Bias is a surly beyotch.

When I first made this Patrones 252-30 skirt two years ago, It was too big and too long. When I made it this time, I sliced at the hip, and took out four inches of length (which brought a lot of the bias fullness up to my hips). I did not take two inches out of the waist thinking that would make up for any weight gain and give me room to wiggle since the first skirt still fits. But, and this is a BIG but, I stabilised the waistline with twill tape this time. I did not the first time. So, the bias waist (the first time) grew — making it too big. This time, it did not grow,  making it the original size which is apparently too small by about four inches. Which means that in order for the skirt to fit this time, the waist line sat just under my breasts.


Call Carolyn on the way to see Inception (Great movie. Didn’t understand half of it.) and she suggested cutting down the waistband by no more than one inch. Brilliant. I do it.

The FREAKING skirt was now at last eight inches too big!!! Stupid beyotch bias.

I take in and take in — six inches give or take. Finally, it fits!  But, it’s so stinking full now at the hips. Like all the width of the skirt is now at my waist / hip. And, the bias was hanging funky because of all the alterations. I put the zipper in twice because of a rookie mistake.  One side seam is longer than the other. Whatever. I’m almost done. I put on the skirt. It fits! I can breathe! Then, the zipperhead pops off. SOB!

Uncle. I give up. I’m not going to re-insert a zipper for the third time in a yellow marked, wonky drape,  skirt that makes m look like a wedding cake topper.

I love this pattern, but I’m done. It’s time for  glass of wine and to pick another project.

Pattern Review: Patrones 267-13

This is my first non-Burda Foreign Pattern Magazines for 2010. If you recall, my sewing resolution is to not purchase fabric in 2010 and make every other garment or one a month from my assortment of La Mia Boutiques, Patrones, Mrs. Stylebooks, etc. I’ll have to check, but I think this is my second completed Patrones!  (**EDIT.  This is my *fourth*. I didn’t count my beloved Roberto Musso skirt,  Vero Mondo skirt and a Chloe skirt ) My first Patrones is a shirt two years ago. I seem to be a 42 in Patrones and most definitely need a FBA!

I think I’m going to keep up with the woven dresses! I love how professional they look. Yes, I will always have a soft spot for knits. But, for the daily work life, woven dresses are it. They seem so much more tailored and put together and a better substitute for wearing a suit.  You can see above that I’m imitating the model from #267 Patrones. I even found a smiliar style belt at Forever 21. But, truthfully, the dress might look better beltless after all the alterations I made.

The fabric is a poly/wool men’s suiting from my local Gus Woolen. It’s a men’s suit fabric store in downtown Baltimore. I like them for their non-traditional suiting geared to the black male  community.  But, they keep banker’s hours. You know, 10 to 3 on days that don’t end in ‘y’.  But, great great stuff and they sell loads of skirt lengths at a discount.

There is bagging at the waist because  I suspect that I put the waistband in upside down. One of the reasons the belt is not great is because of the gathering and wrinkles it can cause. I used pre-purchased red piping to pick up the red woven stripes in the suiting. You know, red is actually my favorite color — not pink. But, I really like pink accessories.

Pattern Alterations:  My colleague brought me several bras from her trip home to Ukraine.  Why? Because they fit well and are $20 a pop. But, they have made the bust in my last two garments crazy tight. So, on the Patrones #267-13 dress, I decided to attempt my first ever FBA.  Meh. I’ll do better next time ;) For the rest of the dress I traced a size 42 and graded out by two inches at the thighs. I now think I could have cut a straight 42 as I took the dress in about two inches from the lower waist down. I also reduced the  length of the torso by one inch and think I could have cut an inch out of the skirt under the waist.

I made my typical swayback adjustment in the skirt. But, should have taken it out of the waistband. I also have come to the realization that many things are too long for me in the lower back. I’m going to alter for that soon.

I ended up not lining the dress. I made so many alterations to the dress that I could not take fixing the already-constructed lining.  So, I made 1.5 inch long facings at the neckline.

I also pegged the skirt because it was wide and kind of straight and made me look like a block.  But, something totally wonky happened. My right side seam is off by over an inch. No idea how that happened!

Overall, I’m pleased with the dress. There was WAY TO MUCH fussing for my taste. But, I just need to learn to make FBAs.  And make the darts actually aim at my bust point! That’ll make a huge difference ;)

I was asked about my shoes in another post. They are available from Aerosoles.

