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LANDER SEWALONG DAY 2 – COMMON ADJUSTMENTS

September 19, 2017

We are going to spend today doing all of the prep work so that we can start on our final Lander pants and shorts tomorrow. Before continuing though, I want to make a plea. If you are using precious fabric, or if you are making a lot of fit adjustments, PLEASE make a muslin first. Pants (especially crotches) are one of those things that are a bit trickier to fit. And a muslin just allows you to take more risks and get the fit right. OK, I warned you. Now we can continue.

First we are going to talk about the most common fit adjustments you might want to make. It will not cover everything so if you want to go deeper I recommend the book Pants for Real People from Palmer and Pletsch. It’s a great one for your sewing library and it covers a lot fitting issues and how to solve them. Or, if you happen to be in the NYC area, I know that Workroom Social offers pants fitting classes using the methods from this book.

Choosing Your Size

Waist

There are three measurements that you need to know when choosing which size to cut. You want your waist at the thinnest part which is usually the belly button. Because this is where the waistband of the pant/short actually hits (it’s a true high waisted fit) this is a very important measurement. The waistband is cut as one folded piece that is then stabilized so it’s very difficult to change this later. If you are unsure about the waistband and think you might want to adjust it, I recommend not cutting out your waistband until after you fit the remainder of your pants in step 20 of your instructions.

Hip

You want to measure your hip at the fullest part which is generally about 8 inches down from your bellybutton. One of my favorite parts of this pattern is that it leaves a very wide (1″) seam allowances on the sideseams. This adds up to 2 inches of wiggle room in the side seams. I still recommend grading between sizes in the waist and hip (which we will go over below) but just know that you will have a chance to baste and then adjust the sideseams to get a perfect fit at the hip in step 20 of the instructions.

Height

My patterns are drafted for someone who is 5’5″. If you are shorter or taller than this, you will likely want to make some adjustments. Which adjustments to make is highly dependent on experience and knowing your own body. For instance, you may be 2 inches shorter than the model, but have longer legs, and a shorter torso so you don’t need to make any adjustments. Or you may have a really long crotch rise so you want to add some length there, but not to the rest of the pattern. These are decisions you have to make and the more do you them and try them, the more you will learn about your body and the adjustments that are most common to you.

A common mistake I see is that someone adjusts the length too much. So for instance, if you are 5’8″, you are 3 inches taller than my pattern is drafted for. You instincts may be to add 3 inches in length to the pattern. But really only 1.5-2″ of that extra length is located in the bottom half of your body so you would only need to add that much.

Lengthen / Shorten

Before deciding to add or subtract length from your pant / short, keep in mind that the pants each have a 3″ hem. This gives you a lot of wiggle room with length. If you have the fabric though, I always recommend erring on the side of extra length, you can always cut off some later.

There are two lengthen / shorten lines located on the pant pattern and one on the shorts. This first is a lengthen / shorten line at the hip location to adjust the rise. If you have a long or short rise you can easily adjust this. First decide how much you want to lengthen or shorten the rise. Cut the pattern along the lengthen / shorten line. If you want to increase the rise, add a piece of paper behind the pattern piece and tape so that the gap in the middle is the amount you want to increase. Smooth out any cutting lines that may have become a bit jagged in the process. Make sure you do the same adjustments for the front, back, left and right fly pieces, and stitching guide. You will also want to adjust the button and buttonhole placements so that they are equidistant apart.

To shorten the rise it would be the same process but in reverse. Instead of putting paper behind it, you will simply overlap the two pattern pieces by half of the amount you want to decrease the rise by. So for instance, if you want to decrease the rise by 1/2″, overlap the pattern top and bottom by 1/4″ (the two sides adding up to 1/2″). Repeat the process for the front, back, right and left fly pieces, and stitching guide. You will also want to adjust the button and buttonhole placements so that they are equidistant apart.

Lengthening and Shortening your pattern in just the leg is pretty simply. The lengthen shorten line is located at the knee, but honestly, since the pant is completely straight from the knee down, you can just adjust that at the bottom. I would always err on the side of too much length, knowing you can adjust that as your last step when hemming.

