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Wednesday, 22 January 2014

The Knit For Victory Twinset

Tasha at By Gum, By Golly is hosting a Knit For Victory Knit-Along

Now this twinset is not actually a Forties pattern, I would say more Sixties going by the illustration...

...what are those ladies looking at I wonder!  I thought, however, that as twinsets were popular in the Forties this would have the right feel and be in the spirit of the knit-along. 

I do have an earlier twinset pattern...

..but it calls for 3 ply yarn. The other pattern calls for double knitting which is more my kind of speed.  I had started this project before the knit-along was announced but it was less than 50 percent complete and I was glad of a deadline to get it finished!

I love how it has turned out.  

I particularly like the jumper.  It fastens with a 4 inch zip and I was worried that this would be itchy on the shoulder seam, so I made the zip a little cover from part of a felted commercially made jumper I had given to me.

It is surprisingly comfortable to wear.

I don't think the buttons are vintage.  I think I purchased them at an indoor market somewhere but I'm afraid my button tin has such a mix in it I can't be sure!

I hope you like the twinset.  Thank you so much Tasha for running this knit-along.  I have loved seeing what everyone else has made and I can't wait for the project parade!  Check out the other gorgeous makes at the Knit For Victory Flickr Group

Monday, 20 January 2014

Pattern Fitting Part 3 - The Colette Peony

My upper arms are large in relation to my other upper measurements.  Think UK size 14 bust but UK size 20 upper arm.  I have always had fitting issues because of this but previously I had no idea how to tackle it apart from making a larger armhole and sleeve.

You can see in the picture above how much pulling there is when I make a standard sleeve to fit the upper bodice.

It feels as tight as it looks.  

I found my answer thanks to Lynda Maynard's 'Sew The Perfect Fit' class over at Craftsy.

The first thing I did was fairly obvious when I came to think about it.  I gave myself more material within the sleeve rather than make a bigger overall sleeve.

I then followed Lynda's advice to the letter to make the oddest alteration I have ever made.  I'm afraid I can't really explain what I did as if I tried to explain it I would confuse myself!  I can only recommend hearing it from Lynda herself.  Put it this way, in the photo below the purple highlighted areas are the original sleeve pattern!

See what I mean!  (There is not a standard seam allowance marked in there - the pencil outline is the sewing line and I trimmed it to size a bit after this photo was taken.)

Anyway, it worked!  Whatever it was that I did.  (Note to self - try and figure out what you did!!)

The above photos don't really do justice to how comfortable my new sleeve is.  Hopefully the photo montage below will illustrate it best.

So much more movement - the sleeve is higher up and therefore not pinning my arm down and there is more fabric within the sleeve so it is much more comfortable.  Just don't ask me how it works!!!!

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Pattern Fitting Part 2 - The Colette Peony

Before I started dressmaking I thought I was fairly normal.  By that I don't mean in a 'not obsessed in a pastime' kind of way - more in a 'my body doesn't have any significant oddities' kind of a way.... then I started dressmaking!

This is the back bodice of the Colette Peony, US size 8, no alterations.  The blue line at the bottom represents the waistline and as you can see it is way too high - just like the front bodice had been.  I also noted that the neckline was standing away from me somewhat.  This is because I have.... a.... *sigh*.... dowagers hump! 

So alteration number one was to take in the neck darts a little and lengthen the bodice.

Then I got stuck.  I could see there was excess fabric, but that it also seemed to be pulling inwards.  I tried two tactics...

to the left in the photograph I let out some room at the side seam to see if eradicating the fabric pull would solve it.  In my mind it made it worse.  So after some research I thought it was possible I also had... *sigh*.... *sigh*.... a sway back.  I altered the bodice to take this into account and it seemed to work better.  You can see the safety pins holding the excess fabric on the above photo.

I transferred these changes onto my paper pattern and made a final muslin.  You can note two important things in the photo above 1. a lot of the fabric pull has gone - it's probably not perfect but there was enough ease to make it feel comfortable and 2. I had finally taken pity on Mr HoffiCoffi and stopped my constant demands to be pinned back into this thing and inserted a zip!

The bright yellow pieces are the original pattern and the lined paper you can see are all my alterations.  On the plus side I have a better fitting bodice than I have ever achieved before, on the minus side I have a dowagers hump and a sway back!  Swings and roundabouts.

Let me just cheer myself up with a photo of some fabulous patterns I managed to get in the charity shop this weekend for only a pound each!  Do I need any more cute seventies dresses?  Yes... yes I do.

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Pattern Fitting Part 1 - The Colette Peony

Ah, you start off with such nice pattern pieces.

I have decided that the only way I can improve my dressmaking is by getting fussier about the fit.   This is the nitty gritty of sewing I suppose and so I'm afraid that this blog post features some bad photography on my part when I was alone (and some good photography when Mr HoffiCoffi was off over Christmas!).  It also means that ethereal pictures of me frolicking in a lovely gorgeous dress in a meadow will be sadly lacking for a while!!!!  But - if I ever - decide to frolic in a lovely gorgeous dress in a meadow in the future, the said dress had better be a good fit!

On to the bad photos.

These photos show the fit of a size 8(US) on me, straight out of the box so to speak.  The peony has a slightly high waist maybe but not that high!  I believe the patterns are drafted for a C cup, rather more generous than most commercial patterns, but I need, ahem, a little bit more than that!  The neck and shoulders, in my humble opinion, look ok however (although this does change!  Pattern fitting is really hard!) so I am confident that I chose the right size to start with.

So, out with the scissors and on with the full bust adjustment!

Yes, I did do this myself and yes, I did get slightly trapped!  Look at how much fabric I could add without really changing the side seams.  The red pen mark at the front is where I wanted the waistline to be - quite a way down from the blue line you can see which is where the original pattern stopped.  I transferred all this information onto my original paper copy of the pattern and remade the toile.

And voila!  It's not perfect I'm sure but I'm pretty pleased with it.  The blue line showing the waistline is on my actual waist.  The waist darts were still a little high and I have lowered them slightly in my final pattern draft and I've also lowered the neckline since this photo. 

The above photo shows my altered pattern.  The pink sections are the original size 8 pattern piece, the white paper you can also see are all my alterations.  Actually the bodice front was surprisingly quite straightforward to alter.... just wait until I tell you about the back!!!!