MMMMonday: May 1st through 5th

This May I’m joining Zoe at ‘So, Zo…’ in a challenge to wear something handmade every day for thirty-one days. This post marks the first update of my progress.

MMM13Day1

May 1, 2013

What: The Gray-and-Teal Floral Pendrell and the Original Jalie Jeans

Where: To work. Then to the hardware store. My husband and I are moving to Seattle at the end of the month, and I wanted to get started on the little repairs that need to be made before we leave our current apartment. I know we have almost an entire month, but I don’t like to leave things to the last minute! The outfit finished off the night over at a neighbor’s house for our weekly watching of Game of Thrones.

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MMM13Day2

May 2, 2013

What: The Black-on-Black Pants

Where: To work. Then back to the hardware store. Then to another neighbor’s house for another show. We’re watching the first seasons of Downton Abbey. I know how what all of the fuss was about!

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MMM13Day3

May 3, 2013

What: The Linen Knit Renfrew

Where: To work. Then to the hardware store yet again. Then to yet another neighbor’s house. It feels like I’m on repeat! No television this night though. We sat around sharing fun stories and drinking home-brewed beers. This particular neighbor always has six of his own beers on tap. He could make up his own Me-Made May with different beer combinations every day! For the Friday theme of ‘water’, I walked over to my neighborhood duck pond.

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MMM13Day4

May 4, 2013

What: The Linen Knit Side Drape Dress

Where: Around the house. It was a day of chores… with some time to stop and smell the roses in the garden.

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MMM13Day5

May 5, 2013

What: The Good-Enough-for-a-First-Try Running Skirt

Where: On a morning run with friends.

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Reflections on the week:

  • The simple sleeveless Pendrell with its princess seams, the easy-to-wear knit Renfrew, and the classic Jalie jeans are always my go-to patterns. If my closet were filled with these and cardigans, I could be one content lady.
  • I’m not so sure the Black-on-Black pants make the cut. The pattern fits well, but the wool is a disaster. I made the mistake of putting them through the wash. They got jumbled up with my other clothes, and I wasn’t the wiser until it was too late. Felt city. Scratchy felt city.
  • I quite enjoy wearing the drape drape tank dress, but I really should take another stab at the neck line. Dare I unpick?
  • I want to try to make another running skirt now that I have a serger.

Black-on-Black Pants

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Let me introduce you to my newest garment:  my black-on-black pants.  These pants are the culmination of my efforts in Sandra Betzina’s Pant Fitting Techniques class class on Craftsy.  The pattern is Vogue V2948, a princess-seamed basic pant pattern that either zips at the side or back.  I chose to use a black wool crepe from Mood that is described as “an absolute staple for three-season wear”, which makes it a very worthy fabric for all of the time I put into the class!

As you know, I’ve spent a decent amount of time these last couple of months going through Sandra’s class.  I made myself a goal of a video a week in order to keep things manageable and not get too overwhelmed by everything coming at me at once. And, if you’ve kept up with my reviews, you know that the class starts by you guessing what kind of fitting issues you have, moves through how to address all of those fitting issues, and culminates in a muslin and final tweaking in the pattern.  I would have liked to have added another muslin step in there, right after the guessing of fitting issues and before the addressing of issues.  That way you get a real benefit from not only evaluating what you know your issues likely are but also seeing them in action on the pattern early on.  When I finally tried on my muslin towards the end of the class, I found even after my tweaks to the pattern, the front still needed a little extra length in the crotch.  But, look at them now!

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I think Sandra would be proud of how well they hang from the waistband.

Now, what about the back?  You might remember that’s where I had the most problems in the muslin, even after my weeks and weeks of working with the pattern for the class.  My original muslin had drag lines all over the bum, and everything sort of twisted down my leg from there.  After rewatching a couple of Sanrda’s lessons and polling all of you, I figured out I needed a small tweak to the crotch length, a shifting of fabric through a wedge method, and a sway-back adjustment.  The result:

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Okay, you might be wondering if the black is hiding some flaws, so I’ll brave a close up.

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Though to a perfectionist everything can always be refined, I think the improvements are quite dramatic!

Okay, let me take a minute to say just how hard it is to feature something that is black in photos.  Like these pants, for example. If I was slightly in the shade, the pants lost all dimension.

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Yet, when I moved to the sun, you could see every little crinkle in them.

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So, you don’t get many photos.  But, the pants that those crinkles belong to are well loved.  And, that’s all that matters, right?

