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I am a mother, a grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge was published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon



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Saturday, November 1, 2008

The principles of the actual pivoting and sliding

Once all your notes-to-self are written on your fabric the next step is to lay this crazily annotated pattern on your fabric (or paper if you are sensible) and start cutting and adjusting as you go. To work the process of Cut-Pivot or slide-Cut has to be done in a strict order, with hemlines for example cut first to establish grainlines for the whole piece, and cutting proceeding up to very distinct pivot points that are always the key point before where the pattern must be pivoted to make a width change. This prescribed order is different for garment type, I will just do pants now but if this works might explore it further another time for bodices. Typical sewer, mind always on the project after the one at hand.

That order as best as I can explain it:

1. Pin your pattern to the fabric or paper. Correction because there is a lot of moving the pattern around the best thing to do is use weights which is what they actually do in the book I am using. In my case the weights are a can of smoked oysters (my husband makes a wicked smoked oyster sandwich, a favourite from his Nova Scotia Acadian childhood), sardines (have had that can for about 15 years, been that long since I had sardines, and do remember them being on the menu where I grew up in rural Manitoba) and a couple of cans of tuna. Looks very scientific and professional doesn't it?
2. OK pin the hem to the fabric and weight the rest. Step one, to maintain grainline is to cut out the hem line, if you need to lengthen or shorten  then slide your pattern up or down.
3. Measure and mark all the additions or subtractions (but really when you are working from a pattern that is already 2 sizes smaller I doubt that is going to be an issue) on the fabric. This means for example measuring out the requisite 5/8" at the hip and waistline  and putting a pin in the fabric as a mark in the fabric. When you are done this you will have pins parallel to the stitching line at hip, waist, thigh or wherever else you will need to make additions.
4. OK then it gets weird. After cutting the hem, the next step is to pivot the pattern out to make additions, with the pivoting occurring at the level one below the place that needs the addition.
5. In detail, I need to add to my thigh, so pivoting from the hem I put only one pin in the pattern at the hem and side seam seam allowance intersection and use this as the pivot point to rotate my whole pattern piece until the pattern at the side seam touches the pin I have placed 1/2" out at the thigh line. I then cut along the pattern all the way up to the crotch/thighline along the side seam. This adds to the outer thigh.
6. I then return the pattern to my starting point with the pattern even with the cut hem line.
7. I remove the pin at the outer hem/side seam allowance intersection and transfer it to the inseam/hem allowance intersection. Using this as a new pivot point I rotate my pattern piece to touch the marking pin that is 1/2" out from the thigh line at the inseam. I cut to this point.
8. Next I move the pin to the crotch line, side seam first, then inseam, one step and one cut at a time, pivot out to my 5/8" mark at the hip and cut to the hip line.
9. I then move the pivot pins to the side seam hip line and pivot and cut out to my 5/8" waistline mark, then do the same on the inseam line.
10. Finally I slide the pattern up a bit to make the small additions to the length at the top of the waist.

Done, cut and ready to sew, no paper alterations at all. Interesting.

Friday, October 31, 2008

A look at how a real pro does it

Before I continue with my own adventures I want you all to have a look at some absolutely fabulous pants made by Cennetta, sewer of great expertise. Her review and samples of Simplicity 2860 made up are to die for and I really appreciated her helpful, clear detailed construction and alteration photos.

See it can be done! This is very encouraging. 

Isn't the internet fantastic? In the old days we had to search for sewing enthusiasts to share with and here we are now able to view and access such wonderful work at any time of the day or night. The inspiration is amazing.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Step two of Pivot and Slide

Sometimes there is a lot of life that stands between a girl and her sewing projects, nearly all good but busy. 

This week it's been my 55th birthday and a nice dinner out with my husband and daughter, the only available child in the vicinity this week, more mid terms and associated student angst at school and a weekend away for a party my daughter's new and wonderful mother-in-law gave for her at home on Cape Breton Island, complete with a famous fiddler and lots of incredible step dancing. Really a great weekend. My DD has traded in her very ethnic last name for her new husband's and as I watched her dance with the best of them her new father-in-law said to me "She's a Macdonald now." 

