Enter Simplicity 1654 Fitting Muslin

First things first. I did rub-off a pattern for my Garnet Hill inspired dress. I then proceeded to cut out fabric, sew it up and even though the dress itself will work, the color scheme looks really really drab and sad on me. So I’ve put this project off to the side for now until I have the wherewithall to possibly toss it and start anew. This is life. Onwards and upwards.

I’ve really just wanted to sew some dresses is the thing. This is a weird thing for me because well, I’m such a practical person these days. But a dress can be practical. Especially with a white stretch cotton blazer – which is the project directly next after this dress. Yes! So I went to my stash and dug out this Simplicity 1654 pattern. I had actually forgotten how much I love Simplicity patterns. Of the Big 4, this line fits me the best straight from the envelope (note I said fits me the best, we still have a few fitting problems, just not as many as the other Big 4). I find that with McCalls, Butterick and Vogue the armholes are cut so low! Is that just me? So it was nice not to have to deal with that for a change.

This pattern has some great design lines. The bodice is just killer! And since I know that a skirt like that will require little to no fitting, I muslined the bodice to see where we were at. The fit was actually quite good through the bust and waist, but the straps were trying to fall off my shoulders. And its not that they were too wide/far apart, it was the angle at which they were sitting on the body. So I thought I would show you what I did to fix it. I pinched out the excess pooling that was happening when I put the straps where I wanted them to be. That pooling happened at an angle at the bust and shoulder blade. See?

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How do you fix that on a the pattern piece. It’s the same idea really. I measured how much I pinched out, then slashed and overlapped that amount in those areas of the bodice that I pinched out with pins on the muslin. It’s not a hard fix by any means, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say that its intuitive. This is something that I’m always amazed by, but when fitting, many times the part that needs fixing is not the part that we intuitively feel needs the fix. Just some random fitting thoughts.

Simplicity-1654

I’ve settled on an aqua linen to make this up in (fabric from the shop, now online! yay!). I’m actually nearly finished with the dress itself, so here’s a sneak peek.

Now off to line and hem the thing. And then to focus on a white stretch cotton jacket. Yay!

  • Nakisha - Yay! I just chose this for a summer dress. so please document ALL of your progress! Hahahaha!

    Can’t wait to see it!
    Nakisha recently posted..Finished items: BS6910 & BSM 02/2014 #135ReplyCancel

  • Sewing Princess - Sunni, just to tell you it´s not just you having a problem with Big 4 armholes! You should switch to European patterns they are so much better. Just have a look at this shirt pattern muslin I just made http://bombardone.com/sewingprincess/2014/02/i-am-weak-wip-margot-blouse-republique-du-chiffon/ It´s without any armhole alteration.ReplyCancel

  • Kate McIvor - Great job, Sunni! I wonder if a small bust adjustment would also do the trick?ReplyCancel

  • Tasha - Ooh that’s a beautiful blue! Looking forward to seeing the whole thing. I think dresses can be practical, too. And I’ve never really felt that way until this year. They felt bulky, or awkward, or somehow not appropriate for X, Y, Z situation. Then I realized it was the *fit* not the fact that it was a *dress* itself per se, that was the crux of the issue for me. Ill-fitting, poor fabric choice for how I like to wear things, etc. Now that I’m getting past all that, I seriously feel like sewing about a million dresses. Throw it on and you’re done. How could that not be practical, I’m not seeing!

    Ironically I just picked up a blazer on mega sale at Gap and my first thought was “ooh! perfect to throw on over a dress!” Looking forward to your stretch cotton blazer, too.
    Tasha recently posted..Retrolite love! A Classic Hardware jewelry reviewReplyCancel

  • I Made It!! - That is a beautiful blue! Is it finished yet! Can I see it?ReplyCancel

  • lisa g - i don’t remember seeing this pattern before, but i love the seaming! thanks for the fitting tips. since i always have to do a SBA, i tend to shy away from too many seams. can’t wait to see this one finished!
    lisa g recently posted..what i am wearing to stave off the coldReplyCancel

  • Amanda - I too have the same problem with the armholes being cut too low on McCalls! Haven’t noticed this on Butterick or Vogue yet, but I’ll be on the lookout. I’ve only ever tried a skirt from Simplicity, but I’d like to try other patterns from my stash. Anyway, you do such a great job with fitting! Looking forward to seeing the finished dress (with jacket!).
    Amanda recently posted..Cozy Checkerboard Flannel “M6696″ ShirtdressReplyCancel

  • Doris - Sunni, I always have the shoulder seams falling off my abnormally narrow shoulders! I love the way you remedied this on this dress. I have the dress pattern and am going to do what you did to make the shoulders fit me. I usually have to make a size smaller in the neck and shoulders, then go out to my normal size at the bust, waist, and hips. In this particular dress, your fix is super! Thanks for the clips! They are priceless for not so good sewers like me!!! DorisReplyCancel

  • Karin - I often successfully remedy the shoulder problem by having my shoulders slope/size traced on a large poster board and then comparing the pattern to the slope and size of my actual shoulders before cutting. I have very small shoulders and back in comparison to the rest of me, especially the bust. However, I believe some version of this would also be helpful for me, as I still end up with some extra fabric at the top of the chest area sometimes….

