My boyfriend jacket is a vintage 70’s pattern and came one size too small for me. I could make the case that I could just go online and try to purchase one in my size, however, when you have patterns given to you like I did, for free, no strings attached its hard to justify getting the same pattern in a different size and paying money for it. Wouldn’t you agree? I know. And what could be more fun that grading a pattern? I know, not that much. Maybe a giant root canal.
As I’m typing this, I’m currently grading Simplicity 5250. Can you believe that I’m nuts enough to actually grade the jacket here and not the pants? Me neither. But I am. I thought that it would be a good chance to practice grading. I needed just one size bigger. This is a 32 1/2 inch bust and I needed a 34 1/2 (or 35, but I went with 34 1/2 to make it easier) inch. So I thought I would do a post on grading. I’ve found this article on Threads to be most helpful and it goes into great detail about how to grade. I’m just filling you in on my experience.
Here I’ve done something that you probably shouldn’t do but I did anyway. Alter the original pattern. If this had been an older pattern, predating the 70’s and not a jacket with so many pieces I would have considered tracing the pattern and then using that to alter with. But I’m sticking to my guns on this one. I altered the original pattern, so there. You may not want to do this. That’s up to you. And don’t let anyone tell you different. It’s your pattern.
Onto the grade. I started with the back lining piece as it most closely resembles one of the 5 main slopers on the chart from the Thread’s article. I drew the lines in (accented here in red) and then figured the amount I needed to grade each line. The Thread’s article will help you with that too. The graph in the article goes up to two inches, however, if you need to do a bigger grade, multiply the graph. I did a two inch grade here. But if I were to do a four inch grade, I would take the numbers given in the graph for a two inch grade and double them. Make sense?
To get a good and even grade, I drew the grading lines in the same places of origin. For example, the horizontal grade line in the middle of the armscye should match the grade line of the sleeve head and the front lining piece. You with me? Good. I did this part by laying the pattern pieces over each other, matching them all up. For example, as I graded my back lining piece, I also put the lines in for the yoke, the back pleated section, the belt, the peplum, the collar and the sleeve. All the pattern pieces must grade at the same points for the grade to work. In other words, you can’t just pick random lines for grading, I’ve done that one before and its a real pain to figure out where you went wrong. Everything gets all wonky. Have the grade lines all originate from the same points.
Next I spliced and separated the pattern pieces one at a time. Added in the tissue and used my ruler to determine the amount of extra tissue I needed. If you are grading down, you obviously won’t need the tissue. You’ll be overlapping the pattern pieces instead. In the end, my piece looked graded, ha ha ha (A for effort, right?). Where needed, I neatened or blended the edges of the grading areas with my straight ruler or french curve. After that I went through all the pieces and matched them up again, laid them over each other, etc and made sure that the notches matched each other (otherwise, I remarked them) and that there wasn’t a piece longer or shorter than each other. I find it easier to sew the garment if the notches and seams all match up. Who doesn’t, right? Ha.
A few things to keep in mind. When grading a top or a dress, stick with your bust measurement. With bottoms, stick with your waist or hip measurement depending on which is bigger or harder to fit. Once you are finished grading a pattern, its a good idea to make a muslin, just to make sure that the grading worked and you don’t have one piece longer or shorter than the other or something somewhere doesn’t quite match up. That’s up next, for me. Also, I wouldn’t bother grading a pattern if you’re only 1 to 1 1/2 inches off from the pattern. Instead I would make a muslin and fit from there. If you are 2 or more inches off, you’ll need to grade.
Hopefully this makes sense. How do you normally grade a pattern? Any tips or tricks you’ve come by that helps?
You’ve probably been wondering if I will ever sew a garment again. I haven’t come out with a garment since….ahem, I can’t even remember. I’ve actually been working on several garments and just haven’t finished them or had time to go and grab the necessary finishing detail and such. I know. Lazy. That rotten little four letter word.
Well, in an effort to actually finish something, I hereby declare that I’m officially working on a boyfriend’s jacket. I’ve been following along with Gertie’s Lady Grey Sew-A-Long and though I’m not making that coat (as I’ve already made it, and am not quite ready to make it again), I am following her tailoring technique tutorials. Even bought that book about tailoring that she mentioned. Very very worthy investment, if I do say so myself.
So you might be wondering exactly what a boyfriend’s jacket is. I’ve wanted a new one for awhile. My mom had the sweet velveteen number above that I wore all through high school and my first years in college. I loved that jacket. A real genuine 70’s boyfriend jacket. My mom told me that my dad actually bought it for her when they were still….boyfriend and girlfriend. So it’s the real deal. And unfortunately it doesn’t fit. It never did fit real well, what with those football shoulders I’ve got. Could never bring my darn arms foward. Bowling was definitely out of the question. But back to my original point. A boyfriend’s jacket is a jacket made for a woman that looks like a men’s jacket. It’s supposed to give you that look of actually looking like a boyfriend’s jacket, like you know, your boyfriend gave to you. That sort of ring around the neck thing and all.
A couple of weeks ago, this lady at work brought me a box of patterns she didn’t want anymore. (PS, it’s a very good idea to tell older women you work with that you sew and that you love vintage patterns, because they will bring your their old patterns and let you have them. This is my 4th box!) I was sorting through them rather quickly, having a glance and what to my wondering eyes – Simplicity 5250. A rather feminine detailed boyfriend’s jacket. Loved. It. Had to have it. I dropped everything and ran, not walked, home. I had the navy velveteen and the blue polka dot silk lining at the ready for this very occasion. Hip Hip Hooray! I’m such a lucky girl. You have no idea.
