Monday, August 27, 2012

Sewing for the Hourglass

Contrary to what a lot of people think, being categorized as an hourglass has nothing to do with boobage size. It's all about the side silhouette.

The hourglass has shoulders and hips that are approximately the same in width, and a waist that is noticeably smaller--around 10" smaller.

Sewing for this shape is relatively easy, if you don't follow the pattern instructions. When it comes to pattern instructions, we hourglasses have to go our own way if we want our clothes to fit.

Pattern instructions for tops or dresses that join a bodice to a bottom usually advise you to sew the front bodice to the back bodice, and the front bottom to the back bottom. And then it instructs you to sew the top to the bottom.

If you are an hourglass, don't do that. If you follow those directions, it will be difficult to contour the sides of what you are sewing to your hourglass side curves.

Instead, sew the front bodice to the front bottom, then sew the back bodice to the back bottom. Sew the shoulder seams, and then baste the sides.

Try it on and pin the back closed. The minimal amount of pinning that you will probably be able to get away with will be to pin at the neckline, waist, and hips.

After you have the pins pretty much holding the back closed, take a good look at the fit of the sides in the mirror. If you see that you need to take it in a little more at the waist, pinch the fabric to see how much you need to take out. Split that amount between the side seams. If you pinch out 4 inches, pin out 2 inches on each side right at the waist. From that point, place your pins so they taper back to the regular seams. Baste, then try it on. 

Keep adjusting until you are satisfied with the fit.

For styles without a waist seam, sew the darts or princess seams, then sew the shoulders. and baste the sides. Pin the opening (front or back) closed so you'll be able to see how it fits. If you need to take it in a little, split the amount you need to take in between the side seams. If you need to take in a lot, split that amount among ALL of the seams (darts, princess seams, sides seams). You can play around with the amounts to take out of each, so you'll get the most flattering fit.

If you follow this method, you will be able to sew fitted clothes for yourself that follow your shape, but that are not tight.

It always works for me, and it should work for you!

Make this day a good one!  

Monday, August 20, 2012

McCalls 6444 - And the fun continues - Green & White Striped Cardi - Done!

I love McCalls 6444:

I've made it several times before. It's a TNT, so nothing new to say about this one. If you want to read the past posts about it, go here and here.

This time around, I made it with a fun green and white striped knit to match the top that I just posted about.

It's part of a twinset that almost wasn't because of operator error.

I cut the front and back for the cardi, and then I got really enthused about the matching top and cut out all of the pieces for it. After I was finished, I realized that I didn't cut the sleeves for the cardi! UGH!!! And all I had left were scraps!!!! OMG!!!

I looked at the scraps and frantically went through them! I could easily cut the cuffs, but nothing was big enough for the sleeves. And then I remembered throwing some scraps away earlier, so I checked the sewing trash can. Voila! Two pieces just barely big enough to cut the sleeves!!! YAY!!!

Here's my new cardi . . . with sleeves and with the matching top!

Well, that concludes my weekend wrap up!

Make this day a really good one!

Butterick 3391 - Navy Knit Top with Asymmetrical Neckline

Butterick 3391 is a TNT for me.

I've made the sleeveless version of the top with the asymmetrical neckline several times before and I just made it again!

Since it's a TNT, the pattern was already adjusted to fit me--that would be hourglass and petite adjustments, and a slightly higher neckline!!!

Here it is:

The only design change that I made was to convert the side gathers to side tucks.

Actual machine stitching time was 1 minute 11 seconds. And it took me all of 1/2 hour to finish it.

Up next is McCalls 6444, another TNT cardi.

Butterick 5429 - Navy Knit Top with Neck Twist

I sewed Butterick 5429 with a navy knit:

I made it 'as is' when the pattern first came out, and just as I expected, it looked awful on me. I really liked the neck twist, but the wide neckline and the extended shoulders had to go!

So I took out my trusty drafting tools and redrafted the pattern to suit me.

This is the first go round--before I took the neckline in:

When I adjusted the neckline on the second draft, it was perfect!!!

Heads up, this is a very loose fitting top! I had to take mine in considerably. But after all was said and done, it turned out perfectly! Not only that, but it was super easy to sew!

