All posts by sdbev

Fitting with a PSA

 reminder PSA= Princess Seam Alteration

Fitting went surprisingly well. First off, I expected to rip a few seams. So I cut fabric, ran to the serger and serge finished because, this is fabric that ravels like the devil.  I serged the center back seam. Swapped out the bobbin for water-soluble thread, joined the upper bodice and skirt. Put the regular bobbin back in and joined the shoulders. I stitched the right shoulder 1/4″ deeper than the left. Then remembering the issues with the Mashup, I stitched the left shoulder at 3/8″ and the right at 5/8″. I attached the facing also using permanent stitching; then swapped out for WST before basting the side seams. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the mirrors reflection. Made no changes, just took pics and trotted up stairs.

Keep this in mind when looking at the pics 1) I don’t think I have the shoulders square on my body; and (2) I already have 1/4″ shoulder pads pinned into place.

I’m seeing a little bit of drooping but not big V’s. Oddly, I’m seeing more on the left than the right. The blouse feels comfortable so I’m reluctant to take in the side seams. It will be difficult to work on the shoulders a bit more, but I will try before the final.

I also see the right side swinging forward at the front hemline.  That usually indicates additional ease is needed in front. I’m surprised but yes I can offset the seams a little now and add more tissue to the pattern later.  The empire does seem to be rising in front. I tend to think that’s because I don’t have the shoulders sitting properly. Honestly, I’m hoping that goes away because I can’t fix it now. Adding length had to be done way back at the tissue stage.  (I took all length away in the skirt. The upper bodice length was untouched.)

I’m seeing the same divot (don’t know what to call it really) on the left back as I did before. I note that I’ve pinned my shoulder pads into place and the pin is placed exactly where the divot starts on my shoulder.  I realize I have several things going on here. The pins restricting the fabric, the shoulder of the blouse not square on my own; the question of were the PSA’s deep enough; and has this oddity been showing up before without my noting? Is this the aging body that I’m ignoring?

When I take pics, due to my limitations, I always end up rotating the pics. Which I never do perfectly. I only come close. For starters I don’t think I rotated this pic at all. I’m still aware that the shoulder are not sitting squarely but can’t help but notice that the front left seems to have at least an echo of back left divot. Apparently I need to do more with the left. Which is surprising to me because it is my right shoulder which is obviously lower and always requires the extra consideration.

BUT did you notice, I’m nit-picking? Little things. Not numerous V’s on the side. Not necklines nor armscyes that expose my underwear.  Not a single big complaint. By golly, I’m going to wear this!

Now was the time to consider the sleeves.  I knew I needed to shorten the sleeve cap. Also that the medium sleeve was comfortable and did not need extra ease. So I cut the sleeve at a size medium and serged  to the armscye (just after I deepened both shoulder seams 1/4″).  With some hesitance, I did not stitch the sleeve at 5/8″, only the 1/4″ of the serged seam. Firstly, I had a lot of sleeve cap to gather to the armscye and while the serger did this  easily, I’m not sure I can repeat the pleat-free stitching at the sewing machine. As for all the cap length, simply removing the size-large, side, seam-allowance was not enough and will still need to be adjusted.

When I stitched the side seams, I offset the front (beginning at the empire seam down to the hem) so that the seam would be 1/4″ deep for front but 1/2″ deep for back.  I again added my quick vents to the side seams.  Louise’s mitered vents are lovely and not very time-consuming when you have all the seam allowances the right width. Today, I’ve got wonky seam allowances and don’t really want to invest the additional time needed to miter each corner (which can be done even with differing seam allowances).  I did a number of other finishing touches, such as securing the back facing with SAS and then top stitching.  I did not cut the vent in the sleeve. Mostly because I used that on the two previous blouses just finished. This time I made a narrow hem.

I pinned the front lapels in place and steamed them to create a permanent crease. Unfortunately, I forgot to remove the pins before photos.  Full disclosure here:  In the past, I’ve done the same thing when ironing freshly laundered blouses and then wondered why my blouse kept pricking me during wear. Onto Final Pics:

Right side view looks perfect (not even the front hem is swinging forward). Left still showing drag lines below bust. I may  need to adjust the shoulder slope more than the 1/8″ I thought I was seeing when I compared patterns.

I’m not sure about the empire line rising center front.  I still don’t have the shoulders resting comfortably on my own  and they slop about a bit. So is the issue due to needing more length or needing a more secure shoulder?

