Last night’s session with Thea was very successful. I continue to be excited about this coat. I just adore this pattern. Did I mention that it is well-drafted??? And the collar/lapel is just about as perfect as can be. LOVE. THIS. COAT.
So, I realized some errors I had made, but it’s all good. No animals were harmed in the making of this muslin. 😉 I forgot I had changed the seam guide on my Featherweight from 5/8ths to 1/2 inch, so all my seam allowances were an 1/8th off.
Oh, and I figured out why my bobbin thread kept breaking. Now this is just a theory as I have not really researched it, but I think the needle position must be in its highest position when you pull out your work. I think the way the machine works is that having the needle position high changes the way the bobbin releases the bobbin thread. Oh maybe I’m on crack here, but it’s just a theory. I experimented last night with keeping the needle up at its highest position whenever I removed my work after a seam and I had no problems whatsoever with the bobbin thread all night. So, I think I’m on to something here. However, this mild success in using the Featherweight did not convince me to use it for this coat. I am still going to use my Emerald 183. I think I need to practice on the Featherweight with less complicated, less important projects first before I sew something like a coat.
Thea helped me fit my coat. She agreed with me that the fit was basically fine but I could use some shaping in the back to remove some of the bulk there. The pattern provides a center back seam, but there is not much if any shaping in it, so we added about a 3/4 inch of shaping out from the waist tapering to the hem and yoke. It looks great now. We inserted the sleeve pretty easily. Thankfully there is not an excess amount of ease in the sleeve cap, so very little easing was required. There was also easing for the elbow which I love. Gives great shaping to the line of the arm as well as being practical for something pointy like an elbow. I should mention that I was mistaken about the pattern calling for sewing on the sleeves in the flat. I just misread them because they have you jump around the instruction sheets from Coat A to Coat B instructions.
Thea also helped me figure out how to attack the back yoke to the front and collar better. The pattern itself is missing some markings, so that was part of my problem. The other was not know how to properly sew a squarish u-shaped piece to a straight piece. I will explain that later. Ingenious method though.
Without further ado, here are the pictures of the muslin on me! I wore a suit jacket to fill out the coat a bit. I am really pleased with the fit and look of this coat and can’t wait to start cutting out the purple wool. Please ignore the goofy faces.
Note: the muslin is really stiff. the wool has a softer drape.
Again, the back will be smoother in the softer wool
There are two things I want to discuss today folks. So, buckle up!
First, my Simplicity 2311 muslin for the sewalong. Here’s a refresher on what the finished coat looks like (top left, the short camel version).
I cut a straight sz 14 in heavy weight muslin (think of it as almost like painting canvas). I found this weight to be extremely helpful to give an accurate read of how the coating would drape if a bit ravelly. It took me forever last night to get to a point where I could try on the muslin (more on why later). Essentially I got to the point where you attach the sleeves. I believe they instruct you to sew them on in the flat as opposed to in the round. But it was late and I wanted to see the fit, so I skipped that and basted the side seams.
The verdict? I. LOVE. THIS. COAT. I love the wide lapels. I love the princess seams in front. The back needs some fitting but luckily enough there’s a CB seam to play with. I think I might take some bulk out of the shoulder blade area through to the waist, but that’s about it. This coat is going to rock!!! I was scared of the princess seams, but they were really easy to sew. I didn’t need to clip anything to get them to lay flat. Weird! The collar and lapel have a great shape and lie around my neck and shoulders beautifully. And I didn’t even do the inside facing/over collar yet. This is a really well-drafted pattern.
I’ve decided that I won’t interline this coat. I’m intending it to be a fall coat, something transitional and more like an accessory rather than true outerwear. So, even though I bought cotton flannel for it, I am just going to use the purple wool coating and silk charmeuse lining for this coat. But I could totally see myself making the longer version for a more substantial winter coat next year.
I wish I had a picture of me wearing the muslin, but I was too tired and not camera ready last night, so here’s a totally craptastic shot with my iphone to tide you over.
