An Easy Sew

which I really needed after the fitting disasters and the easy update that went wrong (I ripped a hole while I was trying to remove the surplice layer); oh and the T that looks so terrible I’m still considering fixes.

I think I understand why there are more quilters than dressmakers in the U.S.  It is because you do everything right, even make a mistake or two and your quilt will still work as a quilt. But with dressmaking you can do everything right, technically, and still have an unwearable garment. Am I right?

So I I needed this easy sew and chose an interesting cotton, jersey, print fabric paired with the beautifully fitting Tabula Rasa T.

Unfortunately, I don’t have it sitting on my body correctly and there are a few pull lines in the pic that disappear with a quick smoothing of the fabric.

The real surprise however is how well it looks with the previously sewn Tabula Rasa Blouse:

I like it so well that I’ve decided to replace the aforementioned “Print Tee that looks so bad on me I don’t know how to fix”.

But what I”m sure you’re all wondering about is that line of safety pins.

Well, I’m wondering, since I can’t fit the Ebb can I add an Empire line to the TRT?

I drew a straight line, in pencil, across the pattern and then replicated it on the private side of my blouse. Of course when sewn and slid over my head, the line is not visible. I opted to replicate the line with  a series of pins across the front.  What it tells me is that despite having adding 1″ more length to the front of the pattern, the empire line cannot be placed perpendicular to the center front/grain line. The empire will rise at the CF.

When I pursue this empire idea, I will adapt the pattern accordingly.

Beyond Frustrated

I’ve just had 5 days of sewing which made me want to destroy my entire pattern collection.  I’m documenting it here so that should I tackle these particular patterns again, I will have some recollection as to what I’ve previously done.  You, the reader, shoulder probably skip this post because there are no pictures only whiny bitching.

I was at a standstill with my Spring 6PAC. I wanted a little time to figure out corrections for both my printed and solid Tee. Also when it came time to cut fabric for the 3rd layer, I wasn’t so sure I had the right fabric for the type garment I wanted. So a time out which I would use by sewing something else.

I opted to make a quick check of the Ebb.  I love this pattern. It’s been one of my favorites ever since my first muslin.  But in recent years I’ve been unable to fit it completely. Last fall I thought my remaining issue was the rising CF which was emphasized by the empire line. During the review of my spring clothing, I discovered and was somewhat horrified that NONE of my Ebb’s fit even close to nicely.  They all suffered with not only the rising CF but also deep V’s on the sides. Since I’d recently discovered that I need an RBA, I thought of making a quick muslin to see if the RBA would fix my issues. I traced my size based on finished measurements. IOW I measured the pattern and compared with my completed Brad’s chart.  I opted to trace a medium shoulder, large side. I added a 1/2″ RBA and 1/2″ shoulder slope. After that, nothing went right. Since this was a muslin, I slashed freely to let the CF drop as needed. Would you believe, it didn’t drop? Nope instead it slid to the back; and in the process all the V’s I had removed returned. What’s worse is that the original fitting, the one with only the RBA and Shoulder Slope changes fit better than the 8 subsequent changes and fittings.  After 2 days of futzing with not 1 but TWO muslins. I decided I needed to get smarter, still.  I’ll find notes on this in 2016, Indy’s, Ebb Muslin Apr folder

Moving along, how about adding sleeves to the “fit” Sweater Set, Silhouette Patterns 195. I  had fit this for a sleeveless version. Didn’t want to make sleeveless tops right now but the pattern was supposed to be easily adaptable for sleeves. The sleeve pattern is already enclosed. The designer claims that the armscye for knit sleeves and sleeveless patterns is the same.  This may be a personal preference, but I always seem to want my sleeveless versions to rest higher at the underarms and that’s the way I fit the sleeveless 195. So I thought it would be easy to add the sleeve; just trace the sleeve and lower the armscye as needed. (I even considered that the designer might be right and the armscyes be the same.)