    Thanks.ReplyCancel

  • Kamal - Wonderful piece of work..ReplyCancel

  • best dressed » A Fashionable Stitch - […] the Simplicity 1654 finale! Ha ha! Since I already had this white leather jacket that I made and never blogged from […]ReplyCancel

  • RSS - I have got read through some excellent goods listed here. Absolutely worth social bookmarking intended for returning to. I wonder just how much efforts you put to create such a impressive beneficial internet site.ReplyCancel

Meet Winifred

Abby from Blue Ginger Doll emailed me a bit back and wanted to know if I could cough up a prize for her Winifred Dress Sewalong & Contest which starts March 24. Abby’s been a great customer of mine and so I thought I should pull out a fabulous prize for her. But more on that in a moment. You need to meet her latest pattern first. Winifred. Um. Hello.

WINIFRED-LS FV 3 ARCH

I asked Abby for my own copy because I really really want this dress for myself. Isn’t it a looker? I love that its a shirt dress, with a fold over collar, cut on sleeves and those cute little tucks in the front. And then in the back you have an elastic waist band and that is what completely won me over. Oh my goodness! You mean I can have lunch with friends and no one would be the wiser? It’s darling and I’m very much taken with the design and simplicity of it!

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Abby’s hosting a sewalong for this new addition to her pattern line-up and that will commence on March 24. Excitement abounds. Three cheers all round!

Winifred-Dress-Contest

Plus she’s also got prizes that she’ll be bequeathing on participants. I decided to entice all of you to join in her fun by putting together a little somethin somethin from me olde shoppe. The prize from A Fashionable Stitch gives you:

  • 3 1/3 yards 100% rayon floral crepe (enough to make your own Winifred!)
  • a spool of matching thread
  • a pink clover chalk pen
  • a pink silk organza press cloth

More fun to be had over at Abby’s blog! And definitely don’t miss out on her latest pattern offering! I know I’m dying for my own perfect little Winifred spring/summer frock! What about you?

  • Hélène - Thanks for spreading the good news. This dress is a beauty!ReplyCancel

  • Ginger - Ooh, I bet this dress will look great on you! It’s such a cute style!
    Ginger recently posted..Ginger Made: By Hand London Flora Dress!ReplyCancel

  • Ramona - I so need this dress. Shirt dress without all the buttons and buttonholes?? Yes! And can I say your prize offering is absolutely awesome. Thanks for playing!
    Ramona recently posted..Quilty Bucket ListReplyCancel

  • Maddie - The dress is the perfect combination of all my favorite things – elastic, collars and a dress!
    Maddie recently posted..Carter Rae Pattern Alterations + Standard Sloper ChangesReplyCancel

  • Dottie doodle - What a lovely dress! I’m heading over there right now…ReplyCancel

  • Sue - Ooh! I’d love to try this pattern – especially with the beautiful fabric you’re giving away. :D ReplyCancel

  • Shanni - Yes I’m in love with this pattern! Got my copy and my fabric picked out and I’m all ready for the sew along!
    Great prizes! Thanks!
    Shanni recently posted..AHOY Spring….!?!?ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie - Oh I love a shirt dress and this is divine. So going to get this one.

    Shame I am already doing two sewalongs this month but will definitely be doing a follow up.

    Thanks.ReplyCancel

  • Sue - Yes, this looks like a perfect pattern for autumn and winter. Will check out the pattern now!
    Sue recently posted..White shirtReplyCancel

  • Sara - I wasn’t familiar with Blue Ginger Doll, but this dress is really lovely!
    Sara recently posted..Sewn : Spotted BlouseReplyCancel

  • Fabric Tragic - What a lovely pattern – so very chic!ReplyCancel

  • Lara Rose - Looks amazing! Great blog you have, keep posted!ReplyCancel

  • Helene - You’re going to make a great version, I know it!ReplyCancel

  • Lady Stitcher - Great shirtdress pattern! Looking forward to seeing your version :-)
    Lady Stitcher recently posted..Sporty Coco: A second run at sewing knitsReplyCancel

  • Dee - I just love this dress and the material you picked out is just beautifulReplyCancel

  • Helen - What a beautiful pattern and fabric! Just in time for spring sexing!ReplyCancel

  • Sox - What a lovely shirtdress. The collar and the sleeves would make a nice, uncomplicated make for fast sewing gratification. Thank you for introducing it.ReplyCancel

  • PJ Davidson - That pattern is adorable. I’ll have to get it and sew it up. Love your giveaway too; the fabric is beautiful.ReplyCancel

