THE SEWING DIVAS sewing, design, fashion

June 15, 2009

Butterick 5365 Connie Crawford Modern Fit Blouse

Filed under: Fit/Pattern Alterations,Mary Beth,Pattern Reviews,sewing — Mary Beth @ 3:34 pm

You can’t judge this book by its cover. I would not have purchased this pattern based upon the pattern envelope.


But I have taken a short workshop with Connie Crawford and have many of her text books. I know that she knows her stuff, I’ve seen her patterns made up and how they flatter larger women. And I know she is an excellent pattern maker so I took a chance that this might be the blouse I’ve been looking for and made up the large in the Miss sizing range.

I have done an in-depth review of it at because it is a sweet blouse pattern, well drafted and graded and very relaxing to sew up. There were some problems with the instructions but I hope I have provided the fixes for them in my review (link supplied above).

I made View A darts from the shoulder with the long sleeves from View B. I used a well aged silk crepe de chine from the stash.

The illustrations show a small collar, especially in the Version B drawing. Not true! It’s a nice normal collar and the one pattern piece is used for both versions of the blouse.


And those long darts over the bust? They actually release about 1.5″ above the second button. I’ve marked up the stitched lines so you can see them more clearly.

collar, darts & armscye

The collar has a very nice shape to it. It curves up over the shoulder and is nicely rounded in the back but the illustration shows it to be a straight, unshaped collar.

The seam allowances are 3/8″ used for the neckline, collar, center front and cuffs. Smart! It makes these pieces easier to join and to turn. The side seams and sleeves joining seams are the ubiquitous 5/8″ allowances.

There are no fancy methods in this pattern’s instructions. You hand stitch the inside of the collar band and the cuffs. Except for the problems above, it’s a great pattern to use for your first blouse, no fancy “burrito” methods, etc. I just relaxed and sewed, slowly. The kind of simple sewing that was so needed after struggling through a kimono made without pattern pieces.

I love the fit. Next time I make this blouse or a variation of it I will slant the shoulder seam down slightly and give the shoulder line an ever-so-slight concave curve.

The sleeves are the perfect length for me without shortening them. The shoulders sit perfectly, the length of the shoulder seam ends right at my shoulder point. I can reach forward comfortably. It’s just perfect. It put it on and I get happy.


The four darts do not release a lot of extra fabric fullness over the bust


The button placement is interesting, too. The first button down the front is 1 1/4″ from the collar band so that it can be buttoned with a nice and modest spread to the collar.


The second and third buttons are 3 1/4″ apart so that the third is exactly placed horizontally between the bust points, preventing the dreaded gaposious. The rest of the buttons down the front are 3 9/16″ apart and end 2″ above the hemline so that the blouse can be worn untucked and neat. Next time I might make it a bit longer.

Under that awful illustration is a very well graded and well drafted classic that provides a lovely alternative to side or waist darts.


April 14, 2009

Pocket ( No sagging)

How to make double welt pockets is covered in most sewing books as well as via shared tutorials by other bloggers like by Paco see here and another way here

I will show you another way in another post.

Any slashed pocket like double welt, single welt or welt with flap pockets tend to sag if you actual use them to put something in it. 

 I always tell my husband to never use the outer pockets from his RTW suits except for a piece of paper because those pockets will sag.

But if you make your own suit jacket or coat you can prevent the sagging by using a tailors trick in sewing the pocket bag ( interior)

I learned this trick about 20 years ago during a tailoring course I took from a Dutch tailor, and I have no idea if this way of making a pocket is done by all tailors in Europe but I have never seen this technigue mentioned in tailoring books. So I thought  this trick could be of use for all of  you who are making a coat or jacket with horizontal slashed pockets .For angled pocket openings there are other ways to prevent sagging.

It does not take more than a few seconds, an iron and 2 inch/ 5 cm extra length of  fabric or pocketing for the pocket bag ( Pocketing is a sturdy cotton or  polyester rayon ( viscose)  fabric used for pocket bags)  but the difference in huge.

I made a sample double welt pocket and hung the fabric on a dress form to mimic a jacket or coat

here you can see the keys I used to put  in the pocket


 pocket sagging due to the weight of the keys,


The inside view of the bag with the keys inside



April 7, 2009

“Not Couture” Jacket Diagnosis

Filed under: Fit/Pattern Alterations,sewing,Tailoring — georgene @ 11:02 am


Here’s what I imagine the technical sketch for Hillary’s jacket looks like.

It’s a bit like diagnosing a patient you’ve never seen in real life, but here are some possible approaches to fixing the problems we can see in the photos.


