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Messages - Elnnina

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Patchwork & Quilting ... Welcome to the Darkside / Re: Wedding Present
« on: September 04, 2017, 15:30:11 PM »
That is beautiful Brenda, what a lovely wedding present, and it makes it even more special knowing that you have made this especially for them.

In the wardrobe / Feeling Cold? alter a men's Thermal Vest.
« on: September 04, 2017, 15:25:10 PM »
I really feel the cold and living in a 100 year old cottage with solid walls when the fabric of the building gets cold it really does get cold – a bit like today, it is warmer outside than inside. Quite often in the deepest/darkest winter the temperatures up here in the Chilterns is considerably lower than in the lower towns and villages, and of course I live on top of a hill!

I am a generously sized person, and find that lacey thermal vests are far  too skimpy, so my answer to try and keep warm is to wear Marks & Spencer’s men’s thermal vests – the tee shirt type  as these come a long way down right down to the top of my thighs.  However I am not keen on the traditional tee shirt neck.  So I have doctored them and they are a great success.  So if you too feel the cold, why not try these.

The alterations I have made are as follows.  Carefully unpick the neck band, and once off the vest, open up the joining seam and give a good stretch pressing with the iron.  I then cut the neckband in half, along the original fold line,  make a neat little join and then fold this much narrower length of neckband in half.

Next I mark about 5/8” down from the original neck on the vest, and cut this away.  Then take the new neckband and cut to around 30” or 75cm long, make a tiny seam so that the neckband is in the round. To make it easier to handle I fold this narrower strip in half so  it is now probably 5/8” wide and run the sewing machine around the edge, this helps hold it all in place.  I then apply this to the vest, another row of machining stretching as I go, and then overlock this, and finally a final row of machining on the right side of the vest so close to the neck band it keeps it all in place.  The finished neckband is now about 3/8”  so a very nice finish to the garment.

Over the years I have noticed that M&S have changed the rib style of these vests and also the neckband material – once it was a rib neckband.  I find that by only cutting off 5/8” is adequate for me and gives a lovely scoop, not too low, and because of the length of the vest I do not get any draughts around my middle, they stay tucked in all the time.  Of course nobody but myself knows what I am wearing under a sweater and I keep nice and warm.

Following on from a brief mention of a sloper I am trying to use – Connie Crawford’s Shoulder Princess seamed top, after months and months  of messing about trying to get this right for my body, I think I have finally cracked it.  Lost count of how many sheets of tissue paper and  the amount of calico used.  However imagine my elation last Thursday when I asked Twopence to just check my tissue fitting, it is looking so good, and I really am grateful to Twopence for coming and patiently pinning the back of my half tissue garment to my already marked with CF and CB ‘fitting T’.  Where I have been going wrong in the past is to have I think the garment too loose, but this time I have followed Marta Alto’s instructions in Full Busted, and have this fitting much closer than I have ever  done  before and what a difference.  So I am going to venture into my enormous stash and find some fabric, and get this ready for next Thursday when I see Twopence again when we go to hydrotherapy together.

I have my tissue pattern draped on my body double, that is already marked up with strings of curtain weights  marking the CF and CB and side seam, and I can see  clearly just how much weight I have put on since this body double was made.  So another job of getting my box of wadding out of the loft and padding her out more to fit this tissue fit, and see where I go from there.  It is also showing up the importance of the grain being in the right place and hanging straight down and not swinging to the right or left.

I have also ‘transplanted’ a self drafted armhole that I like and feel comfortable in onto this pattern as I found the armhole on the sloper pattern was far too low for me and also it did not come over enough to where the armhole should be on me, I cannot stand seeing an armhole coming part way over the bust area – it just looks horrible.

Once I have made this up in fabric, I am hoping then to be able to change details like adding collars, adding cuffs to the sleeves, or in fact making long sleeves, now I have the shoulders and neck in the right place I am hoping this will open up all sorts of opportunities for me to create different garments but keeping the shoulder princess line.  Then I will turn my attention to the armhole princess line sloper that is waiting for me start working on this.

For those of you that are having fitting problems, especially if like me you have far too many lumps and bumps in places we wish we didn’t have, then do go looking at these Connie Crawford Slopers, I believe only available in the USA, but paper dress patterns seem to come through to the UK without attracting any Customs.

The details of these two patterns are Shoulder Princess  CS1301 Miss sizes 8 – 20 in cup sizes as follows:  A/B, C/D/DD(E), (DDF/G)& H/I.

Woman sizes 1X to 6X and the cup sizes listed above.

Armhole Princess CS1302 in the same categories as the pattern above.

Have a look on Connie’s website ‘Fashion Patterns by Coni.’

I already have the Fit for Real People book, and the Full Busted DVD by Marta Alto, and I must have nearly worn the DVD out the amount of times I have played this.  Towards the end of the DVD Marta is tissue fitting two ladies that are rather amply built, she is using two different patterns, one is what Marta calls a side panel Mccalls Palmer Petsch pattern no, 5335, and she uses a ‘Y’ dart on the main front pattern piece, and the other is McCalls 5242 which has shoulder princess seam.  Whilst both these patterns are now out of print, it is possible to find them in the USA in an uncut/factory folded condition. So I religiously followed Marta as she fitted the shoulder princess pattern, and seeing just how close fitting  to the model she was going encouraged me to do likewise and this has really worked especially for my shaping.  I really would encourage anyone who is well endowed and needing a FBA and having problems fitting, to buy this DVD, it really is worth every penny, you can stop and start as many times as you need, it really is like having a one to one with Marta in your own home, and I found that by following her step by step on the sloper pattern I was trying out has worked.  I did trace off my original sloper pattern so that original is intact and it is just as well I did the amount of times I have started over.

I cannot put up any photos as I just do not know how to do this, perhaps one day Twopence will show me.

Patterns Discussion / Re: Straightening fabric which is off grain
« on: September 04, 2017, 15:13:38 PM »
Firstly Thank you so much to Jessie and UttaRetch, both articles so helpful.

Jessie, how on earth did you find such an interesting video clip going into so much detail in straightening fabric, and the person demonstrating made it look so easy in many ways.  When I pull threads, and I have done on chambray, it is never as easy as she makes it look, I find the threads are so soft they just break.  Unless I am missing something why was she using paper – looked like dot and cross – over her fabric and then putting her pattern in oak tag on top and drawing around this,  I also admired her skills with the rotary cutter  - oh if only it was that easy.  Surely it would have been easier to use the rotary cutter against the edge of the oak tag pattern piece.  Yes I do realise that in using the paper she was able to see at a glance whether her oak tag pattern was on the grain, but it did seem such a waste of paper.

I do in fact have various sizes of rotary cutters, started off with the one she was using, but I prefer a small blade, I find I have more control.

However watching this video it has reinforced my thinking that  it is really important that the fabric is straight, otherwise the finished garment is never going to hang properly.  What wasn’t mentioned was what do you do if   the fabric has been heat treated and thus will not straighten. 

A good work out for the arms though with all that stretching, so think of me when I am trying to straighten this 90” wide American muslin.

Patterns Discussion / Straightening fabric which is off grain
« on: August 29, 2017, 16:15:11 PM »

I have a bolt of American Muslin  called  ‘Wide Perm Press Muslin’ so it is 90” wide which I have bought to use for toiles.

Yes it is lovely having it so wide, BUT I have a problem of the grain being off and not just a little.  I have tried tugging it from corner to corner to no affect.

So my question is this,  I am using this for toiles, and really need the grain on this muslin to line up with the grain lines on my pattern pieces.  If I line up my grain on the muslin with the grain on the pattern tissue, is this going to hang askew?

Please does anyone have any other ideas how to correct the skew on this.

