Thursday, July 31, 2014

Performing A Full Bust Adjustment On An Empire Waist

My MAGAM project for July is Simplicity 1916. I have sewn different versions of this pattern and although it was wearable I noticed wrinkles that indicated improper fit.  This time I thought that a FBA might improve the fit so I set off to figure out how to do one with this style pattern. I think I got it right and I am pleased with the result.  I am shariing  what I did and I hope that my experience might  help someone else who is considering this pattern or a similar style.  

I made a version of view F which is a wrap front bodice with an empire waist.  There is a front band that is gathered at center front and a sash with a rosette embellishment but I decided against the sash and rosette because I thought it looked funny (think  neck tie that only reaches mid belly).  The gathers in the center front band made the band look to short so I pulled out the gathering stitches and chose instead to leave the band flat.  I also lengthened the top since I'd planned to wear it with capris.

Here is the finished garment.


1.  Mark the bodice in preparation for FBA. 
I found the position of my bust point and then drew a line parallel to the grainline up to the bust point. Then I drew two more lines--one from the bust point to the armhole and one from the bust point to the side seam below the notch.  Note: I use this method to find my bust point-- pin pattern front and back together at the shoulders. Try on pattern making sure shoulder seam is in the correct position on my shoulder and then line up the center front of the pattern to my center front and mark the apex of my bust.  Caveat: I am not an expert.  This method has worked for me. You may find a different method that works better for you. 

2.  Slash and spread the amount needed for adjustment. In this case I found that I needed to add 1 1/2 inches to the bust after comparing my measurements to the finished measurements so I spread the the pattern 3/4 inch (1 1/2 inches divided by 2).

3.  Slash the pattern on the line at the side seam (red) and spread until the space measures 3/4 inch the entire length from the bust point to the lower edge. The dart that results will be rotated out at the pleats.  Draw another line from the point of the new bust dart to the closest pleat (blue line). 

4.  Cut along blue line up to the dart point, but not through.  Then rotate the dart closed. The dart has now been rotated into the pleat (see where the pen is pointing?)  Stay with me now...

5.  Now tape some paper to the lower edge, fold and pin the pleats in place as directed on the pattern and draw a new cutting line to mimic the original cutting line at the lower edge.
6.  Then unfold the pleats and extend the solid lines and the dotted lines (yellow).   Now extend the newly drawn cutting lines until they intersect the solid or dotted lines (I forgot to take a picture of this step before trimming away the excess paper).  You should notice that the newly drawn lower cutting line follows the original cutting lines but more length and width has been added to the pleat at center front. Now cut off the excess paper and you should get something like this

7.  Measure the amount added to the bodice to determine the amount to add to the lower front piece.
Since the bodice front alterations were located between the notch and the center front the extra width needed was added to the lower front between the notch and the center front that will be gathered).  

8.  Draw a line parallel to the grainline and cut along this line.  I also draw a few horizontal lines to use as reference points to make sure everything lines up later. 

9.  Then slash and spread the pattern apart by the same amount that was added to this bodice (in this case 1/2 + 3/4 = 1 1/4 inches).  
I also added 2 inches to the overall length so I could wear this top with capris. Extra length in my opinion is more pleasing proportionately. 

10. Don't forget to add to the front band.  I added 1 1/4 inches to each side of the center front since the front band is not cut on the fold. 

I hope this all makes sense and you find this information helpful.

Until next time...Sew something you love!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

A Quick Update

Here is a quick update of what I have been working on...

Knitting mojo has returned-- well, almost. I finished my hat...

I altered a pattern for my July garment for the MAGAM Challenge. Here is the pattern and fabric. I    will provide more details in a later post. 

Been working on other crafts not related to sewing or knitting but need to get cranking on this so that my daughter can take it to college in the fall. I know what I will be doing for the next few weeks!

Until next time...Sew something you love!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Outside of My Comfort Zone Yet Again

"You made that?!"

       "Wow, that looks like you brought it from a store!"

               "You should start your own sewing and alterations business!"

