Evening Dress - for wedding

LaurieSeptember 29, 2009

I'm a novice at sewing and could use some help. I am going to attempt to make a dress to wear at my daughter's wedding.

I've made drapery and a couple simple apparel items in the past, but this will be my biggest project ever. I've got a Singer Featherweight that my dear late mother gave to me a long time ago.

It will be a close fitting lined top, princess seams, sleeveless, back button closure. The skirt will be semi fitted straight, lined, evening length/to the floor, left side front slit and back zipper. The jacket will be lined, have a collar, front and back darts. I just ordered fabric online : 100% silk Dupioni, Iridescent Stormy Blue.

With some reasonably priced fabric from my local JoAnn's store, I have practiced sewing the top only. It came out pretty nice, but is a little too big. I am going to practice sewing the skirt to see how that fits me. It's tricky with pattern sizes. In a store, I would buy a size 12 dress.

Looks like the top will need to be cut to a size 18 or 16.

My first question for now is about thread. What is the best thread for this lightweight lined project? Someone told me (the guy who recently serviced my machine) that a good quality thread will not break easily when pulled by hand. Is there a particular Brand name, or anything specific I should look for?

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Silk is ambitious if you haven't sewed much. Be sure your hands are very clean and dry before you work with it.

Any of the brand name threads are good. What your service guy meant is the cheap 2 or 3 for a dollar thread you find in a department store bins.

Use a new ball point needle and change it at the first sign of something not sewing well. A sharp needle slices through the fabric, a ball point separates the fibers.

Good luck

    Bookmark   September 29, 2009 at 4:47PM
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I agree with Oilpainter, silk is ambitious. Clean hands are a must as well as an iron that does not spit or drip. Have several ball point needles on hand.
When altering your bodice remember to take it in equal amounts on every seam.
Pattern commpanies are still in the dark ages regarding sizing. You are smart to make a sample.
Post back if you have more questions or concerns.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2009 at 8:29PM
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oilpainter and msmarion - Thank you for your advise! I never knew about ballpoint needles. I plan to practice a lot more before attempting "the real thing".

I've been reading on another online site about experiences working with dupioni fabric. Seems like many pre-treat their fabric by washing or dry cleaning before starting the project. I am leaning towards leaving the fabric alone as I probably will only wear this once.

Some say use silk pins for pinning. Some say use Schmetz Microtex sharp size 10 needles for sewing another says sharp size 75/11.
For thread they say 100% cotton or cotton/poly blend.

A lot of discussion on underlining - using lightweight silk organza. I have not done underlining before, but it seems like a good idea. A couple people mentioned strips fusable interfacing ironed along seamlines...I guess that was an alternative to underlining? In either case I was thinking to line the top, skirt & jacket....in addition to the underlining or interfacing idea.

Keep all ideas, suggestions, comments, corrections coming my way. I really want to learn and I appreciate all your help!

    Bookmark   September 29, 2009 at 9:06PM
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Hi, Hmmmm have to try the ball point usually use 9 or 11 sharps.
I have sewn quite a few dupioni silk Dresses, Communion, Wedding, Christening. (Grandparents owned a tailor/bridal shop).
You can press and hang by the salvage prior to sewing.
Regarding underlining it is important it supports the fabric adding body, preventing some wrinkles. Gives it a professional look without seam puckers.
Like using Batiste for underlining.
The good thing about also lining is that eliminates some of the facings.
Thread I like using poly cotton.
I would test the fusible interfacing, before using on the dress seams, not fond of it on that fabric.Strips of tricot could be stay stitched.
Tips: Cut 1" seam allowance to allow for the fraying. Put a large beach towel on ironing board (it cushions the fabric), press seams flat after stitching then press open, I use a strip of muslin under each side of seam to prevent it from showing on right side of fabric.
If using a zipper or interfacing preshink by soaking in warm water for 10 minutes roll in towel hang to air dry.
Hope this helps a little. Patti

    Bookmark   September 30, 2009 at 5:25PM
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I only use Guterman threads. They are a bit more expensive, but well worth the money IMO.

Here is a link that might be useful: Click

    Bookmark   October 1, 2009 at 12:44PM
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pattiohio - I went to JoAnn's Fabric store today and bought some needles. 2 packs of ballpoint, one pack of sharp. The ballpoint size is 11(75), the other pack is 80/11. The pack of sharp needles are 70/10. Not sure which will be best in my situation.

The fabric will arrive end of next week. I bought 1/2 yard extra so I can experiment. I'll test the needles as well as test press the fabric. Should I use a lightly damp piece of cotton fabric between the iron & the fabric when I press? I'll also test using the fusible interfacing.

I asked the worker at JoAnn's if she could show me where the cotton batiste was (since I've never seen or felt it before). They only have it in white. It's a 65/35 cotton poly blend. Would it be ok to use white underlining for my medium shade of blue dupioni fabric? I think it's closer to navy as opposed to powder blue. I'm also planning to line this project with a lining fabric that has a nice complimentary color to the dupioni.
I love all your tips. If you think of more, let me know!

jaybird - I bought two kinds of thread today, but maybe I should get the Guterman brand. I saw Gutterman and it said 100% natural cotton. I read somewhere that mercerized cotton is smoother & stronger than regular cotton. Wasn't sure if Guterman was mercerized, so passed it up. I got Coats & Clark Dual Duty Plus 68 poly 32 cotton. The other thread is Coats & Clark Coats Cotton All Purpose 100% mercerized cotton.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2009 at 9:04PM
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Laurie, Would like to applaud you on being proactive organizing your supplies and your procedures needed for the project. Good Job.
"Would not use damp cloth", just a plain one.
Check the content on the Symphony broadcloth think it may be the same as the batiste 65/35 and you may get a color closer to the dupioni fashion fabric.
The other reason I would suggest using something like batiste or the Sympathy broadcloth for underlining is that it is not as slippery as lining fabric and has less static eletricity.
It is always good to test the stitches I usually do it on the fabric scraps after cutting fabric, this will also give you opportunity to test the thread, fusible interfacing and needle.
Will check in tomorrow always glad to help.
You can probably use extra fabric for a matching purse.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2009 at 11:11PM
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Patti - Thanks for the encouragement! You are so nice and helpful. I appreciate you taking time to give me advise. That's so interesting your grandparents owned a tailor/bridal shop. Did you learn how to sew from them or your parents or both? I spent so much time with sports as I was growing up. Wish I had spent more time sewing with my mom. She was fantastic at sewing & knitting/crocheting (spelling?).

I looked up symphony broadcloth on JoAnn's web site. They have a color called Denim that may work. It's 65 poly 35 cotton.

Yesterday at JoAnn's, I had also bought small samples (1/8 yd each) of lining fabric. Two of the samples are their Sunline anti static lining. One is called peacoat navy, the other is "paloma"..a silvery gray. The other two linings are a shade of navy and a shade of gray. The last one is a powder blue.

A matching purse...I love that idea!

    Bookmark   October 2, 2009 at 10:44AM
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Laurie, I enjoy helping, we all share and learn from each other.
I am a retired Sales Rep, sold Jello, I learned several sewing techniques from my grandparents, they owned a tailor/bridal shop/school. I love sewing for family and few friends but would not liked doing it for a living.
On the lining, they all sound like they would work, the silver sounds like a rich look.
What pattern are you using? Vogue? Simplicity? Number?
You do usually need a larger sewing pattern than RTW (ready to wear).
Princess seams have more places to adjust the pattern.
Do you know if we can send a personal message to each other on this forum?
Not really familiar with this site.


    Bookmark   October 2, 2009 at 5:55PM
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Sorry got company.
Pattern Size, did you get it based on your full bust size?
I have to get patterns for the upper bust measurement or it is huge in the shoulders. I wear a 34 DD Bra and have to do a FBA (Full Bust Alteration).
Hope this informaion is helping.
Trying to add a site for you to review, hope it works.

Here is a link that might be useful: cedesigns

    Bookmark   October 2, 2009 at 8:46PM
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Patti - The pattern for the top & skirt is See & Sew B4426. The jacket is Very Easy Vogue V8188.

I looked at the measurements on the back of the pattern envelope. My measurements are 39 37 40. So, I purchased the size C which is 18-20-22. Going by bust only, I should have a size 18, but the waist should be a 22. When I cut out the top pieces, I cut the 22 on the bottom half and 18 the top half. I just sewed everything together, lining and all and tried it on. It was big on me, but I chalked this up to part of my learning process. My bra size is 36C. When I make another practice top, what size pattern do you think I should use? I've not made clothing for myself, only things for my kids when they were younger.

