Sunday, December 8, 2019

Flower Power Denims!


The Age of Aquarius has dawned with this bit of clothing fun! I am not sure what to call it. Is it overalls, culottes, a jumper, a culotte jumper? You tell me. I'll stick with a Flower Power Denim for now!  It started out as a  mashup of two patterns, and ended up like this:



Then I went back to just one of the patterns and redesigned it to work for what I had in mind.  A  light bulb moment then reminded me I had a perfectly fitting wide strap bodice on another pattern and I dug that one out for the top of the garment.


I had to really lighten the above photo so you could see the topstitched seams  and detail. Hubby and I both agreed it looked better with the sash. I tried a leather belt, no belt, and a self sash. I like the sash as well. 


I cut these pant legs extra wide and long and love them. They skim above the floor a bare half inch. I know  the trend is for a cropped version and I wanted that to work but several who I asked for opinions told me straight out NO and to go long and I agreed. The proportions were just off with my shortness and shape. Picture the above about 6-9 inches off the ground. I don't think so and you get it. The pants are VERY comfortable with all their space and I may make more just in a pants version, no top. Here are more details. 

Pattern:

In the end I used Burda style 6408, a spaghetti strapped, no waistline divided pant dress and New Look 6866 (the Dandelion Dress) was used for the bodice. I did the scooped neck bodice. I relocated the dart to the neckline and gathered it. Don't you love rotating darts? It is just one of the best sewing tools you can have in your tool box and offers so much creativity.  You can see the closed dart and the open pleats on the tissue below. 


I also ended up adding to the sides seams and inseams to get more width into the legs. I did later alter the top of the side seam.  I brought it in an inch and moved it out gradually to meet the waistline. The muslin looked much better with that adjustment. In the pic above you can see wide straight neckline put in with tissue. I ended up taking this out as well and going with the scoop. Here was the final pattern, committed to oak tag as I will make this again. 


Something else I did, after cutting, was to further lower the armscye.  This gave it a more casual look.  I also did not add the back waistline darts. I wanted this pretty loosey goosey. 

Fabric:

For this project I used a midweight 100% cotton denim, washed twice. The front bodice and some of the hip and leg were stenciled with a simple floral design in various colors. I was going to use the same flower repeatedly but found the various sized flowers much more interesting. I experimented before I put any thing on the denim. I've washed my samples and the paint is in there solid as a rock. I used simple acrylic craft paint, whichever brand had the right color and traditional stencil brushes. There are no facings, or interfacings used here.  You can find more info on the fabric painting here. 



Construction:

Getting the actual pattern made required playing with three different patterns,  two muslins and lots of experimenting with paints and technique. Now I have a really simple pattern that I can use again without much thinking. 

All seams were stitched on the machine, then serged together with a 4 thread. They were pressed to the side and topstitched with the triple stitch, the one people foolishly  call a stretch stitch. It is basically a mock flat fell  jeans seam. My topstitch length was 3.5. 

The facings were serged and simply turned in and topstitched. I banged them with a hammer where layers made bulk before attempting to topstitch.  That really helped a lot. The denim had enough body that the lack of facings did no harm. The hem was serged and turned an inch and 1/2 and topstitched as well, all really simple sewing. I used a neon pink for my topstitching.  The back of the garment has an invisible zipper and a v neck, very easy to get in and out of. 


If you take away the fussy topstitching, the fabric painting and the mashup attempts with three different patterns, this is really a simple easy pattern. I am talking the original Burda Style 6408 here. 


I keep thinking of making this up in a chambray for the summer with the more drapey flowy look that you see in the pattern. Love these wide legs! Highly recommend. Just look how flowy and drapey this is in the khaki color.  It is a really simple construction. I've had really good luck with New Look patterns lately!

**************************************

My husband and I will be going to the Azores this summer, a celebration of our milestone anniversary and a gift from our children who asked where we would like to go. Right now I am studying climate and what we will be doing and needing. Do the words "vacation wardrobe" ring a bell?  If you've been to the Azores in late July early August please let me now about clothing needs or anything else, thanks so much.............................Bunny

Sunday, December 1, 2019

The Feminine Pad Making Tute, Part Two


Welcome back to part two of this pad making tutorial. We will get into the sewing and the closures and then you will be able to give this a try! 

