Monday, May 03, 2004

In search of the perfect T

I decided to sew last weekend. The doors could wait to be painted and I knew it would be too hot to work on the yard. Besides, with my recent purchase of more fabric, I decided I better hurry up and sew. My buying is certainly outpacing my sewing but I hope to at least make a small, teeny tiny, infinitesimal dent in the stash.

First I put away the quilted wall hanging - definitely a project for another day. Then I thought about what I wanted to make. The fabrics and patterns and ideas were all swimming around in my brain. There seem to be so many and I was beginning to get antsy at what to do first. Here's the list:

1. Pink EOS butterknit top, Jalie 2005
2. Pink/lime/cream/gray poor boy knit top, Kwik Sew 3003
3. Pants - try Kwik Sew 3040
4. Pink denim skirt, Burda 4/2003 pattern
hmmm, I see a "pink" theme here...
5. More t-shirts using the EOS butterknits
6. Purse from the hippo fabric
7. Purse from the pink Burberry plaid
8. Purse from the asian cotton fabric - found the right size bamboo handle for it finally
9. Blue sweater knit hoodie
10. Blue sweater knit pullover
11. Lime/blue/white striped sweater knit jacket
12. Off-white sweater knit (linen) cardigan
13. Blue floral cotton/lycra skirt - fabric is on order

Oooof, that's a lot. I traced off the v-neck version of the Jalie 2005 t-shirt and the long Kwik Sew 3040 pants (no cuffs). Then I located the ugly flowered rib knit to use as a muslin for the t-shirt. This was fabric I'd ordered from a long time ago. It wasn't exactly what I thought it would be but then when I washed it, the dark pink ran and turned the background pink. The rest of the floral print looked awful too. It sort of looks like a crayon drawing of flowers. I don't know if it always looked that way and I just didn't notice or if something went horribly wrong in the washer. The knit had pretty much no recovery too, so I deemed the fabric a dud.

After making up the Jalie t-shirt, I have some thoughts. It's not necessarily a good idea to use a poor recovery knit as a muslin. I decided to give it an honest go anyway in case the shirt fit great, but now I doubt I will wear it and don't think I'll even bother hemming it. The neck of the shirt appears to be stretched out. I tried it on and my husband thought it looked ok. "Like ready to wear" he said. Is that a compliment? I liked the fit across the bust and under the arms but the sleeves seemed to fall off my shoulders, the neck line didn't lie flat and there was too much fabric across my upper chest. I pinched out vertical sections of fabric below each shoulder and that seemed to make it a bit better. I then sought out the wisdom of Sandra Betzina in her book Fast Fit and also thumbed through Real Fit for Real People. Sandra Betzina described the excess fabric problem as having a "hollow chest...common with aging", she wrote. Harrumpf. I don't like the aging part but ok, but her description and solution of pinching out vertical sections of fabric fit my problem. Her other solution is to go down a size and do a full bust alteration, however I'm leery of going that route because the shirt fit well in the arms, bust and waist. But before I reworked the pattern, I decided to pull out the Kwik Sew 3003 top and see how the patterns compared because I've had better luck with fitting with Kwik Sew. Aha! The Jalie was larger across the upper chest. The shoulder seam was wider too. The Jalie pattern is more angled and curves in more under the arm - whereas the Kwik Sew is a bit "boxier", despite the pattern description of "close fitting." I altered the Jalie pattern per Sandra's suggestion and again compared it to the Kwik Sew. Much closer match at the upper chest. So I decided to use the remaining ugly floral rib knit to try the Kwik Sew pattern. Unfortunately I only have enough fabric for the bodice and one sleeve, but who am I kidding, was I really going to wear the ugly floral rib knit? I think my husband was just being encouraging about my sewing. I traced off the Kwik Sew pattern but ran out of time last night to sew it up, maybe I'll get to it tonight.

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