I hear this a lot.  Although I am flattered and greatly appreciate the compliments I often wonder if I would enjoy sewing for others as much as I have enjoyed sewing for  myself and my daughter.

I sew for myself because I get frustrated trying to find ready to wear clothes to fit me. I have spent hours in a dressing room only to come out empty handed and feeling down on myself because my body did not fit the clothes.  Sewing for myself has taught me that the clothes need to fit MY body, not the other way around. 

I sew for my daughter because it saves money ( think prom dress).

I have been asked if I sew for hire. My answer has been no until recently when a friend of mine asked me if I would make a strapless dress for her to wear while she was on vacation.  At first I refused but after she begged and pleaded I reluctantly gave in on the condition that she understood that I am waaaay out of my comfort zone and would not make any guarantees regarding the outcome of the finished garment; and that she agreed to allow me to take pictures and post them on my blog and in a pattern review.  

Knowing this she still wanted me to sew the dress and was more than willing to be my "guinea pig" (her words).   

I started by tracing off the pattern in the size needed.  I made a muslin and did the needed adjustments (while holding my breath and praying that they would work). After several hours of pattern alterations and sewing I am happy to report that she loved the dress and I even enjoyed the process. 

I doubt that I will ever sew for hire but I might not mind occasionally for others-- on my terms of course!

Here is the finished garment modeled by the recipient. 

Now back to my regularly scheduled sewing.

Until next time...Sew something you love.

Friday, July 4, 2014

On Becoming An Empty Nester-- Earlier Than Expected

If you have been following this blog you know that my youngest graduated this year. I had planned to spend this summer preparing to send her off to college.  We had planned to enjoy lots of mother-daughter time over the next few months. However, just before graduation, we received notice that my baby girl had been selected for a by invitation only opportunity that her father and I felt she could not turn down. So we had to rush to get her everything she needed for college a few months earlier than we thought and we had only a short time in which to do it.  So here we are-- empty nesters months before we'd planned.

Fast forward to June 24--

As we said our goodbyes outside of the dorm of the university that would be my daughter's home for the next 4 years, I thought about the wonderful journey ahead of her as she begins this new phase of her life and I couldn't help but smile. We'd done it-- successfully launched our last baby bird from the nest and she was soaring!

I must confess, a few days later I found myself missing having teenagers in the house but then my husband and I realized that we could have a conversation without being interrupted, we didn't have to cook if we didn't feel like it opting instead to go out to eat, and we had more time for each other and for our respective hobbies and interests!

Parrrrrrrrrty! Whoop! Whoop!  

Then it actually occurred to me that what I'd been dreaming about was becoming a reality.  I'd have more time to spend in the Sewing Sanctuary!  More time to explore new hobbies and interests. More time to reconnect with friends!  More ME time!

So here are some of the things I am planning to do now that both kids are in college and I have more free time to explore--

1.  Learn hand embroidery to become more comfortable with and proficient in handsewing. 

Signed up for Design It, Stitch It: Hand Embroidery class through and gathered/purchased these class materials

2.  Work on daughter's quilt for college

Began sewing blocks together. May have bitten off more than I can chew-lol!

4.  Find my knitting mojo so that I can put the "knit" back in MsKnitSew.

Cast on a hat back in January 2013.  It has been languishing among several other unfinished projects as a result of a lost knitting mojo. I picked it up again this weekend to pass the time while traveling with my husband who has returned to coaching (a passion of his).  I had a lot of time to myself while he was meeting with the team and the other coaches.  Managed to knit quite a few rows. I am currently working on decreasing for the crown and may even have pics of the finished project in the next post.

5.  Start a Smash Book

While shopping at a local thrift store I came across a sealed bag of craft supplies that I thought would come in handy and at less than $7.00 for the whole bundle I couldn't pass it up.  When I got it home and began looking through the contents of the bag I discovered this

I had never heard of these products so I did a web search and discovered another hobby that I might enjoy.  So naturally I had to investigate further. Off to Joann's (with a coupon, ahem, just in case) where I found and purchased this

It's been a little over a week and I think this empty nest phase might actually turn out to be kinda fun.

Until next time...Sew (or knit) something you love!