If you look closely at the picture above you will find each pad a bit different from the other. Let's look at the lavender pads first starting on the left. You can click the pic to see it larger and closer. In the first pad you will notice the edges are pinked. I thought this would be quick to just sew wrong sides together on the stitching line and pink the edge and be done with it. I then did a zigzag on the edges as well. It's a bit rough but made it through the wash OK.  I did not like the look.  Lavender pad number 2 from the left has the separate pad on top and is double stitched all around. The pad is double stitched as well. It had the Warm and Natural in the pad. All of this made a very nice pad but a little more bulk than needed. The all pink pad in the center has pinked edges and one line of stitching. There are several channels stitched into the pad to attach it to the base. Lavender pad second from the right is double topstitched and the pad is triple zigzagged to the base. The first pad on the right is one line of topstitching and the same as it's neighbor on the left. The difference with the purple pads is that one is triple zigzagged for topstitching. I didn't like that. The following construction  has the features I liked best from all the experiments above.  It is what I felt gave the smoothest finish on the pad to go against the body with the least amount of bulk and effort. Let's Sew!

Sewing




We'll make the Base first. If you look at Pad#1 again---it is overkill and took too much time. I found 90 % of the instructions out there have you sew the Base right sides together leaving a section of the seam open to turn the Base. Then you stitch the Base closed.  You do the same with the Pad and stitch it on top. Too much time.  Also, all that extra row of topstitching adds bulk. My goal was to make this easy and quick so steps have been changed and/or eliminated. You have lots of leeway in making your own so again, do what feels right for you and experiment. 

Place your two Base pieces right sides together.  With all the curves on this critter, I found it wise to use a few pins to secure the pieces from stretching. Stitch your Base pieces together right on the stitching line you drew from your template. This is where those big awkward seam allowances come in handy. Hold on to them and STITCH ALL AROUND THE BASE. Give it a press. Trim the edges down with your pinking shears or scissors to a little over an eighth of an inch. Give one or two clips into the inside curves as well. Be careful snipping there. Now, grabbing your center of the base, separate the two sections from each other. Pull them apart in the middle.  Pinch the center of one side and fold the Base there. Give it a little clip vertically. Be careful to ONLY CUT ONE SIDE. Lay it down and go into your little slit with your scissors and cut about a 4 inch slit  down the center of the Base and use this to turn the base right side out.  This slit has to be small enough to hide under the Pad. 





Stick your fingers in the turned Base and push out the edges. I find rolling them helps. Press them nice and flat. Your Pad will cover the slit nicely if you kept it centered. Once neatly pressed you will return to the machine and topstitch once around the base between an eighth and a quarter of an inch from the edge, just one row. Press again. 




Take your Pad sections, two layers plus a PUL layer at the bottom if you are using it, and center them on the Base. Your really need the three pins as this will want to shift, even with a walking foot. You will sew the channels first on the Pads to secure it down and give it body. 


The way this pad is sewn to the base became my favorite. It makes a totally smooth transition on the edge and feels very comfortable with no sense of feeling an edge of any kind. The cross channeling helps it hold up in the wash as well. Stitch your channels with a basic straight stitch. I draw the cross on with a Frixion pen. I do the straight channels half an inch from the edge. I sew them first and the cross last. Then I go around the Pad with a triple zigzag 5.5 wide and .7 long.  Once that is done on all your pads, give them a press, clean up any stray threads and get ready for the closure. 

The Closure

I have chosen to close my pads with Kam Snaps. I did a review of this product two posts back but you can click here to see it again. There are many ways to close your pad. You can use snaps. They will require machine or hand sewing them on. You can use little flat buttons, also requireing more sewing. One tutorial I saw suggested safety pins  but the thought of that gave me the shivers and that was totally out. The Kam Snaps require buying the tool and snaps, about 20.00 on Amazon with loads of snaps, and it is easy to use. 


Your KamSnap kit will come with a sharp awl as you see above. Turn your pad, outside facing up. Overlap your two wings and about a half inch or so in push your awl through the two wings completely. Be careful not to go through the pad itself. I then rub the awl back and forth to make a big hole. Take it out. 


