Archive for ‘Guest Posts’

June 19, 2012

Join Me at Dixie DIY!

I’m guest posting at Dixie DIY today. I absolutely love Dixie’s Summer Concert Tee Pattern with its dropped shoulders and asymmetrical hem. I thought the design would make a great summer cardigan and couldn’t resist making a few modifications to the pattern. While Dixie’s sitting on the beach, I’m over on her blog showing you how to make one too!

May 3, 2012

Guest Post: Sarah from Ohhh Lulu Lingerie & Apparel

Last week, the amazing Wanett from Sown Brooklyn, pinned a gorgeous lingerie set from Ohhh Lulu Lingerie & Apparel. Sarah, the designer behind Ohhh Lulu, writes a blog full of tutorials and luscious lingerie inspiration. I devoured it so you can imagine my excitement when I found that she’s made up sewing patterns for her wonderful designs. In addition to the current selection, Sarah is working on two bra patterns! I immediately bought up the Betty High Waist Panties and contacted Sarah about guest posting on my blog. To my wonderful surprise, she agreed to do a tutorial on some decorative additions. Please help me welcome Sarah to A Good Wardrobe!


Hi! I’m Sarah – Owner and Designer of Ohhh Lulu Lingerie & Apparel, and most recently, Sewing Patterns!  If you haven’t seen my work, I have been selling Made to Order Lingerie on Etsy for just under 2 years, but have been sewing for most of my life.  Recently, I’ve started to delve into the word of PDF Sewing Patterns, so that people who love to sew – like me! – can try their hand at lingerie.  Converting my patterns to PDF’s has been challenging but very rewarding, and I’ve had a lot of fun learning, growing, and making mistakes along with everyone!

My first pattern, the Betty High Waist Pattern is a versatile, super-high, princess seam panty.  Because of the seam lines, there are so many combinations of fabric you can use to sew these – it will even accommodate woven fabrics cut on the bias, in combination with stretch knits.

I was very excited when Lizz gave me the opportunity to appear on her blog, and I’d like to take this opportunity to show you how to add some extra feminine details to the Betty Pattern, to make a truly unique, romantic pair of knickers.  I’m using ivory stretch lace, pink jersey knit, and a woven cotton floral.  You will also need coordinating thread, enough elastic for the waist, and your pattern.
After cutting out all of the pieces, tear two 2″ strips of 45″ floral cotton.  Cotton tears so nicely and creates a  beautiful rough, raw edge when torn.

Gather your lengths of cotton using a wide basting stitch.  Press your ruffle, then lay over the lower edge of your side panel, so that the ruffle cones just to the end of the panel.  Stitch the ruffle on using a wide Zig-Zag stitch – this is very important! Once you have stitched on the ruffle and removed the gathering stitches, you’ll have a nice, stretchy ruffle.

I was able to get 3 rows of ruffles out of 1 gathered length of fabric.  Depending on how much you want to gather, and the size you cut, you may need to tear additional strips to gather.

Before sewing the side panels to the front, finish off the lower edge of your side panel by cover stitching, or by folding over and using a twin needle.  Sew your front and back crotch seam together, and finish the leg openings in the same manner as you did the sides.  You can now sew your side panels to the front and back.

I’m also going to add a coordinating heart appliqué to the derrière of my panties.  To do so, I cut a heart template out of card stock.  I traced the heart on to my fabric and cut the heart out.  I then trimmed back my template by 1/4″, all the way around.  You should now have a card stock heart that is 1/4″ smaller than your fabric heart, all the way around.

Apply a basting stitch 1/8″ around the curve of the heart.  Bring your heart over to your ironing board – place the template within the heart cut out, and pull your basting stitch so the fabric starts to gather.  Your fabric will fold naturally around the curved heart shape.  With a hot iron, press it flat, forming a nice clean edge around the card stock template.

Isn’t that a nice way to get a sharp, pressed edge around a curved or irregular shape? This is a technique I always use for creating patch pockets.

Pin your applique in place, and zig-zag stitch it down, stitching as close to the edge as possible, even slightly over.

And that is it! You can easily substitute woven cotton for a lace appliqué for a more flirty look.

One of the things I love most about sewing is the many ways you can sew and finish a garment – you can sew the same pattern a million times, in a multitude of ways to achieve a different look every time.  Happy Sewing!

April 26, 2012

Join Me!

