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Works in Progress  «
Tuesday, 25 October 2016
A new warm Hoodie for me!
Topic: Works in Progress

 

 While I was shopping for a bit of lace for the grey skirt re-con I found the above fabric at Len's.  It's a low loft polar fleece. One side has the buffalo plaid and the other side is solid aqua. There was only two meters on the roll so I snapped it up right away. I wanted to make a hoodie from it and thought about the classic bomber style hoodie, but I already have enough of those. I decided to think about it for a few days then decide.

On one of these few days I got the newest BurdaStyle and found this Siberian Parka styled hoodie:

The Siberian Parka has a large hood and closures at the top. It pulls over whatever you are wearing. Often the hood, cuffs and bottom hem are trimmed with fur. This one has the hood with fur trim only. The sleeves are in the 9/10ths length -one that I can't stand because it looks like the sleeves are a tad too short.

I traced and cut the pattern and pinned the paper together for a quick fit. this thing is HUUUGE. Across the bust it's 52 inches. That's way larger than it needs to be even to fit over bulky things. I ended up putting the large sized pieces back on the master pattern sheet and re-tracing a smaller size. I still had to eliminate a bit of excess under the arms. I added an ease pleat under the center front yoke. That gave enough room to fit over other things and it narrowed the shape enough that it didn't look so large under the armpits.

I've noticed that a lot of burda patterns seem to be very large in the upper body area. Some also have necklines that are way too wide and don't hug the neck. I've been doing a lot of neckline alterations on burda patterns these days and it getting annoying. Some necks are open to a mere one and a half inch shoulder seam. This is too close to the shoulder and it is difficult to keep bra straps covered. An extra inch would be enough for most day dresses while an inch and a half would be best for blouses and tops. One top I pivoted at the waistline to make the upper back narrower and the hip a bit wider to give it less of a wedge fit and more of a contoured fit.

I also lengthened it at the hem and got rid of a weird dipsy-doodle in the hem from front to back. It had a slight high-low hem line and I do not like that look.

After adjustments I cut the fabric and I am now in the middle of sewing it all together. Polar fleece is super simple to sew, requires no pressing or edge finishes and is warm and cuddly. At this point all I have to do is hem and add fur trim. I should have it done by the end of today and I can wear it tomorrow.

 

 

 

 


Posted by lincatz at 10:53 AM EDT
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Friday, 1 April 2016
A simple white jersey top with lace at the neckline.
Topic: Works in Progress

Two days ago I went to Len's and found this really super cool jersey in a slubby white rayon. I got a few yards with the intent of making a light weight tunic length top with some lace trim at the neck. I have various laces gleaned from many sources including necklines of dresses, table cloths, and more. I thought the light sheen of the rayon jersey would look good with a light summer lace.

Here's a picture of some of my white laces. You see a couple reclaimed collars, a couple bridal motifs, an edging reclaimed from a vintage pillowcase and others. I played with the motifs trying to decide which looked best with my fabric. Then I played with arranging the lace into a pleasing design that would work with a few sketches.  I decided that I liked this one best:

And I knew it would work well with this design sketch here:


There's a bit of soft gathering at the neckline and I want the lace over the gathering. It will take a bit of hand sewing to get the gathers and the lace cooperating with each other. I used a basic loose fit tank pattern and adjusted the fit by pinning the paper pattern to the form and adding and subtracting paper where needed. Once the paper pattern fit the form I pinned it together and tried it on me. I adjusted the shoulder slope. 

After I cut the fabric and pinned it on the form. I noticed the the fabric was a bit sheer and when I experimented with a couple drops of water I noiced it went nearly transparent. I Decided to do a double layer front and instead of doung both layers with the gathering the underlayer has no neck gathering and the over layer does. This should add a bit of stability to the neck edge.

I have the two layers sewn together in the front and the facings sewn to the back neck edge and armhole edge. I'm going to add the lace while the front is still flat and then sew the two sides together.  I should have it done by the end of today if all goes well. 

