One to Wash; One to Wear

Despite having finished my 2nd night-gown relatively quickly, like the next day, it has taken me more time to post.

I use the same Burda pattern #116 in the May 1992 issue.  The first version I shortened 2″.  This was made full length which to me makes a very nice gown.   I used a cotton/poly fine ribbing.  It too is a Walmart purchase but had been used before. Just last year, as a matter of fact, and also as part of sleepwear.  During the change over, I realized how poorly that had worn. It both stretch out of shape and pilled.  I was quite disappointed as I had invested a lot of time via machine embroidery.  I vowed to use it all up this time and not to make any extradoinary effort hence the only band is the neckband.  The lower hem is serged, fused with 1/4″ SAS and turned up before top stitching.

I had serged the side/underarm seam and serge finished the sleeve hem.  Trying to turn up the narrow hem without fusing didn’t work well.  I didn’t want apply SAS now that the sleeve hem was circular instead of flat. Neither did I want to use the narrow hemmer foot. That foot works well with fabric that has been stiffened  to board like appearance. A floopy, squirmy knit was not going to work  well.  I was thinking of just leaving the top unhemmed but serge finished when the wacky idea to try using my flat felling foot occurred to me. Holy smokes, it worked!  The foot is big enough and the guides rightly placed to turn the edge up a scant 1/2″.  I used the 3 step wave stitch lengthened to 12 (I don’t know if that is mm or steps or but it was 12 on the screen).  The sleeve was already in a circle.  When I returned to the start of the circle, I removed the fabric from the foot and let it float beneath.  By that time, enough stitching and enough handling had persuaded it to stay folded about the same 1/2″.

This is definitely a hemming trick I will remember in the future.

I’m pleased to now have two, transitional-weather night gowns hanging in my closet; one to wash and one to wear.


1992-05-116 Sleepwear

Finished swapping out seasonal clothes.  Summer clothes are now safely ensconced into air tight boxes.  Winter corduroys and wools have been pressed and hung ready for deep winter wear.  An interesting side effect occurred as I asked help getting down and putting up the boxes of seasonal clothing.  DH decided to clean out his closet as well.  Between the two of us, we now have 6 boxes of clothes to donate and 2 big garbage bags to discard.

A known effect of changing the seasonal clothes, is knowing where I don’t have enough of a type of garment.  I know for example that I want a new dark blue vest.  The old one obviously needed replacement. I need new robes. The old ones are snagged and the ribbings have … well they don’t snap back any more.  What surprised me was that I have plenty of winter PJ’s, long-sleeved tops and warm bottoms, but not enough transitional sleepwear.  I had accumulated a small pool of DH’s discarded T’s for those nights which are too warm to wear winter PJ’s but too cool to wear my over sized Tank’s or spaghetti strapped cami’s.   DH’s T’s are comfortable but ugly on me.

I decided to use knit fabrics and an over sized T-shirt kind of pattern.   To find the ‘fit’ I wanted, I reached back all the way to 1992 and a pattern I’ve made once before, May 1992 Style #116.

I like this particular pattern for reasons beyond the style.  That is a 2-piece, raglan sleeve. To sew, stitch the front sleeve pieces to the front, then the back sleeve pieces to the back. It’s possible to finish the bottom hem of B or C at this point because it has a deep 5.25″ curve on the side vent.  Then lay the front over the back and pin along the center sleeve edges all the way up across the shoulder and stitch that long line.  I finish the neckline at this point and then the sleeve hems.   Next serge the long side and sleeve seam.  If the bottom hem and sleeve hems were finished earlier, the garment is done. Of course more top stitching can be done or a zipper could have been used.  This garment can be more complicated.  For sleepwear, I chose to fold the bust dart out at the tissue stage (so it’s not necessary to sew at all) and place the center front seam along a fold eliminating a seam. I think this pattern would be excellent for the novice sewist. When finished it looks like an inserted sleeve but when sewing, it’s just long sleams with a little curve under the arm.  But, it’s definitely 90’s styling and therefore not a popular style.

The always wonderful Mimie is modeling for me today. Hey guys, it’s sleepwear. Which means no underwear which I’m not modeling for public consumption.  For this version I folded out 2″ in length. When worn it will hit me just below the widest point of my thigh.  I like it, someone else might not.

I took the time to do a little embroidery on the front.  I did this while I was still working on the seasonal clothing change.  The embroidery machine can chug away while I’m pressing.  It makes me feel like I’m sewing, even if the machine is doing everything.   My fabric is cotton jersey purchased at Walmart 15-20 years ago.  I love this color and kept wondering why I still had this fabric. Both ends are serged which tells me two things 1) I prewashed/preshrunk this fabric and 2) I haven’t previously cut or used from this particular fabric. It’s too lovely to have been ignored. I think it must have hidden between other cuts of fabric.  However it was the devil to work with. The edges curled. Even with this easy quick pattern, I struggled because the bands I used to finish neckline, sleeve and lower hem were hard to wrangle.  They began curling immediately and were nearly hopless before I got to the ironing board.  I though a little starch would help the edges behave. Didn’t. The bands are 2″ wide folded WST lengthwise and serged to the body of the garment. I pressed but they didn’t want to lie flat.  I top stitched using the wavy zig zag.  I want easy wearing comfortable clothing. Curling bands would have been uncomfortable. So I nailed them in place.

In the pic above you can see the how deep and curved the side vents are.  This fabric also gave me problems just shooting it though the serger. I can’t explain it’s behavior and am pretty sure it’s not the machine because the machine has been working well.  The fabric would not feed straight making the sewn seam line uneven.  I used the sewing machine to correct the armscyes but left the other ‘goofs’ alone.  It’s sleepwear. I’m not even sure DH will see it. KWIM?

I used this pattern once before  back in April 2014.  So I didn’t need to trace or fit the pattern for which I was really grateful.  I’ve been struggling with fit; then time out for the closet switch over; and I just wanted to sew. Which this pattern did for me.


1992-05-116 Finished!

This is not a blouse that WOWs me. Make no mistake, I enjoyed the sewing especially the sleeves. The pattern is fine. Initially a little big, but the finished garment is not wonderful.  The finished garment is one of those plain, basic tops that everyone needs and should be glad to have in their wardrobe.


During fitting, I kept thinking the blouse was wearing me.  15 years ago (back in the 90’s) I did indeed wear styles very similar. I was also 40 pounds heavier. (isn’t that the weight of small child?) Clothing looks and fits differently now. Also I’ve quite gotten accustomed to the closer fit and shorter styles. I started transforming this blouse by adding a belt.

I wear a belt with my pants. Really don’t want to double belt.

Helpful, but not the entire answer.  I then folded out and stitched about 2.5″ horizontally below that humongous bust dart, and all around my body.  Shortening the blouse made a big difference, in my mind.


I am not WOWed.

It still looked like the blouse overwhelming.  I took in 1/4″ along  the side seams just between bust dart and about 4″ down from the sleeve-armscye. I can’t tell that it helped. I probably need to take out more.  At the same time I added these triangular shoulder pads that have been marinating in the stash.  They are 3/8″ fat. I prefer the 1/4″  but I had these and they do work with raglan armscyes.  I feel like the shoulder pads lifted the shoulder too much and the neckline is now floating away from my body at the shoulder. Not sure what the solution to that is. The pad can’t be moved up higher, it would show in the neckline.  It can’t be moved down lower because at that point the pad would be too narrow for the sleeve.  For now, it’s such a bland garment, I’m leaving the shoulder pads alone.  I felt the sleeves were adding to the “too big” impression and decided to control them a bit. I turn up my hem and inserted 1″ elastic. Finally still wanting the make the blouse shorter, I finished by folding the 1″ hem bias binding completely to the inside making the binding a facing. With the fabric coloring, the bias band makes no impact anyway.

Fit wise, it no longer looks like the blouse is wearing me.  The effect of the shoulder pads is subtle  and acceptable.  Take a look at how the sleeve is bunching on my right arm  before looking at the back view:

The mid-back is buckling. Some would immediately call this “sway back”.  I know from long experience that I am not sway-back.  Usually, I need more room across the butt. This pattern had 3/8″ more pattern across the back then my ABO-Ebb. The ABO-Ebb doesn’t buckle.  It floats freely. Why is this buckling? I think it’s the fabric. I think the fabric got moved into a different position and just stayed there. Just like the sleeves didn’t fall back into place, neither did the back.  However, recently I read came across a blog article that discusses a half-dozen causes of the mid back buckling.  I’m wondering if maybe my tummy doesn’t need more room and is pulling the back because as seen from the side:

My garment is clearly shorter in the center front that the back and there are front-side drag lines. A problem I often experience.  For future versions I will remove an additional 2.5″ at the shorten/length line and add a front wedge of about 1/2″ to make the hems even.  Still wondering if I need to add more butt room. I think not, because in addition to a curve hem the sides are vented. The butt should be fine.

Not entirely satisfied with the garment, I started playing with my vests. It’s a given I’ll be wearing a vest during the winter, and most of the fall and spring.  I may as well see what works, right?

Not These!

Heavens no!

This would be OK –if it was the only vest available.


But These:

Yes, these work. they cover all the ills of the blouse and coordinate beautifully with the pants.  These have the WOW factor the blouse was missing.


1992-05-116, Sewing and Fitting

My fabric choice boiled down to which fabric had enough width and length. I chose a 100% cotton advertised as shirting. Once washed, it lost the crisp feel I expect from shirting. So where once I might have made it into CLD’s the Blouse Perfected, now I thought it might be more appropriate for this 90’s style. The extra ease in the 90’s required soft fabrics which drape; or at least drape a little better than a crisp shirting.

As predicted, sewing was a joy.  I finished the bottom hem first. I used bias strips and eased them around the corners. Next I stitched in front darts and then sleeve fronts to the front and sleeve backs to the back. Oh did I mention, I placed the center front on a fold?  As long as I wasn’t adding that center, slot-seam, I didn’t see the need to add a seam to the center front. Once the sleeves were attached, I stitched from hem to neckline.  I made sure to carefully align and pin the shoulder/armscye seam.  Done correctly, this is a flowing elegant line. Get the crossing seam off and it’s a bit jarring. (Oh well, I could always wear a vest.) Just before starting all the sewing, I had scooped the front neckline about 2″.  Now I finished it with a bias strip.  I spent about 5 minutes preparing this bias strip. First I cut it, then  folded and pressed in half (long edges together) and then I pressed while pulling the folded edge.  That final press and pull, builds curvature into the bias strip which made it much easier to attach smoothly.  Otherwise, the neck binding was pretty standard for me. I baste the raw edges together leaving a 4″ opening.  Then I measure and clip at the point they will meet.  I stitch, permanently stitching, the short ends together. Finally I serge the neckline on the serger before spending 5 more minutes pressing the neckline into its final place.

At this point I basted the side seams.  I tried on the blouse and took a look in the mirror before taking a few pics. Up close my fabric is an interesting strip of soft browns and a soft orange. Despite the orange, it has a muted appearance. However standing 3′ away from the mirror, it look like a big boring sack.


OK, this blouse is not sitting squarely on my shoulders. Somehow, it’s dropped off to my right.  I also have not installed shoulder pads.  I don’t have any raglan pads and not sure about installing the regular half-moon shape.


Overall, the fit is about what I expected. It is the color which is killing me. I spent a few hours, one eye on the TV the other on my NOOK, looking for possible solutions. I surfed Eileen Fisher and Net-A-Porter looking for two solution: 1) how are the designers currently handling excess ease; and 2) how are the designers handling boring fabric. The answers were astounding.

Answer to Question #1: Big loose fashions are back in style.  The designers are just letting the excess ease hang and billow. The difference is that the garments are much shorter than they were in the 90’s. My ABO-Ebb is right on trend:


The ABO-Ebb

The other difference with the 90’s I noted was that the armscye sits on the shoulder not the bicep. Again, my ABO-Ebb is right on trend

Question #2.  Ignore the lack of interest.  No seriously, I saw more plain unadorned tops than anything else. Half-way through the Net-A-Porter slide show (26 pages with 60 garments on each page), I started noting bright but pastel colors. Not the soft orange of my blouse, but a bright peach straight from the Amazon. (The world region not the on-line seller.)  Not too much in the way of structures either. A few ruffles left over from last year and a hangy-down-in-the-front thing I couldn’t figure out and wouldn’t wear. (It’s a safety issue folks. That kind of stuff finds its way into the most dangerous spots.)  A surprising number of raglan tops in plain colors grey, black white. Or, the designers completely cover the front of the garment with paint. I do like profuse embellishment but at do it in the fabric stage, not at the end when I’m tweaking fit.  Maybe the last half of the Net-A-Porter slide show is different.  The only exciting garment I saw was Carolines lace top.  I noted and saved a number of tops with sheer sections or mostly sheer.  I might make use of sheer sections, but not with this garment.

I was left wondering, what to do with this blouse?  I loved sewing it. With the right fabric and a few fitting tweaks, this would be a fabulous go-to pattern. I don’t think I’d make it sleeveless without some more pattern alterations (the armscye is far too low). But I loved that the pattern  is drafted for woven non-stretch fabrics (Loes Hines Boat Neck Top is best with knits.).  I have some lovely rayons and a charmeuse or two that could be wonderful.  Sigh, life demands my participation elsewhere at the moment.  I’ll have to come back to this problem later.

