Butterick 3579 – The Pants

Butterick3579One bad go at pants wasn’t enough. I had to try again. This time I used this simple slacks looking pattern and again, I traced the pattern out on kraft paper and graded up a few sizes. I ran into a few issues in tracing, which may have led to some of my problems with fit. Basically, the pattern was printed lighter than normal so I had to sandwich the pattern between two layers of kraft paper to make the lines visible to trace out. That meant trying to keep all the layers still, which was beyond difficult. In hindsight, I should have pinned them together first. Doh!

Anyway, I finally got my pieces traced and a few measurements told me things were going to be a bit big. My waistline was measuring out at 52″, not subtracting for seam allowances so I know I’d have to take things in. I sewed them as is though and then tried them on and yup, way too big.

I ended up ripping out the waistband, and taking in about 2.5″ from each outside seam, plus adding one small dart that took up about an inch into each side in the back. That was better, and I stitched the waistband back into place like this.



Are they great, amazing, fantastic pants? No. But I didn’t expect a miracle because they literally have three pieces and no shaping in the original instructions. They are however, better than the red pants are ever going to be, and they are comfortable to wear.



Oh! And that’s another Kwik Sew 3740 view B you see on my top half. I managed to squeeze it out of the scraps I had left over from the Dolman sleeve top I showed you last time with the red pants.

The Reconstruction, Day 2

After making yesterday’s post about my old ball gown, I repaired the waistband, and spent a ridiculously long time ripping out the stitches on the two panels that hung down the sides of the bodice. You’d think ripping about about 24″ of stitching would be fast and easy, but apparently the girl-who-can’t-follow-directions not only sewed the bodice together all wrong, but she also kept changing the stitch length on different seams making some of the stitches very tight and very difficult to pick out. That’s not so bad though, right? Just slow going?

Oh wait! And then it gets better. On one side of the bodice, I used pleats to make the panel fit. On the other side, I used gathering. What the hell was I thinking? Oh wait. Not only was I not reading or following the directions, I was not thinking either. I’m kind of embarrassed to have done this, even if it was years ago.


I remembered as I put the gown on my dress form that when I wore it to the ball, we had to use safety pins to hold the skirt up to the bodice in the back because there was a big gap at the waist. If I had sewn the panels on correctly, they would have made an overskirt, and that gap would have been hidden. Oh boy!


This afternoon I realized the reason the contrast panels in the bodice are not even on both sides is because I sewed one on upside down. I spent some more tie tearing the bodice apart so I could flip the panel over and put it together right. That led me to a new problem. The lace trim was cut and measured with that panel being upside down, so it stops about an inch short of where it should and I don’t have any of that lace now to replace it. I decided to solve that by creating an overlap of the front bodice pieces where it fastens- something I should have originally done because it kind of gaped before.

There was also the fact that the lining of the bodice was cut larger than the outside, so I had to pleat it to make it fit. I resewed a few seams in the lining and that was taken care of.


Anyway, after hours of work, most of it spent tearing out stitches, I feel like it looks a lot better then it did before and the fit is better too. I’m hoping someone will want to be a princess for Halloween and grabs this dress up. Its not a bad dress, its just a little rough up close. From a distance though it looks pretty damned good!

Is it exactly like the pattern envelope? No. Probably not even close. But its a lot better and I’d actually be willing to wear it like it is now.



The Bane of My Existance

gownAbout 5 years ago, little new-to-sewing me decided she was going to attend the Labyrinth of Jareth Masquerade Ball for a second time, and she needed a dress. She decided to sew up a pattern she found, but apparently she had no idea how to follow directions.

Today I pulled this dress out thinking “Hey! Halloween is coming up! Maybe I can sell this!” and found the waistband a mess, which I repaired. After doing so (and gathering a waist of 175 inches down to about 36 inches is a pain in the ass!) I discovered I had originally put the zipper in between the wrong two panels, that this skirt has a definite front and back. That means I will have to undo what I did, and move the zipper to the right location or else the zipper has a very odd placement when worn.

I also took a good look at the pattern envelope and found I did not even come close to putting the bodice together right. I knew I never dd the pollinading (however you spell that) but apparently the two purple panels hanging over the hips are supposed to go around the entire bodice except where the blue panels are in the front. I think because of how I put it together I can rip a few lines of stitches out and fix that too. As it stands now, the panels hanging down on one side is noticeably longer than the other.

