Frances

Pants and I don’t get along particularly well.  If they fit over my hips and rear, they gape terribly at the waist, and pants that fit at the waist won’t go up over my thighs.  Evidently, the only solution is to sew my own!

I’ve seen lots of rave reviews of the wide-legged pants pattern in Simplicity 3688, and since I picked the pattern up for a song at one of those lovely pattern sales.  I made up the first iteration (my “Wearable Muslin!”) out of some sort of olive green mystery synthetic that  I picked up at Goodwill for about $5.  This pattern has a fair amount of ease, and I ended up mostly cutting out a size 14, but tapering in to a size 10 at the waist.  I feel like the back darts pull a little bit (maybe I need to make them shorter?) but otherwise the fit is perfection!

I made a second iteration in a black cotton twill, which had a lot more body than the first fabric I used.  I also ended up adding about three inches to the length, because although I don’t think of myself as a particularly tall person (I’m 5’6″!) I was only able to put a very narrow hem in my muslin without making them too short.  This time, I was actually able to put in the folded hem that the pattern calls for!  They look a bit rumpled in the photo because I had been sitting all day, but I think that I (mostly) like them.


The third iteration of the pattern is another wearable muslin–I wanted to see if I could transform the pattern into some sort of wearable summer shorts.  These are made of some sort of cotton canvas with a tiny floral print that I found at Goodwill.  Unfortunately, the high waist + white shorts + tiny print makes me feel like I’m wearing boxer shorts!


I also somehow manage to construct the shorts completely catty-wompus… The zipper somehow ended up on the RIGHT side, and the button is all backward.  Fortunately, these are just grubby work shorts and I’ll be making a few more pairs in nicer fabric for actual wear.

I’m currently working on one more pair of shorts in a stretch cotton sateen.  The first zipper I put in broke (!!!!) so I need to replace it and hem the shorts still…. But that’s part of a bigger project, so I’ll share that once a few more of the pieces are done!

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I’ve been meaning to fix the terribly half-a–ed facings I made on my first attempt at Butterick 7139 for a while, and when I found it in my mending pile this week I decided that better facings weren’t worth the effort.  Instead, I decided to unpick the facings, dig out my leftover fabric, and test out the sleeves.  I actually rather like the effect!  They join to the body a little awkwardly, and they could use to have more poof at the top.  I have plans for another version of this dress in a heavier fabric (flannel, maybe?) and I think I will add the sleeves next time.

The original.

The update!

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I have been wanting to at least try to make Advance 6993 ever since I picked up the pattern at a local antiques mall.  However, the pattern calls for something like 6 and 1/8 yards of fabric for the simpler version, which had rather put me off from making it.  But… Joann’s had a sale on their cheapest cotton ($2.49 a yard!), so I of course jumped at the chance to make a “muslin” of the dress pattern to test it out!

 (Dress pattern plus chosen fabric– my choices were limited by needing more than 6 yards of it!)

(The pattern had two newspaper clippings tucked inside when I bought it… obviously the previous owner had clipped a few inspirational ideas!)

(And here are the pieces, so you can see what I was getting into.  There is a lot of skirt.)

The main thing I was struck by as I cut out my pieces was just how much skirt there is for this pattern.  It’s about one and a half circles when it’s all put together, and it’s expansive.  I was very happy that this pattern included pieces for all the facings, and they were relatively easy to put together.  Many a time I’ve started sewing a vintage pattern and come to instructions that tell me to face an armhole opening with a bias strip that I was never instructed to cut!

So, how did it turn out?  Well…

I LOVE it.  The fit is insanely flattering, and the skirt is HUGE and twirly.   I actually ended up cutting off 8 inches of skirt before I hemmed it, because it was just too long for a cotton day dress.  I probably could have left it an inch or two longer, to compensate for the fullness.

Two twirl pictures to get a sense of the scale and movement of the skirt.  It’s REALLY fluffy.  I’m wearing one full petticoat and one light petticoat here, but really it can easily accommodate two full petticoats without much trouble.  I ended up putting in a very narrow twice-folded hem instead of the deeper hem the pattern suggests because I didn’t really relish the idea of trying to press out the fullness of one and a half circles.  No thank you!

I made a few small alterations to the fit, as well:  I ended up taking in the side seams by about an extra half-inch, and I sewed the armholes closed higher than the pattern showed, as there was quite a bit of bra visible from the side when I first tried it on!  I also ended up taking in the top back (rather inelegantly) by tapering the piece towards the top of the zipper, it was gapeing badly at first and falling off my shoulders a bit as a result.

Next time I make this, I’m going to graft on some sleeves from one of the other Advance patterns I’ve sewn.  I think I’ll also leave the skirt an inch or two longer.  Oh, and I’ll remember to start pinning the zipper from the TOP of the opening, so I’m not closing the top inch with hooks & eyes.

I will need to make another one, and probably soon… I don’t think it’s considered good form to wear the same dress four days in a row!

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Hello again!  As you may or may not remember, I found this pattern a while ago devoid of instructions, and wonderful We Sew Retro community member Twisted Poppy came to my rescue with the pattern for a very similar skirt.  So, I forged ahead.

I was using a lime green wool remnant I’d picked up for free somewhere.  I believe I have several skiens of matching yarn lying around at home (yes, really) that I suppose was intended to make an outer shell or a matching sweater.  Anyway, laying out the skirt took all the fabric I had.  It was good that I wanted to shorten it a little , as I was having some trouble getting everything to fit without doing so!  I was using the novelty-print 50s skirt in the back as my length reference.  I made up a good bit of the construction, attempting to follow the order given on the pattern pieces.  I also improvised my interfacings–I ended up using interfacing for the waistband, button tab, and pocket welt.  I tried a few different buttons on the decorative tab, but ended up going for a fabric covered one to match the skirt fabric.

Totally cute, right? (the white balance is a bit off, it’s really a little yellower than this)   I even managed to successfully create a kick pleat:

And I used some old hem tape I got from my grandma’s sewing room for the bottom hem, another first for me.

Still have to get the hang of finishing edges cleanly.  But I LOVE the little pop of black contrast!  But, as I am sure you have noticed, there is a problem with this skirt.  The pattern envelope says “Waist 24″… and this girl here, she does not have a 24″ waist.

That’s about as far as it will go!  And unfortunately, the vintage zip I’m using isn’t quite the right color.  So, what to do?  I’m currently in the process of losing some weight, so maybe it’ll fit properly by springtime.   On the other hand, I could also try to find a fabric I liked that went well enough, unpick the side seams, take off the waistband, and insert two slim fabric panels on the sides.  Or I suppose I could give it to a tiny woman who likes lime green.  I’m leaning towards option 1, keep working on the weight loss and hope to shrink into it!  In the meantime, I might grade the pattern up just a smidge and make myself another one.

Edited to add:  I am working on losing weight, for myself, because I want to be healthier and would really like to have less fat on my lower belly, rear, and thighs.  It is an ongoing project, I’m not just starting it because this skirt is too small.  It is also not up for debate.  I understand the desire to make supportive comments, but in this case, “don’t lose weight!” is not a supportive comment.   Thank you for understanding.

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