** EDIT: I agree. Red shoes would be great. I’m still on the hunt for a pair that I like ;)

What I’m Working On

I’m trying to stick with my 2010 sewing resolutions. No more fabric and using my non-Burda international magazines. The first one in that vein is from Patrones #267. My friend Beery bought this back from a Spain business trip in 2008.

The garment I want is model 13 (267-13). It’s a XX dress from the Joven edition. Does *anyone* know what size bust Patrones drafts for?

Here’s what I’ve got so far in a gray striped menswear fabric:

Despite making a muslin, this dress still needs some serious tweaking. So far I’ve made a colossally bad FBA. The darts are practically on my sternum. The fit in the waist is still pretty baggy (I may have flipped the midsection pieces). And I had to shorten the bodice by an inch since the mid-section was sitting on my hips. I made myself stop sewing at midnight. I really should have stopped at 11! The neckline is far to high and I don’t know how I feel about the fit through the skirt.

If I sew like a bat out of hell, I’ll get this done today. But, well. I have three Netflix gathering dust too.

Patrones Ninos Giveaway

A coworker is back from Spain and she did her darndest to get me Patrones. And she did. One #274, Especial Fiesta and three Disfraces (#275). Disfraces was totally new to me. And that’s because they are children’s costumes!

I think that ‘PREMIOS CONCURSO’ in the pink circle on the bottom right might mean something like, ‘Hey Cidell! Thought you were getting fabulous clothes for grown women didn’t you? Well NO! This year, we’re trying something new. So you’ll have to beg someone else to get you another Patrones sister!”

There are some SUPER cute costumes in here including Strawberry Shortcake, Peter Pan, a Puss in Boots, Captain Jack, Little Bo Peep, a princess, a can of sardines and a barrel of wine with little grapes.

The directions look WAY longer than they normally are for Patrones and they seem rather elaborate costumes. Remember, Patrones is published in Spanish only.

So, I’m going to keep one just in case I want to make a kids costume for friend (snort). But, the other two, I’m happy to give away for the cost of postage. If you want to be considered for the Disfraces, please leave a comment below.

This writing thing

So, I’ve had a bit of writer’s block the past month. Not that I don’t have anything to write about, I just don’t like the way it reads (snarky, bitter, tired). Most writers seem to solve this with copious amounts of alcohol and a torrid love affair. Well, hard alcohol every night won’t help me get back down to my dating weight and a torrid affair will not sit well with the the boyfriend I currently have. Damn my early 30s and addiction to all things fried!!

Carolyn and my mom both gave me a needed kick in the arse about my sewing and blogging. So, I’m recommitting to work it like Tany and sew an hour every night.

Last night I started pre-treating fabric for a new dress. Yes, I know I need separates, but dresses are my friend. So, I’m making the BWOF Sherlock Holmes dress again from the September 2007 edition (above). This time the upper will be in solid gray and the bottom in this A-mazing red and black plaid from Carol.

Trena and I had to bargain with each other for this piece. I’m grateful that I am six inches taller and outweigh her by half. Otherwise, I’m not sure I would have been the victor. Speaking of Trena, after I left several messages on her answering machine and multiple comments on her blog, she made me the lovely tag cloud on the right —->>. I have a lot of tags.

And finally, some more UFO busting.

Here’s a secret. I don’t own a white blouse. Not a long sleeve one. Not a short sleeve one. I got nothing I can wear that even passes as a white blouse. I, in fact, don’t even own a white tee shirt. I think the last time I owned a white blouse it was still the Clinton presidency. Not that I have anything against white blouses. I just never find ones I like for less than $60 and I never had good white shirting (well, I do now). Why do I bring this up?
(the bias waistband got stretched out in the construction despite my use of interfacing. I’ll fix that over the winter so it’s picture perfect this summer)

I let this seersucker Patrones skirt languish all summer because I wasn’t going to have anything to wear with it once it was finished. In that vein, please excuse the pink wife beater. It’s the only thing I could dig up that I thought would work for photos. And I don’t normally wear pearls (30th birthday gift from my mom) with wife beaters. But, I was getting ready for work this a.m. and forgot to take them off.

If you are a long-time reader, you might remember this foray into Patrones back in May. It’s been a long time so my recollection on the details are dim. I do know that Lisette helped me out with the instructions, yay! As noted above, be careful with the bias waistband. Mine is all kinds of stretched out. But the fit in general over my swayback is pretty good. And, I will likely never wear this with something tucked in. I’m thinking a white wrap blouse or a white blazer this summer.

