Cyclist post

Grace of Badmomgoodmom asked about the adjustments I do for ‘cyclist legs’. You can interpret this as full thighs for pedaling for hours and hours to get from A to B.

My favourite ‘go to’ reference is “Fitting and pattern alteration: A multi-method approach to the art of style selection, fitting and alteration” by Liechty, Rashband and Pottberg-Steineckert. Or the big red book.

Above are three ways to add width to the top of the leg. This book always offers a number of ways to tackle a fit issue. I’ve used the slash method (see below).
Close up view
How did I figure the amount to open the leg? I added 1 cm to the front and the back. This then gave me 4cm extra width for my thighs. That’s a lot of extra thigh room.

This shows you the amount I added for the sway back and the deeper curve on the back piece. The first test shorts were 4cm too low at centre back so that’s how I knew how much to insert.

The book shows you the initial image with the drag lines so you can analyse what adjustments you need to make, if it’s just you, a camera and a family member on hand.

If I stop cycling and training, I might need to read about a ‘low buttocks curve’ adjustment.

Grainline Maritime shorts #1

It’s still summer and it’s about time I made these shorts. Everyone else who’s made them, loves them, lives in them until they make their second pair. Then continues to live in these shorts.
It’s true. Google Grainline Maritime shorts and see the great makes. Lizzy is a shorts Wiz including her 3 pairs of Maritime shorts.

A bit of leftover mustard drill from last year’s mustard skinny jeans and some soft printed gauze gratefully received from the generous Gabrielle of Upsewlate were my first pair of Maritime short. Have you see her Mini Moss skirt? It’s really cool

The fly front zipper method is where most sewers have decided to look elsewhere for their instructions and I used to go to Sandra Betzina’s video tute. The zipper construction is done with the pieces flat. 

This was my first sway back attempt. But I redid the sway back  adjustment.

I changed the construction so I could sew the fly front zipper in with the front pieces laying kinda flat. 

1, Make the front pockets as per Jen’s instructions. 
2, Sew the front centre seam together to the zipper point. 
3, Sew in the fly front zipper.
I followed all of Jen’s construction details. Lizzy changed the construction a bit to get the fit right.

Here’s the second sway back attempt and the centre back excess is marked. 

The back of the first pair were a teeny bit too low at centre back so I did my usual sway back adjustment on the pattern and saved this first version by adding a jeans style back yoke piece.

After wearing them, the centre back piece worked and they were comfy for wear. I have a few RTW cargoes that are now 2 sizes too big and I promised myself to wear clothes that fit. Even casual weekend clothes that fit.

The mustard colour drill does nothing for my skin tone so let’s forget this test pair exists. This pair has now been published on the Monthly Stitch collective for February’s challenge.

A second pair (the real pair) is the next post…

By the way, Seamstress Erin pointed me to a site about ‘Real body’ tracing. While I’m not brave to take part in this initiative, I am happy to adjust patterns to fit my shape in all its iterations and share that knowledge here.

It’s too big

I love using New Look 6977 for quick knit tops, especially when I about 40cm spare from a larger project. That happens a lot.
I’m showing you the back view as it looks sloppy. It’s too wide. The front view is ok but I’m using an 8 and that’s the smallest size this pattern offers.
Above is the original back pattern piece shortened to my size.
Above I’m marking out to fold out the width I don’t need – 3.5cm in total.

Lastly I’m doing an above waist sway-back adjustment. So the fullness is only folded out at the centre back. This fold tapers to 0 at the side seam. No length is lost at the side seam, only at the centre back seam.

Finally I have to ‘true’ the grainline and add centre back seam length at the hem. Otherwise, the back hem rises and I want the hem to be straight.
Here’s the new back piece. The width is a better fit and there’s minimal fabric pooling now.

Sway back basics

When you make a top/blouse/jacket, does the fabric pool at the back around your waist?

Do you make the above sway back adjustment either above or below your waist? In my case I tend to make this change above the waist and I’ll also be making a second adjustment below the waist.

In Easy, Easier, Easiest Tailoring by Palmer and Pletsch, they suggest the adjustment (tuck) can be made either higher or lower than the waist. They even suggest making 2 small tucks.

So if the fabric pools above your waist, here’s how you start.

On this mini block, I’ve drawn a horizontal line above the waist, where I think the fabric pools the most. Everyone is different so you may need to take photos or grab a friend to help you figure out where the fabric pools the most.

After looking at the pool of fabric, the pool of fabric can be pinned at that point and I need to take out 1.5cm of fabric. Above I’ve folded out 1.5cm above the waistline.