  • Geo P - I didn’t jnow about Blue Ginger Doll, but I just ordered the pattern, it’s lovely. Thank you for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • Angie H - After seeing this post, I bought the pattern. I cannot wait to make it and join along. I had a dress similar to this many years ago and this looks like the fit will be perfect for me. Wish me luck!ReplyCancel

  • Ellen - A favorite aunt of mine was named Winifred. I think address in your fabric would be lovely.ReplyCancel

  • Camilla - Great pattern, I love the gathering and the back and the front darts. I’ve got too much on to take part but can’t wait to see all the fab versions of this dress.ReplyCancel

On the Sewing Table: Garnet Hill Inspired Dress

Since I’m asked all the time what I’m working on, I thought it would be good for me and you if I let you know every now and then. Plus its always fun to see a garment go from inspiration to pattern to fabric to construction to finish. As per my post this past Monday, I was inspired by that Garnet Hill dress to create something similar. The dress in and of itself is really not anything to write home about, but I have to say that I’m diggin the effortless simplicity of it. I actually had a perfect candidate for a dress to create a pattern from and one that had a similar feeling of the Garnet Hill inspiration with a few welcome additions like pockets too. (Visit my rub-off post for more info on how I create a paper pattern from an existing garment. Or here too, if this is a topic that interests you!)

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This is my original dress. It was on the sale rack at Target last year and after trying it on and loving it, I thought why not. I wore it a bunch during the summer and it was uber comfortable and easy to pair with shoes and accessories. I don’t know about you, but in the last year I’ve realized that not everything in my wardrobe needs to be handmade (nor do I have time for it to be). There’s a consignment shop that I frequent and a couple of thrift stores that I live near that I also make it to every once in awhile. I also purchase items on sale. I purchase only those things that I love, that already fit and I know would mix and match well. I used to purchase things that I thought I would refashion and after realizing that, for me, these types of things only end up in my UFO pile, I decided to change my direction with thrifted items. I love seeing awesome refashions, but have to say that I just don’t ever really do them. So I made rules that I abide by when I thrift or buy things on sale. Do you do this? Do you refashion a lot of things or do they end up in a UFO pile for you too?

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Back to the issue at hand, I’ve wanted to recreate this dress for some time and after seeing the Garnet Hill catalog, I thought I was long overdue for a little easy dress. I picked this dove grey rayon/silk blend – the same fabric as my pink walrus jacket – and I thought I would add in some black linen here and there to create some break up of the grey. I’m envisioning adding a lining, adding a little more length to the bottom of the dress (its a tad on the short side) and adding yoke pieces and a hem band in the black. Simple, sure, but it will most definitely get worn and that’s important.

What’s on your sewing table today?

PS ~ Thank you for your fabulous thoughts on Monday’s post about fabric and pattern pairings. You’ve given me lots of ideas to address and I most definitely will, coming right up!

  • Jenny - Love the inspiration dress – very chic and easy to wear. That’s actually my favorite type of dress. Easy to wear and comfortable. On my sewing table – McCalls 6083 – jumpsuit, a peplum top, a wrap dress and a maxi skirt. I hope to have it all done by Saturday!ReplyCancel

  • McCall - Sunni, I just want to say I love seeing what you do. I envy your skills. At the moment on my “sewing” desk you’d find pieces of a mini birdhouse that painted by one of my twins and now needs to be glued together, a box of valentines, misc. stuff I’ve had to take from the kids and “hide”, and so much more but nary a bit of fabric. :( And so I will live vicariously through you and your projects for now. Happy Sewing!ReplyCancel

    • Stephanie - HA! The cry of agreement! My children are teens now, and sometimes I forget to clear out all the nooks and crannies of the work table, so I found quite the assortment of nerf darts in my linen stash this week. That and some small action figures that must have been a problem….five or six years ago.

      I am a ‘refashioner’ as most of my sewing is altering store bought that never quite fits. This evolved into vintage, then to thrifting, and now it’s quite the luxury to cut into fabric to sew from ‘scratch’. The stash is old and vast, so I only seem to venture out for thread and zippers anymore.ReplyCancel

  • Michelle - This is exactly the type of dress I could LIVE in spring-fall! It’s such a great dress on its own, and will be wonderful for layering.