 And that's what I am making today. Something super simple that can be worn wityh many different things, from a swimsuit coverup to a light top with jeans and shorts to something dressy enough for a summer maxi-skirt. All from one meter of 5$ a meter fabric, leftover lace and a bit of time. 


Posted by lincatz at 10:02 AM EDT
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Wednesday, 25 November 2015
Progress Report on White Embroidered blouse
Topic: Works in Progress

A while back I posted a story about a blouse from an old BurdaModen magazine. Since I have posted about making entredeaux and about tracing and making hot iron embroidery transfers. Now it's time to see how all this is coming together!

Here's the pintucks and embroidery on the shoulder. The original design had three small tucks at the shoulder that really didn't do anything either fit or design wise. I changed them to a series of pintucks and embellished between the rows of tucks. The blouse in 2001 had all feather stitches, for the new one I added a strip of insertion lace in the center and used feather stitches in the other two spaces. The lace instertion addds to the classic heirloom look of the blouse.  The blue mark is afrom a wash-away marker. I like to use as many marks as possible for seamlines, detail placement and more.


Here's the sleeve detail. The original design had a small ruffle on the sleeve. Back in 2001 I added the ruffle then took it off after wearing the blouse once or twice. The ruffle looked stupid on me. I changed the sleeve so there were pintucks and feather stitches along the edge. In the new version I added a couple strips of insertion lace and feather stitches. 

And here's the focal point of the blouse: The front embroidery. The first time I made this I didn't change the pattern too much from the original magazine design. I added a few little clusters of eyelets because I had just learned how to make 19th century white-work eyelets. This time I had to make a few more changes. I enlarged the motif by about 15%. The original was quite small and this time I wanted to do a bit more with the openwork areas. I also had to lengthen the stem because I wanted a blouse that covered my mid-section. 

The embroidery took the longest of all the embellishments. It is entirely worked by hand. In the cut work holes of the leaves and flower centers I added some needle lace, worked by hand. My hand! I used two strands of white DMC cotton embroidery floss for all the lace and embroidery. The leaves were first worked with an outline of two rows of stem stitch. I added the needle-lace bars and then completed the leaves in buttonhole stitch. The petals are basic satin stitch and the eyelets are 19th century padded eyelets worked with an awl. 

Now all it needs is buttons and buttonholes. I am going to use some old freshwater mussel mother of pearl buttons made back in the days when Kitchener was Berlin and Berlin was the button capital of the world. I omitted the  front ruffle in 2001 and I'm not about to add it now!

I hope to have it finished soon. When it is complete I will go back to another old magazine and try something else! 


Posted by lincatz at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 25 November 2015 9:19 AM EST
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Tuesday, 22 September 2015
White Blouse: How to make store-like entredeux at home
Topic: Works in Progress

Yesterday I cut the fabric, made the entredeux and started construction. I got the front darts completed and I added the entredeux to the center front.

Because I could not find entredeux I experimented in making my own. It's tricky and it's really too bad that computerized sewing machines that do so much still don't make a nice row of entredeux ladders. They can make duckies, bunnies, featherstitches, and have anywhere from four to eight built in bittonholes -yet a true entredeux escapes them.

Stitch-339_entredeux This is an almost workable substitute. When worked with a wing needle it gives you a nice center holes, but it also makes smaller holes on the side. True entredeux looks like LADDERS, not trellises. 

After a bit of fussing and failing I came up with a way to combine a wing needle and the above stitch with a regualr needle and a zig zag that give e pretty good copy of entredeux by the yard. It takes three steps and it's thread heavy, but it look quite nice and that's what's important.


First pass: cut a strip of fabric with straight grain lengthwise.  Set the stitch to the widest width and a medium length. Tighten the top tension slightly for bigger holes. You need to use a wing needle or you don't get the holes.  As you can see above there are three rows of holes. The next two passes will cover the side holes.


