Sloper Series @ Curvy Sewing Collective

If you are interested in how to make a sloper, I have a new post over at the Curvy Sewing Collective! It is the first part in a new series I’m writing for the site. The goal is to show how to use a sloper to design your own patterns, recreate patterns that don’t come in your size, or alter patterns to fit.

And just for giggles I tried on some ready to wear dresses this weekend. I haven’t purchased a woven (non-maternity) dress in 5 years and now I remember why!

The pink dress is the smallest size in Ashley Nell Tipton’s line for JCPenney and was several inches too large though the bust even though by the size chart the OX should have fit in the bust and waist and too tight in the hip. The lemon dress is from Liz Claiborne and the size chart put me in a 14 bust/16 waist/18 hip. I picked the 16 to try and you can see that as the size chart predicted it is too large in the bust, but going down a size would have meant this dress is too small everywhere else.

So while sewing takes up a good chunk of my free time the results are well worth it! And with a sloper you can make clothes even more customized without playing the retail sizing game. I call that a win!

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Easter 2017

Yay Easter! A holiday with few expectations of gifts but lots of potential for adorable dresses. Less that 3 weeks ago I had zero plans to make new Easter dresses this year. Surely I could skip it and have the girls wear something from their drawer.

Wrong!

While looking for flower girl dress fabric at Michael Levine’s I spotted a lovely small scale floral lawn out of the corner of my eye and the next thing I knew I’d had 3 yards cut. I’m so so glad I impulse purchased this fabric. (No longer on the ML website, but available here.)

img_9446What a couple of silly sisters! Don’t they look adorable? In a total reversal of personalities Charlie ended up posing for all the pictures while Lu sulked, but thankfully I’d captured Lu’s dress the day before when she was in a more willing mood.

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For Lu’s dress I used Olive + S’s Library dress pattern. I’d owned it for years and never made it. What a shame! It went together so beautifully and had plenty of potential for color combinations. I had some white lawn in my stash I almost used for the collar. White collars are such a classic choice for a little girl’s dress, but I went ahead and used the floral print so the only trim is the pink piping along the midriff.

I really love Oliver + S patterns, but the sizing it always a challenge. Lu is quite slim and tall so her measurements put her in a 6-12 months at the bust and a size 5 for length. I went with something in the middle, a size 3 with 2 inches of extra length on the skirt. This seems to have worked pretty well. A tad large through the shoulders, but not terribly so. The pattern I own stops at a size 4 so for now I might keep adding length to the smaller sizes until I really need to buy the next size grouping.

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And Lu really liked her dress. “See my skirt!” She was super happy to wear it two days in a row, Saturday for the museum’s annual Fashion Show and Sunday for Easter.

Charlie got a haircut on Good Friday so now we can actually see her face instead of just a mess of hair. The cut also lets her curls really come out!

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Charlie’s dress was also made with an Oliver + S pattern, this time the Family Reunion Pattern. I’ve actually made this one before when Lucy was not quite 2 and I made the 18-24 month size then.

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As you can see both sisters have suffered the wide neckline of this dress, though Charlie is nearly 2 1/2 and wearing the 18-24 size. This one must just run wide because Charlie wasn’t that much smaller than the size chart. She usually wears a size 18 months or 2T depending on the cut of the clothing and I almost made the size 2 Family Reunion. Thankfully I did size down so it wasn’t enormous.

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The pattern doesn’t call for trim around the yoke, but I adding pink piping just for fun and I’m so glad I did! Isn’t she a doll? This is the look she gets when she sees her dad. Such joy!

She also tested out her modeling skills to adorable results.

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Being the second child means Charlie just doesn’t get as many new things, but I was so pleased to make her this new dress that she should be able to wear all summer long.

Lastly, not to be outdone by the girls John wore his new hand knit socks for Easter.

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And I have no photographic evidence of my own outfit, but I wore the butterfly dress I made for Easter 2016 when I missed the festivities due to injury and illness.

With Easter complete I must go full speed into preparations for my sister’s wedding. 3 dresses to go!

Cinderella Cardigan

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      “Shiver and quiver, my little tree, Silver and gold throw down over me.”
    -Cinderella by the Grimm Brothers

At last a sweater has escaped my knitting needles. This was 10 months in the making and took far too long, but the results are pretty nice I think.

Cinderella is my favorite fairytale, so when one of my favorite yarn dyers, Astral Bath offered up a lavender dusted with grey called Cinderella, I knew I had to own it and put in a custom order. Silk blend bases only for this color and well worth it.

The yarn arrived quite true to the description, as if Cinderella has been hard at work in the ash, but what pattern would work well with the dark patches in the yarn? I dove into my Japanese stitch dictionaries and found a simple stitch pattern that reminded me of little specks or cinders.

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I also knew I wanted to try patterning the sweater around the waist so I set out playing with the spacing of each dot and doing math to figure out how to get the spaces just right at the waist. Thankfully I have CustomFit to make the knitting pattern. I just had to apply the stitch pattern how I wanted.

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Overall I’m happy with the finished product and I’m sure I will wear it a ton. The wool, silk, and cashmere blend is light enough for spring and also to ward off the summer office air conditioning. However it isn’t quite as perfect as I’d hoped and for a couple reasons.

For one my bust has shrunk over the last year by 2.5 inches. So the fit is a little bigger than I’d like up top.

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The sweater is also just too long. The large bust, silk content, and pattern calculation errors joined forces against my desires. CustomFit makes great patterns, but there is also a bit of learning curve to modifying the patterns it creates. I know I like my sweaters to be about 13-14 inches from underarm to hem, but when I request that length in the software I get a cardigan that is 15-16 inches instead. This is not the software’s fault. If I were to button the cardigan the negative ease at bust and hip would bring up the length. However since I wear my cardigans open and now own a smaller bust this sweater isn’t what I hoped.

My next sweater is already on the needles and I’m exited to see if I’ve improved on the fit. Hopefully it takes me fewer than 10 months to complete!