    I’m thinking of adding a contrasting band at the hem of a skirt I’m working on. Would you mind sharing, do you plan to press your hem open or up? My skirt is lined, so I’m not overly worried about raw edges being exposed. But, I would be on a single layer garment like this. Thanks for any help!
    Michelle recently posted..Channel KAL: Tubular Cast-OnReplyCancel

  • Elle - You know, I think this post touches on the “Wardrobe Architect” craze that the Coletterie seems to have brought up. I think it’s smart to focus on making things that you know you will wear all the time. It seems common sense, but so many of us spend tons of time working on items we won’t wear all the time because they don’t fit our lifestyle or our style. If a simple Target dress ticks all your boxes, why not replicate it? A project doesn’t have to be fancy to be great.ReplyCancel

  • Denise - That dress will be lovely:). On my sewing table: a clone of a pair of trousers that I love that are awaiting a zipper and a (hopefully) wearable muslin of NewLook 6150.ReplyCancel

  • lisa g - i love the inspiration dress! reminds me of the pattern runway kimono dress, which i’ve been meaning to make for basically forever… on my sewing table… trying to get a few kid pieces done for when spring decides to show up, then back to sewing for me!
    lisa g recently posted..jalie 2908 | finale… for nowReplyCancel

  • Fabric Tragic - It’s a great style – I’ve made a couple similar to this. It’s funny isn’t it once we get right into garment sewing it can feel harder to justify purchasing something RTW – my brain says ‘nah, I can just make that…..After I’ve made the million other things on my last!’ Ha! I’m finishing up a stripey top, then starting the muslin for a silk jersey draped dress for my best friends wedding…..ReplyCancel

  • Angela - I recently bought a casual dress from Target, too! I also shop at thrift stores, but not to refashion items. I saved back some things from my own clothes that I thought I might refashion, but I’m finding out it’s really hard to have enough fabric to work with — so not my favorite thing, but since I’ve already got the clothes, I may give it a few more tries. Sometimes I do find great fabric yardage at my thrift store, though.ReplyCancel

  • Tiffany - That looks like such a comfortable dress! I’d love to have a dress like that. Right now, I’m trying to sew a top out of some Liberty lawn, but other jobs around the house keep getting in the way.
    Tiffany recently posted..Sewing: Butterick 5286 #2ReplyCancel

  • Chris - I made alot of clothes using a rub off pattern- it does take the guesswork out of everything. I also refashion- mainly because clothes rarely fit straight from the rack!ReplyCancel

  • Sue - I’m the same with refashioning! I was in op (thrift) shops yesterday, but just cannot get my head around buying something that doesn’t fit me. This dress looks so perfect for summer, I can’t wait to see your finished result. I’ve just finished a shirt for son and a Sorbetto tank for me (trying to stashbust) and I have another Sorbetto on the table, plus another shirt for son. Getting boring…
    Sue recently posted..Colour blocked shiftReplyCancel

  • Amy Clark - Your thoughts on handmade vs. rtw mirror my own buying philosophy almost exactly. I don’t have time to make everything I wear, and when I do have time to sew, often I want to sew something fun. I try to shop at consignment/thrift shops as much as possible but I do buy new off of sales racks periodically. I don’t really like shopping that much but I realize that I do have to get dressed. Currently on my sewing table: a modified Barcelona skirt. This is far and away the most flattering skirt I have ever found for my figure. I’ve made a bunch over the years but lost weight last summer and have to make a size smaller – this time I tried shortening the skirt to mix it up a little. It’s a pretty simple pattern so a good one to pick for my first time pattern hacking. Seems to have worked so far….ReplyCancel

  • Kara - I’ve got a couple of things on my sewing table right now:
    An Alma blouse in a light blue challis. True story: I was all ready to sew it up, but realized everything else on deck to sew needed the black thread that was already on my serger, and I couldn’t bring myself to change the thread for one project.
    A Georgia dress that will be made from a nice floral stretch sateen.
    Oh, and a grey wool trumpet skirt (fabric from your shop!). This will sew up quickly, but I’m worried that I ought to muslin it first, so haven’t gotten it started yet.
    The first two have both been through a few rounds of muslins, so I’m pretty confident about the fit. I’ve been off to a slow start with sewing this year, partly because I’ve been working in some knitting projects.
    I must say the Georgia dress is not the most practical thing for me, but I think it will be smashing, so I may find myself inventing appropriate places to wear it.
    Kara recently posted..Independent Pants Pattern Face-offReplyCancel

  • new fashion styleOn the Sewing Table: Garnet Hill Inspired Dress - A Fashionable Stitch » new fashion style - […] See the article here: On the Sewing Table: Garnet Hill Inspired Dress – A Fashionable Stitch […]ReplyCancel

  • Amy w - With RTW I just ask myself if this is something I can and will make soon. I haven’t progressed to button down shirts or pants/jeans so I but those. I’m working on building my work wardrobe. A nice top (right now it being a pullover) and a straight skirt is my work “uniform”. I just can’t do thrift stores. It’s hard for me to dig through the long racks and find something or buy a large shapeless dress and make something new from it. A friend of mine is an expert thrifter. She’ll find nice stuff (Ann Taylor) with tags still on. I find silly cat sweaters from 1983. Lol. So I just don’t bother with it.ReplyCancel

  • erin - LOVING the colours and fabrics you have chosen. It’s going to be a fabulous dress, I’m sure of it!
    erin recently posted..cherishing the timeReplyCancel