Blast To the Past

I’m starting a new pattern this week. I’m wanting a 2nd blouse that works well with the cotton/lycra pants from March. The blouse posted in the final pic, works well for spring and summer maybe even parts of fall. But here in SD spring lasts about 1 week and is not scheduled to arrive for another 6. I won’t be wearing that blouse for some time.  I want a long sleeve blouse that will coordinate closely with the color of those pants. I have a small group of fabrics (3-4) that will coordinate as desired. For patterns,  I had considered CLD’s new pattern, Simplify Your Life but there are downsides. First I don’t want a short sleeve which would mean altering the pattern before I even know how it works. Secondly, CLD patterns are a sewing lesson or conglomeration of sewing lessons in one  pattern.   I love the knowledge, the techniques I learn but find I must carefully follow instructions. That often means handling a piece multiple times as I read instruction and fold or baste to see if I’m following it correctly.  Once finished, I can usually repeat the pattern with a quick memory refresh. But I’m wanting a quicker, easier sewing experience. I love sewing pants, but the fitting experience wears me out.

While I really want to use the SYL, instead I hesitated and start looking at other possibilities. My sewing angel gave me a box of Burda magazines.  One is the May 1992 issue without cover or glossy pages.  It has only sewing instructions and master pattern sheets. But as I look through it, I am intrigued by Style 116


It looks like a typical tunic from the 90’s era except it has bust darts.  I start to pass on it when I see the sleeve in the schematic:


Doesn’t that look like a 2-piece raglan?  I look closely and realize that it has a very narrow shoulder and that the raglan is not the typical raglan shape but a slight outward curve that I would expect of a set in sleeve. It rings a bell. With a few moments of hunting I find Yoshimi’s post about  the Fujiko top pattern from Tamanegi-kobo. (I don’t know that I got all the links posted. You might need to click on Yoshimi’s post to find the other links.).  Yoshimi was thrilled with her Fujiko pattern because, like me, she has narrow shoulders.  The Fujiko is a similar design to this Burda. This design has the advantages of raglan fit and stitching, but the look of a set in sleeve. I’m sold. I need to give my Burda 05-1992 #116 a shot.

Now I’ve always liked raglan sleeves. For sewing and knitting, they are excellent. I’d easily recommend the traditional raglan sleeve to the new sewist. But the typical raglan line is  not my friend. I have to be careful, because most raglan sleeve doe’t make my narrow shoulders look wider. No,  the long, slanted diagonal common with most raglans makes me look like spinning top — my head being the knob you pull up and down on to make the top spin and my beach-ball of a tummy the wide spinning part of the top. .  When I’m wearing wide leg trousers, I bear a striking resemblance to the Pyramids.  A very upright raglin, like the Boat Neck top of Loes Hinse is flattering. I also find that a busy print can counteract the raglan. This curved-raglan is different. I’m not sure how it will work. I suppose, I can always wear a vest (and often do).  So while the raglan is a consideration, I’m going to go with it.

Another concern is ’90’s styling.  I lived those years — at 170 pounds (and more). I clearly remember large; loose-flowing; shoulders that hit the middle of my bicep; and general shapelessness.   I’m pleased to note the bust dart in this patter which helps, but I also pull out my CLd Ebb to eyeball fit. I should be a size 38-40 shoulder, 44 bust, 46 waist and hip. The smallest size for 1992-05-116 is 44. This is the first time I’ve used such an old Burda Magazine.  There have been improvements over the years, but those master patterns were still eye killers. I had problems locating the pieces which were stacked on top of each other. I mean the blues were stack on top of blues. Even though there were red lines, the blue lines didn’t seem to cross many red lines, just blue, blue and more blue.  I anticipated making fitting alterations and choose not to trace facings. I started by tracing the front and back. At the bust there is 1.5″ (total 3″) more ease in the Burda than in my Ebb.  At the hip and waist there is about .5″ (total 2″) more ease. The Burda patterns are given without seam allowances.  I decide to trace the size 44, forget adding seam allowances and adjust the bust ease at the first fitting.

I didn’t trace the center piece. I know it’s an attractive and exciting slot seam but adding it would add another 2″ unneeded ease. 90’s fashions were so voluminous, I’m reluctant to add even more.

I also note that should I choose the longer length (the square/mitered cornered version) my hem will be mid-thigh.  I’m sure tunic styles will come back into fashion someday, but for now, I cut that away and am using the curved hem.

I would like  to use the gathered waist band on version A.  That’s a nice effect I do not use often enough but I don’t want to place it across the center of my tummy. I think a line, which this will create, following the curve of my tummy will really make it look like I have a beach ball under there.

The only change I made to the pattern, besides not adding seam allowances,  was a 1″ back-waist length adjustment.  I shortened the front and back so that the waist indicated on the pattern pieces will correspond with my own. I don’t see any shaping along the side seams so it might have been possible just to whack the excess of the bottom.