Friday, February 13, 2009

Tiered Camisole - SS'09 plan: The Muslin

I worked some on another muslin from my SS'09 plan. I started off by tracing off Burda 7643 View C. This was the closest pattern I could find. I had to do a few insignificant adjustments, but there was a notable one: I made the front neckline higher and the back neckline slightly lower.
Next, I decided on the length of the first and second layer of ruffles and drafted them by cutting the front and back pattern to that length.

Due to the layers of fabric, this project required a very lightweight material. I have the options of cotton voile, silk, georgette, etc. I'm still looking for fabric but feel pretty confident I'll find something!

Also, on a side note, since we are talking about tanks, have a look at this Haute Hippie Tank. It is for sale at Nordstrom for $495! I would never pay that amount of moner, however, the idea of incorporating jewelry into the front neckline is unique and appeals to me. If I find a necklace that would work, I might try it. You can even buy a RTW tank and start from there! The only thing I don't know how to go about is how to make the big eyelets in the front straps. Does anyone know of a tool/technique they can be done with?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Copying RTW

After my last post there were requests to show how I copy RTW when I have the item.

First, these are the materials I use: GLAD Press n' Seal, scissors, tracing wheel, ruler, curve, pattern weights, pencil, sharp tip marker or any other marker.
Other helpful materials: pretty much anything that is generally useful for drafting, e.g. hipcurve, metal curve, etc.
I start by laying the item flat and placing GLAD on top with the stickier side towards the garment. Then, I use a marker to mark the seamlines, garment outlines, etc.:

Next, I lift the GLAD sheet and place it on tha pattern paper with the sticky side down , and with a tracing wheel go over all the marks:

Then, I completely remove the GLAD sheet and as you can see the marks are indented in the paper:
Last, I go with a marker.pencil over the tracing wheel indentations:

Of course, it is a whole lot more complicated when you have darts in the pattern, gathering, sleeves, etc. Even if there are no such complications, you still should not rely solely on what you've traced. You have to measure to ascertain the side seams on the back and front are the same, that curves are appropriate, that everything is symetrical. Of course, you need to make a muslin as well. Thread has had some good articles on the topic. In future when I copy something with a more difficult element, I'll try to document the process for those interested.
BTW, the tracing you see above is a tracing a did for one of the items from my SS'09 sewing plan: the Loose Woven Tank. Initially, I was planning on using This Burda 7661 View B. When I thought about it, though, it became clear that the only instance I needed a pattern for was for the armhole. Therefore, I decided to skip buying a pattern and instead traced off the armhole of a tank I have. I had to lower it and tweak it but that could have very well been the case with the Burda pattern anyway. It took me two muslins but I ended up with something I was truly happy with. This is a collage of the pictures of the muslin I took. Excuse the poor quality but it was close to midnight and the lighting in my sewing room was not optimal.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

3 Muslins Later... A Tulip Skirt Muslin was born!

Well, I have a rather serious issue not being able to find the fabrics I want for some of the garments in my summer sewing plan. I’ll wait a bit longer, order more samples, perhaps go to Denver even. Meanwhile, I decided to start working on my patterns and muslins, so at least I am ready when I find the fabrics.

I started off with the Tulip Skirt. It is a knock-off of a skirt by Malene Birger that I own and love. For some reason it really compliments my otherwise boyish from the waist-down figure. “By Malene Birger” is a well known label in Europe, while in the USA it is just coming in. A local boutique downtown Colorado Springs stocks a few items per season.

So, I started by rubbing off the pattern using GLAD Press and Seal (my favorite product for copying RTW). Then I transferred it onto paper and did some basic truing, measuring, marking. Next, I made the first muslin:

As you can see, there were a few problems:
- Too narrow at the waist
- Waistband too wide
- Dire need to level the seam connecting the upper and lower skirt at the CB and side seams
Then, there was a 2nd muslin, which I did not take pics of but it needed work as well, specifically at the side seams.
For the 3rd muslin I used the lower skirt from the 2nd muslin and only re-cut the upper skirt pieces. The 3rd muslin was OK, but I wanted a bit more volume at the side seams and let them out some between the lower thigh and the high hip.

Eventually, I arrived at my final muslin. Even on it there is one issue (as you can probably see above) – the hem is uneven, but that is already corrected on the paper pattern.

As you can see, even if you are copying a garment you own, muslins are crucial. Just compare the initial ( after rub-off) pattern for the upper skirt and the final one:

They also help with establishing the right sequence in construction. My first muslin was constructed in a completely different order than my last one and the sequence of the last is must more logical and easier to sew and press. The final construction order at which I arrived is:

1. Insert invisible zipper in CB (upper back skirt
2. Attach lower front to upper front and lower back to upper back
3. Inseam pockets.
4. Side seams (The photo below shows the skirt before it is pleated at the waistband)

5. Pleat the front and the back
6. Construct lining and hem lining
7. Baste lining to skirt at waist
8. Attack waistband
9. Hem: to be done with self-fabric facing, understitched and anchored to main fabric by hand.

About the fabric choice:

I want to make this skirt using a solid crisp woven for the upper skirt and drapier bold big print woven for the bottom.

Iam even thinking of attacking a petticoat to the lining for more "poof" in case the fabric for the lower part does not have enough beef, or maybe simply underlining the lower part.

Some of the fabrics I am considering (still don't have true favorites) for the lower part of the skirt are:

These bold florals from ( I especially like the 1st one):

And these cottons from

What do you think? I could use some opinions and advice on the fabric! Also, if you have seen some cool cotton print anywhere on the web, pls let me know!