October 26, 2011

Thoughts on Tissue Fitting

I love this book on Tailoring. I think its THE perfect supplement for making a tailored jacket at home. I was reading it through again to refresh my prepping steps for making my coat. I have my pattern cut and dry pressed and am ready to tackle a muslin, but first the book recommends a tissue fit. I also have the book, Fit For Real People and this book is all about tissue fitting. When I read Fit For Real People a few years ago, I thought the tissue fitting idea was brilliant and it looked so easy.

And then I tried it and then I tried it again and again. I have mixed feelings about tissue fitting. In the Tailoring book, the tissue fit is just a preliminary fitting to get a better fitting muslin. The making of a muslin is seriously encouraged for a tailored jacket or coat since so much work actually goes into it. I can definitely see the tissue fitting use here, as a preliminary fitting. But as a final fitting, I'm not so sure. Fit For Real People goes through several steps for using tissue fitting as the final fitting. Now granted, there are several things you have to do, like make a fitting shell and know what your usual adjustments are and even after the tissue fitting, you'll still be pin fitting the fabric in certain stages of the garment construction. I have made a fitting shell, but I find that since design ease can vary so much from pattern to pattern and from decade to decade its not entirely a reliable source to fit with. Not only that, it was a Butterick fitting shell. So really, it only works good for Butterick, McCall's, Vogue and possibly Simplicity and not so good for the independent pattern companies which have a completely different sloper from which to base their patterns. All in all, I usually just end up making a muslin because then I know that I'll get the fit right. I also find that I can't see certain adjustments I need to make very well with the tissue. And they're adjustments that I would need to make before I cut anything, you know. Like a sway back or broad shoulder adjustment. Those can't just be worked in when you're needing more than say a 1/2 inch adjustment. Now pin fitting the fabric, sure. That's great advice because more times than not, I don't do a muslin out of a identical/similar fabric. I just use as good a muslin as I can get my hands on.

What are your thoughts on tissue fitting? Have you read the Fit For Real People book (which is a great book for fitting even if you're not into tissue fitting)? The idea of tissue fitting always looks much easier with another person helping you out too. And since, I've got a personal fitter right here with me.... Does tissue fitting work for you? If it does, what are some secrets you could share with the class here?


October 25, 2011


Like Tasia, I have had dreams of making a soft, fluffy wrap coat. I've had this vintage pattern for some time now and believe me, at first glance this coat did not look like one I would readily make or even wear (it's Butterick 3914, in case you were wondering). As I'm sure you are aware, pattern covers can be really deceiving, though this one isn't too bad really. I had to look past the cover and look at the line drawing on the back and on the pattern instructions. It's got a notched collar, patch pockets and raglan sleeves. It was the raglan sleeve bit that sent me over the edge. I love raglan sleeves and for some reason, I always associate them with comfort and lots of movement, which is really what I want most out of this coat. I especially like this design because on the front and back bodice there's a little bit of gathering where the sleeves are set-in. In that way, its reminiscent of a JCrew coat that has some great feminine lines built into the cut rather than added ruffles and frills around the edges. Chic, no?

I've got the outer fabric all picked out and ready to go. It's cashmere. I know. I know! I'm so excited I could cry. It's the perfect color of camel brown, which has been a seriously hard color to find for me these days. I'm planning a silk charmeuse for the lining (possibly quilted too!), just to add to the luxury of the cashmere. Sigh...It will be just delightful to wear, I think.

As for the tailoring of the coat, this is going to be a trial run for several products that I'm working on getting into the shop. It's so much better when I test things first because then I know exactly what I'm talking about when someone asks a question or two and I like that. I like being able to say, "Oh yes, this silk organza would be perfect for a tailored sleeve." So you'll get to see first hand, what I'm planning and what products I'm imagining. Currently on the chopping block are: silk organza for the sleeve, horsehair cloth for the lapels and collar (this is a softer alternative to a hair canvas, which I'll be explaining) and lambswool for the interlining plus a clapper and point presser. I've also got to try out my new tailor's tapes, which I just put in the shop last week.

Planning any coats for the upcoming cold weather? Or maybe you're in the southern hemisphere and planning a light jacket or rain coat as you transition into warmer weather? What are some tailoring supplies you've been on the lookout for and just haven't seen yet?


