Duct tape fitting double

This week in my class at ‘Workspace Fashion and Design School‘, Sarah helped me make a duct tape copy of ME!

Yes, I agree. These are not very flattering shots. I will spare you with the worst, but this is how the afternoon unfolded.

There is plenty of information on the web about how to do this. We used cloth duct tape initially. This type of tape doesn’t stretch so it will give a firm base. A bonus is that you can just tear it, so you don’t need scissors to cut the lengths. Next we used regular duct tape, which behaves very differently. It stretches and can therefore be moulded around curves a lot easier. Unfortunately it requires scissors to cut and it tends to stick to anything you don’t want taped, such as hands, scissors, table etc. The best thing about this kind of tape is that it gives a smooth finish.

 

 

Sarah then cut through one shoulder of the cast and down one back princess seam to be able to get it off. It was a simple to stick it all back together again and then we began a process of stabilizing it by cutting out cardboard shapes to fit the neck, armholes and the bottom section. Sarah was a wizz at this, eyeballing it and getting the shapes right first time every time. These cardboard pieces did help the body to retain its shape, however, I need to stuff it full of newspaper/wadding/? to preserve it.

Sarah warned me against using expandable foam. It is very hard to control and creates a horrible mess, so I’m not going to go there. There are some funny examples on the internet of how the foam process can go horribly wrong.

 

I bought som PVC tubing and a T-joint to build an internal framework, just need to find the saw! I also plan to use some cardboard under shoulders, décolleté and back probably with some wadding to prevent distortion. I’m also thinking of stuffing the boobs with some 80’s style shoulder pads.

Do you have any other suggestions of how to preserve my dummy?

I also need to give it a name. Sarah suggested Dolly because it is like a big doll and Its for dressing and undressing. So far I haven’t thought of a better name, so I think that will be it.

 

 

‘Couture’ Jeans

Well…… maybe I am stretching it a bit calling it ‘couture’ as there is no hand stitching, and as to being classed as jeans? It can probably be debated too, but regardless, I am really happy with my creation.

 

I purchased the Kenneth D King Craftsy course on how to copy your favourite jeans. The sad thing is that I don’t have a favorite pair of jeans to copy, so I just watched the technique, and moved on.

Recently, I learnt how to draft my own torso block pattern at Workspace Fashion and Design School. I already had Winifred Aldrich’s book ‘Metric pattern cutting for women’s wear’, but never had any success drafting my own torso pattern, so the book was put away on top shelf.

 

I decided to try drafting my own skirt block using the book and what Sarah had taught me. I took my own measurements as that is relatively easy on the lower half of the body……. It seemed to fit really well!

Next I tried drafting The Classic Tailored Trouser Block, and again it seemed to fit. I took both my trial muslins along to my next class with Sarah, and she agreed. They fitted me, and no alterations were necessary!

Can you imagine how excited I was?

I was on a roll. Next I tried drafting The Very Close Fitting Trouser/Jean Block. A few minor corrections were necessary on this block, but I was able to do this myself.

Now the test. What would they be like made up in a fashion fabric? I had a cotton sateen sitting on my shelf and I had always wanted to use it for pants. But jeans? It did not have enough body for jeans and the fabric was prone to creasing. What if I underline the jeans? Ridiculous idea! People don’t underline jeans!

Well, I can do what I want to! ….. And I did!

I used tips gained from Kenneth D King’s class during the construction. The underlining is a light cotton shirting, and it is doing its job in preventing a lot of the creasing and the fabric now has a body and richness it didn’t have before. My jeans feel so luxurious to wear.

A few more photos, although it is hard to see the details in the dark and busy print.

 

 

Now I just need to make a new (many) top to wear with the jeans instead of this ten year old shirt. My wardrobe is seriously lacking ……. everything!

 

Look what I’ve got….!

In recent years I have struggled with achieving a good fit. In fact I have had so much trouble that from time to time I have given up.

I then spend an incredible amount of time shopping for well made, flattering clothes, that actually fit me. Fail again. You would laugh if you saw my wardrobe – there is hardly anything there. I refuse to spend money on something that either strains everywhere or that covers me like a sack without any shape.

In frustration I return to my sewing machine and try again.

This pattern keeps repeating over and over again. Does anybody feel the same, or is it just me?

Enter ‘Workspace Fashion and Design Studio‘ run by Sarah. The best thing that has happened to Perth in a very, very long time.

I now have my own torso block pattern.