Increasing the shoulder seam to 5/8″ helped greatly with the divot I was seeing before. It’s more of a suggestion which I might ignore. Do note though, how the shoulders are not sitting evenly. It seems to be sliding to the left and the right neckline is closer to my neck than the left neckline. It is sloping about.  My first corrective effort will be increasing the shoulder slope. Oddly, I don’t think I want to trim the armscye or sleeve cap down to 1/4″ my preferred seam allowance.  I’m liking where this slightly dropped shoulder is sitting.  I want to keep it that way. No idea why the hem is bending in. It just is.

I offset the front side seams because I thought I needed more ease. Now, I just don’t think so. But I’ve already added tissue to front pattern piece (thereby more ease to future versions) and besides while I’d like to blame the shoulder situation, insufficient ease really might be the issue of the front swinging forward in the first set of pics.

What is most important about this blouse is the fact MY PRINCESS SEAM ALTERATIONS WORKED!!.  They need increasing i.e. the 3/8 and 1/2″ PSA were not deep enough, I’m thinking 1/2 and 5/8 next time. But honestly,  I’m jumping around and dancing. This means I know what to do to fit my patterns which don’t have princess seams. I couldn’t be happier.

******* Alterations next version

  • Shoulders
    • Increase slope to 5/8
    • Trim seam allowance to  3/8″
  • Increase the back and front PSA to 1/2″ and 5/8″ respectively
  • Sleeve cap need sto be shortened at least another 1″ divided front/back

PS on the Ebb

I really love the way the MashUP turned out. As  I finished, I was thinking, I needed a few tweaks; more attention to the left shoulder/side which was developing a divot. But basically, I could pull out these pattern pieces and add a few dozen Ebb-like blouses any time I so desired.

Then the left brain kicked in.

The left brain said, “I wonder how the princess seam alteration we’ve been doing on the back, would work for the front?”  Left brain also suggested now was a great time to experiment because really, not much more had been done to the Ebb than what I was doing 2 years ago. Adding the alteration to both now would provide an excellent comparison to its workability.

Well, left brain isn’t entirely correct. I am making major fitting alterations that I was not making previously. But I took the point well. Mostly because I realized immediately if a princess seam alteration was the solution for both front and back, that opened up a lot of patterns I could use or use again. See, I’ve been shunning any pattern without a sewn armscye princess. I won’t even tackle a shoulder princess. (Although I will work with yokes that terminate in the armscye.) So I think, well what the heck. Do I have anything in the muslin stack that I wouldn’t mind wearing if this happens to work?  (I did. A cotton/poly lawn that I’d rescued from the home dec section of Mill ends when they were still in business. I’ve used this piece previously and had left an odd-shaped remnant. Perfect!)

So you’re probably scratching your head and wondering what is a princess-seam alteration.  Well don’t ask a real expert.  They will shake their heads and tell you  there isn’t any; that I’m crazy.  Here’s what I do:

Starting with back. I’m pretty well-trained in the LCD philosophy of fitting which I find the more I use, the more I understand and the easier it is to fit. (For me. I don’t doubt that there are bodies are there for whom this doesn’t work.) So the first thing I did was

Trace the size large. You have to start with enough but not too much circumference. The medium size that I started with in the Mashup was not large enough. I traced the Large.  So now I can start fitting alterations with L, length.  I already know from the Medium,  my usual 1″ BWL was not enough. I need 2. So I made a 2″ BWL by folding in half horizontally and about the waist; then stitching a 1″ tuck. Back and the skirt portion of the front. Length fixed.

I didn’t do any checks on circumference. I knew from looking at the pattern that more than 1/2″ was added between medium and large sizes. 1/2″ is what I added to the medium to make it fit. So I’m pretty sure C, circumference is also fixed.

Depth. I like to start high and work low. The highest point is the shoulder. Now with the Mashup, I didn’t change the shoulder slope. After changing the neckline, I felt the shoulders were right. Which surprised me. I’ve always needed a shoulder slope alteration. I’m pretty sure some of the Ebb’s I’d sewn over 2 years ago had shoulder slope alterations.  So this time I compared the back of the Ebb with the back of 6299.

Admittedly, that’s hard to see (even when you click to enlarge) because it is the same white tissue on top of white tissue. I lined up carefully the grain lines and shoulders. It looks to me like the 6299 is just 1/8″ more sloped than the Ebb. That’s what I marked on the Ebb (1/8″) back and front.

Moving a little lower brings me to the level of the round back alteration. I slash straight across the back leaving a hinge at the armscye; slip a tissue beneath and then spread 5/8″ at the center back.

I pin that in place, smooth out the curve and then add 1/4″ center back seam.  It is possible to rotate the dart to the neckline or shoulders but I’m in a hurry and not doing that today.

