a peplum top with a pencil skirt; I wonder if it was pegged?  Off to go look 😁

I am having fun with this system, so thank you again Aunt Geraldine xx

A "Catch-Up" Post

I can't believe we are in August already!  Where does the time go?  I know I've been spending a lot of it in my sewing room.  Unfortunately I have fallen far behind in blogging about it, so I will try and do a bit of a catch-up today.

Some time maybe last year I made this sleeveless version of Vogue 8815 out of a stretch cotton weave.  I lengthened the bodice by 1" but still I still felt that the waist was too high.  It is supposed to sit 1" above the waist.  I also felt that it was too loose and not very flattering.  I finally realized one of the problems was that I was wearing it with the wrong type of pant.  A peplum top needs to be worn with a very narrow bottom such as leggings or a pegged skirt.  I wore it with black leggings and it looked pretty good, although I still wasn't really feeling the love.  I then took it in about 3/4" on each side and suddenly it went from ok to amazing!  A peplum top must have a close fit to look its best.  I have enough fabric left over to make a skirt, and I'm thinking I'll peg it.

Once I figured out that this top can look amazing I got very excited, thinking that this top *could* work in a knit.  I have two pairs of plaid leggings that I am always on the hunt for appropriate solid tops to wear with, and I have both black ponte and light brown ponte that I think would make cute peplum tops.  But of course I got sidetracked; on my way to finding those fabrics I found the leftover white ponte from another project and decided that would be good to use for a muslin.  I cut it out to the original size 14 just to make sure I would be able to pull it on and off because I eliminated the zipper.  That worked fine so I took it in the same as I did to the stretch cotton one.  I also moved my dart points down an inch as they are too high in the first version (fortunately the busy pattern hides that).  I was so happy with the final result that I then grabbed some red knit jersey from the stash and made one to wear with my red plaid leggings!   How many peplum tops does one person need, anyway?  Because I still want to make the black and light brown ones! lol

The next project is Butterick 5493.  This pattern is written for stretch wovens or crepe.  The fabric I used (rayon maybe?) has zero stretch, but to be honest there is enough ease in this top that I don't think it matters.  I was using this pattern and fabric because I wanted to experiment with cutting on the bias.  This top drapes beautifully!  I usually wear my clothes more fitted but this looks really good on.  Instead of turning under the hem I did a serged rolled hem.  I did the same on the cowl.

I then gave it another go with some crepe.  I left off the cowl and rounded the vee neckline.  This time I decided to size it down to a 12 from my usual 14.  I did this by just taking it in at the sides.  Big mistake.  I can still wear it but I completely screwed up the shape of the armholes.  Then I tried to fix that but I didn't do a very good job.  I can get away with it because it's not as obvious on me as it is on Gertrude here but still I kick myself because I should have known better.  I wanted this top to go with my green/fuchsia tiered skirt.  I think it looks great with it!  If I make it again I will recut a 12 from the original pattern rather than cutting from the sides of the 14.

 That's all you get for today, I don't want to spoil you.  I still have to tell you about hats and a Luterloh pattern review.  Happy sewing!