For now, Close Enough

Ach! You would not believe the issues I’ve had getting this pattern to fit.  I stopped at one point to review all the PP104’s sewn to date and then reviewed a number of other patterns who’s fit pleased me.  I discovered that the fitting issues I’ve been working on have existed for quite some time.  Fabric makes a difference. With some fabrics, especially firm wovens, the issues are barely visible–easily discarded as a posture-of-the-moment effect. With softer fabrics and thin knits such as the ITY’s I’ve been working with for this round of fitting, the issues are glaringly obvious.  For those fabrics,  I may have chalked up the drag lines to fabric and not fit.  I never expect a perfect garment. I know I’ll have to rip something or that tweaks will need to be made to accommodate individual fabric idiosyncracies.  In fact, I usually baste the side seams and waistbands with water-soluble thread so that I can easily rip and re-stitch. But I’m satisfied with the level of fit for now.

It has taken me 4 T-shirts, a wadder (fabric and permanent ink pen had an unfortunate meeting) and 6 fittings devoted strictly to fitting the front of today’s T-shirt to reach this point:

 

I know it can be hard to see. I was playing with the drape from the Joyful Top. Also, I want to caution that posture makes a huge difference.  You did see drag lines in the pics, but in the mirror the drag lines around the bust are limited to 1 tiny pull above the bust dart which terminates in the armscye.  What it took to get this look?  After abandoning the dartless front,  I traced the darted front and made a T-shirt. Hating the angled dart which reminds to much of the french darts which I despise,  I rotated the dart from angle to horizontal posture and made another T.  Finally, I marked my apex on the fabric. Measured fabric and  marked the pattern with my BP. Which allowed me to raise the bust dart into horizontal position pointing to my BP.  Should be done, right? Bust point correctly placed; bust dart correctly placed. Done?  But no there were still horrible wrinkles.  So much that I despaired of ever finding a solution.  See, I’ve always been told that those drag lines meant that I needed to take up more fabric in the bust dart. So I did. I went from 1″ to 1-1/8″ to 1-1/4″ to 1-3/8″  without improvement. In fact, the back and sides would look worse!  Then I re-read a post by Shams re fitting the über busty. I’m not über busty.  I was small busted for so many years that I still have problems acknowledging I even have a bust. Even though I don’t have the same exact issue as Shams, I read with interest Shams statement to the effect  that if she can, she leaves the bust dart alone until almost the end. Because, she prefers to drape it in or as I call it “pinch it in”.  Reading her post gave me a light bulb moment.  I realized the best the PP104 front had looked was when I pinched in a bust dart on the dartless front version of PP104. I ripped out the side and dart stitching and pinched in (draped) a dart, my dart. I created a dart a mere 1/4″ deep. One-quarter Inch.  I still have a drag line or two above the dart. So I tried moving it and making a little deeper. Nope the best the front and sides look, is the 1/4″ deep dart located horizontally across from my BP.  It seems for that small amount of dart depth, I could just ease it along the side seam. But it’s done for now. Done. Good. And Enough. I can play with it later when I’m so inclined.

Odd to me was how the back would look beautifully smooth and with the next alteration old diagonal-to-the-side wrinkles would return. Only to disappear again. It makes it hard to decide if I needed the RBA or not.

I’m also not completely done.  The sleeve continues to display a drag line in the front view.  I’ve moved the shoulder point back, then forward. Added ease and rotated the sleeve twice more.  I have a feeling that this drag line may be due more to my posture than to position of the sleeve in the armscye. But I don’t know. I tried pinning out the drag line.  It appeared in another place.  I was almost frantic. A T-shirt should be an easy sew garment.  Then I watched one of those image shows where they the victim is given a completely makeover; and I remembered. The first thing the stylists always do is get the girl out of tacky jeans and unfitted T-Shirts.   So the sleeve will need its own metamorphism, but not now.   I need a palate cleanser. I need something easy to sew.

A second and I hope minor issue, is the flaring which is most visible at the hems. Almost looks like there is too much ease, but when I try to take it in along the seams, the garment becomes too tight. Somehow when I’m making alterations I’m introducing flare/flouncing between tummy/hip and hem. Fortunately, like high low hems, this is popular at the moment. But it is something I’d like to tweak. Even a tiny bit would make me happier.

But in truth, fabric is the final vote in whether I like a garment or not.  I don’t like this one.  I don’t like the print.  It looked so much prettier on the screen.  DH likes it, but I think that light tan/coffee color does nothing for me.  The bright blue of the flowers is not dominant enough to bring out my eye color . In fact, I was thinking of putting this straight into the donate box until I took a moment to style it:

If I change to dark brown pants, shoes and sock-wear, this is wearable.

I need to rethink my tracing decisions.  My final  tracing included small across the shoulder and armscye, med from armscye to waist and large from waist to hem. The small armscye could be (but probably isnt’) the issue with my sleeve. What I have discovered is while my shoulder is narrow i.e is small, the distance from shoulder to BP is not. I think tracing the small  shoulder/armscye contributed to the  RBA and CFront length needed. Fortunately this is something I can confirm by comparing final fitted tissue to the original pattern pieces, i.e. I don’t need another 6 T-shirts and umpteen fittings.  I’m continuing to look for the most elegant fitting solutions. But now I know I absolutely need to take into consideration the length needed over my rounded back and  bust.  I think I could be permanently adding 2 new alterations along with my standard two (NSA and BWL). AND I’m OK with it.  I’d rather make fewer pattern alterations. Heck, I’d rather make none at all.  But I’m willing to make the alterations if they keep me from being nominated to WNTW or the Style Jury.

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3 thoughts on “For now, Close Enough

  1. Two thoughts on the sleeve. One, I’ve been going through some of my older Threads Magazines, back in the 90’s. The articles back then were so much more thorough (IMO). One I ran across discussed wrinkles and sleeves saying some wrinkles in the sleeve are the result of the shorter cap height. Heighten the cap and some of the wrinkles are eliminted. Two, Peggy Sagers says that there will always be wrinkles in one piece sleeves as they are straight and our arms are curved (at the elbow). Two piece sleeves account for this curve, and can, thus, be sewn without wrinkles appearing. For what it’s worth.

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    1. Was not thinking about raising the cap. That would be easy to do, especially with PP104. I was thinking more like Peggy. I have seen and used a one piece sleeve that was bent at the elbow. Don’t remember how it fit. To be truthful, in the past as long as my lady parts didn’t show (top, bottom or back side), I consider it a fit. Only in the last few years that I’ve been so picky about fit and that’s because I have the time to really explore. Thanks Linda. You’ve given me food for thought.

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      1. I rotated the sleeve both forward and back without improvement. In fact, the wrinkles were worse. Was wondering if the sleeve cap needed to be shaped. With most of my woven tops, the sleeve cap has a definite front and back. But when I look closely, they too have indications of the same drag line.

        Indigo, thanks for input and compliments. Having someone in my corner is great.

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