I left off the ribbon trim on the bottom because I thought the seersucker didn’t need any jazzing up. It’s totally too late in the season to wear this skirt. But, I might be in a hot climate next month for work and I’m happy to take this with me.

I have one more UFO that I will hopefully finish this weekend. By then, perhaps I’ll get my writing groove back too!

Patrones: Chloe Skirt, Issue 245

So, I kind of hate the hand sewing. I’m lucky I wasn’t born at a time when my value as a potential wife was based on things like crewel and embroidery. Because it would be the equivalent of being picked last for the kickball team.

During West Coat PR weekend I took a hand sewing class from Susan Khalje (who apparently live 20 mins from me) with the prodding of Marji. That’s me kind of cheating by looking over Markie’s shoulder during the class trying to figure out what I was doing wrong. I’m *really* glad I took the course. I have more respect for the hand sewing. But, I am still no good at it and still don’t like it.

This Patrones skirt was an exercise in hand sewing. It took me four different sit downs before I got it all done. I used a silk twill for this skirt which Cindy was kind enough to pick up this Banana Republic print from Metro Textiles after I *had* to have it when she posted it on her blog. But, it’s thin and not quite beefy enough for this skirt. So, I underlined it in cotton batiste. I finished it off with an all around, catch stitched hem.

I damaged a really lovely project by using some cheap a$$ interfacing. It bubbled up on the waistband.
The skirt is far more modest than the editorial has you think. There will be no OBGYN exam as I walk down the street.
I omitted the ties and used three buttons to close the waist band. I did make a swayback adjustment and am quite happy with how the back fits. I did nothing to adjust the length either.

Overall I’m pleased with the skirt. But, it won’t work on your body if you are larger in the hips. The pockets and gathers definitely add width. I also need to add a flat button to the inside waistband to keep the waistband even (I see it creeping up).

I’m so glad I have something to wear wear to work tomorrow. I’ve been recycling the same seven looks since May! But, I’m wearing different shoes. These make me feel like my toes are on fire.

Patrones #245, model #25, January 2006

One skirt down, two to go

Last night I hemmed my Roberto Musso Patrones skirt from issue # 252 (January 2007). I rather like this skirt. It’s fun to wear and has a throwback vibe. I wasn’t sure how to wear it at first without looking like a ball of fabric, but Carolyn reminded me that the full skirts from the 50s and 60s were always worn with form-fitting tops. I think it works if you have either no hips (ha!) or a well-defined waist.

Construction is simple, as long as you clearly transfer all the alphabet markings for matching up seams. I also suggest you lay out the pattern pieces first before you begin sewing. It kind of goes together like a puzzle with one pleated section and one banded section on each side of the skirt.
It’s basically a circle skirt with pleated insets and contrast bands. The challenging portion for new sewists would be sewing the corners of the insets in. There is also a TON of finishing inside the garment.

Because it’s a circle skirt it’s very full. If you choose to make this skirt or something similar, be sure to stabilise the waistband. You’ll also need to let it hang a day or so for the bias to fall.

I made a straight 40 (the equivalent of a BWOF 38) and found it large. I ended up taking about two inches out of the side before inserting my invisible zip. I think that’s the nature of the skirt not Patrones sizing. And mine is a little bulkier than the model’s.

Also, I think the skirt is a hair long. On the model it’s around the knee. If you want it shorter, you’ll need to do so on the pattern rather than after construction. Oh, mine is made from leftover black seersucker and shirting from other projects. I’m absolutely making this skirt again. I can picture many versions including a wool plaid this winter.

Fun skirt!

Frankly my dear…

My OOP Scarlett O’Hara green velvet dress pattern (Butterick 4051) came in the mail last week. This ‘advanced’ pattern calls for a whopping 15 3/4 yards of fabric for the dress, hat and bag. Yet, I squealed like Bobby Hill when I saw the hat is included! How fabulous would it be? I only have two costumes in my pattern collection. The second is Marilyn Monroe (OOP Simplicity 8393).

I see I’ve been a little slow with the sewing and posting. I’ve, uh, been busy.

My three skirts are all still mid construction. But, I made a jump on my Patrones Chloe skirt (pictured above). I’m not super happy with it right now. First, I do not care for working with slippery silk. Sigh. I also tried to underline the skirt to beef it up and add some modesty — but not in the smartest way.

I have a RTW silk dress that is underlined, but the hem hangs freely. So, I’m attempting the same thing with this one.