I looked at your link and I'll need to spend time studying it and try to grasp the concepts. It's neat how parts are animated in the drawings. Your information IS helping me, thank you!

    Bookmark   October 2, 2009 at 11:37PM
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Always use the pattern that fits the bust, you can adjust everything else.
Was it big in the bust too? I assume it was. I haven't done much dress making the last 10 years or so, but I used to sew just about everything I wore. That was just about my bust measurement then and I too wore a 36C bra.

When I sewed for myself I used a 14 pattern and it fit perfectly. Now my memory may be a bit off and I may have been slightly smaller in the bust, but even at that you wouldn't take more than a 16 pattern. I got out one of my patterns and it said an 18 was 40.2 inches in the bust--had to do metric conversion--but that is way too big for you. You go by your actual bust measurement--in fact I used to find that mine was a little bigger than what the pattern said

Take the top you just made and pin in the sides so it fits you then measure the excess. There is aproximately 2 inches difference around between pattern sizes. You can see that by comparing the bust sizes on each size they are all about 2 inches apart. As I said always go by the bust and alter the waist.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2009 at 1:29AM
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When you pin it in don't worry about the neckline-- it won't be right. You are just going for the fit through the body. Once that is right the neck will be too

    Bookmark   October 3, 2009 at 1:36AM
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Silk dupioni is an excellent choice for your garment. I think you will find it surprisingly easy to cut and sew, especially with princess seams. Silk (and most natural fabrics) mold and shape much more easily than synthetics. I have sewn many garments in dupioni and have had absolutely no problems with fraying.

I have always used fine sharps for pinning, and size 11 sharp needles.

May I also suggest china silk for your lining? It is a perfect compliment to dupioni, light and flexible, and you may be able to find it in the perfect color to match or compliment your fashion fabric. It feels wonderful next to your skin, and helps the garment hang perfectly.

After making adjustments to your cotton muslins, you may still need to adjust the dupioni. I think you should baste the body of the garment in the silk (don't set in the sleeves or finish the neckline), adjust again, then do the final stitching.

I think you will love wearing your new clothes.

You'll keep us posted, won't you?

    Bookmark   October 3, 2009 at 1:47PM
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"oilpainter" had some good tips.
The adjustments, may seem confusing but they are mostly reading and measuring.
You may get several different answers to get you to where you need to make adjustments read them all.

Go to the Libary get a few books on alterations.
"Fitting Finesse", by Nancy Zieman has som great tips she uses the Pivot and Slide method, has pictures.
(She suggests a front Width Measurement, holding a tape measure just crease with arms down on sides.)
"The Perfect Fit" by the Singer Company has some great illustrations. Slash and Spread Method
Also check Threads on line they may have the "Seam Method" of alterations.

Points to check, where were the practice items big?
Armholes? Neckline? Shoulders? Back? Front? Waist? How was the length?

Waist? Hips? Big all over?

Patterns have ease allowances for fit, you need the extra room for wearing ease, sometimes are printed on the pattern. (Pattern size in bust 38 finshed might be 41 for top, 44 for jacket it varies.)

If we could see how your slopers/pratice top and skirt fit it would be easier to tell you where to adjust the pattern.

Like I said If I bought a pattern to fit my bust it would not fit me, the neckline would be too large armholes would gap even if sleeveless the shoulders would be too wide.

I read an article one time that purchased adult patterns only fit 10% of the people purchasing, they are meant as a guide.
Hang in there, it is hard to pass along my 50 years of sewing experience in a few posts.
LOL, Do you live anywhere near Youngstown, Ohio?

Here is a link that might be useful: butterick.com

    Bookmark   October 3, 2009 at 3:27PM
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Thanks everybody. This forum is such a nice community of people willing to take the time to help others out : )

oilpainter- yes, it was big in the bust,too. I was thinking I may try a size 14 pattern. The top buttons in the back. I had a friend pin it while I was wearing it and she overlapped & pinned where she thought the button holes & buttons should be. It's hard for me to describe. Am I allowed to embed pictures directly into this post? Or, do I have to create a link? In other forums like kitchens, flooring & home decor, people put pictures in posts all the time. However, I don't see many pictures here on the sewing site. On sewing's main page at the top it states something like don't upload "samples" or the sever might crash. What are they referring to when they say "samples"?

sherrmann - Thanks for letting me know dupioni is easy to work with! I am excited to see it when it's delivered to my house next week. Also, good to know what needles you have used. I will look into China silk. It sounds luxurious. Basting the body in silk sounds good. I noticed JoAnn's had a limited choice of silk thread. I'll need to go to a different store for that. I will for sure keep you posted, thanks!

Patti - Great idea. I think I'll go by the library today.
The practice top was large everywhere, except the armholes were just right. The length was ok, but I would probably like to see an inch added. I haven't cut or sewn a practice skirt or jacket, yet. I live in Irvine, California. It's between Los Angeles & San Diego. Dh and I are going to visit Yellowstone National Park this week. If you don't see me posting anything for a few days, you'll know why. I will bring some library books along with me so I can study up and be anxious to resume my sewing project. I am pondering the possibility of maybe making the dress in the Very Easy Vogue V8188 pattern. That's the pattern where I liked the jacket. The Vogue dress is one piece and may be easier for me. I'm not super excited about the V neck in front and V back neckline, but it would be alright. I am glad both dress patterns have a straight fit and are floor length.
You're doing such a great job passing along your knowledge. I know it's hard to explain things in the typed word form. It's so much easier to talk and be right there showing someone. I wish I lived in your area, that would be nice. To thank you, I'd have you over for a homemade dinner and bake a sour cherry pie!

    Bookmark   October 3, 2009 at 5:06PM
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Yes you can put pictures in here too. Do you know how to do it?

A picture would be good so we can see what you are talking about, and of course we'd like to see the finished product

    Bookmark   October 3, 2009 at 6:29PM
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Laurie, The Vogue is a lovely Pattern, they both are, but think Vogue would be less of a hassle.
Found a tutorial on raising the V neckline hope it comes through correctly.
Let us know if you find any books at the library?
Not familiar with the picture posting but read that the crash thing was meant as a joke.
Wish they had a Personal Message here, would give you my email, LOL I do not usually do that, but have other sites that you maybe able to use, time consuming to post one at a time.
Also a member at SewForum and Mystic Treads, user name "patti r" they have the personal message which makes it easier to see if a post has been answered.
If you lived closer I cook well also but that sour cherry pie Mmmmmm sounds soooo good..
Have a wonderful time on your trip. Will check back in later. Patti

Here is a link that might be useful: Raising Neckline

    Bookmark   October 3, 2009 at 7:02PM
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Before you cut out the 14, measure the bustline on the pattern. the fullest part is usually is usually about 1- 1 1/2 inches below the armhole. Measure the front side and back excluding the seam allowances, and your button overlap at the back, and add your figures. That will be half the final size of the bust. You will want it a touch bigger than your actual measurements.

While you are measuring see that it is long enough and measure the armholes against the one you've already made if it fits good there. You may have to add a touch on the shoulders.

You will have the same problems with doing a dress as what you are doing now, so you may as well stick with what you like. At least you'll know what size to use for the jacket. You could always opt for a large shawl instead of the jacket. My niece was married in Oct. last year and she and the bridesmaids had dresses much like yours on top and all of them wore shawls--it looked good

    Bookmark   October 3, 2009 at 7:11PM
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Patti - I went to the library & got 3 books: Vogue Fitting, Singer-Sewing for Style, & Sewing Basics by Patricia Moyes. They didn't have the ones you mentioned, but these will be good for now. I LOVE that link on raising the neckline!! It's so clear & appears fairly simple. I think I could do that! Now, I'm liking the Vogue dress even more : )

oilpainter - When you said "You may have to add a touch on the shoulders" is that meant to add length to the top of the shoulders in order to lower/make larger the armhole opening? Large enough armhole openings have always been a point of concern for me whenever I buy sleeveless tops. I remember sewing the practice top and used a 5/8" seam allowance everywhere except armholes and the top shoulder where I made seams smaller. A shawl will be an excellent back up plan, you're right. I have seen them in several wedding magazines and web sites. Good idea!

I took a few pictures of my practice top this morning.

This first one shows the large overlap behind the buttons

This shows my not so nifty fitting skills...turning back some excess & slipstitching before making the button holes

The back

The front. Has slits on the bottom, but can hardly see them

See & Sew B4426 I would not have the skirt slit go quite that high

Very Easy Vogue V8188

    Bookmark   October 3, 2009 at 8:29PM
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Beautiful dress and jacket....I looked them up earlier, glad you posted them here.

