Monthly Archives: January 2009

Building Patterns


FINALLY, my book arrived. I’ve only had about an hour to look through, but I’m pleased with what I see so far. This is a comprehensive instructional guide with exercises. It covers slopers, pattern making, fitting, skirts, moulage, collars, sleeves, pants, bodices, the whole shebang! There’s a lot of math, but the explanations are simple and logical. I was afraid I’d regret spending the $55 for it sight unseen, but I think it was worth it. I can’t wait to begin working through it.

Building Patterns,the Architecture of Women’s Clothing
by Suzy Furrer


New threads for my little guy


Fine wale corduroy shirt, khaki twill pants with the requested 6 pockets. This little guy grows so fast that I’m thankful he’ll still wear elastic waist pants since they are such a cinch to put together. I made him four pair this weekend. I’m thinking that next year, when he’s a first-grader, we’re going to have to move to real fly fronts. I used a pajama shirt pattern so it doesn’t have cuffs, but he doesn’t miss them and it will make it easier to let down the hem and give him some more arm length next month when they’re an inch longer. The pants have a 2 inch hem for the same reason. Right now they have a blind hem, but after I let them down, I’ll do a jeans hem in contrasting black stitching like the pockets and felled seams.

red leather tote


I looked at this gorgeous tooled red leather for a year before I had enough courage to cut it. I recycled 2 black leather skirts for the side panels and lined it with an upholstery scrap from my dining room.
It’s large enough for my MacBook, wallet, makeup and a change of shoes plus!

If you haven’t worked with leather, don’t be afraid; it’s very much like fabric when dealing with garment weights. See my earlier post for a few tips.



Now that I’m figuring out the pants fit, I find myself constantly thinking about how my body is different from the standards, how I can alter things to fit even better and ultimately, if I should learn to make my own patterns rather than start with commercial ones. Or maybe just a sloper.
I did some research for pattern drafting and altering books, on-line courses, videos and such and ended up ordering Building Patterns the Architecture of Women’s Clothing, by Suzy Furrer.
I’m anxiously awaiting its arrival.
I did browse through a number of others at Barnes & Noble on Sunday, but most of the tissue-fit pattern alteration things seemed to be geared for, er, larger, women and had a lot of extraneous stuff that I would never ( I hope) use.
In the mean time, the videos at this link were really helpful to me.
Don McCunn videos

Anybody out there have any experiences you could share?

making it fit


I’ve always been a lazy seamstress. I’d shift a seam here and there rather than take the time to learn how to fit a pattern properly. Things always ended up fitting well enough. Certainly as good as off the rack mall buys. But I’ve been bitten by a new bug and need to learn to make it fit really right. I have a very full bust and no behind to speak of, a short waist and hourglass measurements. Obviously not standard fare. So I bought a learn-to-fit pattern for a princess seamed top and saw how to adjust for a full bust. Piece of cake once you step through the six or so steps. Then yesterday I attempted the pants. I never ever ever can find pants that fit properly and decided I’d make myself the perfect jeans. I checked out a few websites… is great… and went at it. After lengthening the waist-to-crotch an inch, I decided to cut the back leg seam a size (ish) smaller rather than adjust the pattern to shorten the back crotch seam for my non-existent butt. The results are the same. Alas, I also had to cut a size larger for the waist (seems I’ve thickened up a bit recently). Ladies, it was worth the prep time. I have the perfect pair of jeans. My new machine, Helga the Viking, sewed six or seven layers of denim like it was butter. I picked up a video on a really simple way to manage a fly front. I’ll never be afraid of them again. Here’s the link: easy fly front
No gaps, no sags, no pulling or creasing.
I am a happy girl.
I’d be happier if my son would not have insisted on taking these pics from close and above so that my legs look so short. I’m really 5’6″, not as squatty as I appear. Really. I mean it.