Next up is what I’m calling the Princess Seam Alteration.  I place my curve on the back starting at the armscye notch.  I try to make a nice curve but I’ve found out that’s mostly a personal preference, so I’m not really particular about the exact curve.

It has to be extended all the way to the hem or next seam. If not you have a dart. I’d like to get away from darts and additional seams.  I cut on the curve, leaving a hinge at the hem, and then overlap 3/8″ at the armscye notch.

This creates a jog in the armscye that needs to be corrected. So far I’ve been filling in the jog instead of trimming away armscye. I took a second to look down the PSA and found that I was losing ease nearly all the way. About 1/2″ at the hip level. Well, I can’t do with less ease. Know it. So on the side seam I added 1/2″ at the hip level down; and blended up to the armscye.

Once all my alterations are done, I trim the excess tissue.

Back is done.

Front.  I have been mirroring alterations as needed, i.e. the BWL and Shoulder Slope. On the Front, I need to make the princess seam alteration. I start the same way, using my curve to draw a line from the armscye notch to the next seam which happens to be the empire line.

I slice that apart, leaving a hinge at the empire, then stop to think a sec.  With the armscye -princess pattern-pieces I’ve found that I need to pinch the front at the armscye more than the back. It is logical.  As I’m aging my back continues to round.Typical for the elderly that means  the back stretches becoming a little wider while the front becomes more concave and a little narrower. So when I slashed the front, I overlapped 1/2″ instead of the 3/8″ used for the back. 

Filled in the notch as I did with the back. I know it’s working so why not repeat the success?

And the front is finished

In its entirety as I had completed the front BWL at the same time as the back

I don’t want to work on the sleeve until I know how these alterations are working. I think I will need to remove 3/8″ length on the back sleeve cap and 1/2″ on the front but then again, I may not have made the correct changes.  Also I’m still leery of the shoulder. Although it is at the right angle, it still seems to be 1″ too long. I consider this carefully. First, my pattern 6299 pattern piece contains only a 1/4″ seam allowance. (I find 1/4″ is the easiest to work with when joining to the armscye. Under the serger foot, the 2 fabrics (bodice and sleeve) practically meld together with no effort on my part.) Point is, I think the shoulder contains an extra (from my point of view) 3/8″ length. Minus the 3/8″, the shoulder is only 5/8″ too long.  2nd point: This is a drop shoulder. The sleeve cap is flatter/lower than a regular shoulder would need.  I’ve noticed that Louise exaggerates the shoulder drop in her illustrations.  I think she wants you to know this cap is not supposed to sit at the shoulder’s edge. But she also knows that the easiest to sew,  most flattering, most comfortable drop shoulder is only a slight drop and that is what she generally drafts. Or, at least that is my impression. (I should confess I’ve not bought either her very earliest patterns, her Shapes, nor the latest patterns. I have several reasons, the #1 being my lack of fitting finesse, but also I’m looking for blouses and vests. Louise drafts every possible pattern a woman might want to use. She’s very versatile. Me, not so much).

Bottom line, I’ve leaving the sleeve alone until I get a little further along.


I thought the Mashup post would be shorter than it was and from the beginning of the project planned on the single post I made. This post on the PSA (my abbreviation and name ’cause I’ve never seen anyone else do this which doesn’t make it wrong) anyway, I expected this post to need more pics because I wanted to document exactly my changes; selfishly for myself. I’m at an age when if you don’t write down changes like you know you won’t remember a thing tomorrow, well you’ll have to repeat the whole bloomin’ process.  See you tomorrow for the fitting…


Mashup: 5967 & Ebb

ETA: Fixing a lot of little errors that neither I nor the spelling checker caught.

You all know Louise Cuttings Ebb has been my fav forever?

Like as soon as it was issued, I had to have it. Stopped my other sewing and made my first Ebb immediately. But since my shape changed 2 years ago, I’ve not been able to fit the pattern. Oh, I get enough circumference, but I also get deep V drag lines on the side and the empire rises sharply towards center front. Something is off and I don’t know what. Other than, I didn’t have the problem before. I made a number of beautiful Ebb’s before 2 years ago.  Well let’s move along.

I dearly love this style and keep trying to create a pattern at least close to its styling. After my success with Connie Crawford’s 5967, I wondered about a mash-up. I started by copying the Ebb pattern. I compared the Ebb tissue with my fitted 5967 pattern pieces and selected a Medium. At the time, I thought that was slightly off. Usually I’m a large or X-large. When I’m a medium it is because I’m trying to use a pattern for wovens with a knit fabric. But I proceeded ( and regretted it much later).

