Archive for July, 2015

Still working on the pumpkiny-colored 3/4-sleeve blouse, but only have the hem and buttons left to do.  In the meantime, work continues on a casual unlined jacket pattern for myself.  To get to my goal, several patterns have contributed parts to make the pattern for the jacket I wanted.


This old pattern is my starting point.  I wanted to improve the fit on this so used it as my first try using the Sure-Fit Designs System.


After refining the fit, I looked at several jacket photos to see what style collar and sleeves were needed.

DSC01372DSC01371DSC01370So, I wanted 3/4 or long sleeves, a collar, and princess seams. In order to turn the bodice with darts into a princess-seam bodice, I used this book which has very good instructions on how to do this.  I love this book and use it often.DSC01367DSC01369

There were several old patterns in the stash that had collars that might work but for a first try this is the winner:

DSC01364 DSC01365-001The collar pattern has the look of the jackets in the photos and the long sleeve has a dart and looks slim enough, though you can never tell for sure from a drawing.  I measured the neckline of my bodice and adjusted the collar to fit, then grafted the sleeve onto my SFD sleeve cap.  Don’t know yet how it will work, but it will be fun to try it out.  At least I know the basic shape fits me.

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Every time I have made a shirt or blouse for myself, something was off with the front width across the upper chest.  I could never figure out how to fix it until I tried out the Sure-fit Designs system.  I made a bodice blueprint and used it to alter my favorite blouse pattern.  I ended up with the best fitting shoulders and front I have ever produced.  So hurray for Sure-Fit, totally worth the money.  After this success, I tried several other adjustments, one for a forward shoulder and one rolling the sleeve forward a bit.  That seems to have worked, too, and then I tried changing the darts to a princess seam, also very nice.  I spent the whole week my husband was away on a business trip playing with patterns trying different necklines and sleeves and hems.  Time to stop playing with paper and start sewing.

DSC01348My first try was a heavy chambray or very light-weight denim.  This one has regular darts which are in the perfect position thanks to Sure-Fit, though they are now hidden by the pockets.  All the seams were topstitched, and the sleeve cap seam is flat felled.  The collar turned out to be about 1″ too short around the neckline, and since this version of the front does not have any extension for lapels, the collar and lapels look a little skimpy.  This was probably due to my lowering the neckline a bit and forgetting to enlarge the collar pattern.  Oh well, still wearable, and that’s why we make muslins.

DSC01347Having decided that the neckline could be lowered a bit more, I made yet another front pattern and adjusted the collar and stand patterns to fit.  This next blouse will have 3/4-length sleeves and a collar and stand.  Here it is waiting for attention:

DSC01345The ultimate goal is to make not only shirts but some lightweight jackets in bright fabrics like these:

DSC01350DSC01352DSC01351The key is to use a simple shape with beautiful fabrics.  If you have lovely jackets, you can just pop on jeans and a tank or T-shirt with a jacket on top and you are all set.

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Blue Shirt

The first new work shirt for A is done.  She was home for the 4th of July holiday so we used the opportunity to fit the pattern to her liking.  She wanted the front of the shirt to be more fitted and shapely but also wanted the back to have enough room for the reaching she needs to do in her job as a scientist.  She also thought there was too much fabric in the sleeve caps, so I tried a new technique I had just read about to reduce the sleeve cap ease:

I reduced the ease to somewhere between 3/4″ and 1″ total and it worked fine.  The sleeve was easier to sew and obviously fits the armhole better.


DSC01334 The original pattern did not have a collar with a stand, so I used the pattern that came with my Sure Fit Design kit.  I liked the collar pattern very much since the collar seems to be just the right size for the look I wanted.

DSC01327I still have to raise the side dart about 1/2″,  but that will be for the next shirt.  For a muslin, this is very wearable, and I hope that the general public does not go around looking at people’s bust darts.

Now I am working on a chambray work shirt for me to test out my Sure Fit Designs drafted bodice.  It will be interesting seeing all those measurements I took put to use.

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