But I ran into problems immediately. I looked at the final muslin and didn’t think all the changes had been transferred to the tissue. Yet, I swear I did that before I wrote my final blog post. Well, easy to check, do a quick muslin.  Sure enough, the center back needed to be taken in a little more, i.e my rounded back adjustment needed a little tweaking at the neckline; also the back armscye darts had not been transferred to the pattern. So no big deal. I make those to the sleeveless pattern. Then I trace the sleeveless version and get ready for a sleeved muslin. As always, I walk my seams. Let me repeat, AS ALWAYS I walk the seams. I’ve learned that anytime I make changes there is room for error. My seams won’t walk.  The front hem is 1.5″ shorter at the side 1″ shorter CF. I thought I added an even 2.5″ to both front and back to make the whole garment longer.  I don’t like the length. It’s a simply style change, isn’t it? Then I find that the side seam notches don’t match. the front armscye is a different depth from the back at the side seam. The back armscye dart has never changed the side seam length before this, did it now? Somehow, I have gotten so many things mismatched that I don’t believe the sleeveless version fits either!

I start the fitting process over, tracing a 5W at the shoulders/armscyes and 7W at the side seams. I intend to remove 1/2″ circumference on each seam at the bust after all the other adjustments are made.  I do RBA, shoulder slope and add length now.  I walk the seams. THEY WALK!!! Well it’s a good sign.  Then I add 5/8″ to the side seams so that I will have a 1″ wide seam allowance for fitting.  I make my first muslin. At which point I discover I haven’t made the 1/2″ adjustment to circumference at the bust. After that it goes downhill. Downhill through 2 more muslins. (I made a total of 3 muslin).  I adjust the RBA up (3/4″) and down (3/8″). I increase and decrease the shoulder slope.  I add 3/8, then 1/4″ shoulder pads before deciding that no shoulder pads are needed and that I’ve stretched out the neckline (reason for beginning muslin 2) I take in a let out seam allowances. Just before Muslin 3 I decide that one of my issues has been ignoring hip circumference. The designer did not specify hip circumference and the waist was more than sufficient. I assumed the designer was correct and there would be plenty of circumference at the hem. Nope I need 6″ more.  I tell you I made, increased and decreased everything I could think of. Lowered the armscyes repeatedly.  I ignored the wrinkles on the sleeves thinking I needed to get the bodice fitting first. Never, ever did the bodice fit me again. I never removed the V’s. I never made the pattern look any better than it did when the only changes were RBA, Shoulder Slope and increased hem. What’s worse, I was trying to transfer changes that I thought successful to the tissue and add the 6″ (1.5″ each SA) I needed for the hip but I could never draw a nice curve. There was too much difference between bust to waist and waist to hem.  I was thoroughly frustrated.  3 muslins, innumerable changes and fitting pics. (I will find detailed notes in Indys, 195Muslin, Muslin2 and Muslin3). I threw all my tracings and all my muslins into the trash. It shouldn’t be this hard!!!

Why did the TRT and TRJ and TRB fit me so easily while these two (Ebb and Sweater set) never even came close?

Spring T: Blue T

For my 3rd Top, I decided to use a poly-lycra solid-blue knit. This was the most horrible curling/furling/rolling knit-fabric I think I’ve ever worked.  It curled tightly as it was cut. Usually when that happens, I can place the curl side down on the throat plate and slide it up into the serger needles. The fabric will unfurl and the serging will keep it relatively flat. Nothing doing with this particular fabric. It curled and could not be handled into unfurling.  It was in fact this fabric which resulted in my Rolling Edges post.   After testing, I cut the fabric and painted the edges with Terial Magic. When dry, I replaced the pattern pieces and transferred markings.

I also decided to use the TRT pattern which should not be surprising since it is not only the most recently fit, it’s also been tested several times and proven.  I’ve discovered that sewing large groups of garments, like 6PAC’s and SWAP’s is best done with TNT’s.

I vacillated between sewing the TRT exactly as drafted or doing something a little different. That indecisiveness is the reason  the Blue T is next-to-last being sewn.  I considered neckline changes,  various embellishments and hem finishes. When it came time to cut fabric, I cut 2 fronts.  I had decided to make a faux surplice front. Faux because one front would be unaltered, but the other would be shaped to resemble a surplice. I prepared the surplice side first. Drawing the line using my curve; trimming excess fabric and then finishing the edge using a slightly new to me technique.  I’ve often stitched and turned that edge. The last few surplice tops, I’ve added clear elastic to stabilize the edge. This time I fed the 3/8″ elastic through the oval hole in my serger foot

