Saturday, February 28, 2015

Mardi Gras Celebrations: My new top Vogue 8747 and StyleArc pants

16 comments:
Well, hello all, today I come to you with two new pattern playmates.  We have the Katherine Pants, from StyleArc Patterns, sharing the spotlight with a true success!!!. a shirt from the Vogue 8747 patterns, which may very well become one of my favorite button downs.
 
I don't know about you, but I like to eat my dessert before my dinner...just in case I get too full, at least I had the good stuff first.  Thus, it is with this post...I will give you the gist on the top first.
mardi gras colors
Vogue 8747 top view D:
I call this my Mardi Gras blouse, because a friend told me, after I showed here this fabric; "Oh, those are Mardi Gras colors!  How exciting."  I had no clue.  I bought that fabric last year, and was just drawn to the beautiful watery movement of buildings nearly hidden in the print. I'm embarrassed to say just how much per yard I paid, so if you don't know, then you are like I was, "Clueless".  For those of you who do know about "Liberty of London", can I join your club?  OOOOwee!! this stuff feels fine!!

It's made from some of the best cotton I have ever sewn, REALLY!!  I will shout that one from the roof top.  I did not know that "Liberty of London" was so special.  I do say that stuff is expensive!!  Yes, I did use all caps, and several exclamation points...that is how I feel.    Shoutout to Josephine's Dry Goods in Portland, OR(non-sponsored)  Because, they had a boatload of the stuff and the finery was to die for and go to sewing heaven.  
It takes time to "build" a wardrobe of lovelies, those pieces you will pick up and wear over and over again.  That is why it took so long.  This fabric was destined to become a button down the moment I lay eyes on it, but I still had to find the buttons.  Not just any button would have worked.  There again, they just floated into my life whilst shopping for a client I came upon these gems of the ocean to be added to this sea of buildings.  Feast your eyes, oooh my goodness is that not delicious or what?  That was my dessert.   YumYum, that smile is from the internal satisfaction I get wearing this shirt.
Shortening the front band from apex to neck ensures modesty at the decollate' for the over 40" crowd.
Construction notes for the top:  
The pattern has multiple views to choose from, a regular with the Vogue basics line of patterns, a true bargain when you are spending big bucks for the material.   The pattern represents the hem as having a shirt-tail shape, but I don't see it.  It isn't as pronounced as I would have liked to have in the back.  I will take care of that in the next top.  There will be another, and another, and another.  (I'll keep going and going and .....as with "Peewee Herman")
  • NO FBA!!!  Yeepee!  I cut a size 14 as usual, but this pattern had the A-D cup bust sizing.  I used the D cup. (Actually, I think its a little too roomy in the bust, but it may be the design of the gathers along the front placket) 
  • I Shortened the center front between apex and the neck.  You see the little wedge along the front under the neckline.  That wedge is magic for the over 40" crowd. (Meaning over a B'cup)


  • A swayback adjustment was taken as usual. (See piece 10 above...)  
  • Also added a 1/2" broad back adjustment. 
  • Totally straightened the center back.  Vogue seems to always add a bit of a curve to all their princess backs, which isn't something I need.
  • I did not lengthen the top this time, but I intend to do so on the next go around.
  • Lowered the back neck by 3/8" 
  • You won't see in the alterations, is that I added 1.5" to the hips graded from the waist to the hem.  (I will add those changes to the pattern before I mount it to tagboard.)
StyleArc Katherine Pants:
First off, these are indeed tailored pants.  Another wardrobe staple for me aside from the button down.

stretch woven wool.

To be honest with you, this review has been in the making for quite some time, while I tried to decide how to present all the information to you.  I don't want to burden your blog reader with too much information at one time.  So, I need you to tell me the format in which you want me to dissect these pants.   I only found ONE (1), yes, one pattern review on these pants.  I also contacted the designer for construction assistance with the pockets.

The fabric is a fine light stretch tropical wool...which in and of itself gave me headaches when I tried to topstitch the center front crease seam.  It is a great fabric, but I think I might have a slight sensitivity to wool, because it really makes me itch when and sneeze to wear it or sew with it.  I equate this fabric to a high-end bengaline, because it has a cross grain stretch which resulted in my laying the patterns on the cross not the along the selvage.  I wanted the stretch to go "around" my body, I was thinking if I left it go up and down, then I would get saggy bottom.
topstitching on the bernina 780 using tropical wool stretch
Fitting notes:  "Balance in worklife and personal life is everything."  But what about "Pattern Balance" in your sewing?

In order to keep them straight and balanced at the center front where the seam is on the actual crease, I had to remember to make any width adjustments on both sides of the leg, inseam and out-seam, at the center leg seam...but I forgot just near the end, when I decided to add just a smidgen more right before I cut.  (((((WRONG MOVE....))))


The legs are 20 inches at the hem, not to be confused with the "slim" 15" leg of the barb pant I made here.  They should hang straight down from the side hip, and the crease "should" be in the center of the leg.   Because of this it's important to keep the balance of the pattern when making adjustments. Most fitting guides tell you to increase at the sides. That's doesn't work.
An unbalanced worklife.
Come on my fellow pattern nerds, what have we resorted to with this fitting craze?  I have decided to wear these damn pants, no matter what the fit police say.  Posting my butt all over the internets, for the advancement of the sewing sciences, proves I love my rear end in all its round glory.