You're work looks great....but tell me, are those covered buttons on the PRACTICE top? You're finished product will be stunning.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2009 at 8:38PM
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Oh I like that vogue pattern. I even like the V neckline, but I like the other one too.

I too think your sewing is lovely. I think you were joshing us about being a beginner. Once you get the pattern to fit you'll be off to the races

No I only meant a 1/4 or 1/2 inch extra on the shoulders. Altering the shoulders too much will lower the keckline too. You may have to cut the armhole bigger.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2009 at 9:05PM
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Laurie, your doing a great job, I agree with "sherrmann" your finished product will be stunning.
Regarding the Neckline, I also like the way they simplified the adjustment.
Glad you found a couple books, visuals are great help.
Check for Broad or Square shoulders adjustments in one of the books.
"oilpainter" great tip.

You have some reading material for your trip.
We will test you when you get back, just kidding.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2009 at 9:26PM
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sherrmann, oilpainter & Patti - Thanks, again, for your kind words & support. This was my first time ever making a button hole! I was so happy : ) I also wanted to learn & practice making covered buttons. The buttons turned out to be the easiest part of this whole thing. My next practice projects will be with cotton muslin fabric and I won't do butttons. Not even sure if I'll need to do lining..if I'm just sewing to check for fit, maybe I can omit the lining? Or, I guess I can use the muslin also as the "lining".
I will enjoy spending time in Yellowstone, but I will be glad to get back to sewing!

    Bookmark   October 4, 2009 at 1:57AM
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No, tempting as it might be, don't use the muslin for the lining. (My daughter once like the muslin fitting shell so much I finished it and we dyed it dark green; she wore it for years!) You won't need to make a lining for the muslin, either. If the top you just made fits you well and you're happy with it, just go right to the silk, using the measurements and changes when you cut.

Sounds scary, but breathe deep and cut with confidence. Looks like you've got it nailed!

Enjoy your trip. When is the wedding?

    Bookmark   October 4, 2009 at 12:40PM
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Hope you had a great time on your trip.
Agree on not using the muslin as a lining.
This has been fun, hope you continue to keep us posted.
LOL keeps my mind active.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2009 at 6:20PM
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Had a great time. Saw lots of wildlife, but no bears. We had mostly sunshine with enough snow to make everything look beautiful.

I read the three sewing books and I think a few things sunk in and will help. I will also refer back to them when I need to.

The wedding is this coming April 17. So, I have 6 months and 1 week! I hope I can have the dress all done by mid December.
If it turns out that it just doesn't look right on me, then I will still have time to buy a dress.

My wording on the last post may have been misleading. I was not planning on using muslin as lining on the final (Dupioni) dress. I am planning on cutting out another top (size 16)and also cutting the lining for that top, both in muslin. This is just to see how the size 16 will fit.
I hope to make some good progress tomorrow. Maybe I can even sew a practice skirt by Monday, as well.

The fabric was delivered and I opened it today : ) Usually, I can tell the right side from the wrong side. If I have trouble, I look carefully at the selvege and can tell right from wrong that way. But, with this fabric I can not tell! Both sides look the same. I will have to spend some time and really look closely in different lighting. My plum colored practice top was made from satin backed polyester shantung. It is a reversible fabric that has a shiny satin side and a less shiny matte side. I chose the side with the less amount of shine to be the "right" side. I would have loved to use that same fabric for the final dress, but they had limited color choices and not the right shade of blue. This fabric I bought is iridescent and a medium blue...not powder blue & not navy. I'll take a picture of it sometime and post it. The link below is from the web site where I purchased it from. Their picture shows it as a little lighter than it looks in person. They are all out of stock as of today. Makes me a little nervous...hope I have enough!
I'll let you know how much progress I made by Monday night.

Here is a link that might be useful: Iridescent Stormy Blue Silk Dupioni

    Bookmark   October 11, 2009 at 1:19AM
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Laurie, So glad you had a great time, the views are beautiful this time of the year.

Understood about the muslin being used for a practice/sloper. Use 1" seams on sides and shoulders on your muslin, will give you a chance to perfect the fit.
Glad you have that much time, take it slow, judging from your from your plum practice it will turn out lovely.
The fabric sounds beautiful. Shantung is somewhat similar to Dupioni, they both fray.
I will add suggestions not to overwhelm you but to help projects run somewhat smoothly, LOL help you prevent some of my past user errors.
At one time they would put the dupioni fabric on the tube with wrong side showing and the right side on the inside like a roll of foil.
The slubs will run horizontal and be slightly raised on the right side of the fabric, hope that makes sense.
When sewing this fabric remember it frays make large seam allowances to allow for fraying.
When winding your bobbins do it slowly avoid stretching the thread, cut the thread with scissors, do not snap the thread it stretches it, causing fabric to hike or slightly pucker on seams when sewing.

Hope this still helping. Patti

    Bookmark   October 11, 2009 at 2:09PM
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I'm no expert at sewing with silk, I have never sewn with it myself, though I've sewn with many other fabrics, so this should be perhaps run by Patti.

When I sew with a fabric that frays, I cut it out with pinking shears. If I want to finish the seams some other way--overcasting, french seams, etc., I cut just outside the cutting line and trim the pinking off when I go to finish the seam. This way the edge stays relatively neat until I'm ready to deal with it.

As I said, I'm no expert on silk so maybe someone who has experience with it can tell you if this is a good idea.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2009 at 6:14AM
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oilpainter, think everyones suggestions are useful, no matter what our experience sewing is a continuous learning process.
Worked in grandparents shop/school from age 12 they mostly taught tailoring and construction of evening wear bridal gowns.
Pinking shears sometimes will snag the edges of silk if using proceed with caution, make sure they are sharp and there are no burrs on the shears.
You can do a stay stitch to edge of fabric seam allowance, serger would be great using a 2 or 3 thread finish, french seaming also great.
On certain fabrics the pinking shears can also distort seams if not used correctly.
The reason I suggested the 1" seams on sides and maybe shoulders the fabric frays over a 1/4" with using underling it will stop some fraying and the can be trimmed to normal seam allowance to neaten the seam.

Since Laurie said she had not made something like this thought I would try to suggest methods that would be useful without overwhelming her.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2009 at 3:24PM
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Good plan Pattie!

I have done a lot of sewing but not a lot on evening dresses and never on silk which is why I said to run it by you.

Now ask me how to make a childs coat from one of yours and I can give you a blow by blow discription

    Bookmark   October 12, 2009 at 4:21PM
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Wow I have a few coats that would love to redo for my DGD.
Maybe you could put this on another post, I will be the first to ask your help.
Bet their are other members interested in doing this.
Thank you, Patti

    Bookmark   October 12, 2009 at 5:06PM
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Patti, oilpainter, sherrmann, & others - Thank you for hanging in here with me!

Last night I had made some progress, but got distracted and had to watch "Dancing with The Stars". I had cut out a top (size 16) and a skirt (size 20). The top was finished this morning and fits me better than the plum one.

Before laying out the top pattern, I extended the length (where the pattern says: "lengthen here") by 1". When sewing, I used a 5/8" seam everywhere except armholes where I used 3/8".

I skipped some steps like the interfacing, stay stitching & buttons. I also did not finish the top armhole part after turn lining down : "turning in remaining armhole edges along seamlines. Press. Slipstitch pressed edges together". I did not slipstitch here, so you may notice that ruff unfinished egde there in the picture below.

Dh pinned the back for me and marked the overlap. I like the way it fits everywhere, but I need a little more overlap in the back. The overlap at the top near the neck is 7/8", middle is 5/8", near the bottom (the last pin) is 6/8".

I hope it's not against the GW rules to post a small section of my pattern.

My question for now is : can I cut out another practice top and change one thing to get more overlap, yet keep the fit everywhere else the same. See the back sections on my photo below. The straight edges (by the little #3's)...can I just extend those pattern pieces out a little? (horizontally). Actually, pattern piece #4 is the back. So I'd be cutting pattern piece 4 a little wider on the straight edge. If yes, how much should I add on each side?
This afternoon, I'm going to sew the practice skirt.

Patti - Should I have stitched a 1" seam allowance instead of a 5/8"? Maybe you meant I should cut the pieces bigger to begin with, Then use a larger seam when sewing? I will be going back and re-reading your post about the dupioni fabric when I get ready to work with it..and I can't wait! But, I know I should be patient.

oilpainter - About 30 years ago, my mom gave me a pair of Wiss 8" dressmaker shears which cut like a dream. She also gave me Wiss 9" pinking shears which used to cut well, but now not so great. I wonder if they can be sharpened? Maybe I'll just end up buying a new pair.

I love coats! I remember buying my daughter her first coat when she was about 2 years old, had a little matching hat...so cute.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2009 at 4:07PM
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Laurie, Your doing great, so proud of you..
Practice top:
The 1" Seams on this were for some adjustments, it is correct to sew the 5/8" smaller or larger where needed on the sloper/practice top.
Regarding the back: Did you mean the that after the center back was finished that was you overlap. (7/8, 5/8, 3/4)??
Do not add to center back piece, it may knock it off grain.
The adustments will be in pieces #4 and possibly #5 using the slash and spread method possibly in one of the books you got from library, not difficult.
Need you to do this to determine how much to add.
Measure your piece #4 center back to see what the overlap on the back should be? Could be anywhere from 1 1/4" to say 3", (usually the width of the interfacing piece.
Now this has to fold over and overlap to allow for fitting ease, buttonhole placement and closing the bottom.
Wait on the next practice top, probably omit lining on that one.
We will Use your present sloper to make adjustments, that you can tranfer to pattern pieces, you will be making a line about 3" from center back fold line on piece #4, draw a line a parallel to the grain line, from bottom to top for now, will need question about the overlap answered before moving on.

We will not be cutting into the neckline or through any seams that are sewn.
I am a little slow today, I have a sinus infection, hope some of this is clearer than mud..
Is this still helping??

    Bookmark   October 13, 2009 at 8:13PM
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Patti- Yes, in the picture above I am wearing the top (center back is finished) and the overlap measurements where it's pinned are 7/8, 5/8, 3/4).
Pieces #4 - the straight edges (center back) are parallel to the grainline. Since those numbers are pretty close, couldn't I add an even amount to pattern piece #4 along that straight edge? Slash and spread makes me nervous.

Pattern Piece #4 - measurement from straight edge to center back is 1-1/4"
The interfacing piece is 2-1/4".

Yes! This is helping and I am grateful : )
Hope you get over your sinus infection, soon. Fluids, rest, take care of yourself.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2009 at 9:39PM
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Hi Laurie, Sometimes if just adding to the back seam which is usually not really recommended might throw the neck line out of whack along with the grain line.
You can try it, will rub my St Jude Medal for you..

Do you have a Barnes & Noble or another large book store where you can review a copy of the Nancy Zieman book before you would purchase? Check to see if princess lines in the book.
This is the pivot and slide method, not slashing.

Another alternative would be using size 18 back and sides using the size 16 neckline.
Time for me to turn in will check back in tomorrow.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pattern Fitting with Confidence

    Bookmark   October 13, 2009 at 11:36PM
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I agree that using the 18 back and sides would probably work but then you'd have to adjust the armhole too, and to me that is a whole new kettle of fish.

You said you adjusted the armhole too by 1/4 inch.

So pattie and Laurie--how about this. Understand I'm just brainstorming.

Cut the side seams on both side fron and side back 1/4 inch bigger--just extend the cutting line 1/4 inch out. That will give you the extra for the armhole and a bit extra through the body. It will have the same fit on the armholes that you have now. Of course you will have to add to that on your silk if you want 1 inch seams.

Since the center back is cut on the same grain as the straight grain line, I see no problem with extending the center back the width of the overlap.

Slash and add or pivot is used to keep shape of the curves of the neckline and armholes, but in this case you are not altering that.

I have one question though for you Laurie. Was the bottom of your top too tight or did it fit and it's gaping because it wasn't pinned?

If Pattie agrees with me and you get the fit you want, I would suggest you take some of the extra tissue paper in the pattern or just plain tissue paper and make the adjustment to the pattern, don't rely on your memory. That is a very nice pattern and I can see it in cotton or other materials unlined as a cool summer top.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2009 at 8:05AM
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Patti - Never underestimate the power of St. Jude!

I have a Barnes & Noble close by. I'll check to see if her book includes methods for princess seams.

oilpainter - The pattern shows the last button placed about 5" from the bottom edge. You are right, it shouldn't gap like that.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2009 at 11:04AM
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Could you take a picture of you in the purple size 18 pattern, top. It might be easier to take in than to make this one larger. When you talked about it being too big, I was thinking way too big, but now I'm wondering. You might just be able to take all the seams a bit to make it fit.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2009 at 1:37PM
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OilPainter has some good tips, some of it is trial and error.
The reason I suggested the 18 back the neckline of the 16 thought it wouuld add the little extra room in the armhole back it has to be blended slightly. If you look at a multisized pattern there is not much different in the extra seam allowance at the armhole it is the height that changes.
You might be able to add to the center back making sure, like you and oilpainter mentioned that you keep it on grain and parallel.
I do feel you need to add a little width also on the side seams, from above your middle back through waist and hip, those are curved areas and increases could go from 1/4" at the to 3/4".
(You will need to do the hug test for ease and comfort.)
Found another tutorial site, covers a bunch of alterations
The reason I suggested the book it thought it would take you to through some of these steps without slashing.
It suggest that you trace the pattern with a black sharpie, mark the increase with red marker, and do your final adjustment in a green maker.
Laurie, trying to take you through this in a way so it is not as frustrating and overwhelming.
Once you learn some of alterations you will amaze yourself.
Remember the pattern is only paper not cement, LOL my grandparents, favorite saying. You can trace the pattern pieces do the adjustments, then test with out destroying the orginal pattern.
Hmmmm I have even used copier on some pattern pieces, and taped peices together to do adjustments, then transfer.
Both my DDs wear a size 4, but the one has my bust line, so I trace the pattern on freezer paper make adjustments if it is a good fit, then trace the it in a inntefacing (not fusible) or product called Do Sew.
They have some tracing stuff in JoAnn's one of them has the 1" blocks (Not fond of that one, it feels too limp).

Would be wonderful if you know anyone with a dress form that you could borrow and set up with your measurements.
For my one DD I actually put one her bras on the the bust area.
Sorry if my thoughts are all over the place, still not up to par.

Check in later hope everyone has a nice day.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pattern alterations

    Bookmark   October 14, 2009 at 1:47PM
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I'm a little late here...but here's my 2$anyway.

I think the fit looks pretty good, needing very minor adjustments. I think you might try pinning the back straight instead of fitting it because you'll get a better hang; it's meant to hang straight. Make the adjustments on the side seams.

Also, perhaps you could taper the back princess seams in a bit as they near the armhole. Looks like they don't lay flat right there, but it may be the fabric.

Press the princess seams on a ham if you have one. Makes a big difference making the curves bend.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2009 at 2:31PM
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Pattie and Laurie:
Yes that's right the height changes. I suppose using the 18 back would be all right if you traced the 16 shoulder and neckline on to the 18 back, but I am also concerned about the gap at the bottom. It seems like it's too tight around the hips.

I would really like to see the purple 18 on. It might take just a few minor changes on the front and shoulders to fit it right. The back on the 16 is too small and it may be that the side seams are a little toward the front too, I couldn't really tell.

One thing about all this is that when it comes to the jacket you will have all the bugs worked out.

I do have a suggestion brfore you cut out the skirt.

I might be easier to do this if you have some one to help.

First get very acurate measurements. To do this tie a string around your waist. Not tight it should fit like a waistband. In your underwear, standing in front of a mirror, with a tape measure find the widest part of your hips. Measure snugly but not tight with the tape parallel to the floor. Move the tape up and down until you are sure you have the widest part. mark this point with your finger or a piece of tape. Then measure straight down from the string to the tape--don't pull the string down or curve it over your hip, you want a straight acurate measurement of the length to the fullest part.

You now have acurate measurements of your waist, hips and the distance down to where you want the fullest part of the pattern to be. Be sure to write them down, then cut off the string, but save it.

Pick the pattern most matches your hip measurement, without being smaller, or if it is a touch smaller remember to add a little on each seam. It doesn't take much--I think that pattern has 6 seams eg. 1/8 inch bigger on 6 seams = 3/4 inch bigger all around.

Once you settle on a pattern, using your measurement down from the string, measure on the side seams from the waist sewing line to the fullest part. Measure straight down don't curve it. Check that it is equal distance from the front fold line. If it doesn't mesh with the pattern you may have to lengthen it somewhere between the waist and hips.

Next measure the waist on all pieces and add them together--no seam allowances. Measure your string. Does it match.If not you may have to adjust the waist.

It may seem like a lot of work, but I'll bet if you do it you'll be pleased with the fit.

My name is Myrna by the way

    Bookmark   October 14, 2009 at 8:45PM
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Patti - I went to Barnes & Noble today and they did not have the book : ( The worker was able to locate a copy at another store that's a little further away. I may be driving in that area tomorrow. I hope it has suggestions & pictures specific for princess seams.

Size 16 front with a size 18 back is sounding better to me the more I think about it. On that 16 top I made, I could use a bit more extra room in the lower part of the armholes. If I use a 18 back, would I also need to add a little width to the side seams? I need to purchase some tracing stuff..good idea. I don't know anyone with a dress form. That would be helpful. I will eventually make one more muslin top and if it still isn't right, then I may make a muslin Vogue dress and see how that fits. The Vogue dress is only 2 pieces and has long darts (see pic below).

oilpainter - for the plum top, I cut on the size 22 line at the bottom and moved onto the 18 as I neared the top half. I should have taken a picture of myself in it before I folded over the back edge & made button holes. I do remember it being large everywhere and the neck gaping open.
Below are the pictures of the practice skirt I sewed today-Size 20.

sherrmann - I agree. It will look best if I keep it straight in the back and let it hang straight. On this top I didn't do any pressing and no understitching. Also, never closed off the opening at the upper armhole area near the shoulder seam. I saw a "ham" in my sewing books. Looks like a neat thing to have handy for those princess seams.

If this skirt & top ends up not looking so great, I may try this Vogue pattern below. The dress is only two pieces with a zipper in the back. The jacket is what I'd like to use for whichever one of these dresses I end up with.

Practice Skirt : no lining, no hem at slit, bottom "pinned hem". Wearing a dark top so you can see the waist band, didn't put in zipper.

Lots of extra fabric that I can grab on both sides

Waist feels good, but extra fabric here

Waist up close

    Bookmark   October 14, 2009 at 9:02PM
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Laurie The book has great infomation on alterations on many styles, including dresses, skirts, jacket and pants, take a few minutes to review before buying.
I would still add width to the sided seams, you can always remove excess if needed but think you need it to close gap in back seam.
If you get the book check out the skirt section, I would go almost 2 sizes smaller on the skirt and add increases at waist and hip area although it looks like you pinching 4" of fabric, you need a little for ease.

Would not hurt to try the dress, although the 2 piece is lovely.

Have a question did you check the back of each pattern, the finished Jacket Length and the finished Top length?
You do not want the top hanging lower or showing under jacket..
Might be late checking in tomorrow, Dr appointment.
Hope you all have a great evening.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2009 at 10:29PM
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Patti - I bought the book today: Pattern Fitting With Confidence by Nancy Zieman. I've flipped through it & can't find any references regarding princess seams. I'm still glad I bought it because it looks like it has a lot of good information that will help me with the skirt & jacket as well as any other projects I work on in the future.

On the practice skirt, I can pinch about 4" of extra fabric on each side.

Yes, good point about checking the back length of the top & the jacket. The top is 20-1/4" for size 16. Size 18 says it's 20-1/2". I will be adding 1" to the length. So, let's say a maximum of 21-1/2". The jacket length is stated as 22-3/4" for size 16, 23" for size 18, 23-1/4" for size 20.

Hope everything went well at your doctor appointment and that you are getting over that sinus infection.

Myrna "oilpainter" - I am going to print out your suggestions from a few posts ago..about getting accurate measurements of my waist & hips and using the string. When I first read it, I had already cut out the skirt. Today, I will spend time following your steps. Then, I will start reading this new sewing book I bought.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2009 at 7:08PM
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Glad the book will be useful, it was suppose to be an update on Fitting Finesse, which has princess alterations.
Wonder if there is a way I could copy and send you the pages?

If going with the top and the jacket would make jacket an 1 1/2" to 2" longer than the top.

Skirt does the pattern have the finished hip size on the pattern, this would include the ease so will be larger than regular hip size?

Doing pretty good, new anibiotic and shot should be back to speed in couple days, nice of you to ask.


    Bookmark   October 15, 2009 at 8:53PM
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Yesterday, on an impulse, I cut out a muslin top in a size 18. My plum top was an experiment in a combo size 22/18 which was a mess. I won't have time to sew it up until probably Monday. I'll keep an eye out for the "Fitting Finesse" book next time I go to JoAnn's Fabric store.

The back of the pattern envelope does not show the "finished hip size including ease". The size chart shows size 20 as 44"hip & 34"waist. Patti- you suggested I make a skirt 2 sizes smaller, so that would mean a size 16. The measurement chart shows size 16 as waist 30", hip 40". I re-measured my waist & hips like Myrna suggested. My hips are 40" which puts me exactly to a 16, but my waist is 37-1/2" which is 7-1/2" larger than a size 16 : (

Nancy Zieman's book shows how to increase a waist on a skirt pattern (see picture below). I'll study it and give it a try this coming week.

I took some pictures of the dupioni fabric outdoors. There are 3 samples of lining I'm considering. Which do you like best? Navy, medium blue or lighter blue?
The fabric was shipped in a plastic bag inside a box. I unfolded it and put it on a clean cotton bed sheet & folded it to store until I use it. Is this a good idea for now?

    Bookmark   October 17, 2009 at 4:19PM
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I definitely wouldn't go with the white or royal blue. The pale blue tends to be more turquoise than blue but it would be the best of the 3. Can you not get a blue blue instead of the turqoise even if it is paler.

Yes storing it that way would be fine.

Laurie I am bigger in the waist too. Often my side seams are almost straight up from the hip. The way it shows in the book is the way I alter my patterns. I do make the patterns into ones that I know will fit if I ever want to use them again by adding or subtracting tissue to the pattern. It is so nice to whip out a pattern, cut it out and sew it up without worrying about alterations.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2009 at 5:46PM
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Laurie, First all I am so proud of you, your really doing your homework on all the steps to produce a wonderful garment.
The pictue while good, the fabric being a iridescent looks like it is refecting a silvertone is that correct?
Agree with Myrna, not liking the lightest shade.
IMHO, If the medium shade if not right on, may cheapen the look, if revealed, navy maybe the one..
I would take a swatch of the fabric to JoAnn's and hold it up against linings or check out a fabrics called faille, silky chiffon.
Even check the red tag items. you could also line this with a shantung if you find one that compliments your fabric, shantung as a lining can be used on either side for lining.
Take coupons JoAnn's having a big sale starts tomorrow.
While you are there ask them for one of the long upholstery tubes, you can roll your fabric on it, where it is okay on a sheet the tube will prevent extra creases.

Skirt: Myrna, right on a skirt you can add as much needed there will be line drawn and will only curve slightly to the waist when you make it larger.
So using the pivot and slide medthod, you would get the 7 1/2" divided by 4 So you would add 1 7/8" to the front and back side seams, If front two pieces add 1 7/8" to each side seam.
(This is different on a jacket, dress or top, requires extensions if more than an inch.)
Regarding the finished width with ease, it may be marked on the one of the front skirt pieces it will just say hip for your size. Might say hip size 16 43".
Hoping your finding the book easier, than slashing and spreading.
We will be here to cheer you on...

    Bookmark   October 17, 2009 at 8:11PM
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Myrna & Patti - I will keep my eye out for another lining that is a better match for the blue dupioni. When I get underlining, will any color be ok? like white? The dupioni does appear to have a silver tone due to it's shimmer. The only cross threads I see are powder blue & black.

Regarding finished width with ease: There are no measurements printed on the skirt pattern that I can see.

The skirt pattern consists of 4 pieces (not including the waistband). Will I have to add to all four pieces? Or still just add to the front & back SIDE seams?

Good to know about the upholstery tube.

I'm so grateful for all of your help!!!!!

Pattern piece #15 (back) gets "cut 2 pieces" #13 (right front) & #14 (left front) are 1 piece each.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2009 at 9:14PM
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The underlining may never be seen, but I would try for a shade close the the fabric.

Skirt alterations:Correct just the front pieces and back piece on the side seams.
Is Number 16 a Waistband piece? You do have to add 7 1/2" to the wasitband.

If you want to know the approximate finish size see the notches at hipline, measure across each of the three pattern pieces double measurement for the back piece subtract 1 1/4" from each piece.
So you would subract a total of 5 inches to arrive at the finished hip size..
The reason this is important you need the ease for comfort and so the skirt hangs correctly.

Always glad to help, LOL keeps my old mind active...


    Bookmark   October 17, 2009 at 10:44PM
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Yes, pattern piece #16 is a waistband piece.

I found a measurement printed on pattern piece #13!! (right front). Never noticed this before. Size 12 39 1/2", Size 14 41 1/2", Size 16 43 1/2".

    Bookmark   October 17, 2009 at 11:47PM
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You can make the darts a bit smaller too. Just make sure to add what you take out of the darts to the over all measurement. EG if you make the darts 1/4 inch smaller--at the top ,don't touch the bottom-that will make 1/2 inch more in the waist--4 darts X 1/2 inch=2 inches more in the waist. I don't know how big the darts are at the top so you'll have to judge. Maybe you'll only be able to take 1/8 inch--1/8 inch would give you 1 inch. then add the rest at the side seams.

To alter the darts on the pattern measure in on both sides of the dart at the top. Then draw a line from the point to the top on each side. This is now your sewing line

    Bookmark   October 18, 2009 at 7:29AM
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I should have added that darts are designed to take in the excess for the waist without them it would gape in the front and back. You definitely need the darts, but for you though you don't need to take them in as much at the top of the dart as the pattern calls for. I had another look at them and they seem pretty small so try taking 1/8 inch off.

Do the measuring on the seam line for the waistband, and be sure and take it off both sides of the dart. I do this when I sew for myself.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2009 at 7:50AM
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The Finished Hip sounds right, the measurements are for a fitted skirt, found an ease chart listed below..
If you have a pattern that is printed usually after 1985 they usually have the finished width with ease printed on the front pieces of a pattern.

Do a little "Shopping Therapy" check out some Mother of the Bride clothing that are similar to the styles your making your outfit. Check out the lining in Skirt, Jacket, Top and maybe Dress. It will give you a great visual of finished items.(Check Darts in skirt, maybe ease stitched where they are not noticed, like the ease stitch in sleeve caps.)

Darts as Myrna said do add shape to a garment, have adjusted a few by decreasing and increasing.
Have also used the ease method on darts, sometimes called a dart take up, it adds the shape but dart lines are not visible, these methods are a couture sewing technique, not to disrupt the flow of the fabric..

Make sure you tell us when the information is not clear or you need it explained further.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ease Chart for Clothing

    Bookmark   October 18, 2009 at 12:55PM
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If it weren't for you guys, I would have given up a while ago. I am learning so much from your years of experience! Thank you for being so patient with me and giving me such detailed responses. You're really spending a lot of your own time and it's really helping me to learn more about sewing : )

Today, I made the size 18 top (a "true" 18 according to the pattern lines, not a combo). I used 5/8" seams everywhere except the armholes. There's a little gap at the top back portion of the armholes. Maybe I should have used the 5/8" seams on the armholes, as well?

I ordered 6 various shades of China Silk blue swatches for lining possibilities from NY Fashion Fabrics. I ordered 7 yards of denim blue Symphony Broadcloth from Jo Ann's Fabrics for the underlining.

Right now, I've got the dining room table cleared off. I put a sheet of muslin on the table top. Next, I rolled out 2 long pieces of tracing paper taped together & put it on top of the fabric. On top of the tracing paper, I have the 2 front skirt pattern pieces (size 16). Tomorrow, I will attempt the pivot method to increase the waist size.
I'm off to watch Dancing with The Stars : )

Take a look at these size 18 pictures & and tell me what you think.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2009 at 10:53PM
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Laurie, Love sharing and helping where I can, your a great person to work with, love your determination.
Top, It is looking good, think your right about 5/8" at back armhole..
IMHO think by the pictures I notice that you have a slightly forward shoulder, do shoulder seams seen to go to the back of your shoulder and front neckline seems to be a tiny bit large? Not a big deal to do, might be in the book.

I would also add a little to the side seams from about 1 1/2" from arm hole down. You might be able to sew your practice top with 3/8" seams on side seams and back piece #4 from notch down do a 3/8" Either adjustment would eliminate the horizontal pulling at sides and back in waistline area.
I would baste your practice muslins, if minor adjustments needed would be easier than remaking it several times.

If you have any questions keep asking will try and walk you through,

LOL I like DWTS also.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2009 at 4:09PM
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I know sideways pulling is usually from being too tight, But I had another look at the 16 and there isn't near the wrinkles at the back. I wonder if it just wasn't pinned right.

I wonder if you had someone pin it and when they are pinning try to get rid of the crosswise wrinkles even if the back closing wasn't right. Then if you put horizontal pins to mark where it was pinned you can see what adjustments you have to make to the seams to put the buttons and buttonholes in the right place.

I agree take the full seam allowance under the arms. If it still gapes there then taper the side back a little toward the armhole but only the last inch or so. You probably won't need to taper more than 1/8 inch.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2009 at 8:12PM
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Patti & Myrna - Thanks for the suggestions on the size 18 top.
I am currently in the middle of trying to adjust the waistline (making it 7-1/2" bigger)on the size 16 skirt. Below are some pictures. I tried to follow the book's directions, but it looks funny to me. Can you tell me where I may be going wrong with this procedure?

1. I outlined one of the front pattern pieces on a worksheet (black). I measured out (1-7/8") from the waist for the increase mark (red).

2. I slid the pattern to the mark & traced the wider waist.

3. I placed a pin at the stitching lines where the waistline & side seams intersect. I pivoted the pattern in to the original outline at the hip. I traced the new cutting line between the waist & the hip (green).

4. Match the pattern to the original outline, tape, cut out the pattern, following the new outline. (I'm not cutting, yet).

This picture just shows all the lines

    Bookmark   October 20, 2009 at 9:43PM
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Your doing a great job, honest, I know it looks a little strange you can always take it in if large in waist, went by the increase you gave me. Take a marker add in the straight of grain line and the shorten and lengthen line to tissue, thought the increase line would end or taper a little past the S/L line start at the increase and do some dashes for 5/8" seam allowance, may make it look a little more balanced. That is probably clear as mud..
These adjustments are important to get a good fit, the other size was huge on you it may have fit you in the waist but no where else.

Myrna, the reason I suggested the increase around waist there will be underlining and lining in the area it has to lay flat and smooth no horizontal creases they could effect the smoothness of jacket lines..

By Thursday my head should be clearer tomorrow last day for meds.
Off to bed will check in tomorrow.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2009 at 11:17PM
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Yes it doesn't look right.

I just thought of something. When you measured your waist again you said it was 40 but before you said it was 37. Are you sure you didn't stretch the string. Measure again with a tape, not tight just snug. If your hips are 40 and waist is 40 that means you go straight up and that's not true.

I also noted when looking back at the pattern pieces that they have spread tha waist curve over the narrow side front panel as well as the side seams so that could be adjusted as well. I certainly think you should remove some from the darts too.If you are widening the waist you don't have tohave the full amount of the darts at the waist.

I've printed out your pattern pieces and will think about what to do, But get a good waist measurement. The place you should start when you pivot is the spot(no of inches) you measured down to from the string to the hip. I'll check back in a while

    Bookmark   October 20, 2009 at 11:30PM
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My waist is 37-1/2" & my hips are 40". The distance from the string around my waist to my hips was only 2".

On the back of the pattern envelope, it says size 16 is a 30" waist & 40" hips.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2009 at 11:57PM
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Ignore what I said about a 40 waist I got my wires crossed.

Ok I see what they have done. They have curved the side front instead of a second front dart.

Laurie when you think of it your waist is only 2 1/2 inches smaller than your hips.That means you only have to take the pattern in at the waist by that much. If your darts 1/4 inch at the waist plus 1/4 inch for the side panel, that's 2 inches right there so it only leaves 1/2 inch left.

Since this is just a practice garment, this is what I would do-- draw the line straight up on the sides, swivel the pattern to get the waist cutting line, except for the front side and side panel. They should curve in 1/4 of an inch inward. Mark 1/4 inch darts. Then sew darts and the seams and try it on. Then make any adjustments to the side seams.

Then you can go back and make the same adjustments to the pattern for the real thing

    Bookmark   October 21, 2009 at 12:42AM
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That's clear as mud This is a revision.

Swivel the pattern to get the cutting line for the waist. The front side and side panel will not be straight up but curve in a 1/4 inch--in place of the dart. ---the rest is ok

    Bookmark   October 21, 2009 at 12:50AM
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What do you think of my suggestion. I know there is usually a curve in the sides but I know I have cut the sides straight up for me and it worked. I think we were both thinking of the way it is usually done and got carried away with that. If Laurie did it that way and put in the darts as is, the material would be off grain. Perhaps instead of darts she could use ease instead of the three darts---Your opinion please.

As for the top perhaps you are right but I'd still like to see the back pinned better to remove some of the wrinkles.

Laurie before you do anything more, let Pattie and me brainstorm a little. You are doing a great job and I'll bet learning things that will stand you in good stead in the future.

Pattie have you ever tried saline spray for sinus. You can buy it at a drug store over the counter. My brother-in-law is a contractor who had a beam fall on his nose. Quite a few operations later and he's doing fine except for chronic sinusitis. He says the saline spray does more for sinus problems than any medicated spray.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2009 at 10:54AM
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Myrna and Laurie,
I agree Laurie is going over and above what most would, bless her heart.
If you would see some of the slopers/practice ones I have seen they are patched up like a mummy, Like Myrna says they usually mark or chalk right on the muslin slash and spread the plop a scrap piece of muslin where increases/decreases are located or loosen the seam.
They are usually basted, with the seams on rignt side of fabric and are 1" seams to make fitting less of a hassle.

Skirt: Think she should try it this first little less confusing that going straight up from the hip then adjusting. (I know what your talking about, good points)
The method she is using will keep it on grain and should allow the darts to be sewn where located on orginal pattern

I know it may look odd, but when the seams are sewn she will be sewing 5/8" seam that reduces the width, and shapes the waist area.

You can trace the pattern pieces adding waist allowance then match them up to see how pieces will align including pinning the darts, before going cutting practice fabric.

I have the saline been doing it, the weather here is crazy 2 days ago was 30 and snow flurries today it is 70, We call this the sinus belt of the world.

Will check in after, behave..

    Bookmark   October 21, 2009 at 3:13PM
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I honestly don't know Pattie.
Pivoting out that much is going to make the waist the biggest part of the garment, and how do you get the side seam straight without that dip, unless you carry it down to the hem

    Bookmark   October 21, 2009 at 4:58PM
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Laurie, Been a while since I used the slide and pivot on a formal skirt.
Are they still using the D being the hip line and F on the skirt patterns for pivot points E for Length/Short lines?
Know it looks different than if you would increase both the waist and the hip and taper or blend it down.
Might need blended a little past the E point.
Lot of this is trial and error even going to a tailor requires a few fittings.

Myrna, If you look piece #14, It is the left side of the skirt not cut on a fold single piece, that means that although she added the 1 7/8" at side seam taking up 5/8" and the left center being sewn at 5/8" total of 1 1/4" it should take up some of the slack and curve the waistline inward.
Each time you and a 1/2 inch to a waist area it actually flares out sometimes to appear wider than the hip area

If Myrna's way sounds easier by all means try it.

If I had you here probably could do the adjustments in an less than an hour, it is kind of hard sometimes to convey.

Will check back in later.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2009 at 6:46PM
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Yes I understand that the darts and and seams will indeed curve the waist inward. That happens on any skirt, and I have used the pivot method to increase the waist, but never by this much.

The only thing that bothers me is making a smooth side seam transition with the excess at the waist

    Bookmark   October 21, 2009 at 9:29PM
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Okay gave this some thought.
Measure the pattern pieces with no adjustments this is called a flat pattern measurement..
Measure the waist band piece #16 minus the seam allowances._________
Measure pattern pieces at top at waist line 5/8" , #13, #14, #15 double for back, minus seam allowance and darts.
This will give you a finished waist size.________
This would also change the amount added for alteration, you may not need to add the 7 1/2 inches.
So Sorry, should have had you check this when you checked for finished hip size.
Like Myrna say we both have an idea what to do, it is just getting there.
LOL, medications slow me up, tomorrow my brain should return.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2009 at 9:30PM
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Right on Pattie:

I was also concerned with adding more to the hips.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2009 at 10:06PM
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Patti & Myrna - You both are FANTASTIC people! I am amazed at your willingness to stick with this.

I don't know what D, F & E points are. Don't remember reading about that in the book.

After I tried the pivot method, I posted the pictures above because the side seam had a definite bulge outward (from the black to the green). Maybe I am supposed to just taper that myself, so it's a more gradual transition?

The size 20 practice skirt fit my waist ok. On the back of the pattern envelope, the chart says for a size 20, waist is 34. Yet, my 37-1/2" waist fits. Therefore, maybe the size 16 will not necessarily have to have the 7-1/2" added to the waist (Size 16 states a 30" waist). Maybe I only need to increase the 16 waist by 4"? When doing a 4" increase using the pivot method, maybe the side seam transition will be smoother?

Size 16 Flat Pattern Measurements:
Waistband minus 5/8"seams each end = 33-1/8"
Pattern pieces #13, 14,& 15 (#15 was doubled) minus seams =
3 darts at 1-3/8" each = 4-1/8".
35-3/4" minus 4-1/8" = 31-5/8"
Finished waist size = 31-5/8"

I hope I did this math correctly.

Today, I could not help myself...I cut out the Vogue dress (in Muslin)...size 18. I can only do so much reading and so much thinking...and then I have to cut or sew and see what happens. Before cutting I used the "raising the neckline" plan that Patti gave me several posts ago. I had to use it on the back as well because the back came down to a deep v also. I tried (for the first time) using a tracing wheel & tracing paper to transfer the cutting lines to the fabric. This did not work well. Are all wheels & tracing paper the same or are some better than others? The paper is made by Dritz, wax-free. I gave up on using the paper & wheel and I just cut out the dress the way I always do, but now the size 20 & 22 cutting lines are in my scrap pile : (

I can say I am learning a lot, thanks to you. And I am hoping these sewing skills will come in handy for the rest of my life. This is my oldest daughter who's getting married and I have another daughter who will probably be getting married soon, as well. Then there's my youngest (23),a son.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2009 at 12:57AM
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I never use the wheel and tracing paper to mark anything. I don't like the residue. I use a needle and thread to mark my dots for darts and things. First I put a straight pin through the dot, then go to the side without the pattern and sew an x over or near the point of the pin.I then cut the thread on the inside to 1/2 inch. Then go to the pattern side, pull the head of the pin through the pattern and do the same thing over the head and do the same thing. Now you have your darts marked but you also know which is the wrong side and right side by looking at the thread tails. I have also used chalk but I find this works best.

As for the skirt--You are right there is only about 2 inches between sizes and the 20 did fit in the waist. Try this lay out the 16 back and then lay the 20 over it and mark the waistline. Then swivel it down to the 16. Does it add too much to the hips. If it does and probably will, narrow the darts a bit don't forget you have swivel and mark 14 and 15 the same amount as you remove from the darts but do that later, for now just add that amount to the total inches gained. Take that off the waist. Position the 20 at your new mark and see where that gets you. You will have to swivel the 16 then to add to the waist.

I have to go but I'll be back

    Bookmark   October 22, 2009 at 9:30AM
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On the dress the darts and side curves act as same as the skirt.

If you narrow each dart by 1/2 inch you should have the same waist measurement as the 20 skirt. In other words at the widest part of the dart measure in 1/4 inch on each side and then draw a line down to the point. Transfer these markings on to the material and use them to sew the darts. The hips might be a little big but they can be adjusted. You might find it easier to adjust the dress than the skirt and top

    Bookmark   October 22, 2009 at 11:34AM
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That should have been 13 and 14--in place of a dart

    Bookmark   October 22, 2009 at 12:50PM
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Skirt: Measurements from the size 20/34" that fits to size 16/30" down Brings adjustment down to 3 inches on the waist which is only 3/4" increase on each hip seam, yes that would make the pivot and slide method much smoother.
Yes when doing any of the adjustments it requires blending or tapering to make the the seams lay smoother.

Waistband remember what every you add it has to overlap for buttonhole.

Myrna swivel method (had to tease you on that term love it) same as pivot and slide? Narrowing the darts Sounds like the it may work. What she is discribing is just like pivot and slide just a different way to get to it.
Think you will notice the increase between sizes at waist will be 3/8" to 1/2" per size, total increase will be 3/4" to 1".

Warning about the tracing paper do not use on fashion fabric and in future if using on light color do not press will set color in fabric.
I use the straight pin though the dots (Stick large needle in to the dot on pattern piece to make larger before pinning to fabric), when using underlinig will use fabric chalk marking dots on underlining pieces this keeps you from lifting fabric. Do use the thread method on some fabrics.

I will be back also, Stella has appointment to get her nails done, that is our dog.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2009 at 1:18PM
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I'm not big on terms--as long as it gets the job done it doesn't matter what you call it in my book and yes I think it should work.

When you say 3/8 to 1/2 inch per size do you mean per pattern piece. I would say that is about right but an over all increase of 2 inches.