 

I tried to create this myself using various sources of instructions, but without a sewing partner to assist with measuring and correcting the fit – it failed.

I have at different times approached sewing teachers, but they all wanted to fit me into ‘their’ block pattern, rather than look at my particular measurements. Sarah, however, is very different. This is from her ‘About me’ page on her website.

“I have more than 20 years of experience in every aspect of design, from costume design to fashion, both ready to wear and bridal couture, printing, dyeing and quilting . So if you are wanting to learn pattern making or sewing, you have come to the right place!”

We are lucky to have her in our midst.

Whilst on her web page, have a look at her blog to see what is happening in her corset making class. Pure magic!

Sarah measured me and then proceeded to teach me how to draft my own torso block pattern. Once made up in calico, the fitting process began. Sarah’s expert eye quickly determined where my problems were and how to fix them. She taught me how to make adjustments and before long a second muslin was prepared and the the fine tuning of the fit was done. The end result is my very own personal block pattern.

 

I am so excited!!!!!

Now I am learning how to use the block patterns to create my own designs or copy something I have seen in shops or magazines.

More to come …

 

A year has passed …….

Time flies when you are having fun.

And I’ve had fun!

I ran and finished the Perth Marathon in June 2013 – granted, I didn’t finish in a very good time – but even so, I was the second woman in my age group 60-65. I’ve got to be happy with that. This was my first ever marathon.

No, I’m not doing another! All those months of training? No, definitely NO!

This was just something I’ve had on my Bucket List for many years. Tick!

Perth Marathon 2013

I am not an artist, far from it, but that doesn’t mean I can’t play around with a pencil and paper, pretending….. I have taken a couple of workshops/classes in portraiture and even ventured out joining a life drawing group for a couple of months.

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I won’t be specific. Just know that I did a lot of travelling this last year, both within Australia and overseas.

Have you ever wished you could play the piano?

Me too, so I have been talking lessons and …. I don’t practice enough …. but it is fun trying. I have never played a musical instrument before and therefore can’t read music ……. so there is a lot to learn! I can’t tick this one off the list just yet, if ever!

I did, however, managed to tick off another item on my Bucket List. I walked the Camino de Santiago in May and June this year. I wrote a blog along the way, and if you are interested go and look here.

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I also did a little sewing as an invitation to a wedding came in and of course, I had nothing to wear.

This is from the latest Marfy catalog, pattern number 0303.

I had never heard of Marfy till I read some blogs and I became interested. I like a lot of their designs. The postage from Italy to Australia for a heavy catalog is steep and although I initially wanted catalogs from the last three or four years, I soon changed my mind. The catalogs are also available in the US, but they don’t ship to other continents.

As usual I had a lot of trouble with fitting and ended up doing three muslins before I had an acceptable pattern to work with. I used a Thai silk, which I underlined with silk organza and basically followed the couture method as demonstrated by Susan Khalje in her Craftsy course The Couture Dress.

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I am reasonably happy with the end result although there is definitely room for improvement.

I still haven’t conqured the perfect fit.

BUT, I’m back working on it!

Chasing the perfect fit #1

I have been trying to achieve a fit that I can be proud of for many years. The difficulty I have is the reason that I have had many on and off again love affairs with my sewing machine. I am now retired and have more time. Therefore this is the time for me to overcome my fitting problems.

I expect it could be quite a journey, so I have labelled this post #1. Lets see if I can achieve, if not a perfect fit at least one that is acceptable – but of course I would love perfection – wouldn’t you?

I have been following many blogs over the last year and I have learnt so much from other people. Thank you everyone. I think I would have given up were it not for your amazing creativity and inspiration. Many of you have difficult fitting issues too, but you overcame those hurdles – congratulations! I want to get there too.

I saw Bunny of La Sewista! giving pants fitting a go using the Sure-fit Design system. I deeply admire Bunny’s creations, so when I saw she wanted to improve her pants fitting using SFD, I was sold. I ordered the three kit package – pants, dress and shirt.

I have now had a couple of days to work on my first muslins and I will post the pictures although such photos never look good, hopefully something can be learnt.

First the pants. I have achieved acceptable fit for jeans and stretchy pull on pants, but I want to make more dressy pants too.