When I get home tonight, I need to let out the side seam a bit, hem the batiste/underlining and put the side seam back together. Truly, a make it work proposition. I can’t just hem it up to the underlining because then it will be too short. Bleh. Haste my friends, makes waste.

I also used a fusible knit interfacing on the waistband and it’s a gross bubbly hot mess. With God as my witness I will NEVER use Joann’s interfacing again. Which leads me to the waistband facing, I want to interface that too for strength, but I need to sort out what I’m going to interface with.

And finally, here’s how I’m spending my weekend:
It’s so disorganized in here right now I can’t think straight!

Side tracked

Just so you know, my background music today is ‘Learn Spanish in Your Car’. I’m going back to Panama in August and the Patrones have put me in a Spanish speaking state of mind!

I never cease to be amazed by the kindness and generosity of others in the online sewing community. I must give a huge thanks to Claire who saw that those were buttons, not studs on the side of the skirt. And, really, I Y Lisette and Paco who told me that the ‘presillas lado’ that I didn’t recognize or find in the dictionary were in fact button loops.

Lisette even went so far as to translate the directions for me when I emailed her to double check the waistband construction order. Huge help. It putzed around with this for HOURS yesterday trying to get it to work. Funky looking, right? Turns out I traced the pieces wrong.

Ahhh. The good thing is re-cutting gave me the idea to change the grain direction for interest and add a few cm since the first one was a tad small.

But, I’m back on track this morning. Except. I just need to add 2 cm, so smaller seam allowances on each side. So, smaller seam allowances. Why is it small? Because I thought it was more economical to buy two 5 pound bags of Gummi Peaches and Gummi Cherries last week. I have to get these out of my house.

Something to note about Patrones that is different than BWOF. First, they just give you the general pattern outline in their layout. Second, they don’t always lay out the pattern pieces in a way to show where each connects. Third, in the layout / line drawing they DO NOT NOTE seam points like A, B, C, D (or 1, 2, 3, 4 in BWOF). Which means you must me super vigilante on checking the pattern for markings because you can’t double check it against the magazine drawing to see if you missed any points. Ask me how I know.

The pink line is my grading up to 42

I also find myself laying out the entire pattern before sewing to make sense of it.
In between all this, I helped my friend Jon finish his wife’s 2007 birthday gift. You may recall he came over last September to start it.

He’s so proud of himself.

Look at this neat trick I picked up from Sherril Miller. She traces the line drawing onto her pattern. I did it for the skirt since there were so many panels. It makes it way easier to see what you’re doing. Plus, it’s really cute.

Otra falda y Ayudar

Last week I went in to south Baltimore to try out one of the taco trucks I heard about in an NPR story. I went with Anna from my office and ordered for both of us in Spanish. Seeing how she speaks four languages and I’m still working on my birth-given English, I was very proud of myself. I even understood his questions on condiments. What I was really proud of is that it turned out the guy spoke perfectly good English. But, my Survival Spanish was good enough that he didn’t bother switching over. Or, he enjoyed hearing me butcher his mother tongue.

Now, that being said, Patrones is even more of a challenge! Does anyone actually translate the whole directions? Luckily, this week Paco Peralta posted about the most extensive sewing Spanish glossary I’ve come across. It’s like he *knew* this was my Patrones weekend!

Today I’m working on the #52 Vero Moda skirt from the June 2007 Patrones. This gem of a magazine was a gift from Caroline G who I officially met at West PR Weekend (What’s that? You thought after two months I was done talking about WCPR?? Silly Sewist!!). I really love the three piece waistband.

Because this waist is more fitted than the Roberto Musso skirt I made yesterday, I’m doing a muslin — mainly for my swayback and because I am still sorting out the Patrones fit.

There is one part of the directions I don’t get though. If you speak Spanish or the language of Patrones, maybe you can help me out?

It says I need to cut four for my ‘ presillas lados‘. They are strips that are 6cm by 3 cm. I don’t think they are the trim at the bottom since that needs three strips. I *think* this is something I’m sewing along the side of the skirt? I skimmed and found ‘lados‘ used in the following way “con las piezas lados segun senales C-D e hilvanar los pliegues segun patrones; cerrar lados falda” Which I think means sew the ‘lados’ to or along points C & D? Then baste it closed (the little pleat at the hem of the skirt. Que?

Meh. I’ll trace out the pattern and see if I can figure out how it assembles.