Tabula Rasa T #2

Couldn’t wait to start the next Tabula Rasa T.  The first one was so easy to fit and sew. The unusual side panel/dolmen sleeve combination results in  set-in sleeve effect but it is sewn in one long go from hem along a princess seam panel, up the garment, over the shoulder and back down another princess seam panel once again finishing at the hem. You don’t even realize you’re setting in a sleeve. It like sewing both side seams at once instead of sewing in a sleeve.

Before starting this version,  I raised the tissue neckline  2″  and added 2″ length to the center front.  I compared sleeves, just in case I’d traced the wrong size. Since I traced the size I intended, I traced the next size up for use in this new blouse. I folded out a 1/4″ dart just above the hip. I’m not sure this will remove the diagonal between shoulder-blade and hip, but I need to do something. The front will be laid out on the fold i.e. no center front seam this time. But the back still needs its center seam. Adding the dart, curved the back piece even more.

My fabric is an ITY with about 50% stretch. I was surprised when it stretched that far.  I’ve had ITY’s that were practically stable knits. Most of my ITY’s have been about 30%.  I wanted to stay in about the same stretch range because I know stretch affects fit. While most of the fit issues seemed to be solved, I still have concerns about the back right side and the sleeve.

I taped the back shoulders and front neckline. Stitched the front darts and serged the shoulder seams.  Since I didn’t really do any thing that would improve the sleeve cap, I measured the armscye between notches and cut elastic to that length (10″)  I applied the elastic the sleeve which gathered it nicely and made it easy to join with the rest of the bodice.  I serged the underarm seam at 1/4″ even though that should be a 5/8″ seam. I wanted to be sure I had enough ease.  I can restitch that seam if I need less circumference.  I hemmed the sleeve at the same time. I thought, “Why not? The first sleeve was the correct length just too tight”  Here’s hoping I didn’t make a mistake

Previous sleeve/side panel join had to be stretched greatly. I ended up using elastic to gather this seam on the first TRT.  This time, because the XL  panel was joining the XL sleeve, that seam went together smoothly. Just like what is shown on the pattern envelope.

The long seam joining sleeve unit to bodice smoothly joined together in one fell swoop on the left side. Some how the right-front sleeve- armscye  was longer. I can’t figure out why. I matched notches when sewing. I checked to see if I had incorrectly gathered the sleeve cap. Nope. Both gathered between notches and 10″ long.  The seams were smooth. I thought, well it will show up when I slip it on or in the pics. Nope. I can only wonder what caused the error. My solution was a dart in the side panel. It is unlikely to be seen.

Another issue is the position of the armscye.


On  the envelope pic, the armscye seems to rest along the natural shoulder.  My first Tabula Rasa T, I do remember looking at the armscye/shoulder and wondering if it was just a little out there. Like 1/8″. Like maybe I stitched a 3/8″ seam instead of 1/2″. But it didn’t seem like a big deal and during wear, it seems to rest agin t in the right position.  I guess, this could be a fabric issue. But since I did notice it on my first TRT, I will correct this one and make a correction to the pattern.

Last issue  is the hem


Front and side seam to be fairly level. However the back seems to be a little high. Did not notice that last time.  Not sure if this is today’s underwear or how the top is sitting on my shoulders or even something else.

I made two changes for Fit 2.

First, working on the side seam from side panel, up over the shoulder and back to the other side panel, I increased the seam from 1/2″ to 1″ at the shoulder.  The increase is tapered back to 1/2″  from about 4″ on each side of the shoulder back to the top of the side panel. This improved the shoulder enormously


Fortunately, I basted with WST because little pleats appeared where none were desired. I really hate making these adjustment because invariably, they aren’t perfectly alike as they would be had I cut the fabric from altered tissue.  At best, the differences are hardly noticeable.  This is not an ‘at best’ situation.  It doesn’t take much looking to see that one shoulder seam is now longer than the other.  For the finished garment, I removed the 1″ basting at the seam and serged it at the original depth (1/2″). But  I still wanted to remove the ‘drop shoulder’ look. First I tried stitching a dart in the center of the shoulder. I was making a fish eye dart with zero points about 4″ down in front and back with the 1/2″ eye part straddling the shoulder. Could not make a really nice dart. The seam would invariably slip when stitched. In the past, I’ve covered up such a goof with a faux epilep.  Unfortunately, my neck was already finished. As well as having to rip the just serged sleeve, a faux epilep would either require ripping the neck finishing or an awkward finish at the neckline. Why trade one awkward finish for another?  The winning solution? Inserting 1/2″ raglan shoulder pads.


Generally, I prefer to fit my TNT’s first then alter the shoulder height to accommodate the size shoulder pad I want to  use. With this garment, that was unnecessary.  Pretty sure that’s because of the dolman underarm/sleeve which is loose and generous while still skimming the body lines. Also note in the side view that the hem is hanging pretty even.

I  offset the side seams between side panel and hem to remove the 1.25″ added to the straight side panel which make it the flared. I wanted to know, if I really needed the extra ease.  I was delighted to be able to reduce the flare at the hem.  It’s still flippy but not as much and I like both ways.  This alteration was an ‘at best’, i.e. any differences between side panels is unnoticeable. For the final garment I serged off the excess.


As for the back


I added chain to the hem.  I’ve tried this several times and find that it helps with Velcro Butt. Which is the tendency for fabric to pile up on a prominent rump instead of sliding off and down. Finally, the fabric poll on the right side between shoulder blade and hip is GONE. In fact, most of those back wrinkles look like trapezoid flare lines to me. Won’t deny that I may still have RBA  and asymmetrical shoulder issue. But this back in this fabric looks fine to me for a trapezoid style of garment.

Tissue Changes:

I darted the front and back shoulder. Actually I slashed and overlapped removing 3/4″.  The 1/2″ seeam didn’t look quite enough plus it removed length from the sleeve which really wasn’t necessary. Darting the front and back shoulder should take care of the drop sleeve.

I started working on the excess cap width by  but making two 3/8″ deep darts into the sleeve cap each about 4″ long. Sleeve cap bubbled a little and I smooshed it down to finish flattening. This is after all, a flat pattern. The envelope doesn’t show any gathering along the sleeve/armscye seam. I know there is some artistic license invoked in making these envelopes but I still feel that the sleeve should at most have been eased. I’m hoping the two darts will remove all the execess ease, but if not, I’ll make more.

I also removed the 1/4″ at the back above the hip made before I even cut this fabric. I wanted it to remove all the drag lines and pooling seen on the right side. But the dart seemed to have no effect other than making my back side seam 1/2″ shorter. Why make an alteration that has no effect.

My Tabula Rasa T tissue is at the point of being TNT. I can pull out these 4 pieces anytime and make a nice looking knit top with varying amount of hem flare. I’m probably going to keep playing.  I’d like to make the back a single piece which will mean rotating the RBA to neck or shoulder darts and removing the CB seam allowance. I can also envision style variations. How hard would it be to make a surplice front? Or add front or back yokes? High low hems?  That’s the fun of a TNT. You can do so much more than the just sew the pieces the same way every time.


4 thoughts on “Tabula Rasa T #2

  1. Bev, so glad that you made such a beautiful top, and one that will become a TNT. You work so hard to get just a good fit and you have it right here. You look really lovely in this top. Enjoy!!! Karendee


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