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I emailed these exact photos to Glenda of SFD last night, and this morning I had the following answer (I also emailed other photos dealing with the bodice and skirt, and I will cover that in a separate post). I must say I am very impressed with her speedy reply and attention to my specific issues – thank you Glenda:

“I’ll address the pants first. Initially, you are off to a good start.  If these are supposed to be ‘regular’ pants vs. jeans fit – they are too tight.  Even though you are pretty straight from your waist down, you are getting drag lines toward your high hip and at the bottom of the back dart.  Go to the next size high hip dot, and you can test this by simply letting out the seam a little from the high to the low hip.  They are a little tight there too.

 

The back crotch needs to be scooped out and re-shaped.  If you have the new Jeans DVD this scooping is covered in the fitting section of the DVD.  If you don’t have that, watch this video – P.6.6 How To Refine the Back Crotch Fit for a Dropped Buttocks – Droopy Butt

 

Also, if that doesn’t eliminate all the folds under your butt, then you may want to consider doing this Fish Eye Dart for a Flat butt – P.6.5 Drawing a Fish-Eye Dart in Pants Back for a Flat Backside

 

Another reason why they are looking so bunchy in the leg is that the fabric looks to be a little stiff and you don’t have your hem in or the creases in place.  This all makes a difference to how that leg will look.  If you have the Pants Fitting Course on DVD, please watch that.”

I will now work on Glenda’s suggestions and follow-up with more photos when that is done.

Lene

Easy pants and tops

I am working on different styles of pants in the hope that I will eventually have a set of block patterns for any type of pants I want to make.

This time I tried the Style Arc Linda pants.

This is the second time I am trying Style Arc and the first time did not go well. I attempted to make the Robin design, a simple top for summer, but the pattern didn’t fit me and there were too many changes needed to keep me going. It ended up in the scrap heap.

This time I had a lot more success I think.

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The Linda pants are simple pull on pants made from stretch fabric. I had some lovely firm dark blue fabric in my stash – and there was just enough.

Instead of making a muslin – how do you make a muslin for stretch fabric when you only have woven fabric that you are prepared to sacrifice? – I cut wide seam allowances. My pattern was in a size 12, but apart from the waist, the pattern fitted quite well and the waist was easy to fix with the wider seam allowance.

The pattern suggests that you insert a wide elastic in the waistband, but that is optional. I didn’t have any suitable elastic on hand so opted to go without. I am now sorry I didn’t hold out. After wearing the pants a few times, the waistband has stretched a little and they don’t feel as secure. I think I will fix that.

I am also wearing a new top. This is Vogue 8323, which I have had hidden in a shoebox for a long time. It was time to get it out. I have a broad back and wide forward sloping shoulders which gives me a lot of grief when making any top or dress in woven fabric. Knits are so much easier to fit. I fit the shoulders first, allow a very generous side seam allowance and then pin it in little by little till I get a good fit. This pattern was easier than usual, as the princess seams gives room for an easy FBA. I am very happy with the result, although I think the waist still needs taking in.

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Finally, I dug out a top that I cut out about a year ago and never finished. It was hidden away in a box with other questionable projects. I sewed it up and decided to add a collar to bring the neckline in a bit and to make it a little more cosy. The fabric is a sweater knit that looks very matted close up (which I no longer like), and the collar is from a remnant of cotton knit. I used Vogue 8771 which is a large loose design, so no fitting issues here. I added the bow to make it a little more interesting.

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As I said – I don’t love it but it is nice and warm, so it will probably get some wear.

I used a total of 4.90 m from my stash.

PS: I ran my first ever marathon last Sunday week and although I didn’t finish in any fantastic time, I still managed to come second of women in my age group :)

PPS: How do you like my new hair style? It is meant to be straight, but all the blow drying and ironing only lasts a few hours before the natural curls kick in. At least it is soft against my face.

Jeans – or not?

I have never attempted jeans before, but looking at my stash – there is a lot of denim as well as other lengths suitable for jeans. As you have all seen on my Jacket post - my current jeans are in a sore need of replacement.

So I grabbed my stash of Burda magazines and found a pattern that looks a lot like jeans – although they were not named as such. It was issue April 2010 – 120.

Pants never fit me straight out – I expect many other people have the same problem – so I made muslins. This is my first one:

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I won’t bore you with all my adjustments. Instead here is my first pair of jeans style pants. They are by no means perfect, but I feel they are good enough to wear. I think I need a little more fabric across the front, and I also feel I need to lower the waistband a little more in the front. I would really value your comments regarding fit, as that is always my problem.

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I am happy with the top stitching – the design on the pocket is VW – a nickname my husband gave me meaning Viking Woman – not the car!!!!!!

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I forgot to give the centre back seam the jeans treatment – oh well, next time :)