White Stars

I decided to wait for your advice before proceeding with the Pointelle Knit.  It and associated fabric scraps are hanging on hanger, tucked into a corner of the Sewing Room Closet.

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I chose a new fabric to work with, a dark-blue, jersey knit which I think is 100% cotton. Like the first fabric chosen for fitting PP104, it  is elderly. At least 18 years elderly.  It has moved with me 4 times through the same number of states.  Always thought it would make a lovely, summer tank-dress.  I had in mind an almost maxi-length dress with 14″ side slits. Oh so sexy, but I never cut into the fabric. It’s a Walmart fabric i.e. gathered up and sold to US home consumers when Walmart exec’s scoured CONUS and convinced clothing manufacturers that garment manufacturing wasn’t returning state side and they would be money ahead by selling to Walmart for pennies on the dollar as opposed to paying to warehouse a fabric that might not ever be used.  WM did have some valuable insight about that. In addition to change in current colors, prints, etc, the whole knitting process has changed significantly.  Wovens and knits that commanded $$$ 30 years ago, are snubbed today for their lack of current processing and finishes..  I was very uneasy about the next set of tissue changes (explained below). Almost didn’t cut this fabric and then it hit me.  I need a new PJ top to go with a favorite jegging I use for sleep wear.  Whether or not my changes and this fabric work well, the resulting garment will have a purpose.

Let me back track and describe the new set of tissue changes.  There is no question in my mind that the additional 1/2″ length I removed on the right side (just below the shoulder seam) is the correct alteration for me.  This alteration smoothed out a majority of the drag lines and puffiness on the right side.  It left the center back and center fronts flowing smoothly over my body. So the first thing I did was add a 1/4″ tuck (removing 1/2″ length) just under the shoulder SA on the right side of both my front and back tissue pieces.

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My 2nd concern was the bust dart.  I looked at previous photos carefully. Applied exposure and contrast  filters and enlarged until I could see the darts well.  After the 2nd set of changes, wherein I removed about 2″ length just below the shoulder, the dart no longer pointed to my apex but towards the ceiling. I did not want to restore even 1/8″ of that length. I knew I needed to remove even more on the right side. The only option I could see was moving the bust dart. I used the old-fashioned method of cut a box around the dart and move down. Fill in the now blank space and redraw the side seams.  I lowered the left bust dart 1/2″.  The right caused me consternation.  Do I lower it the same (1/2″) knowing I’ve just lowered the shoulder another 1/2″ and will need restore the armscye 1/2″ lower?  I opted to lower the right bust dart 1″ (and crossed my fingers hoping I was right).

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I retrieved my armscye templates and redrew the right armscye.  I was rather surprised that the back armscye wasn’t much lower, but it did seem to fill in, a lot.

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All that blue is added space when the template is copied.

I finished the tissue alterations by walking and truing seams.

I cut the fabric. Had enough to cut full front, back and full length sleeves. Also matched the stripe across back and front and the sleeves but the sleeves are not matched to the body. Not enough fabric. Nor was there enough fabric to place the stripe in a more flattering position. I taped the back neck and shoulders then serge finished the side seams.  Stitched the darts and serge finished the front side seams.   I serged the left shoulders together but basted the right shoulder and side seams; sleeves are still laying on the cutting table.  Time for the first fitting, the one right after the tissue has been traced and initial alterations if any, are made to the tissue.  The one I call Fit 00. I’m disappointed that my reasoning and effort didn’t improve the bust dart position at all.  Both are still pointing off into space and surprisingly, the left might need to be lowered a little more. This fitting confirmed my resolve to have 1/2″ seam allowances. While the first jersey fabric was  snug, and the 2nd jersey (Pointelle knit) far too loose, the elderly jersey was tight. Tight enough to hang up on my butt and skew fitting evaluation.  So first order of business with Fit00, was to rebaste the side seams at a scant 1/4″ deep and take new pictures.

Fit01, looked only slightly better but the extra 1″ (1/4″ * 4 seam allowances) of ease did make it feel better.

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I had a thought to check where the waist was sitting.  Normally or at least in times past, I would need a back waist length adjustment,  I delayed making the NSA because I thought I raised the waist position 2″ when I shortened the garment under the shoulder seam.  I put the garment back on, marked where my waist hit then compared the garment to my previous knit block. I also measured the current tissue to see where the waist was exactly because that’s not marked on the pattern. The narrowest area which I assume is the waist is about 1″ tall.  My waist corresponds to about the bottom of that 1″. So for Fit 02, I made a 1/4″ tuck just above the marked waist, basted side seams back together and took pics.

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Although the raised waist felt better it did not look any better nor were there fewer drag lines. Truly it began to look like a round back issue. Well could I do anything after the fact? I can’t slice the fabric apart and insert and wedge, not if I intend to wear this.  But I could take 1/4″ deep darts along the side seams across from the bust dart and increase the bust dart to 1.50″ deep.  In the pics, it looks like I’ve added a back yoke and it feels pretty good. But it’s not looking much better.

To tell the truth, I was getting pretty tired of this pattern entirely.  I really thought after Test Garment #1 that all I needed to do was copy the fitting adjustments back to the tissue. Then on a subsequent garment, remove more length from the right side. To my surprise the diagonals on the left returned and in some pics there are horizontal folds of cloth across the mid back. Should I blame the fabric?  Was fabric #1 really that good when compared to Fabric 2 the Pointelle knit and Fabric 3 the elderly cotton jersey?

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I finished the top. Forgot to mention the persistent dart that wanted to form at CF under the neck.  The easiest solution was a popular neckline, gathers at the center:

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Not anxious to invest a lot of finishing time, I applied FOE around the neckline, sleeve and bodice hems but to make it a little special I used one of the built-in stitches on my SM

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Actually, I welcomed this opportunity to practice with FOE.  I could never apply (to my satisfaction)  FOE using my Bernina 1630 or Viking Ruby.  I’ve been so pleased with how the Brother Dream Machine handles it beautifully. The only issue is how much to stretch the FOE during the stitching. I want enough stretch (with recovery) so that the FOE’d edge does not flare or flute but I’ve never wanted it to actually gather.  I did the CF gathering the old-fashioned way with a basting stitching, pulled to preferred length and held in place until the FOE could be stitched.

This top becomes a PJ for at least the beginning of the winter season.  I’m perplexed about fitting. Both tops and bottoms are becoming really difficult yet I don’t see that my body has become horribly deformed. Mostly I can see that right shoulder is lower, not so much forward, but lower than the left.

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My hips still measure the same, but my waist has thickened. I’ve moved from misses petite into  women’s petite when buying my jeans because the waist is bigger …and… more comfortable.  I keep thinking I should still be able to make my standard narrow shoulder and back waist length adjustments and then add something new for the asymmetrical shoulder.  Maybe tweak the waistline a little.   Not working out that way. I’m struggling.

I’ll be taking a few days off before trying to fit knit tops again.  I ‘ve enrolled in a basic fitting course at Craftsy.  Sometimes I need to go back to basics.  I think this is one of those times. While I was able to fit  the first test garment, none of the changes I made to that fabric and tissue worked as expected on test 2 and 3; and none of my additional fitting efforts improved the last two test garments. Neither look anywhere as nice as the first test.  I need to reevaluate and start fresh.

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