Install the snaps per the directions remembering there are male and female snaps and that you are overlapping. If you did it right, looking at the bottom of the pad, it should look like this above  to function. That is a female stud on the right. Here is what it looks like on the right side, the side that touches your body. That shows a male stud on the left. 


Those wings wrap around the crotch  and then snap. I have found that I do not feel them AT ALL. Once installed the snaps are quite thin.  I have also found that the pad does not move around. This may be a feature of the flannel being more grabby. I don't know. 


It you put your snaps in wrong, no problem. I did two wrong. You just cover them with a piece of fabric and give them a bang with a hammer. They will fall apart and you can pick them right off and try again, in the same whole, an advantage over metal type snaps installed the same way.  Other than that, they are really in your pad or garment tightly. They are going nowhere!

If you are looking for really deep info on all the options available for fabric in making your own pads, including heavy period pads, as well as other insights and links, here is one link I have found the most informative: Cloth Pads 101. I thank Danielle for all the knowledge she has shared.  Let me know how your journey goes and if you have any questions. 

Care

I have worn and washed and dried my pads. The flannel was well preshrunk. It did not shrink further as a pad and measured exactly the same as the ones I had not washed yet. Of course, flannels can vary, so protect your self and prewash  your fabrics 2 or 3 times. The pads do come out of the dryer wrinkly, like any cotton. I just stretched them a bit and they were fine. I am going to just let my next batch line dry and bet they are a lot less wrinkly. This did not effect their comfort or function at all. 

ETA: I worn and washed these a fair amount at this point. I've gotten the best results washing on WARM, not HOT.  I then take them out of the wash and stretch them out and smooth them and either hang them on a hanger with clips or just flatten them out on the top of the dryer and let them dry flat. They come out quite nice this way. I've had one pad shrink but it went into a hot wash and dry and with other pads that didn't shrink at all so it is specific I think t the flannel. These were all well washed before making, two or three times. 

In conclusion

I am really glad I took this journey. Thanks to all the women who have told me they have been making and using their own pads for years. Who knew? My opinion is this is easy, inexpensive sewing that more than pays for any effort involved. It helps save the planet, save a few dollars, and just feels so much nicer than the alternative. Happy Padmaking!............Bunny

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Bunny's Feminine Pad Making Tutorial, Part One





I am going to be direct in this blogpost. It is about feminine hygiene products and will involve discussion of those products  in all their variations. There will be frank commentary about our bodies and it's needs. My readers are welcome to comment and be as frank as they are comfortable with as well. So let's get started. Should anyone care to, feel free to move on. 

My Mission

My goal is to make a simple, soft mini-pad, aka, panty liner, that would be so confortable that I wouldn't notice I was wearing it. I wanted to replace the retail pads I have been buying for some time as I disliked the thought of them being used every day, like pampers, and filling landfills. I was also looking for a thriftier alternative  to replace constantly having to buy another package of pads. I wanted something totally able to  wash and dry and that would not fall apart in that process. It had to be natural fibers, for me anyway, as well.


I did not want to make period pads although that can easily be extrapolated from this process. There is also tons of info on the web to help with that need. I wanted something well made but that wouldn't take a lot of time to construct and out of natural fibers. 

Supplies

You will need: 


  • Sewing machine that can do zig zag or triple zigzag, an edge stitching foot is nice as well as walking foot capabilities but not necessary
  • Scissors, rotary cutter or craft knife.  Pinkers are optional. 
  • Oaktag for making your template 
  • Markers to draw on your fabric
  • Fabrics and thread, more on fabrics in a moment
  • Iron
  • Ruler to measure and use with rotary cutter if using



Fabrics

Before I go any further let's have a bit of vocabulary so we are all on the same page. If you look at the #1 picture further up you can see the pad consists of two parts. I am going to call them the BASE and the PAD. The Base is the large winged section and the Pad is the strip down the middle. 