I can’t claim credit for this idea.  Until someone at SG mentioned this was the way they added elastic, I’d always put it under the foot.  (Which I still would have to do for elastic wider that 1/2″).    It works really well, once the needles are sunk into the elastic. Not much effort to get the elastic through the hole and under the needles, either.  I did want to apply a little tension to the elastic along roughly the middle third of the surplice. This will be a technique I have to practice some more because…

I finished up the T except for establishing a connection on the left side. (I intended  a right-side faux-surplice crossing the body and securing on the left.) I mean I had everything done except that connection. I had hemmed. I had top stitched.  I had double top stitched. Neckline (cross-grain cut self-fabric) was attached, serged and double-top stitched.  Dang thing was done. D_O_N_E. Done!  I just needed to decide at what level to place the connection.  I pinned the connection in place and took pics.  Switched the connection up an inch, down an inch looking for the perfect place and taking pics all the while.  When I went upstairs and looked closely at my pics, all I could think is “Does anyone need a wet-nurse?  I seem to have 1 boob and a comfy tummy available.”

Obviously, I put too much tension on the elastic and gathered the surplice beyond what was needed.  I’m reluctant to rip and redo because that’s a lot of ripping. Serged elastic? Turned and double-top stitched? Yuk. I do not want to be removing that.  I’m further discouraged by looking at the sides:

I absolutely did not expect the gathering which occurred.  Is that because of the multiple layers of fabric (3 on the left) or did the Terial magic affect the seam?

Whatever caused my problem, I have 2 6PAC garments I don’t want to wear until they are fixed; or …. I could have 2 wadders and a failed 6PAC.  I definitely need a break.

2017 Spring 6 PAC: Print Tee

I might should have waited to brag about this Tee until I took a second set of pics:

I can clearly see I’ve got one shoulder pad sliding off the right shoulder towards the back while the left seems to have no shoulder pad. That’s because the pad has slid to the front. Why couldn’t I feel that?  Interestingly, even with the wonky shoulder pads, the back is hanging smoothly.

Like wise, I think the uneven hem on the right side

probably resulted from not positioning the garment, especially the shoulder pads, squarely on my shoulders.  I was preoccupied with what I thought might really be wrong and needing fixing:

My front neckline is not lying against my neckline. Oh it’s not the fabric. It is my FOE that is falling forwards.  Generally that can be blamed on not stretching the FOE enough during application. The FOE neck application also suffers with an uneven join at the shoulder.  I hate the typical neck application of leaving one shoulder unsewn and stitching around the neckline. You are suppose to finish by stitching the open shoulder closed. I know it can be done. Neatly. Perfectly. Done. I’ve seen it in RTW.  Even had a few people encourage me to keep trying. Invariably my edges will slip.  This time I had 3 pins in that sucker.  3 pins in less that 1/2″ of an FOE sandwich. I didn’t pull the pins until the needle was about to piece them. I bent pins.  The join is off by about 1/16″. Enough I can tell and be pissed.

I did a little better with the FOE sleeve hem application but I had wanted that to cup in a bit more. Oh and the joins were still slightly off.

So during the ‘photo shoot’ I was looking and wondering what corrective action I could take.  I’m thinking some darts at the front would fix the gaping.  Mirror on the sleeves and they might cup they way I want. Problem for me will be how to keep the edges of the FOE even during stitching.

For now it is what it is; which is my 2nd Tee in my Spring 6PAC.

6PAC UPDATE

Whup! Whup! 4 done; 2 to go!!!!

2017 6PAC: First Sewn Garment

Not surprisingly is the blouse variation of the Fit For Art Jacket

My fabric is an IKAT print on peach skin.    I love the colors and prints; the drape and ease of handling during construction as well as the laundry-friendly  characteristic.

Hope you can see how well the right side fits.  No big V’s meeting along the side seam.  No big drapes visible from side view.  Especially note that the hem is level. I cut both shoulders the same. When sewing, I stitched the right shoulder 1/8″ deeper.