I immediately added a 5/8″ RBA and 1/4″ center back seam. I did consider rotating the dart to the shoulders but I have to think the process through every time. It is not something  I can whip through. Decided rotating could wait for another version. I also made a 1″BWL.  I have always needed to shorten the Ebb at least 1″ to bring the subtle waist and hip shaping in line with my own. I made one other change to the back, because it has been working for me:

I drew a line on the back which would correspond to the seam which would be created by an armscye princess. I cut all the way to the edge, but left a hinge. Then rotated the side seam edge inward 3/8″. I had to fill in the a little gap which occurs in the armscye and true the armscye curve.

I did not change the shoulder slope of either front or back because when I aligned the pattern pieces, the slopes were alike.

On the front, upper bodice, I laid out my pattern pieces from 5967

I really worked at lining up the grain and the match point/notches across the bust. This may be a little more understandable with the final pieces trimmed from the excess.

(click to enlarge any pic)

I noted that the shoulder had moved closer to my neck and was 1″ shorter than the Ebb’s shoulder. I reasoned that the 1″ difference in length didn’t matter because I always narrow the shoulders about 1″.  Since I wanted a princess seam, I needed to push the side front over and then add 1/2″ at the side to compensate for the now-needed, seam allowances.  I finished by folding the front along the fold line and trimming the facing to match the rest of the bodice.  I made the 1″ BWL to the skirt portion of the front. No pics of that.

This is one that I started by serge finishing all the edges. The pieces are visually different from both the Ebb which does not fit and 5967 which does. Enough difference that I feel uncomfortable with my changes. So I serge finished all pieces and then serged the side bodice to the bodice front. I stitched shoulder seams together before swapping out the bobbin for water-soluble thread and basting the empire seam and side seams. I ignored the sleeves for now. I have to tell you, the first fitting was close to being perfect.  My biggest complaint is the bust dart (forming in the front armscye) which is begging to be stitched

No I didn’t sew the dart, I trimmed about 1/2″ off the side seam.  My bodice tops often have interesting side seams as they tilt inwards at the underarm. I’m just narrow there.

2nd but not critical issue is that I think it is too long. The proportion seems a little off.   I trimmed 1″ from the bottom of at the hem of the fabric but on the pattern I increased the BWL to 2″ . Which takes care of a 3rd and maybe unimportant issue, I felt that the blouse was a little tight across the butt, even though it looks fine. Which suggests to me that the shaping is just a little low.

I also took a close look at the shoulders

The serge-finished edge is just barely reaching the edge of my shoulder. The Ebb shoulder illustration  clearly indicates a slightly dropped shoulder and the sleeve pattern has a flattened cap for a dropped shoulder. I hadn’t cut the sleeve from fabric, so I whipped out the 5967 sleeve, placed it on top of the Ebb and added a little height.

Then I cut the fabric. Thinking I needed to do nothing else, I serge the sleeve to the armscye and finished the blouse including hems, buttonholes and buttons.  I should mention that while I didn’t allow for vents during planning, I stopped the side seam stitched 8″ above the hem edge and finished with side vents.

I did have to ease the sleeve to the armscye. Ran a little basting line and pulled up the excess. That’s something I will think about fixing for the next version. The sleeve looks and feels good.

Oh forgot to mention that I had added 1/2″ to the side seams in the tissue stage.  Just couldn’t get over the feeling that a medium would be too small.  Turns out I was right. I stitched the side seams at 1/4″ which means I needed the large at least at the hip.  Um, that’s another tweak I’ll need to make to the pattern before the next version.

Love the right side view (above) and the front view

DH commented on how good it looked even in the pics from the fitting. I’m perplexed a little by the back which looked better at fitting

Finished (left) Fitting (right).  Also thought the left side looked fine during fitting but there are  extra front  drag lines in the finished blouse.

Finished (left) Fitting (right).

I love the final blouse. Can see more versions of this in the future.



B5967, Sewing and Fitting

I almost made one other change at cutting.  I almost cut the front bodice and flounce on the fold. I want to get to the fitting as soon as possible and truthfully, I didn’t want to hassle with buttonholes and a knit. But then I realized part of the charm of this pattern is the front button placket and buttons. Besides, I know how to handle buttonholes on a knit (wrap the stitching area with WSS), I’m just in a hurry.  So I cut the fabric pretty much the same as for V1 of course with all the fitting changes, empire line adjustments and the new Ebb-Style sleeve. Stitching at this point was pretty standard to me; assemble princess seam then flounce to upper bodice; sew dart then flounce to upper back bodice; serge shoulders.  I stitched the right shoulder 1/4″ deeper than the left to accommodate some body asymmetry and then swapped out the bobbin for some WST before basting the sides seams for fitting. I wasn’t terribly surprised that the armscyes were too long but I was surprised at how much too long. I was surprised that I still had too much circumference.  I deepened both the shoulder and side seams to 1″ before checking the fit again in the mirror. Then I added safety pins along the flounce seam line. This busy print that selected especially because busy prints camo lots of issues, made it impossible for me to see the seam line. After pics, I hurried upstairs to make an evaluation.