This is where it really gets interesting as there are so many options. I am focusing in here on a "light"pad.  If you have had twins in your thirties like my daughter or gravity has prolapsed your organs, like myself, or need something for the last day or two of your period, this is the level of pad I am making.  These pads shown are made out of 100% well washed cotton flannel. I like it because it is very soft, very washable and easy to sew. There are two layers in the Base and two layers in the Pad. #1 above also has a layer of Warm and Natural quilt batting inside the Pad as well.  Many really like the wicking capabilities  and feel of bamboo knits and bamboo fleeces, both of which run a fair dollar amount more than Joann's Snuggle flannel bought on sale. I may give this a try but I am finding the flannel fulfilling my needs just fine. I have seen some sewists use Minky, a total poly,  and that, to me, would be hot and not absorbent, but they like the way it feels on their "area". Others use quilt cotton which frankly is a bit harsh in my opinion.  Even others use Polar Fleece for the actual bottom outside Base layer. Too hot, IMO. Another suggestion, should you go the period pad route is to use a black flannel for the top layer. Not too friendly mentally but a heck of a lot easier to maintain in the laundry. A lot of makers use the black flannel. Not sure that is my cup of tea.  Also remember that you get to decide how many layers of fabric you want your pad to have. Mine have a total of four. I suggest some experimentation before you commit to cutting out a dozen of these. 


 There is also something called PUL. It stands for Polyurethane Laminate. If you know someone who makes their own baby diapers, this is what is used to keep the pee inside and not on your lap. It has two sides, one cloth and matte and the other shiney and plastic-y. The shiney side is against your body. The matte side faces out, looking at  your feet. Some pad makers use PUL as the actual back outside layer of their pads and this certainly would be wise for period pads. It is very thin and must be covered with absorbent layers of other fabric. It does not absorb. For my own mini pad needs I would back the center strip (more later) with a layer of PUL if you feel you need it. For now I am seeing how I am doing with just layers of flannel and so far so good. My needs are mostly discharge from a vaginal moisturizer prescribed. Just know it's out there and used to prevent leakage to the outside world. I've been told you can get it from Joanns and have seen it on Amazon.  One of my dear sewing friends, an amazing heirloom sewist who has made many a gorgeous baby diaper, gifted me with this huge bag of PUL scraps. Thank you so much, Kathy. Here is a blatant plug to her Etsy shop in return. Her heirloom children's patterns are the best. Now we will return to regular programming! So know that PUL is out there.  I haven't used it yet and seem OK.  Another fabric used a lot in pad making is 100% cotton fleece, aka, Warm and Natural quilt batting. I made my first pad, per instructions, with a layer of Warm and Natural and 2 more layers of flannel. It is the #1 pad you see above. I  found it a bit bulky for my daily needs but it would be a great combo for a light period pad with some PUL in the back. 

More on Notions

Oaktag or heavy card stock that you can accurately cut is needed to make your templates for cutting. Also, if you have an 18 mil rotary cutter, this will help A LOT. They are hard to find in retail but I got mine on Amazon some time ago. They are still available there. If you don't have one a good craft knife will suffice to cut your template.  For thread, any cotton poly will do and there is no need for any special needle. I had a size 12 Microtex in the machine already and went with that just fine. I used a Frixion Pen to mark on light fabrics and a Chacoliner to mark on the dark fabric. I ironed as I went along. 

Let's get started!

Your pattern

Sorry for the mispelling on the template. 
This is your pattern/template. It is 8  inches long and 3 inches wide. The wings are 6 inches wide. I am five feet tall and 107  pounds on most days. If you feel you need more area, simple extend the length of the base. I based this size on a purchased pad I use. Make what works for you. 




Your Base template is cut out on the stitching lines. There are no seam allowances added to the template. This is because you will be tracing (not cutting) around the template for the base pieces right on the edge and that edge is the stitching line. 

I found it best to draw my base first  on 1/4 inch graph paper and then cutting it out. I could then fold it on the grid lines to find the center and make sure the curves and everything matched. Then I used that to draw the Base on the oaktag.  I cut out the Base template from the oaktag with a 18 mil rotary cutter on that stitching line. You could use a 45 mil as well.  

You won't need a template for the Pad section. 

Cutting Out

Here is one yard of flannel folded so selvedges are on the left and fold on the right. This gives you two layers of flannel on top of each other. You will be able to lay three templates across. You need to leave space in between and feel free to make it as much as you can. This space will become your seam allowance.  Draw around the template three times on the crosswise grain for three Bases. ROUGH CUT your  Bases out. When you get to the stitching part the extra leftover outside of the seamline will make it easier to sew. You will be stitching right on the line you drew. 


