Wednesday, December 29, 2010


The pants are going really well so far. After reviewing the finished project gallery on the Bella page, I realized the odds of my muslin being incredibly huge were pretty good. So I made every vertical seam into a 1-inch allowance instead of the original 5/8", and it seems to have taken up the excess size without any distortion to the overall design. The fit is pretty good, but I will probably take up about half an inch on each side down to the hip, and I might take the legs in quite a bit as I look a tad stubby in the photos. Not that stubby is bad. Just not quite the look I was going for here.

Butt looks pretty decent - but hips could be taken in a bit.

Waist needs to be nipped in a bit to help everything stay up where it needs to be. Interfacing, lining and closures will help with this, too.

And holy cannoli, that's about 8 inches that need to be taken off the bottom. Jeez. With that taken off the bottom, I will definitely need to take the legs in so the overall proportions look right.

So, tell me, what should my fabric be? What lining should I do? What sort of closure? Zipper? Buttons? Zipper/buttons combo? I have $60 burning a hole in my pocket and all of the L.A. garment district (oops, sorry, Fashion District) lay out before me...

Au revoir,
Ms. May

Monday, December 27, 2010

Moving along...

Hmm, what do we have here?

This, my friends, is a bit of progress. Above we see the fabric for the coat/jacket/whateverthehell being preshrunk in the December sun. Let's not look back and find out when the coat was begun, agreed? Thank you.

And below we see what happens when I have many days off in a row. More progress! This is the Bella pants pattern from the Burda Style website. I am hoping they will be as awesome as I envision. We shall see.

No fabric picked out yet, just the muslin. I think these will probably executed in a black wool crepe, or maybe a dark gray tweed if I can find a cool one. If you peruse the finished projects gallery at the bottom of the Burda page, you'll see that people have done cool things with the pocket linings. I might do a contrasty thing there, who knows? I do think, though, that people seem to be fighting the high-waistedness of these. Perhaps I'll take them it a bit more matador-ish direction and make them mega-uber-high-waisted.

Here we have a close-up of the muslin I'll be making the mock-up out of (which, incidentally, was stained red in one of my washing oopsies I am infamous for). See those little green tufts?

Those are called speed tailor tacks, a version of the tailor tack I learned about in this book. Tailor tacks are used as little flags that mark things from the paper pattern like alignment marks, or where darts begin and end, etc. Normally I would make these marks with chalk or a disappearing ink pen, and have a minor coronary trying to get the ink/chalk out of the fabric even though it should have just disappeared/brushed off as promised. Stupid.

This is my first time trying tailor tacks out. In the speed version, you use regular embroidery floss and just make a little stitch, leaving an inch of floss at the beginning and end, as seen above. Then, after you've cut out your pattern pieces, you pull the fabric apart, as below:

And give it a little snip, which leaves you with a tuft in both layers of fabric, marking your mark:
Very nice, yes? Of course, I could've just used a marker and let it bleed through to the other side since this is just a mockup, but this was actually relatively quick... once I had found where my darning needle was hiding, and located my embroidery floss, and hunted down my little scissors, and talked on the phone a bit, and checked Facebook, and ate some Christmas leftovers, and cleaned up the box of pins I knocked off the table while angling to snip a tack.

See why this is taking a while?

The coat stays as is for now. I am afraid of a phenomenon I've heard of referred to as "over fitting." Not exactly sure what this is, but it certainly sounds like something I would do. I think I'm going to leave the mock-up the way it is and proceed with additional fitting in the actual garment, once I've cut it and assembled it from the final cloth. After all, it's my first friggin' coat and the perfectionist paralysis must cease at some point. Yes? Yes.

In other news, I still have made no inroads with the sloper. It makes me nervous. I know this isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I am having a hard time coercing Mr. Dude into finding the time to assist me in fitting it. I haven't yet figured out how to reach completely around to the center of my own back in any sort of practical way, so I still require his assistance. Dammit.

I'm off to put together the pants muslins and we'll see what happens.

Or maybe I'll go eat a leftover tamale first...

Ms. May

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Jacket (Coat) Seemingly Out of Nowhere!

Pearl would like to wish everyone a happy start of winter and a shout out for peace on earth and goodwill toward man! (Or I will laser you all with my death eyes.)

I've made a few refinements to the coat, trying to push through a bit of debilitating insecurity where patternmaking is involved. First thing I noticed after photographing myself (ignore the general wonkiness of the shot - I'm no good alone) was the need for a bit of a sway back adjustment, as seen in this photo:

See where the back is kinda wrinkly around the waist area? This is because I may have a shorter torso and a bit more ample rear than the company whose coat pattern I used as a starting point expected the average home sewer to have. And it ain't much, lemme tell you. Anyway, a tiny tuck at the waistline and it flattened out nicely:

The side view was pretty swell, as you can see below. But there are a few issues that would drive me nuts in a finished project. First, the side seam pulls a bit to the rear of the garment. I might fix this by rearranging the gathers at the back so that the seam falls where it should. Not sure how this will affect the center front panels. If it's too much for the front to take, I might need to add additional inches to the band under the butt and redraft the center front panels to absorb the alteration.
The blue lines at the side indicate where the seam should be. It's difficult to see, but the seam lies (lays? lay?) about an inch and a half behind that blue line:

I will also need to add about a half inch to the back panels (where they meet the bottom band) to make up for the sway back adjustment. I am surprisingly happy with the sleeves - which sort of makes me unhappy since it was just a happy coincident that they worked out at all. So, yeah, I'm sorta unhappy that there was no need for me to dissect them and learn from them. But then again, happy that there was no need for me to dissect them and learn from them.

And I changed the front closure from an asymmetrical, curved front (which, incidentally, would match my asymmetrical, curved mug):

to a more traditional style closure with a straight closure line down the front:

and I took up a couple of tucks in the center front panels down under the closures where the side front panels start to curve around to the back to improve the silhouette and pull the band in a bit closer under the butt for maximum bubble-ass effect. Sorta want to start a bubble-ass revolution.

In other news, we have new neighbors in the house next door. They seem young, perhaps, and sort of couple-ish. And I have the wish hovering in the back of my mind that they will never, ever want to have a topical chat as I try to get in my car to leave for work in the morning. Or wash my car, "just because," in their speedo. Or throw a brick at my mom's boyfriend. (Ask me about that one sometime.)

And with that, a special holiday shout out for my peeps:

Happy holidays -- spread the joy around far and wide. May you have plenty of light at this dark time of year, filled with loved ones, food, and celebration!