The armscye looks like it needs to be raised so the base of the armhole is not so low. Higher armholes can increase the movement range in a jacket sleeve, if there is enough ease in the sleeve as well as the body of the garment. One of my pet peeves in RTW is the plague of low armholes in larger sizes. Just because a person has more girth does not mean that the armhole has to get closer to the waist….in fact that has the opposite effect of causing the sleeve to tug and bar across the arm, as well as distort the side of the jacket when the arm is not at rest by the side of the body.

It’s hard to say whether Hillary is truly a petite fit in the upper torso, but certainly for this garment we could take some length out of the armscye. So let’s raise the armhole up a bit.

We could use some more length in the front as well, as the hem is hiking. It’s possible that an actual full bust adjustment is in order. Some length could be added and a small dart eased in at the side bust along that vertical dart that goes into the pocket.

The high hip and low hip (at 4” and 8” from the waist, respectively) could use a bit more ease. I would distribute that on all of the vertical seams, as well as adding a wee bit at the center back seam.

The sleeves are a bit more problematic, as we don’t want to add to length in the armscye, but we do need more girth at the bicep. I would fold out some length in the cap to account for the raising of the armhole.

This drawing shows how you might add to girth with a bit of slashing and spreading without adding to the circumference. You might have a bit of additional work easing in your elbow dart, but that can be managed.

April 2, 2009

Not Couture

Filed under: Fit/Pattern Alterations,Musings,sewing couture — georgene @ 6:36 am

BRITAIN-FINANCE-ECONOMY-G20 Hillary and Michelle are out there this week, highly visible on their charm tour of European capitals.

Hillary, as Secretary of State, has a different portfolio so to speak, for her presentation. Her first foray of the G20 stop in London was to 10 Downing St. A photo essay showed up the good and bad points of her ultramarine jacket choice.

Slightly longer than the jackets she usually wore on the campaign trail last year, it had an almost outerwear feel to it. The button placket was strange and bulging at the waist, and did her no favors. 85703157OS007_PRESIDENT_OBA

This was not (I hope) a custom fit piece. The sleeves were just awful, with the cap set too far toward the back. G20/

Mlle. Gogel, my draping teacher in Paris, insisted that one had to be able to put a suitcase in the overhead rack whilst wearing a coat or jacket. It’s obvious that Hillary will be having a hard time with that, as you can see here by the terrible drag lines. I suppose that she has someone to put the suitcase up there for her nowadays, but that has got to be uncomfortable. 85703157PM020_PRESIDENT_OBA

I did like the matching rib sweater under the jacket. We won’t discuss the jewelry. 85703243DK004_WORLD_LEADERS

The sleeve could benefit from a more relaxed fit in general, there is that sort of sausage casing effect in the upper arm that is not flattering. The Hillary in the sunshine photo shows the pouching just below the sleeve cap. There are so many things wrong with this sleeve, I don’t know where to begin. I just want to rip it out and start all oer again!

I suppose we shouldn’t be analyzing what the Secretary of State is wearing, we should be more concerned with what she is doing and saying. I saw a great quote from Madeline Albright’s daughter today. She said that the newspapers would try to figure out what was meant whether her mother wore a hat, or did not wear a hat – when all it meant was that it was a bad hair day!

I do think it is worthwhile to note what Madame Secretary choses to wear, or the First Lady, if we are interested in seeing what the choices of women of power are in today’s world.

July 29, 2008

Pants pattern alteration

Filed under: Fit/Pattern Alterations,Tutorials — Els @ 1:22 pm

Alterations pants pattern for athletic or full ( aka heavy) thighs front side only.

Since a lot of women develop heavy front thighs due to sport activities like swimming, running etc. which cause the front pants legs to be too snug at the upper thighs.

 Adding wide to the front pants pattern can help to achieve a better fit.

 Measure your thighs at 2 inches below the crotch, next measure the pants pattern front and back at the same height 2 inches below the crotch the total width of your pattern must be your thighs width + 2-3 inches ( 5-7,5 cm)

For example, if your patternwidth is 1 inch short in width you can add that amount at the front pattern.
If your pants pattern has a crease line you can start from there , if your pattern doesn’t  have a crease line, draw one see step 1 at the diagram.



Draw a horizontal line at the front pattern, 1 inch below the crotch line from side seam to inner leg seam.
Measure the space between this new line till knee height and divide this in 2 and draw a horizontal line halfway.

Cut the front crease line from the waistline towards the knee and cut open the 3 new horizontal lines. See step 2

Add a piece of paper under the slashed pattern and spread the pattern parts like the example diagram see Step 3
Draw a new crease line from the knee up to the waist, add at both sides of the new crease line ½ inch at upper thigh .The side seams inner and outer leg are now spread for about 1/8 -1/4 inch. You can ease in those inches (1/8 till ¼ inch) so the front side seam fits the backside seam again.

If your front pattern needs more than 1 inch then I would suggest to use a larger size pattern because otherwise the space at inseam and side seam lines are increasing too much and easing in will not be possible anymore.

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