Thea is coming over tonight to help me fit the back and show me how to sew the back to the front better. I had major problems sewing that part last night and just did a down and dirty job of it in the muslin to see how it looked on.
And speaking of problems… I had an awful time using my Featherweight last night. AWFUL!!! I almost dragged out my Emerald 183 from retirement. I couldn’t get the bobbin to wind correctly and smoothly so my bobbin thread kept getting stuck and then breaking. I have no idea what I’m doing wrong. One time when it broke, something jolted the needle thread tension discs and now they are really loose. I hope I didn’t break my “new” Featherweight. I guess the honeymoon is over. 😦 As a matter of fact, I am probably going to un-retire the Emerald 183 to sew my final coat. I don’t want to slow down the making of this coat due to machine temperamentality.
Thea was over last night and we worked on fitting my muslin for the B5147 dress. Remember how I said that it probably only needed a swayback adjustment? Well, I was completely off the mark.
If you will recall, I needed to set in the zipper better, so I basted that in more accurately and tried it on again. As soon as I saw it on me again, I knew no swayback adjustment was necessary. Then Thea went to work on helping me fit the muslin. Here’s what we did:
raised the back 1 inch (need to remember to increase the bottom by one inch to compensate)
added 1/4 inch at the side seams for a total increase of 1 inch
my left hip is much straighter in shape than my right hip so I straightened the curve and took in that side seam a little more because it was pooching out
lowered the bust dart about 3/4 inch and changed the angle a little lower as it was too high for my bust
raised the hem by about 6 inches (man! this dress is long!)
changed the back sleeve shape decreasing it about 3/8 inch
decreased the side seam under the arm about 3/8 for a closer fit (might add some back as it’s a little tight across the back)
Here’s what the muslin looks like so far. We only made the changes to one side of the muslin (my left, your right as you look at the picture), although we let out both side seams and raised the back on both shoulders originally.
It looks pretty good as is now, but I still want to tweak it a little further. I think I overfitted in some areas and removed too much ease. While I can still sit down in the dress, it’s a little too fitted looking and for my liking. Also, I still have drag lines pointing to the bust. I have solution to that (see below). So here’s what I have to do next:
add an inch to the hem of the back pattern piece to account for raising the back
add a complete 5/8 SA to the pattern pieces since I let out the side seam by a 1/4 inch
add back in a pinch at the left hip SA due to over fitting
add a little less than 1/8 inch to bust dart tapering to the point
add back about 1/8 inch to under arm SA to get better ease for the back
now that the back is raised, I have to cut down the back neck 1 inch to the original placement
So once I have made all those changes and check the fit one last time, I am ready to use this muslin as my pattern. Once I’ve made sure all the marks are made, I can cut out my good fabric. I still haven’t chosen which fabric I will use to make my first iteration of this dress. So many to choose from! But that’s a happy problem. And folks, yes, this will be my TNT sheath dress pattern. I love it!!!
Thoughts on the fitting process:
I’m really glad that I had Thea to help me fit this dress. I would never have known to raise the back at all; it would not have occurred to me in a million years.
I think you really need a fitting buddy, preferably someone who is knowledgeable, if you’re a beginner like me.
the change you need is never the one you think of initially, at least for me. This is NOT intuitive for me at all.
It’s almost never just one change. One thing leads to another to another. 😉
But the most important lesson learned? Fitted garments are flattering, no matter what your shape!
Last night I cut out and sewed up my muslin for Butterick 5147. Obviously I didn’t include a lining for just a muslin. And I have to say I count this muslin as a success!!! Sorry, I don’t have pictures yet. I just did a hasty (read sloppy) zipper insertion, so I need to clean that up before getting a real assessment of the fit. But… I think… All I need is a slight swayback adjustment and maybe some adjustment for the back neck gaping I saw. Although I will start with the swayback and see if that takes care of the neck gaping, which it could, who knows!