The back is not terribly bad but I can see that instead of increasing the side seams I should have taken a CB seam.  I know that because the armscyes are practically covering my arm. They definitely will need reshaping some how. I didn’t realize the upper and lower back were making that repeat!.  I wish I’d looked more carefully during cutting.

I’d say the front was ok except for managing to include the selvage when cutting the front flounces and the fact that the empire line is clearly curving upward. It might just be this fabric, this color, this print, but the undulating curve is more obvious in V2 than the previous. First thought was to shorten the upper bodice and true that line a bit more but then I saw the side views.


If you can, enlarge the pics to see the lines more clearly. Look at the shoulder first. The shoulder seam is not sitting square. It is angling and slightly on the back instead of balanced between front and back. How much is that pulling up the hem and empire? Also, how much is that changing the few side pull lines.  The right side, the one already adjusted for being lower has more pull lines than the left; and the lines are on both front and back.The left has only a few lines under the bust which I think indicates I need a little more ease.

And let’s talk about that “Empire Line” a sec. I assume it was an empire which can be situated anywhere between directly under the bust to mid ribcage. Certainly the envelope pic’s indicate an empire, but once I attempted leveling the line, it has become more of a high waist. Because of the flounce, I think it looks fine. Just that it wasn’t what I was thinking. Id say Connie combined a waistline with empire line by curving across the side and up to the front empire. It would be the best of 2 flattering lines; 1) the back waist line running across the narrowest part of the body and 2) the front empire line which many larger women want because it is more comfortable for them to wear. Nice choice Connie. Too bad I didn’t like the way it looks on me.

Back to the SM….or rather the cutting board.  I serged the shoulders at the newly basted shoulder seam line; stitched a center back seam 1/2″ deep and trimmed 1/2″ off the center front. Effectively I changed the shoulder seam but moved the fitting changes from the side seams to the center front/back. Then I looked at the Empire/waist.  This is a time when I could really use a fitting partner.  I tried comparing pattern pieces again. This time digging out Connie’s 0456 which is similar to 5967. 0456 was drafted for a vest and the flounce is an A-line skirt. But I tell you, I learned no more from this comparison than I already knew from the previous comparisons.  Back up to the pics to carefully stare and draw another line, this one horizontal to the front upswing of the Empire:

Staring at it until I was cross-eyed, I decided that the upswing begins just past the side-front princess seam; if it travels very horizontally, by the time it reaches the side seam, the waist is an inch lower than the beginning point and, I think , 1.25″ lower at the CB. So that’s what I tried next.  I trimmed a wedge across the bottom of the bodice (not the flounces) beginning at the princess seam (0), 1″ at the side seams 1.25″ at the center back.  I had not cut the sleeve yet, so I made a few changes to the sleeve hoping to reduce the impact of sewing shoulder seams deeper.  I reduced the cap by the 1/2″ removed at the shoulders; and took another 1/4″ from the circumference. Then I stitched  the blouse together including the sleeves, neckline and front facing  but without hemming.

Not spot on. I am in fact glad that I used a fabric that I like enough to wear even if it has a mistake, but not so nice I would be disappointed in having a mistake.

The sides are pretty good. Even when drawing a straight line along the waist:

Also note that the under bust drag lines are reduced and the single V that was trying to form on the right side is no more.

The front is nice. I finished the neckline with white, picot elastic. I love the way the picot elastic adds a little extra feminine touch. I also agree with Peggy Sagers, that having a “Stop line” at the neck enhances the over all appearance of a blouse or dress. Not sure why, but having a resting point for the eyes makes it look complete. The back is where I made the final goof

It is raising slightly and raising more than 1/4″. Also there seems to be more flouncing across the back than front or sides.  Thankfully, my style and fitting changes also repositioned the fabric print removing that duplicate image on the back which I thought distracting.

I haven’t hemmed at this point. Not sure if I’m going to. I’m afraid hemming would make my blouse too short.  Even now, it looks just a tiny bit unproportioned.

I”m thinking of morphing this pattern into the above waist version as above and then make a second for a true empire which I think is about 2.5-3″ higher.  Then of course I would want a knit version and a woven version. Why would I want both versions?  Well I really like both the woven  blouse and this knit blouse. To fit the this knit version, I make some pretty big changes to the woven tissue. I don’t want to try to remember all those changes, or make them all over again when I use a knit fabric.