I’m blogging over at Madalynne today to discuss how to sew a wardrobe you’ll actually wear. Stop by and share your tips!

March 22, 2012

Guest Post: Maddie from Madalynne

With us today is Maddie from Madalynne to talk with us about a pattern making technique called ‘slash and open’. Maddie writes a fantastic blog about fashion, design, and sewing. If you are interested in pattern making, you really must check out her tutorials on drafting a bodice block (part 1part 2, and part 3). She also has my dream job as a technical designer for Anthropologie! I was beyond thrilled when she agreed to do a guest post and even more excited when she proposed the topic. Like Maddie, I love slashing and opening and use it frequently when making patterns. Most recently, it was used to create the gathers in the peach blossom top and the fullness in the cherry blossom top. There’s really no end to what you can create with this simple technique. Please help me to welcome Maddie to A Good Wardrobe!

Slashing and opening creates a few of my favorite things in life – ruffles, flounces, flares, and fullness. My favorite piece in my wardrobe is a blue skirt I made four years ago (it’s the blue skirt in the photo above). It’s dark blue and hits at that sweet spot just above the knee. Circular cut and made of the lightest wool, it moves so sinuously as I walk. When I twirl, it twirls with me and when I sway from side to side, so does the skirt. But my favorite part of the skirt are the cream-colored and silk pleated ruffles peeking out from the bottom. It’s just darling, it truly is and the entire skirt, aside from the waistband, was drafted by slashing and opening.

Slashing and opening is the process of cutting into a pattern and spreading it open to add or to transfer width or length. It’s a simple technique and is used for many pattern drafts and alternations. Ruffles are created when a pattern is slashed and opened through the entire width or length of the pattern. Flares and flounces are created when a pattern is slashed and opened at one point and tapered to nothing at another point. For the sake of preventing this post from turning into a textbook, I will limit my scope to slashing and opening to transform a block, pencil, or any straight skirt into a flared skirt.

When slashing and opening to create a flare, there is one key principle that must be noted. The width that is added to create the flare must be added at several points and not all at one point. If the pattern is slashed and opened and all the additional width/flare is added at one point or if the all the additional width/flare is added at the side seam, the finished garment will have one large flounce as opposed to many flounces throughout the entire skirt. I don’t think you want one large flare on your skirt, now do you?

With that said, now we can get started.

Using your block, pencil, or straight skirt pattern, draw several (at least 2 or more) vertical lines from waist to bottom opening. There really is no formula or right number to calculate the number of lines to draw. I have drawn 2 lines and I have drawn 6 lines; it all depends on the particular pattern and the amount of width/flare to be added. The way I determine the number of lines to draw is to find the number that divides into the amount of width/flare to be added evenly. If 6” of width/flare is to be added, I draw 3 lines and open the pattern 2” at each point. If 12” of width/flare is to be added, I draw 3 lines and open the pattern 4” at each point. Also, make sure that the lines drawn are evenly distributed at the waist as well as at the bottom opening, even if that means the lines become angled near the side seam. Once the lines are drawn, slash/cut the pattern along the lines and spread the pattern open the desired width and the bottom opening, tapering to nothing at the waist. Lastly, true the bottom opening curve (TIP: When truing, butt the front and back skirt patterns together at the side seam and make sure the bottom hem transitions smoothly from front to back ((or vice versa)) and that the point where the side seams meets the bottom opening is at a right angle. If this point is not a right angle, the skirt will point up or down when it is sewn).

That’s it. That’s all! You got yourself a flared skirt!

I’ll end with… thank you my most darling and dearest readers. It’s been a lovely pleasure.

February 20, 2012

Guest Post: Alexandra of In House Patterns

This year, I’ve been focusing a lot of my sewing attention on achieving the perfect fit. Not an easy task, let me tell you! I’ve received a lot of great advice from Alexandra and I can’t tell you how thrilled I was when she agreed to write a guest post! Alexandra is the owner and designer of In House Patterns which launched in 2011. Her designs are classic and refined – making beautiful go-to garments. Personally, I can’t wait to make up a version of  The Belle Blouse, the latest pattern release. Recently, Alexandra decided to focus her blog’s attention on fitting solutions and she’s with us today to discuss the first fitting! Please help me in welcoming her to A Good Wardrobe!