I was so excited at how well this muslin fit that I booked my teacher Thea tonight to help me with the fitting issues. I will take pictures of before and after so you can see the muslin.
For reference purposes, I am making view C, the black sheath dress in the picture above. Here’s the line drawing:
B5147 Line Drawing
It has bust darts and fish eye darts at the waist in front and back. I’ve never sewn fish eye darts before and did not have an easy time sewing them last night. It was hard to start them off at the right point precisely. Anyone have any tips?
So far my verdict on this dress is that it’s a real winner. I love the neckline (not too high or too low), the shaping is excellent, the ease is spot on (I tried sitting in the dress – no problems), and I think it’s very flattering (even for this post-partum body). I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. I really thought fitting this dress would be a nightmare. I thought I was going to have a nasty surprise on the sizing since I just had the 6 inch debacle last week. I cut out a sz 14 and don’t need to add any inches anywhere; just take some out of the back for the swayback adjustment. How cool is that???
I have no idea yet what fabric I am going to use. I will have to shop my stash.
I will most likely make my version with a hem above the knees to look more current with how people are wearing skirts/dresses these days. I have to confess, I feel funny about my knit dresses with hem lengths below the knees now. I am so excited about this sew along. If this dress can make a post partum chick look good I think it will make anyone look good. You have to try it out. Join us! The Butterick 5147 Dress Sew Along
Oh and one more thing… I think this dress is definitely TNT material for me. This will be a great dress for my work wardrobe. And it’s soooo easy; only 2 pattern pieces (4 including the lining).
I have been procrastinating the start of my Knip Mode skirt a la Cidell by researching FBAs (Full Bust Adjustments). There is a plethora of information out there on the interwebs and frankly, I’m drowning. Each tutorial I read brings up more questions than answers for me. (Is this sounding like a trend to you? Because it is to me.) Karen’s probably going to say that I am thinking about it too much. I have found two methods so far that are promising (i.e., I understand them). But I still have some questions.
Let me back up a bit and tell you how I came to the conclusion that I need to add an FBA to my tops. Remember when I started my TNT (tried and true patterns) project a couple of months ago with the failed pencil skirt and drape neck top disaster?
NL 6901 Muslin
NL 6807 Muslin
My teacher Thea saved the day with two of the muslins. I really like the fit of my pencil skirt now (please don’t notice that it hasn’t yet been put into production yet though). Tuesday night I tried on my NL 6901 muslin again and the pendulum has swung back into the hate territory. This muslin is not salvageable. Since I had to cut off the binding due to not being able to rip the stitches out, the neckline is too huge. Overall the size is too big, yet too small in the bust. The armscyes are huge. I think I need to go down one maybe two sizes to get this to fit correctly. However, since the bust area is already too small in this size, I now know that I need to do my first ever FBA.
Which leads me to all the research I’ve been doing this week on FBAs. I’ve found tons of tutorials for FBAs using darts for woven tops. I even found a tutorial for wrap bodices. Specifically I need an FBA tute that does NOT utilize a dart and is good for knits. I found a cheater one on Debbie Cook’s site that I think my work, but I am wondering if it would make my armscye too big. Hmmmm… I guess I just have to put the big girl panties on and try it, right? *big breath*
One question that needs to be answered first though is, how much of an FBA should I make? Most patterns are drafted for B cups. I am well into C cup territory. In all my research, I have yet to find the amount per cup you should add for going up one size. Do any of you, my lovely readers, have any suggestions as to where I can find this information? My newbie sewist intuition is 1 inch, but who knows, I could be off by a mile.
Anyway, that’s what I’ve been up to. What have you been up to?
This was supposed to be the post with the tutorial on lengthening a bodice, but instead it will be a mishmash. I thought that I had taken all the requisite pictures for said blog post, but upon writing the post, figured out there were quite a few missing pictures. So, suffice it to say, the tutorial is still forthcoming. It’s almost finished. I promise!