So that’s it for a few days. Roomba has decided it is time for me to work on the cleaning up the Stash Room. Yes, he vacuumed up a corner/string of fabric and ended up pulling off most of the fabrics on one of my bottom shelves.  I had planned to refold and restack the shelves as part of the Sept Deep Cleaning. Guess I’ll get started with that now.  It’s a several day project which will preclude any sewing or blogging.


B5967 V2

It took me longer than expected to make what I thought would be a minor change to the empire line (that of removing the obvious upward curve at CB and CF).  And I didn’t use the fabric originally selected either. That beauty still awaits.

I started by carefully examining the original pattern i.e. not my traced and already altered pieces. I had wondered if a serger problem had contributed to the undulating empire line

I should also clarify that the serger was not at fault. I wanted to use the differential feed when joining the 2 pieces of the front princess seam. Using that feed requires adapting about 3 settings and when finished returning those settings to the default.  I neglected to return all 3 settings and unknowingly changed a knife setting as well. It took me several tries to figure out what was wrong. The serger was fine all the time. It was doing what I asked even if not what I wanted. —

I found that Connie had drafted beautiful elegant curves at the empire and again at the flounce hem. I don’t want you to think I’m suggesting Connie made a drafting error. I watched Connie’s retail pattern drafting career almost from the start.  I know that she was targeting the plus size market wanting to offer well-drafted patterns in larger sizes that were also fashionable, followed current trends and were flattering to the plus-sized wearer. She was so successful that non-plus sized ladies (and not her target market) began asking that the patterns be printed in regular misses sizes.  So when I look at these elegant curves, I know they are deliberate.  My issue is not with her draft but rather  I  think that particular undulating line emphasizes my tummy.  I’d much prefer to minimize and detract attention from my tummy.

I also had wondered about the hi-lo hem which was lower in the front. It was drafted that way. Not only was it drafted to be lower in front, the flounces are not an equal width across either flounce.    ‘Course, I have no idea what her thinking was back in 2012/13 (pattern is copyrighted 2013), but I knew I wanted to level the empire line and shorten the CF length when I started Version 2. As I examined the pattern pieces I realized I had a 3rd objective that of making the flounces an equal depth; equal across each flounce and to each other.

I transferred my fitting adjustments to my copy of the pattern and started looking at the undulating empire line. I was just unsure how to change it.  I had assumed I would simply slash some length off  the sides. Now I didn’t know; and worse, I didn’t know how much I wanted to change. Oh I knew I wanted to make them equal, but how much change would be needed. I tried to line them up next to each but that didn’t work well. I couldn’t just ‘see’ what to do.  I had a brain-phart and pulled out my beloved Ebb to compare the pieces with. Why? Why did I choose a pattern that I haven’t been able to fit in 2+ years?  Why did I choose a pattern that didn’t have the armscye princess seams?  Not even the empire depths are the same. I was asking myself how to align the 2 B5967 princess seam  pieces first to each other

and then to the Ebb

Finally sort of satisfied, more like not sure how else to align, I slipped a scrap of tissue beneath the aligned pattern pieces.

extended vertical seam lines. drew a level empire line and trimmed the excess tissue.

I repeated the action on the back piece (no princess seam on the back)  and put things away for the night. Frankly, I didn’t think I was anywhere near a correct solution and did nothing with the flounces. It did not feel right P-E-R-I-O-D.

That evening I was looking at the eye candy on the Lekala site and realized Lekala had the equivalent of B6299. Which was a head-slapping, could-have-had-a-V8 moment. When I started the next day, I pulled out my fitted pattern pieces to B6299 and made the same comparison. Except, it was much faster. Oh yes I probably  benefited from the experience of comparing with the Ebb, but now comparing very similar patterns. with very similar pattern pieces, my conclusions were drawn much faster and I’m more comfortable with them.  About the sleeve

I applied my alterations first (removing excess cap length and sleeve length using tucks in appropriate places); then I copied the Ebb sleeve. I like that sleeve and wanted to use it.  I silently praised Peggy Sagers as I first traced the Ebb, then placing the first 5967 sleeve on top, I traced the cap.  I was also comparing circumference and length. Confident the new sleeve would work, I set it aside and turned my attention to the flounces.

Have to praise my curve runner as well. This little tool has more than worth the money I paid for it. I measured the width of my altered empire lines, subtracted seam allowances as needed and then measured the flounce on the seam that joins the empire line. I added but 1/4″ circumference to each flounce. Again, it was great to know that I had a logical process. Made me feel so confident.  Then I measured the length of the back flounce.  Using my ruler, I made tick marks 9.5″ evenly away from the  flounce’s waist/empire and then sketched in a new hem curve before trimming the excess tissue.  Mostly, I added length to the back and sides, but removed some from the center front.

