Monthly Archives: March 2012

A Crocus in a Not-so-Hidden Garden


I snapped this photo 2 days ago during the “shawl reveal” photo shoot. Several of these lovely crocuses popped up right in my lawn. What a fun springy surprise!

It reminds me of when my boy was so little, and we would read The Runaway Bunny. The baby bunny says he will be a crocus in a hidden garden. Love that!



Reveal Backlog


What a fabulous day! It’s so sunny and warm, it makes me very happy! I enlisted my reluctant child to take some photos of my knitted creations since the light was good.

Look at those colors!

I know I am long overdue. May I present Milo.

Child needs to concentrate on getting the whole project in the frame.

And Larch.

Child needs to take one step closer. Maybe he thought I would pinch him if he got too close.

Bitterroot as well.

Child, child... it's a good thing he is cute.

Bitterroot again.

At least we got the whole scarf in the photo.

And finally, It’s Not a Drop.

Not bad, kid!

Here is an extra shot of Ginkgo, even though you may have seen it already. What the heck, right? I was outside with an armful of scarves after all.

I think I should mark a line where I want my photographer to stand. And center my scarf on my back.

Did I mention it is 75 degrees out? Ok, that is all the fun with photography we can stand for one day. I love reveal day!

Mail Call!


When the doorbell rang at 10:30 this morning, I just knew it was going to be the letter carrier with a package for me. I can’t believe I withstood 13 entire minutes of finishing up my chores before I ripped into my box.

Omigosh, omigosh, omigosh. I am so excited!

I’m sure this never happens to you: I had forgotten what I ordered, so I had that kid-at-Christmas joy when I finally got that baby ripped open. In fact, I have never ordered fabric online before (no, it’s true), so I had an extra thrill, it being my first time. Pretty sure there are going to be more times.

First, a few details. I ordered 12 items from for a total of $131 plus $16 (ouch) shipping. Let’s pretend I actually get around to making all 12 pieces up into actual garments. Splitting up the shipping per item, the t-shirts are going to be about $7.50 each, blouses $8-11, and dresses $22. That seems like pretty good value. I already have several patterns, but yes, I will also have some thread, pattern and notion expenditures. Still, I am pleased with the prices.

The fabric, on first glance, is all soft, drapey, and as nice as I could have hoped for.

Shall we take a look? All photos below are from I tried to make it easy for you to link up, just in case you are in the mood to buy!

Heather Grass Green Sweater Knit (10094)

Initial thoughts: McCall’s 6084, swingy sweater jacket; or a sewn cropped cardigan with ruffles along the neckline. I’ll have to make something up.

Brown/Tan Flocked Gauze (11548) Not linked because it is sold out anyway. Sorry.

This one is a little weird, because the print is rubbery. It said so in the description, so I knew what I was getting into. I’m not disappointed.

Taupe/Black Floral Lawn (12468)

Original thoughts: Colette Chantilly. Mmmmmm. It feels a little crisp for the pattern, so I’ll have to check after prewashing. I have other dress patterns to make up, just in case. I’m thinking shirtdress.

ITY Green Mottled Jersey Knit (12782)

ITY Steel Grey Print Jersey (12802)

Original thoughts: Ok, to be honest, I had to take a trip to my local fabric store to figure out the difference between some of the knits (interlock, ITY, rayon jersey, ponte, etc.) I am not in love with ITY. It feels like old-fashioned polyester, like the kind we wore in the 70s, except softer and drapier. I bought it anyway because I love the colors, and I think these would make good “fancy” t-shirt like Butterick 5495. Time will tell whether I buy any more ITY.

White/Yellow T-Shirt Jersey Knit (12845)

Original thoughts: Jalie 2794 (I do not own this pattern…yet.) This one is 100% cotton. It’s pretty thin, so I worry about its use as a t-shirt.

White/Red Floral Lawn (13200)

Original thoughts: Colette Chantilly, all the way. I may need to line the top, but I have a little batiste lying around. LOVE this fabric.

Golden Yellow/Brown Floral Lawn (1625)

Original thoughts: A glorified camp shirt for summer. This one looks a little like a bed sheet, I have to be honest. It’s very soft, and I like the colors. Again, I’m not disappointed.

Orange Stripe Seersucker Shirting (3477) Sold out, sorry.

Original thoughts: Shirt dress. I love orange. This is perfect. I tried on an adorable dress at Target but the fabric was too thin, the color was wrong, and it didn’t fit well. I’m picturing that. I wish I could show you a literal picture, but alas, there is no picture of it on their webstie. I had to look through 439 dresses to make sure. Just sayin’.

Butter Yellow Gauze (7229)

Original thoughts: Loose-fitting summer blouse. Maybe Butterick 5612.

Brown & Tan Stripe Jersey Knit (9149)

Original thoughts: Some kind of t-shirt, maybe a Jalie top, or one of the empire waist tees I listed in previous posts. I don’t have a pattern yet and need to buy one.

 Chartruese Lawn (9233)

Original thoughts: Some kind of summer blouse. I have several patterns floating around but they are out of print so I’m having a hard time linking you up.