Not the best picture, but it shows one half completed and the other half in progress.

The second pass is done with a regular needle and the zig zag stitch. It needs to wide enough to cover the holes but not so wide it covers rhe middle holes. I used a width of 3.5 and length of 1. I lined up the needle so one zig went into the holes and the other side zag covered the holes on the side. I had to sew slowly so the strip didn't wiggle around too much and to keep everything even and in line. The final pass is a row of zig zags on the other side.

And here's the finished strip. Looks alomst as good as the stuff sold by the yard.

And here it is sewn onto the front of the blouse. The front dart is already sewn but not yet pressed. I'm keeping the original blouse beside me and referring to it often so the two look the same.

Here's an extreme close up of the sewn edge. The button/buttonhole band will be sewn on later.

And for those interested: The sewing has so far been done on my Singer 160 Anniversary machine. Pintucks will be done on my Kenmore because it does a magnificent job of pintucks -and it has a foot that can insert cording in the tuck while being sewn. Saves a step or two. 


Posted by lincatz at 11:08 AM EDT
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Friday, 11 September 2015
Not-so-fun-with-fabric this friday
Topic: Works in Progress

Back in May I got some really wild printed fabric from FabricLand. It had a whole bunch of colors in it, some bold splotches of different dye colours running into each other, some animal-like print, and more. It was quite wide and made of cool lightweight rayon. I also got a few yards of sold color rayon for lining in case the printed fabric was a bit see-through. The print is a bit sheer, and it's lightweight and floaty so the lining will also be needed for windy days if I decided to make a floaty syle dress.

But there was a bigger problem that  a slight bit of sheerness and the feather weight. That colorful print that attracted me to the fabric held an unpleasant surprise after pre-washing and hanging out on the line to dry:

...a very weird pattern repeat.  There's no symmetry, there's no mirror imaging of the pattern, and the line with the bold dye splotches are not entireley on grain. This is a very difficult and challenging print and it will be very  difficult to make a dress from it.I can't just fold it in half and pin pattern pieces on it and hope for the best. 

I decided that I would tret it as a border print. I cut off the small bold black and yellow border at the far right end and the top part of the border missing the bold edge on the left. The left would be used for the bodice, the right for something that would go over the shoulders and the rest would be used for the middriff and skirt. Somehow. 

A quick drape shows that my instincts were correct about turning the fabric into a border print. Having the bold black and yellow running up and down gives the skirt a bit of a swirl and the dark hem gives it a bit of visual weight at the bottom. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I draped a shoulder yoke for the front and back and on the back view you can see the trims and lace I planned to use. I wasn't exactly thrilled to death with the concept but continued draping according to the concept in my head.

So this what I finally ended up with. The yokes didn't work so I changed it to a slip-dress style. The yokes became the midriff and I gathered the fabric loosely at the bust. I thought a gathered to a foundation top bodice would look really nice, and maybe strapelss or with detatchable straps would work. A ruched midriff would also look special and give the dress a retro vibe. At this point the outside temperatures were soaring well into the 30's and it was extremely humid so I had super cool summer dresses on the mind. After a bit more tweaking and adjusting I hit upon my final idea and sketched it out:

Note: those are large crystals sewn onot the center front to cover the lines of machine ruching. Next step: make a pattern for a snug fitting under-bodice.

I decided to use the lining fabric for the underbodice rather than a foundation fabric, then canvas and bones for structure and then lining. If the dress is to be for summer it needs as few layers as possible. An all in one foundation/lining with light plastic bones would work best. So I drafted out a strapless bodice, and tested the fit.

Here's the finished draft, at the left is the original that was paper-draped.

And here the paper pattern is given its final test fit.

Fitting the underlining was easy, the only problem is that the rayon is quite flexible, meaning the top edges are stretching a bit. No matter, they will have some clear elastic added inside to the top to hold the edge close to the body.