Grading Between Sizes

Since these pants / shorts are pretty fitted on the hips and waist, I highly recommend grading between sizes. This is a pretty simple process since all of the pattern pieces are nested. Simply take a pen or marker, draw in the seam allowance, and then gradually connect the two sizes. Here I am showing how you would grade between a size 10 waist and a size 14 hip. This is just the front, but you would need to do the same thing to the back and front pockets. Changes are marked in yellow.

Like I mentioned above, you do have a really large (1″) seam allowance on the side seams which gives you some wiggle room so don’t fret too much. Simply grading and adjusting the side seams should be enough for most people to get a great fit. If, after doing a muslin, you still have issues, you may want to play with increasing your back dart and angling your center back seam to help balance where the adjustments are being made.

Lengthen / Shorten Crotch Curve

Adjusting your crotch curve is a very common fitting adjustment on pants. If your crotch curve is too short you will get a little bit of pulling creating smile lines at the front and back like this (not to mention a bit of discomfort):

You would adjust the front like this. The yellow line being the new line. Depending on where you see the wrinkles or feel the discomfort you can do it to just the front, just the back, or both. The yellow line is the new crotch line.

If your crotch curve is too long your will get the opposite which will appear somewhat like frown lines or excess fabric at the bottom of the crotch. This one is a little easier to diagnose because you can pinch out some of the length and see if it fixes the problem:

You would adjust the front like this. Depending on where you see the wrinkles or feel the discomfort you can do it to just just the front, just the back, or both. The yellow line is the new crotch curve. Since the front crotch is already pretty shallow, I’d be extra careful notch to shave too much off of it. If you need to get rid of more than 1/8″ I’d take more from the back.

In making adjustments, know that a little goes a long way, so probably start by adding or subtracting 1/8″ – 1/4″ only. For most people, this will solve your problem. If it doesn’t you can still play around with the actual shape of your crotch curve (some ladies are flatter while others more round) until you get something that you are happy with. If you have a fit issue that I did not cover, feel free to comment below. If I get enough interest in a certain adjustment I can cover it a future date.

Now that we have made all of the adjustments necessary, go ahead and layout your fabric according to the fabric layout recommendations in your instructions. These are just recommendations. You may find that you can conserve fabric by being a bit creative with your placement. Make sure that you transfer all markings from your pattern pieces to your fabric as well. Once you have finished this you will be ready for sewing your Landers tomorrow!

 

 

OTHER

COLFAX SEWALONG DAY 5 – STEPS 25 – 32

April 15, 2016

Today is the last day of the Colfax Sewalong. It’s going to be a quick finish. Just the hem facing left. Views A and B finish in different ways so make sure that you are following the right instructions.

Step 25 – With right sides together, line up the two short edges of the front hem facing with the corresponding edges of the back hem facing, matching notches. Stitch at 1/2″ seam allowance.

Press seams open.

Step 26 – Turn down the unnotched edge of the hem allowance by 1/4” towards the wrong side of the fabric. Press.

VIEW A ONLY (VIEW B SKIP TO STEP 30 )

Step 27 – With right sides together, pin the notched edge of the hem allowance to the bottom of the dress, matching notches.

Stitch at 1/2″ seam allowance.

Step 28 – Trim the seam allowance to reduce bulk.

Turn your dress inside out and press the hem facing up towards the inside of the dress (the seam allowance will be sandwiched inbetween). The wrong side of your dress will be facing the wrong side of your hem facing. Pin generously around the folded edge of the hem facing.

Step 29 – Finish your hem by edgestitching along the top folded edge of the hem facing. Give the whole dress a Final press.

Congrats! View A is finished.

VIEW B ONLY

Step 30 – Turn your dress inside out. With the right side of the hem facing touching the wrong side of your dress, pin the bottom edge of the hem facing to the bottom of the dress, matching notches.

Stitch at 1/2″ seam allowance.