To cut the Pad, simply cut a two inch wide strip by whatever length you would like. I did 6 1/2  inches but may go to 7 next time. Even off your ends. This is a double layer of flannel. Take the strip and fold it in half along the length. Grab it at the end and pinch so you can cut a curve with your scissors where you see the dotted lines above. The one above is not folded in half but it's easier to get a good cut when it  is. 

If using PUL, you have the choice of making it a full layer inside of the Base or a layer inside of the Pad strip, your choice.  Think of your personal needs. Is it half a thimbleful or an occasional gush that you are seeking to hold back? This is the advantage of making your own pads, totally custom. This may take some experimentation until you get to the perfect pad for your needs but worth it. 

A bit about the shape of the pad:  Sewing the curves on this pad is the hardest part of the entire project. It is not easy to get topstitching accuracy going in and out of these small curves. There are two solutions. #1- No one will see this but you, ever, so don't sweat perfection in topstitching here. #2 - There is a pad pattern out there with no curves,  having corners at the top and sharp angled wings and if you are interested  it is called the "Cher" pattern and can be seen HERE . I chose #1. Only my hiney, washing machine and I will know my stitching imperfections and so what! It functions.  If these were for someone else, whole different story. 

Since there is a lot to this tutorial I have decided to break it down into two parts. The next part will get into the sewing and closures.  I hope you have some flannel and oak tag on hand to give this a try. Any questions? Till then,,,,,,,,,,,,,Bunny. 















Tuesday, November 26, 2019

The Kam Snapper & Me

 Kam Snapper, where have you been all my life? As a lover of all things sewing notion, this toy has eluded me. In my pad making journey, I ordered the set up you see above.  What fun! It's the most basic model and you can get it on amazon for roughly 20 dollars and that includes the tools and all those snaps.  My new toy arrived and my husband immediately showed me the pockets on two beat up nylon jackets that he wears outside a lot for yard work. They had big sagging pockets and he asked if I could Kam Snap them. I did and he is mucho happy with the results. I have found the Kam Snapper easy to use and it does not take much strength at all. Actually, if you press too hard, you can ruin the snap. 


If you really get into Kam snapping, which could happen with production bag or pad making or even lots of jacket repair, the two snappers above take less effort and are the more costly. Frankly, the basic squeeze model takes little strength and is fine for my  needs.  



You can even get decorative Kam Snaps if your tastes lean in that direction. What little girl wouldn't love unicorn snaps?  One thing about the snaps, you go through them like water after a marathon. Luckily they are available at the chains so no problem with access and like everything else in America, you can get them on Amazon. 

I will be using these on my pads, what most people use. Those pointy things crush flat into each other making the snap a smooth flat connection. They are comfortable. While they look a bit obtrusive, you have no idea they are even on your pad once you are wearing them. There are  loads of videos on Youtube out there for help on installation and all things Kam Snap.  There is even one on how to take out Kam Snaps without ruining your piece of clothing. I've already used that knowledge! You all know I have no affiliations on this blog so this is just a review from a happy customer. I found Kam Snapping fun!............Bunny 

Sunday, November 24, 2019

The Flower Power Overalls and Padapalooza......



This photo is courtesy of Tala Cloth Pads. Mine are somewhat different. 

.....won't be happening for a bit! I have two posts ready to go but totally pointless without pictures. I've taken lots of pictures but since the latest Windows update I am unable to load them or anything else onto the computer. I am so frustrated. I have tried everything I can think of and am ready for the Geek Squad unless someone out there can give me a magic potion to fix this situation. In the meantime...........

Thoughts on the Pad Production: 

 I love them. I spent three days working out the pattern to fit me and be just right. I watched numerous Youtube videos like this one:


There are lots of ways to go about sewing these. What I saw in a lot of videos was overkill. Then I saw a video that worked for me and decided that was my method. That particular Vlogger really worked out the simplest and nicest way to make the pads. I tweaked it a bit. I can't wait to show you all as it is simplified sewing, quick and easy. You don't need a serger, either. I have found these VERY  soft and comfortable. They are definitely worth making.
 ETA: Please be aware that discussions of my pad making will certainly include very frank discussion of female hygiene and such. I welcome comments that are equally frank. If it makes you uncomfortable, I am fine with that and feel free to move on. If not, let's share. 


