Monthly Archives: August 2009

Pant sloper update

I know, I know…  I never wrote up the final class I took with Kenneth King working on the pant moulage.  I just don’t feel qualified to speak on the changes he made.  And I don’t want to lead any beginner sewists astray.  Suffice it to say that I got a great fitting pair of pants out of it, well at least a muslin anyway.  However, there were no design details, no waistband, no pockets, no zipper, etc.  For my first foray into pant making, I wanted to make a pair of summer capris.  Well, this meant I needed to draft a waistband and figure out what kind of zipper I wanted.  I also needed to decide if I wanted pockets, how many and what kind.  As I am discovering with each project I take on, there are so many design decisions to make.  While it’s pretty incredible to make something so customized, I do sometimes feel a little overwhelmed with all the decisions to be made. 

My teacher Thea and I have been working on these pants for the last 3 or 4 lessons.  Working and reworking the waistband, adjusting the crotch curve, etc.  We haven’t even come to the pockets yet.  We finally have a great fit I think.  Here’s the muslin/sloper on me with the waistband and a centered zipper (please ignore how it’s crooked on my waist, I had no idea when I was taking the pictures).

final pant sloper front

final pant sloper back

I took it apart already and marked the seam lines.  I just have to iron my fashion fabric (a navy stretch cotton), lay out my muslin pattern pieces and cut away.  I am self facing the waistband.  So I will cut out 4 of the back band, and 2 each of the front bands.  I will do the centered zipper with a button closure (remember the coconut buttons I bought at Pacific Trimmings?). 

Here’s a close up of the waist band.

final pant sloper finished waist band


I won’t be able to work on it today because I am working as a race official for the Interesting Race.  It’s going to be a lot of fun!  But Sunday has been declared pant sloper day, so hopefully I’ll have an update for you all on Monday.

Happy sewing!


Another Simplicity 3678

I know I said that I wasn’t feeling like making another Simplicity 3678 again the other day, but I made another one anyway.  I tried some out some new-to-me fitting techniques.  Nothing fancy, but as a beginning sewist, it’s all about learning these different methods. 

Fitting changes:

  • Since the purple rain dress was a little tight in the bodice, I went up a size for the back bodice piece and back waistband.  Now it fits perfectly and is very comfy to wear.
  •  I also took out the back gathers which required me to jigger the width of the back skirt piece.  I kept it in size twelve but then just eyeballed how much I had to cut off the sides (while still on the fold), about a 1/2 inch, and used my rotary cutter.  All’s well that ends well, and I love it without the back gathers.

If you’ll recall, I confessed earlier to serging one of the sleeves inside out.  Well, I unpicked the serged seam which didn’t take as long as I thought it would.   Then I disengaged the knife on my serger and reserged it back on the correct way.  I was, of course, very careful to attach the second sleeve correctly. 

I like this version a lot: it’s comfy, swishy and fits well,  but (you’re probably going to get sick of hearing me say this) I am still not convinced it’s a great silhouette on me because it appears slightly maternity-esque.   My teacher, Thea saw it last night and loved it.  She said that I should make it again without the front gathers.  I want to try something new now however, so it’s not likely that Simplicity 3678 will be in the queue again anytime soon.

Here are some pictures…

final dress 3

final dress 3 back

final dress 3 side


Things I learned on this 3rd iteration of Simplicity 3678:

  • Every fabric behaves differently.  Not all knits are created equally.  Ergo, make sure to practice your stitching on scraps before sewing your garment together.  It takes time initially, but saves you heartache and time later.  Honest!
  • Don’t be disappointed when things take longer than you think.  It’s all a learning process.  Appreciate it.
  • DON’T SEW LATE AT NIGHT!!!!! Bad things happen when you sew late at night and you’re tired, i.e., sewing on sleeves inside out.

Next up in the queue, my first pair of pants (made from my sloper)!!!  I know I’ve been talking about these pants for months now, but my sloper is finally tweaked for a hip (lower than natural waist) band and I’m ready to start.  Last night, I worked on the finishing touches to my muslin with my teacher Thea.  I’ll be working with the fashion fabric for a pair of capri pants over the next couple of weeks.  I’m not a fast sewist like others out there in the sewing blogosphere.  But I will get there my friends.  I will!

Happy sewing!

Why I don’t like my Burberry trenchcoat

I love the classic look of Burberry and was really excited to buy my Burberry trenchcoat.  At the time (this was about 4 years ago), I hadn’t an inkling of my future sewing interest and knew nothing about well made clothes.  For some reason, I thought, because it was a Burberry coat, that it would be well-made.  Now I know better. 

full view

At the time of purchase, there were details I loved: the close fitting bodice, the belt, the pleats.  But now, some of those very same features are the ones that bother me the most: the close fitting bodice and the pleats.  In addition, two other “design details” are quite irksome: the famous Burberry lining and the high waist of this particular style. 


  The lining is not slippery at all (except for the sleeves) so this coat “sticks” to everything I wear.  Why would you put in a non-slippery lining???  Isn’t that an oxymoron?  The high waist on me is not very flattering; my ribcage is the widest part of my torso from all the years of singing, so why I bought a coat with a high waist is a mystery.  The belt sits on this high waist, so I can’t even cinch a more flattering waist on me.  😦  The close fitting bodice makes wearing suits to work uncomfortable. 





