New Look 6945 Button Up Top Muslin (pattern review)

New Look 69 45 Sewing Pattern. Lined button up blouse with sleeves or sleeveless.
New Look 69 45 Sewing Pattern. Lined button up blouse with sleeves or sleeveless.
New Look 6945 is a lined button up blouse sewing pattern that comes in sleeveless, short sleeved, and three-quarters sleeve options. I bought the pattern because it said “easy”, not because I loved it. The shirt is casual without a lot of separate pieces and topstitching, etc. It is short and hits just below the waist. There are a few pattern reviews online.

The pattern runs big with a large amount of ease and I had to make a lot of alterations to make this wearable (which never happened). There is a large amount of ease in this pattern. It was a huge pouffy sack with a gaping neckline without alterations.

Changes I made:

  • Went down many sizes on the front piece to try to make this awful pattern fit better
  • Removed 1 and a half inches from the upper bodice back. I guess this is a change I may make often in the future…
  • Brought the front shoulder up 1 and a half inches
  • Removed 2 inches from the hipline on the back pattern piece
  • Shortened the bust darts by 2 inches or so
  • A million other changes that didn’t pan out
new look 6945 top front view muslin
I guess the upper chest is too long?? I had to pin up wedges at the sides of the armholes/ armsyes

Overall, this sewing pattern did not fit me in the least. I went down to a size 8 in the front bodice and the shoulder straps were still superrrrr wide! I had to ad over an inch to the shoulders to make the top stay on my body. And since it was also inappropriately low cut I also had to add a ton to the upper chest or else risk being mistaken for a daytime hooker.

I made change after change to try to make this pattern fit me. In the end I had to concede defeat and give up. At least I tried. On to the next failed project!

new look 6945 top side view muslin
New Look 6945… Doesn’t fit, never will
I cut out over an inch from the upper back, and there are wrinkles in the small of the back and below it.
I cut out over an inch from the upper back, and there are wrinkles in the small of the back and below it.

Vogue 1004 Fitting Shell Update (Craftsy Fast Track Fitting Class)

I have been working on fitting my dress for the Fast Track Fitting Class! I still have a ways to go but I am getting there. At least this current version doesn’t make me look like a stuffed sausage with a gigantic humpback.

Horzontal draglines and diagonal draglines on my Vogue 1004 fitting shell (Craftsy Fast Track Fitting)
Horzontal draglines and diagonal draglines on my Vogue 1004 fitting shell (Craftsy Fast Track Fitting)

There is a diagonal dragline from my underarm towards the center waist, and the bust apex sits much too high, I think I may need to make a larger cup size??? Yet I don’t have a full bust??? I did remove 2 inches from the center seam front bodice, I guess that was too much. Anyway, you can clearly see that the horizontal balance line on the front bodice bust line pulls up. The thighs (and maybe the hips?) are over fitted, which is somewhat to be expected as I removed A LOT of fabric in the back to make my embarrassing flat seat adjustment and did not add any in the front for ease because I was pretty confused by this point. Hmm I still need to brush up on making pattern fitting adjustments on Craftsy.

My most successful change was to remove the giant humpback of extra fabric between my shoulder blades in my upper back by cutting out a strip of fabric in the upper back bodice. In other words, I made the back bodice shorter without touching the side seams. I still need to remove a little more (I think) and possibly lower the arm holes since I brought them up so much, making the arm holes quite a bit smaller.

Upper bodice too long
Humpback from too much fabric in upper bodice. The upper bodice is too long so I had to shorten in the shoulder blade area.

Okay so a million more changes need to be made… Despite his muslin’s shortcomings, this is a major improvement on the original pattern. I would like to remind you that the unaltered, right out of the envelope patterns starts out as the worst fitting garment in the history of humankind, then only gets worse without a bunch of pattern adjustments. The changes would be easier to make if I had a fitting partner to help me with my measurements. Looking at photographs of the muslin helps so much because apparently I tend to pull at the muslin in the mirror to adjust it and then exclaim “Its perfect!! Done! I will just maintain this impossible position and not move all day.”

Tender is the Nightie from Sew Everything Workshop

Front bodice, sewn on tissue paper to avoid fabric puckering  
Front bodice, sewn on tissue paper to avoid fabric puckering

Once I had recovered from my previous mistakes in starting Tender is the Nightie from Sew Everything Workshop, I was ready to sew!  I re-cut the front and back parts of the bodice, and made sure to use leftover tissue paper under the zig-zag stitching to avoid puckering.

This project requires you to make your own pattern following instructions in the book.  I made some changes to this pattern.  The most important change I made was to the length- I shortened it quite a bit!  Diana Rupp has probably made a strategic choice in making this nightie so long- it hits several inches below the knee- so that mothers will still be able to buy this book for their young daughters without encouraging overexposure.  She wants this book to be PG, to appeal to a wide audience.  But, I feel that mid-thigh is a much better look for a grown woman.  So, I cut off about 10 inches from the length.