Yes I think she is and I am glad for her. In a world where it is harder and harder for young families to get all the family support they need I am so happy that she has joined a big strong supportive family that will be there for her just like we are. It helps too that they are as just as welcoming to us and these are people my husband and I will be visiting with in the future too for our own sakes.

So it has been great, but not sewing related, and I am anxious to get pivoting and sliding.

Now on to step two.

Before I go into the detail let me explain the conceptual approach behind this method.

P&S in step one asked me to do a series of basic measurements, hip, waist, stride, thigh and modified crotch depth.

Step two involves doing flat pattern measurements along the same spots, adding ease, and from that calculating the additions or subtracts that are required. Not too complicated.

The twist is that all the numbers, mine, the pattern's, and the changes required, are all written on the pattern itself.

The changes made to the pattern to accommodate individual needs are then made by either sliding the pattern up or down for length changes, or pivoting out or in for width changes.

In one approach the changes can be made directly on the fabric by literally pivoting and sliding the pattern as you cut, or by laying the pattern over paper and making the changes that way to produce a permanent pattern. First time out I am going to work directly on my test fabric and if I like this method do another paper pattern later with what I expect will be other and additional changes.

Here is what I have done so far in step two of P&S:

First off these are the suggested ease allowances for this method:

1. Hip at widest part = 2"
2. Waist at wearing waistline = 1"
3. Thigh = 2"

So working along the stitching line of the waist on my test pattern (which I note has a waistline 1" below the natural waist so I have remeasured for that) and being aware that I should not measure dart take-up this (interesting this pattern does not have front darts) is what I have:

1. The pattern (remember this is a size 12, bought 2 sizes smaller than my usual pattern size as suggested) measures 30.5 at the waistline, one inch below the waist which I find kind of interesting as the waist measurement of a size 12 is 28" I wouldn't have thought that 1" below would have increased that much. My own waist in the same place is 34". With the 1" ease allowance this means I need a waistline on this pattern of 35" and divided by the 8 seam (side seams, front and back crotch X 2) that means a difference of 4.5" divided by 8= .56 inches which so my brain can handle it I am rounding to 5/8". That is 5/8" to be added parallel to the waist at the top of all side seams and crotch seams.

I can do that and have written a note to this effect in red marker (my personal measurements are written in black - if I don't colour code I am going to blow this for sure.)

2. The pattern measures 37" at the hip line where the pattern had me draw it (I note that the finished hip according to the pattern is 38" I guess hip is calculated in a different place)  my own measurement is 39.5" and adding the 2" hip ease that means I need 41.5" at the hip or 4.5" extra divided again by 8 that gives me an addition of 5/8" (why am I not doing this metric? Canada is a metric country but my sewing education predates that change). Accountants and mathematicians or properly educated people should feel free to challenge and correct my rounding.

So I have written another add 5/8" at the hip line at all 8 seam points, sides and both crotches.

3. Again where the system tells me to measure the thigh, 1" below the crotch line the pattern measures, for one thigh, 23.5". My own thigh is 23" and 2" are needed for ease. That means an addition of 1.5" per thigh and divided by the 4 seam allowances involved in sewing up a pant leg that means an addition of 3/8" on each seam at the thigh level.

4. Length, easy one add 2".

5. Crotch length, always a worry this one. Well remeasuring 1" below the waist my crotch or stride measurement is only .5" more than the pattern piece measured along the stitching line, so I will add .25"at the top of each crotch seam on the waist. (Note if you are trying this yourself and have to made more significant additions or subtractions please let me know and I will post those specific instructions.)

6. Seat depth, measured along the side seam stitching line from the waist seam to the seat depth line marked on the pattern (see previous post) in my case 1/2" to be added.