I honestly cannot comprehend how I screwed this up so badly except by flat out not following or probably even reading the directions. The pattern I failed to follow is Butterick 4315. (Click to see the envelope) I am hoping I can fix this in a few days time without completely taking it apart, and really hope I can sell it. Its been hanging up in my craft room since it became my craft room and every time I see it I kind of cringe. I can’t believe I willingly made myself a purple and powder blue (with glitter) ball gown.

A Quick Photo Dump & Some Other Stuff

I’ve posted a few projects in the last few months that have had either lousy pics, or mentioned things without any pictures at all. This afternoon my new camera arrived, and I was able to get a few quick photos of some of the stuff you really did not get to see before, so here’s a quick photo dump.

I’ll start with Simplicity 1612, View E, which was my prom party dress. I had posted photos from the party that the photographer took, but none of them really showcased my dress well. This dress turned out great except for some slightly wonkiness at the neckline, but that may have been caused by user error.



The back of this dress is fairly open, and ties at the neck. I had originally wanted to do the view with the twist back detail, but ended up falling in love with this one after seeing it sewn on another sewer’s blog.



One last shot. Look who needs to redo her nails! Whoops!



Here’s McCall’s 6173, View A. I’ve sewn these pants before but wanted one more pair of them because they are so freaking comfortable. I’m totally channeling my inner Peg Bundy here, BTW. The shirt I’m wearing is Simplicity 7330, which was Mattie’s shirt for the prom party. One of these days I’m going to make my own because this shirt is really nice to wear.



Here’s the back view.



I still have the complaint that these pants will never really be the leggings they are supposed to be, despite taking them in many inches from the mid-thigh down. They just don’t fit that closely at all.

Here’s Butterick 5169, View B. This is a nice fitted top and its very easy to wear. I can see this pairing well with quite a few things, and my only complaint is its a little too short for my tastes, so if I make it again, I’ll be adding 2″ to the length of it.



And here’s the back view.



I think this top does a nice job of emphasizing my waist with the way it fits, although I did find it a bit odd that it only has vertical darts, no horizontal ones.

I also tried working with my polymer clay on my own the other day, only to find my toaster oven I had does not regulate its temperature at all, and my clay was burned completely black in less then three minutes, and the entire house was filled up with horrible smelling smoke. It took me over 30 minutes with the doors all open and a fan going to clear the air inside before me and the dogs could go back in again.

I’m hoping to pick up a toaster oven in the near future that actually works properly and having another go at it. Tracy keeps sending me all these fun looking ideas and I want to try some of them.


Butterick 5169 View B

b5169Butterick 5169 View B is the long sleeved top at left. I had tried to sew this pattern once years ago and having no idea how so sew, or how to follow directions, it was a complete and total failure. I can’t remember what happened to the top in question- I probably threw it out and said good riddance. I do remember there were horribly placed button holes that ruined it completely.

Anyway, in my attempt to clean up and use up some fabrics, I realized a girl can never have too many tops and started going through my shirt patterns. I came across this one and figured why not? It’s been years since I tried it and I actually kind of know how to sew now. I checked the fabric requirement, saw it was a small 2 yards, and selected a 2 yard cut of charcoal Kona cotton from the pile on my beading table. One less cut of fabric to put away, right?

The top is someone fitted, with a lot of darts (6 I think it was), and buttons down the front. I have button holes, but figured there are only four so why not give it a try? I can survive four button holes.


Excuse my lousy picture- its from my phone taken in poor lighting. My camera seems to have not only lost its ability to fire the flash without help, but also has lost its image stabilizer too rendering it pretty much useless. I’ll be saving my pennies for a new camera soon. I’ve already got one picked out, and I wish I had the money for it now because having double exposure photos seems to be the best I can manage right now with my camera.

Anyway, the fit is good, though I would lengthen it a few inches if I make it again, and its comfortable to wear. The construction was super simple and easy to follow, and the final outcome is like the pattern image. I haven’t made the skirt yet to go with this, but may make it next. Or I might make this top again in a different color. I really need to gain more solid color pieces as I have more than enough prints in my closet already.

Tomorrow we’ve got company coming over, but if I get up early, I might see about using up another cut of fabric from my stash.