It feels so good to finish yet another Craftsy class.  How good does it feel?  As good as the lazy man’s .gif below.

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Now to apply what I’ve learned to other pants patterns and slowly take over the world of pants…  Muahahahaha!

This post can also be found on Mood Sewing Network. I used my MSN allowance towards the purchase of the fabric, and I received the class for free from Craftsy in exchange for an honest review.

Sundays with Sandra: Preserving the Pattern

This winter I’m sewing along with Sandra Betzina. A bunch of other talented seamsters and I have joined up to learn pant fitting techniques using Sanda Betzina’s Pant Fitting Techniques class on Craftsy. This post marks my completion of the class.

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Well, friends, I’ve finally reached the end of the class.  In this final lesson Sandra focused mostly on how she preserves her patterns.  I am going to take the liberty to summarize what she does since I think it’s pretty brilliant and since I also think it epitomizes the type of information and experience she presents over and over in this class.  Once she finishes fitting the pattern and transferring all of her changes to the pattern, she retraces the pattern, irons it to some woven fusible interfacing to give it lasting power, and then rolls it on to a tube to keep it from wrinkling and creasing.  I’d just love to have a sewing room with an old barrel of some sort in the corner with a bunch of colorful tubes sticking out of it every which way, each of which had a different TNT (tried ‘n true) pattern wrapped around it.  I’d know I could grab a tube and get to work! The remainder of the lesson quickly covered how to go through a similar pant fitting process with a knit pant and with a one-seam pant.

I have to admit that I’ve yet to preserve my pattern, but I do think I have this pant pattern fitting pretty well right now.  I rewatched the videos for crotch and calf alterations and rear and thigh alterations, and I discovered that a small tweak to the front crotch seam that I pulled from the crotch and calf alterations lesson had the front falling really nicely (many of you recommended just such a tweak in last week’s comments).   But, while I tried a bunch of different changes in the back, I couldn’t really tell if any of them made things better.  One issue was how to properly evaluate the fit from the back.  I resorted to setting my camera on a tripod, tweaking a seam, and then running over to the camera to take a photo.  I had half a mind to make a collage of the many, many (awful!) photos that resulted from these shenanigans, but I ended up deciding my time and effort were better spent focusing on the pants.

Enter Christine from stage right.  I have to give her a huge thank you.  I could see the promise in her comment last week, but I couldn’t quite wrap my head around all of it.  She kindly offered to send me a diagram, which I have reproduced for you below (with her permission, of course!).

CRM Pant Alteration 1

This little change made a world of difference.  I still needed a bit of tweaking to the back crotch seam and a sway back adjustment (what?!  That one was news to me!), which I pulled from Sandra’s lessons, but I don’t think I would have gotten a great fit so quickly without making the above adjustment.  I highly recommend trying it out if you notice the same drag lines as I had in my fitting photos from last week.

I also have to send a thank you to The Perfect Nose for the tips and tricks she sent me about fitting pants this past week after a plea I made on Twitter.  It’s been quite a week absorbing advice from so many sources.  It takes a village, right?!

I don’t have any photos of me in my current toile because it looks like a crazy mess after all of the markings and changes I tried this past week.  I’m going to save the big reveal for whenever I finish the final pants.

This post marks my final review of this class.  In general, I’m incredibly glad I took the class, even though I wouldn’t have gotten perfectly fitting pants without help from all of you.  I learned so much about how to fit patterns in general that it was more than worth it.  Making pants is intimidating, but I now feel much more confident tackling other pants patterns (I have my eye on you, Thurlows, and I promise you will fit my rectangular figure despite your pear shaping!).  If you want to conquer pants but have fitting issues that make you nervous, check out this class.

If you’re coming in late and want to read all of my past weekly reviews of the Pant Fitting Techniques class, which go in depth into each lesson, here they are:

  1. Introduction
  2. Pant Fit and Patterns
  3. Taking Measurements
  4. Tummy and Waist Alterations
  5. Rear and Thigh Alterations
  6. Crotch and Calf Alterations
  7. Testing Your Pattern
  8. Finalizing and Balancing Your Pattern
  9. Preserving the Pattern

Happy sewing!

As a reminder, I received this class for free from Craftsy in return for an honest review.  If you’re interested in taking this class yourself, follow this link for 40% off Sandra Betzina’s Pant Fitting Techniques.