But the centre back still needs to be the same length as the original pattern. On this pattern the centre back is a seam and not a fold.
If the centre back is a fold on your pattern, add seam allowance so you can shape this area better. That’s what I do for knit and woven tops.

So the centre back is now the same length as the original pattern and the dart is still the same length too.

Here’s the before and after shot of making a sway back adjustment to this knit top. The fullness was taken out above the waist.

This pattern needs a second smaller sway back adjustment below the waistline, just as Palmer and Pletsch suggested.

Sway back your jacket

Sway back sewers are a shapely lot. Getting the curves of a garment to meet our needs is a basic adjustment that I do all the time. 

I’m working with Vogue 8931 and the pattern has a fold on the centre back. Easy peasy.
If you need to do a sway back adjustment, you’ll need some shaping hence, convert the centre back fold to a centre back seam.

On the lining piece above, I’ve marked where the centre back seam should be. But I’ve also allowed for a centre back fold for a bit of jacket wiggle room.

The result is the lining pieces match where they should but you have a fold so the lining moves with you. I’ve had it rip before and I’m still haunted by that sound (shudder).

This new centre back seam gives you more shaping for your sway back. I also lower the centre back hem by 1.5cm. Now that’s shaping where I need it.

By the way, I apply this same technique on knit fabrics too.

Don’t just look at what I’ve done, go to some real references.
Singer Tailoring – 1988,
Jackets for real people by Alto, Neall and Palmer – 2006,
New Simplicity Sewing Book – 1979
Easy, Easier, Easiest Tailoring by Palmer and Pletsch – 1977

Sew Chic – starting Fifth Avenue

On Pattern Review, you may have read about Sew Chic patterns and Laura Nash.
“Your destination Hot Spot for  Glamorously Chic Sewing Patterns  that are Stylish, Flirty, Modish, Glitzy and Retro all rolled into one!”

Long story short: I’ve made Fifth Avenue and I have a few finishing touches to go.

The back story: Last year I managed the Vintage Pattern contest and the contest entries opened my eyes to all things vintage. And while I love looking at the detailing on real vintage clothes, I still like the feel of wearing new clothes so making vintage styling has begun to steer my sewing.

Sew Chic patterns can be purchased via the Pattern Review online shop too.
Last year I made a few formal dresses for a family wedding and Fifth Avenue kinda suits those occasions or cocktail events. But Fifth Avenue would also be great for a high tea with a few sewing friends who love making something new for the occasion!

Selecting the size
The bodice has is princess seamed and the midriff has a band so I chose my size based on my bust measurement (10). Changing the waist and hip dimensions seemed the easier option to me. The midriff piece is in the picture below.

Tracing off the pattern
I used crayons. Don’t laugh. I bet you’ve read about using crayons to trace off patterns but haven’t tried it yet. Or maybe the thought of tracing with crayons for a special occasion ggown would be too risky. Crayons worked.

Pattern alterations
I’ve shortened the skirt so that it sits at the knee. Fifth Avenue is mid-calf length.
The centre back is on the fold and because I have a sway back, I’ve converted the centre back to have a seam so I can mould the back better.

This highly embroidered fabric was gifted to me by a colleague and I have made a shift dress out of it before so I know it sews well. So at times I’ve cut this fabric with paper scissors because the embroidery is so thick.

This fabric has stems and flowers all through it so placing the flowers in the best position was the other element to making this dress work.
More about layout and construction in the next post. It’s a pretty dress. The ladies at Rhodes sewing last week loved Fifth Avenue and they can be a tough sewing crowd to impress. But I think everyone basically loves a beautiful dress.

Pants – Vogue 8503

There was plenty beige fabric to make pants and a skirt, so I’ve chosen a simple flat-fronted pant with back zipper. This pattern has had a few reviews on PR but mainly for the top and not for the pants. I bought this pattern because of the top, but have yet to make it up.


Below is the leg width adjustment and hem adjustment. I’ve taken out 5 cm (2 inches) from the width at the bottom of the pants. The hem has also been adjusted for flat shoes. The pattern envelope indicated I’m a 14, but the pattern (with ease) indicated a size 10, so that’s what I made up.
I still had to do a sway back adjustment. I’ve since added a hook and eye to the top of the zipper so it won’t show. This is a normal zipper, not an invisible zip.
Below is the basic sway back adjustment. I also lowered 2.5 cm off the centre front waistline.

The waistline has a facing so this was a ‘no-tears’ pants pattern. The other factor that helped was the loose weave and softness of the fabric.
If I make these pants again, I’ll add in the tapered width to see if the drag lines at the bottom disappear. As a set this is jacket and pants look a bit dull so I’ll have to wear a bright top in future.