The First Fitting: Muslin Preparation and Fitting Assessment

I am super excited to be doing this guest post on the subject of fitting here at A Good Wardrobe! Finding that perfect fit seems to be rather elusive and a major frustration for those of us who love to sew. I hope to offer a little guidance in this area with some advice about preparing for the first fitting and how to recognize fit issues. For demonstration purposes, I will be using Vogue pattern 8664.

1. Choosing the Fabric

The first thing you might be wondering is: what kind of fabric do you use for the test garment? Well, it depends. You need to consider the final fabrication for your garment first. This means if your final garment will be made in a woven stretch fabric, the fabric for your test garment should have these properties as well. If you will be making a knit garment, you will definitely need to use a knit fabric with the same knit structure to test with (examples of knit structures are jersey, interlock, and rib). By choosing fabric similar to your fashion fabric, you will be able to see the fitting issues that you would be faced with in your final garment and give you the opportunity to solve them in your test run.
The most popular and well known test fabric is muslin. This is where we get the term “muslin” in regard to the test garment. Muslin is an inexpensive, plain weave, unbleached cotton, that comes in about three different weights. This is suitable to use when the final garment will be made in a woven, non-stretch fabric. It is important to use muslin in a weight that is similar to the weight of the final fabric. One thing to remember about muslin is that it does not drape well so if your fashion fabric has a lot of drape, you will need to keep this in mind when assessing fit or, use a more comparable fabric to test with.
Another point that is often not discussed is that you should also consider the colour of the fabric. Choose a light colour fabric for testing, it will show fitting issues more prominently and clearly. Try to avoid black, dark grey or navy; these colours disguise fitting issues.

2. Preparing the Fabric

You’ve chosen your test fabric, now what?  Now you need to prepare the fabric for cutting. There are two important steps not to skip in this process, truing the grain line, and removing shrinkage.
Truing the grain line simply means making sure that the lengthwise and crosswise yarns are at 90 degree angle to each other. The lengthwise grain is along the selvedge edge of the fabric, the crosswise grain should be at 90 degrees from the lengthwise grain. If you find your fabric is off grain, you can straighten it by steaming and tugging it until the grain is trued. For further information, Threads has a PDF information sheet on grain line. The grain line is as important in your test garment as it is in your final garment. A test garment that has been cut off grain may show fitting issues that would not exist if it were cut on grain.
During the process of sewing up your test garment, you will be pressing as you sew and pressing causes shrinkage. If you haven’t removed the shrinkage from your fabric before you cut, you may find that your test garment no longer represents the pattern it was cut from. Steam pressing is usually sufficient for most fabrics at the testing stage unless you are using a fabric with very high shrinkage. In that case launder and press it as you normally would before using. Although not out of the question, I wouldn’t recommend laundering muslin but do give it a really heavy steaming with your iron.

3. Cutting the Pattern

Now you are ready to lay out and cut your pattern. Two things to consider here is what size to cut and then what pattern pieces to cut.
When it comes to pattern size, look at the finished garment measurements on the pattern. I believe this is more accurate than using the body measurement chart at the back of the envelope. The finished garment measurements tell you what the actual garment will measure including ease. This number relates more closely to how the garment will fit. In my experience, for a fitted dress like V8664, you will only need about 1 1/2- 2” ease in bust, waist, and hip girth. With this in mind, choose your size using the following formula: body measurement + ease = garment measurement.
For example using my mannequin’s measurements:

36” (bust) + 2” (ease) = 38” (garment)
28 1/2” (waist) + 2” (ease) = 30 1/2” (garment)
38 1/2” (hip) + 2” (ease) = 40 1/2” (garment)

Now you can take your desired garment measurements and compare them to the pattern to choose your size. If the measurements are not indicated on the pattern, just measure the pattern and subtract the seam allowances.

Choosing your size this way will eliminate some fitting issues related to the garment being too large since some pattern companies build excessive ease into their patterns. It will also tell you where you will need to add or reduce the pattern to accommodate your specific body measurements. One little tip when choosing the size: it’s always easier to determine how much smaller to make a pattern rather than how much to let it out so I would recommend cutting your pattern a little larger if your desired garment measurements do not correspond to the pattern exactly.
So now that brings us to what pattern pieces to cut. Well, you don’t need to cut them all for the first fitting, just the main body pieces are sufficient. Cut the pieces that make up the front and back of the garment. Don’t worry about cutting the sleeves or collar, you want to perfect the fit of the body first. No need to cut pockets, trims, facings, or linings, adding these for the first fitting can create a diversion from the real fitting issues.