And there you have it! I am so excited. I told you I was motivated to sew again. Now I just need to get cracking before the thrill wears off.

Passing the Time


I wish I were passing the time doing something fun, but all I have been passing the last few days is kidney stones. Ouch. First time for everything. It’s like a meteor shower. I wish I could just pass a boulder and be done with it. The painkillers are lovely though.

So my fashion show and review of Biu Biu will have to wait until I feel better.

In the meantime, I am working on Burda 7798 view B.

You can see by the photo I took this summer, I first intended to use my fabric to a different pattern. However, my muslin was a mess, and I realized that this style is probably never going to look good on me. Onward!

Right fabric, wrong pattern.

I have never made anything the way I am making this: piecemeal. I am cutting out the pieces as I sew them. Crazy, I know. The fabric is slippery, I have little bursts of energy, I’m winging it on the fit, and I’d rather have one accurately cut and sewn section at a time. I have finished one sleeve, sewn the darts on front and back, and basted the front to the back. I have not added the skirt/lower portion of the shirt yet. So far, so good.

Instead of doing a Full Bust Adjustment, I cut the size 16 front and sewed the darts about 1/4 deeper. This pulled the neck area to about the right spot. I should have added a little length to the bodice, so I hope the empire seam does not ride on my breasts. I will cut the skirt next and see for sure!

Are You Big Busted? Are You Sure?


In the past I would have shaken my head a resounding, No. (No, I’m not big busted, and yes, I’m sure.) Now I’m learning it’s all relative.

I’ve been sewing for many years. Back in high school I was brave, and I would just buy a yard (one stinkin’ yard — Ha!) of interesting fabric, and then somehow fashion a top out of it. In college, I made several work-related garments, as well as curtains and house items. In grad school I made my first quilt. I’ve made wedding dresses, baby clothes, poncho coats for a wheelchair user, purses and pouches, etc. etc. When I decided to brush off my sewing machine again last year to make some summer clothes, I thought, I know how to sew. Measure yourself and cut out the pattern, easy.

Going strictly by the back of the envelope, I should have been making size 16. I found it hard to believe that I needed that size, because I wear an 8 in ready-to-wear. I know that the sizes are not commensurate, but in my estimation, I am a pretty small person. 135-140 pounds, 5’6″. A size 16 in patterns is a Large. In my experience, all big 4 pattern companies add wayyyy too much ease, so I made size 14. Wow, still so big around the neck and shoulders.

I realized I needed to make some alterations. I turned to the Internet, and I read my trusty sewing resource books. It was the first time I ever heard the term “Full Bust Adjustment”. I actually rather quickly flipped past this term, thinking, I don’t need that. That’s for really big busted women.

One of the resources I used was Nancy Zieman’s book Pattern Fitting with Confidence. Ms. Zieman uses a slash and pivot method that is different from the Palmer/Pletsch method of the FBA. She says to choose a pattern size based on the hardest to fit area: the shoulders. Her method includes measuring the front of your body across the chest from underarm crease to underarm crease. Mine was 13″, putting me squarely in a size 10 pattern. After choosing the base size, you compare your measurements to the pattern size and make alterations. That meant I needed to add about 7″ to the bust, and 5″ to the waist and hips. That seems like a lot of alterations. And if you need more than 4″ of change to the bust, you needed to make more complicated adjustments. This should have been my first big clue that my body was really different from the typical pattern. No wonder things weren’t fitting well. Still, I had a hard time believing I needed a Full Bust Adjustment.

I did more reading. Pattern companies and RTW base their sizes on a B cup woman. In other words, the full bust is only 2″ larger than the chest measurement. A woman doesn’t have to be terribly large busted to be 3″ or more different in chest than bust. I decided to pull out my tape measure to prove it. My chest measurement is 34, full bust is 38. Huh. Who knew? So Vogue Patterns instructions say I should choose a size based on my chest and then alter the pattern for a D cup. A “D”, eh? I could not believe it.

I don’t know why I was resistant. Maybe because I just have the same common misperception that most American women probably have based on shopping for bras at the department store. We are told 34C is the average. Jokes are made about large-busted women, wherein they are labeled “Double D’s”, and I don’t look like that, so how can I be bigger than a B? As I did more research, I learned about the bizarre practice of adding 4-5″ to your ribcage measurement in order to come up with the band size. I also learned that the average size in Great Britain is 32F. Well, what do you know?

A quick comparison will be educational, methinks. So a woman with a 31″ ribcage might be told in America to add 3-4″ to get 34″ for a band size.  If this same woman had a 38″ bust, she would be told to buy a D cup. (1″ difference between band size and bust measurement is an “A” cup, 2″ is a B, 3″ is a C, 4″ is D, 5″ is DD, 6″ is E, 7″ is F, and so on.) In Great Britain, the woman with the 31″ ribcage would be told to buy a 32″ band, and then with a 7″ difference between ribcage and full bust, she’d be put in an F cup.

The sizes are really not so different on the face of it. However, in the American system, we are putting most of the width of the bra into the back band instead of into the cups.

