Archive for the ‘Sure-Fit Designs’ 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:


Fullscreen capture 4122016 31508 PM

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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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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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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The brown jacket is nearly done.

DSC01626The facing for this kind of jacket goes from one neckline down the front, across the side and back, across the other side and up the other front to the neckline.  It is pretty easy to apply unless you sew the neckline first and when sewing the long facing around the rest of the jacket you discover that you have totally twisted the facing into a Mobius strip that nothing but a seam ripper can cure.  In situations like this it is a bad idea to set the item aside to fix later because chances are you won’t.  I grabbed the ripper right away (new behavior for me) and fixed it in about 10 minutes.  Now for some trimming and clipping and then some buttonholes and buttons.

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Finally the brown shirt is moving along.  Early rising and sewing from about 7 am to 9 am seems to fit my schedule better, and I quit when I’m tired of bending over the machine.  This type of shirt/jacket has lots of fiddly pieces, so instead of looking at the big picture, I just pick one or two units and try to finish them in one morning.  For example, the first day I sewed the bodice seams and the back yoke, then the next day did the collar and put the cuffs on the sleeves, yesterday did the princess seams, pressed the seam lines on the pockets and sewed the pocket flaps, and today topstitched the flaps and sewed the pockets.

DSC01612I don’t think I’ve ever sewn a pocket flap before.  Something new all the time in the sewing world.

DSC01613I actually already had the right color of buttons in the stash.  I also think this color is growing on me a little.

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Shirt No. 7 is already cut out and the sewing machine is threaded with with right color, but the sewjo seems to be weak this week.  This next shirt will include some features from the classic jean jacket, something I have never owned but am presently interested in.   The shirt pattern was given a back yoke and a front yoke, a curved back seam, front princess seams, curved front hems, and pockets.  I’m using a brown denimy fabric to test out the pattern.

DSC01568I have seen some pictures of ready-to-wear shirts that have the facing stitched down on the edge which adds an interesting line to the design, so I am going to try that.  If this shirt works out, I will try a version without the pockets  to use on fabrics with a busy print:

DSC01572This version can have either a collar and stand or a plain collar (which I am trying on the first version).  Since I am all ready to start sewing I should just go sit at the sewing machine and sew.

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