Sadly, I’m not 100% sure that the flounces are right. I know that my changes to the flounces did not account for the changes at the upper bodice empire line. But since my flounces  are now a standard shape, I  think I have a good chance at being right. Besides, I really wanted to test all (fitting and empire line) the changes I made; especially  the fitting alteration I made to the back.

During fitting, I  let out the side seams to ensure that the empire would not feel close during wear. So I needed to add circumference and did so by adding a 1/2″ wedge to the bottom at the CB empire line. To remove the side V’s/drag lines discovered on the garment during fitting, I made a dart  which the public side looks like I have back as well as a front princess armscye seams.  On the pattern, I drew and cut along a princess looking line (drawn by me  with my curve) and overlapped by the depth of the dart (3/8″ total removed 3/4″). I am especially hoping this works. If it does, I have just made it possible for me to use a whole lot of patterns; patterns without back princess seams, or yokes, or darts. But….. I  keep thinking of Gale Gregg Hazen (hope I spelled her names right) who said that curvy bodies need curvy lines and they need to correspond between pattern and body (i.e. you can’t change at the hem if the problem is the shoulder or change the CB when the issue is at CF etc.)

I finished in a frame of mind that said 51% changes will work; 49% chance they won’t; 100% I’ll need to make further adaptations. I absolutely did not want to use the fabric I had selected the day before. This felt too much like a test with uncertain results. I want that fabric to end up proudly in my closet. So I hunted for another fabric. I wanted something busy, because busy prints can camo a lot of error. Couldn’t find a non-stretch woven I was willing to sacrifice so instead I chose an ITY knit. OK, this is one of those issues where I disagree with Peggy Sagers. She says the only pattern difference between stretch and non-stretch fabrics is circumference which can be corrected at the seams during fitting.  For one thing, I’m not using a Silhouette Pattern.  I’m using someone else’s pattern. I already know there are important differences between the two pattern lines because I don’t worry about the position of the waist when working with a SP blouse. Peggy uses a wide waist zone that works nicely for me. Not so with Connie Crawford’s designs. Also I’ve made lots of changes to this pattern.Not even the pattern’s designer  would be totally unconcerned after all I’ve done.   I know from experience, that  I can use a stable knit and make fitting changes during fitting; if it’s a slinky knit and I don’t make changes I’m going to throw the thing in the trash. Since I’ve selected an ITY with 50% stretch, my experience is that I need to remove 1/4″ circumference from back and front pieces and most likely the sleeve too. I find, too that the armscyes will be too long and the waist/hip too low.  Usually I would stitch a very narrow like 1/16″ tuck across the bodice in the armscye and again just above the waist.  I know it seems like not much. I can only assure you that usually enough to make me happy with the test garment. Happy enough to wear it daily.  This time, I’ve made so many changes, I’m reluctant to tweak the armscye. So last thing I did before turning out the lights, was taking a 1/8″ tuck vertically in the back and front bodice pieces and the sleeve.

Whew! Way too many words. I was anxious to document my process in case I needed to do it again in the future. Tomorrow should be a short post about sewing and final fitting. I hope.



B5967 Sewing and Fitting

Most of the alterations I made were spot on. I might have considered Fit 01 a roaring success if not for a few issues.  Both sides have one large diagonal (V) (green arrows).

Can’t quite see in the pics, but should the green arrows continue you would see them meeting on the side seam under the arm. In front (the left side of the pic) I’m seeing a lot of ease which I didn’t see in the mirror.  However, that’s not really unexpected. I knew I would need to adjust at the princess seams but  was unsure of how much to take in. Part of me was hoping that adding the sleeve would eliminate this issue. Nope. Fortunately, not a difficult fix and can be done to this version as well as on the tissue for future garments.

I also thought the sleeve was supposed to be 3/4 length, but mine is

soup-dragging, wrist length. Maybe I wasn’t supposed to use a narrow hem? The sleeve cap is also gathered which I don’t think it should be but I think the gathering is my fault. When I add my shoulder slope, I remove 1″ over all length. Did not compensate for that in the sleeve cap.  Sleeve cap will be corrected in the next generation. For now, it is fine. I did a pretty good job easing and I’m not opposed to a eased sleeve. Just lazy and prefer not to do one.  I also felt that the empire line was a little close. I let the side seams out 1/4″ right at that empire. That’s another issue that I will correct on the pattern for the next time I use it.  Lastly and which can’t be corrected this time either, it is still shorter than I would prefer and that is having already lengthening  2″ .

