My Own Personal Sloper

Posted on | September 23, 2014 | 6 Comments

When I was in design school, slopers were a way of life. I couldn’t go anywhere without them and they were updated every year to fit the dress form for each class.

I always wanted to make one to fit myself, but the method we used to draft them was a shortcut. It only really worked if you wanted it to fit a dress form. At one point I tried the Vogue Sloper, but I got frustrated with the fit and gave up.

Then came Craftsy and Suzy Furre’s skirt and bodice sloper classes. I picked them both up on sale a few months back and was fascinated with the amount of detail she went into, plus she is a fantastic teacher. I was so excited! I could finally draft my own sloper.

Of course, there was just one problem, I needed someone to help me measure myself first. A few weekends ago, I finally enlisted the help of my friend Kathryn to get a proper measurement session in.

Before I could get to the sloper, I first needed to draft a moulage. This is a very tight fitting bodice with no ease, it fits the body like a glove. Here was my first attempt.

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Not bad by any means, but still needed a few adjustments. My back measurement was way too long and my side seam was a little high. I made the adjustments on my draft and cut out a second. Once I got my second moulage on, I realized very quickly something had gone wrong in the shoulder area. I had forgotten to add in 1/2″ to my front armhole. Whoops! So here is my third attempt.

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Much better overall, especially on the back, but still had some pesky wrinkles in the armhole area. I removed 1/4″ from the shoulder and cross front to fix it up forgot to take a picture! Well, you get the idea!

After I was happy with the fit, next comes the drafting of the sloper. This is where a certain amount of ease is added to make a more comfortable fit. The neck is brought out and down, the shoulders out, and 1/4″ – 1/2″ is added to the side seam.

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Here she is, immortalized in oak tag! I’ve already used her to help make some adjustments before cutting a muslin or two. I’ve also been reading up on pattern drafting. I’m so happy to finally have my own sloper! I don’t think I’ll ever need to buy RTW ever again!

 

 


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Weekend Reading 9/19

Posted on | September 15, 2014 | No Comments

Here are a few links that I found enjoyable this week and hope you do too! I love that knitting is back in the mix again. With the weather getting cooler, I have once again found myself in my favorite chair knitting away after dinner.

– I’m having a Fall sale! In celebration of the Autumn Equinox, I’m offering 20% off all neoknits patterns (including collections) until Tuesday, September 23. No code needed, the discount will show up when you add them to your cart. Purchase from my site here or from Ravelry here.

– Speaking of Fall, here is a resource list for how to prep your wardrobe for Fall.

– Scruffy Badger shared a great info graphic on her blog this week about textile waste in fashion and how we as makers help to reduce waste. Every little bit helps! It’s in UK figures, but I think it’s still very relevant information.

– Have you seen Ysolda has a new pattern subscription available? Each pattern promises to be a great gift for all of your knitworthy people. By the way, Christmas is only 14 weeks away!

– Brooklyn Tweed released their Fall 14 collection last week and it’s gorgeous (as if it would be anything else!) I definitely need a few of these in my life, especially Ondawa!

– Gundrun of Shetland Trader has a new book of patterns available for pre-order. I particularly like Belmont and Nikka Vord.

Happy weekend and happy knitting!

Saltspring the Second

Posted on | September 3, 2014 | 2 Comments

Three weekends ago, when my friend graciously let me takeover her apartment and use her cutting table for the day, I had two things on my agenda. The first was to cut out my Bombshell, the second was to cut out my muslin for McCalls 6696.

I figured that while I was there, I might as well cut out my Betsey Johnson fabric for my second Saltspring.Saltspring

Since Bombshell was stitched up in record time, I moved onto my 6696 muslin. My muslin was stitched up in a night and fit really well (more on that later). So that just left my Betsey Johnson Saltspring and with summer coming to an end, it was now or never.

As with my maxi version, no fit corrections were needed. The only thing I did this time around was to eliminate the zipper. The zipper is nice to have on the maxi version, but since I could easily slip it over my head without opening the zip, I skipped it this time around.

Saltspring detail

Since there is no zipper, the back can be cut out on the fold. Of course, I forgot while cutting the back that I needed to take out the seam allowance. Whoops! At least I remembered by the time I got to the lining. Thankfully, the crinkle chiffon was so light that the extra eased right in along the neck and waist without a problem.