Also, I am dying to show you all what I made my Mom for Mother’s day, but she reads the blog, so I can’t. But since I can’t keep a secret (about presents anyway), I at least got to tell you (and her) that I made her something. And in her favorite colors (oops! that might have been a little TMI for a secret). Oh well… You’ll all have to wait to see it until she sees it. Sorry! But that’s what I sewed this weekend.
Last night, I went through my entire collection of Burdas (back to Jan 2009) looking for a great dress to make for a family wedding scheduled over Labor Day weekend. I have a few contenders and will post them later.
I also pre-treated my fabric for the Knip Mode skirt. I will start working on it this week! I had a lesson last week with Thea and we tweaked the fit of the muslin a little bit. We did really well with our drafting. Only minor tweaks were needed.
So, even though I have been radio silent the last little while, I actually have been working really hard. Honest!
Last night I sewed up another muslin of another New Look pattern, #6807, in “my” size (16). This sucker was 3 maybe 4 sizes too big!!!! How can New Look’s sizing be that kind of variable from pattern to pattern. That is just insane! Thank the gods I didn’t use any good fabric. I used the really icky dots fabric as my knit muslin.
This is what it’s supposed to look like:
New Look 6807
And this is what it looks like on me:
YUCKORAMA!!!Apologies for the blurry bathroom pic.
I am stepping away from my work wardrobe TNT project and sewing some birthday presents (don’t get mad at me Selfish Seamstress) for my nieces and nephew. I need a break from crappy pattern sizing.
I am a little late in writing this post about my lesson last week, but better late than never. And a warning – this is a long post.
If you will recall I had made two muslins recently that required either a trash can or resuscitation, The grandma skirt and the knit top from hell. That post generated the most comments I have ever received for any one post. I was overwhelmed by all of the kind words and moral support you provided as well as for all of the good ideas. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment and for putting up with my whining about my weight and pattern sizes. I’d like to highlight some of the comments:
Faye shared: “I am in the SAME boat … I still need clothes so I sew for where I am now, and will when I do lose the weight, I’ll sew for where I am then.” I know you’re right, that I should sew for the body I have now, but I don’t want to. *stamping foot like a toddler in the middle of a temper tantrum* My urge to sew is negatively correlated to how out of shape I am, unfortunately. Ugh!
Sue suggested: “… none of us are going to fit into any clothing/pattern without some tweaking.” As I shared with Karen on the phone the other night, I stupidly assumed that, after the sz 14 turned out to be too small, of course the sz 16 would be just right and would require no tweaking at all. WRONG!
Robin mentioned: “I have TNT patterns that I use over and over. When I want a new style, I work out a frankenpattern, rather than try to sew a muslin from a commercial pattern.” I haven’t been sewing (i.e., producing) long enough to have any TNT patterns yet. In fact, muslining the Simplicity skirt was my first attempt to find a TNT pencil skirt (post on TNT’s still in the works). Read on further in this post, however, for more progress on this front.
Hatty pointed out: “Oh and another thing — what’s in your construction queue — that Burda cardi/jacket thing — that’s a definite no-no unless you are feeling devastatingly attractive and tall and willowy.” OMG! You’re right! I am taking that out of the queue pronto. Thanks for saving me from some more frumpy angst!
Helen bravely brought up: “You know, underneath all the stuff about your size there is that disturbing comment about ‘not expecting to date’ for some time, which we are all politely ignoring because it is so worrying.” You are right too Helen, I should not feel that I have to be skinny to date, but while I understand that, I still can’t feel motivation to date when I don’t feel good about myself. It’s a little bit of a catch 22. But hopefully, after somehow working in working out again, I will feel better about myself and feel the urge to get out into the fray again. The problem is, though, as a single parent, it’s hard to find time to work out without having to pay a babysitter to do so. I can do it, but it’s a tricky business, can be expensive and you have to be extremely motivated work it into your schedule.