Sundays with Sandra: Finalizing and Balancing Your Pattern

This winter I’m sewing along with Sandra Betzina. A bunch of other talented seamsters and I have joined up to learn pant fitting techniques using Sanda Betzina’s Pant Fitting Techniques class on Craftsy. Here’s a reflection on my efforts to sew well.

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I’m back for yet another week of pants fitting class – only this week I’m finally trying on the pants.  Well, not in the actual class – there we focused on walking the seams, correcting the grain lines, and creating a final pattern.  But, before I go through that effort, I want to hear from all of you first.  Is my pattern ready for finalizing?  Having only ever made two pairs of jeans (here and here) before starting this class, I went into it without much knowledge of what my fitting issues might be.  I made alterations based on my measurements, but I’d love to hear from you about things you see that I might not have considered. If you can, toss aside the fact that these pants are made from a stiff muslin and that the seam allowances being on the outside are great for tweaking things but more distracting when trying to take in overall fit.  I want to make these as my February MSN project out of some classic black wool crepe, so I need to get sewing fairly soon.  Thankfully, there’s only one more class left on preserving the pattern, so getting the fit right this week is all that’s keeping me from cutting into my wool.

As a reminder, I received this class for free from Craftsy in return for an honest review.  If you’re interested in taking this class yourself, follow this link for 40% off Sandra Betzina’s Pant Fitting Techniques.

Sundays with Sandra: Testing Your Pattern

This winter I’m sewing along with Sandra Betzina. A bunch of other talented seamsters and I have joined up to learn pant fitting techniques using Sanda Betzina’s Pant Fitting Techniques class on Craftsy. Here’s a reflection on my efforts to sew well.

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Ladies and Gentlemen, the scissors came out in this week’s Sandra Betzina’s Pant Fitting Techniques class on Craftsy.  I finally have a toile of Vogue V2948, the princess-seamed pants pattern that comes with the class, which means I finally have a photo from the class to show off.  Finally.

This week’s class was filled with tons of secrets from Sandra’s wealth of sewing experience:  she explained how she always includes fit insurance when making test garments; she showed off her favorite scissors; she walked us through how she marks hems, notches, pattern pieces, and seams; she covered how to align princess seams and match seams; she revealed her methods for easing and sewing darts and pleats; she…  Well, you get the picture.  I quite enjoyed all the little tidbits.  I think watching very experienced sewers manipulate fabric is one of my favorite parts of the Craftsy classes I’ve taken so far.

As for the making of the muslin, Sandra instructed the class to stitch with the seam allowances out using a basting stitch with a bright, contrasting thread.   An interesting comment she made was that the order of sewing, at least with this pants pattern, impacts comfort.  We weren’t given an explanation (at least not one I caught), and I can only imagine it’s because of the resulting seam allowance placement.  Have you guys heard this type of statement before with pants?  Any better ideas out there?  The scientist in me wants to test some theories!

While I was watching this week’s class, I started thinking about how Sandra must truly shine when you take a class from her in person.  These video classes show off how much she knows, how much experience she has, and how talented she is, but they don’t give you the personal benefit of her standing there with you, coloring all over your pattern, and showing you how you really could use a little bit extra fabric through the thigh.  You’re on your own there.  But, you do get a broader range of lessons and a lot more time to go through a lot of trial and error than you might in a traditional class.  We’ll see how well things go next week as I attempt – essentially all by myself – to tweak this pattern into perfection.

As a reminder, I received this class for free from Craftsy in return for an honest review.  If you’re interested in taking this class yourself, follow this link for 40% off Sandra Betzina’s Pant Fitting Techniques.

Sundays with Sandra: Crotch and Calf Alterations

This winter I’m sewing along with Sandra Betzina. A bunch of other talented seamsters and I have joined up to learn pant fitting techniques using Sanda Betzina’s Pant Fitting Techniques class on Craftsy. Here’s a reflection on my efforts to sew well.

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Okay, so it’s now been quite a while since my last post about Sandra Betzina’s Pant Fitting Techniques class on Craftsy. In the mean time I haven’t been keeping up with the class videos. So, I watched this week’s lesson with very fresh eyes. Possibly too fresh of eyes because seeing Sandra’s heavily edited technicolor pattern was a little crazy. I started to second guess the minimal alterations I’ve made so far. But, as I continued through the video, I remembered that Sandra likes to cover many different hypothetical fitting problems. She walks through the necessary alterations for each of the problems she mentions – all on the same pattern, and all with different colors! She doesn’t make one pattern for someone with a full tummy or one pattern for someone who wants a low-rise pant. She uses one pattern for everything! Since I don’t have every fitting problem she’s covered, my pattern shouldn’t look like hers. That said, I think I would have preferred if she’d started with the original pattern for each of the different fitting problems.