I know, I know...."Andrea, of all people, you teach fit!! "You have blah, blah, blah..training, blah, blah, duh."  So, what are you talking about, you should have ALL the answers."   But wait.... I say, Fitting is a moving target, YO!! and at each junction you decide what part of it you are willing to forgo for the current fashion item you choose to construct.

This is especially true if you insist on making different garments from a different pattern and different fabric with every project.  At some point, I just want to say, "enough is enough!"

Thus, for me I have decided, in my own infinite wisdom, to forgo new pant patterns and just design around my sloper ONLY.  At least for a while, ha!  Right, we will see how long that last.  To get me focused, I signed up for Kathy Ruddy's Craftsy class " One Pattern Many Looks" when they had their last sale.
The side front of StyleArc Katherine woven pant....notice the grain line, it would only prove why the pants tend to twist on the leg.  It seams this should be changed to line up with the body, and not be left the same after the alterations.  
Please stay tuned for the next installment of this post giving you the full blown internal guts and gores of the pattern workings, the pocket making and the fitting of Miss Katherine.   Its deep yawl.

....until then, keep studying your patterns.
Andrea

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Comfort Pants: StyleArc Barb

11 comments:
Meet Barb, a StyleArc pattern, a yoga pant type, basically, a comfort pant. I have had a few problems fitting these and other StyleArc pants on my figure. You will see a few more in post to follow, since I need to get more pics of the pattern alterations. For now I wanted you to know about these.
They have a simple elastic waistband. The way the waistband is installed, actually, saves bulk at the waist and keeps the area flat. You use a 1.5-2" elastic, sewn on the flat band and then folded before attaching it to the pants.
The problem I have had with accepting the StyleArc RTW concept is this-- "If Ready-To-wear does not fit me, then why would I want to deal with a pattern that purports RTW?" It doesn't seem to make much sense to struggle so much with a pair of pants that pose all the same fitting issues I deal with in RTW.
The following are the long list of challenges that plague me with RTW, as well as have shown to crossover into the StyleArc pants patterns: I cut a size 16.

1. Back rise had to be raised by 1.5 inches
2. Front crotch had to be lowered 1.5 inches
3. Crotch extension in the back was extended by 1/2 inch
4. Removed over 1 inch excess crotch extension from front
5. Took out 5 inches (yes, five) from the waist
6. Deepened the back crotch by 3/8 inch.

Mind you this was a basic pair of stretch pants. Considering the simplicity of the pattern, this was a lot of alterations. Oh, and yes, I did follow my sloper to determine some of these changes. Although, I think part of the problem falls with the skew of the grain-line in these pants. The pattern has the grain almost straight along the side seam causing the inseam to be on a more pronounced bias than that which my sloper is based.
I used a patterned Ponte Roma knit from my stash. This is a very stable knit with excellent recovery. It has the handle and weight of a Sofia Ponte knit.

Because I did so many modifications, I almost lost interest in this make, but, didn't want to waste the good fabric by throwing them into a pile. So I pressed on to get them done despite my frustrations. With that, I have now decided these will be my quick makes for comfort pants.  They really sewed up pretty quick, aside from the alterations, it took me less than an hour, mostly done on the serger, including adding the waistband.

Everyone should have a basic pair of comfort pants to sew up anytime. Do you have recommendations for other great Comfort pants patterns to try, that you have perfected? I would love to try others.

as always, thanks....Andrea

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Gringos and Cowboy Hats- Rodeo fashion...

17 comments:
Did I say season?  Oh, yes, this is Houston, Texas.  We have the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, better known as RodeoHouston, the world's largest live entertainment and livestock exhibition. (wikipedia.com) RodeoHouston is only second to the International Quilt Festival.  So, it is only right that I celebrate both in my Gringos and Cowboy Cowgirl hat, like baseball and apple pie, they go together during this time of year.
cowboy boots, RodeoHouston, cowboy hats and fashion
The weather during Rodeo season is just as unpredictable as bronco busting, you never know which way the cowboy will be thrown, so we have to be ready for anything here.  I decided to wear a simple dress I made to go with my boots or my house shoes, slippers to some of you. The day started with a bank of fog all over and a slight chill, and ended up by mid-morning at nearly 70 degrees.  This is why we call it Rodeo season.
cowboy boots, RodeoHouston, cowboy hats and fashion
It's quite fun dressing in Houston, because you can actually have the best of both worlds...excluding the summers.  I get to sew summer clothes during the "Winter".  I made this dress from McCalls 6346, which is now out-of-print, but my lovely boots are new to my wardrobe.  These Old Gringo boots, as they are branded, are the most comfortable I have ever worn.  The website says: "Our distinctive style makes us a life style brand with a vast following unlike the average "cowboy boot" company.  They have a "following," now that is interesting.  
cowboy boots, RodeoHouston, cowboy hats and fashion
We all migrate at some point in our lives to a particular brand or style whether it be in fashion, cars, or sewing machines.  We all have a preference.  Why that is the case only we personally know ourselves, and explaining it is useless.  I like sewing with Bernina sewing machines, and wearing Old Gringos, simple as that, no explanation needed. 
cowboy boots, RodeoHouston, cowboy hats and fashion
Out of curiosity, have any of you ever been to RodeoHouston or just plain enjoy wearing cowboy boots and hats during any season?