Other Interests

Butterick 6064 by KAtheRine Tilton

Butterick 6064 by KAtheRine Tilton

I am drawn to patterns that have unusual design lines. I find most of the patterns by Marcy Tilton and her sister, Katherine Tilton to have something different, yet they look very comfortable.  I am working on getting the proper fit in my me-made clothes. Craftsy classes are helping me by learning how to draft my own pattern blocks, but it is a slow and long process.

To feel like I am accomplishing something, I chose to make this pattern as it is basically a large rectangle with armholes and two buttonholes. The interesting part is the mitered corners that provide a self facing and give some weight to the drape of the item. I chose to interface the borders for extra weight.

I chose 100% linen which I washed and dried to avoid shrinkage. It turned out so soft and comfortable. I found this a little hard to drape around the neck, so spent lots of time in front of the mirror! The Striped Linen was made in Size Medium, and the Blue in Small.

When my friend, Deb tried it on, I realized that it looked much better on her! She suggested that the next one should be in a smaller size. I still find this one very comfortable, but she was right--the next size down fits me better. I've received compliments from strangers when I wear these.

The next one I made was in a synthetic collection that had a creased texture and a little shine. It was in my favorite steel blue color and had coordinating flowered brocade. I used French seams inside and again, interfaced the borders. There is a band that is sewn along the upper shoulders attaching to the armholes in the back to provide some structure to the rectangle so that it stays put.

I love the pleat on the pocket, another detail that makes these patterns unique.

I feel elegant in this vest, and plan on taking it on our first River Cruise in the fall. It folds and rolls up nicely and doesn't hold creases.

The pants are from my custom pattern drafted by Kathy Ruddy, another designer and sewing mentor.  I put pockets in these scuba knit pants, just the way Kathy shows on her Craftsy course, One Pant, Many Looks and there is an elastic waistband that doesn't look gathered. It was easy to do, and looks very flat. I've resisted scuba knits, as I find them cool to the touch, but these are both comfortable and fit very well. I made another pair in a brown polyester/wool stretch knit. I have to make some tops to match and then I will post those. 

I'd love to hear what you think! Please leave a comment below.

Butterick 5891 KAtheRine Tilton

Butterick 5891 has been calling to me from my pattern box. My friend and I bought a few patterns by KAtheRine Tilton, as we find they are often asymmetrical, with a touch of whimsy-- and they allow for a variety of fabric combinations. I used a linen/poly for the mauve, and a creamy charmeuse with turquoise/mauve/olive flowers. I am making up View D of the same pattern in the turquoise color. I am going to make the Size 16, just to see if I can avoid doing an FBA (full bust adjustment). All fabrics were bought at Fabricville in Fredericton.

The back seam is offset, which allowed me to try a new technique. I used the pretty selvedge on that seam, which worked out quite well. What I learned by doing this is that I should have marked the 5/8th seam allowance all the way to the end and baste it. Then I SHOULD have basted the whole top together and checked for drag lines. Of course, I was too impatient to see what the selvedge would look like. When I noticed drag lines pointing to the right hip, it meant that the center back seam was off kilter. I had to unpick the selvedge, and the seam before straightening it out. Patience is coming slowly and at a price.

I made a size 14, but after tissue fitting, then making one muslin,  I decided that a full bust adjustment was in order. This pattern is asymmetrical. That meant fiddling around until the darts had the same angle. Two muslin changes for that issue! I must admit: I used the retouch button to erase a dart point on the left side that I did not see until these photos were taken and loaded onto the computer. So, I have gone back to fix the apex of the dart so it is not noticeable. It was easier editing it on the photo! Don't you hate going back and fixing something once you think it is done?

A few who had made the pattern commented on the pleats in the peplums. You can see that I have pinned the pleat in on the photo on the right. My husband kept frowning at that, telling me that my 'hem' was tucked up, so I took it out. I'm undecided as to whether to sew both of them in. If the pleat is in, the front peplums seem to have similar hem lines. I do like the funnel neck, but I did a fully seamed collar so that there are no raw edges showing.

I also decided to make the sleeve facings into a design feature. Now that I have a brand new Husqvarna Opal 650 sewing machine, I am able to adjust the needle position easily to sew right where I want! When the cooler weather comes, I will wear this with a long sleeved T.

The pants were drafted from a yoga block that my sewing friend and mentor drew up for me. I wish I had taken time to put pockets in them, but now that I have more experience, I will do that on the next pair. These fit very nicely. Ignore the drag lines in the photo from the back. I was trying to pose and shouldn't have!

Sewing Notes and Learning Experiences

I have been sewing almost every day, but have made a few duds. I tried very hard to follow directions to do a Full Bust Adjustment (FBA) on some shirts that I made. I love Pam Howard's Classic Shirt class on Craftsy. She has such a calm, methodical way of explaining things, that I'm sure my heart rate and blood pressure drop as I sew with her telling me what to do in the background. I made 3 different shirts which have very good tailoring techniques, but the FBAs did not work out. One of the shirts looked billowy enough to not need the FBA, in fact, it didn't even call for a dart, so I made the size that measured right. The billowy part is in the back and the damn bust is too tight!! How did that happen?????

I made a really nice blouse a couple of years ago, but I chose TABLECLOTH fabric. I still love the fabric, but MAN, it can get hot. Now that I know more, but way less than I need to know about fabric choice, I am self-conscious about wearing it. So, I'm going to remove the buttons, and cut it up as demonstration pieces for my project binder.

Yes, I said Project Binder. It is about time, that I made samples of what I am learning. It will help when I need to find the method. It will be an heirloom for some obscure relative who will think I was amazing--perhaps 50 years from now!! And, I have visions of one my friend, Deb shared with me. She has the most beautiful penmanship and kept her notes in beautiful binders from about 30 years ago. I saw them once and was instantly smitten by the idea. Mine will not be so beautiful, but everyone needs something to which to aspire. So far, I have made a sample of Kenneth D. King's origami patch pocket, and Kathy Ruddy's cheater pocket. Also, I have bras that are in the process of being refined. (I am at the point where I love two bras, and neither one has straps that fall off the shoulder.)

I am starting to keep notes on what I am making. When I realize how far I have come in 3 years of sewing, it pleases me. But, when I realize that something could be improved, I turn back to the garment and cannot for the life of me remember if I had made a change. So, I need a system.

I'd love it if you could share some of ways you keep records of your sewing growth! And I do mean growth--every mistake leads to a new "Aha!" Right?

If I keep notes, some future seamstress will be very happy with me--that is, if my children don't just burn all my stuff in some Viking Funeral Pyre on the St. John River.

Hudson Bay Blanket

 Here is the finished front of the quilt. And here are the 8 1/2 inch panels with a more modern take for the back. I plan on making these float in a navy background, and inserting 4 varying sized black stripes to echo the way the Hudson Bay Company determined the size of the blankets, when they were folded.

Our grandson is ready to move into his 'big boy bed' and our daughter wanted to make the room a Canadiana style room. What is more Canadian than the woolen Hudson's Bay Blanket, made in England? Well, this quilt based on that design with fabric from Ontario and sewn in New Brunswick will soon be finished. I'm hoping my Acadian friend will long arm quilt it.

As a personal touch, I'm designing a modern take on the traditional HBC blanket for the back of the quilt. Once my daughter and grandson see it, I'll share it here.