Step 31 – Trim the seam allowance to reduce bulk. Turn your dress right side out and press the hem facing up towards the right side of your dress. Pin generously around the folded edge of the hem facing. Make sure that your pockets are lying at and still pinned.

Step 32 – Finish your hem by edgestitching along the top folded edge of the hem facing. Catch the bottom edge of your pocket seam allowances within the stitchline by about 1/8″. This will help support the weight of the pocket and keep it in place.

Here is what the inside of the dress should look like with the pocket in the stitchline.

Give the whole dress a final press.

Congrats! View B is finished.

I will be sure to take some pictures in both of these dresses and post them next week sometime. Thank you so much for following along. I can’t wait to see all of your versions. Be sure to enter the Colfax Dress Contest by either posting your dress on instagram with the hashtag #colfaxdresscontest or sending me an email with the photo. The last day to enter the contest is Thursday April 28th. The prizes are gift certificates to My Fabric Designs. Click here for more details.

You can find the Colfax Dress pdf pattern here. Use the code COLFAXCONTEST for a discount for the rest of April. You can find the fabrics used for the sewalong here, here and here. Use the code TRUEBFS for free shipping with My Fabric Designs for the remainder of the contest.

OTHER SEWING

COLFAX SEWALONG DAY 2 – ADJUSTMENTS / MARKING

April 12, 2016

Welcome back for day 2 of the Colfax Sewalong. Today we will be going over a few common fit adjustments that you may want to make, as well as transferring all markings from your pattern pieces to your fabric and cutting everything out. By the end of today we should be ready for sewing up our dress tomorrow. Make sure your fabric is washed, dried, and ironed so it’s ready to go. I will be making two dresses with the sewalong (one for View A and one for View B). The fabrics that I am using for the dresses were designed by me and made through My Fabric Designs.

For View A I am using this pastel geometric print that I had made up in silk crinkle linen. I love the texture of the fabric and am really excited to see how it comes together. I think this dress will end up looking a little more expensive with the one fabric and silk component.

For View B I am using two coordinating blue / black graffiti type prints that I had made up in the faux linen slub. The fabric on the top will be the main fabric and the bottom one will be the contrast. I like how the two fabrics are different, but not complete opposites. I am looking at this dress being more of an everyday with sandals type of garment, but we will see.

If you are sewing up View B with the pockets and your fabric is on the stiff or heavy side like mine, you may want to consider using a lighter weight fabric for your pocket pieces. I am going to use some cotton lawn from my stash. Otherwise the pockets can get a little heavy and cause some extra bulk in the hip section. This is totally up to you, it’s just a little tip. It’s also just a good way to save a bit of your nice fabric since the pockets are not visible.

 

LENGTHEN / SHORTEN

I think that the most common adjustment that most of you will want to make is to lengthen or shorten your dress. The pattern is drafted for someone who is 5’5″ tall and is designed to hit a couple of inches above the knee. One thing to think about is that not all of your height resides in the area covered by the dress. So for instance, I am 5’3″ which is a difference of 2″ from the model. I figure that the dress covers about half of my body, so I will shorten the pattern by 1″ total (not 2 inches like you might first think). You may be tempted to just add length to the bottom of the dress. Be aware that this will affect the fit and intended width of the dress so I recommend lengthening or shortening the dress on the indicated marking on the pattern. Also be aware that this will cause your pocket openings to move up or  down. This may be accurate if you are long or short torsoed, but you may want to adjust where those markings are if you are making View B and adjusting more than an inch or two. To begin, cut along the horizontal lengthen / shorten line on your pattern piece.

To lengthen, get another piece of paper and draw two parallel lines the width that you want to lengthen your pattern (I am doing 1″ here). Tape your pattern pieces to the paper, on either side of the lines you just drew. Make sure that the CF / CB fold line stays lined up on the fold side.

Use a straight edge to join the bottom and top sections on the side seam, creating a new, smooth line to connect them.