4. Transfer the Pattern Markings

By that I mean ALL the markings. You will want to be sure to draw in the CF and CB lines as well as the bust, waist, hip and hem lines on the outside of the garment. (Bust, waist, and hip position should be drawn on the back pieces as well.) I even go so far as to draw in all the seam lines which will help to determine the amounts to add or release from the garment. If you have pockets or other styling details, just draw them directly on your muslin at this point. You will get a good idea if they are a good size and position but will not distract you from the potential fitting issues.

5. Sewing the Muslin

This is the easy part! Simply stitch up your test garment following the sewing instructions. A few tips on sewing and preparing your muslin for fitting:

  • Be sure to press as you go so that your test garment is neat and tidy for the first fitting.
  • Secure necklines by stitching along the seam line. Necklines are easily stretched out if they are not secured. Press the neckline seam allowance to the inside of the garment, clipping the seam allowance where necessary so it is flat and smooth. It helps to visualize the finished neckline position and shape.
  • If your garment requires a zipper, it’s a good idea to machine baste one into the muslin, it makes fitting on yourself a little easier and you don’t have to worry about getting stuck with pins. If you have a mannequin, it’s not necessary.
  • Don’t forget to turn up the body hem and machine baste it in place before the fitting.

6. The First Fitting

Now it’s time to try it on! If you don’t have the luxury of a mannequin, you will need to enlist the help of a friend. It is extremely difficult to do a fitting on yourself. Thankfully, I have “Maureen” she’s my mannequin and as you can see from the photo below, I have some work to do. All of these bumps, bulges, wrinkles, and drag lines mean we need fitting alterations.

Here, in order, is what to look for:

  • Center front and center back lines – Your center front and center front line should line up with the center front of your body. Have a friend check the center back line.
  • Side seams – The side seams should appear vertically straight on the garment when worn (you’ll need a friend’s help with this too). This is a little known tip that makes your garment even more visually appealing.
  • Bust line – The bust line position on the garment should be level with your bust line.
  • Waist line – The waist line position on the garment should be level with your waist line.
  • Hip line – The hip line position on the garment should be level with your hip line.
  • Hem line – Check the hem line position. Adjust it to its most flattering position on you.
  • Lines – Once the aforementioned lines are in the correct position, check that they are level with the floor. If the bust, waist, and hip line are not in the correct position and are not level from the floor these will be your first fitting corrections. Pin your garment to find the correct positions for these lines and determine how much you will need to adjust your pattern. Start at the bust line and work down. Adjusting the level of the bust line changes the position of all the lines below it.
  • Neckline – Check the neckline for gaping.
  • Shoulder – Check the shoulder width. This is important if you will be adding a sleeve – the sleeve fitting will be affected by this point.
  • Armhole – Check the armhole depth. You generally need minimum 3/4” lower than the base of your armpit but this depends on your body and your comfort level. If you need adjustment here, it will also affect the sleeve.
  • Girth – Check the bust, waist and hip girth-in that order. Deficiencies in these areas are usually what creates all those wrinkles and draglines. Your goal is  to eliminate those wrinkles! Eliminating them is a matter of manipulating the fabric to it’s most relaxed and wrinkle free position. This will involve pinning in, and letting out in specific areas of the garment.

When you’ve eliminated all those wrinkles you can easily determine the pattern corrections you will need to apply to your pattern.
Here is “Maureen” in the fully pinned muslin after the first fitting. Doesn’t this fit make her appear slimmer? That is the beauty of a good fitting garment.

As you can see all those bumps, bulges, wrinkles and drag lines have been eliminated and I now have all the information I need to correct the pattern. I won’t go through the pattern corrections here, but after all of these adjustments are applied to the pattern, it’s best to make another muslin and conduct a second fitting to confirm that all the corrections have been made. The second muslin is when you will test the fit of the sleeves and/or collar.

Well, that’s my introduction to fitting. I hope you found it informative and helpful. You will be seeing the 2nd muslin and a finished version of this dress on the In-House Patterns blog when it’s complete. Until then, I will leave you with my philosophy on fitting: There is nothing wrong with your body, it’s the pattern that’s all wrong for you! I know fitting books don’t address things in this way but in my experience, it’s the pattern that needs adjustment-not you!