Tuesday, 27 May 2014

My Archer is Finished

 Here's the Reveal!

This morning I ironed my finished Archer and decided to make use of the early morning light to drive to a nearby nature reserve  set up tripod and take some pics.

I am wearing a cami underneath today but this shirt will be the perfect summer throw-on.You know roll up the sleeves and throw on over a T-shirt and shorts. It feels good on and will be a favourite.

Needless to say I have become a Archer fan. Here's a link to the pattern company. Grainline Studio Archer Shirt Pattern

If you haven't read my former posts I started with a too snug 12 and then decided to do modifications.

1. Adding an off grain front and plackets link to off Grain opening post
2. Adding a centre back seam and sway back adjustment.
3. Adding a front dart link to the adding a dart post
4. Adding a little bit of ease to the neck and body

Providing early morning entertainment to park workers.

After all the alterations my shirt is a modified  size 14 with size 16 sides size12 sleeves. Oh whatever! Roomy enough to skim the middle but not cling on.

I tried to do too much at once to the back:  adding a CB seam, a sway back adjustment AND retaining the CB pleat. That's a combination that did not want to gel. The pleat is stitched down at the top and the waist, therefore the back pleat will probably be eliminated in my next version. Because there will be a next version..

I'm warning you. The Archer is addictive :)

Happy to sew you,  


Monday, 26 May 2014

Archer progress report, adding a bust dart

Do you remember my previous post where I described the technique of putting the front opening and plackets off grain, as described by Roberta Carr in Palmer/Pletsch 'Couture, The Art of Fine Sewing'? 

It really works! My Archer hasn't got cuffs or collar  or buttons yet and I am tweaking the side seams still but see that front? It hangs and does not separate. It was definitely worth doing.

And...For the first time ever, I added a dart to a straight shirt front. Properly.

My two references were 'Couture' already mentioned and the Threads Sewing Guide. link to page about drafting darts. For Australians reading I want to share that I ordered the book from Booktopia.com.au and the postage was a fraction compared to buying the book from an overseas company.

The threads book describes the whole draft-a-dart process much better than I can, so I am not going to ramble on except to say this is a shortened regular dart, not an FBA.

I  figured out and marked my bust apex on my pattern according to Roberta Carr's instructions, then drafted a modest dart according to Threads' instructions.

I, never having done this before, didn't realize I'd end up with that vertical spread, or that I would have to move the side hem down a bit. See how my horizontal red slash line don't meet anymore? Or that at the end of it all I would have to take the sides back in again. eesh.. but

I may just end up with a TNT shirt pattern and that would be worth it, don't you think?

Happy Sewing,


Friday, 23 May 2014

Off Grain Opening - Palmer Pletsch couture

Some years ago I bought the Palmer/Pletsch book Couture The Art of Fine Sewing at a Stitches and Craft fair. These fairs are the only time I get to see shelves and shelves of sewing books all in one place. Recently I got around to re reading this one and I knew it was time I started implementing some of the very good techniques that are in it.

For this project, the off grain opening.

The idea is to add a wedge shaped piece to the right front opening that starts at the neckline and swings out 1.5cm at the waist and continues to the end of the garment.

You then put the left front placket on the same grain as your wedge. The photo below shows my new wedge and placket.

Major Edit:     I will add the wedge to both fronts then do the off grain placket to both fronts.

Below, the wedge on the 'cut for right side' line, folded back here. I created the new grain for the placket by laying the wedge on top of it and tracing the new slanted grain.

I could not figure out a way of adding a cut-on wedge-combination-placket to the other side while staying true to the new grain, if that makes sense!

Edit:  The new placket will be attached to both the left and right sides then buttons and buttonholes as per the original instructions.

These alterations keep the fronts from pulling apart at the bottom past the buttons when worn. Sounds like it would make it go more wonky doesn't it? .. but here goes!

p.s. I am using the Archer shirt which already has other alterations, see previous post, mainly for more ease. A reader, Tini, reminded me that I should do a sway back alteration .. but that means a CB seam on the shirt body.. which would, in a way, match what I am doing to the front so..ok deep down I know she is right.

Another Edit: I am putting a dart in the shirt front after all. It's more a 'Regular Bust Adjustment' than an FBA but this is the first time I have done it properly rather than fold n'sew and add a bit to the sides. My shirt is half finished and it is  x fingers crossed x  looking good.

Humble Pie Edit: I am realizing how much I do not know, even though I have been sewing for a long time.                 

Sew something soon,


Thursday, 22 May 2014

Grainline Archer First Go

Dear Blog Readers,

This post is brought to you from La Casa del Flu. I Can Not Believe I Have The Flu again. I won't go into theories as to why. The good thing is I have time and (just) enough energy to finish my first Archer, take some snaps and blog, some of my favourite things to do ..

The Archer is my first Grainline pattern but probably not the last. It is beautifully drafted, well thought out, has a very cute collar and slimline feminine styling, unlike baggier Vogue or Burda shirt styles that I have made in the past.

Front, not so bad .

