22 Apr 2014

sewing for victory - 5. another fitting intermezzo

Well, still busy with my muslins, this is a post on muslin and pattern adjustments and fitting books! And since the deadline is just a week away, today's western inspired movie theme is at the hell's gate...

altering the bodice:
Let's start with the fitting-issues of Siplicity 3688.
I've shortened the bodice by taking out 2 cm all around,to get rid of the side-bagginess. This was a bit of free-hand work, so please ignore deny the obviously diagonal seam across the front!

Left is the first muslin version, right is the shortened one. Side-bagginess gone, because the pleats are sitting at my waist instead on my belly.
(Of course, I need to add the same length to the hem at the end)

Here you see that the red waistline is sitting at my natural waist now:

The sides look just the same, though there is no wrinkle at the back, onlya huge amount of excess fabric, which is emphasized by my swayback. The wrinkle was caused by insufficient amount of width of the back hem (need to widen that anyway)
Left original, right shortened version:

The back obviously needed darts or something to take out fabric in the middle section. First I tried to add two (rather modestly sized) darts with little to no effect. Do you see the difference? Me neither...

At the end of the day I just decided to add four dart-pleats, similar to the front. Finally, this eliminated the excess fabric and as a bonus, I was able to pull it on without ripping the side seams:

Now I can adapt the below-the bust part of this blouse for my own 40's 'frankenpattern'! Now, let's see what to do with the tight sleeves.

sleeve adjustment
To add width to the upper part of my sleeves I decided to use the pivot-and-slide method, video below by Nancy Zieman. This is by far the easiest way to adjust pattern pieces and works for me better than cutting and spreading the patterns. Note, it works only if you need to adjust small amounts of width, a maximum of 1 inch per side! The fitting book I own (The perfect fit) shows the cut-and-spread method, which makes the original sleevecap a bit fuller,which means you should adjust the armhole seams of the bodice too:

Here is another video with a more lengthy, step-by-step explanation of exactly the same method. This one discuss lengthening long sleeves as well:

books about fitting:

Which is your favorite fitting method and fitting book?
  • I know a lot of sewers love Pati Palmer's 'Fit for real people' series, but I just really, really, really hate the idea of tissue-fitting!
  • I own 'The perfect fit' which is a really good book with clear pictures, covering basic aspects of fitting. 
  • 'Pattern fitting with confidence' which Nancy Zieman discusses in the video below seems to be a good one, as far as pattern alterations go. They just work, even if I only tested the sleeve alteration so far, it seems to me a logical approach indeed. I don't know if there are any good pictures included of what you exactly see on the garments, like drag-lines,bulking etc?
  • I'm dreaming of buying another, rather expensive fitting book, 'Fitting and Pattern Alteration: A Multi-Method Approach to the Art of Style Selection, Fitting, and Alteration' from Elizabeth Liechty et.al. The advantage of this book is that it is very comprehensive (480 pages!!!) This book offers 3 different methods to adjust your pattern for every problem. Since I've recently invested in another expensive pattern-making book here I can't spend more money on books right now, but this one is certainly on my wish-list!
Next time, hopefully something different than a muslin!

18 Apr 2014

40's beauty: Carole Landis

"Having recently returned from an entertainment tour in North Africa, pretty Fox star, Carole Landis is now anxious to visit troops in Australia. Despite the many hardships and dangers encountered on the tour, Carol says she likes to think that she is part of the American Army, and at present is at her Santa Monica home waiting the call to take her off again for foreign service. During her tour in England, Carole met and married Captain Thomas Wallace, of the U.S. Army Air Corps." (1943)

Yet another tragic Hollywood story. Carole Landis died too young, in tragic circumstances. After a being involved in a (more or less public) love affair with the married actor Rex Harrison she committed suicide by taking an overdose of sleeping pills at the age of 29.

1940 article:


"Carole Landis, 25-year old blonde beauty from Fox Studios, devotes most of her time to entertainment tours and bond-selling tours in America and the services, and confesses that she gets a tremendous thrill from these. Her latest film is 'Four Jills in a Jeep' with Mitzi Mayfair, Martha Raye, and Kay Francis. The story relates the adventures of the four girls on a recent tour of North Africa. On Sundays Carol assists her mother in distributing coffee and doughnuts to the soldiers in beach patrol." (1944)

16 Apr 2014

sewing for victory - 4. taking a few steps sideways

Two weeks have left of the challenge. Have you already finished your garment?
Well, according my plans, by now I should post pictures of my perfected muslin and my dream-fabric (sort of), but my muslin is not ready yet.
To tackle a couple of problems I decided to include yet another pattern in the mix. And I made another blouse muslin! So what I have today is an all new muslin, of which I'm planning to use the bottom part (to be precise).
Hence my choice for today's Western-inspired 'intermezzo':

Let's start with something else (talking about steps sideways) Exciting news, I've recently bought a pair of brogues! Okay, this maybe not soooo exciting, but after 1.5 years of 'shoe-diet' I'm glad to have a pair of these beauties! As you can guess, these are from my current favorite brand, Clark's, I wrote about in these posts. Usually I buy new sneakers to wear with jeans, but this year I decided on brogues which are more elegant and can be worn with skirts as well. Brogues are (of course) totally 30's and 40's too!

