Week 49: Still muslining

I am still working on my Lilliana muslining. I decided to go ahead and start over with the smaller size on the front, since I felt like there was too much going on in the front and I couldn’t figure out how to fix it. I had to true up the lengths between the two, since the size 16 actually had a longer side seam than the 18. In case you’re curious, here’s the difference between the straight and curvy blocks in Seamwork patterns (the one on top is a size 16, and the one on the bottom is a size 18. The 2 inches of added length on both is the only adjustment):

I did a full bicep adjustment to the sleeve, and then since I was using two different sizes on front and back, I had to add 3/8 inch to the sleeve seam at the front in order to get it to match up for sewing:

I decided to pin baste the muslin instead of sewing basting it until I have a pretty good feeling about where the seams actually need to be. So far it’s pretty clear I still need a full bust adjustment (although smaller than the one the size 18 has built in, I think). The shoulder seam also seems pulled really far forward, but I’m not sure if that’s because the bust is tugging it forward or if the shoulders are just strangely positioned on me, so I’m going to go ahead and do the full bust adjustment and then re-evaluate.

Without the sleeve set in, the back seems like it’s hanging fine, maybe a little too loose at the side. It’s possible that the sleeve was tugging itself and making it seem like the back was binding, and the full bicep adjustment will fix that? I’m hoping, anyway. I am almost certain that my ridiculously large broad back adjustment in the last muslin was a mistake, but we’ll see what happens when I finish up the main body adjustments and add the sleeve. (The temptation to add princess seams to the front and the back for better fitting is very strong.)

Goals for next week:

  • Keep on fitting… hopefully finish…. man I hate fitting
  • If fitting gets to be too much, I have some flannel owl sheets I got at the Bins that I’m pretty excited to turn into PJs – that would be a nice, relaxing project, haha.

Week 48: Lilliana muslining

I don’t exactly have any good pictures, because muslining is not super exciting. But I did actually cut everything out, baste it together, and then start the horrible process of trying to fit myself.

Before even sewing up the muslin, I tissue-fit (well, paper-fit) the pattern and made a few changes:

  • lengthened the whole body 2″ since it was supposed to hit just below the waistline and it really didn’t
  • lengthened the sleeve 1/2″
  • moved the bust point in about an inch
  • increased the seam allowance at the center back and side seams to 1″.

I also measured everything and myself again to make sure everything was big enough and had enough ease, and everything seemed fine, but as soon as I put on the muslin I knew I was gonna have to do some work.

My starting problems with the initial muslin:

  • Very constricting around the back/shoulders – I couldn’t pull my arms forward comfortably
  • It was about two inches longer in the front than in the back
  • The bust dart seemed a bit low – probably moreso because the dart is pressed down and is visible through the muslin
  • The front just felt too big in general
  • It felt like it was sliding back on my shoulders, like I needed to keep pulling it down to sit properly (I actually have this problem a lot with RTW, so I’m looking forward to figuring out which adjustment I can make to fix it).

The adjustments I’ve tried so far:

  • An enormous broad back adjustment (two inches either side, so four freaking inches total), which I probably need to convert to just a broad upper back adjustment since the waist now has way too much fabric on it. The upper back is about right, though. (Four inches?!!)
  • I tried pinching up some fabric at the underarm to do triple duty – bring up the hemline in front, raise the bust dart, and reduce the armhole depth to improve movement. This improved the look of the front, but made the arm constriction worse, so I undid it.
  • I noticed that the shoulder seemed a little low, like it was pulling off my shoulder, so I moved the shoulder point in a bit less than an inch to hit my shoulder bone.
  • The neckline seemed really wide, so I added about an inch to the inside of the shoulder.
  • Raising the shoulder dramatically improved my mobility (yay!), but the arm still seemed a bit snug and there were some drag lines like the sleeve was twisting. I decided to try slashing the upper arm to put in a full bicep adjustment, and that seems to be helping, although I’m still in the process of getting it pinned in the right place.

It’s pretty horribly frankensteined at this point, and I’m still not sure I’m addressing the right issues. I’m thinking about doing a round back adjustment (that might help the shorter back hem), and reducing the broad back adjustment amount (I still feel like four inches can’t possibly be right, all my fitting books seem to indicate that 1 1/2″ is the normal max addition – so maybe there is something else going on there).

The good thing is that this pattern is extremely simple, so the adjustments to it aren’t hard to implement. It’s just that I’m still really bad at fitting myself. I actually signed up for a fitting class at the Portland Fashion Institute in February where they will try to help you figure what sort of adjustments you need, so that should be helpful. I mean I hope I’m done with my jacket by then, but I’m going to try to get a fitting sloper fully fitted in the class so I can at least have a starting point for other patterns.