Some More Mock-Ups



Here’s a few new mock-ups I’ve made. Some of these are super basic pieces, but I have so many crazy patterns and colors I need some “quiet” items. The lingerie I plan on modifying the bodice from Butterick 5350, and adding a lace skirt to it, that may be loosely modeled on the skirt pieces from the same pattern. If I do that, I plan on shortening them quite a bit. The back will close with a swimsuit hook at the top and be open the rest of the way down. At least that’s the plan. I can’t wait to see that gorgeous teal blue-green velvet in person!

Simplicity 1613 View D I am hoping I have enough fabric to cut the neckline in the opposite direction. I think that will really make a difference in how this top looks. The fabric choice is not something I would normally buy, but I wanted to grab something different while I was in there.

The pants are in a tan twill and a dark blue denim, both of which have a little stretch. I’ve never sewn pants before but I feel like I am ready to give it a try. As it is, I have 3 pairs of jeans, and I would like to have a few more.

The Qwik Sew patterns are just basic tank tops and a cowl necked long sleeved tee. Dark brown, dark blue, and army green are the colors.

I’ve also just listed a few more clothing items in my Kittyloaf Shop, all store-bought clothes that no longer fit or I just don’t want. Everything that was store-bought is free- you just paying shipping. You can see the clothing items in my store by going here and clicking on the Yard Sale category.

Butterick 5011 View B

B5011-frontWay back in September of last year, I sewed View A of this pattern, and while it was cute, and I loved my fabric, it had a horrible saggy back which I now think the only way to fix it is to tear it down, interface the back panel, and add elastic inside of the panels. Its just not a good top for me, and I don’t think my fabric choice had much to do with it. :getlost:

Our friends Tracy and David are having a BBQ next weekend and Tracy suggested attire or bad Hawaiian shirts and the like. I decided I’d go with the Hawaiian theme, but I was going to make an awesome shirt, not a horrible one. I had this absolutely beautiful red and white hibiscus flower fabric in my stash, but after washing it, there was barely 1 2/3 yards of it, so I knew that would limit what I could use it for. I actually got this fabric back in about 1994 while shopping at Joann’s with my grandmother and intended to make a dress with it. I still have that dress pattern, but there’s no way I’m going to see my 12 or 13 years old body again. :tongue:

Butterick 5011 View B of this pattern was my one top pattern that used the least amount of fabric, and the only reason I was able to cut all the pieces for this was because the print is largely non-directional, so I could place the pieces any way they would fit. Even so, it was a close thing. I cut all the pieces yesterday, making it a size smaller than when I sewed view A, and today I spent about two hours actually stitching it up.
The only pace I wandered from the directions was where it said to slipstitch the opening left in the shoulder strap after stitching the tops of the straps together. I busted out my best matchy-matchy thread and just turned the edges in and top stitched it there. I though about top stitching the whole thing but really the thread match is good enough its barely noticeable.


If I make this pattern again, I will be leaving out the waist ties. I get that they are there to give the garment some shape as it has to be loose to get it on as its a woven, but they’re kind of annoying and honestly I can’t decide if I should tie them in the front or the back, wrap them all the way around me, or not.



Other then the weirdness of the waist ties, the pattern envelope did not lie- this top is super easy to sew.

Butterick 5350 – The Resurrection is Complete!

I went out to get Subway for dinner, so I stopped by Walmart on my way there and grabbed a zipper to dive in and finish Butterick 5350. When I got home, I stitched the zipper in, and hemmed the bottom. I was a little worried about the dress not zipping up, but there was no reason to be worried. It not only zips up, it actually fits really well. There was even an added bonus to the slightly adjustments I made to the fit of the bodice- I can literally get away without wearing a bra (no need to worry about bra straps showing) and still be supported enough unless I decide to go running, which is highly unlikely.

Some of the changes I made from the original pattern are as follows.

  • I ended up adding a small pleat to the lower edge of the bodice towards the outer side of the front. This was to take up some extra fabric that didn’t line up with the skirt. Considering I have no idea what size the skirt was originally cut as, I wasn’t surprised to see that there were some small issues with lining things up.
  • I added a front center seam to the bodice. This was due to me not checking to see which side of my fabric was the fold and which wasn’t. My bodice front pieces were supposed to be cut on the fold. They weren’t. Dumb mistake, but easily worked around.
  • The waist of the dress is actually supposed to have two bands, one above the other. I apparently never cut both or if I did, I threw the other one out with the scrapped bodice. Leaving one out gave the dress an empire waist, which I love.
  • I cut the cap sleeves 2 sizes larger than the bodice to give me a little more coverage. Its only a difference of about a inch of fabric width on each one, but I think its an improvement.
  • B5350-front-finish


I like that the length is short enough to be a little flirty, but not so short as to be totally immodest and make me wonder how much leg I’m really showing. I also love the cap sleeves, which were maybe the easiest “sleeves” I have ever and probably ever will make. They were simply slight ovals, folded in half, and stitched onto the bodice. It also reminds me a bit of an older dress style with the capped sleeves and empire waist, but not sure when. I’ll have to research that a bit.