  • Christianne Bower - I love shopping at thrift and consignment shops, but I don’t buy things that need extensive alterations. Shortening a hem or sleeve, lowering a neckline: I can do. Sometimes sewing something is going to be either too difficult for me or too expensive, and that’s when I go to my favorite thrift and consignment places…probably a quarter of my wardrobe I’ve sewn, a quarter I’ve bought new, and the rest is from thrift shops etc. I buy brand names and quality items only; classics that are timeless.ReplyCancel

  • Gail - Very nice dress. I was particularly taken by your inspiration post from the week before. Bit of a jacket fan.
    Gail recently posted..Take two!ReplyCancel

  • Enter Simplicity 1654 Fitting Muslin » A Fashionable Stitch - […] things first. I did rub-off a pattern for my Garnet Hill inspired dress. I then proceeded to cut out fabric, sew it up and even though the dress itself will work, the […]ReplyCancel

Pairing Pattern & Fabric

The other day I received the latest Garnet Hill catalogue in the mail. It’s one of those that I didn’t actually sign up for, have never purchased anything from but have become a regular receiver of. And oddly, its one that I like. As I was flipping through its pages, something struck me and I thought it would be an excellent topic of discussion. The thing that stood out the most for me in this latest issue of Garnet Hill was the happy marriage of pattern/design and fabric type. I’ve noticed things like this before, but it didn’t actually really truly hit home until I saw a dress that I really liked and went to my stash so that I could possibly come up with a sewing substitute.

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What I was looking at the most was the shape and the way the dress falls on the body. It’s this dress above and I liked the drapey quality of the rayon that was used in conjunction with the style/design it was paired with. I consider fabric and pattern pairings all the time when I’m in the heat of working out the next project I want to tackle. This time I felt it was a more conscious choice of what would work the absolute best so as to give me the exact look that I saw and wanted.

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I remembered a Thread’s article that was published not too long ago (but can’t seem to find) on how one of the biggest failings in personal sewing is pairing the wrong fabric with a specific pattern. These days I have to admit that it seems like you can’t go wrong when you choose a pattern and slap a fabric with it. I mean, as I was looking at the Garnet Hill catalogue, I noticed lovely things like silk crepe de chine shorts and even a jacket. To me this was an interesting pairing and one I probably wouldn’t come up with on my own and one that I would still consider but possibly choose something stronger like a 4-ply silk for a jacket and short combo. Still, I’m curious and want to try a crepe de chine short – now those would be sublime!

Now when it comes to it, I’ll admit that many of my sewing flops could be attributed to poor fabric choice. Because of poor fabric choice, it’s also interesting to note that things like fit and style didn’t fall into place either thereby making it a flop. Yet, when I think of it, I was only concerned with fit and thought that it must have been only a fitting error. An interesting confession, I think. What do you say? Can you attribute some of your flops to poor fabric choice? Were you going for one thing and ended up with something that was a flop because the fabric didn’t lay right for the pattern you chose?

I plan to do a couple of follow up posts on this subject to give you some ideas of good fabric and pattern pairings that I’ve been thinking about, some examples of bad fabric and pattern pairings and how to make unusual fabric pairings work.

  • Wendy - I think you have it spot on! I know that bad fabric choice is certainly responsible for most of my failures. It’s something I have been aware of only very recently and so will look forward to your next posts.ReplyCancel

  • LSV - Perfect, I was just thinking about this – how to pair fabric for my life (no dry cleaning, durable) and patterns, now that I am becoming more competent at sewing. Also, as I don’t live anywhere near a fabric store, and have to order online, how to look at content of the fabric and have an idea of how it will behave.ReplyCancel

  • Nancy - Excellent point. I often think I need to sew things that will be durable instead of enjoyable! Thanks for the tip about looking at catalogues for sewing ideas as well.
    Nancy recently posted..Building a Wardrobe, Architecturally SpeakingReplyCancel

  • Kelly - I attribute all of my sewing flops to poor fabric choice. Maybe fitting or design issues that caused the flop once or twice, but seriously, proper pairing of fabric to pattern is my number one struggle. I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts about it!
    Kelly recently posted..Last MonthReplyCancel

  • H - I think you’ve made a good point there about fabric choice. When I sewed my first pair of jeans I used some corduroy that turned out to be too thick, so although they fit and looked okayish I never felt comfortable in them.ReplyCancel

  • Ani - As a new sewer, I *know* that it is all about my poor fabric choices. I don’t have any decent apparel fabric stores nearby and am terrified to purchase online without feeling or discussing with a clerk because I know that I don’t know what that fabric is or what it will do.

