Tabula Rasa Shirt Variations

I realized at the first fitting of the jacket, that I wanted help converting it to a blouse. I ordered the Shirt Variations immediately and continue to finish my first TRJ.  Usually my orders from PR take close to a week. I was pleasantly surprised when the package arrived about 3 days later.   I read the directions and looked at the pattern pieces.  Now if anyone wants to say $12 plus $5 shipping is a bit high, I agree. I purchased through Pattern Review because, thank God, I’ve been ordering through them for years, long before whatever validating programs have swept the on-line retail market causing so many places, Fit For Art included, to reject my address and thereby my orders. I’ll stop there because that’s a long story of its own but please don’t tell me to purchase direct from FFA. They won’t let me.

So what did I get for $12

  • Huge booklet of instructions. Well 8×11 sized pages  that were folded in half; and quite a few to page though I   didn’t count.
  • 2 sets of pattern pieces – 1 for sizes L to 3XL the other sizes L-XS which include
    • curved cuff
    • stand up collar
    • flat collar
    • back facing
    • front facing
    • front template

Because of all the fitting changes I need, I never use someone else’s facings. I always alter my pattern and then copy the pattern to make facings. With shirts/blouses I rarely use the back facing. I prefer bindings That makes 2 less pieces (back facing and front facing) applicable to me and  I won’t even trace.  I’m unlikely to use the stand up collar or the curved cuff.  I might someday but cuffs are so easy to draft and I rarely, like almost never, use a stand-up collar. I don’t like the way a stand-up collar rubs my neck. So that’s 2 less pieces for me and again, I didn’t trace . I in fact paid $17 for

  • Booklet of instructions.
  • flat collar
  • front template

It seems like a lot of $$ for what I’m actually going to use and I’m reconsidering my interest in the other FFA variation packages. Despite the cost and the inclusion of pieces I’m probably never going to use in the end, I am pleased. Why?  Because it made conversion from jacket to button front blouse incredibly easy. Just incredibly.

I traced a size medium blending to a large at the hip. Yep back to the original pattern and trace it once again because I had decided the size large makes a nice jacket but seemed a little large for a typical blouse. I also traced the flared side panel. It’s so easy to make that into a straight panel but to start with I wanted to be sure I had enough ease across my rear.  Next, put the jacket pattern  away and pull out the variations pattern. Trace the flat collar . Slide the medium Blouse Front Template beneath the jacket front tracing and added the appropriate lines.

It was amazingly easy. No measuring or pulling out the curve. Just slide the template into place and trace.  I moved from the drafting stage, which I don’t want to do, in seconds.

I still needed fitting alterations so the size medium just traced I made

  1. 3/4″ shoulder slope. That’s an increase of 1/8″ which I did because I still had a hint of back diagonals.
  2. 5/8″ RBA rotated to the shoulder.  FFA recommends rotating to the neck. I resist working with the neck as much as possible. It’s far to easy to stretch out of shape. Besides rotating to the neck looks like you don’t really know what you are doing. Rotating to the shoulder is the golden standard. There is a possibility, strong possibility, that the shoulder dart can be moved to the shoulder-neck or shoulder-armscye. I’m taking this one step at a time. While the experts seem to think a dart can be moved anywhere, my personal experience says there is a limit.  I want to know if, when and where these changes go wrong. So I make changes step by step. Rotate to the neck worked.Now I want to know if I can successfully  rotate to shoulder.
  3. 1/4″ lower back dart. Not sure what else to call that.  I’m very round and need a back dart opposite the bust dart.  I’m always bemused that it works because I have to make the side seams match and so immediately
  4. 1/4″ added to the back seam length at the hem.
  5. Increased length of front, back and side panel 2.5″
  6. Decreased that long sleeve cap 1/2″.  That may not be enough. I walked it and it seems enough but I removed 1.5″ (3/4 on front armscye and 3/4″ on back armscye).  Because I removed 1.5″ length from the armscyes I should need to either remove 1.5″ from the sleeve cap or add some back to the armscyes.  Sigh, ATM I’m doing what I can measure and not relying on mathematics alone.

It seems like a lot of alterations but there could be more.  I haven’t narrowed the shoulder. I measure the medium shoulder, subtracted the seam allowances and decided not to do an NSA, yet.  I also did not make a BWL (back waist length adjustment). Both adjustments are like 2nd nature to me. I nearly always need an NSA. The BWL is nearly always needed if there is any side seam shaping.  There is slight shaping along the side seams but I haven’t needed the BWL for either the Tee or Jacket. For now, I’m not doing a BWL, yet.

A quick walk of the seams and I proceeded to stare at the stash.  I’ve got enough fabric to set up shop in a 3rd world country. But when it comes time to choose a test fabric I stare and stare and stare.  I want this test fabric to have a similar weave, drape and weight of the fabrics I’d commonly select for blouses. For me that’s rayons and most cottons. I’ve got nothing in the muslin pile.  Either the fabrics are too heavy and stiff or they are knits.  The wrong knits. I couldn’t use most of them for musling the Tee. So I’m staring at the regular stash looking for a sacrificial fabric that will make a good muslin. That means no knits,no strip matching; no dark fabrics. Some of the fabrics I just can’t sacrifice.  I really want to wear them. Finally I do find a 2.5 yard by 60″ wide rayon.  Purchased 13 years ago, the print is slightly outdated.  But I love the colors and the rayon is exactly what I want to test. So rayon it is.

 

Tune in tomorrow when I test the fit.

 

 

 

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