Somewhere around 3AM my left brain woke me up and said “You know, we’re forgetting our standard alterations.” It was like lightening struck. I haven’t paid attention to my standard alterations (1″ narrow shoulder and back waist adjustments) since I fell in love with Connie Crawford’s 1201. I used that to develop my non-stretch block and after much effort used Connie Crawford’s 5215 to develop a stretch block. Since developing these blocks, I haven’t made the standard alterations. Instead, I’ve either used my blocks to develop new styles or I’ve slid the block on top of the pattern and cut the new pattern to fit my blocks. Time to remember my figure issues and apply those pattern alterations.
Pamela included a line to apply a 1/2″ length adjustment through the armscye. Her instructions say that some women need a longer armscye. If you don’t (that’s me!) fold out along the lines. I thought back to the first fitting. I was concerned with how low the armscye was sitting (mid bra band). PP104 does not use the high, tight, classic blouse armscye but neither is it the typical boxy T-shirt that you buy in any store. It is rather a relaxed, easy fit armscye. Still I didn’t expect it to sit so low. At the same time, the bust dart was too low, by 1/2″ or so. As I kept adjusting the shoulder slope, the armscye was raised to something more acceptable.
I’m using Hobby Lobby’s aisle runner to trace my patterns. I like this for several reasons but dislike the fact that alterations have to be secured with something besides any of the tapes in my possession. The fold I took across the chest was zig zagged inplace. With no desire to un-stitch and the fear that such an activity might harm the tissue, I folded a 2nd tuck just above the first and stitched that at 1/4″ removing 1/2″ with the previous 5/8″ tuck that’s a total of 1.25″ length removed — providing my calculations are right.
Then I looked at the shoulders a second time
which now look like a stepped pyramid. They are also far too wide (green arrows) and while you might not be able to see it, I can tell that the bodice is too wide. It ripples and gapes almost as badly as the armscyes did. The pattern uses 1/4″ seam allowances through out. There’s between 1/2 and 3/4″ fabric hanging over my shoulder point. The overhang could be caused by how much I’ve taken up at the shoulder seam. I’ve taken up so much, that the back neck is creeping up and peaking over (gold arrows). I’m undecided as to whether I should apply an NSA, copy the small or extra small shoulder/armscye line. Looking at the back from Fit01
it does look too wide and it’s starting to curve at the upper 1/4 mark instead of down there under the arm — but in this pic I’ve already increased the slope to 7/8″ which definitely shortens the armscye pulling a wider portion upward. I need to address both the narrow shoulder and the increased shoulder slope. I opt to trace the ‘small’ shoulder and add a 3/8″ dart in the both front and back armscye just above the 1/2″ tuck made a few minutes earlier.
I aligned the altered pattern pieces on their respective fabric cut outs. The backs aligned pretty good and I trimmed excess fabric without too much concern.
The front was an entirely different story. While the back fabric edges curled slightly, the front fabric was determined to roll tightly making it very difficult to see the full width/length. Finally as best as possible, I pinned the darts together and aligned the armscyes, shoulders and neckline and trimmed.
I didn’t trust the trimming I did to the fabric. So even if I made further fitting changes, I would not be transferring them to the pattern. I decided to skip the fitting, serge and move along to the next test. I cut binding from a light weight ponte which finished to 1″ around the neckline and hems, 1.5″ at the sleeve hems. The extra binding width on the sleeves was a necessity not a design decision. Aligning stripes meant some waste and I could not cut the full sleeve length. However, I think it looks good.
The neck binding gave me issues. The first time, I pulled too tight. Which meant that the neckline contracted and rippled. Also told me that the neckline was much smaller than I wanted. I took a few minutes to fold the front and back in half, pin together and cut a new neckline; onto which I basted the binding. Basted, the binding looked nice. I serged, then top stitched. That’s the first time I’ve used my 1/4″ foot. I ran the little blade in the well between binding and neck and top stitched a perfect 1/4″ away. Then I pressed. At which time I realized the binding is just a bit too long. Too bad. I’m not un-serging. Nope. Not doin’ it.
I serged the sleeves into the garment; serged the side seams before adding a whiff of spray starch and a careful press for pics. I do try to make the garment look its best for the final pics.
Seriously can you imagine my excitement when seeing the pics for the first time. Oh yeah I can look into the camera and see something. But the real details aren’t evident until I transfer pic to computer monitor. And the details are wonderful.
The back has no diagonals. Nor fabric puddling in the mid-back (the thing that causes everyone to exclaim “you need a sway back alteration”. The front looks pretty nice too. Even the sleeves are missing my typical forearm drape. Tellin’ you, I’d buy this at a store.
The side view gives us just a little more information. This is the first pic in which the front hem seems to be raising. I did not rotate the pic which normally I must do. On its tripod, my camera tilts slightly most of the time. For now, I’m going to say CF probably needs only a little or no lengthening at all. There are some bubbles and pulls around the bust and what you can’t see is that the armscye is really high and tight. I actually plan to keep this tissue as it is because I think it will be perfect for slinky/4-way stretch fabrics. (I’ll cut a new one).
I’m not totally sure if I need more ease across the bust (and a little depth as in a FBA), or if the real issue is that I have not compensated for the shortened armscye. I took nearly 3″ off the total armscye circumference. Katrina Kay is an unsung hero in my mind. Just love her videos but not sure if I got the sloping shoulder information from her videos here or her website (Katrina Kay Creations which won’t pop up for me at the moment.) I know from reading/viewing her instructions that when the shoulder slope is changed, the armscye circumference changes and then needs to be restored. Haven’t done it and that could very well be what the horizontal pulls are telling me.
For now, my garment is hanging in the closet. I have no issues with wearing it as is. Tell you again, I’d buy this at the mall and proudly tell you the store!
- small shoulders
- front medium from under arm to hem
- medium for underarm to waist
- large from waist to hem.
- Shorten upper bodice 1.25″
- Lengthen just above hem 2.25″ (see depth adjustment below)
- Seam allowances
- Default 1/4″
- Add 1/4″ to side seams, total 1/2″ side seam allowance.
- Seam allowances
- Upper armscye depth 3/4″
- changes shoulder sloper without changes shoulder length
- Restore armscye circumference
- Increase Bust dart depth 1/8″ (offset by 3.1.2)
- Upper armscye depth 3/4″