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Monday, September 14, 2015

A Purple Batik Blouse

 I had decided to enter the Pattern Review Sewing Bee challenge. The challenge was to  make a fitted blouse, and to also use creative touches to make it our own. This contest looked like great fun,  and I was ready.
This challenge was intense and was to be completed by Monday September 7th, it started on September 1.

. My pattern of choice was a very lovely fitted Lutterloh blouse.  When I looked at the fit of the back on the mock up, it was loose and drapey. I panicked. I am not accustomed to pattern fails. 
 So I stopped sewing and dropped out of the contest.  I immediately contacted my sewing mentor, Sarah Veblen  to set up a consultation to make a bodice to fit my changing body.
 I could have reverted to a  TNT ( tried and true) pattern, but felt like that was not stretching myself.

Then after seeing all of your (over 100) lovely entries, I reconsidered. I decided to make my TNT blouse, which is this one that I am reviewing today. I decided this on Friday evening.  But I did not get going until the last day, Monday. On Saturday I planned  cut and mark the blouse. 
Here it is Lekala 5114 a princess seemed blouse that lends itself to color blocking.

  Actually marking was a nightmare. Nothing, not one of my marking tools would work with the batik fabric. I could not draw a good seam allowance line. So I decided to eyeball it cutting on an imaginary 3/8" line.

I fused the collar and cuffs and started to sew.
 I had three interruptions. On Saturday, the electrician came to add the extra outlet I needed in my new sewing room.
 I stopped sewing.

 I started to sew on Sunday, but there was a thunder storm, with intense lightning so I turned off all of my machines and went for a swim.
I stopped sewing.

On Monday,  the last day I psyched myself to sit and sew. I have made entire wardrobes in a day, well those days were back in the 80's! 

Since I had eyeballed the seam line, the collar did not match up well. I retraced the collar, fused on the interfacing and applied it to the blouse.

 I put the machine on the slowest speed and painstakingly sewed the top stitching. Then I  used some Stitch Witchery to hold the blouse facing in place for stitching in the ditch on the shoulder seam. I could not figure out why the facing was not sticking. Then I smelled that icky scent of melting interfacing. I had ironed the stitch witchery directly and now had a gummy mess on the iron soleplate. I had to empty the iron, and then clean it with that goopy stuff that smells like oven cleaner.

Side note, even though  iron cleaner smells like oven cleaner, DO NOT  substitute one for the other. I ruined a very expensive iron with that brilliant idea!

I soldiered on, I wanted to be part of this challenge. I wanted to complete the blouse, take photos and write a charming and entertaining review. I had to be done with my review posted on Pattern Review by 10:00 p.m.

I  inserted both sleeves, and the sleeve band on one sleeve.
I had only to apply the second sleeve band, hem the blouse and make button holes and sew on the buttons, all things that my gorgeous Janome Hotizon 7700 can do.

It was 6:30 p.m. I did not even hear my beloved come home.

When he arrived, I looked at the clock, and at my remaining work, and gave up.

  I let the blouse sit for a few days, and finished last Thursday. I got up early, had my pre-sunrise swim, drank a Lungo Intenso espresso and headed for my sewing room.
 I finished the blouse. Pressed it, jumped in the shower and raced to town to meet my coffee friends. 

I also made the shorts that I am wearing in the photo. They are adapted from my Eureka! Pants  That Fit Pattern.

The photos were taken on Saturday morning sans caffeine. We were leaving for town to meet friends at Cafe Zoe for our usual Saturday morning breakfast.
 I like the blouse.
 The batik fabric is one from my stash that I have had for decades. The black linene is part of my huge  amount of black linene.
 And the buttomns came from eBay they were billed as "New York Designer."
 All in all I like my outfit, and I have wor it a couple of times.
 I am still working woth Sarah to perfect some of the fit issues I have had in bodices of late.
 PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT. I love to hear from you.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Eureka! Pants That Fit...I Made them!

"Sewing pants is easy..."  

"...However, developing pants with a flattering and comfortable fit has challenged women for as long as women have been wearing pants..."    SarahVeblen, fit expert and designer.

This is  the re-cap of my year-long quest for perfectly fitting pants. 

