Monday, May 26, 2014

Close but no cigar for this one. Darn it!

It's been a long few weeks, but we're almost there. There will be and have been changes made for the next version, but I'm okay with this one. It will be worn with a jacket in public, so the minor issues I have with it will be invisible to anyone else. At least I hope so!

Since I don't fall "exactly" in any particular size in this pattern, with bust slightly larger, and waist closest to a 2X, and the hip between a 1X and a 2X, and knowing I was going to have to make multiple alterations anyway, I started with a 2X. My lovely friend Jo Anne, who has done a fashion degree and works with custom clothing and alterations daily, says with commercial patterns to start where your measurements fit closest to the size, so that's what I did. Then I started with the alterations. 

Alterations/changes made to original pattern (Straight Size : 2X used initially)

  • Narrowed shoulders by 1"
  • Initial sway back adjustment 1 1/2"; an additional 3/4" after other adjustments were completed.
  • Narrowed center back seam by 1" all the way from neck to hem.
  • Added 1" in length across the back at approximately shoulder blade level.
  • At shoulder seam, lowered 3/4" front and back at outside edge, tapering to zero at the neck edge.
  • Added one inch to back shoulder only. (I don't think this was the thing to do as now the "shoulder seam is down on the front of my body.)
  • Removed additional 7/8" at back princess seam from armscye tapering to zero at about 13.5" down from armhole.
  • Revised back armhole to remove excess fabric along edge, starting at shoulder seam and creating an arc with a maximum 5/8" indentation about the center of the upper back, ending at revised back princess seam. 
  • Moved front princess seam 2" closer to center front. 
  • Full bust adjustment of 1 1/8".
  • Cut neckline down by 1" at shoulder joint and front, tapering to zero at center back seam. (This will be changed on the next version to add back in about 1/4".)
  • Raised neckline edge by 3" to eliminate "oops" factor.
  • Starting 3" from back princess seam at armhole, straightened seam to about 13.5" down. 
  • Raised under arm at armhole seam 1 3/8 " at side seam tapering to zero at princess seams.  

WHEW! That was a lot of work for a simple sleeveless blouse, but I think in the long run this will be well worth it. 

So now the issues that will be addressed: 
1. Shoulder seam in the right location. 
2. Figure out why the under bust seam is wonky and fix that. It curves towards the side a bit and I think it should be about 1 1/2" towards the center seam at the hem area. I may need to add a piece at the bottom of the seam over the tummy area. 
3. Add about 1 1/2" to the side back seam and remove same from front as the side seam is way back from the center of my body. 
4. Neckline as noted above. 

Once completed, I will use this same pattern to revise my Hot Patterns Plain and Simple Princess Shirt and also will be using it for my Hot Patterns Great White Shirt. It will give me a good starting point to once again modify my jacket pattern. So I will be in much better shape TNT pattern wise once I get these alterations set. I'm thinking the previous post for the sleeve cap length is going to get added into my Pamela's Perfect tee TNT also. I will probably be considering the length of my sleeve cap in all of my future patterns. That alteration on the jacket was mind boggling to me! 

In other news, yesterday I took a fun quilt class at my favorite quilting shop, A Quilted Heart in Vacaville. It's called the 1600 Jelly Roll Quilt. You basically take a jelly roll, stitch every piece together, and then start sewing all of those pieces together until you have a quilt top. This one ends up at approximately 48" X 64", so I will be adding to it to make a queen sized quilt. It was fun, and in a few hours, you can have a great quilt top. The designer of the quilt, does a "1600 Jelly Roll Race" and there was someone that finished this in 35 minutes! (Of course, all the ends were already pieced and cut, and the pieces had all been seamed into the long strip before they started the "race.") Because I'm still figuring out this quilting thing, I am a BIT slower than that. 

Just in case you're interested, Here's a basic tutorial from the Missouri Quilt Company:

But if you want to see a fun video, check out the race:

I'll post the 48" X 64" top later after I get it put together and before I actually start adding to it to make a queen sized, which I now have the directions for, based on this video:

Unfortunately, I didn't find them BEFORE I started sewing this together, so I'm going to be adapting the process to get something that will work for what I want. We'll see how well that goes as things progress!