In the non-muslin front, I ordered some swatches from Mood for lining fabrics, since I don’t have enough lining-type fabric in my stash for this project (or at least nothing that will match). After seeing some recommendations online, I think I’m going to stitch a few little swatches of my fabric to the lining swatches and have it test dry-cleaned, in case the linings bleed. I love the dark, colorful linings, but I’m really afraid of, say, bright blue lining dying my white fabric blue when I get it cleaned. My swatches haven’t arrived yet, so it’s going to be awhile before I can actually get started on the jacket, even if I can finish up with fitting this week. (I have plenty of other projects waiting in the wings that I can get started while waiting, though.)

Goals for next week:

  • Keep fitting! Work up the second muslin to check changes.


Week 47: Underwear & Grocery Bag

Well the last part of the underwear, as expected, was a ridiculously quick sew. Batch-working these seems like the way to go. My yard of cotton jersey got me three pairs total, so next time I buy a yard for underwear I might just make all three pairs at the same time and save some time.

I know I said I was just going to cut the fabric for my bag this week, but my sew-jo came back and also Thanksgiving weekend came up and things




out of control.

I was so worried about being able to sew and cut through this nylon, but actually it cut beautifully and the major sewing problems I had were (I’m fairly sure) related to the thread, not the fabric. Sewing through the D-ring tabs (four layers, plus whatever I was stitching it to) was the hardest part, and definitely getting those attached around the bottom curves of the bag was a challenge, but basically the whole thing just went extremely smoothly, and now I have a nice grocery bag with sturdy seams and the ability to turn into a backpack for those long walks home with heavy stuff!

There were a few moments of confusion with the pattern, but in general the pictures explained most everything without me needing to use a ton of my Japanese skills (although they were nice to have as a backup). I like the book a lot, and will gladly use it when I want a new backpack.

I also sort of went a little overboard on Craftsy classes during the Black Friday sale. (Even though $17.87 isn’t that much better than the $20 sales they have all the time, I know.) I bought the last two of the Alison Smith Tailoring classes because I love every class she’s taught and also I’ve always secretly wanted to do tailoring, along with some others that either had been on my wishlist or just sounded appealing in the moment after a few beers.


That brings me to my next project! Ever since I got this fabric in Japan, I’ve been envisioning a short, tailored coat for it. I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted with the style, and I wasn’t sure exactly how I needed to prep it, because it’s a very loose weave and I knew I was going to need to know before I started on it. But after watching the Structure and Shape class I’m feeling like I have a basic idea of where to start, at least, and then Seamwork’s Lilliana pattern came up when I was looking for a jacket pattern, and while it’s not exactly what I want, it’s close enough and a simple enough pattern that I think I feel comfortable making pattern modifications to get it there. (I’m going to add a lining and facings, more structure in the shoulders, and probably patch pockets because a jacket without pockets is no jacket at all.)

I’m going to start with a muslin, because I’ve had shoulder fitting issues on every top I’ve made, so better to get that over with in cheap fabric before hitting the good stuff.

Goals for next week:

  • Get this new pattern printed
  • Make any pattern adjustments I know I’m going to need right off the bat
  • Cut out muslin

Week 46: Underwear and More Fabric

I was totally planning to have those underwear done, but then my sister got me back into Skyrim and all my time was built killing draugr and building my virtual house, so the only part I actually finished was the enclosed gusset.

Pattern matching on underwear is for chumps - or at least people who care a lot more than I do.

Still, it should be pretty quick (if mildly annoying) to attach the elastic and finish these up.

My friend EV came to town today for my birthday weekend, and we made a trip to Fabric Depot that wound up being the entire afternoon – mostly just gawking at stuff, because while Fabric Depot isn’t far, it’s not nearly as close as Joann, so I don’t get over there very often. (I’m going to have to change that – FD has a much better selection. It’s probably worth the extra time to get over there if I’m looking for anything that isn’t extremely basic.)

My haul:

I decided that my next project is going to be that bag from the Japanese bag pattern book, done up in red ballistic nylon with navy accents. I briefly looked up needle types for ballistic nylon and am now terrified of this project, but I have all the pieces now, so it’s going to happen!

Just searching for the notions was exciting, since all the lengths were in metric and I don’t convert very well in my head. Then I bought piping and I’m still not sure if that was supposed to be nylon cord instead? Since something is being fed through into a cord stopper, but then something was also being covered with fabric? Anyway I really didn’t know which one I needed and I didn’t want to be mid-project and have the wrong one, so now I have both cotton piping and also nylon cord. I’m sure I’ll find some use for the one I don’t use.

Goals for next week:

  • Finish off the underwear (this time for sure)
  • Cut out parts for the backpack

Week 45: Selene, complete!

It’s done!

The hem is actually straight, I promise. I just can’t resist looking at that bias tape hem.

