Saturday, February 6, 2016

Unit Construction

This week is our semi annual book sale at the library. The public donates books all year for the sale. The day of the sale is one of excitement and long lines. Books go for a quarter and fifty cents and the tables are quickly emptied. The books are read, and we believe often redonated, and the cycle repeats itself.

One of the perks of working in our library is getting first grab at the donations, before the sale. We stroll the tables in our down time. There are several thousand books to peruse. I always manage to find a gem or two, read them and usually donate back to  the sale. This sale I found this  great sewing book written by Coats and Clark of thread fame, back in 1967. The writing is clear and straightforward. The technical drawings are as good as they get and what make the book valuable. There are photos to enhance the technical drawings. both of which are just as relevant in 2016 as they were in ' 67.  There is nothing "fashion" related in the book so it easily applies to today's sewing with its excellent illustrations and no dated garments glaring back at you. The only drawback to this book is it's lack of organization. There is none.  It is an alphabetical compendium of techniques covering everything from altering RTW to bound buttonholes, all in no particular order. One of the things that immediately gets mentioned is Unit Construction. A recent comment in a post questioned the order of construction to which I responded that I like to use Unit Construction. I've found the explanation in this book spot on.

From the book:

"This is, however, the simplest and most streamlined way of  assembling a garment."

"The principle of unit construction is to do as much work as possible on one garment unit (garment part) before attaching it to another unit - in fact, to complete it when possible  and to complete all the small units (sleeves, collar, belt, patch pockets) first, so that work on the large ones (bodice, jacket, or other) can proceed without interruption. "

"Do all you can to one garment part(unit) before attaching it to another."

I find I like to sew this way. I get to make the fiddly parts first. This more detailed sewing is what I enjoy the most. I also find this does streamline the process and it seems the garment is completed more quickly.

This sort of construction does not work for garments that are not cut traditionally, such as the Marcy Tilton or Issey Miyake designs. But, for the basic bodice, sleeve, skirt type of garment, it works really well.

I hope this sheds a bit of light on the process. I recommend this book if you come across it. It would be an awesome beginner reference as it is so clear , both visually and verbally.

I've been missing for a bit, as well as last week's Wednesday Words. My hubby's mom passed away and we have spent the past week travelling to the Cape and attending her funeral and celebration of life. She taught me so much about running a home and was a positively amazing homemaker. Are there any real "home makers" today? The women who did not work outside of the home yet worked very hard at managing their budgets, caring for their children and make the home a place of pride, cleanliness and love?  My MIL could make Martha Stewart look  like a kindergartener. She ran her home like a well tuned machine, socks perfectly folded in every drawer at all times, sheets perfectly ironed. window treatments changed religiously every spring and fall, shelves and shelves of beautiful canned goods in her basement. She taught me how to iron a shirt perfectly and how to fold a fitted sheet so it made a mathematically correct rectangle that would fit a drawer to its edges. I have always been in awe of her skills. I will miss her much  as will my grieving husband. 

We came home and yesterday hubby went for a bone marrow biopsy. Yes, he has been having some health issues for the last year. We finally have the proper diagnosis, quality doctors and treatment. To say my sewing has been on the sidelines a bit is an understatement. I do hope to get in a bit this weekend. So if posts are a bit less regular please understand. I know you will. Here is a pic of my MIL, my hubby and myself at my daughter's graduation from dental school a few years back. I just had to share...........Bunny

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Sunday, January 24, 2016

vogue 9162, Some serious petite-ing!

 Work has begun on a new white shirt. I really liked this design by Katherine Brenne for Vogue, 9162. I like the tailored hi-lo hem as the higher front gives more leg length for me and the back covers my bum. Something about those curved hi-lo hems just doesn't appeal to me, however.  As I often advise. I took a close look at the pattern photo. Look with me here. The mandarin type collar is very deep, something that may be out of proportion to my petiteness.  The same goes for the pocket. These are intentionally large details but I think they still are not the right size for someone five feet tall and not too wide. The armscye seam is barely above the elbow.  Then there was the issue of width. I know this is supposed to be a wide bodice but I just wasn't feeling sure about it all. .  Time to flat pattern measure!

This top is 63 inches wide in the extra small size, sorry, just way to much for me. It was clear this pattern would require some major "petite-ing" to work on my frame. 

When I sew I always start with the smaller details. I took one quarter inch off every edge all around the pocket. That meant that the facing wouldn't fit. I had a brain fog moment or maybe just over thought, but something told me not to do the same with the pocket facing. Yikes, would the edges, the curve, not fit if I did?  Rather than spend time with this math moment, I cut back the vertical edges the same 1/4 inch and folded out the remaining 1/4 inch across the facing, perpendicular to the grain. It works. 

Next was dealing with that deep collar. 

Again, I folded out a quarter inch across the center of the collar, perpendicular to the grain.  Once that was made permanent by fusing a strip of leftover interfacing to the back, it was time to cut. 

In my wild enthusiasm here, I took a pic of me truing the seam for the largest size but you get the idea. The edge was trued. The seam allowance attaching to the neckline was not altered in any way.  Now for that amplified bodice! 

Nowhere on the pattern is offered finished measurements. Really, Vogue? Is it assumed that this is so stinkin' big that it doesn't matter? Well, it does matter. I am making the extra small. It is for a 29 1/2 inch bust.  I haven't seen that measurement since I was prepubescent, way pre pubie. I went ahead and measured the width. There are no pleats in the back. The bodice width at the waistline and hem is 63 (yikes!) inches and that is for the XS!. I do think I can let a bit of that go.

Four inches were taken out of the back bodice, two on each side. Then two inches were taken out of the bodice left and right, two different pattern pieces, so a minus of 8 inches total. This leaves a bodice width of 55 inches. I will live with that as this is a BIG shirt and the bodice should be wide. But when the bodice is wider than I am tall, well that's a problem. Once the width was folded out vertically the shoulder seams needed to be trued as shown in the pic above.

When all is said and done, will this swamp me? Will it look totally out of proportion? Will the ninth planet remain hidden behind the sun? I don't know the answers but we will find out soon enough, at least on the first two questions! Talk to Neil Degrasse about the third question.


I found this little number in the clearance area at Joanns. Imagine, a bound buttonhole tool! I haven't read the directions yet but am anxious to give it a try. Has anyone ever used one of these?...Bunny