JC asked: “Did you enjoy your sew fast sew easy class? Yes, I did. I wrote a couple of posts about the projects I worked on in that class where I detail what I learned. Check them out! I highly recommend their classes. However, one of the reasons I have Thea as my teacher now is that she comes to my apartment so I don’t have to pay babysitting on top of the class fee.
Now back to my muslin disasters… I showed them to Thea and we went to work on them. For the skirt, Simplicity 2452, I just needed to nip in at the hips and down the sides of the skirt a 1/4 inch on each side seam as the waist was fine. When it was pinned to the correct size, the skirt looked exactly the way I wanted it to look: fitted but not too fitted. It was the pencil skirt I have been searching for; the grandma skirt had disappeared. Yeah! I used the french curve ruler to redraw the pattern taking it in a 1/4 inch. It was pretty easy actually. See my adjusted pattern below. So this could be my TNT pencil skirt pattern. I am going to finish up this skirt even though the more I work with the fabric, the more I dislike it and I’m going to add a lining. I want to see how it looks all finished to be sure I like this skirt pattern before I cut into any of my nice suiting fabrics. I don’t want to make any more “muslins” for this pattern if I can help it. 🙂
2452 pencil skirt hip alteration
I haven’t finished the skirt so no pictures yet. Be patient dear readers.
Next I tried on the knit top for Thea and she thought it looked just fine on me. She thought the pulling/wrinkles on the bust were part of the drape and didn’t bother her at all. She liked the top. I looked at it again with kinder eyes and just may agree. Although I am waffling on it since I still feel self conscious about my thick middle section. Thea said we could add a little more to the side seams on the front pattern piece under the arms for more room for the bust and see what happens. I think I may try that in my ugly dots knit fabric. Again, I don’t want to waste any of my nice knits on another muslin. While Thea was there, I sewed on one of the sleeves and I had my first experience of too much sleeve cap ease. New Look requires you to gather the sleeve cap before inserting the sleeve. Ridiculous! It’s a pattern for a knit fabric people! How about just drafting a knit sleeve cap that fits into the armscye? Brilliant idea. Now let’s do that from now on. I asked Thea to redraw the sleeve cap as I hadn’t a clue as to how to do that. I’ll try it out the new sleeve along with the new front pattern piece on my next iteration of this top.
6901 altered sleeve pattern piece
crappy sleeve insertion due to excess sleeve cap
lovely drape front -- best feature of the top
I thought I could salvage this top by removing the back neck facing and finishing it in another fashion, but I can’t remove the facing for the life of me. It’s on there but good. I could only get two inches unattached. I am admitting defeat with this iteration.
the gosh durned stubborn back facing
The reason why I am working so hard to make this top and skirt work is simple. TNT’s people. I need ’em. I want ’em. They’re worth the effort, the tweaking. Once I get these two patterns working for me for how I look now, (*sigh*) I can start ramping up the wardrobe factory production because I need a lot more work clothes. A lot. I am sick and tired of what’s in the rotation. I want some variety and more of it. And I want it NOW!!! And to be truthful, it isn’t hard to make these patterns work for me and my body. The changes are simple and easy, so it’s not like I am redrafting the pattern. I just became easily discouraged at first. I was focusing on the wrong thing, my body, not the fit of the pattern. Not that I shouldn’t get in shape or anything, but I can and will sew for the body I have now. It will take time and much effort to get back to where I want to be, shape-wise, and I am going to need to clothe myself in the interim. So I better get cracking!
So I am going to do a little poll with New Look 6901. I will show you a picture of me wearing the top and you let me know via the poll what you think. Deal?
Oh and I almost forgot! Thea also looked at my alhambra clover fabric that was printed off-grain. She thinks it just needs a better pressing than I gave it previously and it should be fine. Wow! I can’t tell you how relieved I was. However, I think I need a little time off from this fabric for a while before I reattempt cutting it again. We need a break from each other.