Saltspring back

I changed up the construction order a little bit since I didn’t have a back seam and finished everything up with french seams. That’s the one thing I skipped on the maxi version, I was very lax with my seam finishing and I’m paying for it. There are little whisps of polyester at the cut edges that annoy me to no end. Lesson learned. Laziness does not pay.

Saltspring

The bottom layer is all in one piece, instead of a free hanging lining. This made it a little easier to put in the pockets. The hem is finished in the same way as the first version, but I’m wondering if I should have finished it a little differently. I feel that it gives the edge a little too much body. My husband says I’m just being my usually picky self. Actually, doing it this way was kinda taking a gamble. Two layers being sewn together, one of them being crinkly chiffon? This could have gone wrong in so many ways! My careful cutting paid off and both edges matched up and were the same length. I’m lucky the thing falls correctly at all.

All in all, love the print, love the fabric, love the dress. It may only get worn two or three times this year, but it’s one less dress I need to make next summer!

The Cutest Three-toed Sloth…in a Poncho

Posted on | September 1, 2014 | No Comments

Today we have something totally different on this little old knitting blog of mine, actual knitting!

My co-worker loves sloths. Absolutely adores them.

It just so happens that she is also a few days away from having a little baby girl. So what does a knitter do? Well, knit a three-toed sloth in a poncho of course!

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I used a variety of scrap yarns that were laying around the house, I believe there is some alpaca, cotton, and superwash wool in there. I weighed each leftover ball to make sure I would have enough for each section and thankfully I did not run out! I began this project on the train ride down on a recent trip to Delaware and had most of the pieces knit by the time I returned back to NYC.

The seaming can get a little dull with a project like this, so I was proactive about weaving in my ends as I went. I had forgotten how enjoyable knitting a small project can be. Instant gratification is a wonderful thing.

I forgot to pick up safety eyes when I grabbed the stuffing, so the eyes are little french knots. The nose and mouth are also embroidered onto the face after the knitting is all finished. I was a little worried the face wouldn’t have as much character with the french knot eyes, but it looks pretty adorable!

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The sloth was gifted to the recipient last Thursday and she absolutely loved it. She refused to let anyone take it away to put it with the other presents and carried it around the office with her until it was time to say good-bye. It’s so nice when you know something you made with your own two hands will be well loved, isn’t it?

Oui, Oui! I Made Another Dress!

Posted on | August 28, 2014 | No Comments

For my trip to Florida, I decided that not only did I need a new swimsuit, but I needed to make a new dress for the occasion as well.

Robe Lucie

I found this amazing silk hibiscus print fabric at Mood back in May and had to have it. A nice, smaller scale Hawaiian print is hard to find and this color blue is amazing. I snagged 2 yards and called it a day.

I decided to pair the silk with the Lucie dress from Republique du Chiffon. If you couldn’t tell from the company name, it’s French. It just so happens the pattern is written all in French as well. Google Translator was a big help, particularly with things like, “this pattern does not include seam allowance.”

As far as fit modifications, since it’s big and loose, there wasn’t too much to do. I cut the exact size that corresponded to my measurements, but decided to bring the back neck drop up a little bit so it was bra friendly. I also added pockets. Apparently I can’t live without pockets in my dresses anymore, and why should I have to?

Robe Lucie

I went with the added piping option, which I think looks pretty awesome with the neon yellow. The original plan for the lining wasn’t contrast, I was going for black (so predictable, I know). The first lining I picked up from Paron was a little too heavy. They did carry black china silk, but I thought it was a little too sheer. When I headed back to Mood to find black china silk, to my surprise, they didn’t have any. How could this be?? Two cute little girls came to the rescue pointing me towards this bright chartreuse color. They were doing what little girls do while Mom was shopping for fabric for their flower girl dresses. Hiding in the racks, touching all the pretty fabric, and loving the velvet. To tell you the truth they really wanted me to buy the velvet, but the chartreuse was a close second.

Robe Lucie Back

Even with the translated instructions, I decided to go about the construction in my own way. The lining is separate from the body to avoid exposed seams and I used the burrito method to clean finish the upper body. Is there an actual term for this? Maybe, but burrito works for me.

