My Personal Sewing Academy

I’ve been toying with this idea for months.  I’d really like to be a prolific sewer, but I’d also like to sew things that will fit me and I’ll actually wear.  I think I’ve laid a pretty good groundwork with all the lessons I’ve watched and things I’ve read.  Not to mention the 3 fit muslins for the Craftsy couture dress class.  *Sigh* – I’m still hand stitching silk organza to the pattern pieces.  One day this dress will be done.

One of my goals is to get a set of pattern slopers from which I can work.  I really like the set of garments Claudia Ein’s book How to Design Your Own Clothes and Make Your Own Patterns shows.  I first saw this book in the library when I was in high school and it has haunted me ever since.  I finally got my own copy last year!  Makes a anumber of designs based on the 5 master patterns outlined in her book.

There are 5 master patterns Ein suggests in her book:

Master Patterns in Claudia Ein’s book

Claudia Ein bookRecommended Slopers

1.  A-line (no waist seam) dress

Recommended A-line Dress SloperIt would be interesting to see if I can wear an A-line dress.  I have found that a lack of waist definition is not my best look.  But I could always belt the dress…

2.  Pants

Recommended Trousers SloperIt is wildly cold here at the moment and I am struck by the fact that I have only 2 pair of pants (and 2 pair of woefully inadequate jeans).  I have been working on drafting a jeans pattern with Kenneth King’s Craftsy class which I would be perfectly happy to adapt to pants, once the fit is right.  And, I’m so excited I think I have the fit right, but that’s another post!

3 & 4.  Bodice and Skirt seam dress

Recommended Skirt and Bodice SlopersI’ve got these two master patterns already.  My 1 Dress project from last year has netted me well-fitting bodice and skirt master patterns.  The bodice is princess seamed as is the skirt (which is straight, not a-line).  They fit great and I have used the bodice and skirt to make alterations on other patterns already.

5.  Blouse

Recommended Blouse SloperThis one is not making the cut.  I hardly ever wear button-down shirts, what with the gaping at the chest and having to make buttonholes and all.  I’m really leaning toward making a master tee shirt pattern.  I signed up for the Fit the Tee to a T class on PatternReview, made alterations to J. Stern’s tee pattern and have it in the hopper for a fit test muslin.

I’m excited at how close I am to having these master patterns!

3&4. Bodice and Skirt Master Patterns
I’ve already got one master pattern down, which I am pleased about.  My 1 Dress project is based on the following:

I took the princess lines from V8648, the neckline from vintage Butterick 4616 and the 3/4 sleeve with 3 elbow darts from vintage Simplicity 3108 to make my bodice and skirt sloper.

The two fabric swatches were my choices for My 1 Dress project.  Of course, now I’m not sure I even want to line the dress: The silky print would be great as a slip.

2. Pants Master Pattern
This is my next master pattern that’s in the works.  I need pants that fit, desperately.  I signed up for Kenneth King’s Craftsy course last February and have slowly worked on this project since then.

Finding jeans that are long enough and fit my thighs can be tough.  Lee used to make the perfect jeans, then they got the idea to get rid of their long lengths.  I chose to copy my last pair of long length Lee jeans.  It’s a good thing I was able to take the details from my favorite jeans before they were completely rags – maybe patched and re-dyed, but not completely rags.

My favorite things about these jeans were the length and the way they made my butt look. I got to sew up a first muslin about two weeks ago.  Whoa, the back view was seriously tight!  Not what I was going for at all.  After consulting my fit books and the interwebs, I lengthened the back crotch.  Hooray, the muslin makes my butt look good again!  And I see the wrinkles and the thigh seam pulling toward the front, but will work those issues out out later.I’m also knock-kneed and the front grainline was off because of it.  So I adjusted that too.  I’m pretty pleased with how this muslin looks now.  You can see how much longer the left pant leg is at the bottom compared to the un-altered right leg.  It almost looks like I have my right knee bent, but both legs are straight in the photo.

But I never really liked the bootcut-ness of the jeans and really want widelegs.

The Little Miss helped me correct the length on Butterick 4125’s pants; I’m going to try to incorporate that leg silhouette into this master pattern.  With all these adjustments, I might have a killer pants pattern! 




I made the fix to the other 3 pair of trousers I had cut out based on V8751 and sewed them up this weekend. Alas, the dreaded seamline creep is back! I know it was the hemline adjustment that threw things out of whack for me, since the black pair’s seamlines are perfectly straight.

Here are the offending seamlines on the khaki pair I sewed. image

Notice the twist that I have to fix on the pattern before I can call my pants sloper done. After consulting my fitting reference books and DVDs, I am going to retrace the pattern and do the following:

  • shift the seamlines to the front and back respectively, to address the ring around the pant leg; and
  • redraw the grainlines on the front and back pieces to get future pants on-grain.

I am hopeful that this will work since I really like the fit of the pants.

Too bad for the folks at my sub assignments, because I’m going to wear the navy blue and brown ones until I sew replacements!

I clearly like to make things difficult for myself.  While trying to figure out the best pattern to tackle for this TNT, I obsessed over briefly considered these patterns:

While these are lovely vintage dress patterns, they either have too many extra seams for a simple TNT (Simplicity 6725) or give an  overall too-boxy appearance (Simplicity 5985).Then it hit me:  why don’t I just perfect Butterick 5260?  I’ve already sewn it and wear my imperfect finished product at least 2x/month.  All I would need to do to get this pattern up to speed is shorten the shoulder line, shorten the sleeve, do a much needed fba, and make it dress length.

b5260 grey
No FBA but I wear it all the time.  Look how much shorter my hair was then!
By George, I’m going to make Butterick 5260 my A-line dress TNT!

One thought on “My Personal Sewing Academy

  1. Pingback: 2013 Has Been Something | Happy Homemaker - Redux

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