Alterations; Fixing a Failure 8

Everybody I know who sews has fitting challenges! I love to sew but fitting is my least favorite part & I am really bad at it.  Yucky. 

[See my strudel post related to this & other very cool sewing etc. at

Disparate Disciplines. She’s asking “do you sew Cake or Frosting for yourself?” ]

Okay, I Hate Fitting! I made this and then Never Wore It!
So, since I am taking the Couture Dress Class, I went back & picked up a “Wad it into a ball and bury it!” project from last fall.  Use it Up, Make it Do… 🙂

Like now, getting chillier, last fall I wanted a jumper that looked “fallish”, could double as an apron. I’d been reading about vintage “house dresses” & wanted something really comfy for around the house. Butterick 3725 looked fine. Add cozy cinnamony plaid baby wale corduroy.  I was set to go, had bodice lining ready…

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The fit was terrible and I didn’t really have a clue what to do, So disappointing!

  • The shoulders fell off.
  • The bust just didn’t fit
  • The side seams just fell away

I looked up Full Bust Allowance (Vogue advice). I am gritting my teeth and am now resolved to add the following adjustments:

  • Choose pattern size by upper chest measurement: around the back, up under the armholes and across the upper chest (not “bust).
  • Consider using an even smaller back size, or at least look at any back fitting needs.
  • Look at the bust area, and adjust if it needs more room, by adding both horizontal and vertical allowances.
  • Narrow the neckline and widen the shoulder straps to try to get them not to slip off. btw, my shoulders are uneven, so adding shoulder seams helps.

The jumper is done & I’m wearing it! The wider straps are less of a problem, but not perfect. I’d enlarge them onto the back wrap-panels and again, insert a shoulder seam. The bodice fits better!  I  would narrow the neckline/center panel even further to keep those shoulders up! –and stay stitch that curve– the elastic did the job, but *I know*. it was a mistake, and it shows.  🙂

I hope this helps you, if you are looking at bodice fitting!

Dress 4016 Collar 5

The collar embroidery was very intimidating and lots of fun. I’ve never done this, so I looked for tutorials!
I decided I’d treat this as Broderie Anglaise  (shadow work another time- what a great idea!).  I could see that there were two sizes of eyelets, so here’s the eyelet tutorial I used, because it had the prettiest stitching. 🙂

I also went to the Library, my favorite needlepoint shop, then the sewing machine store for advice, everyone agreeing that I didn’t have time to embroider before the June 9th Parade- nooo! I don’t have an embroidery machine so I dragged out my old 9mm sewing machine and the frayed edges splaying out from test curves looked Awful. Back to “By Hand, thank you!”

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I started with the edge stitching, then the small eyelets around the rim, just the right size for my old awl.

Next came the triangle shapes, satin stitch beside them, tiny outlines, needle placement with a pinch for snipping guidance, trimming, then buttonhole stitch around.

The eyelets in the middle circles were bigger, maybe too big for my awl and I was afraid to trim them! I used the needle to judge center, then stretched with a tapestry needle, then the blunt awl. I trimmed an X, leaving several edge threads.  So, here’s the eyelet sequence:

  • place tiny outline  stitches
  • snip out the stabilizer ( I was afraid the stitches would be loose after it dissolved).
  • pierce to find center and snip an X
  • buttonhole stitch around
  • bury the last stitch button hole loop
  • pull until it is an even edge
  • bury the tread under several  stitches and trim it- done!
About when Cassie, another 1912 sewer, showed blue marks that wouldn’t come out, I thought about the printer ink on the soluble paper. I tore off the excess stabilizer, then soaked the piece in hot water so it would completely dissolve. What a Mistake!!
Hot water will melt the toner and set it. I SO wish I’d read about this in advance. I tried a series of removal steps, can’t recommend any as much as printing with a thinner line, a light color, then dissolving in COLD WATER. You can see the black marks and the trepidation with trimming the edge. When it is completely dry, I’ll test the fraycheck and lightly dab the edges…

completed collar embroidery

Cardigan- stabilizing neck & shoulders Reply

Neck & Shoulder fix on the Mari Pebble Cardigan

The collar rolls again!

This is a pretty sweater, fun to knit, an interesting pattern. Mari, the designer, lives in our town but we haven’t met. You can find her patterns HERE and this one HERE.  I hope sharing helps my friend Catherine Hopkins, asking about her sweater collar.

I love the roll of this collar. But—The shoulders had stretched out almost immediately, falling several inches off mine, so I pleated them, which inserted a sort of shoulder pad and a nice tuck falling into the torso. I got the idea from this Pendleton jacket.

Pendleton shoulder tuck

But–the yarn is heavy and it continued to stretch, pulling the roll out of the collar. And the buttonholes looked sad, hand-finished, buttonhole twist not a great match.  I’m sorry I didn’t take pix of these. Not that sorry. 🙂

So! I used a narrow grosgrain at the neck and shoulders to pull them back into shape. The measuring tape looked about right on my neck at 16″, so on that went, whipped in by hand. I pinned the ribbon, firmly adjusting the fullness back in, basting, then finishing.

Shoulders & Neck taped!

The shoulders had to be reined back in considerably, also.  I need to roll the shoulder line forward to fit my shoulders, didn’t do it here, wish I had. I could use some help with that.  I’m approaching the back shoulders on another, the “Kelly Cardigan” in Erika Knight’s Classic Knits. My sloper shoulders are adjusted forward, can’t be that hard to fix here (I hope).

That twist got picked out and the buttonholes pursed closed from the gaping grins left after taking off the old ribbon. This is the first time I’ve done machine buttonholes on a sweater. I don’t have a thing to say- it was as easy as putting them into a blouse!

This fits better and I’ll start to wear it again!

Skirt #0162 finished! 2

Last finishing bits:

The Hem:
I wanted a little more body so I sewed in horse hair, then covered it with a sheer ribbon, in case I start kicking up my heels. 🙂 This would have been so much easier with black horse hair, but I didn’t find any…


The Placket:
It needed reinforcing but I didn’t want more bulk, so I used a black cotton twill tape.  The waist band looked better when I took the elastic off and refitted it, pretty bulky though, with the twill tape! In an earlier blog, a pucker showed on the placket, so I took it apart and restitched it.

I like the buttons. What I would do differently? Those back buttons should hit higher on me, just at the knee, and they are lower. Next time! If you are fitting, I’d choose where that pleat starts and move it, if you need to!
But the skirt is done, ready for this Saturday, an Oregon Suffragette! Watch for finishing the shirtwaist & hat…

Covered buttons 6

Covered buttons seemed ideal for both finishing the skirt and the shirtwaist I’m about to start. Only 8 were needed for the skirt front but adding them onto the back seemed like such a nice idea- thanks Toby Barton! I got 3/4″ ones, looked about right for my size. Also, I ordered a box of 3/8″ ones from Newark Dressmaker Supply and they arrived post haste! Even regular USPS delivery!

I used a white pen to trace the circles onto fabric, added smaller circles to underline, since the shiny metal showed through- you can see them in the photo. When I started doing this, I realized I didn’t have the little white (silicone?) column tool to push the fabric & button top into, wondered if there might be some help on-line. Voila! A covered button tutorial!

This was a big help the small buttons! No more fussy circles- squares a little bigger than double the button diameter, corners trimmed. And glue stick! Just a dab? Nope, a thin layer across the square for the small buttons, too hard to manage otherwise.

Those little button teeth BITE! They suggest a pencil eraser, didn’t work for me, had to use fingers to hold everything together.

Buttonholes were easy, keyhole setting, test, some practice, repeat, uncut on the right side, cut on the left side: