November 27, 2011

Newsflash: Fitting Pants is HARD!

       …But I can see progress.  After cutting the Butterick jeans down to a size 18, the top part fits more how I expected.  I need more room in the tush and less in the waist, which are relatively easy fixes.  I went ahead and did those alterations and am most of the way done with my “wearable muslin”.  I know people don’t like that term, but I would never get started if I didn’t give myself something like that – a pair that has the potential to end up wearable, but that won’t be a heartrending loss if they don’t turn out.  Unfortunately, my sewing speed is not keeping up with the rate at which my pants are falling apart, so I had to buy a couple of RTW pairs as a stopgap measure.  While I know that they won’t fit as well as my custom made ones eventually will, I do have to put in a plug for the new Levi’s CurveID system for A) acknowledging that there are customers out there with giant rears  and B) being the only RTW jeans to fit me without a ginormous gap at the back waistband.  Of course, the department stores only carry the less curvy styles, so I’m waiting on my online order to come in.

      Hopefully everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving.  I am currently at the BF’s BFF’s house for Thanksgiving #3.  Though I still would have preferred to have gone home, friends filled the gap quite nicely.  Lots of fun and lots of food to work off.  Here’s hoping my pants-in-progress still fit when I get home!

November 16, 2011

Burda 108-09-11; Why I Can't Wear Batwing Tops

I told myself that this top was just a trial, something to get myself used to tracing patterns and the infamous Burda instructions. What could be easier than a two piece top with cut-on sleeves?   So why did I use a fabric I actually liked which, by the way, was completely the wrong print for this style anyway?  But it turned out not to matter, because...
Doesn't look horrible, right?  (Ignore the stretched out neck binding, I'll get to that in a minute)  However, when I raise my arms (which I do actually do on a regular basis during a day)...
Magically, everything becomes a crazy wrinkled mess and gets completely hung up on the girls.  Even if all the other problems with it were gone, I can't wear a shirt that does this and try to teach in it.  No more batwings for me.  However, as sad as I am about the top itself, I really shouldn't be.  Here's why:
1.  It accomplished the original goal: trying out a Burda pattern.   I did the tracing with my extra awesome setup of a pencil and marker taped to a ruler:
2.  As much as I liked the print, that knit really was crappy quality, and wouldn't have lasted very long anyway.
3. As my advisor would say, sometimes it's just as important to figure out what doesn't work as to figure out what does.  Now I'll no longer be tempted by those tops.  Ever.

So really, no big deal.  Moving forward, I think I'm going to stay away from knits for a while, until I save up enough to really get some decent stuff online.  This probably won't happen until after Christmas.  I also realized just how dire my pant situation is, and that I will have to give in and buy a few pairs of RTW jeans to make it through the rest of the year.  Of my three pairs that fit, two have been patched more than once, and one pair has big acid holes down one leg.  It's time.  But that's just even more incentive to keep grinding on my pants muslin.  It's going, but slowly.  Other than the perpetual pants, I'm looking to start a collared shirt (because I can and it's not knit) and am sensing some reworking/recycling projects shortly. Stay tuned.

ETA:  I changed the title of this when I realized I had multiple hits coming from people searching "bu.sty girls" on Google.  Creepy!

November 10, 2011

Holy Huge Muslins, Batman!

So after abandoning my Built By Wendy Pants pattern, I moved to Butterick 5682, thinking that since  there are so many views in the same pattern that mastering one would give me easy access to a decent variety of pants with minimal variation.  Once I get a pants pattern to fit, it will be assembly line sewing time.  I’ve got plenty of tops to make it for a while (even if not all of them are the most flattering things in the world), but I am always short on pants.  There’s only one RTW jeans brand that even remotely fits well, and as hard as I am on clothing I can’t afford to replace them as fast as I wear them out, which is why I’m tackling what is arguably one of the hardest items of clothing to fit when my skills may or may not be up to it.  Even if I don’t get a perfect fit for a while, even a mediocre fit will be better than what I’ve got now.  So I dove in. 

So according to the pattern, I’m a 20 in the hip and between a 16 and 18 in the waist.  For my first muslin, I cut a straight 20, thinking it would be easy enough to take in at the waist if it was close everywhere else.  But somehow, it ended up HUGE everywhere!

Super sad face about the huge muslin...

 After these pictures I just went ahead and unpicked the muslin to use for the next one, where I’ll be starting from an 18, possibly with just a protruding derriere adjustment to start with.  After that, I may just dive in.  I’m sick of muslins, and I have fabric that is subpar compared to my fashion fabric but still wearable that I can use for my first real attempt.  Last night I also traced my first Burda, #108 from the September 2011 issue.  It’s a simple shirt with cut on sleeve, just to test out the process/fit. So we'll see how that goes.  I just found out I'm hosting an impromptu get-together tomorrow night (No one else in my research group has seen Rocky Horror Picture Show, so we're having a movie watching night), which means I need to clean the apartment!

November 3, 2011

Kwik Sew 3338 Take Two

Finally, something is finished and wearable in public!  This version of KS3338 is the short sleeve version, cut a size down from my previous attempt with an FBA added.  I used the FBA instructions from here, which means I added a bust dart.  

Of course, this top is far from perfect – the bust dart I put in points too high, the neck binding still stretched out some when I put it in, and I really would like the sleeves a little longer and with a bit more bicep room.  But this one passed the “suitable enough to wear to lab where it’s just going to get acid holes in it anyway” test. Considering this is how I'm wearing it to work today:
The little imperfections don't seem so bad.  I feel like I've been messing with this same pattern for so long, I'm not exactly sure where I'm going next.  But actually getting something wearable is a big motivator to do SOMETHING.