Even the back is devoid of drag lines.  The back does feel  a little tight when I extend my arms forward.  Before I hang the blouse in my closet, I will set out the back seams 1/8″ between shoulder and top of the side panel.  Just giving myself a little reaching room.  I think this confirmation that every fabric will need its own accommodations. The rayon test garment felt fine across the back. It too did not stretch. Other than fiber (peach skin vs rayon) and hem length (overall length  is 1.25″ shorter) there are no other differences.

L-o-v-e these button:

Can’t tell you exactly when or where purchased, but the buttons were purchased before the fabric.  I knew they were one of my colors and purchased with the hope that someday I could use them.

 

Blouse #1 of my Spring 2017 6PAC:  D O N E!!

TRB: The Reveal

Yes I finished! I am pleased but noted some interesting discrepancies between fitting and the final garment. l

Well not the back. The back is about the same.  Even in a medium (instead of the large used for the Jacket) the blouse is roomy.  I am using the flared side panel, which I probably won’t use in the future. Also I blended between medium and large at he hip. Possibly that will go away.   I am pleased that rotated the RBA to the shoulders worked so well. There is a possibility that a curvy body needs garment curves to at exactly the right place. IOW, darts they may not be moved elsewhere when they are needed at a specific place. Feel like I got lucky this time.

I’m a bit confused by the final side views above. Their drag lines are hardly visible in the fitting photos below.

Should I assume I need to fix something or that maybe I stretched something during the final stitching?  I do agree that I probably need to do more for my right shoulder which is lower than the left.

Also the sleeves seem a bit long but when I bend my arm, I like the length.

I love the front view

Although I have some questions. For example why is the bust dart (red arrow) so much lower than my bust (green arrow)?

I’m inclined to just ignore this discrepancy because it seems to work with this roomy blouse.

My last discrepancy has to do with the neckline depth

If I’d put my button right across from my apex, which is my preferred 2nd button, the first button spaced at 2.5″ would have been dangling at the neck edge. I considered a 2″ spacing which would have worked but required 7 button and looked off. I don’t know. Crowded? Excessive? That many buttons on this fabric, spaced that closely together upset my sense of balance.

So am I going to wear this?  YOU BET!  I do plan to shorten the sleeve 3/4″ and raise the neckline about 3/4″.  I will do that immediately.  Using the straight or flared panel will always be an option depending upon the fabric I’m using at the time.  Over all length is also subject to the current garment.  While this tunic length has its own loveliness, I see no reason why I could not shorten up to 2″ on whatever whim. As for removing the blending from medium to large at the hip? That’s a probably future event. I’m just not in a hurry to get it done. I like the roomy look.

Once again, I’d like to reiterate that the purchase of the Shirt Variations was a good choice for me. While I”m glad I went through the process of drafting a moulage, (it was a game changer for me), I still don’t like drafting patterns. I tolerate made alterations.  I will make easy minor changes such as a neckline or hem length variation. But I didn’t have to. Fit For Art spared me the entire awful experience of drafting a blouse based on the jacket pattern. But I can understand someone would skip the purchase if short on money or  loving the drafting experience.  Each to their own. This was a good experience for me.

Tabula Rasa Shirt Variations

I realized at the first fitting of the jacket, that I wanted help converting it to a blouse. I ordered the Shirt Variations immediately and continue to finish my first TRJ.  Usually my orders from PR take close to a week. I was pleasantly surprised when the package arrived about 3 days later.   I read the directions and looked at the pattern pieces.  Now if anyone wants to say $12 plus $5 shipping is a bit high, I agree. I purchased through Pattern Review because, thank God, I’ve been ordering through them for years, long before whatever validating programs have swept the on-line retail market causing so many places, Fit For Art included, to reject my address and thereby my orders. I’ll stop there because that’s a long story of its own but please don’t tell me to purchase direct from FFA. They won’t let me.

