Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sewing Spoilers Part 2

Here is the second part of the sewing spoilers. The first post is here. I am sure if we looked at all the things that could spoil a project we may never sew again. LOL! Anyway, lets continue with number five!

5. Pattern size- If you are struggling with the bodice shoulder area being too big, you may want to rethink your pattern size. I realized last year that I was buying too large of a pattern. Since then, I have been using my high bust measure and have had pretty good results. Check out the tutorial I did on this subject. There are many ways to buy a pattern, find what works best for you, if it's not working, think about changing it.

6. Changing a pattern too drastically-  We have all done it, decided that we wanted to remove a dart, change a seam, redo the sleeve style.   Although simple changes certainly can be made with success, sometimes too many changes to one pattern can distort a garment. I have found there is wisdom is knowing what I can do and what is better left alone.  Only you know your own skills. As my skills have increased by trail and error, I know now, what I can safely change and what quickly can become a disaster. hehe There is a fine balance in pattern reconstruction and it's best done on a muslin. Which bring me to seven.
By making up this muslin, I discovered that I didn't really like the construction of the belt on this dress, it was so hard to sew into the garment and now I am thinking of a different way to make it work. 
7. Not basting or making a muslin-  It's so easy to be in a hurry with a project. It looks so pretty and the temptation to dive in and get to the "real garment" can overtake anyone. Sometimes it works out, other times not. I have gotten into a habit of making a muslin every time I sew a new pattern. Why? Because I want it to fit and I baste the whole thing first and then make adjustments. The basting helps so much when it comes time to unpick a project for adjustments.

Remember these are only tips that work pretty well for me, some folks are really great at sewing a pattern without making a muslin. If you are new to sewing it's a great place to start for sure. I hope these tips have encouraged you to find what works for YOU! Here's too great sewing!

Have a wonderful vintage Day!



  1. Hi Gina
    I have made few shirts with the peter pan collar and the shoulder area is always a litle
    large on me. I use a size 12, if i go down down to a size 10 wont it be snug around the waist?
    I used simplicity 2936. I love the style and made 3 of them, I cut the fabric a little higher
    around at the top, but it's still large.
    Thanks for the tip!
    Happy Memorial Day!

  2. thanks so much for sharing! trying to construct my first dress from a commercial pattern <3

  3. All good tips Gina! I measure a 36 bust, so I should technically sew a 16 (vintage). My high bust is 35 though, and a 14 fits much better. Well, yesterday I sewed a 12 after measuring the pattern and graded out at the waist/hips, and it was a great fit. There really is a lot of ease in these patterns! Your sizing tip is great!

  4. Hi Gina I hate making a muslin but I must if sewing for myself or that shoulder area is not going to fit, the length of the waist will be too short, etc..nothing ever fits right. I finally learned how to make a muslin work for me by way of Susan's video. You bought that course too did you like it and what did you get from it?

  5. Really great advice. I'd never done a muslin before I made my daughter's two wedding day outfits. Wow! Was I ever glad I researched that mammoth sewing project for MANY months prior to even beginning.

    I took my time, too. If I plan, "Oh, I can make this by Friday," well, forget it. Wear something else. Don't do that to yourself. Take your sweet pea-picking time.

    And speaking of picking, a long stitch always works well versus basting the muslin. Like you mentioned, you do want any seam you must remove to be achieved fast and easily.

    Great, great advice from both Parts 1 and 2!

  6. These are great tips, and I completely agree. I was making what I though was the right size based on my bust measurement, but I have rather feeble shoulders and need instead to make two sizes smaller and do a full bust alteration. This makes for a much better fit and I don't get all the bagging at the back. We live and learn! Thanks for these great posts! xxx

  7. Thankyou Gina.. What great tips.. I really hate to make muslins..But , when trying a new pattern [especially vintage ones], I have learned ,It is so important.. Saves alot of frustrations..ha
    Happy sewing and thankyou for sharing.

  8. Some further thoughts on altering a pattern too much (I highly agree, btw!): another problem may also be that the adjustments mess around with the original grainline too much, which will distort the pattern. I've done it sometimes when I've thought I'm being oh so clever adjusting something, and wreck the grainline! :/ So frustrating...

    Love your point about buying patterns based on your high bust measurement! I used to sew with patterns that have a 34" bust, since that was what my measurement is. Now I almost always cut out a pattern for a 32" bust, since they fit better through the shoulders and torso (though sometimes I do have to adjust the bust a bit...). Better fit=happier seamstress! ;)

  9. Hello a little of me, sorry I missed you! We had a holiday weekend of fun and I have neglected my blog for a couple of days. Hope it was fun, thanks for stopping by!

  10. Great tips! Thank you for sharing. I think someone should have also suggested to me, a newbie sewist, that basting in a high contrast thread color helps loads with the unpicking. :) Love your blog and you have been an inspiration for me to keep at this sewing thing.

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