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Turquoise's Go With The Flow SWAP

Started by Turquoise, November 01, 2019, 01:44:56 am

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This year the rules seem so flexible that I've decided to go with the flow and see what develops. 

I took a pattern making class 2 years ago and haven't really had a chance to do much with it, so I'd like to use the energy and motivation that always comes out of watching everyone's SWAP journey to make my blocks and draft some of my own patterns.

At the moment I'm thinking of this scarf as inspiration for colours - but that might change  :)


I finished work early today and decided a good start on SWAP would be to have a go at my poor sewing room that has been neglected for ages and is in a really untidy state.  Oh my goodness - what have I started! 

Currently having a tea break as it now looks like a tornado has hit it.  After tea I'm going to try and be strict and bag up scraps and fabrics I'm unlikely to ever sew for the textile bank/friends/charity shops as appropriate. We have high winds forecast for tomorrow so I'm going to keep at it tomorrow and try and achieve a nice, calm ordered sewing room.  Wish me luck!  :) 


Well I had a good clear out and tidy up in the sewing room and looked through all my fabrics.  Have put potential fabrics for SWAP on shelves in wardrobe and have started looking at Pinterest and favourite clothes web sites for inspiration.  To try and encourage me to keep the sewing room tidy I've snapped a photo with the chair without piles of stuff and put it here ;) :)


One of the fabrics I'd really like to get sewn up as part of SWAP this year is this faux suede double faced scuba type fabric.

I bought it during the last SWAP I took part in two years ago and was intimidated by it due to its lack of drape (wondering how to control it and choosing a pattern that would work with it) and reading that it was an unforgiving fabric if you had to unpick stitches.

I've been looking for examples of RTW jackets using scuba type fabrics and think it will have to be either a design that is fairly boxy or one where the darts/shaping have been carefully thought out to work with this very structured fabric.

I've also found a great article on EmmaOneSock where Kathryn Brenne has made a wonderful dress using scuba fabric and has some great tips.  Her work is always lovely to look at - just so beautifully done.



I've pulled out some more fabrics that could work with the faux suede scuba.

I'd like to make some sort of variation of a French jacket with the plaid but am undecided at this stage what I want to make with the other two.

I've been re-watching the Craftsy class "Fitting solo: From measurements to muslin" by Linda Lee this evening and now I'm wondering whether to just try and re-fit the basic shell on my dress form to my new measurements to see if I can get to a block/sloper quicker than going through the Suzy Furrer class on making the moulage and then blocks. 

Hmm I'll sleep on it - probably in the morning I will see problems with this approach but I think I'm itching to get going and so that feels like a quicker way to get to my own blocks.  I *think* I still have the pattern tissue I used to create the dress form shell.


I had my first attempt at drafting a moulage as per Suzy Furrer's class instructions this evening.  As you can see from the photo below it didn't go exactly to plan and I realised I'd made some sort of serious measuring or drafting error when I saw I had so little space left for my armscye   ::)

In the class discussions lots of people seems to have problems with this stage and it was suggested to recheck the front length measurements and side measurements.  I did have the front length measurement wrong, so hopefully better luck tomorrow.  I can't understand how I got that one wrong though as it seems one of the simpler measurements.


I did have more success though this evening with tracking down a suitable fabric to use for toiles for the faux suede scuba.  I found some double sided scuba fabric that was very inexpensive - presumably because the very loud pattern isn't very popular.  Thankfully the back side of the fabric is plain grey so shouldn't be too distracting when I make the toile.


Awesome! I feel like I'm moving backwards compared to your speed! Lol

Nice job!

sewist, artist, quilter, musician, computer programmer, girlfriend, Grandfriend to one sweet baby, mom, gym rat


I've found a couple of pictures of coats/jackets with styles I like that I think would work for the stiff drape of the faux suede scuba.

I would probably wear the shorter jacket more and if I made something more like that I might have enough fabric to make a bag similar to this.


I had another go at drafting the moulage this evening and it looks more realistic. 

Hopefully I'll get time tomorrow to run up a toile and critique/correct it from there.  I think @Morzel was spot on when she talked about draping - I think taking the measurements correctly is very difficult and it's going to be easier to correct whatever comes out via draping.

The cheap scuba arrived today and it is quite similar in stretch and drape to my faux suede scuba, so should be good for making toiles.  The patterned side is thankfully not quite as loud in real life as in the photo and the grey side is actually a really nice colour.

I've been spending happy hours looking on Pinterest at scuba jackets and coats and this jacket has an interesting shape that would suit the stiff drape of my fabric.