I am rather well endowed with many unwanted lumps and bumps, and trying to get a decent fitting basic top is proving problematical.  In desperation I have been working on a Connie Crawford Sloper pattern for a shoulder princess seam - this sloper was featured in Threads Magazine December 2013/January 2014 and called ‘ Add a Princess Seam’ and the article refers to two of Connie’s Slopers,  one for a shoulder princess seam and one for the armhole princess seam. Having spent weeks/months with tissue and calico, I think I might have finally arrived at a top that might just be right.  I have my pattern tissue at the ‘tissue fitting stage’ and now need to make a toile in calico.  However I am rather concerned that if I go gaily cutting this out in the American muslin fabric which is so off grain, that with all the many seams on this pattern that something is not going to hang straight and hamper me even further.

Having consulted Claire Schaeffer’s Fabric Guide, she is saying ‘That most fabrics cannot be straightened because they have a heat-set finish, but a few woven from cotton and wool have no special finishes and can be straightened.
To straighten the ends of fabrics with heat-set  finishes, spread the fabric on a rectangular table.  Align the selvages or the lengthwise fold with one side of the table.  Using the table end or cutting board as a guide, mark the fabric end, trim on the marked line.

Hint.  If the end has a large slant and you trim it off you may be caught short on fabric.  Use chalk or a temporary marking pen to mark the straight end.’

So on reading Claires advice, and knowing that my Muslin is called Perm Press does this mean that the muslin has been heat treated, and if so how annoying.

I religiously straighten my fabrics, spending time pulling threads so I can get a straight line to cut on, this can be extremely tedious as the fibres tend to break.

Has  anyone got any advice on this?  I really would appreciate their help.  Thanks.

In the wardrobe / Re: Buttonholes (heavy sigh)
« on: August 12, 2017, 10:04:25 AM »
If it is not too late, have you thought of unpicking these buttonholes very carefully and then sewing bound buttonholes.  If you do try these, do make a sample one or two first to see how you get on.

In the wardrobe / Re: Sewing darts - where do you start?
« on: August 02, 2017, 12:26:59 PM »
I was also  taught to sew darts from the wide end to the point.  However many, many years ago I learnt from a book (Short Cuts to Sewing Skills by Thelma Lane) to pull up the bobbin thread and reverse thread this through the needle, then pull sufficient thread through and tie on to the top thread (it is trial and error as to how much to pull through as it all depends on the length of the dart), wind all this surplus thread on to the cotton spool/reel and then start stitching at the point, you place the needle right on the fold of fabric and then stitch the dart with a few stitches on the fold and then slowly tapering outwards from the point.  It does take a little practice, but the beauty of this method is that you do not have ends to sew/knot off which can create a little bulk, also they cannot unravel due to insecure sewing/tie off).  Just remember when all the darts have been stitched to unwind all the knotted part off the top spool – there is usually   quite a bit, can always be saved for any hand sewing.

So ever since I have sewn my darts this way, perhaps it is a bit of a fiddle pulling up fresh thread from the bobbin for each dart you sew, but to me it is worth it.

Incidentally I actually use a small needle threader to thread the needle the reverse way or if you are nimble fingered try knotting the thread, just a single knot and gradually ease this through the needle.

Incidentally I found this book full of ideas on better machine stitching, for a quick fix for seam allowances marked on the machine bed, use masking tape – especially useful for those with machines that do not have the throat plate marked in this way.

Hi toileandtrouble, that is an interesting way to try and deal with a much larger ‘cup’ size, shall watch this space with interest.  I do in fact favour princess line seaming

I am currently working on a Connie Crawford Shoulder Princess line sloper, and my first toile has thrown up some problems which I am now working on.  I have already dropped the bust shaping down on the first toile, and feel I need to drop this a little more on the second toile, I also feel I need to make the centre panels  wider, and somehow extend the side panel over towards the armhole where I have quite a bit of gaping.  Help according to Peggy I need to go up a cup size, but I am working outside of a ‘D’ cup size already.  Of course I do not want it to become too baggy above the chest and that is what could happen if I am not careful when adding to the width of the centre and front side panels.  Needs a lot of thinking through.

Whilst I do not mind making toiles, it would be nice to get this sorted once and for all.  The calico is never wasted though as it can be used for other things, but I do need some new clothes and fast.

The Connie Crawford Sloper I am using is
CS1 301 Shoulder Princess Blouse Master Pattern which comes  in two groups of sizes:
Misses sizes 8-20 covering cup sizes from A/B, C/D/DD/E, (DDD)F/G, and H/I cup sizes.  So bust sizes 34/35” up to 52/53”.

Then Women’s sizes 1X – 6X covering cup sizes from A/B, C/D/DD/E, (DDD)F/G, and H/I cup sizes. So bust sizes  48/49” up to 72/74”

I first saw this sloper pattern in Threads magazine December 2013/January 2014 where there was an  article called ‘Add a Princess Seam’.  Connie also does an armhole princess seam sloper pattern as well and this is CS1 302.  Connie’s website is

It is my intention when I finally get the fit I am seeking is to have the armhole just as I want as well as the shape of the top of the sleeve, and then these can be interchangeable.

I also treated myself to a Grading Book by Connie so I can hopefully alter many patterns that I have from the era of Vogue Couture and Vogue Designer, that are now far too small for my figure but are what I call classic patterns.  However I haven’t got into using the Grading Book yet.

In fact I am surrounded by books, articles from Threads, fitting books, drafting books, Fit for Real People and Full Busted  DVD  trying to find the best way forward for me.

I watched this video with interest, whilst I know nothing at all about this lady nor her patterns,  I did pick up a few useful pointers.

Peggy mentions that the underarm bust dart should be just below the bulge of the bust – and as I have a very full bust I will try this method out on a toile and see how I get on,

Next she mentioned gaping at the armhole and her solution was for Laura who she was helping try a larger front pattern piece i.e. use the piece for a ‘D’ cup instead of what she had used which was a ‘C’ cup.  Is it as simple as that?  However what about us ladies who are way above a ‘D’ cup – rarely do pattern pieces extend beyond a ‘D’ cup fitting even on the patterns that have multiple front pieces ?

Now in the middle of the video  Peggy just happened to mention that she had not picked up about Laura’s blouse back neck which was gaping at the back, i.e. pulling back and that was due to Laura having a slightly rounded high back  On the  second toile Laura had made,  this was in some cashmere luxury fabric that Peggy had given her to use thus it had a different handle to the fabric and was lovely and soft and draped well.  At the time Peggy couldn’t see that the high back needed a little more room as the fabric was so soft.  Laura then chose a beautiful blue linen and had asked the question about underlining this and was told no she did not need to.  However Laura said she had washed her linen four times in Coca Cola and this then gave the linen a much softer  feel.  The only thing Laura was not happy about was the fact that the blouse fell back at the neck, and this was corrected for later blouses by slashing the back about 6” below the neck edge and inserting about a ¾” dart.  The slash went to the armholes not through them.

A lot was made that the armholes on the various patterns were all interchangeable, so the many patterns were interchangeable as far as sleeves ad armholes were concerned.

One thing however I just did not understand and that was towards the end of the video Peggy mentions that we do not need to do a FBA, if the bust shaping is too high then just slash the pattern across the whole front width and drop this down by inserting the necessary amount of paper, and if necessary take this same amount out underneath the bust – but this doesn’t address the need for those of us who are so generously endowed and need more fabric to accommodate a much larger bust fitting.

Has anyone used a Silhouette pattern and has a larger than normal bust cup size – how did you get on – what was the fit like, did the method of just dropping the bust shaping down work for you despite this only going up to a ‘D’ cup size?

Laura had made herself some armhole templates, (yellow card) and she happened to mention that she had transferred on to her templates the armhole numbers from her French curve.  So now she had her own personal armhole that fitted her and that she was comfortable with, in future she could just use this instead of the pattern’s armhole on any future garments.

I have watched this through twice now, and on looking at Peggy’s website cannot find out anything on the ‘Cup’ sizes.  Does anyone know what you do if you are a ‘J’ or ‘K’ cup size?

Just to say that the ironing board cover has arrived today - this will be brilliant - just what I need.  Thanks again.