I agree with you on the tracing paper and wheel which is precicely why I don't use it.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2009 at 3:27PM
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Myrna, Per size, going up 2 sizes the amount would be doubled. When you look at a multi sized pattern, the side seams on most increase 3/8" to 1/2" per size, on a fitted and semi fitted garment.

They do have a solid tracing wheel if someone uses one, it does not perforate the pattern.

Years ago, I was learning to smock used the red tracing paper on white fabric and pressed in the lines, talk about user error. Nothing not even bleach removed the lines.

LOL ahhhh Experience.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2009 at 4:42PM
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Yes Pattie That's what I meant per size--guess I didn't put that in there.

You must be much like me I do smocking too. My grandmother didn't just teach me how to sew but many other needle arts as well as knitting and crocheting.

I know I used those dots for the gathers too at first and it's heartbreaking to put in all the work of smocking only to have those dots not wash out. Now I use a smocking machine to do the picking up or rather I pay someone to do it on the machine, and then I do the enjoyable part of smocking.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2009 at 5:09PM
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Laurie, I hope your reading this, LOL see we all have made some "user errors" in the past, boy are they valuable lessons of what not to do.

Myrna, only do a little smocking for family christening gowns, not much of a knitter or crocheting. I lean toward the sewing, machine embroidery, serging, home deco, drapes little upholstery work.
Another item we should warn you about are the so called disappearing fabric markers/pens, they are also set in the fabric if pressed with iron.

I have sometimes used a fine lead pencil for marking a notch in a seam allowance.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2009 at 7:14PM
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I am sad that I didn't get to do anything today related to sewing : ( I'll make up for it tomorrow!

Patti - I love dogs. What breed is Stella? I had a beagle who lived to be 16-1/2. He died a little over a year ago. Dogs are such great companions.

Before I do anything tomorrow on the skirt and Vogue dress, I will read & re-read all of the recent posts from you talented ladies. I'll do my best to follow your guidance!

    Bookmark   October 22, 2009 at 10:41PM
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Laurie, Take your time better to work on the outfit when your not rushed.
MIL in nursing home so I am on line often while up here with her.

Stella(we renamed her) is a 6 year old Golden Retriever/Shepard Mix we have had her for 4 months.
She is from Angels for Animals, Our Yorkie "Mario" passed awake last year at 18 years old.
LOL, Never take your grandchildren to look for a dog.
I wanted a 10 pound dog that did not shed, Stella weighs 60 pounds and sheds, but she has a very sweet nature and we love her dearly.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2009 at 2:48PM
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So good of you to visit your MIL. Funny story how you ended up with a different dog than you had in mind. Goldens are known for their gentle nature & Shepards are very intelligent, so I'd say you got a great mix : )

Today, I tried making tailor tacks as they're called in one of my books (with red thread). I took pictures of part of the pattern (the back) so you can see all the dart lines. They are curved in some parts and I don't know how to transfer the lines for sewing. The front pattern piece looks similar. On the front fabric piece, I have already cut (slashed) along the solid line to the square. Step 2 says staystitch front edges 1/8" from solid lines, ending opposite squares. I'm skipping that part for this practice dress. Next, it says to fold front right sides together, matching circles, then Stitch. I'm going to hand baste this dress first..to see how it fits.

If you look carefully, you can see where the dart starts out wide (1-1/4") near the armhole narrows to 5/8" fairly quickly, then widens near the waist to 3/4", then narrows all the way to the point. I'm thinking of basting this dart as best I can without lines drawn on the fabric to guide me. When I get to the waist, I will not increase the width, just keep with 5/8" or a little less. What do you think?

I have not done anything more on the skirt, yet. I'll keep you posted this weekend.
My absolute favorite tv show is on tonight at 9 in our area, Channel 10. It's a British sitcom with Judi Dench called As Time Goes By..either of you watch this? If not, give it a look.

Size 18 Vogue Dress

You can see the white paper where I raised the neckline

    Bookmark   October 23, 2009 at 11:51PM
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Hi Laurie,
Important for every pattern always check the finished measurements on each different pattern, you did the Top and Skirt, now the Dress needs checked, then the Jacket.

Dress: Did you check the front piece for finished measurements, for Bust, maybe Waist and Hips?

Good job on the tailor tacks, by matching them up you will get the curve, since it is like a big dart you can decrease as Myrna mentioned.
Basting is a good thing to do, you can take in or let out where needed, I agree on less at the waist.
The only thing I would have suggested was to add to shoulder seams and side seams at the side seams, looking at piece #6 would have increased where the curve at waist and blend in from armhole to hip. It would look almost straight, but would look fitted on you when sewn, does that make sense to you..

Myrna you out there???

    Bookmark   October 24, 2009 at 12:05PM
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Yes I'm here.

You are right Pattie, but since Laurie said she had cut it out already I didn't mention any other alterations. It would be a shame if it were sewn and she couldn't get it on.

We'll see how it fits when it's sewn.

Yes Laurie good job on the tailor tacks. Just match up the dots and sew from dot to dot and it will naturally curve. You'll see that when you get them pinned together. That's why they put the dots where they are--Oh I see Pattie's already said that--seems we both agree.

Yes basting is good. Laurie before you sew the darts measure the 2 pattern pieces at the waist,less the seam allowances, double it and take off the amount for the darts and see if it will fit you.

The waist is the widest part of the dart--the second double dots from the bottom. Then you'll know if you have to alter the darts. If you do just pin as is except when you get to the waist dots go from straight from dots above and below the waist. That should if I'm not mistaken take you in 1/4 inch or give you 1/2 inch extra on the waist with each dart. you can measure if you like but don't jog in--keep the line straight.

I hope this is clearer than mud

    Bookmark   October 24, 2009 at 2:14PM
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I went by the measurements on the back of the Vogue pattern envelope. The sise 18 measurements were the same as the the Sew and Sew pattern.

I hand basted the Vogue dress (the shorter version-not full length to floor). On the front & back darts, I did lessen the width of the dart near the waistline & kept everything gradual down to the point. On the shoulder seams, I only stitched a 1/4" seam. For the side seams, I started with a 1/4" seam at the top (under the arm hole), kept that 1/4" seam all the way to the waist. Just after the waist, I gradually increased the seam to 5/8" and kept it 5/8" the rest of the way to the bottom. For the back seam, I did a 5/8" seam from where the bottom of the zipper will begin to the bottom of the dress. Yes, I raised the bottom zipper dot 3" higher because I had raised the neckline and back "neckline" 3".

I put the dress on and I think it fits pretty well! It will need some adjustments and I know you two will give me some great suggestions. When dh gets home, I'll have him pin the back and take some pictures so you will be able to give me some feedback.

My question for now is...how much overlap or "seam allowance" should I plan on for the zipper? Should dh pin the back using a 5/8" seam?

    Bookmark   October 24, 2009 at 3:53PM
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Yes 5/8" for the zipper.
Depending on the length of the zipper your may have been able to leave it where it was, may be easier to get into, just a thought.
Will check back in later for the picture.

Mynra, LOL, glad your here I need you to double check me.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2009 at 4:25PM
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Hey Pattie--can't we all use a little input from others. Even if we've sewn for a long time we can make mistakes. It's a lot harder telling someone than actually doing it. I'm glad too that I'm not going it alone. I'd hate to steer Laurie wrong.

Laurie: yes I would have just used a longer zipper--something to remember if you go with the dress. As Pattie said you might have a hard time getting into it if the Zipper ends where the dress is narrower

    Bookmark   October 24, 2009 at 5:16PM
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I agree! It's a lot easier to do it as opposed to telling someone how to do it. But, I must say you both are doing a terrific job of breaking down the details and explaining things to me : )

If it's ok with you, I'm going to start a second post for my project. It's getting pretty long and scrolling down is taking forever.

I'll title it: "Evening Dress - Part 2"

I will do this and in about 10 minutes or so, you'll see it posted. I will show the Vogue practice dress pictures on this new posting..

    Bookmark   October 24, 2009 at 6:36PM
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Your right no matter how long you have sewn, you can make a mistakes, things that may be automatic detail to us maybe a learning feature for others. Especially when your sewing at home, many interruptions. I Consider sewing a continuous learning adventure, always wanting to try something new.
To this day on certain fabrics I use a tailor tack in the seam line to identify the wrong side of fabric and direction of the nap before cutting.
Laurie's California time zone is 3 hours different than mine, how about you Myrna?

    Bookmark   October 24, 2009 at 6:45PM
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Just in case anyone stumbles across this thread as I did and wants to read more.

Here is a link that might be useful: Evening Dress - Part 2

    Bookmark   September 16, 2014 at 2:35PM
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