It all depends on getting a properly fitted crotch curve that allows your pants to hang smoothly from buttock to hem.
 Take a look around you. Do a little “butt research” and you will see pants crumpled up under the buttocks, or full of loose folds down the leg.

  I have become so aware of pants fit, that I notice everyone’s derriere.  Sewing pants had never been an issue for me, Or maybe I just never looked over my shoulder! As I have aged and put on weight pants have become problematic.

And being involved with Pattern Review I am now more aware than ever of how pants should fit. When we post reviews, we show all sides of the garment, so now the back of pants is ever more important to me. 
I AM NOT PERFECT. But I recognize good fit.
Sew, in the Spring of 2013  I embarked on a journey  to perfect the fit of my pants. And I wanted to be able to duplicate that fit with every pair of pants. After making half-dozen wadders I finally decided to contact Sarah Veblen Sarah's Website.

And so here is a pair of pants that I call a wadder.  They are in light weight denim. They are from my favorite pattern company Lutterloh. If I had not tossed them before I started working with  Sarah, I could have fioxed them. I did not realize how close I was to a good fit.
 Look at the front and side: Click on this photo to see all four views

The back, well...I call it wrinkled elephant ass. And NO, I am not calling my ass an elephant's ass, I am referring to the way these wonderful animals look on TV! I needed to scoop and extend the back crotch curve.

Sarah has developed a pants fitting pattern and booklet, and also a well photographed book on fit. Her Pattern: Eureka! Pants that Fit by Fit for Art Patterns.

 I arranged  a FaceTime consultation with her. The day before our meeting  I  propped up my iPad and made a few test calls to my daughter to make sure she could get a good view of my  derriere.

Prior to the call,  I marked the fabric with  Horizontal Balance Lines (HBLs)  and the grain lines in  permanent blue marker on front and back. I constructed the pants, leaving out the zipper and making no darts. I then called Sarah and did some slow twirls for her. She analyzed the wrinkles and dimples ( in the FABRIC) and told me some things to change.

 OK, so the first darts are in this one. I cannot find that first iteration. It was over a year ago and two computers have come and gone since then!

  I disconnected, sat at the machine, did what I was told and called her back. We did that for an hour, and then again on another day for an hour.
After those two sessions we reverted to emails and photos. And Sarah would make changes on my photos and send them back. It was painstaking and precise.

Sarah's notes

The fit in front was fine from the beginning, the back took a long time.
 I gave up a few times and brooded.
  Sarah was always patient, always encouraging. She would thank  ME for doing the work. She reminded me how close I was to a perfect fit.
 Here is s composite showing the progression of the fit. I left out a bunch of mock-ups. Do you really want to see that much of my patootie. Kim (bares it all) Kardashian I am not. Click on the photo to see all FOUR views

 Throughout this process, my Beloved  was by my side taking photos, pinning, encouraging. He was on vacation, and his days were spent helping me.
 He quickly learned what a good fit was, and could see the progress.
 On the day that I achieved a near-perfect fit, I cried, he cried.  He said,
“I feel like I would if you have just been told that the cancer diagnosis given to you was a mistake.” 

So now that you have suffered through the ugly shots here are my bragging photos:

Here I am at the Salvador Dali museum. I made the tops as well.
 And my white linen pants:

  You can see that I am an extreme hour glass, I am 5'1' and need to lose a lot of weight, but I was able to achieve a wonderful fit.
Here are the first fully lined linen pants with a crocheted lace bottom. I made over a year ago, they are a knock off a Chico's pant.

And my polka dot batik pants I made last month

after a year of no sewing:
I have lost some weight. Not enough to change the fit.
 I love these pants.
I cannot say enough good things about Sarah.
 She never mentioned my weight. In fact she complimented my curves. She always encouraged me, and kept me going to the finish line.

Consider how much money that you spend on fabric, patterns, notions, sewing machines.  Spend some time and money on the Eureka! Pants that Fit  pattern. You will never sew a bad pair of pants again.

I lost this blog post twice and I am now racing against an impending thunder storm. I feel it is so important for women of all sizes to learn how to properly fit pants, I just kept re-writing this blog. Consider how much money that you spend on fabric, patterns, notions, sewing machines.  Spend some time and money on the Eureka! Pants that Fit  pattern. You will never sew a bad pair of pants again.