I am in muslin hell. I made muslins for Simplicity 2452 and New Look 6901 over the last two weeks. I hate them. And no I don’t have pictures. I would die of shame if you saw pictures. Not flattering is the kindest term I can come up with to describe the awfulness that is the state of these muslins.
Let’s start the discussion with Simplicity 2452. I first made this skirt in a size 14 in true muslin. Choosing the size 14 was an exercise in futility wishful thinking. I know sizes are just numbers, but folks, I really have a hard time swallowing the fact that I am a size 16. Ok, so moving on, I choked back the tears accepted my “true” size and did another test run of this skirt in size 16 with some fabric of which I am not enamored. I originally bought this stretch cotton for my Sew Fast Sew Easy class to make an elasticized waist skirt. It’s a heavier weight (read: stiff — could stand up on it’s on) with Jacquard like stripes in an irregular pattern. It’s easy to work with but the hand is not pleasant, think 70’s polyester blend. Of course it doesn’t even enter my mind at this point that the size 16 wouldn’t fit, so I didn’t baste the side seams, I just sewed them at the regular stitch length (2.5 on my machine). I hand basted the zipper in and tried it on.
All I needed to complete the picture was a cane; I looked like I was at least 20 yrs older than I am. What the?!?!??!? It fit fine at the waist, but from the hips and down past the thighs, it was poufy (for lack of a better word). Now I have to fit this size 16 to my apparently rectangular fat shape. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? Have I done it yet? NO! Do I feel inclined to do it? NO! Will it be done? Maybe. I don’t know. We’ll see if and when I feel less bitter about this skirt.
New Look 6901
Now for the New Look 6901 muslin… I made view A the drape neck top in the pretty purple rain dress remnant as my muslin. This time I “knew” to make the size 16. First let me say that the New Look directions are great! I understood every one of the steps. The drafting is great too. So let me tell you how I managed to screw up this simple top royally. I got all fancy and decided to use my serger for the construction (not just the seam finishing). The serger was not a good choice for attaching the back neckband facing. Ask me how I know. Then I proceeded to completely stretch the back neck out of all recognition by topstitching the facing after serging it. It looks like hell. The drape on the front, however, is beautiful. After serging the side seams closed, I tried on my top. Let me point out first though, before putting the top on, it looked ginormous in my hands. Like triple XL ginormous. I was scared it would be too big. However, I didn’t realize how scared I should have been, because it fit. For the most part. It fit in the waist and shoulders. Where it did not fit was in the bust. Now, I am not of the opinion that I am overly well endowed in that region. I would say that I am a little bigger than average. I wear a C cup. That’s it. No FFF cups here. Well that top was straining in the bust area with no less than three bust wrinkles. And the drape? The drape was draped BEHIND the bust wrinkles. BEHIND!!!! What the hell is up with that?? How is that even physically possible? I can’t wrap my head around it. And in case you’re wondering, the overall look of the top on me? Reminiscent of women who wear clothes that are too young for their age. I’m not that old people!!!!
I knew I had gained some weight the last two years, but I must be suffering from some sort of delusion major body dysmorphia where I think I’m thinner than I actually am. I have this picture in my mind of how I looked in 1997 and I’ve kind of frozen myself there in that year. OMG, that’s thirteen years ago! I thought it was only 5 yrs ago. Time just flies after you turn 30 I guess. Since I’ve had Jack, I’ve had this thought paradigm floating around my head that I can’t date right now. Who wants to date a woman with a toddler, or who hasn’t lost the baby weight or gained more weight as if she had another baby but didn’t have another? I can’t afford the babysitting costs required by having a social life. So in my mind why should I bother losing weight or getting into shape again if I have no social life anyway. What I hadn’t realized was just how much weight I have gained. It’s shocking to me. I guess these last two muslins have really made me look at myself in the mirror. You know how you can look, but not really see? That’s what I have been doing with mirrors since Jack was born, looking but not seeing. Looking enough to put my make up on in the morning or do my hair, but not seeing the additional weight in all its glory.