I actually timed the machine stitching time. OMG! It took me only 1 minute and 40 seconds to machine stitch all the seams (front seam, shoulder seams, yoke seams, back seam, side seams, etc.). It took time to also stop and pin, etc., but actual stitching time was 1 minute and 40 seconds. Amazing!!!!

Figure out your actual stitching time, and you will be amazed at how much besides machine stitching goes into sewing.

Here's my top:

And here's a close up of the twist:

I like it so much that I'm thinking that I need one in each of my fave colors!!! :-)

Up next is an asymmetrical neckline navy top from another TNT--Butterick 3391.

Simplicity 2650 - Redrafted Navy Cardi

I made another one of my redrafted cardis. If you want to read about how I changed Simplicity 2650 to come up with this style, go here.

But before you go, here's my new navy cardi:

It looks more business-like because I changed it a little. I stitched an opening in one side of the center front tie so the other side could slip through. I haven't worn it, yet, but I'm thinking I'll wear it with pins to keep the ties in place.

Up next is Butterick 5429 - a navy top with a neck twist.

OOP Butterick 5458 - Coral Cotton Sateen Top - Done!

I originally planned to sew a coral wrap top as part of my PAC. BUT, at the very last minute, just as I was about to press down on the scissors to cut the fabric, I pulled my hand back! I couldn't do it because I kept imagining the knit cardi looking bumpy right where the wrap was tied!

Can't have that! So I replaced the wrap top with the no fuss, no muss sleeveless top from OOP Butterick 5458:

I still want a coral wrap top, just not as part of this PAC.

I originally sewed this pattern a few years ago, but only wore the top a few times because of the fabric that I chose--a poor quality pink cotton print that faded at the edges after only a couple of times through the washer and dryer. 

I liked the style a lot, so I made it again in a solid white pique. It was flattering and matched with practically everything I wanted to wear it with. It was definitely a go to piece for me--I liked it soo much that I wore it out.

It was definitely time to make another one.

This time, I used a solid cotton sateen in a very nice shade of coral. The color is a little more vibrant than the coral of the cardi that I wrote about last time, but they go together nicely.

Here it is with the cardi (don't mind the cardi--I took the pic just after a whole day of wearing it).

For the top, I made my usual petite and hourglass adjustments. I also folded out the center front pleat that runs from the top to the bottom of the bodice--it would have looked awful on me if it opened. For a more polished finish, I also extended the bottom darts to the hemline.

Here's my new blouse (not pressed yet):

That's two down! YAY!

Up next is another Simplicity cardi, this time in navy.

Make this day a good one!!!

A SUPER Productive Sewing Weekend!!!

I had a very productive sewing weekend!

I sewed a bunch of quick and easy TNTs on Saturday and Sunday! When I say a bunch, I really mean it!

I only sewed knits, so it went really quickly as no serging was necessary.

Here's my list of completed projects:

1. Butterick 5459 - coral sateen top 
2. Simplicity 2650 - navy knit cardi
3. Butterick 5429 - navy knit top with high twist
4. Butterick 3991 - navy knit top with asymmetrical neckline
5. McCalls 6444 - green and white striped knit cardi
6. McCalls 5853 - green and white striped knit ruffled top

I'm writing a separate post for each for archiving purposes.

Stay tuned . . .  they're coming up right after this!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Simplicity 2560 - Re-draft - Coral Cardi - Done!

On Sunday afternoon, I finally sat down and finished sewing my redraft of Simplicity 2560.

As I mentioned earlier, I redrafted 1) the bodice to have set in sleeves, and 2) the bottom so it would be slightly flared and would have a shaped hemline, like Simplicity 2148:

Drafting my cardi was easy, but I realize that not everyone likes drafting--if you want to make this, but don't draft, worry not as you can morph. To adjust the bodice, simply morph the set-in armhole of your fave knit cardi with 2650.

For the back, line up the center back and the shoulders of both patterns, then morph the set-in armhole of your cardi with the back neckline and the rest of the back bodice of 2560, and you're done.

Since the front sections don't meet, there is no center front to use as a base point. Not a problem. Line up the shoulder of the front set-in armhole with the shoulder of the back set-in armhole.

Then morph the front set-in armhole with the front neckline and the rest of the front bodice of 2560, and you're set.

