Once I decided it was going to take a lot of work to make the Fit Nice pattern into something I’d be proud to wear, I asked myself what really dissatisfied me about the fit of my current sloper, Silhouette Patterns 195. Answer: the shoulders are too narrow and the sleeve is too tight. Then I said to myself, “You know it would be easier to correct these 2 things than starting from scratch”.
So I pulled out my block with the armscye dart; copied front, back and long sleeve.I split the copied sleeve vertically down the grain line; separated the 2 halves 1/2″ and taped them back together. Sleeve ready for testing.
On back and front I made a tick mark 1/2″away from the existing armscye-shoulder point. Placed the corresponding piece back on top and rotated at the underarm, swinging the shoulder out to the 1/2″ tick mark. I traced this new armscye and shoulder. I was a bit unsure about what I had just done because the shoulder was 1/2″ higher then it had been before.
I hunted in my stash for a fabric. I wanted a knit, that didn’t need pattern matching and might possibly cover up minor errors. I found one! It is an abstract print on a poly lycra with 50% 4-way stretch.
I stitched in darts, basted shoulder and side seams and took my first try on. The fit was surprising. Oh not lots of drag lines, but the neckline which should land about my clavicle sank 4″ lower; the underarms 2″. Maybe that 50% stretch in action?
I basted in incremental changes 3 times deepening the shoulder seams; increasing the side seam allowance to 1″ at the underarm zeroing 6.5″ lower. Took not more than 20 minutes to reach this point:
The underarm has moved up. Not tight in the arm pit but high where one would expect a sleeve. The front lies smooth and the neckline is where it should be. The back has issues below the waist. It is hanging-up on my left hip and creating horizontal folds. The right side has a drag line or two from the lower back to the upper hip. Apparently the 4 way stretch still needs more ease to go over my seat. If you’ll look back at the side view and hem, it is rising at the CB hem. Possibly more length is require but I’m going with a tad more ease the next time round.
For the next and final fitting I baste in the sleeves into the armscyes and then baste the entire side and underarm seam. I use 1/4″ side seam allowances from hem to about waist then increase it to 1/2″ down the underarm to the wrist hem. I also baste in a sleeve hem. I am pleased with this fitting (pics not shared). My only criticism is that the hem is not horizontal to the floor; clearly it is lifting at center back. This isn’t something I can easily fix now. I take out the basting and trim the seam allowances even. Then I finished everything. I feared that my seam trimming would create issues in the final garment because the fabric wiggled and squirmed away and my trimmed seam allowances weren’t neatly even. I was eager to see the final
Not bad! Not one of the previous drag lines remains! Although it looks fine in the pic, I feel like the sleeve is a little short. The back looks great in the pic, until I turn sideways:
…and then I see, Yep, the hem is not level.
Nonetheless I am tremendously pleased. I did 3 fittings, the last one was mostly a check of the previous 2 changes. I have trimmed the shoulder height back to the original without loosing the 1/2″ shoulder length I wanted to add. Adding 1/2″ ease via sewing the side seams at 1/4″ fixed fixed the drag lines on both back and front. The one other thing I did was to take in the side seam allowance at the underarm.
I had planned to use this garment to tweak the fit of my sloper/block but I feel like I can’t transfer all the changes to my new sloper pattern. My fabric stretched greatly. I have transferred the underarm changes, and added 1/2″ ease on the back at the hip and 1″ length at center-back. The shoulders I am leaving along until I can check this draft with a new version in cotton or rayon i.e. something not this stretchy.