I’m really proud of myself for actually having my two back pieces line up perfectly. I’m not sure I’ve ever had that actually happen before, so it feels like an accomplishment. The only thing I’m not super happy with in this dress is the pockets. I added pockets to the dress in my first go at it, but I didn’t think to shift them down a little when I re-made the dress, so the pockets sit a little too high. That’s fairly minor though as I’ll probably never put more than my car keys in them anyway.

And finishing this off lets me mark one thing off of my list of projects to re-make before Summer arrives! If I have the orange corduroy jacket here at the house, I’d like to tear it down next and get it ready to wear come cooler weather.

Butterick 5350 – Can It Be Saved?

About 4 years ago, I “attempted” to cut and sew this dress- Butterick 5350. I was doing View C, which has the sleeveless top with the deep v-neckline. I ended up making such a mess of the bodice pieces when I cut them, I literally could not sew it together. Nothing lined up, and not just by a little. I mean by 2+ inches. It was a disaster, and I ended up scrapping the bodice and making just the skirt, which was its own brand of messy. The waistband didn’t match up on either side of the zipper, and it was just bad. I can’t put my finger on why, but it was just ugly. Really, really ugly. If you want to know how ugly, you can do a search for this pattern in the archives and see the monstrosity that is the skirt. I blame part of its ugliness on poor fabric choices, but shoddy construction and that awful lining did not help.

Yesterday I re-cut the bodice, this time choosing to do View B with the cap sleeves, and stitched the bodice save for adding the sleeves. Today I stitched together the sleeves, attached the skirt to the waistband (which only has one band, not two as in the original design), and attached the bodice to the waistband. This will result in a higher waistline on the dress, which I rather like. I also really like how the sleeves look on View B. The skirt lining is going into the trash. Its pretty awful, and if I decide at some later date it needs a lining, it won’t be using that fabric.

I literally only have the bottom hem to put in, and to put a zipper in it. It fits my dress form fairly well, but I’ve yet to try it on me. I think it should fit though- its a little loose in the bust on the dress form, which I still need to pad a bit to make match me, and seems to be good everywhere else.

I may or may not go out for a zipper tonight. It depends on whether or not I am getting Subway for dinner. Here’s the front view of the dress as it stands now on my dress form.



I really wish I had taken photos of how bad this was the first time I tried to make it to compare. The panels come together in the back in a way where they line up almost perfectly, and its worlds better than it was. I still feel like the fabric choices in the skirt and waistband are ridiculous but I feel like the plain black bodice has really helped even it out and there’s a good chance I won’t be embarrassed to wear it. And it has pockets! Pockets are the one reason (or I should say lack of pockets) I shy away from wearing dresses a lot of the time. I need somewhere to stash a few small items on my person.

One way or another, I will have this finished tomorrow and will hopefully be posting photos of me modelling it.

She’s Here! My New Dress Form

dressformsThe dogs failed at telling me that UPS was here this morning (!?! they usually come at 7pm) and had dropped my new girl off at the side door. I checked the tracking on it on Amazon, and saw the note that she had been delivered in the morning. Sure enough, there she was there in her box, waiting for me just outside the door.

The new girl is much easier to adjust, and will work for a long time- her smallest measurements are about where I think I will be when I reach my goal weight, and right now with her let out almost all the way, she fits me fine. The bust needs to be a big bigger, but the waist and hips adjust perfectly. I also love the color of her! I should get plenty of use out of her just like I did the old girl.

I also spent a lot of time messing with Butterick 4087, and I think I found a solution. As I said in my earlier post, I tried crossing the straps, but that caused a gape in the front, which told me the straps needed to go straight down. I ended up adding a piece of fabric across the back connecting the two straps, and I think that will solve the problem. Tomorrow I will take photos in daylight so I can actually see how it really looks on a body. A dress form can help you a lot, but its not my final say in how something fits. Either way, this is not going to be a pretty apron. Its had too many issues and almost nothing has gone right. I just want the damned thing to be wearable.