Friday, June 6, 2008

Off-The-Shoulder Asymmetry

Typically, when it comes to clothes, I am not in favor in asymmetry. However, as with every rule, this one also has its few exceptions, among which is my flair for off-the-shoulder garments. According to fashion mags, the off-the-shoulder style is very much “in”, however, it is hard to find decent RTW channeling this trend. As you can see, I went conservative with this top and did not do a very pronounced off-the-shoulder neckline, but next time I might be more adventurous:

This top is fashioned after a top I once saw in the ArdenB flagship store in Chicago. It was a long sleeve jersey top that could be worn as an off-the-shoulder garment, as well as a regular top. I remember that the price put me off but I did go to the fitting room, tried the top on, loved it, and quickly sketched it on a piece of paper. I filed the piece of paper together with all my other sewing papers but never got around to making it, until now.
Here is the sketch of the top.

The measurements you see on the sketch are taken in a very *scientific* way - “finger” increments, which is how I measure things in stores when I don’t have a measuring tape :), and since I know that 4 fingers = 2.5 inches, it is as accurate as it gets!

The actual shirt is made from a knit fabric I bought 3 yrs ago from some online store, but I don’t remember from where exactly. The top is sewn VERY fast on account of a simple construction - identical front and back pieces and two rectangular pieces for the lower parts of the sleeve. I first sew the shoulder seams, then coverstitched the neckline. Next, I attached the rectangualer lower sleeve pieces to the body and then serged the underarn seams. Lastly, the bottom hem was coverstitched. It honestly cannot be any simpler than that! Here is the top lying flat:

I really like this top, although I realize that a style like that would not be everyone’s cup of tea.
although it is a very distinctive style, I can imagine making again with a stronger off-the-shoulder detail, out of some luxurious (perhaps mustardy yellow) silk jersey… Now, that would be a great summer, not-over-the-top, meet-with-friends-for-a drink, evening top. For me anyway… And think of it, I do have a mustardy yellow silk jersey in my stash!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

No Sewing But a Meme!

I have been tagged by Christina from for a “get to know you ” meme.

So, these are my answers:

What was I doing 10 years ago:
Well, in June 1998 I was in grad school and preparing for some rather excrutiating finals. FUI, in Bulgaria, where I lived and studied, June is a VERY hot month and I had no AC in my apartment…

5 things on my to-do list today:
Cook dinner for my family, parents, and MIL
Go with my daughter to the America The Beautiful Park
Fill gas
Do my mani/pedi
Call Aldo Shoes

Snacks I enjoy:
Hmmnm, cookies, cashew, aussie cakes, feta cheese, milk, Cheetos and way embarrasingly way too many more

Things I would do if I were a billionaire:
Invest the money wisely
Build a house for my parents and my sister’s family somewhere close to our house so they can move over here
Make sure my parents could retire whenever they decide they want to do so
Buy a second home in Maui or Kauai
Travel a lot
Get Isolaz laser treatment
If I have more kids, hire a Bulgarian-speaking au-pair while they are little
And so much more…

Places I have lived:
Varna, Bulgaria – born there

Dobrich, Bulgaria –childhood through high school
Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria – 1st year of college
Sofia, Bulgaria – college and grad. school
Chicago, Illinois – for 3 yearsColorado Springs, Colorado – since August’ 2006

Jobs I have hadChronologically:
Salesperson at small apparel shop
Salesperson at an ice-cream shop
English teacher (English as a second language) for kindergarteners
Waffle maker at a summer resort
Office assistant for a company who dealt in essential oils
Legal advisor for a pharmaceutical company

6 peeps I wanna know more about:
The Sewing Diva Els from
Marita from Finland
The lady behind
Tany from
Laura from
Liana from
BTW, pls don’t feel obliged to answer, I have simply been intrigued with your sewing and would like to know more about who you are in your non-sewing life :)

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Sailor Pants Drafting and Fitting - Part I

My parents arrived from overseas for a visit and since I have not seen them in a year, I am spending most of my free time with them (read: very little sewing). They will stay here a month but when you see your family so rarely, every day is precious. A funny thing, my DH took this picture of us at the airport and sent it from his phone to my email. He mistyped, though, and the title of his email read "Airport pigs" as opposed to "Airport pics!" I thought it was hilarious!
Anyway, I managed to draft a pant sloper, made a muslin and fitted it (somewhat).

This is a photo of the draft (front and back drafted on the same piece of paper) and of my drafting tools. As you can see, I am very low-tech!
I learned how to draft a trouser in 2005 in Chicago. The place I went to has a website ( if you want to check it out. The website used to sell drafting tutorials but I am not sure if they still do. The guy who owns the school has a place in the South side of Chicago where he teaches groups of 6-7 people. He teaches everything as far as drafting and tailoring is concerned but I got pregnant and managed to finish only the trouser and the skirt drafts. I have drafted a few pairs of pants since (for both men and women), using the method I learned there, and it has been successful. I would love to learn how to draft a more fitted (jean-type fit) pants, though.
This is a picture of the front where there is a crotch problem that I have to figure out. The back I was quite happy with, did not take a picture of it though. I tried leting out the crotch seam next to where the folds appear and it helped but did not solve the issue. I am not sure quite how to proceed because it feels like i have enough width in the front (for a fitted pant, anyway). I have noticed though that this problem gets almost self-resolved by making the pant in something more substantial (weight-wise) than muslin. What do you think?
As far as the "sailor front, " so far these are my working pattern pieces, which were drafted after slashing the front where I would like the sailor detail to appear. The slash also takes care of shortening the front rise to where I would like it be (in th muslin it is too high for me, at least in the front).
The purpose of the first muslin I made was to get the fit right in the hips and thighs. I obviusly still have to work on the front crotch. I find that For me, K. King’s “The Trouser Draft” is a good reference for fitting trousers:
K. King is an extremely detailed, non-scholarly, visual, step-by-step writer, which appeals to me. He also explains the logic behind what he does which is also something I like. The book teaches you how to draft a trouser and that part I have not tested yet, however, I find the chapter on fitting the trouser extremely helpful. I used the fish-eye alteration to eliminate fabric from the back of my thigh under the buttocks. This method essentially asks you to pin out the excess fabric and then transfer this excess between the inseam and outseam.
I will be making a second muslin to incorporate the sailor front detail. This second time around, I will use some cheap mid-weight denim, instead of muslin, to get a better idea of the drape of the pant.
Meanwhile, since trouser fitting and sewing is a quite involved process and I want to spend time with my parents while they are here, I might make an easy top to feed my sewing habit :)