And here's the center front of the bodice. There are lots of little pleats tacked to the underside with tiny stithes so it looks like the pleats are floating. You can see some of the underbust pleating pinned in place. The pleats spread out over the bust. One side has its built-in bra cup inserted in place, the other does not. Lots of room for beads and crystals between each pleat.

And here's the side and back being pleated. Pinning takes the most time and sewing is easy, simply work from the back and make a stitch across where the pin is placed. The pleating draws the fabric together and condenses the print, making it a bit bolder. And the invisible pleating is a cool little haute couture teechnique that looks a thousand times better than many lines of machine gathered ruching. Plus the tiny couture pleats allow the fabric to be manipulated and sculpted over the bust.

I am using machine gatehred rushing on the midriff combined with lines of hand embroidery along each rushing line. I am using Wonderfil thread in Razzle and Dazzle. these are thick super shiny rayon threads, one comes with a metallic shine, the other no metallic shine. No pictures as of yet, but don't worry! I plan to share pictures of all stages of misery with this dress.

All I can say is I that I hope it the whole design works out. The fabric is fine, floaty and very slippery to sew.  The print is very difficult to work with and requires a lot of forethought to avoid color clashes. The folder I am saving pictures in is labelled "evl print dress" It isn't really eavil, but it's requiring a whole lot more work that I originally anticipated.


Posted by lincatz at 10:13 AM EDT
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Wednesday, 20 May 2015
Fun With Fabric Friday -a couple days early.
Topic: Works in Progress

So yesterday I needed some thread and a button for a pair of shorts I am making. The thread I had wasn't quite the correct shade of brioght turquoise and it stood out way too much -it looked far greener than the bright Lake Huron Turquoise of my linen fabric. I grabbed my backpack for the short walk to Len's -down to the train tracks and straight to len's.

Did I say quick and direct? I meant long and four blocks out the the way! First, they are pouring concrete sidewalks in front of our house. I have to sneak around the nieghbour's backyards to get to a usable side walk. That takes me the opposite direction from Len's. I can't go to the first part of that little street to Waterloo Street and tracks because it too is blocked by construction equipment. So I backtrack to Guelph Street, take Waterloo Street to get to the second block of the little street to the tracks -and then backtrack because Waterloo is blocked at the intersection of the little street and Waterloo with no access to the tracks. Back to Guelph again and down to the tracks.

Which are also under construction and blocked from Roger all the way to Allen Street. So back to Waterloo and to Moore and in the front. My five minute walk has expanded into 15 minutes. 

But it was worth it. I got the thread and saw them unpacking some wonderful rayon/polyester chiffon. Here's a swatch of the print and my linen:

Can you see why I had to get this fabric? They match almost perfectly. And the chiffon print also goes with other stuff in my wardrobe. 

So I am making a pair of high waisted wide legged long shorts -pretty much the exact OPPOSITE of every pair of shorts in every store in every mall. The shorts have a some big-ass pleats and darts in the front and the back has three channels at the waist, two for elastic and one for a drawstring so they look all cool and comfy and paper-bag-like at the waist. For a top Im going to make something similar to this:

 

...from BurdaStyle but it's going to have a rounder neckline with a small key-hole slit in front and some gathers at the shoulder line and at the waist so it's a bit more flowy and drapey and a little less bunchy and boxy in the midsection.

And now it's time to get to the sewing machine! See you later! 


Posted by lincatz at 10:11 AM EDT
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Thursday, 19 March 2015
Fun with Fabric Friday -one day early!
Topic: Works in Progress

Every Thursday Ben goes to one of three friends' places for Games night. We drive him there and he gets a ride home. They play board games and card games. Ben has quite the active socail life for a kid with autism. But that's not important. What's important is that one of the friends lives not far from FabricLand and it appears that I will have an excuse to got to FabricLand every three weeks. He's had my attention for over 20 years and now it's time to focus on ME! And the fabrics I buy!