I've reread the article that @Philippa linked to in the main thread by Kathleen Fasanella today


and realised that this advice is exactly what Peggy Sagers advises in her webcasts and in her patternmaking class.  Peggy always says that she has to keep repeating things, as some people seem to need to hear information several times before it sinks in - clearly I'm definitely one of those!  :))

I think, as Kathleen alluded to in that article, there are a lot of sewing skills that many of us aspire to that seem to be completely different to how things are done by practitioners; as she says drafting from scratch takes a great deal of time and doesn't necessarily help us get the results we are looking for.  It's really given me food for thought - thanks again @Philippa  :thumbsup:  I think you've saved me from getting caught up in wasting hours of valuable sewing time and from missing the wood for the trees.  My real goal is to get some suitable pattern blocks that suit me, not work out how to draft from scratch.

Today I've gone back to the book I used a while ago to get a fitting shell to make a rough approximation of me for my dress form and have printed off a smaller sized version of their full-busted block. I've made changes to the muslin from that and I'm much, much closer to getting that close fitting block that I wanted.  Hopefully I'll get a chance tomorrow to test out those changes with a second muslin, but it's very close.

I've also thought that I will dig out the Silhouette Patterns that Peggy Sagers refers to as her base patterns and will make muslins for a basic blouse with the ease I like, basic jacket, knit top etc. and once I've fit them to my liking make my basic blocks for the different types of garment from those. 

I'm done with plotting out from my measurements using the techniques from Suzy Furrer classes - I just can't seem to get the accuracy with the measurements and after reading that article it doesn't seem the most constructive  use of my time to reach my goal of getting some personalised blocks so that I can create my own patterns. 

I think that's following my goal to "go with the flow"...


Muslin number 2 corrected the length issues and the front darts fit much better with the bust point moved closer to CF and up a bit. 

The shoulder angle is not quite right and needed taking up a bit and a little bit more circumference was needed to the lower hip after the length changes.  I need to lower the neckline about 1/4" at CF as I know I won't ever want to wear a neckline as high as on the muslin even if it "fits".

Now going to transfer these changes to my paper pattern and make muslin 3 to check the fit/double check my changes.  Think I'm nearly there for the basic close-fitting version.  Fingers crossed  :)


November 10, 2019, 01:34:27 pm #12 Last Edit: November 10, 2019, 01:41:02 pm by Turquoise
Muslin number 3 is good to go and so now I have a version of the very close-fitting moulage the drafting process was intended to make but via draping.   

I really appreciate everyone who added comments about their experience in making blocks etc, as that prompted me to change how I was approaching this and has helped me get this first stage done much more quickly. 

I made up this third muslin in a sturdy twill fabric so that I can use it to pad out my dress form to some approximation of my figure - which will hopefully be useful for visualising details and design lines for future garments. 

I've got a busy week ahead but hoping to do a little bit each day and gradually make up some blocks with added ease to this "moulage" type version.  I have some books I purchased on patternmaking so I will have a read of those as well as looking at the rest of the Suzy Furrer classes.  I will also look at the finished garment measurements of clothes I like to help decide the ease I want for the different types of blocks.


I've made a start on padding up my dress form with the "moulage" muslin I made and it's going to be good for visualising details on me.  The dress form is much shorter in the torso than me so it's taken a bit of fiddling around with the batting and just when you think you've got it right something moves  :))  - I think I'm going to have to stitch batting in place in stages.

Last night I pulled out lots of fabrics from the stash to try and get something cohesive and then went back and read the rules.  I think the rules are invaluable as I always want to sew everything on my list and of course that's not possible, so the rules and reading everyone else's thoughts on planning help to bring me back down to earth.  This is one of the things I love about the SWAP process - the energy generated by the group and the opportunity to read the thought processes of others and reflect.  Reading what @BinMI wrote helped me to buckle down and focus on what I need right now. I really need some well fitting tops and jackets and will use a RTW pair of skinny jeans as the piece that everything else goes with and then I will make tops and jackets. 

Last time I took part in SWAP I learned a lot more about what colours work best for me, so I am going to put that into practice in this SWAP and focus on a narrow range of colours.  This will help me fill out my wardrobe.

These are the images of clothes that I am hoping to use as inspiration to create tops and jackets.


I've been going through my pattern stash this evening, especially looking at the patterns from Silhouette Patterns. 

Peggy always uses the same base pattern for each type of garment, so her woven blouses all come from her base blouse #600, jackets from a base jacket pattern etc. This means if you get the fit sorted on one of these base patterns then it's quite easy to get a good fit on another pattern of the same type by making the same changes. 

One of tops I'd like to make is very similar to her "Fisher's Blouse" pattern #418, so I'm planning to use it as a starting point.  I hope to make a muslin before SWAP sewing starts.


I've been working on making a jacket block from my sloper and then once I was happy with that making variations from that for the different jackets I want to make. 