Thoughts on the Flower Power overalls:

I am finished and I like how these came out. I found they needed a belt to look best on me and are what I would describe as "cute", not particularly boho or artsy, but fun. Angst set in over hem length but in the end full length looked best despite the fact that I really wanted the high ankle length to work. It didn't. I think I may wear them for Thanksgiving day with a white turtleneck. That sash belt will come in handy for adjusting after the big meal!

In both projects I will have a full review and particularly in the Pad post will go into lots of detail on construction and my experiments on what did and didn't work. Thanks for your patience....Bunny





Saturday, November 2, 2019

Painting the Mashup Overalls


The picture above shows one of the samples I did to work out the topstitching and the painting for what I am calling the Mashup Overalls. For the topstitching I will definitely be doing the bright neon pink thread as well as using the triple stitch. Oh, this stitch is controversial. Most sewists call it the "knit stitch". It consists of the needle going back and forth on itself three times and then having an ability to stretch with the fabric at the seam line. And why is it controversial? It sucks as a knit stitch, people, bad, I tell ya. First, it unnecessarily uses too much thread. Next, if you have ever had to rip it out and I have more than once, it is the sewing task from hell. You will swear, curse, drink wine, or whatever it is you do to express frustration but that won't make it any easier to rip out. Finally, there are many other ways and stitches one can use to stitch a seam and get it to stretch, lots. So don't use this stitch for knits. BUT,,,,, it does wonderful topstitching. What you see here are tension tryouts, stitch length possibilities, etc. It gives a really thick looking topstitch without special topstitching thread or needles. It is a slow going stitch but worth it in my opinion. So save the "triple stitch" or "knit stitch" for some great topstitching. More on this when the garment is complete.   No judgies as what is above is all experiment. 



Here is another sample. In the first photo I auditioned several paint options. 

  • Inktense Pencils. The lone red flower, bottom right is Inktense. It came out blobby, was hard to control and I could not get a solid enough color. I guess this is to be expected as it is meant for water coloring but I have had some good luck with these. It's just not for this project. 
  • Dyna Flow Paints.  I had high hopes for these paints. Sigh,,,,,,, you can't even see them on my sample. There are two flowers painted to the right of the red one just discussed. Even with textile medium, the Dyna Flow sunk right into the denim. The more I put on the more it sunk. No go. 
  • Shiva Paint Sticks.  These are the flowers above the topstitching. Not too bad but IRL, without a flash on the camera, they are rather low key. I like their glow, but they just weren't solid enough and were really hard to control. I'v painted and stenciled with oils many times. It just didn't work on this dark denim and went very slowly as well. 
  • Acrylic craft paints.  The winner! Tried and true, inexpensive, tons of colors, easy and relatively quick to use. I've had great luck over the years with these and they will work great here as well.  In the photo above all the flowers are acrylic paint. You can see they are crisper on their edges. The colors are more solid and they went on very easily. I didn't fuss with my samples but will hopefully finesse them a bit more when I paint tomorrow. 
The plan is paint a base scattering of flowers, large and small and let that dry overnight. Then I'll come back and fill in with more flowers on top.

Another issue will be the center front seam line. I am going to use a traditional leg inside of leg pant construction on this garment. But that won't work with my flowers crossing the center front seam.  My plan is to baste stitch the center front seam only and press it open. Then I will insert oaktag under the seams so my painting won't hit ridges. I will paint the front and once completed will take out the basting and proceed with a regular pants construction method. Stay tuned for more! Tomorrow is a rainy day so hopefully I will get a lot done!....Bunny

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Some Serious Muslin Making



Forgive the mosaic face. I wasn't about to let it go out on the web with apex buttons below. You should have heard my hub's comments!


I'd like to give you a pattern number but this, in the end will be a real mash-up. It's part  New Look, part Burda, a lot of my own angst and input and some retail copying. My inspiration is this outfit seen on Pinterest:




I know, nothing fancy,  but I just love it. It would be perfect for my work wear and also gives me a chance to paint another piece of clothing. I work with 4 little ADHD boys each day and they will just love it. My version will be a dark wash denim, no holes, and painted a bit differently. I don't like the horizontal endings to the painting on this garment, clearly the effect of reaching the end of a roller or such. My design will be a bit more fluid and diagonal. I hope to treat it like jeans with flat fell seaming and vivid topstitching.  What pattern do I use?