The one thing about this  pattern is the skirt is self “drafted”. I put drafted in quotes because it’s not exactly hard, it’s just a big rectangle. It makes sense since the pattern is a PDF and why would you want to waste ink and paper printing out a rectangle? I guess what bothers me is the dimensions for the rectangle are the same for every size. So the smaller sizes are going to have a bit more gathering than the larger ones. I decided to get all fancy and do french seams on the skirt, and I ended up taking out about 2″ from the total circumference. Guess that isn’t too much, but it made me feel better about myself and that’s all that matters.

Once I finished, I wasn’t quite sure what to think of this dress. I haven’t worn this silhouette since the early 90s and it threw me off a little bit. Let’s face it, it’s not exactly the most flattering silhouette out there, but that’s OK, because it’s not supposed to be. Once I got over myself, I really like the dress and want to make more. It’s probably the most comfortable piece of clothing I’ve sewn so far. Maybe I’ll make a few more versions with sleeves, perhaps a button down front with a collar. Maybe even in a sunflower print? All hail the 90s!

Bombshell!

Posted on | August 18, 2014 | No Comments

I made a new swimsuit! And I love it!Bombshell Swimsuit
The Bombshell really was a joy to sew. It went together pretty easily, fit modifications were simple, and it only took about 2 days to finish up. Also, I made the entire swimsuit on my sewing machine. Using a serger is optional!

I made a few small changes to the pattern. Personally, I’m not a girl who loves lots of gathers. I simply used the back lining piece to cut out my outer fabric for a smooth, gather-free back.

Bombshell Back

I also added swim cups. They aren’t really so much for support as they are for keeping things from getting a little too pointy. Adding the cups was covered in the sewalong here.

So what do you think? I really love it! Even though this is a full coverage suit, you can’t help but feel gorgeous and sexy in it. In fact, I’ve seen it made up by women with many different body types and Bombshell is really, really flattering on everyone.

Bombshell detail

Would I make this pattern again? Heck yeah!

Would I do anything different next time? Well, I would try not to be in such an excited rush when putting in my leg elastic. While it looks totally fine, the perfectionist in me would like it to be a little neater and more even on the inside. I know, I know, it doesn’t even really matter. I would also think about cutting up a size in the waist area only. I am between sizes on the chart and decided not to grade the pattern in the waist area since the fabric is super stretchy. It fits fine, but it would be nice to have it a tad less snug. Maybe once I get it in the water, I will change my mind. I also would watch how much shirring I’m placing in the under bust area. I have a smaller under bust and there seems to be a bit of extra fabric there. It looks fine, just feels a little loose.

I’m already planning which print I’d like to use for my trip next year. Maybe next time I’ll make a two-piece version. I may or may not have thought about moving to a warmer climate so I can wear swimsuits more often. They are addictive to make! I may have also thought about designing my own. The rabbit hole is opening………watch out!!

However, I am quickly realizing that instead of waxing poetic about swimsuits, I should be planning my wardrobe for Fall! While some of the things I’ve made so far will work in either season, it’s not quite enough to clothe me for the next few months. So far, I have a few jackets and plaid dresses planned. I’m also going to have to bite the bullet and sew up some jeans. Of course sweaters are a given! Lots to plan, lots to do!

The Journey Continues

Posted on | August 12, 2014 | No Comments

My swimsuit is progressing swimmingly. Sorry, couldn’t help myself!

Now that I’m getting into the construction of the actual suit, if there was one thing my activewear teacher never let me get away with, it was an exposed crotch seam. There is a note about this in the Bombshell sewalong, but of course I didn’t realize this until I already had my front lower body portion basted to the front lining (of course this is the first step)! I gave the exposed seam a whirl (all the time hearing my teachers voice in my head), but having an exposed seam in that area can be a little irritating. So I took out the stitching on the crotch and lower front body to redo it in a neater fashion…… and proceeded to sew the lining on the wrong way. The seam ripper is my friend.

After getting back on track, here is what the layers should look like before sewing the seam if you want a clean finish.

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In order from top to bottom, the front lining is right side down, the back is right side down, and the bottom front layer is right side up. Pin it all together at the bottom and sew it up.