Like this! This is what I got at my last visit. I also got interfacing but nobody cares about that!  This is a light rayon broadcloth in a fun print with a matching solid. There's also a matching chain trim. Just putting the three elements together like this it's easy to see them turning into a fantastic summer dress. The print has all kinds of animal-ish elements, a bit of a border print thing going on, and lots of bold colors. The fabric is a bet see through so the solid will be used to line some areas and as an accent/contrast color in others. It will also make a nice piping for any edges that need to be bound.

Yes, I am using good fabric for lining and in many instances so should you! Why? In this dress rayon is cool, breathable and makes nice summer clothes that are cool and comfortable. They wick sweat away from the body and allow it to evaporate, keeping me cool and fresh. So why line it with a lining that does NOT allow the body to breathe and does NOT wick away excess sweat? Why use a lining that does keep sweat close to the body and makes clothes feel warm rather than cool? A polyester or shiny bemberg lining defeats all the wonderful qualities that originally drew me to select rayon as the fabric for the dress. So a lining of the same fabric but in a solid color is a much wiser and thoughtful choice than any of the usual lining suspects.

I seem to gravitating towards purple again -combined with plenty of faded blue and some green. It's till nice and warm and earthy -but a bit bolder than bronze, teal, Turquoise and browns.  It's not cool to wear the same colors all the time -although it does make putting together outfits super easy for me: everything I pull out is coordinated1 But always wearing the same colors can be boring. With dresses I can have colors that don't coordinate and are fun all on their own. And then work some new colors into my wardrobe -tops that go with jeans and then start fitting in skirt and pants that go with new colored tops. Wardrobe expansion on the sly! 

Posted by lincatz at 10:44 AM EDT
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Friday, 13 March 2015
Two blouses for spring
Topic: Works in Progress

In the endless debate regarding which winter is worse: last year or this year; my vote is firmly going to last year. Last year I was making long sleeve tops from comfy knits well into the month of May. This year I began noodling around with spring blouses with short sleeves and no sleeves in the middle of the February cold snap. Even on the coldest days this year it never felt like spring was decades away like it did last winter.

For this spring instead of making myself quick and easy simple clothes and letting the colour and print tell the style story I'm going back to simple fabrics with hand worked designer details that make the pieces one of a kind stand outs. I also decided that my focus would be on blouses, rather than tees and tanks; summer dresses in lightweight rayons (my old summer dresses are looking a tad tatty -one I made when we lived on another street over 15 years ago!)  and pretty, light as a feather boho skirts in piecework and patchwork.  These are the kind of things I wear most often so these are the things I want to make. I can then retire a few old things that look old -like the 15 year old sun dress.


This first sketch is the design and pattern for a peplum blouse made from some light brown cotton voile. I recycled this voile from the lining of a skirt that developed a huge rip in the outer fabric. The skirt was vintage, unlined and slightly see thru so I got some voile and sewed up a nice lining. After trashing the skirt I decided I have enough lining to make a blouse.

Because the voile is slightly sheer I decided to add an applique panel to cover the front dart and the apex of the bust. The point is top stitched to look vaguely like a western shirt pocket upside down. The back has a panel of pleated tucks -this covers the bra hooks. While the sketch shows a pocket under the applique panel I left it off because it looked odd, like an after-thought. The yokes, bottom hem and button front is being trimmed with some tatted lace in brown and blue variegated thread.


This sketch and pattern is for a blouse made of shirt weight denim in a light frost wash colour. The fabric was ion a bin at lens and it has lots of inconsistent fading along the fabric fold and various other parts of the length. I thought the weird fading made the fabric interesting.

An interesting fabric needs an interesting design, so I'm going all out with this. The back will have loops for corset lacing in the back and the yoke and hem will be trimmed with Battenburg Tape Lace recycled from some little girl dresses and tablecloths. I decided to add a convertible collar to showcase even more Battenburg lace. The button will be classic southwest silver and I might put a few more southwest silver embellishments on it. It might have short sleeves. Or not. 