So what did I get for $12

  • Huge booklet of instructions. Well 8×11 sized pages  that were folded in half; and quite a few to page though I   didn’t count.
  • 2 sets of pattern pieces – 1 for sizes L to 3XL the other sizes L-XS which include
    • curved cuff
    • stand up collar
    • flat collar
    • back facing
    • front facing
    • front template

Because of all the fitting changes I need, I never use someone else’s facings. I always alter my pattern and then copy the pattern to make facings. With shirts/blouses I rarely use the back facing. I prefer bindings That makes 2 less pieces (back facing and front facing) applicable to me and  I won’t even trace.  I’m unlikely to use the stand up collar or the curved cuff.  I might someday but cuffs are so easy to draft and I rarely, like almost never, use a stand-up collar. I don’t like the way a stand-up collar rubs my neck. So that’s 2 less pieces for me and again, I didn’t trace . I in fact paid $17 for

  • Booklet of instructions.
  • flat collar
  • front template

It seems like a lot of $$ for what I’m actually going to use and I’m reconsidering my interest in the other FFA variation packages. Despite the cost and the inclusion of pieces I’m probably never going to use in the end, I am pleased. Why?  Because it made conversion from jacket to button front blouse incredibly easy. Just incredibly.

I traced a size medium blending to a large at the hip. Yep back to the original pattern and trace it once again because I had decided the size large makes a nice jacket but seemed a little large for a typical blouse. I also traced the flared side panel. It’s so easy to make that into a straight panel but to start with I wanted to be sure I had enough ease across my rear.  Next, put the jacket pattern  away and pull out the variations pattern. Trace the flat collar . Slide the medium Blouse Front Template beneath the jacket front tracing and added the appropriate lines.

It was amazingly easy. No measuring or pulling out the curve. Just slide the template into place and trace.  I moved from the drafting stage, which I don’t want to do, in seconds.

I still needed fitting alterations so the size medium just traced I made

  1. 3/4″ shoulder slope. That’s an increase of 1/8″ which I did because I still had a hint of back diagonals.
  2. 5/8″ RBA rotated to the shoulder.  FFA recommends rotating to the neck. I resist working with the neck as much as possible. It’s far to easy to stretch out of shape. Besides rotating to the neck looks like you don’t really know what you are doing. Rotating to the shoulder is the golden standard. There is a possibility, strong possibility, that the shoulder dart can be moved to the shoulder-neck or shoulder-armscye. I’m taking this one step at a time. While the experts seem to think a dart can be moved anywhere, my personal experience says there is a limit.  I want to know if, when and where these changes go wrong. So I make changes step by step. Rotate to the neck worked.Now I want to know if I can successfully  rotate to shoulder.
  3. 1/4″ lower back dart. Not sure what else to call that.  I’m very round and need a back dart opposite the bust dart.  I’m always bemused that it works because I have to make the side seams match and so immediately
  4. 1/4″ added to the back seam length at the hem.
  5. Increased length of front, back and side panel 2.5″
  6. Decreased that long sleeve cap 1/2″.  That may not be enough. I walked it and it seems enough but I removed 1.5″ (3/4 on front armscye and 3/4″ on back armscye).  Because I removed 1.5″ length from the armscyes I should need to either remove 1.5″ from the sleeve cap or add some back to the armscyes.  Sigh, ATM I’m doing what I can measure and not relying on mathematics alone.

It seems like a lot of alterations but there could be more.  I haven’t narrowed the shoulder. I measure the medium shoulder, subtracted the seam allowances and decided not to do an NSA, yet.  I also did not make a BWL (back waist length adjustment). Both adjustments are like 2nd nature to me. I nearly always need an NSA. The BWL is nearly always needed if there is any side seam shaping.  There is slight shaping along the side seams but I haven’t needed the BWL for either the Tee or Jacket. For now, I’m not doing a BWL, yet.

A quick walk of the seams and I proceeded to stare at the stash.  I’ve got enough fabric to set up shop in a 3rd world country. But when it comes time to choose a test fabric I stare and stare and stare.  I want this test fabric to have a similar weave, drape and weight of the fabrics I’d commonly select for blouses. For me that’s rayons and most cottons. I’ve got nothing in the muslin pile.  Either the fabrics are too heavy and stiff or they are knits.  The wrong knits. I couldn’t use most of them for musling the Tee. So I’m staring at the regular stash looking for a sacrificial fabric that will make a good muslin. That means no knits,no strip matching; no dark fabrics. Some of the fabrics I just can’t sacrifice.  I really want to wear them. Finally I do find a 2.5 yard by 60″ wide rayon.  Purchased 13 years ago, the print is slightly outdated.  But I love the colors and the rayon is exactly what I want to test. So rayon it is.

 

Tune in tomorrow when I test the fit.