The funny thing is, I think back to when I was thin and dating and I distinctly remember thinking I was not thin. Not fat, but not thin either. It’s amazing how one’s perspective can be so skewed. Now I know that I was thin then. And now I see that I am not thin now. *sigh*
I have to start working out. There’s just no hiding that fact anymore. Even if dating is not in my near future, I still need to feel good about myself. *double sigh* Ok, I will stop writing TMI and get back to sewing. I am not trying to be all self pitying right now, I am just sharing my sewing journey and a major part of sewing is being realistic about your measurements and sewing for the body you have now, not what you wish you had. Am I making sense?
Not sure what I am going to work on next, but probably New Look 6807.
New Look 6807
Hope everyone else has a better sewing week than me.
Thank you everyone for commenting on my last post about budgeting, I have been in mourning about how much I have to cut back and it was great to read everybody’s excuse method for working sewing into their budgets. Very enlightening.
After writing about how excited I was about 2010 and all the cool stuff I want to learn and sew, my mojo promptly went on vacation. I hope it went somewhere nice and warm. Fortunately, I had a sewing lesson this week which forced said mojo to show up to work. Yeah!!!
I am currently working on Burda 11-2009-120, the super cute, tweedy, inverted double front pleat skirt. Of course, I looked up some of the reviews of this skirt on Pattern Review and there were some really helpful hints. One person mentioned it ran large. Another said that if you sew the pockets up for the belt, the opening for your hand is too small, etc. I made the muslin with my teacher on Wednesday night.
Here’s where my Nike ad comes into play, “Just Do It”. That day, before my lesson, I just didn’t feel like sewing (remember, my mojo was vacationing in the South of France or somewhere equally nice). I wanted to relax and completely veg in front of the tv and go to bed early. I was really tired. But I didn’t want to cancel on Thea and got myself psyched up. Boy am I glad I did. Can I tell you how much I love pleats? And the crisper the pleat the better. Yum! I had read that one of the reviewers did some serious clipping of those pleats at the yoke of the skirt to reduce bulk at the tummy, so Thea taught me how to do that. So cool! I would never have thought to do that and the Burda instructions make no mention of doing that at all.
So this is what you do, per Thea:
Cut horizontally right above where the end of your pleat stitching line ends, about 3/4 inch or an inch
Then cut vertically up from there to the top of the pleat.
Grade the vertical cut so that the two layers of the cut pleat are different widths
Do this for all the pleats (four in total on this skirt) so that you have four grades or levels of the cut pleat (is that the right way to term that?)
Then stitch horizontally to the end of your pleat stitching line to hold the shape of the pleat.
Later, you can tack the top of the pleat to the back of your pocket to make it even more stable. This will help the pleats to stay in place and hold their shape.
Do a dance because you have nice sharp pleats that will please you every time you look at them. (You may even take the skirt out of the closet just to look at the pleats occasionally. Really!)
So, I finished the muslin (up to attaching the waistband and sewing up the side seams) to check the fit. I cut out the size 38. Well, I guess that was wishful thinking, because there was no way I could have zipped it closed even had I inserted a zipper. Whoo boy, was this sucker small. I knew I put on a couple of pounds lately, but really! Is it really necessary for these patterns to mock me???
I will not show you a picture of the muslin on me due to fear of internet humiliation modesty concerns. Here is a picture of my beautiful muslin pleats from the right side however, for your viewing pleasure.
As for the pockets, I did not bother sewing them on my muslin. If they do end up too small to put my hands into after stitching the belt loops in, Thea suggested that I draw the scoop of the pocket pattern deeper (lower) to widen the opening. I think that will be the perfect solution to that problem. I will be tracing out the size 40 pattern tonight and pretreating my brown tweed so that I can start sewing my beloved pleats this weekend. Can’t wait! Thank goodness for the return of my sewing mojo. Yeah!!!