Category Archives: Work Wardrobe

WTH!!!

People, can you see what’s wrong with the above picture (other than the crappy iPhone quality)?

Two nights ago, I tried on my tweed jumper (aka B5147) and was faced with double trouble.  Let’s just say the girls are not happy.  Now do you see what’s wrong?  There is major boob smooshing going on and not the good kind.

How did this happen?  This is my TNT folks.  Not some random pattern I picked up at a bar.  B5147 and I are going steady.  I thought there might even be a ring in the near future.  I feel betrayed!  Suddenly, B5147 doesn’t return my calls and now this!  Ok, my metaphor is losing steam here.  Seriously though…  My bust dart is about 1 inch too high (looks like I have low hanging fruit, hah!) and the fisheye dart looks too high too. 

What do I do in this situation???  Is it a simple matter of sacrificing the side seam allowances and then the dress will fall to the right level with some room for the girls?  Or do I have to actually release and lower the darts?  FYI, the dress fits everywhere else.  Just the bust is the problem.  Please let me know your suggestions.

I guess all the bad food choices and little exercise are catching up to my meager metabolism, not to mention the too little sleep I’ve been getting of late.  *sigh*  Gravity and aging are not my friends.

In disgust, I turned to knitting Jack’s sweater last night and was hit with another disaster.  My gauge swatch had lied to me and my knitting was 3.5 inches too narrow.  (Is there no loyalty with yarns and fabrics any longer?  They’re just like men!)  I had to frog the entire back and start over.   However, now I am confident I am on the right track with Jack’s sweater, although I am not entirely confident I will get either project done by Sunday when our photo shoot is scheduled.  😦  

Hope your yarn and fabrics are treating you nicer than I have been treated this week.

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I can haz two colors?

 As I mentioned in my last post, I am making some new design choices with my latest B5147 dress.  I am using a lightweight plum tweed from Paron’s as the fashion fabric, some unknown type of lining (purchased from P&S fabrics).  My thinking was that since this was tweed, I would make a more casual dress, really more of a jumper, as I know I will wear it with a shirt or turtleneck underneath it since the pattern is sleeveless.  As I was sewing the lining to the fabric at the neck, I was inspired to add topstitching to the neckline and armscye.  I thought it would punch up the sporty look of the tweed.  The topstitching combined with my exposed zipper in the back would make this dress look completely different from my silk twill version or the dressier one I made for my cousin’s wedding.

Anyhoo, getting on with it.  I had changed the thread in my machine from the yummy plummy thread to the one that matched my lining.  So when I went to topstitch, I changed it again to the yummy plummy one.  I started to merrily topstitch away when I remembered that I had read somewhere that I could use two different color threads when sewing (one color for the needle and a different one for the bobbin).  What?!?!  You don’t have to use the same color for both the bobbin and needle?  Sacrilege!  Heresy!

Cue in the gratuitous LOLcats and the muse for my post title…

image from icanhazcheezburger.com

Well, it was too late to change my bobbin thread for the neckline topstitching, but I did change it for the armscye topstitching and I love it!  I know no one will ever see it but me and my dry cleaner, but I know that it’s there and it makes me happy.  Going forward, I will make sure that drapery matches the top fabric and that the carpet matches the lining if you catch my drift.  😉 

neckline stitching on left and armscye stitching on right

In exposed zipper news, it took me a good hour and a half to two hours to insert that sucker!  But insert it I did!  I have more to discuss on the exposed zipper front, but that will have to wait until next time.  All I have to do now on this dress is hand sew the lining to the zipper tape and sew the vent/hem.  Then this puppy will be done and ready for prime time!  I hope to wear it to work this week and on Sunday when Jack and I take our annual pictures.  🙂  

Happy sewing everyone.

Feeling exposed

Saturday night I was happily sewing along on my latest rendition of B5147 in plummy tweed.  I had just finished all my darts (all six of them on the shell) around 10:30pm.  I thought for a moment about starting the darts on the lining when I realized that I didn’t have matching thread for the lining.  Quelle horreur!  Not only that, but I didn’t have a matching zipper! 

That’s the problem with having a notion stash my friends.  You just assume you have all the supplies for every project under the sun.  Well, guess what?  Sometimes you don’t.  So that was my deciding factor to pack it up for the night. 

On Sunday, Jack and I headed over to Purl in Soho to peruse the yarn selection for his annual sweater vest.  I know I said that I probably wasn’t going to make his sweater this year, but I booked the appointment for our yearly pictures and I just can’t stand the thought of not having Jack in one of my sweaters.  Call it narcissism if you must!  After last year’s debacle, I made sure to get a color fast yarn that’s easily washable.  I chose Cascade Superwash 128 in a yummy forest green and an equally yummy ivory.  I still haven’t decided how to use the ivory yet, but will kind of “feel” it as I go I think.  

Jumping into the future:  Since I am an instant gratification person, I had to cast on Sunday night to see how the yarn looked.  I’m using Ann Budd’s book for the sweater vest pattern with a few modifications.  Me likey…

in progress: back of sweater

 

Back to the past:  Unfortunately, Purl didn’t have a large selection of thread and zippers for my new dress, so Jack and I had to walk over to P&S Fabrics to get those items.  P&S is my go to neighborhood fabric/notions store.  While their fabrics aren’t necessarily the best, you can find some bargains there occasionally and they have a decent selection of notions, buttons and yarn.  I started to panic, however, when they didn’t have an invisible zipper to match my plummy tweed.  What’s a girl to do without an invisible zipper in this modern age???  (Read: I have no idea how to insert any other kind of zipper.)  Near the zipper section, P&S has a few grubby bins filled with one-off zippers, some of them regular zippers that you could use as an exposed zipper.  Since I was already envisioning this dress as more of a jumper than an elegant sheath dress, an exposed zipper might be just the ticket!  There were two that I liked in two different lengths, 18 in and 20 in.  The pattern calls for a 20 in zipper, but an emergency call to Carolyn confirmed that an 18 in zipper would do just as well; I’m not an amazon being only 5 foot 4 inches tall.  And as it so happens, the 18 inch zipper (the one at the top of the picture with the deeper purple tape) is the one I like best with my fabric. 