    As a result, I don’t sew very often. It’s sad, and I know I won’t get better until I practice more, but how to practice without going bankrupt and having piles of unwearable garments!?ReplyCancel

  • Mari - Excellent post. I look forward to the follow up series. Fabric choice seems to be so neglected while everyone concentrates on fit and sewing the current “in” patterns. All is lost if the fabric is wrong.ReplyCancel

  • Maddie - Yes! I can totally speak to this! Currently, I working on the third make for Simplicity 7456. I contribute the first “failure” to fit and fabric, but the second, I totally blame the fabric. I chose a lightweight wool and it really needed a heavier weight one for me to achieve the look I was going for. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that numero tres will be the winner.
    Maddie recently posted..What i Made: Carter RaeReplyCancel

  • Kerry - I often know what fabric I am looking for in terms of fibre/drape but I am hampered by lack of availability (I am in the UK)- if I can find rayon it might be in a pattern that is garish, or I can only find chambray in the same shade of blue I have already used many times. Online has a better selection but it can be risky when it arrives and it is much lighter weight and totally see through compared to the picture!ReplyCancel

  • SewingElle - You are so right. My flops are almost all about poor fabric choice.
    SewingElle recently posted..Shirting or skirting?ReplyCancel

  • Sally - Right on Meg! ALL my recent frustrations have been with the fabrics I’ve picked to make a certain garment. Love the ideas in your post about the silky/drapey fabric for shorts and a jacket :)
    Sally recently posted..Pillows and Sew Grateful GiveawaysReplyCancel

  • Sue - Yep, just about every one of my failures has been about poor fabric choices. I think it’s because I don’t buy specific fabric for a pattern, but try to retrofit stash fabric to stash patterns. I do think that the more failures I have, the better I am at thinking through what I’m doing…ReplyCancel

  • Becky - I can attribute more than one flop to poor fabric choice. When I see the price of catalog clothes and I KNOW I can make that so much cheaper, I become committed to make it myself. The challenge is finding something locally and I’m stuck with just JoAnns, Hancock, and Walmart – none of which seem to carry good quality fabric. Even if I find a good drape, it will pill after a few washings, or fade, or fray…very frustrating after hours and hours of work. I don’t mind shopping online but the color that arrives in the mail can be a surprise sometimes. So what is the trick? Snatching up good fabric when I find it in the hopes that it will work with something in the future? Or finding the garment I want to make and then hoping to come across the right fabric? It’s stifling.ReplyCancel

  • Helen Fox - I am so in need of this post (and the follow ups) I have been making the odd handmade for years, but with very little actual success and am getting into it a lot more now. I know I can attribute most of my failures to bad fabric choice. A bit more insight into this is exactly what I need. Also, I do buy a lot of fabric online so would welcome any advice on types of fabric and their behaviours, what will stick to your tights, useful fabrics for lining etc. I look forward to reading the rest of your posts on these.ReplyCancel

  • EmSewCrazy - What a good thought, that fitting problems might be connected to poor fabric choice…
    Looking forward to hearing more!ReplyCancel

  • Dottie doodle - Definitely, I get the fabric choice wrong all the time. Usually, it’s wearable but…. And I only seem to learn by getting it wrong, which is expensive!ReplyCancel

  • Melanie - This is so true Sunni, and I never thought about unfixable fit problems being related to the wrong fabric. There’s a cute little handbook of quotes by Dior, in which he gives some advice for home sewers – one being to always follow what the pattern recommends in terms of fabric choice!
    Designers put a lot of effort into designing with a specific hand or drape of fabric in mind and you ignore it to your peril…ReplyCancel

  • On the Sewing Table: Garnet Hill Inspired Dress » A Fashionable Stitch - […] fun to see a garment go from inspiration to pattern to fabric to construction to finish. As per my post this past Monday, I was inspired by that Garnet Hill dress to create something similar. The dress in and of itself […]ReplyCancel

  • Carolyn - There are three parts to a successful garment in my book – fabric/pattern choice, fit and construction techniques. Miss one of these and you can definitely end up with a wadder. Have I had my share of missed opportunities because of a poor fabric pairing? Most definitely!

    There use to be these fabric books that were sold and widely purchased that had samples of the fabric in them along with their qualities so that a sewist could feel the hand of a fabric. I miss them and think that some enterprising person could make a mint if they brought them back because there are so many sewists how there fumbling in the dark when it comes to fabric and it’s properties.

    Learning how to make good fabric/pattern choices is integral to having a wonderful garment at the end of your sewing journey.ReplyCancel

  • Amanda - Great point! I agree that one of the biggest contributions to my fails has been fabric choice. Also, knowing what styles you can and can’t pull off is definitely another HUGE factor in achieving a hit or miss. Prior to learning how to do an FBA (and the fact that I definitely needed one) I’d say ALL of my fails were due to fit, but even though my fitting still isn’t perfect, it’s not a deal breaker most of the time, if I love the way the garment wears, which I think has a lot to do with fabric and style.
    Amanda recently posted..Love at first sight AnnaReplyCancel

  • Bev - Great insights!! Yes I have definitely had project failures due to poor fabric choices! Can’t wait for your future posts on this subject!! Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Shawnta - I have to agree that about 95% of my sewing flops are due to poor fabric choices. The other 5% comes from not taking my time.ReplyCancel