To Shorten, draw a horizontal line below the lengthen / shorten line on the bottom piece. It should be the same distance from the lengthen / shorten line as you want to shorten the dress (I am doing 1″ here).

Take your top section and tape the bottom edge on top of the bottom section so that it lines up with the line you just drew. Make sure you keep the CB / CF edge lined up.

Using a straight edge, redraw and trim the portion of the side seam that is no longer smooth because of the adjustment.

That’s it. Super simple. Be sure to make the same adjustment on the front dress as you do on the back dress pattern pieces.

 

FULL BUST ADJUSTMENT

The Colfax dress is drafted for a C cup. My other patterns have been much more loose and forgiving when it comes to fit. Because the Colfax is more fitted in the bust area, I highly recommend doing an FBA if you wear a D cup or larger. Otherwise your dress will not only hike up in the front, but it will also pitch away from your body in the front, creating an unflattering silhouette. If you take your high bust measurement (right under your armpits and above the natural curve of your bust) and your full bust measurement (across the fullest part of your bust), the difference should be between 2″ and  3″ for a C cup. If the difference is less than that then you may want to consider a small bust adjustment (SBA). I won’t be covering that in this sewalong because I have found this to be less of a pressing problem. My testers with smaller chests still had a pretty good fit with the dress sewn up as is. Also, there is always the option of wearing a more supportive bra to make up some of the difference. If the difference between your high and full bust adjustments is more than 3 inches, you are going to have more visible and unflattering fit issues. So, we will focus on that one today.

Imaginary measurements for our purposes today- High bust – 33″, Full Bust 37″ (difference of 4″)

To figure out what size you should cut for your pattern, take your high bust adjustment and add 3 inches to it (pretending you have a C cup). This would make my imaginary bust measurement of 36″ which puts me in the size 8 and needing an extra inch of bust room across the front for a good fit.

Let’s make a few markings on our front dress pattern to get started.

First, find your bust apex. To do this draw a line through the middle of your dart, starting at the side seam, and continue out 1 1/2″ past the dart point (We will call this line A). This is your apex. Mark with a dot (marked B).

Now, draw another line from the armhole (about half way through) to your apex (this line is marked C), and then down to the bottom of your dress, staying parallel to the grainline ( mark it as D).

Lastly, darken the lengthen / shorten line between the CF fold and line D (we will call it E).

Starting at the bottom of your dress, cut line D up to the apex (B), pivot and continue cutting to the armhole along line C, keeping a bit connected at the armhole to serve as a hinge.

Cut line E.

Take another large piece of paper and draw one long vertical line. Draw another line, parallel to the first, and draw it half of the distance your want to add to your bust measurement. So for instance, I need to add one whole inch to the front of my bodice at the bust. Since I am working with a pattern piece that is cut on the fold, I only need to add 1/2″ to the pattern piece.

Tape the right side of line D (top section) along the right line on the piece of paper.

Cut line A on your pattern piece, keeping a small piece connected at the apex (B) to act as a hinge. Line the apex (B) and the left side of line D along the second line and tape. There should now be a 1/2″ (or whatever your measurement is) gap between the two sides of line D.

Tape the bottom piece of Line E so that it lines up with the lengthen / shorten line on the left section of the pattern. For me there is only an 1/8″ gap, but for a larger FBA it would be much more noticeable.

Mark a small marking in the middle of your dart legs at the side seam.

Draw a line between this marking and your apex. Mark your new dart point 1 1/2″ in from the apex. Draw your new dart legs out from this point to side seam dart leg points.

Fold your new dart up, with the excess being folded down towards the bottom of the dress. You will notice that the sideseam is no longer straight. You will want to straighten this out with a ruler.

Trim along the new side seam line and open your dart flat.

The last thing to do is adjust the hem. The bottom hem line may need to be smoothed out and you will need to adjust the width and shape of the front hem facing to match the dress front.