The pleats, which look so darling when freshly pleated, become  more unpleated with each wearing, partly due to the non-slippery lining I suspect.  This coat wrinkles like you wouldn’t believe and looks rumpled in 5 minutes of wearing.  And now to the innards…  The stupid lining hangs free from the coat and sticks to my clothes. 



hem and side seam

The seam allowances are serged with a plastic thread which breaks easily and is down right annoying.  The hem’s seam allowance is so wide that it flops down and is sometimes visible below the hem.  It just doesn’t look as nice on the inside as I think it should for as much as it cost.  Am I just being picky here?


 The sleeve lining is slippery at least.  And the buttonholes are nice.  sleeve











Anyway, I just thought some of you might enjoy seeing a Burberry disappointment up close and personal.  So now I need a new trenchcoat… preferably one that skims the body and with a slippery lining.  Am I going to make it?  I think not, because remember: I’m the stupid person who serged a sleeve with the seam on the outside.  I don’t think I can be trusted with a complex project like a trenchcoat.  😦


Please don’t say, “I told you so”.  I know I’m not supposed to sew late at night, but I did anyway and now I can’t wear my new dress tomorrow. 


Please help!  Is there a way to salvage this????  I serged the sleeve on inside out.  See picture below.

 stupid sleeve mistake

Can this be fixed?

Please tell me it can.  Please.  I really want to wear this dress this week.  I had hoped to do so tomorrow, but can’t with the sleeve on inside out.  Everything was going well, despite being super slow this time around.  I just don’t understand why it took so long.  And I still have to hem it.  But I am quitting for the night as I don’t know how to remedy the sleeve situation and I’m too tired to hem it. 

I hope tomorrow morning I will wake up and one of you kind sewing souls will have provided a solution.

I hope your sewing was more productive.

My dog ate my homework

That’s my story and I’m sticking with it.  I haven’t uploaded the pictures for my Burberry Raincoat Tell All post yet, so you’re just gonna have to wait.  I’m just sayin’.

In the meantime, you want to hear about my latest sewing travails?  Without any pictures?  Well maybe I’ll just throw in one to keep you all from flinging yourselves off the nearest precipice.  And Tanya, if you’re reading this, I promise to not make this post too wordy.  😉

So, in order to jumpstart my mojo, I cut out another Simplicity 3678, same view though as I wanted another summer dress.  This time, I made some fitting alterations.  I cut out a size 14 for the back bodice and back midriff band and a size 12 for everything else.  I eliminated the gathers on the back skirt, so therefore had to remove some of the width there. 

I am making it up in this fabric (click to “enbiggen”)…

turquoise and brown knit

turquoise and brown knit

Since I have sewn this dress two times before already (in the icky dots fabric and in the yummy purple rain fabric), I thought I could whip it out in one evening.  But noooooooo!  There were several time sinks in last night’s attempt to whip out a dress.  The firstwas threading my serger with four cones of brown thread.  I had decided to use a four thread stitch instead of the three thread one and couldn’t get it to thread properly.  It took me an hour and several attempts before it worked passably and then I had to fiddle a whole bunch with the tension.  The second time sink was determining which stitch to use for this knit on my sewing machine.  The stretch stitch puckered on this knit fabric something fierce.  I tried all stitch length and width permutations to no avail.  Then I auditioned the zig zag stitches and finally found one that worked on this fabric without puckers with a 1.5 measurement for both stitch length and width. 

Beginner sewist thoughts:  These are just some of the things that can put off a beginning sewist like me.  There are so many steps to just set up your sewing time.  If I hadn’t already “tasted” what it’s like to wear something I’ve made, I’m not sure I would persevere through this beginner phase.  The learning curve is steep and patience seems to be in great demand for this little hobby of mine.  But when I get in the zone, I guess I just keep plugging away at it.  And the payoff is pretty nice too.

By then it was almost 10pm.  But I was determined!  I knew I wasn’t going to finish the dress last night, but I wanted to make good headway into it.  I was able to sew most of the bodice together.  I have yet to pleat the front bodice and attach the front bodice midriff, but after that, it’s just the skirt and sleeves and that puppy is done!  Or at least it will be tonight.  I only made one mistake last night in my late night sewing extravaganza, and that was to leave the basting stitch length on when I topstitched the facing to the neckline.  I’ve decided to leave it that way as I don’t think it’s worth doing over at this point.  If you think I am cutting a corner I shouldn’t, please let me know.  I really don’t want to make a wadder, but I don’t think this is something major, but if I’m wrong, please show me the light.

Oops, I forgot to mention that I hacked off about a 1/2 inch on the back skirt sides just by eyeballing with my rotary cutter.  I guess we’ll find out real soon if that worked or not.  I hope it works because I really want to wear it to work tomorrow.  I bought two cardigans to wear with it, one brown and one cream.  We’ll see which one looks nicer with it.  I will try to get a picture up tomorrow with the finished result.

Until then, happy sewing!