Category Archives: Sewing Assistant Teacup

Overconfidence will get you every time

This sewing project went together so quickly that I didn’t have time to post on it before I finished it!

Here’s the before:

The envelop says New Look 0134, but the pattern pieces say 6104. The instruction sheet lists both numbers.

The envelope says New Look 0134, but the pattern pieces say 6104. The instruction sheet lists both numbers.

After the success I had with my last project, I dove right into this one, confident that I knew all the adjustments I needed to make:

  • Lower the bust point 2 inches
  • Full bust adjustment
  • Add a half-inch in length to the bodice

I was so confident that I didn’t bother with a muslin.


Turns out, lowering the bust point 2 inches was 1 inch too much. I don’t know if this is because it’s a New Look pattern (which I’ve never used before) or because each individual pattern differs. I don’t think it would be as noticeable if the dart were horizontal instead of pointing up so sharply. Regardless, after I discovered the problem, I decided that it could have been avoided if only I had pinned my traced pattern pieces together before I cut the fabric. But I tested that hypothesis that after my garment was done, only to find that it was really difficult to tell exactly where to place the shoulder seam with only half a garment. So, I would not have known that I goofed up the bust point unless I had made a muslin.

Oh well, it really doesn’t affect how much I love the garment. Not at all. Outside of the bust point gone awry, the fit on this top is great, and it’s so easy to make.

I was dealing with an uneven plaid (asymmetrical both horizontally and vertically) and just wasn’t up for all that pattern matching. I only wanted to deal with matching the horizontal lines at the center front and at the sides below the dart.

Lining up the horizontal stripes.

Lining up the horizontal stripes.

So, I cheated and cut everything else on the bias. Only the band around the neckline was supposed to be cut on the bias. I knew the front band wouldn’t have bias stretch issues because it would be stabilized by the woven fusible interfacing I would be using, but I wasn’t sure about the set-in sleeves. I thought the insertion might be a little tricky. Turns out, the sleeves went in just fine. And I really like how the bias front band looks.

The after:

It's tight in the bust area on Gene the dressform because her girls are in the wrong place!

The plaid across the bodice looks like it is matching the sleeve. I assure you, that is entirely accidental.

One thing I really like about not being a newbie seamstress is that I know how to improve upon the sewing instructions. For both the neck band and front band, the instructions called for folding the band to the back and sewing it down from the front. Um, no. I’ve been down that messy road before. I hand sewed both those bands down on the inside, which made it very tidy, indeed. Also making the inside tidy are the rayon seam binding seam finishes. Now that I’ve done two garments with that technique, I don’t know that I can stop. It eats up thread like crazy but is so very pretty. I blame Laura Mae.

It's almost as nice on the inside as the outside. I LOVE that!

It’s almost as nice on the inside as the outside. I LOVE that!

Two other challenges:

That center band: My automatic buttonholer did NOT like it. First, I had to make the buttonholes upside down (sewn from bottom to top) so the little wheel on the left of the presser foot that measures out the length of the buttonhole would have fabric to grab. Then, the bulk of the seam allowances inside the band (even though I trimmed them in anticipation) threw the buttonholer off a bit. So they aren’t as perfectly uniform as they usually are, but they do work just fine. I’ll trim the seam allowances more next time. It’s either that or work the buttonholes by hand, and that ain’t happening for a little summer blouse.

Staystitching the neck edge: The instructions called for staystitching, but didn’t mention that it should be done at 1/4 inch instead of the usual 1/2 inch. It needs to be done at 1/4 inch because the neck band is sewn on with a 3/8 seam allowance. So my staystitching ended up OUTSIDE the seam allowance. Yikes! Seam ripper and steam iron to the rescue. The little holes are barely noticeable.

And here it is on me!

 If the plaid across the bodice looks like it is matching the sleeve, I assure you, that is entirely accidental. Photo by Maddie.

Photo by Maddie.

I love having a woven blouse that fits! I know I need one in white, and I found that I already had a perfect plain white cotton in my stash. I also have plenty of the buttons from the plaid version left over. This time around, I’ll put in the bodice tucks from View C and try the sleeves from View A. And NO pattern matching.

But first, I’ll be making a matching plaid skirt, which is in progress, no thanks to Sewing Assistant Teacup.

Hey, can't you see I'm trying to match a plaid here?

Teacup! Can’t you see I’m trying to match a plaid here?

Still working out my bust issues

As I decided to do the other day, I made my length adjustments to the Sencha front and back.

The overall length was an inch shorter than I prefer, and the front was riding up a good inch. Observe:

Does the front look an inch shorter to you? No? Then you're smarter than I am. Keep reading.

So I made the adjustments like so:

I added an inch in overall length to both the front and the back, which you can see going through the darts. At the bust point, I added another inch, with a corresponding dart at the side seam, to solve the riding-up problem. Or so I thought.

Dangit! It turns out it was riding up closer to two inches. Observe:

Oops, one inch longer for the bust wasn't enough! Maybe I should have actually measured instead of eyeballing it. Grrr.

I’m happy with the back length, but the front length clearly needs to be longer. I was going to let it go, but NO! This year is about doing it right.

Time to regroup, put in another inch and make the dart deeper. Sigh.

Small setback.

At least during this whole process, Sewing Assistant Teacup was well-behaved:

Gratuitous photo of a cute cat who is NOT on top of my pattern, for a change.

Back to the drawing board for me.

Let the cat out of the bag

Sewing Assistant Teacup can't resist hopping into my reusable shopping bag from Jo-Ann's when I'm not looking.

A mystery, thwarted progress and a rescue mission

Off to my sewing area I went today with grand ideas of making major progress on the last few items to finish the polka dot top, starting with inserting the crochet lace trim and attaching the sleeve facings.

Only there was no crochet trim to be found. My first suspect was Sewing Assistant Teacup. Does he look guilty to you?

Who me?

I looked under all the furniture in the bedroom, and all I could find was about a dozen Nerf darts. Teacup LOVES those things. But, alas, no crochet trim. I felt a little guilty blaming Teacup with no evidence, so my current theory is that I accidentally threw it away with some minor scraps.

So, I regrouped and inserted the invisible zipper in the left side. I was relieved to find out you actually can insert an invisible zipper even if you have sewn the rest of the seam. It’s not easy, but it can be done. Even though the result is no better than with the skirt (I still didn’t bother to iron the zipper beforehand.), I’m happier with it. But I think that’s just because I was a little worried the waist seam was tight, but the pin fit was deceptive. With the zipper in, it’s fits perfectly.

Note to self: Pick zipper color like thread color. A little darker is better than lighter.

Then I overcast the hem allowance, and had just enough thread, with some sneaky bobbin-changing, to finish the edge all the way around. But then I was completely out of coral thread. So, I called it quits on sewing for the day.

But I still had a sewing-related task left. I’ve been going through my closet in spurts and starts, eliminating clothing that has hopeless stains. Two sweaters have to go, but not before I rescued their buttons. One set is mundane, but the other set was the nicest part of the sweater:

The sparkly ones will look awfully good on a blouse — soon, I hope.

I tied each set together with heavyweight button thread and put them in this cute faux vintage tin that houses my button collection:

I love faux vintage sewing tins — no rust!

So now that I’m out of thread AND trim, I’ll be heading to JoAnn’s to replenish both before I make any further progress on this project.

But the next project is a silk blouse. I got a little adventurous and decided to prewash the silk in my washing machine on the “handwash” cycle. I figured if I prewashed in the machine, I could wash it in the machine when it’s done. It’s in there right now, making me nervous. Wish me luck.

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