 

TRANSFERRING MARKINGS

If you made a lot of adjustments, it’s always good to sew up a muslin before cutting into your nice fabric. Once you feel confident about the fit, lay your pattern pieces out on your fabric according to the layouts on your instructions. Cut all of your pieces out of your fabric and cut the interfacing yoke piece out of lightweight fusible interfacing. Now it’s time to mark your pieces. There are lots of ways to do this, but I will show you a few of the ways I use.

CLIPPING

Because the seam allowance on the Colfax Dress is 1/2″, there is plenty of room to make small clips where needed for markings. It’s amazing how fast and effective a simple little clip can be. The best place to do this is every time that you see a triangle marking within the seam allowances of the dress.

PENS

Another great way to transfer a marking is with a marking tool such as a chacco pen. Believe me, if you don’t have one of these, invest in one. They are the best. It leaves a small line of chalk dust where ever you roll it and the chalk dust is easy to get rid of once you don’t want it to be visible anymore. This is especially nice when you need to transfer a line such as the cutting line on the yoke and the legs of the darts.  A disappearing ink pen is also a good solution in these instances.

TAILOR’S TACK

One last way that I often mark things is with a tailor’s tack. It’s especially useful when the marking is in the center of the pattern piece and in a very visible area. The tailor’s tack won’t run you the risk of leaving a mark behind and is very accurate. To make a tailor’s tack, thread a sewing needle with a long piece of thread. Sew it through your desired spot a few times leaving long (about 2-3″) loops between each stitch.

Cut each loop so you are left with a few long threads at each marking.

If your fabric is doubled up you will want to carefully pull them apart and snip between the layers so there are tacks on both sides.

Now that all of our pattern pieces are adjusted, cut out, and marked we can start sewing tomorrow. I know that today was a bit of a long post, but doing all of the prep work will pay off when we are sewing the next few days.

You can purchase the Colfax dress if you want to sew along here. Also, don’t forget to enter the Colfax Dress Sewalong with prizes from My Fabric Designs. More details about that here.

OTHER

A MOVE TO DENVER

January 13, 2016

denver1

It’s been really quiet around here for the last month or so and I figured it was probably time I tell you all why. My family and I moved from New York City to Denver, Colorado at the first of the year. It’s something that we have been talking about doing for awhile, but once it happened it happened fast and I think that I am still recovering from the shock of it all. I am not sure if I have ever felt so at home as I did in NYC and I am still mourning the loss of my life there. That being said, Denver is already starting to grow on me. Not only are we much closer to family, but my children love the access to a backyard and the outdoors. Life really is just so much easier here.

denver2

We have only been here about a week so I havn’t had a chance to explore much of what the city has to offer yet, but I would love your suggestions. I am planning a trip to Fancy Tiger Crafts soon, but if you know of any other places that I must explore, whether sewing related or not, please let me know!

OTHER

Men’s Hudson Pant Inspiration and Fabric

November 12, 2015

I am so glad that you all seem to be as excited about the Men’s Hudson Pants as I am. The phrase I keep seeing around the web is something to the effect of “I’ve never sewn for my husband/boyfriend, but this seems like an easy place to start.” I am so glad that this pattern has you all excited about sewing things for the men in your life. And, if you are a man who is reading this, (sorry that you are often overlooked in our community) then I am glad that I can add another men’s sewing pattern into the mix as I think we can use more.

Today I am going to show a few ready-to-wear pants that have a similar look to the Men’s Hudson Pants. Whether the intention is to wear these around the house for lounging, or dress them up for around town, I hope that this post will help you decide on the look you want to sew up and how to style them.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

 

I have some sources and ideas for fabrics below. You really do want something on the medium to heavy weight side for these if they are going to be worn out of the house, so I recommend fabrics such as french terry, ponte and sweatshirt knit. Another thing to keep in mind is that fabrics that contain even a small percentage of lycra or spandex are going to have better recovery and help avoid bagging out in the knees and backside. This may not be as big of a deal with lounging pants, but just keep the fabric content in mind when choosing what to use.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 89 | 10 | 11 | 12

I am always on the lookout for great online sources for “grownup” knits, so if you know of a place that I have overlooked please leave a comment.