Monday, June 10, 2013

Current Projects: B5678 and Pamela's Patterns Favorite Bias Skirt

Well I guess I went and took a little blog-cation for the last few weeks!  I've been keeping up on all your blogs and admiring your wonderful makes.  Some of you make so many things so fast, I am always amazed. Also, I am loving the pictures of gorgeous gardens I'm seeing popping up on blogs all over blogland.

I've been working for a {long} while on refining the fit of Butterick 5678, the shoulder princess seamed shirt pattern. (Rhonda Buss did a series of collar adaptations using this pattern recently on SewNews, check it out!)

One of the conundrums I face is getting a slim fit at the waist in the presence of a large bust without looking Dolly Partonesque.  My full bust is 10 inches larger than my waist, and is equal to the measurement around the fullest part of my bottom/very low hip area (damn gravity). So in essence I'm an hourglass, but with my back being narrow, the top part of the hourglass is not distributed equally.  Rather, it's all up front.

This first blurry cell phone picture is the latest muslin pinned closed at the front. The fabric is rather stiff, not drapey at all.  What I'm not loving here is the excess width at the waist, and the shoulders are a little wide. There is also some excess above the bust (damn gravity again) but once I take up the shoulders, I'll see if I can live with that excess or decide to remove some at the princess seam.

Here in a slightly better picture, I am holding the sides in to show I have a waist!  I sent these pics to Myra for her opinion; she said "Take it in!" I had pinned out a couple inches at each SS at waist level, and a little at the bust and hip levels. There are some lines all around the bust that may or may not be due to stiff fabric, pinning, and me pulling on the fabric for effect.  Last night I distributed that amount between the front and back princess seams as well as the side seams on the pattern.  When the wind blows the right way again, I'll sew it up. 

In the meantime, I've been wanting a long bias skirt in linen for summer. I bought a few yards of beige  linen at Mood while in NYC expressly for that purpose.

Source: Talbot's website
Recently, I tried this skirt on at Talbots. I seem to remember it was a little longer on me, and I'm 5'8". The model is probably 6' tall.  I liked the look and really wanted to take this skirt home and love it, but it had a fatal flaw that I could not live with for the price: rippled seams!  This skirt has 4 seams - 2 side and CF & CB. I'm guessing that's to conserve fabric, but it gives more opportunity for poorly sewn bias seams.

Tell me - do the CF and CB seams serve a shaping (or other) purpose? I am curious, please speak up if you know!

How nice is it that we don't have to put up with paying $$$ for rippled seams? We can just make it!

I had Pamela's Patterns Favorite Bias Skirt Pattern in my stash, so that's what I used. Pamela suggests taking waist, high hip, and low hip measurements, and selecting the size based on your largest measurement. I did this, and selected a size large based on my low hip mmt. (See gravity reference above.)

I made a muslin with some mystery fabric of which I had a ton in the stash. It had some stretch to it, but nice drape. It was fatally ugly, though. The muslin was too big, but because of the stretch, I stayed with the large, and cut the lining out of white batiste from the stash, and the beige linen for the skirt body. Easier to remove fabric than to add it back. I went with the lines for the slim cut skirt - the pattern gives the option of full or slim cuts. I wasn't looking for a lot of fullness.

When I tried the lining on with elastic tied around my waist as Pamela recommends, I found I preferred the look when I pinned about 4 - 5 inches (eyeballing) out from waist to hip. Doing so makes it impossible to pull on and off without a zipper. The skirt is designed with an elastic waist, but my plan is to go with a slimmer look and side zipper.  Today I will baste in my changes, tapering down to the hem, and see how it looks.

My plan for finishing the waistline of this skirt is to add a side seam zipper, and use organza selvedge as a waist stay to prevent stretching.  Check out this tutorial on draping a zipper in a bias skirt!

Funny, I did not find many reviews for this pattern on PR, in fact only one! Pamela's Magic Pencil Skirt Pattern seems to be popular, though.

That's all for now! Hope you are enjoying your summer or winter, depending on your location, and getting in plenty of sewing time.  Thanks for stopping by,

My garden


  1. The CF and CB seams are not there for fit. It was probably cut this way to conserve fabric.
    Yes. Take in those side seams on your top, but don't forget about the princess line seams as they can aide great in fitting at the waist. As for the bust, I had to take fabric out on the side front panel at just above my bust. From what I can see in your picture, you may need to do the same thing.

  2. Def take in those seams and show that waist off! RhondaBuss above is on the nail with with seams to fiddle with, so I would give it a go.
    No pretty flowers out here at the moment - Winter and raining in my little sewing neck of the woods...J

  3. I'm really enjoying the flowers in the States at the moment too. I've taken out room above the bust to shoulders in a shirt

  4. I just bought this pattern -- thanks so much for the review.

  5. Andrea . You have the same fitting issues I have on top. I'm also narrow backed and full busted. When it comes to shirts, I find by the time I fit with darts ,etc. I stick way out at the chest and feel very self conscious. At my age ,I don't want to draw attention to there so I tend to not wear shirts but I miss them.
    Good luck with it and the bias skirt.

  6. I wish I was full busted with a waist, LOL. One day I will get onto fitting a princess seamed top/dress so for the moment I am going to watch and learn :).

    The skirt is a lovely idea - I have some heavy drapey white linen in my stash I might have to do something with like this come warmer weather.

    Can't answer your seam question either sorry! Not much use am I :)

  7. Very nice looking skirt! Glad to see you back in the old proverbial saddle again! Those are some beautiful hibiscus! I just love the colors! Yeah summer is here!

  8. Hi Andrea--I like your skirt. It's been a long time since I made one, but I always favored the bias style. Thanks for your kinds words on my blog--if you stop in my store this summer, please identify yourself! Blessings, Kim

  9. The wonderful thing about a muslin is that you do get to play around with the more tweeking to show off that fabulous hourglass shape!

  10. While I envy your waist, I know that fitting issues are frustrating and time consuming. When my daughters ask "Can you make this?" I always reply that the sewing is the easy part and the fitting is the terrible part. Thats why sewers become quilters. Keep going.
    Your are almost there! Once you get the fit right make several of them.

  11. Glad to hear you are back and happily sewing summer goodies. You can't go wrong with a chic linen skirt


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