Muslins, Muslins, Muslins

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will I ever be free of them?

I’m currently on my 4th or 5th muslin of Laughing Moon’s Robe de Style pattern. I finally feel like I’m making progress thanks to the sewists over on Artisan’s Square, but I will be so glad when this dress is done.

I finished the separate slip a week or so ago and that was an experience as you need to use hoopsteel to get the shape and the pattern had me cut it shorter than needed so I had to recut the hoopsteel without assistance, remove the too short piece and insert the new one. It looks pretty good now, but I would do some of the construction, such as the bias binding on the upper edge, differently if I made it again. The insides look sloppy if you do it as instructed. Of course that could just be down to my own inexperience.

Anyhow, I’m not dead and I can’t wait to show you the finished dress after Halloween.

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Colette Seamwork Astoria Sweater

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Let’s get it out of the way that I’m not pleased with this, although it is in no way the pattern’s fault. I messed up by thinking I could get away without a short torso alternation on a cropped sweater and my fabric being a rayon blend may be contributing to the length issue. On the plus side, I didn’t make a sloping shoulder alteration and the shoulders look pretty okay.

This is a pretty simple pattern, there isn’t much to say. The instructions were even more in depth than Colette’s usual offerings and I think this top is simple enough that I could have made it instruction free. It’s a very beginner friendly pattern. However, they do not have you stabilize the shoulders, but I did with some clear elastic just to safe.I do think the layout of the pattern pieces could have been better and saved me some paper, but it wasn’t a horrific paper hog.

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Back to alternations, after seeing the way the neckband stuck out on some of these I’ve seen made up, I thinned out the neckband by half an inch as another reviewer mentioned doing.I was little worried it might look skimpy, but it seems in proportion to me. I apologize for the photo quality, you’ll need to trust me on this. If I make this again, and I will, I’d take an inch and half out if the length of the body of the sweater and draft bands for the sleeves so I don’t have to twin needle topstitch on this kind of material. I may also tighten it up a little bit in the future, the fit is loose despite me following the size chart.

I feel like this has the potential to be really cute and versatile, if I can get the proportions right, so I going to see about getting more sweater knits.

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An extremely late and incomplete Me Made May follow up post + some news

The good news is I did wear something I’d sewn three days a week every week in May and I learned a lot about the gaps in my wardrobe and what makes me feel the best. Sadly, I lost my camera part way through and ended up visiting my parents quite a bit, so I do not have photos of every outfit. Still, I’ve a few pictures to show you and I’ll talk a little bit about what I’ve learned below.

Although I’m not the most prolific sewist, it wasn’t hard to find something to wear. I had worried I might feel restricted but I didn’t at all. What I did discover is that while I want to make more dresses (and I will!) I need to make some seperates, buy more tights and I’m in need of more cardigans and pullovers. I know I can sew a cropped sweater for cheaper than my favorite Modcloth cardigan, pictured with the blue fox dress.

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To that effect, I’ve traced out the pattern to Colette Seamwork’s Astoria pullover. I think it will be good to tackle a pullover before I start in with button bands and the like. I’ve also been knitting an Aiken sweater since last November but it is particularly slow going and I just don’t have the knitting time I used to. I’d like to do the Astoria up in several colors if the fit is good, I’m hoping based on the fact that Colette drafts for a C cup that bust wrinkling will be minimal and I’ll be able to just churn at least six out without tweaking the pattern over and over.

As much as I like my T-shirt based off the Lady Skater pattern, I don’t think I really want to be sewing basic T-shirts. if I see a must have fabric and can only afford minimal yardage then sure, I know I’ll be glad that I bothered to make alterations to the pattern, but I happen to like my store bought tees about as much and getting the fabric I like in a tee for decent price has proved bothersome. I don’t think I’m going to ever be the kind of girl who sews absolutely everything in her wardrobe, I certainly can’t see myself tackling jeans.

Anyhow, I think that this was a good exercise for me. Although I can also see why people can easily outgrow it and how it can become a tedious chore of documentation and writing blog posts of little substance.


in other important sewing related news, I am going to NYC in a few months and have plans to hit the garment district. I am extremely excited my state does not have much of a garment industry and what there is is mostly focused on outerwear, hiking exercising, etc. so getting deals on designer rolls ends is not something I had a lot of opportunity to do. Most of my fabric shopping is done online for that very reason. I’m sure currently and furious research mode and if you have any suggestions for shops that are decently priced and have a good selection that I must see please let me know. I’m currently debating whether I even want to go to Mood, although the blogosphere would have me believe it should be at the top of my list. My budget is not that expansive and if I can get better deals elsewhere on things I can’t get at home, that’s what I’m going to do. I only have one afternoon shop and I want to make the most of it.

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Me-Made-May ’15

I, aslipperysloper of A Slippery Sloper, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’15. I endeavor to wear three handmade garments a week for the duration of May 2015.

Now, I won’t be posting outfits everyday I wear them, I don’t want to clutter your feeds. I’m thinking I’ll do one big post on the 31st rounding up my outfits and consolidating any thoughts re: gaps in my wardrobe and the like. I’m hoping doing this will inspire me to mix and match my separates better and work on accessorizing them as well.

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Kwiksew 4026

DSCF2493 This pattern is very similar to the Lady Skater, but differs in construction. I probably would’ve got a better fit had I simply drafted a cowl neckline on the Lady Skater, but as this would be my first time sewing a cowl neckline, I wanted to get my feet wet with one that was professionally drafted. The pattern has 5/8 of an inch seam allowances for some godawful reason. I feel like the large seam allowances made construction more unwieldy than necessary. To be fair all the pieces did go together fine, although there is a misprint in the labeling of the different sizes on the tissue. The instructions also have a slight error as they tell you to complete steps 9-14 from view A to finish up view B, but there are only nine steps total for view A. What you need to do at that point is pretty obvious, but it could confuse someone new to sewing.

Due to several reviews mentioning that this pattern runs big, I went down a size to the large and it is still fairly roomy in the waist. Although, as you can see there is not quite enough room for my bust, the fit on the shoulders seems good and I can see how another reviewer mentioned that going with her regular size led to it sliding off her shoulders. A few other people mention the cowl being low but I didn’t find it to be particularly so.

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I made some pattern alterations removing 4 inches from the length of the skirt and 1 inch from the bodice length after comparing it to the Lady Skater. I decided to sew with the given seam allowances this first time, but I’m going to be trimming them off the pattern if I make it in the future.

With regards to the construction, kwiksew has you sewing up the side seams of the bodice and skirt separately and then attaching them at the waist. Then you sew clear elastic in a loop to your waistline, but at the edge of of the seam allowance not the stitching line which seems unhelpful as it doesn’t do anything to stabilize the actual seam as the allowance is so large. I think if I make this again I’m going to use clear elastic as directed in the lady skater pattern to stabilize the shoulders and waist. Speaking of the shoulders, those you stabilize with fusible interfacing and that at least seemed to work out just fine. I didn’t use anything fancy, just the light pellon knit interfacing.

One thing I found with the facing on this dress is that it likes to pop out, although it is understitched. If this was ready-to-wear there would likely be a tag preventing that from happening and I’m considering asking for some personalized clothing tags for my birthday.

This was a nice change from lady skater as much as I like that pattern, this is more dressy and I think could look rather classy with the right accessories and better fit in the bust. I have a dark green jersey very similar to this pink that I may try making up into another one of these.

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Space Dress

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My mama told me I should never venture into space

but I did, I did, I did.

Yes, it’s yet another Lady Skater, but making a galaxy print dress was the reason I bought the pattern in the first place. I promise I’m branching out a bit in the future, I have Kwiksew 4026 and Mccalls 6884  traced and ready to go. I’m looking forward to trying some more complex patterns.  Anyway, on to this project.

This fabric was a pain in the ass, beautiful, but a pain. I have never before had a knit ravel along the cut edge when stretched, but this one did, which made getting the neckband in nerve wracking. And looking it, I almost wish I had just turned and stitched anyway. Ugh.

It’s a thin 100% polyester interlock, white on one side and printed on the other. Normally I don’t go for 100% poly, but I’d been searching for an affordable galaxy fabric for ages and ages. I feel like this fabric was meant for some sort of athletic wear, so it’s a good thing there are not any sewing police. I’m really glad I ordered extra yardage though, as a good 5 inch area along one of the selvages is pure white, not printed at all. This made using the recommended fabric saving cutting layout impossible.

This fabric does not have as much vertical stretch as the other fabrics I have used for this pattern. This means the waist is a little higher than I would like, which also makes the skirt a wee bit short. It’s not obscene, but it’s fortunate that I prefer to always wear either leggings or tights under my dresses. Also, I have drag lines coming from the shoulder that didn’t exist in my other dresses that I believe are due to the lack of vertical stretch. It’s disappointing, but the print helps hide it a little bit.

Despite that small snag. I’m just as happy as I thought I would be to finally have a galaxy print dress. I’ve wanted one for years, but I hadn’t been able find any in my price range and my size. I guess I solved that.

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it’s silly, but the only thing that bugs me about this dress is that it doesn’t look great on the hanger. The neckline is nice and flat when worn, but bubbles when it’s not stretched around a body. I’m not sure what the solution to that is, but it honestly doesn’t matter in the long run, (Although if there’s a way to fix it, I’d still like to know.) Who is inspecting my closet to ensure that my clothing has the proper amount of hanger appeal? It’s not a show room and if my skirts end up looking upeven off my body, or a neckline looks a bit gathered when it shouldn’t. I really need to stop fretting over it.

Does anyone else fuss over their clothing not looking like RTW when hung up or in the drawer? Or am I just neurotic and alone in this?

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Brindille and Twig Lap Neck Tee

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I’m headed home to visit my family and since my newish nephew didn’t get an Xmas present from me, for various reasons, I thought he deserved something. I’ve been working with all this knit fabric so I’ve had a load of scraps, more than enough to make him a little something.

The pattern was bear to print, but that wasn’t the pattern makers fault, although I do wish it had been mentioned that the actual pattern pieces were in full color. I try to avoid that, I rarely have colored ink and I don’t like using it on sewing patterns. Other than my struggles with GIMP to get printable grey scale, the pattern went together in a snap. It really is nice to work with such small pieces, there was barely any taping to do and everything that did need to be taped lined up just fine.

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One thing I didn’t like is how the instructions have you attach the binding to the neckline and sleeves. I feel like serging, folding over and then zig zagging is unnecessarily complicated and it might just be me, but I couldn’t get it to look that good and it was easy for thing to get uneven. I prefer the cleaner look of folding the binding in half and serging to the edge in one go and if I make another one, i think I’ll try that. I did like that they had you tack the seam allowances in the sleeves down at the cuffs, it’s simple, but adds a nice touch. I still like cuffs attached in the round the most, but that’s not really feasible for openings so small, I don’t think.

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The tee was easy to construct otherwise, i don’t know why I was so worried, but the notches all matched up just fine. I’d like to get more proficient so I don’t have to baste the neckline in place before attaching the sleeves, but I’m sure that will happen with practice. One thing that was a little weird is  the pattern says you need a snap setter, you do not. I’m assuming that’s just a hold over from text for a different pattern.

All in all, I’m pleased. I didn’t have time to get to Joann’s and trying out this pattern company was a leap of faith, but it worked out pretty well, although obviously I can only speak for this one pattern. I don’t know if I’m going to sew more children’s clothing, I’m pretty selfish with my sewing time, but if I did, I’d check out Brindille and Twig’s offerings again. Annoyingly, they did do the thing where there is no suggested stretch percentage, so just be aware if that bugs you the way it bugs me.

Side note: I was not paid for this review, nor was I given a pattern, I just happened to stumble across the company. It’s not as if my blog is a big enough deal, but if I ever did receive a review copy of something I would disclose that. Not only is that inline with FTC regulations, to the best of my knowledge, I just wouldn’t feel right not being honest with anyone reading.

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Indie Sewing Pattern Companies Can Do Better

Indie pattern makers, we need to talk. On the surface, we’ve been getting along fine, but I’ve been nursing some grievances. Now not all of these things are exclusively an indie problem, but the little guy is supposed to be more responsive, so maybe you’ll listen. (Not that very many people read this blog, but one can dream)

  • Inaccurate or non existent technical drawings

This is basic and I really need an indie to get it right for me to see them as at all professional. I may still buy your pattern if it’s one of a kind, but that’s less likely and I’m less likely to talk about your product to others. Your line drawing should accurately represent your product. The waist line should be where it is drafted to hit, the amount of puff the sleeves have should be apparent, etc. No more surprise leg o mutton sleeves or empire waists, okay? I’m buying based off what I’m seeing and I don’t like surprises, this is not a mystery sew-a-long.

  • Patterns for knits with no suggested stretch percentage

Now I’m new to sewing with knits, but even I know all are not created equal and that that fitted tee that looks so cute with 40% stretch is going to have you looking like you were stuffed into a sausage casing at 15%. This is basic information that should be available without buying your pattern, it’s not a damn trade secret. I am much more likely to impulse buy your pattern if the likelihood I have to go out and buy new fabric for it is cut to zero. In addition, if I do want to buy new fabric, having the stretch percentage handy makes it easy, whether in person or online.

  • Sizing and the hunt for the size chart

Please have your size chart readily available. Link it from every pattern page, don’t make people go search. I don’t know if companies are just hoping a buyer will assume they fit into that companies version of a 16 or an XL, but it’s annoying to hunt for what your sizes really mean because they’re linked in tiny text at the bottom of the page. Also, and I know this has been hashed over, please consider extending your sizing. Have a vote on your page one which styles people would most like to see sized up if need be.

Also if you have a large size range, it would be nice to see some of the patterns made up on a plus size model every now and again. Yes, I can I go hunt for blog posts,but having the visual representation right there makes it easy for me to buy.

  • Make sure your value add blog posts are actually adding value

There are 9000 tutorials for turning a knit bodice into a tee, turning a garment sleeveless, a basic FBA and colorblocking. Considering doing a tutorial on adding Queen Anne neckline, a bodice harness for a party dress, or something, anything new. If it hits on a particularly tricky part of your pattern all the better. I certainly would buy more patterns if I had a clue on how to do a FBA on uniquely placed darts or across interesting seaming.

  • Pattern testing and pattern testers

There should be more of a line between pattern testing and pattern promo. I actually don’t mind blog tours that much, but if they haven’t sewn with the final version version of the pattern, that tells me nothing. I’m uncomfortable with the general lack of compensation from several indies. I know you’re small, but giving people a free unfinished pattern in return for their time, materials and often promotion seems a little off. I also think that calls for pattern testers need to be clearer about what exactly the testers are getting (will they receive a finished pattern, store credit, fabric?) and if they’ll be expected to promote on their blogs.I know this has been hashed over and over so I won’t go on.

  • PDF patterns

I have a love/hate relationship with pdf patterns and it’s time to talk about what I hate.

If you have a lot of sizes, it’s okay not to have them all in one pdf, although hopefully you’ll overlap the split for people grading between sizes. If your lines for different sizes come in different colors, consider offering a black and white version, many people are saving their colored ink for things other than sewing patterns. It can also be helpful to have a guide for what pages I have to print for which view, there is no point in my printing off ten extra pages for the v neck when I only want to make the scoop.

If your pattern has many large pieces, please consider offering a copy shop version, you’re going to save your customers some grief. I know it looks nicer to have all the pieces going the same way, but it’s okay to have some pieces print on the “cross” grain to save paper. Stick to standard pattern makings, I’m not really into trying to memorize what a Unicorn head means when I’m cutting out a dress.

I could go on, but I won’t. Just consider asking your customers what isn’t working for them, you might be surprised. Hell, if you want to make a thing of it, offer a prize for the best suggestion. You could even, IDK, offer a paid survey to really get some indepth answers.

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Boat Neck Lady Skater T-shirt

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I’m inordinately pleased with this simple modification, I really needed a grey top to replace the one that I am wearing in this post, I’ve had that thing since high school and it’s ratty and permanently stretched out, as much as I love it. And so I came up with this top. It was super easy. And most importantly, the neckline doesn’t gape. I must admit I was very nervous about it, because when I tired the top on without the sleeves it was awful, but putting the whole thing together seems to have resolved that.

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I followed some of the steps from this tutorial and also some of my own intuition, like raising the front neckline a bit beyond what was suggested. For the T-shirtification I used Kwik Sew 3036 as a side seam shaping guideline, but in a smaller size than I sew, as that top is super loose fitting when I make it up straight in the size based on my bust. I also added an inch of length.

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I feel like it could use more room in the hip, although I have ready to wear T-shirts that I like that fit similarly. However it’s not too concerning because I made it to wear tucked in to skirts, and the tightness does mean that wrinkling at the waist is minimized. The white flecks you’re seeing around the hem are from spray starch.  I still haven’t decided how I want to hem this, but I thought I should take pictures while I had decent light. I know, I’m awful about showing you guys almost finished items.

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I am in love with the fabric, it’s a cotton lyrca blend from Girl Charlee, but it feels really plush, nothing at all like the fox fabric, which while cute, really only has an okay hand. The fabric is honestly better than 95% of my RTW tees. I want it in every color. I think I need to start buying basic knits in multiple colorways so I have some reliability in what I’m working with. This top has some issues around the shoulders that I’m thinking are caused by the increased stretch factor, 60% is quite a jump from 40% and 30%.

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I stitched clear elastic to the wrong side of the neckline at the same time I used it to stabilize the shoulders and I simply turned and stitched to finish it. I’m not sure if a facing would be better but I like the way the outside looks now, and it was easy to do. The insides are a little less neat looking than I would like due to the zigzagging needed to attach the clear elastic. We continue the saga of the skewing neckline, I think it has to do with how my shoulders are set. I feel like this has been a long term issue, just one I didn’t take note of until I started sewing. I’m on the fence as if I want to start using full pattern pieces so I can compensate for one shoulder sloping more than the other. I don’t think I’m going to bother when it comes to knits, but I’ll keep it in mind for wovens.

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I wasn’t sure if I wanted to use sleeve cuffs on this top, but a I decided to try them out. I don’t hate them, but I do feel they take away some of the elegance of the line of the top. Also the sleeves are a little big, I think again because of the fabric being so very stretchy. I think I’ll taper the sleeves from the wrist to nothing at the armsyce if I make this again the same fabric.

My next plan is to simply use this neckline with the rest of the lady skater pattern, sans cuffs. I’m thinking that blue and green polka dot I have would make a cute boat necked dress. The only other thing I want to do is lengthen the sleeve pattern piece so that a simple hem has the sleeves hitting in a good place.

I know this isn’t a major pattern hacking accomplishment, but, it’s still a personal one, so hurray! I can’t wait to draft all kinds of interesting necklines on this base.

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Fabric haul and more planning

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Normally I don’t consider my fabric purchases a “haul”, I tend to buy one or two pieces at a time in person, that’s what is feasible for me to afford. However, I happen to decide to check out the fabric section of our local salvage retailer and I made out quite well. I restricted myself to the knits, which helped, otherwise who knows what I would’ve bought. My clothing and fabric budget for the spring is certainly blown.

The middle three fabrics are all Robert Kaufman Jerseys, which was an unexpected find. I’ve always wanted to try them, but it just wasn’t feasible. The fabric to the left is a polyester ITY I think, it’s going to be some sort of top. The gold and black fabric on the right is going to be a formal-ish dress, I don’t have any and I figured I should fill that gap in my wardrobe. Plus, it’s absolutely stunning, I was so giddy when I saw it that I wish I could take better pictures. The top left fabric is a thin pinstriped synthetic, to the best of my knowledge, I haven’t done a burn test. I’m thinking of making a boat neck Lady Skater T-shirt from it.

lady skater flat

Other than shopping. I made a very rough (I’m no artist) technical flat for the lady skater, because the drawing on the pattern doesn’t work for my usual method of testing out color combinations and fabrics on a pattern before cutting into anything.

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Tada! A preview of some planned dresses.

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