Friday, November 13, 2020

Notes on Mentorship- Developing an idea into a garment- Raised neckline with radiating darts … Part 2

In may last Notes on Mentorship post I talked about how I developed the pattern and I showed you the pictures of the ‘mini’ muslins that were just to bust and then one to the waist.

In this post I will show you the final muslin that I made to double check the overall fit and show you the final garment!

I LOVE these radiating darts!!

Get ready for lots of photos!


The last muslin that I made was one that was basically full length but left off the sleeves and the hem facing and just did the bodice front back and the front and back neck facing. Normally in mock ups or muslins I omit the facing and just mark the finished neckline. However, because this garment has so much focus on the neckline and the pattern pieces are so strange, I decided that It was worth adding the facing to just make sure everything went together perfectly.

Shoulder collapse without the sleeves inserted.

You will see in the muslin pictures that there seems to be some funkiness with the upper bodice fitting. Consulting with my mentor helped me to understand that because of the final pattern shapes that much of the upper bodice was on the bias and that without the sleeves in the muslin it was sort of collapsing a little bit in that area.

So glad this issue resolved when the sleeves were put in!

The final shaping for the neckline is controlled and determined by several factors. On the back- shaped center back neckline. At the very top of the seam it bows in, mimicking a fish eye dart. There is also a shaped neckline dart from about mid back shoulder area. You can clearly see the bottom third of the dart coming to the point it a normal dart shape. The rest of the dart has been carefully ‘shaped’ to give me the shape that I want.

Front neckline facing- cut on fold at CF

Front bodice with neckline darts and inverted or reverse pin tucks

The rest of the raised neckline shaping is done at the shoulder. You can see the ‘swoop’ of the shoulder line, this also acts as an area for shaping.

Back neckline facing

Back Bodice pattern   

The fabric I am using for the final garment is from Fabrics and Fabrics in NYC. It is a solid texture cotton pique in lime green with a nice amount of body to it and perfect for holding this neckline. I used the wrong side of the fabric. I decided on this by playing with the fabric and folding in where the neck darks would be and the ‘lines’ or ‘striped’ side of the fabric was better. I’m the designer so I can use whatever side I want J I love this lime green color and this fabric washed up and dried beautifully! Another great high quality fabric from Fabrics and Fabrics!

For the facings and the turn back cuff and the pockets I used some Liberty of London lawn that I had left over from a shirt I made a couple of years ago. I used a fairly lightweight fusible interfacing for the facings. Just enough to give it a little bit of extra oomph but careful to not over interface. This was done with testing a fabric sandwich to check that it was enough.

Inside out - front

Inside out- side

The other factor that I had to take into account was that there are a bunch of darts and seams in the neckline which also help to o give it more body and hold the shape.

I am super excited with this garment. Being able to take the design from inspiration to sketch to pattern development and fit to final garment has been such a great and rewarding process. Especially with a design that is tricky.

No good pictures of me in it yet, just this one peek. I am waiting for some dark green ponte to arrive so that I can make a pair of leggings. Plus, I am not feeling so hot with my pancreas so not feeling like a photo shoot would be fun this week!

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

I jumped on the Jumpsuit train! The Anitra Jumpsuit by Style Sew Me

 First off I want to say I was soooo happy this past Saturday when the election was called for Biden/Harris!!

Happy Dance!!!

On a Sunday afternoon a couple weeks ago my local Neighborhood Group, Sew Chicago, from the Chicago Chapter of American Sewing Guild got together for a 4 hour Zoom Sew Along. There were seven or eight of us and we started with a quick chat about what things we were each working on and then we sewed and zoomed!! Stopping periodically to chat or ask questions about something or other. It was quite fun! I decided to try this jumpsuit and I had pre-cut it out so that I could just have fun sewing and chatting!


Pattern: Anitra Jumpsuit by Style Sew Me Style Sew Me is a new to me indie pattern company that a friend mentioned to me and I decided to check out. I ordered 2 print patterns and this one PDF jumpsuit. I was very happy with the jumpsuit and there was even a YouTube tutorial to go along with the jumpsuit.

