Monday, January 16, 2012

2011--My Year of Full-Bust Alterations and Lounge Wear

My 2011 garment sewing adventures were not great blog fodder. They involved revisiting my pattern collection and trying the full-bust alteration on previously unsuccessful blouse, shirt, and jacket patterns. Much brown wrapping paper was used for pattern copies, there was much cutting and taping, and many muslins were made and discarded.

While it was an instructive process (and one that is not yet complete--I still have a couple of patterns to try once more), I have little to share here for my trouble beyond an excellent Web resource: Debbie Cook's Stitches and Seams Tutorials. She demonstrates the alteration on princess seams, empire waist garments, dolman sleeves, and other alteration-resistant styles. As if that weren't enough, many of her blog posts show her full bust alteration process, so we can watch the way she solves a variety of problems.

I did do some utilitarian sewing--mainly lounge-wear and undergarments. I made four of these sport bras from an out-of-print "Stretch and Sew" pattern I've used for at least 10 years. This is the first time I've made these since I got the serger, and I was quite pleased with the way the serger inserted the miles of elastic that go into each of these items. It's a quicker and better-looking edge finish than I've gotten in the past.

I made a summer version of the Kwik-Sew robe pattern I altered and tried in January. It's the fuchsia garment on the clothesline below. It uses some silk noil I'd crumple-dyed several years ago, and it's trimmed with some grab-bag lace remnants. The nubby silk noil is surprisingly comfortable in hot weather.

The light blue nylon knit below was made from a pattern in Kwik-Sew's "Beautiful Lingerie". It's a nice pattern, easy to sew and fun to embellish, but I've discovered that a yoke that ends above the bust is...well...not a great look for me.

The purple stretch lace gown on the right is simply a knee-length tee shirt, and this works very well for nightgowns out of stretchy fabrics like thermal knits and cotton interlock. This navy blue nylon tricot seemed to be as stretchy as the knits I've used before, but in this style it seems a little too snug, or perhaps too body-hugging. I have several nylon tricot remnants I'd like to use, but I'll continue looking for a different gown pattern.

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