Taking Another Run At the Ebb

I remember that phrase throughout my life “take a run at”.  Generally it meant digging into the depths of some task more with the intention of discovering what was there more than the actual hope of solving/finishing.

“Making a run at it” was always productive, if an honest attempt was made. I knew people who gave lip service to making an attempt who were then humiliated when someone else successfully made the effort. 

I’ve pretty much identified my fit issues and have already had at least mild success with the Ebb.  But haven’t reached the perfection I seek. My last remaining issue has been that the Empire line distinctively rises at the center front. With busy prints, like the 3 versions in my closet, the line isn’t all that visible. But I know it’s there. Since the last time I made the Ebb, I’ve draped my shoulder and create a basic block for both woven and knit fabrics (and tertiary blocks for sleeveless version of both).  I’ve used my blocks numerous times both in fitting an existing pattern and in drafting versions of the basic style. So I’m taking another run at the Ebb, using my basic block.

I whipped the tape measure around my bust — yep no change and then checked the envelope for recommended size.  I find that I make fewer pattern alterations if I start blouses using my full bust measurement and pants using my fullest hip.   IMO, it’s easier to tweak dart depth than to add tissue trying to make an full bust and prominent seat adjustments.  The envelope suggested starting with a size Large.  So I did.  I traced a size Large.

Louise uses industry standard seam allowances which is 5/8″ unless there is a specific need for something else (like mitered corners that are best with 1/4″ SA).  I, however, use 1/4″ for shoulders and armscyes, 3/8″ for crotch curves and 1/2″ elsewhere. The point is, I can’t just slap my block on top of her patterns and call it done. I need to allow for the seam allowance differences.  So the first think I do is mark the stitching line along the shoulder and armscyes for 1/4″ SA. Really easy to do. Just takes a tick mark or two measured 3/8″ in from the cutting line. Then I slipped my block on top align center front/back and slide upward until the armscyes meet. To my surprise, my block and the traced Ebb are a lot alike. My shoulder slope is different which I copied.  Then, just for fun, I started measuring some differences.  The back shoulder is 1/4″ longer than my block and the back  is 3/4″ wider at each underarm (total +1.5″ across the back).  The front is spot on!  I needed a 1.5″ back waist length adjustment (3/4″ tuck) both front and back.  I

I was tickled pink. I

  • Chose and copied a size
  • Transferred my shoulder slope
  • Made a 1.5″ BWL.

I chose a rayon challis in a busy grey/black/white print.  Laid out my altered pattern and cut my fabric. I taped necklines and the back shoulder.  Interfaced the front as indicated on the pattern and then joined the two halves of the front. Serged the shoulders together of both the blouse and its facing then turned to the SM and stitched the right shoulder 1/8″ deeper (1/4″Sa for the left 3/8″ SA on the right and lower shoulder).  Stitched the facing to blouse; pressed turned and top stitched. Nailed that back facing in place.  It’s large facing. It needs to be anchored. Added sleeves, stitched side seams and finished hems, buttonholes and buttons.  Did you see any fitting any there? Nope.  I’m taking this purely on faith.  Using my block I knew that I had length and circumference correct.  Depth at shoulders should also be correct. The only depth of concern is the same as always for me on the Ebb, the empire line.  I feel strongly this is either going to work or I’m going to need more work at the tissue stage.  So the first try on and  fitting check was done just before hanging in my closet.


Pleased with the back other than I probably should have placed my shoulder pads a little further up the slope. Easy fix.


Front is equally nice.  Love the 3/4 sleeve even without that neat vent trick. I’ve been using the various buttonholes on my Dream Machine to see how they really work with fabric. This particular buttonhole


I really think belongs on a jacket or coat.  It has a wide gap. Very wide. But it’s not noticeable unless you’re up close enough I’d slap your face.

It is the side that tells me the truth

linesside_resize linessideshoulder_resize

There’s always the possibility that the pic is not rotated perfectly.  My tripod won’t hold the camera perfectly upright.  My pics start slightly skewed.  I rotate them at the computer but there’s the question of how well, how accurate my correction really is. So the orange lines I drew because it’s hard to see the empire line, may not be angled as badly IRL.  Despite that, I do think the empire is still definitely sloped upwards at the center front.

Also looking at the shoulder/ear alignment I think the shoulder is falling towards the back. Which happens to reinforce what I was feeling.  I kept shrugging and pulling the shoulders forward.  I think that’s a hint of what I should do next.  I know that my back has been rounding and a few times I have made a half-hearted attempt at adjustment.  I think it’s time to look at this carefully.

But I’m really happy to share that my other issue the SWAGS on the sides beneath my armscyes are G_O_N_E!!!!!


Neither side has swags. I think that tells me the shoulder slope is correct and reinforces the urge to tackle a rounded back adjustment.

Oh and I’m wearing this. The busy print makes it difficult to see the angle of the empire line. I’ll move the shoulder pads in a little but otherwise it’s good to go — anywhere.  (Well maybe not black tie but I’ve never done black tie.)




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