If your bra is always climbing up your back, consider a smaller band size and larger cup! Have your breasts changed? No. Should you run right out and start doing Full Bust Adjustments on all your patterns? Maybe. The point is to compare the size of the ribcage, the shoulder width, the waist measurement, and the full bust size. This should guide you in choosing a pattern size (and style) and in making necessary alterations.

Soon I will review a RTW company that specializes in clothing for the woman with a large bust-to-waist ratio. Even if you don’t consider yourself terribly big busted, this could be a coup for you!

More Patterns for a Full Bust


Yesterday I wrote about pattern features to look for if you have a large difference between your ribcage and your bust measurements. I included an analysis of current Vogue blouse and top patterns. Today let’s look at other pattern companies.



*B5678. This is a button blouse with princess seams from the shoulder. It includes customization for A-D cups, so an FBA is not necessary. Four views are shown, with varying collars, pockets and hem lengths. One view has belt carriers and a belt. (See artwork above, courtesy of

*5609. Sleeveless knit top with empire seam. 3 views feature wrapped front, keyhole front, or one-shouldered style. May require FBA.

*5497. Another knit top with empire seam. Gathers at bust and shoulder could negate the need for an FBA. Three views show various necklines and sleeve lengths. Sleeves are cut-on style.

*5495. Knit top with multiple pieces to accentuate the bust and waist. Gathered at center front. Four views show varying sleeve and hem lengths.


*M6035. Blouse with princess seams customizable for A-D cups. Four views with different collars and interesting sleeve details.

Line Drawing


I have seen Simplicity 2614 done a few times now in Blogland, including Najah’s fabulous librarian blouse. Note the empire waist, and shoulder and bust gathers. This style could definitely work.

Sadly, I didn’t like anything else in this line. The empire waist tops all had gathers on the lower half, which makes me look pregnant: a look I don’t want to sport ever again. The blouses with princess seams all had bizarre collars or sleeves, in my opinion.

Pattern Wanties


Since finding my sewing juju again, I have a serious case of the wanties. For patterns. I bought a shit-ton of fabric the other day; I’m waiting impatiently for it to arrive. Sadly, and against my better judgment, a lot of what I ordered was for patterns I don’t own yet! I can’t buy Vogue patterns at full price. I just can’t. And I want 6 of them, so I surely am not paying full price for all 6.

Biu Biu "Vanity Fair" white blouse with princess seams

Analyzing my Biu Biu purchases has shown me a few things regarding patterns. If you have a large difference between your ribcage measurement and your bust measurement, you may find the following tips helpful:

1. I need serious darting if I want to show off my figure better. Most store bought things I buy are sized up to get around my bust and belly, so they just hang on me, hiding my smallish waist. Check out the Biu Biu blouse’s shaping! All nipped in at the waist, with room where I need it.

2. Princess seams are very flattering.

3. Empire waists can also be figure friendly, as long as the lower part isn’t billowy with loads of gathers or pleats. While pregnancy is beautiful, it is not a look I am going for at this time.

4. I need to start doing a Full Bust Adjustment (FBA) on my patterns. Patterns are cut for a B cup bust. I don’t care if you use American sizing with the +4″-to-your-ribcage measurement or the use-your-actual-ribcage measurement favored by the Brits. Either way, a B isn’t going to cut it. Vogue recommends measuring your chest (above the bust) and then measuring the bust. If there are more than 2″ between these numbers, do a Full Bust Adjustment.

5. Patterns that come with separate front pieces for A, B, C, and D cups are my friend.

6. While plain ol’ t-shirts don’t do me any favors, knits can be wonderful in the right style.

Here are my pattern ideas. I had a very hard time getting the pictures to copy over, so please link if you have interest.

*Vogue 8598. Blouse with princess seams from the shoulder. Shows 5 views (though I can’t figure out how B and C are different) including sleeveless, regular long sleeves, and gathered sleeves. This pattern would require an FBA.

*Vogue 8323. Have you seen K-Line’s version? Lovely! Knit top with princess seams from the shoulder. Shows 3 views including sleeveless with an overlapping neckline, 3/4 sleeves with a cowl, and full sleeves with a deep u-neckline. This pattern may require an FBA, but it is knit, so it may not.

*Vogue 8634. Knit top with empire waist. The lower part of the shirt doesn’t have any gathers. The top features 3 views with varying sleeve lengths, all with a cowl neck and raglan sleeves. May or may not require an FBA.

*Vogue 8649. Knit top with cut-on kimono sleeves and empire waist. This pattern has separate pieces to custom fit A-D cup. The top part of the front has bust gathers; the lower part is smooth. The top has 3 views (B and C are the same but show fabric requirements for color blocking) showing short or 3/4 length sleeves.

*Vogue 8747. Blouse with custom fit for A-D cup. Pattern features princess seams from the armscye. Front panel has sideways bust gathers eminating from the button band. Various collar styles and sleeve lengths are shown in 5 views.

*Vogue 1275. This is a Sandra Betzina Today’s Fit pattern for a knit top with interesting seaming, ruching, bust darts and shaping. Short and long sleeves are shown in 2 views. FBA may or may not be needed.

Look for reviews of other pattern companies in future posts.