After you flip the bottom front over to meet the front lining, baste it onto the lining as per the beginning of the instructions. The suit will now have a neat crotch seam finish. My teacher approves.IMG_0090.JPG

 

 

 

 

The Journey Begins: the bombshell swimsuit

Posted on | August 6, 2014 | No Comments

Way back in college, we had a class that rolled activewear, swimwear, and corsets all into one. At the time, I had knitwear on the brain, so delving deeper into these topics didn’t really excite me. Fast forward a decade and here I am sewing my first swimsuit, Bombshell by Closet case Files.

Swimwear you say? But that seems so scary!

Not one bit. I won’t even need a serger to sew up this little beauty.

I gathered together all of my supplies a few weeks ago, although Thursday night I realized the sewing machine guy gave me ball points instead of stretch needles. Doh!

I realized I better get this project going since I leave for vacation in less than two one week. I started with basting together the lining fabric to check the fit. I almost skipped this step because, hello! Lycra! But I’m glad that I didn’t since I ended up taking about an inch out of the total body length.

Here she is all basted up with my changes. I can’t wait to see what she’ll look like in the real fabric!

Lining with fit adjustments

 

Weekend Reading

Posted on | August 1, 2014 | No Comments

IMG_1203As the summer is drawing to a close, it’s exciting to see all of the new knitting patterns popping up. I feel the knitting mojo coming back to me!

Twist Collective released their Fall 2014 issue yesterday. I have my eye on a few of the cabled sweaters!

– I really like Rowan’s Fall issue. I particularly like this sweater.

Knitscene and Interweave Knits Fall issues are out as well.

– Just in case you missed it, Jared from Brooklyn Tweed wrote a 2 part post about choosing colors for yoked sweaters (but is good info for any color work project). Part 1. Part 2.

– Tom of Holland shows off some of his favorite vintage mending books.

Happy Weekend everyone! I’m off to go visit some family in Exciting Delaware!

 

 

 

 

Reflections

Posted on | July 29, 2014 | 1 Comment

 

Fabbrica, Legnano [Factory]Image by Rob., via Flickr

I can’t believe we are almost through with July and more than half way through 2014 already. This also marks a milestone in my big goal, not buying any new clothing for the entire year.

I’ve been reflecting on my goal a lot over the past few weeks: what it means, how it makes me feel, what I’ve sewn for myself, and how much I’ve spent on fabric and a bit of yarn. Let’s just say that making clothing for yourself does not involve saving money!

This article from Bust magazine was circulating around Facebook a week or two ago and it was a great reminder why I am doing this. (It’s also a great read! Go take a look if you have a minute.) As the months go by and I see that this issue is still popping up, it feels good to do my part in my own little way.

I find that I don’t miss shopping at all. Honestly, I’m not really sure I ever enjoyed shopping that much. Being in the fashion industry has taught me a few things throughout the years. Mainly, I know that some price tags don’t match with the quality of the garment. I also know how much things cost on the manufacturers end. The other reason is I’m tired of seeing the same design being copied over and over again by different stores. Boring.

Yes, higher priced clothing is more original, better made, and depending on the designer, is made in acceptable conditions. However, those clothes aren’t exactly within my budget. Maybe when I catch up on clothing making, I can save up for an amazing piece or two.

As I’ve progressed through this project, it’s getting easier and easier to see the holes in my wardrobe. It’s also been fun experimenting with different choices. In the past, I don’t think I’ve ever gone more than 4 days a week without wearing jeans. Now I find myself only wearing them 1-2 days a week tops. Working with a limited wardrobe is also less overwhelming when getting dressed in the morning.

In regards to my clothing making, I’ve been more mindful about what I will and will not wear. Since my time is limited and I can’t just pop by the store if I need something, choosing a project that will work with my lifestyle is not negotiable. Fabric choice is a part of that as well. I seem to have a love affair with printed silk chiffon (specifically by Anna Sui), but there are only so many silk chiffon dresses one can own and wear on a daily basis.

So far, I’ve made seven pieces for myself this year. In a way, it doesn’t seem like much, but a project a month isn’t too shabby. For the next half of the year, I have a few things planned already, including a swimsuit for my vacation next month! I also have a sweater or two planned along with some vintage dresses and Liberty print projects.

I’ve already started to think about next year and I’m seriously considering making this goal a permanent part of my lifestyle. My only hang up? I still might eventually need to buy some jeans!

 

 

 

 

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