did you know...
that brogues were very popular through the 30's for women's polo- hike-, and sportswear outfits? Of course, those weren't this flat type of shoes, these became popular during the war years, "for war work and play" unfortunately only in  black or brown.
I chose a fun, grey-and-white color combination. I don't wear browns, black looked just black, the beige was not pretty, the white was too white and this fits more in my personal style. I don't wear authentic, fully vintage styled outfits, but rather mix and match vintage styled and contemporary things to create something new, which is 'me'.
Now bending back to the Sew for Victory project...

the new pattern:

The new pattern in the game is the famous Simplicity 3688, which is a sort of mini-wardrobe consisting a 40's jacket, a skirt, pants and a blouse. A very good value, because you get 4 patterns for the price of 1. It sells for about 10$ (sadly, in Europe more, about 16 euro's, which is in comparison to other patterns still a bargain though)

You will find several dozens of those pants on the internet (seem to have a very good fit!) a few versions of the skirt and the blouse and practically none of the jacket. Why?! You guess: this goes on my 'to-make-one-day'-list....
Let's take another step sideways, just for fun:
Look at the pictures of the re-issued pattern (below right) and that of the original one (below left, source: vintage pattern wiki). How vivid are the original 40's colors in comparison to the remake?! They probably had a really, really faded pattern envelope when recreating the items in boring beige-ish, pale browns and pastel-yellow, though the styling and the hairstyle were spot on.
Below a little mix of fabrics which I think could have been more effective: marroon-brown, forrest green and bright yellow. What do you think?
By the way, I love how the original pattern introduces one more color for an extra skirt!

Bending back to my blouse project:
I'm interested in this blouse pattern, because of the pleats at front and the length from the waist down. (I'm pleased to say that my frankenpattern-yoke has the same shoulder-width as that of the Simplicity blouse!) Looking at the finished measurements I decided to make a muslin of the size 10 pattern instead of the size 12, which I would have chosen by looking at the body measurements. Tip: always check the finished measurements before making a muslin! While the 40's garments were close-fitting, the contemporary remakes often include a lot of ease.
did you know...
...that the finished garment measurements are always printed on the pattern tissue and sometimes (partly) on the pattern envelope?
simplicity 3688 blouse muslin:
Want to see my muslin of the Simplicity 3688 blouse? Here we go:
Front and side view (please ignore my 'made-in-China' pajama pants and chopped-off head) Below two sets of front and side view pics:

Try not to forget that this blouse is supposed to bu tucked in. (Just in case you wonder why the sides look so bulky...)
When I lift my arm you can see that the sleeve is a tad too tight. There are a lot of small wrinkles along the underarm and there are a few horizontal wrinkles from the armhole to the bust and to the sleeve: horizontal wrinkles usually indicate tightness. (By the way, do you see any side-bulks below? They are gone!)

the verdict:

+ the length is perfect for me (which was one of the reasons to make this muslin)
+ the finished measurements were right, size 10 has a perfect fit along the bodice
+ the neckline: even if I don't love high necklines, this one looks really pretty! The finishing with the self-bias fabric is a breeze (even if I managed to sew it on inside-out...)
+ fit of the yoke and shoulders is good
+ bust fitting: the gathering gives enough room and looks great
+ waist pleats: I like the look
+ the elbow-dart: a pretty, vintage addition which also adds comfort (the slightly bended sleeve is more natural, just look at the pics below. When standing relaxed your arms aren't 'hanging' straight!)

- the back is too baggy (I guess this is necessary to be able to put it on without a side opening, but still...)
- the sleeve is a tad too small, I need more room for my upper arm
- the problem above can be solved by sizing up the sleeve (or by altering the sleeve pattern by cutting in along the fold-line and spreading at the top)
- I had high expectations of the shoulder darts of the sleeve-cap but I was disappointed. The darts don't really add fullness or shape whatsoever.

to change:
  • cut one size larger sleeves 
  • add darts to back (why not to try?)
  • open up the side if needed (in case the blouse gets too tight to pull on)
Actually, this might be the my second project for Sew for Victory!

to adapt for my 40's blouse design:
  • the length
  • the front pleats
Next up: muslin adjustments
For other Sew for Victory posts click here:
1. project plan
2. style, pattern & fabric inspiration
3. muslin, the good, the bad and the ugly

14 Apr 2014

vintage items in our house

If you follow my blog you know we moved recently to our new home. We have a load of old stuff and didn't really bought new things for the new house. I really don't understand why people need to buy new furniture for their new home. I like things we already have and just change one piece every now and then. It is a mix of new and vintage, design and even IKEA.
I thought it would be fun to show our vintage things, some inherited, some bought in second hand shops.

Old pieces in the living room: my grand-grandma's 30's sewing machine and their wedding picture from 1921, my grandma's old bakelite phone, the found sewing box with the sliding lid, the 2nd hand 50's table, another sewing cabinet which my bf inherited, a huge copper washing bin and an old handmade child's sledge:

a vintage, handmade (both handwoven and crocheted) tablecloth from Transylvania:

In the kitchen we have mostly my family pieces, like the old scale, the lamp shade and the bowl. The step is second hand and the old biscuit boxes are from my bf's grandma: