Sunday, October 23, 2011

New Look 6000...Channeling June Cleaver

I love this pattern! It's so retro...put on some pearls and you'll feel like baking cookies for Wally and the Beav... I wanted to sew View C with the tucks at the waist, but because I used a plaid woven rayon I decided to sew View E (yellow with polka dots on the pattern envelope) and add the collar.

Since this was such a cute plaid I decided to cut the cuffs on the bias like the collar. I think they would have been rather boring cut on the straight of grain. If you happen to choose a plaid for this pattern, don't take the time to match the plaid on the bias collar the way I did...I swear, sometimes my anal-retentativeness takes a lot of the fun out of sewing! The button selection was touch and go and after thinking I'd never find the perfect ones for the retro look I was going for they appeared.

I did my usual FBA, used an invisible zipper and lace at the hem. FYI after the FBA I ended up needing to take in the front vertical darts from the middle of the darts up towards the bust to achieve a more fitted look. Here is another view of the front:

The pattern instructs for a back vent rather than just a slit which is a nice detail. I recommend this pattern for a fun twist on a fitted sheath!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Can A Girl Have Too Many LBD's?

I think not! And now I also have a new TNT! McCall's 2401 fitted sheath is just that...a fabulous must have wardrobe builder. What a classic! I'm not sure how old or new this pattern is but I am certainly excited to add it to my arsenal as a tried and true "go to". This first go round I made view A with longs sleeves and a V neck. I used a Ponte Roma knit that was oh so yummy to work with. Altering for an FBA was easy peasy with this straightforward design.  I used my new Super Duper Sloper that I recently made using McCall's 2718 fitting shell pattern, hereinafter referred to as my SDS, for a glove like fit. (See my SDS next to the dress pattern below.) I cut, inserted an invisible zip, basted seams then serged. Voila...instant gratification from 2 yards of fabric! What's not to like?

My "laminated" sloper is on the right. Making the FBA on McCalls's 2401 was
much easier using my sloper for fitting measurements and comparisons.

I will make this pattern over and over again. How basic can you get? Imagine all the possibilities afforded in this one little envelope! I would imagine that I will ultimately "laminate" it with lightweight fusible interfacing like I did on my SDS. With the exception of Burda Style magazine I'm not much of a pattern tracer (boring and a not fun timewaster step in my opinion) so when I have a TNT it gets a lot of wear and tear. The laminating makes it last forever:

I ironed a lightweight fusible interfacing to my finished sloper pattern to add stability.

One change I do intend to make is to this dress is to undo the slit in the back and turn it into a vent. I just think it will take take the "classy" factor up a notch, a necessity since I'm wearing more fabulous jewelry from the Jodie Bell estate! If you don't have this pattern in your stash, get it!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Making a Sloper with McCall's 2718 Fitting Shell

It will be hard for anyone except me to appreciate the beauty of this project! But all of us who love to sew travel the never-ending road in search of the perfect fitting garment. Our weight fluctuates, we age, styles change, we fall in and out of love with our bodies and want to show off or camouflage them accordingly...all of these things come into play when it comes to fit. I've been studying Fit for Real People by Pati Palmer and Marta Alto and think it is the best approach for getting a great fit. I embarked upon the odyssey by purchasing the pattern they recommend to make a fitting shell from McCall's 2718, and followed both the book and the pattern directions to make my fitting shell and construct my sloper.

As they point out, very seldom, if ever, will we wear a garment as close-fitting as the fitting shell. It is virtually like a second skin, with a minimum of ease built in. Based on my upper bust measurement I used a size 12 pattern and modified as needed. The pattern comes with 5 different cup sizes for the bodice from A to DD. I needed the latter. The patterns that we purchase are based on a B cup size. I don't even think I had a B cup at birth...

Aside from grading the waist and hips out, the most significant things I learned from this process were that I need both a wide back adjustment as well as an erect back adjustment. The process is incredibly interesting as adjustments become noticeable based on the wrinkles formed.

The erect back adjustment can be seen as the horizontal tuck above the bodice darts.
Without the tuck a wrinkle formed there...very interesting discovery!

The pattern is first "tissue fitted" which is preparing the pattern with tape and pins and then it is literally "tried on" to see how we vary from the basic pattern size. After making paper adjustments a shell is cut from 1/4" gingham. Further fitting is done on the shell and then markings are transferred back to the paper pattern. This amended paper pattern is your body's "roadmap" and becomes a sloper that can then be compared to any fashion pattern taking the guesswork out of your sewing projects.  

The premise of this exercise is that skirt + bodice = dress. The skirt is easy enough to fit on your own but you will really need to enlist a friends help with the bodice. I didn't require any further alteration to the bodice front other than the cup size. Below is a picture of the bodice back showing the 1/2" broad back adjustment that I will make as well as the marking for the erect back adjustment.

The broad back adjustment is the vertical pleat marked with red dashes. The erect back adjustment is the horizontal red mark at the top of the back dart. It begins as a 1/4" pleat and tapers off to nothing toward the arm.

As Pati and Marta point out, depending on the amount of ease that your planned garment allows, some, none or all of the adjustments on your sloper will be used. Once you have made this ultra-close fitting shell from your sloper, anything with more ease will be a breeze. When complete I intend to bond fusible interfacing to my sloper so I will have a permanent pattern showing how my body differs from the standard patterns of the Big 4. I highly recommend this process as a way to get to know your body's roadmap and have more great fitting garments!