Needless to say, I’ve made a good start on the jacket. And I will finish it, don’t you worry. It will be tailored, am waiting on hair canvas to arrive as I type. Had to grade the pattern up one size. Will show you more on that later this week. Made the muslin, and had slight but easily fixed fitting problems. And there you have it.
And you do realize what this means, right? Pretty much, I have nothing to go with this jacket. Ha ha ha. And I’ve commited myself not to make onesies anymore, so I’ll just have to base an entire outfit around this jacket. Oh what fun! Yay!
Thoughts anyone? Did you ever have a boyfriend’s jacket? I want to know, really I do. And I want to know what boyfriend gave it to you.
PS ~ You guys, seriously, are THE BEST! Thank you so much for guiding me in the right direction for a beggining knitter. I’m very excited to get started. Have bought two books, just need to pick a project and get some needles, yarn and other odd supplies. Couldn’t be happier with all of your fabulous advice! THANK YOU! You really know how to reach out and make a girl feel welcome!
As I mentioned last week, I made a serious haul on vintage patterns. Most are in the shop as I type, a few yet still to upload. And that was very hard for me, because I loved them all and wanted to keep them all. I limited myself to keeping two. That’s some serious restraint if I ever knew it. Serious.
Funny enough, I kept this little number. I liked the dress well enough. It’s cute and stylish, but I’ve never seen a sewing pattern that came with a knitted number and instructions for how to knit it. I’m fairly new to vintage patterns, so saying I’ve never seen this before may not hold alot of weight. Still, I’ve never seen this in my my sewing experience period. But I looooove it! I especially the pea green color on the model here. And I really want it. But I don’t know how to knit….
So, for all of you knitters out there, where would you start? I am by no means saying that this sweater should be one of my very first projects. Ha ha ha. I’m saying as someone who’s never knitted a single knot, what do I do first? Any book recommendations? What sort of project should I start out with? What kind of needles do I get? How many needles do I get? Do I start with chunky, medium or thin yarn?
I’ve heard of Ravelry. It’s an overwhelmingly beautiful site, but I’m looking for something more direct. A book that says, you’ll need this and this to get started. This is the first stitch to learn. Blah, blah, blah. Tell me too, where did you learn to knit? What is the best part about knitting? What should I anticipate? Is it hard? And why is knitting so great?
Input please. I’m in dire need. Someday, I WILL make this sweater. In pea green yarn, no less.
It’s been quite some time since I’ve had a guest over here on the blog. Ms. Chie of Vivat Veritas contacted me last week and so sweetly agreed to do a guest post over here. As many you are probably aware, this stellar designer came up with that infamous backless dress on Burda Style I saw awhile back. I’ve seen so many versions of this idea since then. And isn’t it just to DIE for? Yeah, it is. So without further adieu, I present to you Chie of Vivat Veritas and her beautifully inspired world:
Hi! My name is Chie Duncan of the Vivat Veritas Clothing Line. I am so honored to be a guest blogger at one of my favorite sewing blogs, the Cupcake Goddess.
I love sewing. It all started when my close friend from college, lent me her sewing machine. I first used her sewing machine to remake an old hippy looking maternity dress I bought from flea market. I liked the fabric but not the style so I thought it would be fun to turn it into something a little more appropriate for my age and time in life. I immediately starting cutting and sewing but had no real plan in mind. The whole process was fun but, unfortunately when I finished the project, I couldn’t fit into the dress. I didn’t realize that the fabric had no stretch, and I didn’t think to add zippers or buttons. After this I realized that I had some learning to do before I tried to remake anything else. So I started researching about sewing and patterns and the steps required to make something which would actually be wearable.
From that point on I slowly taught myself how to sew women’s clothing. I used online resources, such as BurdaStyle and other video tutorials. When I first began this process it would take me three days to complete one project, but slowly, I got better at sewing:)
I usually get inspiration for new sewing projects from blogs and other BurdaStyle member’s projects. My favorite fashion blogs are The Glamorai, The Cherry Blossom Girl, Late Afternoon, Karla’s Closet, Natalie Off Duty….just to name a few. I subscribe to many more fashion, sewing and design blogs, and reading their new posts is one of my morning routines.
I have a folder on my desktop, called “inspiration” where I save some pictures which I revisit often. When I fall into sewers block, I go there and use those resources to get my juices flowing again.
I love going to any and every fabric store I find. Visiting fabric stores has almost become a hobby in and of itself. I usually don’t have a shopping list when I go to a store because I always end up buying something different than what was on my original list. Because of this I decided to just go and buy whatever strikes me at the time. I like
fabrics that are comfortable to wear, such as jersey and cotton. I am more prone to use prints than solid color. My usual M.O. is fabric first design second. If I like the fabric, I usually buy a couple of meters and then begin to think of the best use for it.
My favorite garment at the moment is the dress pictured. It is a modification of the JJ blouse from BurdaStyle. I always come up with new ideas for garments while I am sewing. I first sewed the JJ blouse without any modification but over time thought of my own modifications. For this JJ, I shortened the blouse, added a waist band, and square gathered the skirt and added a side zipper.
So, I’m curious, do most of you start with a plan in mind or make things up as you go along? For me the freedom “to see what comes next” is half the fun.
Ms. Chie of Vivat Veritas
let me do a guest post
on her sweet blog. Go over, have a look and definitely check out her gorgeous Etsy shop
And that pincushion that I made above, ummm….that’s a giveaway over on the Blue Gardenia. Wait, wait, it gets even better. See that Vogue Sewing book, yeah that’s going to be given away with this pincushion. Go. Enter. Now.