PS ~ Just in case you might have missed it, there's a fun giveaway going on over on Tilly and the Buttons for a belt kit of your choice and the eyelet tool from my shop. Anyone can enter! Yay!

October 12, 2011


I'm showing you two things today that you haven't yet seen. For starters, there's my pencil skirt here. This is the self drafted skirt that I was raving on about back in July. It's finally cool enough to really wear it. I'll be going into more specifics about the drafting process and I've got a fresh tutorial for the lining with a back vent. It's so much easier! That's coming up very soon, so keep your eyes peeled.

I finished this knit top in a day, which is what the name of this post is referencing. OK, actually this is the 3rd try for this puppy. I'll allow myself a little leeway on that since this is the first knit I've attempted for myself. Thank goodness I had hoards of this wool jersey. Ahem...

Specifics: I made this from Kwik Sew 3616 which I made a TON of alterations to. Actually, let's start from the very beginning shall we? Remember this top from my little inspiration outfit board (which I'm totally aware I haven't really discussed)? Yeah, its a vintage pattern and on the back it claims that I can whip out a top in jersey. Ummmmm....yeah. That doesn't just work. I cut out the entire pattern from this lovely wool jersey (believe me, I made a muslin first) and guess what? It was a complete sack of potatoes. What a joke! Ha! So I turned to this Kwik Sew pattern I had instead, leaving Simplicity 3940 for a woven instead. I whipped it out and after a day of wearing it, I also found that it just didn't have the right kind of fit. So they say that the 3rd time is the charm. Yup. I've blazed through 3 yards of wool jersey quite quickly. Kind makes me sick. Sigh...

Anyway, this is part of an outfit for my Clovers, which, I know, I'm not wearing here. But you get the idea, right? I'm pretty happy with this version. It is a little difficult, in my opinion, to sew with knits. And I totally feel foolish saying that because I read that everyone else has such a glamourous time with them. For me, knits are harder to fit and they are harder to handle too. Like, you have to make sure that they aren't being stretched as you cut them out - I learned that the hard way. But I'm not giving up just yet. I'll get the hang of them, don't you worry.

Oh yes, this is a wool jersey by the way. And normally, wool is fairly itchy - even though its a favorite fiber of mine. But this jersey, is heaven sent. Extra soft merino, and sorry I can't remember where I got it because it's been so long since I bought it - but I have a faint inclination that it might be from Fashion Fabrics Club.

That's about it here. How have you fared with knits? Ever ventured into that territory? What makes your experience easier? I could use a few secrets, I think.


October 11, 2011

Sewing Summit Recap!

Friends, it was a good weekend. I told you I was going to the Sewing Summit, and go I did. It was the first time I've attended anything of this sort and I was plenty rewarded. To start, this is the first year this event has been held and I think for it's first year, it really did well. There is room for growth and potential and I'm seriously looking forward to how this convention evolves over the next few years. I really really hope they keep the garment sewing aspect of it going - in fact, I would love to help in that area if I was asked about it (hint, hint). Living right here and having access to something like this is fabulous! So, Amy and Erin, please keep the garment side of things going!!

I helped out in the BurdaStyle classroom for the most part. I did things like cut fabric and such while Gertie taught and showed us her fabulous moves! She was great! And I got to touch and feel a few of her handmade garments, plus chat with her and get to know her a bit. She's such an amazing girl! Drop dead gorgeous too! She has such a knack for teaching and her classes were specifically tailored to her tastes in sewing, which I loved because it was great to see her in her element and really giving us tried and tested information. She's such a rockstar. Jealous...

I got to meet several bloggers including Lavender (she's super sweet & I saw her Rooibos and it's just lovely!), Sadie (who has amazing glasses and hair), Stephanie (who lives here, Yay! and is so wonderfully nice) and Katie (who's just gorgeous and is a doctor to boot). Katie wore a handmade belt which she made from a kit from my shop - I nearly fainted with positive delight. It was fabulously done and she looked like a million bucks - which, in kind, made me feel like a million bucks! Thanks Katie!

And there you go! What a great time! Next I'm off to Orlando for the Southern Womens Show - so if you are by chance going too, come by the BurdaStyle Make & Take Lounge and say hello!

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