I've made a shoulder princess jacket pattern that I am happy with and will use with the tweed fabric to make a French style jacket.  I've drafted this version with a lowered neckline rather than the more usual high jewel neckline as I think that will be better for my body type.

I am now working on the jacket that will use the faux suede scuba.  The inspiration jacket for this has a slightly dropped shoulder so I've made a version of my pattern with a dropped shoulder and have modified the sleeve to go with this.  This inspiration jacket is very boxy but I want to have some bust shaping so that with the stiff drape of the scuba it doesn't just jut out, so have been playing around with mockups made from an old curtain to get the shaping and style lines I want.  The dress form has been really useful for visualising style lines and proportions.

In my first version I liked the shoulder line but the yoke was too low on the body.  At this beginning stage in my learning it's very hard to visualise exactly where the style lines need to be on the pattern paper so it was easier for me to make up the first version with the yoke made from cutting the side dart and then adjust the length of the jacket and position of the yoke on the dress form.

I am now making a toile from the cheap scuba I bought to test out the latest draft pattern in a fabric with a similar drape to the faux suede scuba.  As I wanted the yoke moved above the bust line and wanted to keep bust shaping without sewn darts I have divided the front below the yoke into two sections and will sew it up and see if I am happy with that.  I have started practising different seams with the scuba.

I haven't had a great deal of time for sewing but am really enjoying this process of drafting and experimenting with mockups.  Hopefully over the Christmas break I will have more time for sewing.


I had a decent block of time in the sewing room today so have been working on another jacket muslin - Vogue 1440.  I've wanted to sew this for ages but knew I'd have to make at least one muslin because of getting the darts to work with all the shaping of the jacket. 

It's a while since I've used a big 4 pattern and I'd forgotten that they usually come up bigger than you expect, so the first muslin was just too big everywhere.  I cut a smaller size and made another muslin and then pinched out extra fabric from bust point through side panels to remove some wrinkles and adjust for my bigger bust. (Adjusting for larger cup sizes by draping the muslin on patterns with princess seams/ side panels is a really useful technique demonstrated really well by Peggy Sagers in several of her fitting videos/ webcasts and has really helped me)

The front was still too big/overpowering in my opinion and really didn't look at all like the proportions of cover photo of the pattern to me.  It's hard to see how the jacket the model is wearing is the same as the pattern - I'm quite tall and I felt swamped by the "collar" created on the jacket front.  I ended up cutting a total of 2" from the centre front on each side and 1" from the top edge of the "collar" piece and like that result much better. 


I want to use a plaid fabric to emphasise the shaping of the Vogue 1440 jacket rather than all the piping etc in the version on the cover.  I have a fabric that fits the bill for this but is black and white and I now know that this is not great colour choice for me.  After seeing lots of inspiring photos on Pinterest and especially after seeing the jacket and top that  @indigotiger made recently, I have wanted to have a go at embellishing fabric with stitching.  I am going to experiment with stitching onto this black and white plaid fabric with yarns to change the colour way and to add additional texture.  I have made a start on experimenting with this by adding some ochre and taupe coloured yarn stitches. 


Had some time  today to work more on adding stitches to the plaid fabric.  I have added more colours and rows of stitching and like the added warmth and texture.  It maybe that the hand of the fabric gets too stiff to use for Vogue 1440 but I much prefer the fabric like this for me, so if that's what happens I will make a more fitted jacket with the altered fabric and find another fabric from my stash for Vogue 1440.  I am trying with this SWAP to stay very fluid with ideas and "go with the flow".

The images show the original black and white fabric and the fabric with current experimental stitching in one corner of yardage.  I like the result to date so am currently trying to work out whether I should stitch the rest of the yardage or cut out garment pieces (once I've decided what pattern suits the altered fabric) and stitch just the pieces.

After avoiding hand sewing for many years I am discovering that it is actually very relaxing  :)


I've been experimenting with different seams on this muslin jacket and it's very difficult to cut the overlapped seams evenly, so if the "filling" in the scuba has a high contrast like the white against the grey of this fabric then any jogs in cutting really show.  On some of the seams I stitched a plain seam and then top stitched the seam allowances down either side and then trimmed on the inside.  I prefer this - much neater and keeps the seam nice and flat.  The faux suede scuba has a slightly thinner dark core, so this might not be such an issue but I'll test and will probably go for the top stitched plain seams.

I've decided I don't like the unfitted back with this stiff fabric.  It is like that in the photo of the inspiration jacket on the model, but I don't think I'll wear it like that.  I also don't like how far I've dropped the shoulder on my muslin, so I think I'll go back and change my draft pattern and make another muslin.  The yoke position is better now and I think when I switch to top stitching plain seams the vertical line under the yoke won't be so prominent which will work better with the front pockets.

I'm going to switch to the tweed jacket again for a while before coming back to the scuba jacket.