Monday, April 28, 2014

New Beginnings.

New Beginnings


I realized this morning that I had posted the back picture of the blouse but neglected the front. Here is the correction for that error:


It’s a pretty basic sleeveless woven blouse with shoulder princess seams both front and back; one view with a Mandarin style collar and another with a wider collar that flares out effectively making a lapel.  

I have realized at my age and size, I find woven cotton and linen to be the only acceptable fabrics to wear during the really hot months. In general, even natural fiber fabrics in knits just aren’t nearly as comfortable for me.
I've been wanting a woven pattern that will fit my current shape and size and look decent under a jacket or light weight over-blouse for wearing for work in the warmer months. I believe this is the perfect one. It is similar to a linen blouse I purchased several years ago and have practically worn out despite being "not my" color and not fitting really well.

After measuring myself, and prior to any alterations being made, much to my chagrin, I traced the size 2X. I am just trying to accept that it is what it is. I could make a smaller pattern and just keep increasing everywhere, but in reality it just won’t work.  

First thing I noticed is that typical of most Kwik Sew patterns, the seam allowances are only ¼” wide. I love that width for knits, but for woven fabrics, it may be a bit too narrow for me. I am going for a process here so I have left them this size for now. That may change down the line after everything is put together.

I went ahead and measured all the places I need on the pattern, marking on the tissue what the widths of each piece are and totaling them for the full amount of pattern width at bust, waist, and hip, plus marking bust points, shoulder width, etc. Thank you Jo Ann for that suggestion! It appears at first glance that the pattern will be large enough in circumference with enough ease at all the proper areas despite my measurements not being exactly the same as the pattern.
It's a given that I will need to narrow the shoulder width and do a fairly significant sway back adjustment, those were done before anything else. I removed an inch in shoulder width on both the front and the back.
I have about a dozen or so fitting books ranging from Sarah Veblen to Judith Rasband to Palmer and Pletsch and an original old Vogue fitting book, as well as Threads CDs and everything in between. My favorite method which works well for me is to cut, pivot and redraw. I'm including a picture of the front and back just in case you're not familiar with this method.


 Hopefully you can get an idea of my process. I draw a line from the shoulder and the armscye and meet them about mid bodice. Then I slash along the lines, going to BUT NOT THROUGH the center mark. I  pivot the flap up the appropriate amount, adding paper to the wedge created in the armscye, and adding paper to the shoulder seam to true it up to the original seam so it goes straight across.
For the sway back adjustment, I do something similar, but not exactly the same. Since this pattern has back princess seams, I drew in the seam allowances, pinned the pieces in place, and at the waistline drew a line from the center front to the side seam.
I have a significant adjustment to do, so I measured up 11/2" from the original line at the center back, and drew another line meeting the first line at the side back. With the princess seams, you do have to do a little moving back and forth to get the lines across both pieces unless you're more brilliant than I am and folded those seam allowances out of the way and used some way to hold them together. Prior to the next step, use the same measurements across the bottom of both pieces. So you are adding at the hem line what you took out at the waistline.
On the center back piece, you will cut across the lines and tape them into place so the lines match up. On the side back, slash across the seam from the joining line at center back piece to but not through the side seam. Pivot the center back up the 11/2" and tape in place. Then you will need to make sure your hem line is correct.
Your pattern pieces may appear odd until you get used to this adjustment and see how brilliantly it adjusts for that "wedge" in the center of your back where your RTW blouses always hang up.
Depending on your pattern, and the size of your adjustment, you may need to straighten and true the center back seam a bit. You can see a gentle curve from the upper back to the waist and out to the hip again on mine.

After the initial adjustments, I cut out the fronts, side fronts, backs and side backs. I’m not bothering with facings or collars for this initial muslin. I’ll be posting pictures here, so if you’re offended by a lot of skin and flab showing, you may want to avert your eyes. Because I generally don’t get into full makeup and hairdo on the weekends if  I’m sewing I will also try to crop them so that doesn’t scare anyone.

I used the ¼” seam allowances and sewed everything together. One of my processes is to have my wonderful and ever patient husband taking pictures and helping to pin out the areas that are in need of changing.  

First set of photos aka ah, the horror of it all:

Tomorrow I'll begin the analysis of these photos and what I see needs to be done initially.
I know immediately that the right and left armscyes are quite different. But... I also know one shoulder slopes more than the other, and of course one boob is bigger than the other. It will be interesting to see if I can make this work using one front for both, or if I will have to do right and left pattern pieces to get everything nice and even.
I'll leave you with your own musings about fit and fashion!
More later!


  1. I am going to be rereading your information when I do a blouse muslin. If I can get into a store that carries this pattern, I am going to buy it.
    Thanks for the information to date.

    1. Thanks, Ann. I hope it works as well as I anticipate. this is going to be done in excruciating detail so I know when I get to the next pattern what I did with this one and where I need to watch.

  2. What a wonderful pattern-I think you will have some lovely summer blouses soon.