  • Annette - I think fabric is a large part, but when the chain fabric stores, Joann’s and Hancock, only offer such limited choices and patterns that the majority of beginners use; it is not surprising that so many beginners give up. I have been successful with the Joann’s and Hancock’s, I don’t have anywhere else close. But the key is that even having the fabric choice issue is that the instructions are often horrible or missing crucial steps. I usually have much better results when I use techniques that I have picked up from books, magazines and the awesome blogging community.
    Annette recently posted..And The Winner Is….ReplyCancel

  • Peggy - You are absolutely correct! The main problem I see among new sewers these days is that they use the wrong fabric, making the article of clothing cartoonish or an adult version of a child’s outfit. It took me years (and years) to figure pattern/fabric matching, mainly because I think I was so focused on learning the craft.ReplyCancel

  • Swiss Dot McCall’s 6696 | sew Amy sew - […] combo (A Fashionable Stitch discusses this very tricky issue which I struggle with constantly in this post).I got the fabric at Spotlight, it’s 100% cotton swiss dot and super soft, almost like an old […]ReplyCancel

Behind the Seams: Pink Walrus Jacket

First things first. Today was my farewell to Project Sewn. Thank you everyone for your support and sweet comments about my makes and the competition in general. Thank you! I’m happy that I was able to participate and I was thrilled and incredibly honored to be listed among the other amazing ladies. They are still kickin it over there for the last week. Down to the final three – Rachel, Oona and Alida! I’m sure this upcoming week will be a very hard pick. All my best to the final three!

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Several of y’all wanted to see the innards of my Pink Walrus jacket from last week and I’m more than happy to oblige. Far be it from me to withhold more nerdy info on one of my makes. I may as well give you the entire run down.

The jacket was fusibly tailored – meaning I used a fusible interfacing throughout. I used two different interfacings in different areas because I’ve liked the way this works in other jackets that I’ve done. I used a weft interfacing for the main body of the jacket and this absolutely marvelous pro-sheer elegance interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply for the faced areas of the jacket. Whenever I fusibly tailor a jacket, I use this method of applying the interfacing to the jacket front/lapel area. It’s pretty awesome. Also, I did tape the roll line for the lapel and I did that by machine. That, I should not have done. It just shows up too easily here, but might work better on something like a tweed or boucle where the stitches would really be hidden.

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I attached the pockets using my patch pocket method. Someone asked about the flaps. Really they’re just little rectangles that are stitched in place, folded down and stitched again. The Named instructions are very adequate for those. (BTW, this is the Kaisla jacket from Named….)

The body of the jacket is made from this drapey rayon/silk blend and its was interesting, to say the least. I wanted a drapey jacket but hadn’t thought that making one from something like this would be hard. It was hard. Not only did this fabric show a lot of flaws, but it shows all the inner workings pretty well too. Or it was trying to do that, but alas, I tamed this beast into submission! The final jacket looks really good and I’m surprised at just how well it coordinates into my existing wardrobe.

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The lining in the body is a silk/acetate blend hollywood lining. From what I understand, hollywood lining merely refers to the jacquard look of it. Mine has little medallions woven into it and that purpley color looks so unnervingly awesome with the pink. I also have this same lining in a tan color, just begging for another jacket lining to be made from it. Additionally, I lined the sleeves in a Liberty of London silk charmeuse. This, as you might be aware, is one of my favorite tricks. I’ve seen this type of thing in high end RTW and I love being able to use a contrasting lining in the sleeve to give the inside of a jacket a little edge. It’s fun! Additionally, it keeps the cost down on the silk front. I mean you only need a yard – if that – of silk for the sleeve and since your sleeve is the part of the jacket that will most likely touch the skin, it feels incredibly luxurious.

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Someone asked about the vent in the back. All I did with the vent is not sew it in. This means that instead of a slit or vent in the center back seam, I sewed the whole thing shut. There was no other change to the pattern in the back other than that so the shape of the jacket back is built into the pattern. I do love vents on jackets, I just didn’t want to mess with it because a vent with a lining is actually not the easiest thing to sew. I really didn’t have time for fiddly stuff, so I skipped that and redrafted the lining to better meet the way I had envisioned sewing this jacket. Worked out just great.

I’m really loving this jacket style in my closet. It’s a knock out color and looks easy and fabulous with jeans and a simple tee. I love the length too. It’s a longer style jacket and that has its perks. Plus it has a little modern edge to it that I think is really nice. I love the no collar look and can even envision a cardigan style jacket made from it. Lots of possibilities here.

What did you think of this jacket in the Named line-up? Like my lining combo? It’s a must try tip. Silk in the sleeve feels like a million dollars!

Have a lovely weekend everyone!