Fit Changes: None! I graded between sizes from top to bottom but certainly could have used one size smaller in the bottom. I used a large on top and XL on bottom but all large will be fine. In next version I will shorten the length about an inch or inch and a half.

Design Changes: None! I LOVE that it has pockets!!

Fabric: I wanted to use fabric from my collection but did not have enough of any one fabric for the entire thing. I used 2 different knits. The patterned knit for the top and the side back leg pieces and pockets were from an ITY border print. The leg/bottom back and front are from another mystery navy and black knit from my collection.

Both of these knits are opaque but lightweight. I would not recommend a bulky knit since there is so much gathering at the waist for the pants.

Pattern print on the fabric makes the back bodice very interesting.

Interfacing: none

Notions/Buttons/Zippers: 3/4inch elastic for the waist. I also tried to using the Coats Eloflex thread. This thread is supposed to be a ‘stretchable’ thread for knit fabrics to be used in the regular sewing machine. My machine does not seem to like this thread… It is almost like it is getting stuck in the tension discs and causes this squeaking noise!

Seam construction and seam finishes: Majority done on the serger with a 4 thread overlock stitch and a differential feed of 1.3. I changed up the directions for the gathering of the pants waist just a tiny bit. Since the seam allowance is 1 inch, I ran 2 rows of gathering stitches. One at 7/8 and one just slightly in from there. This let me gather the fabric right at the seam line and control the fullness as I sewed better. I still left the gaps at the side seams to reduce the bulk in that area.

Hem Finishes: Some of the hemming was done with a zig-zag on the regular machine and the neckline was coverstitched. I would have preferred to coverstitch the entirety of the hems but my machine is a convertible serger/coverstitch and too much of a pain to change in the middle of construction. But I am thinking there may be a way start with the coverstitch of the long leg pieces, change too serger and do all the construction and then go back to coversticth to finish the neckline and sleeve hems.  OR… just buy a coverstitch machine!! LOL!!

no wardrobe malfunctions!!!!

Overall Thoughts: I was quite surprised by how much I like this garment!! I was afraid that it would feel maybe vaguely like having too much fabric between my legs. But NOT AT ALL! I think this is because the depth of the crotch drop. It keeps the fabric from bunching.  It is very comfortable and super fun to wear!! I have worn it several times already and now thinking that maybe I can add sleeves for a more winter version. This is such a comfortable addition to my ever growing pandemic wardrobe of comfy clothes!

Happy Sewing!!

I hope everyone is staying safe! Washing hands, wearing masks, staying socially distant, no unnecessary indoor gatherings. I think it will get worse before it gets better. And to top it off my pancreas has decided to remind me that she rules the roost! Oh well, such is life with a chronic illness, never really know when it will show its ugliness.

My girls!!! The Princess and her mother!


Friday, October 30, 2020

Notes on Mentorship- Developing an idea into a garment- Raised neckline with radiating darts

Tunic drawing with raised neckline and radiating neckline darts

The second design idea that I wanted to try working from sketch to garment is what I am calling Raised Neckline with Radiating Darts.

1.   Just a quick recap of how I got here.

  •   Started with a well fitting master pattern of my tunic.
  •    Used a sketch done in Procreate on my iPad to create design I really liked.

For this raised neckline tunic I had to break it down into 2 major steps to start with. First step is to develop the raised neckline and then the second step is rotating the bust darts to the neckline.

Luckily, several weeks ago I took an online zoom class with Sarah Veblen that was about raised necklines where she showed many examples and then walked the group through the pattern work. With this fresh in my mind, and the recording to refer back to, I started my pattern work.

Because I am working on neckline, I am just working off a partial pattern front and back that goes to just below the bust darts.

I traced off a cleaned cropped version of my front and back master tunic and then worked on the steps to raise the neckline.

Version 1:

·        Front and Back- I moved the neckline in at the shoulder by a 1/2inch

·        Picked a part along the shoulder where I wanted the ‘swoop’ up to start and drew a curved line.

·        Back only- rotated the shoulder dart to the neckline and extended.

·        Trued up the dart as a straight dart

I achieved some height and but not quite what I wanted. Still too wide.

First try... way too wide!