Very odd to me that with this particular quilt, you don't trim, you don't press, you don't do anything but sew until you've completed the top. So here's mine without being evened up, without being pressed, or anything. Just all the jelly roll pieces sewn together:

I used a Bali Pops precut Jelly Roll called River Rock. AND I am so enamored of this quilt and the speed of making it, I've bought several more Jelly Rolls for future use. :P}}

If you're in the States, Happy Memorial Day. If you're elsewhere in the world, Happy Monday!

More later,

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Cutting into the good stuff!

Well, I'm happy to report that at this point in time, I'm down to thinking that this shirt is going to fit me better than anything else I've ever owned. There may be some minor tweaking happening on the final product, but I'm ready to move forward. 

Here are the most current pictures with adjustments. I will be making it shorter than this muslin, and have slightly adjusted the under bust area, but overall this is it! 

I have a lovely rayon batik I got as an end cut from Sawyer Brook. I don't have enough for facings, but do have enough for the exterior. I'm cutting into it hopefully tonight! Here's a peak:

It's going to add some much wanted and needed color to my wardrobe. It also lifts my spirits just to look at it! This shirt should go very quickly now that I have the alterations to the pattern done. 

Watch for it! 

Friday, May 9, 2014

Back to the drawing board.

Since the latest adjustments caused more problems, I'm back to the drawing board on this shirt. Slightly frustrated, but not willing to give up or given in until it's right. Not that I have OCD or anything. 

Once I get all of the adjustments completed, I am going to try to figure out how to give you a slide show. It's a lot of adjustments, and a lot of photos! LOL

When I moved the front princess seam in towards the center front 2" and added a 1/2" FBA, then straightened out the back seam and did another 3/4" sway back adjustment, it caused some new strange and puzzling problems with the neck/shoulder area. The neckline is now climbing up my neck, and the shoulders went all wonky again. 

I added in an additional 1" at the back shoulder only, and that made the front lie smoother. I'm going to cut the neckline down until it is lying flat. It appears to be okay at the back, and just too far in at the top of the shoulder right now. 

I still have too much fabric at the back princess seams, which I think need to be straightened somewhat as they are entering the armscye, and I think I need to take the back side seams in just a bit also. 

I'm scratching my head here and will be doing some more adjustments this evening to see if I can get closer. 

 I was sure hoping that the adjustments were coming to an end last Sunday, but obviously it didn't happen. I've had a very interesting week, so not much time for sewing at all, and when I'm tired I do really stupid mistakes, so that wasn't an option. 

I'll be working on this tonight, and tomorrow I will have time in between making lots of goodies for Mother's Day dinner. I'm really excited as my sister and brother-in-law are coming up from San Diego, and we'll have Sunday afternoon and early evening at my niece's house with them, my niece and her family as well as her grown daughter with two babies, and my daughter and granddaughter with partners. It should be a fun group with lots of love, laughter, and great food! 

I did want to wear a new shirt but that's not going to happen within the allotted time frame, darn it! But I would rather have it right than have it done and never be quite happy with it.

Wishing you all a fabulous weekend, and to those it applies, a very Wondrous Mother's Day. More later!

Monday, May 5, 2014

I like it, I really, really like it!

Just a quickie this morning.

I have the new muslin partially sewn, with the shoulders and side seams pinned, hopefully to be completed tonight for the next view. I've incorporated all of the adjustments made to date, and will list them with the final showing of the muslin.

Here's the fabric with the Wedgewood Blue over dye. I now love, love, love this fabric and can't wait to move it out of the stash and onto my body! :P}}

The color is darker in person, but you can hopefully see what a difference a day makes!

More later!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Back to the drawing board for a few more alterations

Currently, I have done multiple alterations, and I think I'm almost ready to start the new shirt muslin. Time for another sway back adjustment to get the back fitting right, and I have added a small full bust adjustment and moved the front princess seam in towards center front by 2" so it will actually run across my bust. 

I'm going to cut another muslin out of a heavier weight gingham and then will take more pictures to be sure everything looks right before using my actual fashion fabric. 

I have a linen that was not my color palette, stark white background with big stylized multicolored blue flowers. Color on this shot not exact, the background is REALLY white. 

