Sew-a-Long Update

A sewing tragedy struck last week – one I’m sure you sewists are familiar with! Or at least, sewists who are untidy and scatterbrained like myself 😉

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My sewing space. Yes….this is what it generally looks like.

I finally found time to stitch up my Mandarin shirt muslin . . . and my pattern pieces were nowhere to be found! Both my cut-out fabric pieces AND my carefully adjusted paper pattern. The only pieces I could find were the top bodice pieces, because I had sewn the darts in and apparently separated them from the rest of the project (why I did that, I have no idea).

I tidied up my entire sewing room and couldn’t find the missing parts anywhere!

Tears were shed. It was a sad, sad day.

I haven’t completely given up hope –I’m still going to hunt one more time and clean more thoroughly. But it’s looking like I may have to start from scratch! Don’t you just love when you have to start a project over from the ground up??? At least it’s an opportunity to make improvements. Seeing as I just finished breastfeeding last week, my bra size might be changing soon and maybe I’ll need new pattern adjustments this time around! Hopefully this setback only amounts to an even better final product 🙂

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Off the Rack ~ Pinup Girl Clothing “Peasant Top” vs. Vixen by Micheline Pitt “Powder Puff Top”

I’ve long been a fan of Pinup Girl Clothing (as attested by the many reviews I’ve written here on Hourglassy). But in the last year or so, the quality and customer service have been suffering.

Additionally, I’m feeling that the designs they put out seem more and more juvenile. There’s nothing wrong with that, per se, but as I get older, I’m gravitating more toward clothes that look more authentic vintage and less kitschy. Of course I’ll always stick by my bright colors, but more and more I’m choosing prints that are less cartoony and silhouettes that are less doll-like.

As such, I was pleased to see that Micheline Pitt, former PUG model and senior designer, has branched out into her own company called Vixen by Micheline Pitt that’s already getting rave reviews. Micheline was responsible for the “Deadly Dames” PUG range, which was a sexier, more mature and occasionally racy line of garments. After a falling out with PUG, she’s taken that style and run with it.

To be honest, so far there isn’t that much by Vixen that I feel the impulse to buy. The makeup prints and all the pink do nothing for me. But I’ve read tons of positive reviews, and I recently joined a Vixen Facebook fan group in which Micheline herself pops up to answer questions and give sneak peeks of upcoming items. I’m really impressed with the customer service and positive feedback, so last week I used a coupon for DollMeUpDarling.com and picked out a “Powder Puff Top” to try.

Since I need another black or red shirt like I need a hole in my head, and goodness knows I can’t keep a white shirt clean to save my life, I went with the only remaining color—light pink.

I’m not much of a pink wearer, especially baby pink like this, but I’ve also been looking for a potential replacement for my PUG peasant tops, and thought it would be a good idea to compare the pink Vixen top to my pink PUG top. The PUG peasant tops are not entirely boob-friendly, but they come in an array of colors and go really well with high-waisted bottoms, so they’re a good basic despite the fit issues.

Unfortunately for this review, the PUG tops are actually in the midst of a redesign, and I only have the old style. So this comparison of the two shirts is going to be outdated pretty soon. But I hope it’s helpful in the meantime!

Both these shirts are a medium, and I measure 37”-29”-41” with a height of 5’6” and bra size 28G–30G (UK) depending on brand. In these photos, I’m wearing the Fantasie 4510 Molded Smoothing Tee-Shirt Bra in 30FF.

First up, here is the old PUG peasant top:

peasant old

And the new one: [Read more…]

Mandarin Shirt Sew-a-Long: Day 3

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Ok, the last two weeks have been a little complicated (Supplies)(Piecing the pattern)(Pattern Adjustments)…and we haven’t even touched fabric yet! Never fear, we will finally do that today. Get ready to cut out the fabric for your fitting muslin! Cutting out a sewing pattern is a fairly universal process, so if you’ve done this before, just go ahead and do your thing! I’ll just share some of my tips and tricks below.

For this step, you will need:

  • Your adjusted (if necessary) Mandarin Shirt pattern pieces
  • Fabric for your muslin, washed and prepped
    • I bought a plain, non-stretch cotton fabric (similar), as this will not need to be a wearable garment. It will only be used to check the fit and make further adjustments.
  • Pattern weights or pins
  • Fabric scissors or rotary cutter
  • Pencil, tailor’s chalk, or other fabric marking utensil
    • I am a HUGE fan of the Pilot Frixion highlighter for fabric marking! It removes with an iron.
    • I also caved and used a Crayola washable marker for parts of this….again, not a wearable garment, so removable markings aren’t as important.

Firstly, for your fitting muslin, you don’t technically *need* to use all of the pattern pieces. It would be a good idea to cut out one of every piece so you can practice doing the steps before doing them on your final shirt. But the minimum pieces necessary to check the fit of the garment are: [Read more…]

Mandarin Shirt Sew-a-long: Day 2

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Alrighty, are you ready for Day Two?! At this point, you’ve purchased your pattern and fabric (intro post) and printed/pieced your pattern together (Day 1). Now we are ready to take a few more measurements and do some adjustments to the pattern before cutting it out!

Jodi has outlined directions for this process in her PDF instructions. I’m a very visual learner, so I thought I would try and document it more in-depth for other visual people out there.

For this process you will need:

  • Top Front and Top Back pattern pieces
  • The bra you plan to wear under your Mandarin Shirt
    • Wear this while taking your measurements!
  • Flexible tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
    • I love using a clear quilting ruler for making pattern adjustments! So easy to see if you’re lining everything up.
  • Scissors and/or paper trimming tool
  • Extra paper
    • Only needed if you need to increase your pattern size. I like to use wrapping paper. You could use printer paper, junk mail, just about anything!
  • Scotch tape, glue stick, or similar

[Read more…]