Archive for the ‘Sewing For Me’ Category

There’s another completed shirt ready to photograph but it has been too dark to take pictures.  We are having a rainy April so far which is not the usual California weather, but we are happy about it.  The last big storm pushed our rainfall totals over the normal yearly amount.  This week there is just not enough light to photograph a garment, so I have pushed ahead with new projects.  There’s been a lot of pattern drafting and examining of fabric, but today I finally got with the program and cut some new shirts out.  Here’s the fabric that was pulled out of the pile:


I’m a little tired of making collars and stands at the moment so wanted to make a lapel front shirt like the red and white one I made but with 3/4-length sleeves.

DSC02055 and with a pocket or two:

DSC02058This would be my basic Sure-fit Designs blouse with a shirttail hemline, 3/4-length sleeves, and a lapel collar copied from McCall’s 7066.  The lapel collar is easy to sew and looks really nice.  Here it is on the red and white shirt:


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The floral shirt is all cut out and I had time to cut out a royal blue print, too.  I’m not sure of the fabric content but probably a rayon blend since it has a nice drape to it.  I’ve gradually been accumulating a collection of those big metal washers to use as fabric weights and they work very well.

DSC02054Long ago I used to have a pair of electric scissors and the scissors got a lot of use until they died of overwork, but I got another pair for a gift a few years ago and am finally getting around to using them.  I tried them out on the rayon fabric, but they are probably better for using on heavier fabrics since the lighter ones scoot around while you are trying to cut them.  Maybe they could be used to cut the thick fleece I’ve been sewing.

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Blue Print Fleece Vest

This vest was another experiment.  I narrowed the wide shoulders to see what would happen.  I like them except that the narrower shoulders change the way the very large armhole looks and drapes, but that’s an easy fix for the next version.  I’m going to raise the armhole about 1 1/2″.  Other than that, I really like it and it will get a lot of wear.



I did a lot of hand basting on this vest which does decrease the amount of ripping out I have to do.  The next project will be something cotton that is less trouble to sew.  No, wait, I forgot that I have to finish up that gray shirt first.

Now that I have four very nice fleece vests to wear on cold winter mornings, the spring temperatures will surely get warmer so that I have to wait until next winter to wear them.

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Pink Raw Silk Blouse

This former UFO sat around for years just because I didn’t feel like making the buttonholes and sewing on the buttons.  Did I say I was a procrastinator?  Finally, one day I just found the buttons and finished off this project.




I think this is McCall’s 8082:

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I’ve made lots of these shirts over the years since I used to have a job in an office where I had to lift and carry lots of heavy boxes full of documents.  This shirt looked office appropriate but had enough room for movement.  It also was modest enough for bending over and lifting things.  Why is it that large offices always seem to have That Creepy Guy Who Looks The Girls Over that you steer clear of?

Now I have an extra ziplock UFO bag that I should go fill with another cut out project.

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This morning I was thinking about the Bunka sleeve draft that I wanted to try out, and I was wishing I had the book:  http://www.amazon.com/Bunka-Fashion-Garment-Design-Textbook/dp/B004XYLRVK/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1453500755&sr=1-1&keywords=bunka+fashion+college .  I looked the sleeve up on the internet and found various instructions, and read the instructions in my Japanese sewing magazines (looked at the illustrations, rather, since I don’t read much Japanese).  Eventually I figured it out:

DSC01826  I’m interested to try it out on my blouse pattern because I had moved the shoulder seam forward and this draft seems to account for that.  This will let me match the top notch to the shoulder seam and will let the sleeve seam match the side seam again.  DSC01828

I finally made my TNT blouse pattern into a sloper of sorts by cutting it out of poster board and trimming off the seam allowances.  Now I can use them to try some Japanese sewing patterns I have saved.  The photo below shows how the sloper (the red portion) is used as the base for the new pattern.  You trace out your sloper and make the changes and additions as shown in the pattern graphic.

DSC01829Now that that is all drafted, I can start sewing a new top for M.  I cut out the Jungle Print top and cut two sets of front and back yoke pieces.  One will be the lining and one will be the right side.  It is a large print, and the color scheme of each set was so different that I took pictures of them and sent them to M so she could decide which she liked best.

2016-01-21The one on the left has more animal print and lots of black and white, and the one on the right has more teal (which she likes).  She chose the one on the left, so now I am going to go thread the machine and get started.

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Now that I have tried out Sure-Fit Designs pattern drafting system, I have decided that I like it a lot and that it really works well.  It makes it very easy to draft up a sloper to use to fit commercial patterns and to draft patterns for yourself or others that fit well.  When I was in college, I used to go to a nearby bookstore and buy the Dressmaking Magazine copies with some of my very meager spending money.  I still have all the old copies of this Japanese magazine.  I recently found out that there are copies of recent Japanese pattern drafting and sewing magazines on ISSUU, and I realized that I could use my SFD sloper to produce some of those fashions.  The magazines use different slopers including the Bunka sloper which seemed to be really interesting, so this morning I tried drafting that one.  It is very scientific and involves calculations and angle measurements which made it really different from the effortless and easy SFD method.


My Dressmaking magazines

DSC01804Starting the Bunka draft

Below is my finished Bunka sloper.  I used my real shoulder length instead of the calculated one, and used the SFD method of locating the bust point, but otherwise followed the Bunka method.  One thing that helped a lot was to do all the calculating ahead of time so that the results were already noted down when I started drafting.


I compared the Bunka sloper to my SFD sloper (which has seam allowances added and a lowered neckline) and they were very similar.


I got a little carried away printing off copies of Japanese designs I want to draft so I made up a new binder to hold them and other sewing info.


It’s like playing grown-up paper dolls with all the cutting and taping, but this time the clothes are for me.

Last weekend I was in San Jose with my husband so we stopped in at Kinokuniya.  I thought I had seen the Bunka textbooks there and wanted to get one, but alas, it turns out that I saw them at the LA branch.  I did find these excellent magazines, though, and the Pattern Magic book which has a short section on the Bunka sloper drafting technique.


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Another Vest


DSC01781-001 Just finished this one, and I threw the vest in the washing machine already.  Washing the fleece felts it up a little and makes it look a little better to me.



The pocket print is  the only pattern matching I did on this vest.


This print is a little wild but since these vests are for wearing around the house in winter, I can choose the brightest wild prints I want.  Two vests down, more to go, but right now I need a fast easy project.

I have a sort of saddle bag container attached to the end of my sewing table, and that’s where I put all the ziplock bags with cut-out projects.  Every once in awhile I’ll get them all out and look them over.  Some date back years and years.  This fall, though, I managed to finish off two of them.  One is the pink raw silk shirt that just needed buttons, and one was a light tan chambray blouse.  Right now I’m going to look through the selection again and see what else needs to be finished up.

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DSC01706All done.  This is an unlined jacket/shirt in a denim-weight brown cotton fabric.  The pattern was drafted by me using Sure-Fit Designs and an old blouse pattern that dates back about 20 years.  The sleeves are 3/4 length but for some strange reason look a lot shorter in these pictures.

DSC01710On this closeup of the front, you can see all the top stitching this kind of jacket requires.  I used the pockets from another pattern but I think they are a little too large so will go for a smaller version next time.

DSC01711It works as a shirt when it is all buttoned up.

DSC01714There is a seam down the back because I was originally going to put a back vent in but decided not to later.

DSC01709I have seen several photos of shirts with this basic form (yokes front and back, shoulder princess seams) but without the pockets, so that is what I’m going to try next.  Right now I am finishing up a gray, gold, and black fleece vest and hemming tablecloths for a Christmas gift.


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