I had previously mentioned using the Rosy the Riveter coverall pattern but after taking it apart as well as searching out made versions, I found it's shape a little too Carhardt for me.  I like the loose triangle look of my inspiration. The pattern search continued until I found this one. Pattern changes did not intimidate me. I was more concerned with where the crotch would land and you can see in the inspo pic it looks pretty low. That's fine.  I found Burda 6408. It had the flow-y legs.  I could work with the strappy top and it looked feminine. 



My plan was to have a band across the top, deeply cut armholes and gathering at center front.  The way it stands was a little too cocktail-y for my tastes, even with the tee. 







Here you can see I rotated out the dart and moved it to the top of the jumper? overall? coverall? whatever it is, and planned to pleat that area like the original. Then I had one of those midnight Eureka sewing moments and went in a different direction. The first  muslin went thisaway:



I remembered I had a perfectly fitting sundress pattern and it would be much easier to just connect the Burda and New Look 6866.







Now it was down to business it must have been the right thing because everything just flowed with this effort. I connected the two waistlines and kept the grainlines matching. I rotated the dart again to the top of the neckline. Pretty much done. I sewed it up and tried it on. Let's see what we have here:






On this muslin, I did horizontal balance lines, grainlines and marked hip, waist and apexes (api?) This is how it turned out. 



Other than a small dip at the back waist , the balance lines are pretty good all around. The front hangs nicely.  Here is the side view:



The huge leg length is not helping things. And the back:



Mon Dieu! OK, let's assume from the knees down is the fault of the puddle on the floor. You can see that back waist dip here clearly. There is also extra width in the upper back. I have a narrow back. I've gone back and forth on whether to put in darts, but I am also leaning towards just wearing a belt or sash. 

What I have done to fix things. It doesn't show here but the shoulder blade area needed just a teeny bit more space. I let out the shoulders a 1/4 inch. I scooped out the front neck and there will be pleats for about 6 inches of the CF area. I dropped the armholes way down and opened them up to get the more strappy look I wanted.  I changed the back neckline profile to a scoop instead of a Vee. It now has the more strappy look of  the inspo jumper/overall. For the back waist dip I am on the fence. One little voice says to do a swayback adjustment there and call it a day. But another says to straighten the center back seam and take more curve out of the side seams. The side seams are straight on this pattern but the CB seam curves in Which you can see in the pic of the muslin with the balance lines laid out. Or, should I even do a combo of both? I have to sleep on that. Once that settles it will be cutting time and after that painting time, yay! 

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I asked my husband to take the muslin pics.  The minute he saw me in the muslin with it's apex markings, he said "Are you really going to wear that?" I then explained all about muslins! He got it. ...............Bunny











Sunday, September 15, 2019

P Words - Petite and Proportions



On the nightstand next to my side of the bed can always be found a few sewing magazines. It is my "go to sleep" reading. There is a mix but mostly they are from my collection of Threads. I have never regretted dragging those mags from home to home over the years. I know, I can get the DVD archive but I just love turning  pages and reading from them as they lay open and propped up on a pillow on my lap. A screen does not give me the same thrill. Besides, it is part of what they now call "sleep hygiene." Screens are not recommended for good sleep hygiene!



Lately I've been enjoying a batch from 2001. Wow, there were some serious and inspirational articles in that time frame, Threads at it's best! Just look at the titles listed on the cover! One article really caught my interest recently, so much so that I felt a blogpost might be the place to further discuss. The mag is issue #94, May 2001 and can be found starting on page 48. It is six pages long with lots of photos! The article is about fitting and styling for petite women. Four lovely women have been chosen and they are shown wearing their own clothing which have made and quite nicely. There are comments from them about how they like to dress and some great comments from the author, Karen Howland. 

Let's talk how petites dress and what looks best on us. I am no style expert and sometimes I just want to wear something I love that really does me no justice. I think we all have those pieces in our wardrobes. But I've lived with my five feet of height a long while and made lots of style booboos along the way.  I think I now have a good idea of what looks good with my size and coloring and how to make a pattern or design work for a petite. Frankly, I feel it's all about proportion. If the proportions are off, The perfect color won't fix that. This article reflects the patterns of the time, 2001, although I would wear the clothing of one of the women today but just change the colors and prints. I did actually find a lot about the garments similar to what women of the same ages shown are wearing currently.  Here are a few bullet thoughts triggered by the article. . I am not showing the pics from the magazine, copy write, respect for the women and all. You don't have to have read the article to get my gist. 

