Saturday, May 30, 2015

Wearable Muslin

As I mentioned in my previous post, I took a pattern making for knits class this past Spring 2015 semester.  For the final, we had to draft patterns and sew the garments that would make up an entire ensemble, the only condition being that the fabric be a knit fabric.  I decided to make a top and skirt.

I used two fabrics for the top.  A yoke with a black semi-sheer knit (not very stretchy) and the bodice in a very stretchy jersey.  In preparation, I created a muslin.  My muslins usually end up marked, cut up and written upon.  This is the first time I ended up with a "wearable" muslin - score!


The fabric I chose for my final was a semi-sheer black knit with little stretch for the yoke.  The bodice fabric, a beautiful floral of red and fuscia flowers on a black background, however, had 50% stretch.  I found in my stash a burgundy-purplish very stretchy cotton jersey and a teal rayon jersey that was not very stretchy.  My challenge in making the muslin was to use fabrics that had the same or close to the same amount of stretch as the fabrics I was going to use for the final so that I could get as close as possible to an accurate read of fitting issues.  I made a muslin of the top only since I knew I would not have any fit issues with the skirt.

The way I determined the amount of stretch was to use my Fairgate Knit Rule which I received as a gift from a very dear sewing friend.  It works the same as the edge of the pattern envelopes for knits that tell you that the fabric must stretch "to here" on the pattern envelope.  With the knit ruler, you place a pin at #1 and another pin at #5.  With the fabric edge along the edge of the ruler, stretch the fabric to the highest point where it does not feel like you are forcing it.


My final fabric had 50% stretch.  My stash fabric had 40% stretch.  I decided that would be close enough (because I didn't have time to shop for 50% stretch fabric to use as a muslin).  The fabric in the top photo is straight along the ruler.  It doesn't look like it because the edges of the fabric curl to the right side.

What my fitting muslin told me was that I needed to make a deeper armhole so I adjusted the pattern draft accordingly.  This was an easy fix for my burgundy/teal muslin - just sew the bottom of the armhole deeper.  The muslin also told me I needed more room across the bust so I adjusted the pattern draft.  For the muslin, I took apart the 1/2 inch basted seams and then used narrower 1/4 inch seams by using the 3-thread stretch stitch on my serger instead of the 4-thread security stitch I normally would have used.  I also used the coverstitch for the hem.

I am very happy to have an unexpected garment added to my wardrobe.  It is very comfortable and I like the color combination.

Speaking of colors, I purchased a hanging basket of vibrant impatiens a couple of weeks ago at my local Shop-Rite supermarket.  The weather has finally warmed up here in the Northeast so the flowers are blooming beautifully.  I thought I would share them with you (ala Kyle from Vacuuming the Lawn)…so pretty.  


My next post will be about the ensemble made for the final.  Happy sewing!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Raglan T-Shirt

It's certainly been a while since I last posted.  I took a pattern making for knits class at FIT in NYC this past Spring 2015 semester and it took every minute of my spare time.  It truly was a wonderful class.  The teacher was fantastic (Prof. Luz Pascal) and all of my fellow students were just wonderful.  It was fun to see them every week and share the previous week's sewing and design adventures and snafus.

One of the tops I drafted (and re-made below) from Prof. Pascal's lesson on "fun tops" was this raglan sleeve T-shirt.  I purchased the striped fabric from Metro Textiles.  I went there with Kyle, from Vacuuming the Lawn, prior to the Pattern Review birthday celebration last year.  I was very lucky to find a solid purple, purchased at NY Elegant Fabrics, that was very close in color to the stripes - yay!


The fussiest part about sewing this T-shirt (and most other T-shirts) is the neck band.  It really is not difficult at all.  You just have to be accurate.

It was applied with a technique similar to Sarah Veblen's post on the Threads blog.  The major difference is that Sarah used a flat surface and I used my dress form, as taught in class.

I cut a strip 2 inch wide by 24" (way longer than what I needed).  I folded and pinned it in half lengthwise:


I then pinned it on my form, aligning the raw edges of the strip to the raw edges of the neckline, gently stretching it as I went all around:


You don't want to stretch it too much because then you will end up with a puckering neckline.  However, you do need to stretch enough so that it hugs you and does not gape.  I used a 3/8 inch seam allowance.

The rest of the sewing was just like Sarah Veblen's post except we were advised not to press knit fabric to avoid damaging the fibers.  What I did when I felt I wanted a press was hover the hot steam iron over the seam for a few seconds and then pat it down with my hand.  Some have told me they have pressed knits with no damage to the fabric.  The best thing to do is to test a swatch. 

Knits are wonderful to work with.  They do not ravel.  Fit issues are fewer because the fabric is so forgiving.  The fabric does not wrinkle.  And the garments are oh so comfortable.  

Happy sewing!