I was looking up a bit of reference material on Battenburg lace to get a nice picture to use for explanation and exposition of my idea. There's a lot of really wrong information out there on the "information superhighway" such as this little historically inaccurate head scratcher: Battenburg lace is a form of renaissance lace originating in the 16th century during Queen Victoria's reign of England"  Okay. But I thought Queen Victoria ruled in the 1800's.Battenburg is the name assigned to a tape lace that was hugely popular in Victorian times. The queen named it when her son married into the German battenburg Family, and she titled him the earl of Battenburg. It was a custom to name laces with royal titles. Before the naming it was called "modern point lace" and it was worlds easier than bobbin and needle lace. Using a pre-woven tape with holes in the centre as the base pearl cotton and french embroidery floche was used in the spaces in simple stitches similar to the ones used in hardanger lace.This is an example of Battenburg from the point lace era.

Now batternburg lace is made with similar tapes joined in patterns with machine sewing and thicker cottons are handworked to fill the spaces. Battenburg tapes are avaialable by the yard and finished lace is also available by the yard. it's not expensive, but it's quite coarse and thick looking. It's good washabvle lace for day time -not a fancy evening formal lace. 

And that's what's occupying my sewing machine. 


Posted by lincatz at 10:28 AM EDT
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Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Topic: Works in Progress

I got a few different fabrics at the Creativ Festival and now it's time to show them off.


This is a very soft teal knit made of silk, wool and angora.  I'm thinking of these two ideas right here: 

The one on the left is very trendy right now, but the wrap might suit the delicate knit better. Either or!

this is a wonderful pure virgin wool twill in a navy and white houndstooth. I got it to make a replacement for my worn to shreds favourite ca.1909 Titanic Era skirt.

http://lincatz.tripod.com/frontandback.jpg

This isn't what Rose and her first class buddies would wear -but I can guarantee that every middle class women in "second class" would have at least two of these. The yoke gives a close fit at the hips and the lower part is loose and easy to move in. It's cut so the back has a draped area that looks like an inserted godet -with no godet inserted. It was one of my favourites and it gradually wore out.

Recently designer Linda Lundstrom closed up shop.  All of her leftover fabrics were at the Creativ Festival and up for sale.  I got this pair: the solid is a polyester microknit and the print is a chiffon print. A have a couple ideas -one is a close fitting top under and the sheer chiffon over but the idea that's most appealing to me is to use the knit to make rouleaux and piping and use it as an accent for a draped loose fitting shirt with cut out details.  I don't have a sketch -I'll try to post one tomorrow!

And this is a hand dyed batik that I found in my stash. Where it came from is anyone's guess but it's perfect for a boho skirt or for some boho accessories for both home and fashion.  It's a landscape with water in the foreground complete with fish, people in the foreground with pots, jugs and more and mountains in the background.  It's a tourist trade piece but I have no idea where it came from! It was hiding in with some old patterns and I found it while digging out my old titanic skirt pattern! I think it would look amazing with some gold and bronze beads and sequin accents!

And those are my latest fabric acquisitions! I've started on the skirt, I'm working on the pattern for the chiffon and I have ALMOST made up my mind on the sweater knit.

 


Posted by lincatz at 10:30 AM EST
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Thursday, 14 August 2014
Making a Moulage for sewing, patternmaking and fitting
Topic: Works in Progress
Hello again!  It's been a while.  All my summer fun is over and now I'm back in the old routine.  There were no tornadoes or giant spiders, but there were lots of rocks, flowers and a chipmunk named Barrymore after the long dead actor John Barrymore.  Long story -but it involves men in tights and codpieces, swords, Hamlet and more.

Just before I left I decided to devote a little bit of time to making a new skin for Judy. Here in Canada dress forms are called judies for unknown reasons. I made my last skin for judy back in 2009 and thanks to the wonderful thing known as Menopause it no longer replicates my current body shape.  Hence, I must make and fit a new skin that does reflect my current body shape.

This skin also has a fancy French name of "moulage" allegedly making a moulage is the ultimate test of a designer's skill. WHATEVER! It's a pain in the ass, time consuming and easy to royally screw up. The word means "mold" and it's basically a mold of your body made up in fabric. It's a second skin.

My way of making a moulage -or skin (I like the word skin, it sounds kinda gross and distasteful in a silence of the lambs sort of way) -always starts with drafting  basic bodice and skirt drafts with no ease. I use a draft that has a shoulder dart rather than the side seam dart. There also a center front bust dart to shape it closer to the boobs. I do the rough draft on tissue paper and pin the tissue together to see if I have the lengths correct  and to pin in a provisional location for the shoulders.  I always spend more time on the shoulders than anything else. The shoulders are like the hanger -it holds the garment in place and if it doesn't fit then the garments will never hang correctly or drape the way I want.

After a pin fitting I make my first muslin. I draw all seam lines, darts and more on the fabric in a sharpie marker so the are easy to see. fabric is place wrong sides together and the seams allowances are on the right side. This make it easier to adjust. I sew it together and test the fit. There will be a lot of pinning, picking out sewn seams and adjusting.  In fact every seam and dart gets refined and altered. I use a sharpie marker to make all my adjustments very visible.

I use the adjusted muslin to cut a second muslin and sew and fit this.  This should require only fine tuning -ensuring the shoulder seam is on the top of the shoulder, the side seam is perpendicular to the floor and theta the hip line and bust-line as parallel to the floor.  I also double check the side seam curve and that the waist is at the waist. Finally I like the darts to be in the same place for bodice and skirt, front and back. I mark all adjustment in a different color of sharpie, alter the muslin and try it on one last time.  It usually fits.

I then make a paper pattern for the final finished skin. I mark bust line, dart lines, match points (notches), neckline, hip line, bust point, and cheek point on the butt on the paper then transfer them to the skin because these are essential while draping and fitting garments.  I also make sure the neckline is where it needs to be and fits close to the base of the neck.

I then cut the skin in a heavier cotton twill with no stretch and use a finer marker for all seams, lines, and darts. Center front and back both have a seam, the center back is sewn up and I leave the front open. I sew the skin and try it on one last time and make sure it's skin tight but not pulling or creasing. I then sew up the center front, add a neck and then place it the wire base of my form. I then stuff the form. I then ensure that all baselines are well marked:

I use a two piece bodice and skirt moulage rather than a one piece princess line moulage  because it has more place to adjust the waistline fit.  I have a bit of a curved spine and a middle age tummy so all the fitting points help the dummy better replicate me. Every dart and seam is an opportunity to refine the fit so the more seams the better the fit. One very popular CD/Book/webschool program uses a princess lined based pattern. If you look on Google you will see both.

I never use the moulage/ skin pattern for making clothing patterns. Why? Because it has no ease. I don't wear clothes without ease so why would I make a pattern with no ease? Adding ease to a skin tight block every time is nothing more than an extra step where I can mess up. After the skin and dress form is complete I use it to make  basic bodice and skirt block patterns with a comfortable-for-me amount of ease that I can use for all my designs.  I test the blocks in muslin and then transfer the fitted block pattern to heavy bristol board and I add alteration lines, several neckline styles and a couple other style placement lines. I punch holes on the board to facilitate transferring the marks to pattern paper.

It takes about a full eight hour day to get from first rough draft to a pattern for the final cutting. It then takes about half a day to cut, sew and perfect the finished moulage. It's a lot of work and can be very frustrating -one alteration can lead to a whole bunch of new alterations -but it is absolutely worth the work and the fuss.

If you look on Google you will see some very nice moulages and some really awful ones.  A moulage fits best when you combine drafting and draping so you get a truly custom fit.  And once it's turned into a dress form you can make clothes that fit perfectly the first time. 

Posted by lincatz at 10:32 AM EDT
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