I was so happy to put this together, because it resembles a real dress! I can’t wait to be able to make cute dresses!  There are only 4 pieces- 2 bodice pieces and 2 skirt pieces.  The nightie is made with an empire waist.  The skirt is slightly more narrow at the top than at the bottom, to add shape.

In addition to being the first time I got to construct and attach a bodice and skirt, Diane Rupp also teaches you how to use a loop turner, make spaghetti straps and how to do slide-slit openings on the skirt.  I used lace for my straps instead

Tender is the Nightie
Tender is the Nightie, without lace trim

Like Jessica from Green Apples, I am not going to model the nightgown– this is not that sort of site!

While I loved making this project and feel I learned a lot, it’s just too big for me.  Once I was done constructing it, pinned on some lace for the straps to try it on.  I could see that it was quite a bit bigger than my other nightgowns, but I was hopping that it might end up being bigger in a still-flattering sort of way, but no.  It’s just too big.  So, I didn’t do any of the finishing touches (sewing on lace trim, finishing the side slits), because I knew I could never wear it.

Oh well, I still learned a lot!  I ended up buying The Perfect Fit: The Classic Guide to Altering PatternsThe Perfect Fit: The Classic Guide to Altering Patterns and then find out!

Grade: A-. I learned a lot, and it would probably fit a non-petite person better.



Sewing Project: Simplicty Its So Easy 2040 Misses and Mens Pajama Pants and Blanket

Simplicity Its So Easy 2040 Misses and Mens Pajama Pants and Blanket
Simplicity 2040 Pajama Pants for the Big-Boned

As I’ve mentioned before, I decided that I wanted wanted to learn how to sew in part because of the horrible pajama pants that stores are trying to pass off as worth $20.   I bought the pattern for Simplicty Its So Simple 2040 Mens and Misses Pajama Pants and Blanket while envisioning gorgeous and well made pajama pants that fit me perfectly. I bought some nice cotton poplin from Little Lisette at 50% off to get myself motivated.  I guess the fabric is for kids, but its perfect for cute girly pajama pants. I was excited to use apparel fabric instead of quilting cotton because the texture felt so much more smooth and comfortable.  Perfect fabric for a pair of perfect pajama pants! Feeling optimistic and confident, I began to sew.

Alas, due to my lack of sewing experience it was not to be. What a fool I was to think that I could make these pants. Problems:

  1. The pattern runs big.  Really big.  Huge, in fact.  I made a size small, which should fit me decently.  Unfortunately, it seems that as this is a unisex design that the size options on the pattern don’t compensate for the need for a good fit.  I am all for loose, comfy pajamas.  Instead I made a pair of hammer pants.
  2. The waistband instructions do not make sense. They are vague and confusing. Ok, maybe to a non-beginner they might seem clear and precise. To me, a novice with no instinct, they are gibberish. The pattern instructions basically say:  make the waistband.  To which I say: how?????
  3. Urkelism: The waist is ridiculously high. Again, this seems like a symptom of the one-size fits all pattern.  The waist height is the same for all sizes, which means that its intended to fit both an extra small woman and an extra large man.  You don’t have to be a sewing genius to realize this is going to be a problem.
Simplicity Its So Easy 2040 Pajama Pants and Blanket
Will I ever make a pair of pajama pants that I like??

Ok, so I failed at this project.   I am trying to look on the bright side.  Positive points and things that I learned:

  1. I used the button hole function.  I’ve never made a button hole before, so this was a major accomplishment.  Yes, I did have to painstakingly use my seam ripper to tear out the threads from a failed buttonhole.  Twice. Its all in the name of learning.  Thank God my new sewing machine has a one step button hole feature!
  2. I was able to successfully sew the legs and crotch.  All the fabric lined up to an acceptable degree (i.e., not perfect but it’ll do). The bizarre “insert one pant leg into the other with right sides facing” to sew the crotch totally worked!  Weird sewing magic!  Up until this point I was still brimming with hope.  Then when it came time to sew the waistband I realized I was in over my head and couldn’t recover.
  3. I trimmed an inch off of the waist length when I realized how high it was.   This meant that I had to make extra button holes for the drawstring to come out of.  Hmmm, I choose to view this as an opportunity for practice.
  4. Even though the waistband is messed up and they run big, I think they will make a good present for my mom.  Not a major present like for Christmas or her birthday, ok?  I am not going to ruin a holiday with my crappy pajama pants.  Just an everyday appreciation present that she might get some use out of. She can always “accidentally” spill bleach on them and throw them away after an appropriate amount of time.

Verdict:  So they are not perfect.  There is still a lot of potential.  I am going to try again, but next time I will use the extra small size, adjust the waist height, and see if I can decipher the waistband instructions.

At least they look like a pair of pants.  That’s something.