I agonized over what size to download not realizing all sizes from 0 to 18 are included, nest style. Then I wondered what size to cut. I was tired of making thngs too big so I went for fitted.

From my own flat  measuring of the pattern I did a 12 body and sleeves with a 13 (cutting between 12 and 14) neck and shoulders but there's nothing like a muslin to show you the real thing.

All the sizes are nested within each other and the length and shape of the shirt does not change. Normally larger sizes are graded with a bit more ease built in. These aren't graded that way but it does stay true to the shape.

I had heard the instructions were good and I wanted to try them as written.

It took me a while to note that 'white is right' and dark is the reverse side as I followed the instructions. The collar construction instructions are very good, but tricky!

More back ease needed and the pleat will be either eased in or become two little pleats or darts above the shoulder blades.

Here's all the problems in one shot. On the next shirt I am also thinking of doing a trick I read about of swinging the the centre  front out slightly which takes it off grain, which makes it hang straight. The button band has to be cut the same way. I'll describe it more when I do it.

So, how to do proper adjustments? I considered adding a dart to the front, but as most of the problem is at the back and can, in my case I think, be fixed with more body ease and going up a size. I downloaded another print, (it's so good to be able to do that) then adjusted as I taped.

For the body I cut Size 14 and a bit  extra at the sides, which I can take in if it goes too big. There's only half a cm between sizes on all the main seams, as you can see above. I wanted to incorporate some neck and shoulder ease too.

The red vertical lines are a .5 cm gap and the red horizontal lines are a 1.5 cm adjustment to length. I put it in where the print out pages overlap. Handy ! I  added .5 vertical line of ease to the back yoke and to the collar and stand. I cut the armholes a scant 3mm deeper. The sleeves will have a bit extra at the armscye width to correspond to the deeper yoke and widened body. 

What you do to one piece you have to do to every corresponding piece. Been caught out on that one before. 

I am using a lovely blue and white voile (it's in my new header above) and have another go. 

My fit needs vary from most bloggers and reviewers that have made this pattern but the pattern itself is a quality product.

Sew something soon,


Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Sunday in Cabramatta

Last Sunday Beverley of On The road to Sew Wear held a blogger meet for Lynn of You Sew Girl who is visiting Australia from Michigan (links at the end of post). A small bunch of sewists ate and fabric shopped their way through Cabramatta, a predominantly Vietnamese suburb of Sydney that has lots of material shops.

Sharon, Maria aka Velosewer, Lynn, me, Alison and Wendy

and Beverley.

Handmade pottery buttons made by Lynn, which she gave away as presents

Lynn also makes pottery mugs

Sharon (Petite and Sewing) http://petiteandsewing.blogspot.com.au/
Alison (Sewing with Cats)  http://nosilasews.blogspot.com.au/
Wendy (Costumes from a shoebox) http://costumesfromashoebox.blogspot.com.au/
Maria (Velosewer) from How good is that http://www.cleverthinking99.com/
Lynn from You Sew Girl  http://yousewgirl.blogspot.com.au/

Saturday, 17 May 2014

May Giveaway

Hello Readers,

It's a bit late coming but here is my May give away. I am giving away patterns each month all this year, in order to simplify my stash and pass on patterns I know I will not use. I usually have multiples of similar styles and sometimes I have moved on from a style completely. Neither pattern has been unfolded or used.

The first part of this month's package is an out of print but cute New Look dress 6750. It has princess seaming through the body and yoke/sleeve variations. 8-18

The second pattern is Butterick 5258, a lined trench coat/jacket with one piece bell shaped sleeves. The body of the coat flares out a bit too. No pockets but that could be fixed! The pattern includes a straight skirt and pants with a mock fly and back zipper. 8-14

Sorry, for some reason blogger won't flip the last photo.

Both patterns go the the one winner so if you are interested say so in the comments.

I am off to a little blog meet today in Sydney's Cabramatta or 'little Vietnam'. Coffee, company and lots of fabric shops. What could be better?


Saturday, 10 May 2014

Vogue 8754 and vintage Vogue 9140 hybrid car coat reveal!

That must be the longest post title ever. I could also have added Country Road Car Coat Knock Off, but if you go to the previous post you can read the whole story. If you have been following (thank you for reading!) here it is.

The graffiti backdrop is a clubhouse at a nearby sports field. the whole building is painted this way and it looks so amazing I suspect it was commissioned.

Re the coat. It was an interesting exercise. My chambray muslin was a tiny bit snug around the hips so I went larger. Too large. I then had to take the jacket in and maybe I could have gone back to the original dimensions.There is a fine line between oversized and just plain too big and I found it hard to get just right (and didn't) but it's a fun garment which I'll definitely wear.

I realized while making this meld of patterns that I need a reference book on tailoring. While surfing the net and I found several references to a book called The complete book of Tailoring by Adele P Margolis, last published 1978. This book is apparently something of a classic. I bought it on ebay and I am looking forward to using it.

I like my slouchy 80's man-jacket but what do I wear with it to complete the 80's vibe?
Any thoughts?