It’s been so long, I barely remember working on anything else. And although I’ve made this pattern before (the version without pockets), my unfortunate pattern adjustments made this one of the hardest projects to date. I’m frankly amazed it’s wearable at all! But actually, it mostly lays smoothly and I suspect I’m the only one who will see the problems. Plus I love some of the details – the pockets are great, I love the gold topstitching, and I am super proud of my hem now that it’s done.

In hindsight I probably should have gone with a quarter inch seam on my first pass attaching the bias tape, but I don’t really mind the wider strip there.

Lastly, I cut fabric out for two more pairs of underwear from my heart and skull knit fabric – which leaves me with just small scraps now – the first of my fabric stash I’ve officially used up.


Goals for next week:

  • two pair of underwear
  • ponder the next pattern

Week 44: Selene Waistband

Continuing the theme of this project, I had some issues with the waistband. Namely, after I’d gotten the pieces sewn together and went to pin it to the skirt, it was too small. By a lot. I… almost ragequit at that point, but I am so close to done with this thing that I persevered.

The finished waistband, all topstitched like real jeans.

One of my cutting mistakes was that I cut the two back waistband pieces doubled, which actually worked out in my favor here, since I was able to use those. I just had to cut out the center front piece again. And then since I’d had some problems getting the fusible interfacing to actually fuse, I opted to cut out some of my reclaimed muslin and use it as sew-in interfacing. (I can’t bear to just toss my old muslins, so I have them and and all my muslin scraps stashed in a box. This is the first time I’ve actually used them, haha.)

So it turned out that I’d somehow cut the waistband at the right size to begin with, and the previous adjustments I’d made to try to make it fit were totally wrong. I was within about 1/4″ of where I needed to be. The notches didn’t all line up exactly, but they were close enough, and nobody’s going to know but me.

I topstitched the waistband in that gold denim topstitch thread, and even poor Ethel was struggling with the number of layers at the bottom corners. I had to hand-crank my way through some of the harder parts since the needle kept failing to come back up. Then at the last corner, when the thread finally broke about half an inch from the end, I realized that I still had the universal needle in from when I was doing stuff with the lining. The jeans needle worked a lot better to get me through that last stretch. Good lesson for next time I use denim.

The inside of the skirt. Almost done! I do really love this fabric combination.

Now that the waistband is done, I’m on the home stretch – I even hemmed up the lining with no problems, and got the skirt vent hemmed at 1 1/4″ as instructed. I was going to finish all the hemming today and be down to just the thread chains (to connect the lining and the shell) and the hook and eye, but then I decided that I’m going to do bias tape over the raw edge of the hem instead of the blind hem treatment recommended. I did a blind hem on the sloper skirt that was in a similar weight fabric, and it’s really way too bulky. I’ve been considering re-hemming the sloper skirt as well – it’s that annoying.

So sadly, that means there’s one more week left on this project. But then it’s done forever and I can move on to a quick and easy project next. (Wait, wasn’t this supposed to be a quick and easy project?) I already know what it’s going to be: underwear. I tossed two pairs recently and that means it’s time to make some more.

Goals for next week:

  • Finish Selene! (Bias tape, hemming, hook and eye, thread chains)
  • Cut out fabric for 2-3 pairs of underwear

Week 43: Zippers and Interfacing

Hemming up my sister’s dress took longer than expected, mostly because trying to even out the gathering on that big a circumference was so time-consuming. It isn’t totally even, but I didn’t say anything about it and she didn’t seem to notice, and she said it was the perfect length, so hooray!

I french seamed it, because it was rayon and prone to fraying, and after one wash the factory seam was already coming out, so I decided to make it extra enclosed.

Today I tackled the lined zipper, which was a massive pain (as expected). My pattern adjustments hadn’t taken into account the need for the left lining to be slightly smaller than the outside, and even though I’d attempted to compensate when I initially sewed the lining, it clearly wasn’t quite right after my first pass at stitching the lining and zipper together. I wound up putting the seam for the center back at about 1 inch on the left, and the right back at about 3/4 inch. It’s definitely not perfect, but it’s the lining – if it is still too loose I can add a tuck all the way down to tighten it up and nobody will notice. It’s not that snug of a pencil skirt.

Contrast topstitching the lapped zipper was terrifying, of course, and I had to re-stitch a section in the middle where it had gone off the stitch line when I closed up the zipper. I opted to topstitch the vent in a dark blue instead of the gold, just because I felt like it would look weird in gold.

Lastly, although I know I had “cut out interfacing” on the docket for weeks ago, I skipped that step, and I’m glad I did – I had to make some significant changes to the back waistband pieces to make it match up to the actual skirt, so I transferred those changes back to the pattern before I cut the interfacing. I’m still not sure about how well it’s going to match up, but I guess I’ll find out pretty soon here!

Goals for next week:

  • Attach the waistband

I’d really like to finish off the whole skirt, but I’m trying to keep my stated goals very attainable, haha.