Version 2:

·        Front and back- Moved the neckline in another inch closer to the neck and used the same swoop curve.

This version came closer, I opened the back neck darts and re-pinned to give a better shape. Added shaping at the center back. Added fabric to the front with pins and then drew/pinned where I thought the finished edge should be.

Version two- messy but getting better

so many pins!

Transferred all those changes to version 3

Version 3:

·        OMG- in LOVE with this neckline.

·        Loved it so much that I transferred it to a clean full pattern to be used in the future.

Amazing look and love the shape BUT not what I need to get to the final design that I want.

LOVE version three!! But... not the shape needed for this project.

Version 4:

·        Used the height and shape of version 3 for the back neck and shoulder area. Re-shaped the front neckline into a soft V

Super happy with this raised neckline and front soft V-neck shape.

Pic 14

Oh dear... ignore the face! LOL!! This version is perfect shape that I was going for!

With step one of the project done I moved onto designing how I wanted to design and transfer the parallel bust darts into radiating ‘darts’ at the neckline. Not all of the style lines that I have drawn will actually be darts. Some of them will just be sewn as very narrow pin tucks.

Here is version four with the design lines for the radiating neckline darts drawn on. I made a slight change from the original sketch and don't have a center front straight line. It just did not go so I eliminated it and added these two curved lines that are much nicer!

The first thing I did at this step was to draw in where I wanted the ‘darts’ to be. I used a Frixion heat erase pen in this step so that I could re-do as many times as I wanted. I ended up with these curved lines that come out from the neckline in regular intervals. Interestingly enough they are all the exact same length and drawn with the same curve of a French curve.

With these drawn on the Version 4 mock-up I then worked on the flat pattern.

I started by tracing a clean version of the pattern. Still not going to full tunic length but going to just about or above my waist. This would let me evaluate the overall fit with the darts better.

The first thing I did was use the French curve to draw the design lines on.

Front pattern with CF on fold. you can see the swoop at the shoulder creating the raised neckline. The 5 lines are drawn evenly at every 2.5 inches along the neckline. You can also see the parallel bust darts that need to be closed and transferred into the neckline.

With those drawn on I had to think about how I wanted the parallel bust darts to be transferred. Considerations into which design line and how much into each design line and how.

The new front pattern with the darts now transferred to the neckline.

Back pattern- you can see the upper neck dart and shaping at the CB raised neckline.
After thinking a bit about it and talking with my mentor, Sarah, I decided to start with one to one transfers into the 2 closest radiating darts. The upper bust dart went into design line number 3 fully and the lower bust dart went into design line number 2. However, line number 2 went past the full bust point. My decision here was to transfer the dart at the bust point and then when sewing the dart continue past the point as a pin tuck to the end of the line.

Mock-up made with reverse pin tucks and darts sewn in. There are pins in the back neckline to refine the height of the finished look.

Of course to make all of this more difficult is that these are curved darts. So pretty but harder to true up!

All the other design lines would be sewn as very narrow reverse pin tucks.

I did my best to true up the neck line and moved forward with my first version of the radiating darts raised neckline.

Version 5:

·        I was quite pleased with this mock-up

·        Small changes made to the height/shape of the back neckline

·        Small changes to the shape of the front neckline

To make these changes I actually drew on the finished seams with a red marker and then unpicked all the seams and darts ironed it out. Then laid it out and put the pattern on top, lined it all up and drew the changes onto the pattern.

Here is the mock up version 5 on me. It looks quite nice!

To true the neckline darts into the smooth curved soft V, I very carefully walked the curved darts and pinned at the neckline. With this done I was able to use my fashion ruler to create a smooth curve and add seam allowance to the best of my abilities. It looks correct….

Next step will be to make one more mock up and check the overall fit and final neckline shape.

Hopefully after that mockup I can move into fashion fabric. I have a nice green 100% cotton textured fabric that has a nice crisp body. Should hold up the neckline and show off the radiating ‘darts’’ quite well.

Happy Sewing!!

This picture of Princess Victoria sums up how I feel about everything in the real world right now!! Chicago Coronavirus rates skyrocketing, seems to be happening everywhere.

Please stay safe everyone!!