  • Kathy Sews - I’ve enjoyed seeing your creations sooo much!! You kicked butt and so we’ll all still be tuning in on your blog regularly to read and see all your future makes!!ReplyCancel

  • Geo P - I loved all your outfits and I’m sorry to see you’re out. I need to make a jacket now, yours are amazing, I love them all! :)
    Geo P recently posted..Burda top 111 02/2014ReplyCancel

  • Dee Dee - Sunni, your pink jacket is the winner! Too cute!ReplyCancel

  • Dee Dee - Sunni, you have the most gorgeous, delectable, delicious looking notions!!! A girl after my own heart. The bias tapes, Petersham ribbons, everything……..makes me drool. I hope to share this information with everybody on Facebook. Best of luck on keeping on, forever keeping the gorgeous notions department. I have never seen the variety of colors anywhere in any notions dept. Love ya, Dee DeeReplyCancel

    • Sunni - Thank you Dee Dee! We are hoping to expand the online shop even a little bit more. Yay! Thanks for your enthusiasm. Means a lot!ReplyCancel

  • Aud Steier Griem - Hi, Sunni.

    Your jackets are wonderful. I very much like the way you make the sleeves with a different lining. Do you cut the sleeves longer to be able to wear them this way?

    Best regards,
    Aud in NorwayReplyCancel

    • Sunni - Thank you Aud! The sleeves are cut just like they would be for a regular jacket, I just roll them up! I should probably have a photo of them rolled down, but I was lazy and didn’t!ReplyCancel

  • Ginger - I love this jacket so much! It’s such an amazing color- I’m sure you must get boatloads of compliments every time you wear it! Thanks for linking to that Threads article. I will be poring over that, for sure! I’ve only made one jacket that was really tailored, and I used a really drapey fabric, too, so I feel your pain. I’m not sure how successful I was overall with it, but it was a good learning experience. Man, all the inside stuff really wanted to show through the fashion fabric! Ugh!

    Hope you enjoy some downtime after the mania of Project Sewn! I so loved your outfits!
    Ginger recently posted..Ginger Made: Houndstooth Victoria Blazer!ReplyCancel

  • lisa g - this jacket seriously has me drooling! i love the drape-y fabric, though i can only imagine how challenging that ended up being! the contrast sleeve lining is such a great idea… i’ll have to remember that! i really do plan to pick up this pattern for spring, an endorsement from you means a lot in my book!
    lisa g recently posted..jeans update | jalie 2908ReplyCancel

  • blacklabel - Awesome colour, impeccable finish – you’ll be missed on PS.x
    blacklabel recently posted..{ FRIDAY FAVOURITE } Journey of a Dress…ReplyCancel

  • Ann - Regarding Project Sewn, I don’t want to say anything, which might appear to diminish the work of your contenders in any way, but I do not agree with the outcome. I suspect it may have had more to do with popularity than with merit. Moreover, if everyone voted just once for what she sincerely believed was the most meritorious entry, you would not have been eliminated. I am sorry to see you go, and impressed, but not surprised, by your good sportsmanship. Well done!ReplyCancel

  • Eirini - I loved your creations and your styling on PS so much!!! Hopefully we will continue to see more of those in this blog…ReplyCancel

  • seamsoddlouise - I’ve loved all of your designs from PS. So sad to see you go. The lace skirt was awesome.ReplyCancel

  • Tasha - It’s great to see the inner workings! I think my absolute favorite part, outside of the obviously great craftsmanship and how it looked on you, is that you said it coordinates with so many things in your wardrobe. Anyone who has a wardrobe that can slip in a hot pink blazer seamlessly (har har) is fantastic. But we already knew that about you! ;) ReplyCancel

  • Deb - Hi there, Just a question regarding the interfacing that you use. Why do you use different interfacings and why the type that you use? I read about it and it appears that it is extremely lightweight – don’t you need something a little heavier in this area? What did you use on the back?

    Also,do you pull through your sleeve lining and use it as a cuff?

    Thanks so much –
    DebReplyCancel

    • Sunni - Hi Deb!
      Whenever you pick interfacings you have to pick them according to the fabric weight, drape, thickness, etc and in this case I was working with a fabric that was drapey and somewhat thin. I wanted to maintain the drape while still giving a little bit of structure. The weft that I used was the hefty interfacing and I used that on the body of the jacket. The lighter weight interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply was a good contrast to the beefier weft and still maintained the amount of drape I wanted to keep in the overall jacket. I used the weft in the jacket fronts, around the armholes and the upper jacket back. I used the lighter weight interfacing in the jacket facings. Interfacing a jacket is a completely separate animal from any other garment and its something I might discuss more in the future. I’ll consider it!

      The sleeve on the jacket is just rolled up. Its not a cuff, just double rolled for style and to show off my fun sleeve lining! Otherwise its just a regular jacket sleeve.

      Thanks so much for your questions!ReplyCancel

  • Beth - I love the simplicity of this jacket. Beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • Ayida - That’s a beautiful Walrus Sunni! And I love how you just ‘casually’ provide us with tons of tips. I have never made a jacket because it seems so laborious, but I did add the Kasia pattern to my wishlist so I’m gonna do it some day!ReplyCancel