Today’s class began with Sandra explaining how to measure the crotch length and depth from a favorite pair of pants (her favorites are from Anthropologie) and compare those measurements to the class pattern Vogue V2948. In her case, there’s only an eighth to a quarter of an inch difference between the front and back crotch length of the pants and the pattern, which means there are minimal alterations needed to match the pattern to her favorite pants. After showing us how to make those alterations, she explains that taking the time to go through this process should ensure that the pants we make from this class will fit like our favorite pair. Since I’m not sure I have a favorite pair of pants, I’m going to try the pattern as is when I make my muslin. I’m curious whether I’ll like the same fit as Sandra.

After a bit more fitting around the bum, Sandra moves on to calf alterations. I’m curious what she has to say about fitting calves since I’ve always had issues with large calves from years of running too much on my toes. There’s a brief glimpse of someone who apparently needs more fabric around their calves, but it’s honestly hard to tell what’s going on. And, now it’s been so long since that early episode covering typical fitting problems that I’ve forgotten what I’m supposed to be looking for. In fact, you really get the most benefit from this class if you already know your tricky areas and want targeted advice for how to make the alterations you know you need. If you haven’t already figured out you have large calves, then I’m not sure how well this class will help you identify that issue. That said, I do think Sandra does a good job covering a multitude of fitting issues with a lot of extra information about why she’s doing what she’s doing.

Next up: baggy seat. Sandra actually prefers making any baggy seat alterations after fitting the muslin. So, while she shows us what she does to get rid of a baggy seat, we’re not supposed to make any baggy seat changes to the pattern just yet. By the way, just to prove my point about the technicolor pattern, she used hot pink to mark both the crotch and calf alterations, and she used yellow just now for the baggy seat. Next up is sway back – I wonder what color it will be… Well, she didn’t actually make any markings; she just described what she would do for a sway back while fitting the muslin. I hope the brief touch on sway back is enough of a description for the large number of you always talking about needing that type of alteration.

The class ends with a bit more yellow as she covers fitting a large tummy and with the promise that we’ll be cutting during the next lesson. Finally!

As a reminder, I received this class for free from Craftsy in return for an honest review.  If you’re interested in taking this class yourself, follow this link for 40% off Sandra Betzina’s Pant Fitting Techniques.

Sundays with Sandra: Rear and Thigh Alterations

This winter I’m sewing along with Sandra Betzina. A bunch of other talented seamsters and I have joined up to learn pant fitting techniques using Sanda Betzina’s Pant Fitting Techniques class on Craftsy. Here’s a reflection on my efforts to sew well.

Class five in Sandra Betzina’s online Pant Fitting Techniques class from Craftsy focused on rear and thigh alterations.  Flat butts, full butts, muscular thighs, and even that pesky baggy seat are covered.  Sandra shows the class how to deal with each of these alterations one after the other, even sharing a ready-to-wear secret, and then finishes the video by walking the seams to ensure all of the pattern pieces will fit together when it’s time to sew.  But, it still isn’t.  We still have crotch and calf alterations to go before we test the pattern.

Now that I’m over half way through with this class, I feel confident saying that this class is definitely focused on pattern manipulation, not sewing.  If you’re not excited about spending lesson after lesson measuring and adjusting and drawing all over your patterns to get the perfect fit, or if you just like cranking out finished garments, then this class might not be for you.  But, if you want to understanding how manipulating bits of fabric here or there affect pant fit, then you’ll likely get a lot out of these videos.

Remember, if you want to join in, you can get a 40% discount on the class through the link below. But, if you hurry, you can get the class for $19.99 through tomorrow night by clicking through Craftsy’s class page.  Or, if you’re already enjoying Pant Fitting Techniques and want to move on to Sandra’s follow-up class Pant Construction Techniques, it’s also $19.99 until tomorrow night.  In fact, all Craftsy classes are $19.99 or less through tomorrow night!

As a reminder, I received this class for free from Craftsy in return for an honest review.  If you’re interested in taking this class yourself, follow this link for 40% off Sandra Betzina’s Pant Fitting Techniques.