Events / Re: GBSB Live Excel London Sept 2017
« on: July 16, 2017, 13:31:50 PM »
Has anyone studied in more detail who is going to be tutoring at this?

Go and look at their website and on the tutors, also on exactly what different types of sewing etc are going to be available.

I think you may well be surprised at a very familiar name to those who were part of TSF.

Sorry Iminei, however I am delighted that I shall get this soon.  It will be really useful in so many ways as I machine knit and block my knitting as well as sew.  Also with the grid so useful when dealing with really small pieces of fabric. I did check the size of my ironing board before I submitted my request - I have a board that I can sit down to - essential in my life as I cannot stand for very long, just have to watch the knees when steaming away!!!

Thanks again Marniesews.

Oh yes please if it has not already been taken. 

Perhaps you would let me know, I can use paypal or whatever you wish.  Thanks

Courses & Classes / Re: Sure fit designs
« on: July 14, 2017, 15:22:47 PM »
Hi  Sewingandsewing

May I suggest if you have time tonight to look up Sure-fit Designs website and have a look at how they bundle their products, this will give you some idea of what is available and often they 'bundle' items together at a special price.

There is a basic dress kit, a basic shirt kit, a basic pants/ trousers kit   and in with the basic pattern sheet which you use to create your own ‘ Body Blueprint’ you need the Designing Stylus, the tracing vellum, and within the kit that you buy comes cardboard templates for darts, another template to use when creating the armhole on larger sizes, a very clear instruction book with diagrams and of course you also have  access to the Sure-fit video library on their website.

I bought my Sure-fit kit/kits from the USA a few years ago, and yes it was expensive so was the postage, but the lady Judith  Johnson  is UK based so has everything you need over here which must be a tremendous saving, also I had a hefty UK Customs charge as well.

There are follow on books, i.e. Bodices that Mix ‘n’ Multiply Beyond Bodice Basics,  Pants that mix ‘n’ Multiply,  Sew Sensational Shirts.

So although these extra books are useful they are not necessarily needed when you first start out, they are just showing you how you take ‘Your Personal  Body Blueprint’ and create different styles.

There are also plentiful DVDs on how to do everything, some come as standard, others are part of the ‘bundle’

Glenda Sparling the person and owner of Surefit Designs is very clear in the way she shows you how to do things, and of course makes it look so very easy.  Glenda is a very slim person, so anything looks good on her, whereas I am the complete opposite.

Whilst I have exchanged e-mails with Judith here in the UK I haven’t met her, but I did order some of the tracing vellum when it was on special offer last September.

There are also some pattern leaflets  available, and  these can be downloaded and printed here at home, there is a small charge for some of the leaflets.

You will find that Judith is likely to be demonstrating how to create the ‘body blueprint’ on a wall or board and easel, but we at home would do this on a table.

I did spend quite a lot of time watching all I could about this system before I bought it, Glenda describes everything she is doing very clearly and of course is easy to follow.

With Judith being the Rep. here in the UK you do not have to go ordering a huge amount at any one time, just get what you think you need to get you started and then once you have mastered this and have a garment to show for your efforts that fits you and you are comfortable in it, then go exploring some of the other kits and books, without going and looking at the website I do not know the UK prices, but I would think they would be a lot cheaper than buying from the USA plus the postage and then UK Customs charges.

By having a look at the Sure-fit Website before you go, have a look at the USA site, and then the UK site and see what differences there are, I am presuming that Judith will be doing what the Americans call 'Combos' i.e. bundling items together but I am not sure.

If I can help any more please come back to me.  Have fun tomorrow, hope  you are inspired to create.

The Haberdashery / Re: Rulers
« on: June 13, 2017, 14:40:29 PM »
Thanks for replying.  I did in fact manage to get a Hurth Ruler from Gabrielle Stanley direct from her in Reading, my only problem was Paypal played up, but I waited a few days for the cheque to clear and all was  well.

Oh Morgan you are mine of information, you always seem to have the answers to the many questions that have been asked - we are indeed blessed that you have joined our little gang - Thank you so much.

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