WAHOO, Blouse 2 Piece #5 in my 6 PAC. (One garment to go!!)
I love, love, love Pamela’s T-shirt pattern. It fits so beautifully even from the very first time I used it. Trouble is my body is changing. I’m now seeing the effects of a rounding back and (not sure what’s causing this) a rising front-hem accompanied by drag lines from the bust. I perused my photos back 2 years and can see this slowly developing. I think this is a case of slow change suddenly realized. So I’m working on my 6PAC, but I’m also working on my newly discovered fitting issues.
PP104 is the base with which I check all patterns developed for knit top …and I couldn’t find my traced pattern. No idea what I did with it after the last version–another side effect of aging. I decided to trace a new copy. I was confused by the shape and lines on the master pattern until I realized, I have been using PP103 the Tshirt Makeover pattern. Great pattern and a near duplicate of 104 the Perfect T Shirt. Last year sometime, maybe the year before, I purged patterns (because I had so danged many I couldn’t jam another envelope in the boxes.) I decided to keep 104 because it has more fitting and style options than 103. I really have not used 104 prior to today.
I determined size, traced front, back and sleeves before setting about to alter the pattern. The armscye looked huge. I pulled out one of my Louise Cutting patterns that I like to compare. I decided it wasn’t my imagination. The armscye was really long, too long for my body. I decreased 1″ across the bust, back, and sleeves through the armscye area.
I did not make my usual 1″ NSA. I measured the shoulder. Less seam allowances, it seemed closed to my shoulder length. I’ve been noticing tightness across the back (result of a rounding back I’m sure). So I decided that eliminating the NSA would help.
I’ve also been noticing that many of my wrinkles and drag lines disappear when I add another 1/2″ ease to the side seams. I thought on this and wondered about my standard back waist-length adjustment. This measurement is rarely on patterns (and not on this one) . It’s difficult to determine when looking at a modified neckline and without an exact indication of waist position. I was thinking that the pattern makers seem to think that per inch I add to my hip and bust circumferences, I also add 1/4″ to my shoulder and back-waist length. I didn’t tinker with the shoulder, but I made a 1.5″ BWL instead of my usual 1″. Knowing that I’m having issues with the hem rising in front, I added 1″ to the center front length; then trued the hem to the existing side seam. I looked carefully at the pattern pieces. Made several circumference calculations and finally added 1″ to the overall length at the hems.
Then I cut and stitched this lovely Ponte. I don’t remember if I purchased it at Hancocks or Joanns (I’m back shopping at Joanns.) This is the kind of fabric I love for winter knit tops. it is beefy and warm without making me sweat. It is not scuba knit. I don’t remember the fiber. In the past, many years and pounds ago, I would have made yoga pants. But my figure today needs something more body-skimming. Shrug, the fabric is therefore more appropriate in my life as tops or lounge wear.
I have to tell you about this trim.
I peruse Hobby Lobby trims whenever I can. This particular trim consists of small, very small beads somehow knit together in maybe a 3/8″ wide strand. I absolutely love it. Fell in love last September. Have tried to use it a few times. Finally, I did it. The rose-gold and turquoise-gold colors of the beads work really well with the color of this fabric. I tried to use the trim back in November, but none of my sewing machine feet would allow it to pass beneath the foot. This trim is practically flat. I don’t think it is 1/16″ high. But that’s high enough for Ruby (my HV Viking) to demand accommodation. I was surprised. I thought that one of my pin tuck feet or some of the other feet for decorative trims would do. But no, Ruby refused. My dealer confirmed that I needed a Beading Foot. She wanted to sell me the foot for small beads but I insisted on both large and small beading foot. I might have bought another foot (not for beading) but she kind of put her own foot down. She said I did not want to waste my money. I’d still like to have the other foot, but I have to admire my dealer. How often does a sales-person firmly steer you away from a purchase? I’d think they would love for me to spend more money but their focus is that I should be happy with my purchases. They don’t want me to buy something that won’t work the way I want. Anyway, small beading foot worked perfectly.
I didn’t want to invest a lot of time embellishing a garment when I was so insecure about the fit. I opted for a simple geometric pattern. Five straight lines of time at the center front.I drew a grid with disappearing ink. One vertical-line in the center, 2 vertical-lines 1″ apart on either side. Then I drew a horizontal line 7″ down from the neckline. That was where my trims were to end. I put sticky, water-soluble stabilizer on the back and leaving 1″ trim at the top stitched the trim to the fabric using a long (6mm) narrow (2mm) zig zag. You can’t even see my stitching and I used Gutterman thread (not invisible)!
I left about 3″ at the bottom of each line of trim until all 5 rows were stitched. At that point I used an awl to poke a hole through my fabric and the stabilizer. I removed the excess beads (at the bottom) from the trim by using very small crochet hook. I’m not sure I can describe this adequately. I inserted the hook into the trim and pulled downward.
Repeat about 1/2″ above the previous. I tried to pull the beads off with my fingers. Bad idea. The trim kept knotting. But use the hook and the beads practically fell off. Eventually there was 3″ or so of thread beneath my horizontal line marking the end of where I wanted trim. I used the same crochet hook to pull the loose threads of the trim and the top stitching thread to the back side. I tied these threads in a square knot; added a drop of Fray Check and then trimmed just below the knot. The process did take a little time but in the end I believe it is all neatly and securely finished.
I proceeded normally, sort of. I taped the shoulders, stitched front to back and then added a neckband. I serged the sleeves into place, but basted the side and sleeve seams. I added shoulder pads. I know I need shoulder pads, why delay? I can’t really check fit without them. Not surprising, really, but I didn’t care for the fit and wasn’t sure I could fix it. I really needed the narrow shoulder alteration. The shoulder, even with shoulder pad, obviously hung out too, too far. It contributed enormously to the drag lines I was seeing. But take it apart? I had taped and serged the shoulders and serged the sleeve into the armscye.I thought about taking out the sleeve and resetting it higher. Thought about adding pin tucks across the shoulder but realized pin tucking across that taped and serged shoulder seam wasn’t going to look nice. To put in the pin tucks, I would need to remove the shoulder stitching and the taping; sew the tucks, reapply tape and serge the shoulder seam. Even Ponte can have problems with that much handling. Plus there were still other issues (which I will point out) that would not and probably could not be fixed at this point. I decided this was cool-weather garment and most likely always worn beneath a vest. I just finished the dang thing, OK?
Front wise, still have the drag lines that would seem to indicate that I need more ease across the bust. I see the too long shoulder seams and flare at the front which more likely indicates too much ease. Well, I do like the sleeve length, neckline and trim.
The back view puzzles me. I think there is plenty of ease. I don’t see any strain across the shoulder blades, waist or hip, yet there are diagonal drag lines from the shoulder blades to hip. Shoulders are too long, and sleeves have diagonals too but at least they are the right length.
While the back was puzzling, the side views are interesting; informative. Yes there is still the higher front hem. But usually I can see the diagonals on the front are mirrored on the back forming V’s beneath the arm pit. This view indicates there are lots and lots of ease both front and back, and the front diagonals cross the side seam and terminate just above the back hem. Very different. Very curious. So adding more ease didn’t solve my issues. I know with certainty, that I’ve not suddenly become busty. I’m doubtful that an FBA will solve the diagonal lines emanating from the bust.
Where to go from here? Well I need to think, first. Then I can do something different.