I had mentioned that I waited 3 weeks to hem up my circle skirt. That was due to getting this little nifty vintage notion via Ebay. Before I purchased this one, I went ahead and purchased one of those Dritz hem markers from my local fabric store. Um….it was more than disappointing. When I got it home from the store, I promptly took it out of the package, poured the powder into that spray thing and started squirting some pants I had on. The powder was white, mind you, and my pants were dark grey. And yet, I could barely see the chalk line. Not to mention, the more I started looking at the actual marker tower I noticed that indeed, the tower was crooked. Next day, took it back. Got a full refund, even though I had opened it. So sad really. They just don’t make sewing notions like they used to.
After that fiasco, I started looking around online at some vintage hem markers. I found some that were the chalk spray type, but decided that I didn’t want to go that route. Then I saw a host of these pin markers on Etsy. I thought, “Why not?” Lurked around a little more and found this one for mini-skirts on Ebay, not that I’m going to make a mini, but you never know right? But now it’s mine! And it came in the original box!
So what makes these contraptions so great? Let’s start at the beginning, shall we. For one thing, these have metal and wood parts. Enough said there. You have the base, which usually comes with a pincushion (how very handy, if I say so myself). Then you have the ruler which is attached with a screw to the base. Next you have the actual metal pinmarker. This part slides over the ruler and is tightened or loosened with a wingnut screw. I used mine on my Linda-Hop Skirt. First, I tried on my skirt and marked it where I wanted the hem to be. Next, I took off the skirt and put it on Ms. P, adjusted the pinmarker to the height of the pin I marked the skirt hem at and Voila! started marking my skirt all the way around by sandwiching the skirt fabric between the marker and the ruler.
These things work really great for circle skirts. Really great. Not to mention they are so easy to use that if you didn’t have a dressform, you can get your significant other or a friend to mark your skirt for you. Seriously, they are THAT easy to use. AND, since the pin is pushed through the fabric at 4 different points (rather than the regular 2), it really doesn’t fall out. I always have that problem, you know, the pins falling out of the fabric while pinning things up, in the carpet, where I can’t find the darn pins. Won’t happen here. Promise.
Do you have one of these? You need one, if you don’t. Seriously, these are the COOLEST gadgets out there. Simply brilliant.
Still working on my boyfriend’s jacket, but decided to finish a project I started a few weeks ago. I found myself being more and more drawn to making a skirt that didn’t require alot of fitting and was easy to wear. Not to mention with cold weather just around the corner, I was ready for something warm and Fall looking. And plaid. Mustard-y plaid. I’ve had this fabric stashed away since last year when I bought it intending to make….oh yeah, I can’t even remember now. 2 yards at $36 per yard = a very expensive circle skirt. I didn’t want to do anything cheap on this skirt either. So I lined the thing in bright banana yellow silk charmeuse too. That only took $60. So let’s see, just for the fabric here, I’ve already spent $132. And if you haven’t fainted yet Mr. S, you’re on cue now. Oh dear! Needless to say, this thing is simply gorgeous. And by darn, if you don’t agree…..I’m not quite sure what I’ll do but it will be something.
It’s only fitting that I bring you this gorgeous creation after a little draught of sorts here in cupcake goddess land. I haven’t made a single garment since August. So it is with giddy excitement and pleasure I present, The Linda-Hop Skirt. Made from the Linda pattern on Burda Style no less. Easy peasy pattern with loads of potential for fun details. Since this was such an easy pattern, I decided to tackle this plaid double faced wool. It was simply dreamy to work with. And this stuff is extra thick and extra beautiful. And I matched up the plaids rather well I think considering this is my first time working with plaids. The plaid at the zipper just wouldn’t work for some reason, but its only off a slight bit in that one area, so there. I’ll live, I guess. Sigh….
The skirt went together quite smoothly. Easy fit, easy sew. I let the thing hang for about 3 weeks. And surprisingly, I didn’t know that you had to let circle skirts hang. Thank goodness I did an update on my facebook page and thank goodness there were some great stitcher’s watching over me giving me a few words of sound advice. So, if you didn’t know, it’s official, you have to let a circle skirt hang, at least overnight, before hemming it. This is perfectly sensible, because the seamed sides (my front and back here) are cut on the bias. Now, I don’t think I needed to let it hang for three weeks, originally I was planning to hang it for one, but then I decided that I wanted a vintage pin hem marker and it didn’t come for awhile. And I let it hang for that long because this fabric was not only thick, but rather tightly woven. It needed a real good stretch. So it got one.
I hemmed up the hem with horsehair braid. I follow Gertie’s advice and tutorial for this as she is an expert circle skirt maker. I didn’t have access to the type of horsehair braid that she uses. Mine was not as wide and I had to run a gathering stich along one edge. I just bought mine at Hancock’s. I love the finished product though. Oh my goodness! The hem looks so professional. And it gives the hem weight. I love it!
I gave it a lapped handpicked zipper with a vintage metal zipper. Could not be happier with the metal zipper. The skirt lining is finished with my favorite detail, lace. You might also be wondering why I’m wearing it with the seam in the front and back, as traditionally the pattern says it should be worn on the side. I had been looking at alot of mags for the inspiration for this skirt. The ones I liked best were plaid and had the plaids matched up perfectly and to show that off the seam was in the front. I loved this. Yeah. I can match my plaids. Thanks.
Other items of note:
Top – Just a sweater from Sear’s
Belt – Thrifted
Hose – Sear’s (yeah, they have really good tights this year. Just bought another pair that’s in houndstooth. And don’t forget to read my post on proper stocking care. If you want them to last, you have to put them in the freezer. HAVE. TO.)
Shoes – Crown Vintage
What do you think? Ever stitched a circle skirt? You probably should now, if you haven’t. I mean these things are the best things since….A-line skirts. Not only that, but you can twirl. And who doesn’t want a skirt that does that?
Oh the things we do for….fitting! Right? Well after I graded up this delightful jacket, I had to at least make one muslin to test the fit, and make sure that everything lined up just right. Hip hip hooray, it did for the most part. The front piece needed to be a little longer and other than that, I made a pretty good grade for this pattern. Shocking, yes! because this is only the second time I’ve done this and because it was a jacket.
The muslin fit quite well actually. It felt just a little baggy in the bodice, so I trimmed 1/2″ off the sides. Suprisingly, I had to make the sway back adjustment on this jacket as the waistband was a bit droopy. Not an adjustment I usually do, but hey, will be watching for that more now. I also needed a little more in the shoulder area. Yup, even with that pleat in the back, still not enough room in the yoke! Linebacker shoulders, I tell ya. Other than that, feeling pretty good about the overall fit and look of this pattern. I thought the collar would be a bit overwhelming, but I like it. It goes well with the puffy sleeve.
I’ve also decided to leave out the flap pocket. Sometimes, for me, things like that are just silly. But I might add one of those back belt-ish things with the two buttons on each side. Can’t remember what their called. And pockets like the ones on my mom’s jacket to boot. I think I’m more excited about the details of the jacket than the actual jacket itself. OK, back to my sewing machine. More to show next week, maybe even finished!
If you have an eye out for a jacket or coat, this book will give you step by steps on the fitting issues for jackets. Really this book, you cannot live without.
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?