Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sewing New Patterns!

Here is my latest strategy in achieving a good fit in my sewing. Using the book by Pati Palmer and Marta Alto, Fit For Real People, I have learned that I need a list of alterations. Starting from top to bottom, I need to add a wedge at center back for a high rounded back, and I need to move the shoulder seams forward. Then, a corresponding shift of the sleeve cap seems to give good results.

There are more adjustments as you move on down the bod, but for now I am sewing tops that will have a forgiving fit. This way I can practice these first couple of adjustments and get wearable garments. My current project is this tunic from the July issue of Burda World of Fashion. I've got some gorgeous silk chiffon from EmmaOneSock just waiting to be sewn. I traced and altered the pattern yesterday and cut it out. There was a minor glitch in that my fabric is only 45 inches wide and that's not enough for the back piece (because the sleeves are attached). So- I added seam allowance where the fold was supposed to be and I will sew a center back seam. Also, it didn't seem I had enough fabric, but by laying it out and cutting just one piece at a time, I was able to squeeze it all in.

Working with slippery silk can be a bear, and I have little tricks to help me. I lay out the fabric on a cutting mat and square it up to ensure a straight grain. The pattern pieces are held down with weights and I use a rotary cutter with a fresh new blade. Before I got into rotary cutters, I laid the fabric out on my padded pressing table and pinned the tissue pattern pieces. That works well, too. I just find the rotary cutter to be a lot faster.
The important thing is to handle it as little as possible. Sew it up before it as a chance to object!

And, so, The Bike!! What a joy it is to get exercise outdoors on a new toy! I get most of my exercise in a gym .. BO-RING!
And here is DH who totally transformed this from a sad rusted throw-away to a nice functioning bike for me. I read a question elsewhere to the effect of "why do some people post pictures on their blogs and give out so much personal information? For me, it is because I have friends and family who enjoy checking in and seeing what we are doing. (we are bike riding!)
I am not sure if I will sew the chiffon tunic today. I don't have the right needles for my industrial sewing machine (they don't use that ones you can buy for a home machine). I will have to find a source and order some. The good news is that industrial parts are cheaper and last way longer than the home sewing machines and parts. But - the home machines are quieter, prettier and portable. So the trade-offs are fair.
I suspect I will prefer sewing this tunic on my Pfaff 1475. I have fallen madly in ,ove with that 15-year-old used machine I got a while back.
HAPPY SEWING, friends!


  1. Bike riding is such fun.
    I just ordered that book 2 days ago, as I saw so many people writing about it in a positive way.
    Look forward to your tunic.

  2. Robin,

    In Baltimore, there is a sewing store on Frederick Ave & Hilton St. near St. Agnes hospital. I think that the name is Stamford or Stanford but I'm not sure. I think that they carry supplies for industrial machines. If I get near there I'll ask them or I'll ask DH to check it out. I'll let you know as soon as I get a chance to check them out.

  3. Towanda, that would be awesome!! When we were at the patternreview meetup, Wilmoed told me to get titanium needles for lightweight silks. If you figure out the name or address, let me know. It sounds like Catonsville.

  4. I had the same problem with slippery fabric. I don't have a cutting board, but I pinned it to the pattern so that I could cut the pieces. But the sewing was definitely tricky! I'm glad it's done!!

  5. Robin,

    Cool tips on cutting silk! I can't wait to see your tunic, I liked that line drawing also. Biking, now that is something I haven't thought much about. But I should!

  6. Have fun riding! I'm back on a bike, 10 weeks after the injury, and the doc has given me the prescrip to get daily activity into my routine. So Saturday dh and I got out the bikes (me with a certain amount of trepidation) and I rode 11 miles, then yesterday I bumped it up to 17. Do you have great off-road trails around you for riding?

  7. If you have to mail order, and have both been great for me. Quick and helpful.

  8. Very nice job on the bike :)
    I too usually do most of my exercising in a gym, however in the summer I just love running/biking outdoors. It just so much nicer and not so much like work :) (My all time favorite is running :)


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