Wherein Colds are Suffered and Paco Takes a Back Seat

The title pretty much says it all.

It’s cold and flu season in Boston right now, and it’s a doozy. Both my sons have the galloping crud that’s been making the rounds at the high school. I had hoped beyond reason that I would get away unscathed. Alas, that was not to be. I have two words for you. Alka Seltzer Plus. Okay, three words.

Anyway, between feeling kind of crappy, I have made some progress on the Paco Peralta Apron Skirt. On the good advice of sewing friends, I haven’t done anything that requires much thought, but I did make the lining. I used some (sold out, sorry) rose print silk crepe de chine from Gorgeous Fabrics. The lining is pretty straightforward with darts in the front and princess lines in the back. Here’s the lining as it stands right now:

I do love a silk lining, don’t you?

I’ll post more as I am able. Hopefully I’ll get over this bug soon. Stay well, and

Happy sewing!

Pattern Review – Paco Peralta Draped Top

Subtitle: Paco Peralta – Patterns for the Sophisticated Woman

Pattern Description: From Paco’s Etsy store: Sleeveless blouse with draped front; it can be made of silk or similar fabrics, including stretch fabrics (knits). The pattern is simple and easy to sew. it consists of four pieces: lower front, upper draped front, back and back neckline facing. The armholes are finished with bias strips of self-fabric (pattern not included) or using a special purpose hemming technique for stretchy fabrics (if using knits). The pattern is drafted in three alternating sizes: Small, Medium, Large and X-Large (Bust 31,5, 34,5 37,5, and 40,5 inch.). A smaller or larger size can easily be obtained using the pattern master lines for grading. The pattern is hand copied from the original and the designer labes is provided, granting this pattern with “exclusive model” status.

Sizing: S-XL. I mad a Medium.

Fabric Used: Wide Silk Jersey in Merlot, from Gorgeous Fabrics (of course). Alas, it is long since sold out.

Needle/Notions Used: Stretch 70/10 needle, Metrosene thread, Pro-Tricot interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply (the best interfacing out there, IMO)

Tips Used during Construction: Press that Bad Mamma Jamma, Sewing With Knits

Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes

How were the instructions? There aren’t any included, but this pattern goes together beautifully, so I didn’t need any. Also, Paco has lots of information on how to make this pattern Here On His Blog.

Construction Notes: I made two muslins of this top and determined the size I want (Medium). While the second muslin looks good on, it needed an FBA to really fit the way I wanted it to and eliminate the shelf effect at the bust. A couple of folks asked how I did that. Well – it’s kind of a cheat, forgive me Paco!
I simply adjusted the lines of the drape to give myself a little extra room. Here you can see the resulting pattern piece:

It’s not the most elegant solution, but it fits well and works for me. As an aside, I once took a class with Jim Blinn, a computer graphics god from Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and when some snot-nosed kid tried to lecture him on using a more elegant solution to a technical problem, he replied, “Oh, I don’t know. Brute force is a wonderful methodology.” All of us in the class applauded, and I adopted that mantra as a way of life.

Other than that, I changed the hemline, which is 2 inches in the original pattern, to a 1/2 inch narrow hem. I used facings to finish the armholes and I hand hemmed everything.

Likes/Dislikes: I love this pattern! It’s comfortable, flattering and beautifully drafted. Phyllis saw the size medium muslin on me last week, and she can vouch for how well the pattern is drafted.

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? I am going to make it again and I highly recommend it! I love Paco’s patterns because they are made for women who want to look like grown women, not like little girls. I can’t wait to make more of them!

Conclusion: A great pattern that is going to become a staple in my wardrobe.


And here are pictures of it with The Pencil SkirtI made.

With the top tucked into the skirt

And untucked. I think this would look nice with a narrow belt.

Next up: Phyllis is coming up and we’re going to try to finish our dress form doubles.
Happy sewing!

Paco Peralta Drape Front Top v.2 – Medium is Much Better

I did one more muslin of Paco’s Drape Front Top, this time in a size medium. Much better. I can’t take a self portrait to save my life, but this gives you an idea.

Some people are great at taking self portraits. I’m not one of them.

The wrinkles on the torso and waist aren’t there when I’m not futzing with the camera. The only thing I think I need is a FBA. You can see there’s a little bit of a shelf right at the bust point. This is still good enough that I’ll hem it and finish the sleeves and wear it. But for the silk, I want it to be just a bit more perfect.

This is a great design. I’m tempted to do a blog post titled “Paco Peralta, the Anti-Twee-as-F*** Pattern Designer” (thank you for that, Tom & Lorenzo). But I think I’ll just call it “Paco Peralta, Patterns for Sophisticated Ladies” or something like that. But first, I gotta finish the silk version. More later…

Happy sewing!

Muslin of the Paco Peralta Drape-Front Top

One fabulous pattern!

I just did a quick and dirty muslin of Paco Peralta’s Drape Front Top. This is kind of a non-review, but let me tell you – it’s beautifully drafted and sews together like a dream! Based on my bust measurement, I cut a large. It’s too big, which I suspected it might be. I’m on the low end of the bust range for the size large. I didn’t do a flat pattern measurement because, well, I was doing a muslin. I think I’ll finish this and give it to my sister. This is a fabulous pattern. I’ll run it up one more time in a medium and then make the silk jersey version. It took me all of two hours from start to finish. Paco has a tutorial on how to make it on his blog, I believe. But honestly I didn’t need the instructions, because this pattern practically falls together. Here’s a picture on Shelley:

Need to go down a size, but this is a great pattern!

More later – happy sewing!

Still Lurking About

I haven’t completely fallen off the face of the earth project-wise, but I have been diverted. I’m about 2/3 of the way through my Paco Peralta Chaqueta. I ended up putting it down during the holidays. When I got back to it, I wasn’t thinking and I ended up constructing it in a weird order, so now I need to work out a new way of putting the lining to the shell, which has slowed me down. But each and every seam is beautifully pressed!

Oh yes, and I’ve been working kinda crazy hours, which has cut into my sewing time. Have you checked out all the new fabrics over at Gorgeous Fabrics? I’m having a ball putting them up, and I have truckloads more to add. With all the new patterns coming out from McCalls, Vogue, Simplicity et al, I’ve spent tons of time sifting through them and picking ones that will show off the new fabrics best! It’s a blast, but it does chew up a fair amount of time. Ah well, the sacrifices we must make, right?

Speaking of Gorgeous Fabrics…

Peeps Alert! You know what to do. Get your bad self over there and see what’s up. And if you’re not a FB Peep, you’re missing out.

Happy sewing!

Progress is Being Made, and a Little Contest!

I haven’t completely dropped off the face of the earth. Just mostly. Like, “They mostly come out at night. Mostly.”

Okay, free Donna Karan Vogue 1129 pattern to the first person in the comments who identifies the source of that quote. I’ll let you know after the first of the year who wins!

So, I am making progress, just slower than I would like. It’s been that kind of a week, with DS the elder in Swim Team and needing rides every day. Then let’s see, there’s the whole Christmas thing. And my niece is flying in for the week tonight! I can’t wait to see her. And oh yes, there’s a sale going on. And I’m getting ready to paint the house next week which means trying to prep the house without disrupting the Christmas decorations. Gee, why haven’t I made more progress?

I’m toying with the idea of the 12 jackets/12 months thing that is going around. I haven’t decided. 12 jackets is a lot. Not that I couldn’t do it; I love jackets and I have to finish both Paco’s and my Chanel, which would give me two right out of the gate. But I already have a ton of jackets and coats. I’m not sure I want twelve more.

Anyway, I’m tired and rambling. I’ve got all the main pattern pieces cut, and I’ve cut all of the underlining silk organza. I still need to cut the lining, but I hope to do that tomorrow. Several people have asked me about lowering the bust point on this jacket. Here’s an illustration of how I did it. I didn’t need to do a FBA – there’s plenty of room in the design.
Lowering the Bust Point

The red line is the new cutting line. The original is the faint black line behind it.
Once it’s all cut, it really won’t take long to sew. I probably won’t finish it until after the new year. But I haven’t completely stopped!

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas if you celebrate it, and a Happy Holiday season regardless. I’ll blog when I can over the next week but I’m not sure how often that will be. I’ll post updates as I can!

Happy sewing!

Paco Peralta Muslin is Done!

Miss me? I’ve missed you!

Seriously – I have. I’ve been trying to keep up with: work, life, kids, home, marriage, Christmas shopping, and everything else. So guess what hasn’t been getting much attention? My Paco chaqueta. But I have managed to sneak some quality time in with it over the last week, in 15-minute increments. I needed to do some adjusting to the muslin. It fit well in front, but the back had some issues. I don’t have pictures of the original muslin right now. But there were two folds that started beneath the shoulder blades and formed an inverted triangle at the center back. I’ll get DH to take a picture of the first muslin at some point so you can see what I mean.

After thinking about the cause, I determined that it’s a slight swayback adjustment. I don’t have the classic swayback/booty, but I do have a bit of an arched back. It shows up in princess line garments that I make, and I think that’s what was showing here. One way to fix it is to add back darts, but that would defeat the beauty of this design. Instead, I adjusted the pattern to remove the excess fabric. To do so I slashed the pattern and overlapped a half inch on either side of the center back at the upper back seamline:

Overlapped 1/2 inch at the seamline

I slashed the lower back piece and overlapped the top seam to match, spreading out at the bottom so it fits over my hips.

Adjustments to the lower back pattern piece

This creates the same effect as a dart without interfering with the line of the seam.

I also lowered the bust point in front. It makes the seamline fall in a more flattering place for me. I trued-up the CF and the grainlines before cutting.

Added to the bust in front

Much better! Here’s the muslin on Shelley:

Adjusted Pattern Front

And here is the back

Now I can cut into the fabric. Yay!

More soon!