After draping it against me multiple times it just doesn't work with my coloring. Then the light bulb went off. Dharma Trading Company is only about 45 minutes away. Tah, dah! It is now in the process of getting a beautiful Wedgewood Blue background and will hopefully be a much better candidate for my coloring. 

I'll be back soon with more pictures of the muslin, and some updated photos of the fabric. 

Hope your Sunday is going spectacularly!

Friday, May 2, 2014

What a difference a day makes!

Here's the next set of photos. Remember, this is a process and I'm starting at the top first. I wanted to get the diameter of the garment closer before I start fine tuning the fit and doing final alterations to the pattern.

Alterations made since the initial shirt with a 1 1/2" sway back and 3/4" shoulder width reduction:

Neck width at center back is reduced by 1" each side, 2" total.
Outside shoulder seam has been dropped by 3/4" front and back totaling 1 1/2" reduction.
Side back princess seams taken in by 7/8" on both the side back and center back, tapering to zero 13 1/2" down from armhole edge.
Revised back armhole from shoulder seam, creating an arc of fabric removed from the top down  to the new underarm princess seam.

So this is what it looks like now.
Going to need an FBA and the princess seam moved towards CF

More apparent that the FBA is needed. 

Back still has way too much fabric almost everwhere except the posterior!

Side backs, center back, waistline, etc. still too big.

After I had made the listed corrections, I got a wonderful note from my friend and mentor, Jo Ann, asking if I'd like her to give me some input. Yes, Please! As is her usual, I sent the pictures last night before I went to bed, and had a response before I got to my computer this morning. This woman is one of the most generous people I've ever met and never sleeps! 

If you're wondering, I do know there will be changes made to the back, and haven't redrafted that until I'm closer with the diameter adjustments. At the current time, I'm leaving the odd looking upper back until I have the balance corrected. Once they are closer, I will redraft the back for fine tuning, and have that center back seam nice and straight. But in the meantime:

Jo Ann suggested slashing and spreading the upper back by 1" which will allow the neckline to slide forward to the right location for me. 

As you've probably surmised as it is apparent to almost all of us, she suggested I take in the majority of the back because there is still too much fabric at the back princess seams and the upper center back above the waist. Not sure yet, but I may have to increase my 1 1/2" sway back adjustment even more if the other changes don't correct for that. 

I haven't adjusted the princess seams yet, but look what adding that 1" piece has done to the fit of the back! It's almost as much of a wow as happened when I pulled the neck edge in. 

I am truly fascinated at the difference in the look of the shirt and my body as each adjustment brings it closer to the right fit for me. 
Side view with the strip installed:

I have always read that you look better in clothing that actually fits your body instead of the over-sized tent like things we may chose to hide in, but this is really bringing that point home in a big way!

Tonight I'll be taking in the back princess seams from the top to the hip area, and check to see if/how much the sway back adjustment is affected and what additional alterations need to be completed in that area. Once that is done, I'll redraft the back pattern pieces and start on the front. 

The front is also going to require multiple adjustments, and I will be documenting as I go along. My bust point distance is quite narrow, especially for someone the size I currently am. The front needs to be altered so the princess seam runs across the bust and then down. It appears there will be at least a slight FBA required in width and length. 

Once we get all of these items completed, I'll be cutting a new muslin to look at it before I actually go into fashion fabric. I'm 99.9% sure once all the other adjustments have been completed, I'll have to raise the armhole at least 1/2" to 1" so I don't show off my bra when I'm jacket-less. 

I prefer a "French binding" on my armholes to facings or bias tape, and the way I do that is to attach it without eliminating any seam allowances. In that way, the sleeves will be finished at the same place as they are in the muslin. I think that will make it easier on my poor brain to comprehend the look the changes have made to the fit of my shirt.

Who would have thought that it would take so much work to get a simple sleeveless blouse to fit? Not me for sure! I think going through this process is making me see that each and every one of us who has thought "it fits better than anything in RTW" can actually, with time, practice, LOTS of patience, and input from knowledgeable friends with good eyes, have clothes that go way beyond "better than RTW" and come out the other side as "great fit!"

Virginia... Good eye. That adjustment did need to go all the way to the waist! 
And BeaJay, who would have thought the manual would be on a CD? I want my hard copy so I can look at it. The CD is never where I want to know how to do things! Guess I really need to move into the "teens" as my Grands would say! LOL. 

More later,