5'3" and beautiful Julianne Moore in a dress that is comfy and does nothing , NOTHING for her loveliness. 
  • Quite a few of the garments were quite voluminous, lots of fabric and draping and long. We see this today as well  in Lagen Look inspired patterns and clothing. IMHO, these garments swallow petite women. I tried some. They swallowed me and as much as I wanted to be the cool girl looking so artsy and like I just left the gallery, I ended up donating them all. Some were quite nice but really not doing the petite form justice. OK, some petites are short AND round but adding all that fabric just emphasizes that, IMO. Those styles can hide a lot but I have seen petite and curvy women who emphasize their curves and they look fabulous. Think fit and flare as one example. 
Sherry Shepard in a fit and flare dress that complements her beautifully. Now picture her all layered up in Lagenlook.
  • Because petites are short, their waists can seem more vertically centered than their taller sisters who may have longer legs or torsos. Looking at the Threads photos shows Bird Ross wearing a dress with a waistline just a little above normal. It just looks so good on her. I have seen this silhouette being used today and the painted top I just finished  has that "lifted" waistline. 

  •  Why does it work on petites? It gives length to the lower torso. Nothing looks good cut n half, people. When I did custom window design one of the first things I learned is to not cut the window in half. Dividing the space in thirds, fifths, or sevenths is far more interesting. Those 6 foot runway models with the blazers ending at the fingertips? That is probably a third of their length. On a petite that blazer divides the outfit in half, not a good look. 
I love this tucked in tee, great proportions and she is a curvy petite. 


That brings me to the biggy. Petites need to be aware to not divide themselves in half.  It's just not our best look. FWIW, I've done it more times than you'd think. I make a beautiful jacket, a lovely skirt, and what is wrong with this and why don't I want to wear it? Well, it cuts me in half and it just doesn't look that good even though the separates are beautiful on their own. 

Vogue 1644, show that crotch line, petites!

  • Petites are the Queens of the short top, the short jacket, worn with longer culottes, maxi skirts, long wide pants, yes. It's all about proportion. I had a pair of pants for years I wore till they fell apart and I got more compliments on those pants than any I've ever worn.  They were classic slant pocket, wide legged, almost floor scraping wool flannel pants.  The truth is that it wasn't the pants. It was the proportions of the outfit.  I ALWAYS wore them with a very short sweater, top or tucked in white, tailored shirt. My legs looked longer. I was not cut in half. I really think if you have a tummy or booty you can still wear a long skirt or pant with a shorter top like the one above. It doesn't have to be Brittany Spears short but just don't let it cut your body in half. Again, all about proportion for petite.  Raise that jacket hemline!
Vogue 9347

  • And one more comment about petite proportions: take that down to the details. Those big collars, capelets on the shoulders, pockets, etc.-----CUT THEM DOWN. Make them smaller like you are. Don't let those details wear you. Wear those details so you can shine in all your petiteness.  The grey top above is a perfect example. I would cut the collar height back maybe a half inch and definitely cut the cuffs back maybe a 1/4 inch as well. I would get the big buttons but probably in a color the same as the fabric. I almost always cut back any collar or pocket at least a quarter inch all around as the design allows. It makes a difference. Would you like to wear a voluminous dress, feel cool and flowey in the summer? I hear ya. Just cut it down so your not covered in what looks like your next load of laundry. Let yourself show. 

I would love to hear your comments on this subject or on the Threads article. Again, the clothing in the article reflects the times but Bird Ross has it all figured out. Her garments are quite different from the others but they look so great on her and SHE shines through. Being an artist she totally gets proportion and it shows in her clothing choices.  She was my fave of all the petites but I really appreciated how all the petites each had a very clear personal style.  I thank all the ladies in that article who so bravely put themselves forward and are all such incredible sewists! They are all beautiful! ..........................Bunny

Flower Power Denims!

The Age of Aquarius has dawned with this bit of clothing fun! I am not sure what to call it. Is it overalls, culottes, a jumper, a culot...