For the bottom morph, simply use a slightly flared bottom from something with an empire line. Adjust it to fit the bodice, then shape the hem yourself using whatever angle looks good to you. And you're done.

Definitely make a few muslins first, to ensure that the pattern pieces are lining up correctly, and that everything fits.

Here's my new coral cardi--you can see the slight flare of the cardi's bottom in the pic

This was actually a muslin, but after I cut it out, I knew it was going to be wardrobe quality. What can I say--it's part of my extended 9 PAC wardrobe.

You can see the versatility of the sleeves here--the cardi is paired with one of my fave white tops:

The sleeves are from Simplicity 2603. 2603 is the cozy pattern that everyone has. You probably have it in your stash. I put these sleeves on practically all of my cardis--looks chic and requires no hemming!!!

I used a lightweight textured knit with a lot of stretch. Because of the stretch, I stabilized the neckline, shoulders and the bottom of the bodice with cotton twill tape. I also hand-stitched a small rolled hem on the front and bottom edges. I had no choice but to hand stitch because machine stitching would have stretched it out of shape.

I'm rushing, so I'm not sure if the morph instructions were clear. If you need more info, LMK.

 I really like this cardi and am also making it in navy..

Up next is a coral wrap top made of a cotton sateen:

Woohoo! There is nothing like progress!!!

Make this day a good one!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Some Interesting Sewing Info on the Net

I was looking around and found some interesting and . . . FREE . . . sewing articles and books online. Check them out:

The first one is a vintage pattern drafting book that's difficult to find--since I'm in a drafting mood, I am thinking about drafting some of the interesting bodices!

If you want to save the download, move your cursor towards the bottom center of the screen--when the menu bar appears (it's the type that appears when your mouse is in the right spot), click on the first icon, the one right before the printer. The SAVE AS screen will appear--go from there (instruction for saving applies to all of the following):


2. Over at BMV, there are some pretty good articles that are free to download. Too bad they're so well hidden that most people don't even know they exist! To find the free articles, go to, and click on magazines. Look at the left side bar, and click on articles.

Or go here:

For example, here's the link to their article about making a ham:

3. If you want to download of a vintage Singer book on sewing machines, go here:

I have a vintage Singer, but haven't read the entire book, yet. What I did see just from quickly browsing, so far, are some sewing tips that beginners might be interested in (as in how to hold your fabric when sewing, etc.). I also saw some instructions for using various attachments--that's what I'm interested in!

I didn't sew anything yesterday, but am planning to sew today.

That's it for now.

Make this day a good one!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Oh That New Look Peplum Dress!!! Love it!!! Should I????

I have been thinking and thinking about the peplum dress from New Look 6124.

I really like the printed version and want to make it with this mint green fabric--it was on the dress board that I posted recently:

What's holding me back is that I'm not sure a peplum like that will be flattering on me.

I knew the New Look 6130 asymmetrical peplum would be flattering because the hem doesn't cut straight across. I'm happy to say that I was definitely right about that! It's very flattering. If you have hips and want to give peplums a try, definitely at least make a muslin of 6130. Speaking from direct experience, the peplum doesn't call attention to my hips precisely because of the asymmetry. It is an amazing peplum design!!!

I guess I'll give 6124 a try. If the peplum ends up looking absolutely awful on me, I'll just remove it and wear the dress as a fitted sheath. That would work! Besides, look at how great the View A sheath looks! It looks like a sundress from the front, but from the back, it looks like a regular dress.

Not sure when I'll get to it, but it'll be soon!

Make this day a good one!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

New Look 6107 - yellow skirt

I decided to finish the last 2 pieces of my Summer wardrobe:

I haven't gotten to the dress, yet, but I sewed the skirt on Tuesday night. I used New Look 6107 (I added cutaway pockets, but sewed everything else with just my regular petite and hourglass adjustments).

Here's my simple little skirt--don't mind the pic as it's draped over a hanger, and hadn't been pressed, yet:

It's made of the same fabric as my yellow peplum top, which means that when I wear it with that top, I'll have a two piece dress!

The yellow and white printed pique dress will be up right after I finish sewing this OOP New Look 6468 emerald green top (see board on the side bar to the left):

I'm almost done:

Make this day a good one!