Of course I have no idea how to insert an exposed zipper.  And of course, I went searching on the internet for a tutorial on how to insert one.  The tutorial I like best so far of all that I found was on the Husqvarna site (click on the exposed zipper tutorial).  That’s the one I will use tonight.

I sewed the darts in the lining last night and started to attach the lining to the dress at the neck.  I had a huge moment of inspiration at that point and am adding more detail to this simple sheath dress pattern to make it my own.  But that’s a post for another day…

I know.  I’m such a tease.  😉  

Happy sewing everyone!

Purplicity

A SHORT POP QUIZ

  1. Can one really have too much purple in their wardrobe?  A: I think not!
  2.   What do my recent wool coat and my soon to be new sheath dress have in common? A: Plum thread.

 A pleasant happenstance this evening, while choosing thread for my new sheath dress, was that I didn’t need to rethread my sewing machine.  Why?  Because the thread I used for my coat was just the right shade for my new sheath dress.  I think I have just enough thread for the project too.  How cool is that?! 

I don’t know if I’ve admitted it before, but purple is my favorite color.  And while I haven’t indulged that much in it in my wardrobe in the past, I have begun to notice a purple trend in my stash lately.  Oh, I may have conveniently forgotton that one of my winter coats is purple.  And did I mention that I recently bought purple corduroy to duplicate my father’s jacket?  I don’t think I am going to use that corduroy for this jacket now though.  I mean, how can I get away with 3 jackets/coats that are purple???  That’s just a purple overload. 

I may need to join Purple Lovers Anonymous.

I made decent progress on my dress tonight.  I could have pushed my limits and finished all the darts on the lining too tonight, but I am sensibly knocking off early.  I don’t really have any thread that matches my lining and I need to buy a zipper, so I will just wait until I can pop over to P&S tomorrow and check out their selection of thread and zippers.  I like to be matchy matchy like that.  That’s just how I roll. 

Happy purplicity everyone.

A public service announcement

Do you see that big X on my new suit skirt’s vent?  What do you think it’s there for?

  • If you said it is an embroidered embellishment, YOU’RE WRONG!
  • If you said it is to keep your vent closed for modesty’s sake, YOU’RE WRONG!
  • If, instead, you said it’s to keep the skirt looking nice in the store and that one should remove the stitching after purchasing the skirt so that you can wear the skirt as it is meant to be worn, well then, YOU ARE CORRECT!!!

My friends, I can’t tell you how many times every week, I see some poor deluded soul with their skirt or coat vents still stitched up.  I just can’t believe that A) no one has told them to remove the stitching, and B) that they actually think it’s supposed to remain there. 

So, please pass along this apparently much-needed service announcement to as many people as possible.  We have an epidemic on our hands!!!

P.S.  If you deduced that I bought a RTW suit recently by the picture above,  you’re correct.  I really needed a brown suit in my wardrobe since apparently I’m still a growing girl (unfortunately).  And I found the perfect brown suit at Ann Taylor recently.  It went on sale, so I just snapped it up.  Since I haven’t perfected a TNT suit jacket yet and don’t have time to do so right now, I had to buy a suit.  This is, in my opinion, a perfect suit for me.  It’s fitted without being tight, has great yet subtle seam details, and is very slimming.  I have discovered that 2 or 3 button suit jackets are the way to go with a larger bust.  1 button jackets don’t give you waist definition and just plain make you look 20 lbs heavier than you are.  (How do I know this?  Because my last two suit purchases were 1 button jackets.  Argh!)  I feel really great in my new suit today.  🙂

A TNT it is then

And so my next project will be my TNT sheath dress, B5147.  Are you guys bored yet?  😉

Butterick 5147

 

This time I am using a tweed I purchased from Paron’s at the NY Shopping day.  I loves me a good tweed.  Remember my tweed Burda skirt and how I enjoyed pressing that tweed and what great pleats it made?  Ahhhhh….  This tweed is in the mauvish/purple family.  I know you all are shocked by this color choice, right?

I cut it out on Monday night, but was sick yesterday.  Unfortunately, I won’t be able to get to it again until Thursday, so this won’t be the quick palate cleanser I thought it would be.  But it will still be easy.  This time around I plan on making a few more changes to the TNT:

  • I added back some of the armscye that I had taken away on the dress for the wedding and will sew the side seam a little tighter right under the arm.  If you’ll remember, I showed a little too much fat in that area.  I was trying to take out the gaping there, which I did, but then ended up with a bit of a freak show as well.  I will just tighten it up at the side seam instead, thank you very much.
  • I am putting back some length to the bottom hem.  I just feel more comfortable with longer skirt. 
  • I am definitely keeping the lower neckline though.  I like it on me.  It’s still office appropriate, although I will most likely wear this with the Burda turtleneck I plan on sewing next.
  • I am also going to reduce the width of the front fish eye darts that I increased for the dress for the wedding.  Since I know I will be wearing something underneath the dress, I don’t want it hyper-form-fitting.

It feels good to be sewing again. 

Happy sewing everyone!

Muslin Surprise

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!

Happy fitting everyone!