So finishing sewing was pretty quick.  I opened up the armscye and stitched the front princess 1/2″ deeper . The back I stitched along the princess line I drew when cutting out creating a 3/8″ deep curved dart. Then I closed the open areas.

Not all the pull lines have dissolved.  But enough that I’m not going to do anything else to this blouse.  I note that I’m seeing a hi-lo hem but with the front longer. Not sure how/why that happened and there’s a little more to it that I will discuss in a later paragraph right now I’d like to bring your attention to the sleeve.

I measured up 3″ from the hem at the underarm seam and then stitched a 1/2″ tuck all around the arm. As you saw in the previous pic, it didn’t quite shorten as much as seen in the envelope (it’s still not a 3/4 length sleeve) but I think improved in that I will no longer drag the point through my soup.  Of all places, I learned from  my High School Home Dec teacher  “If you can’t camouflage it, make it focal point.” It’s good advice, so when I added buttons to the front, I tacked one each on the sleeve tuck and am considering adding 2 more. I think 3 lined up across the tuck would look pretty good.  Speaking of the buttons. They are just plain 5/8″, plastic domes.  I ordered them on Ebay. The color was slightly off from the Ebay pic, but close enough not to complain.

When I was sorting through the button box, I was surprised at how they color was slightly different but fell into that category of “goes with”.  Figured as little as I use red, I should take this opportunity to put these buttons to work. I feel they add to the overall femininity of the garment.

No complaints about the back now. The 3/8″ dart was perfect for eliminating the drag lines. I am surprised at the distinctive upward curve at CB.  Did not notice that when cutting or the first fitting. Not going to worry about it for this blouse, but maybe, considering the same phenom is occurring on the front

I should do something for next time?  To my eye that upward curve emphasizes instead of conceals my tummy and some people might be confused as to whether I’m PG.  To set the record straight, I was Cut, Tied, and Fried over 30 years ago. I am also post-menopausal. Please hold your congratulations because I will never be PG again during this life-time. Point is, I will be modifying this just a little bit.

Overall, I love this blouse. #1, it was relatively easy to fit. No doubt that was due to the several good decisions at the tissue stage but I also loved that  the fitting stage  was tweaking.  First time to sew a pattern and I’m tweaking!!!. I find tweaking totally acceptable.  I expect to tweak each garment to accommodate the fabric’s demands.  The Fabric Always Wins– Peggy Sagers.

So I have some quick pattern alterations and then -’cause I like this one so well- I’ve got another fabric all picked out.  B5967 Version 2 is due shortly.



It was really a pleasure beginning this patterns because I began by choosing the fabric. Ah, you say but you always choose fabric when dressmaking. Here’s the thing, it seems like for last the year  and after deciding what to fit, I’ve hunted for either “something I don’t care if it goes in the trash immediate” (i.e. muslin) or something that I wont mind wearing if it turns out OK but needs more tweaking (i.e. wearable muslin).  This time I said, I want to sew. What fabric would I like to sew? I searched through the yummy fabrics in my stash until I could settle on a lovely peach skin polyester, printed with coral butterflies. You see the choice was made from a happy relaxed state rather than the intense critical frame of mind I bring to fitting.

I know that peach skin is not for everyone. Just the sound of 100% polyester gives some people the sweats. I’m fortunate in that a good poly doesn’t bother me at all although I do admit it is not the fabric for mid-summer, triplet digit weather (even if the wind is blowing at 24mph).  I think I bought this fabric 2 years ago. Just before I went into a new round of fitting. I put off sewing it thinking I would sort out the new fitting issues quickly. I did not. By the time I had discovered what to do, it was the beginning of Summer 2017. Although this fabric makes me think more of spring than fall, it made my heart sing and I wanted to sew it now.

The next choice was a pattern. I could use my staples. Well, not the TRT because that is for knits and this is a woven, non-stretch fabric. But still, I have the TRJ, 6299, Silhouette Patterns 575 and the Traci from Saf-T-Pockets.  Instead I created a new subdirectory called “Patterns I Can Fit” and copied into that directory patterns with seams in the places I need to tweak.  That’s only about 34 patterns of my stash which includes a few coats and jackets but none from my Burda magazines nor any of my pants patterns. Thing is, I narrowed the choices down to patterns which had yoke pieces or armscye princess seams. I’m not even sure I can fit shoulder princess seams and certainly since Peggy’s knit top pattern bit me I don’t trust any pattern with out additional seams or darts in the upper bodice.

Aside: I was really excited about Peggy’s Knit Top #195. Following her instructions, my muslin was fit in 3 steps. Then I transferred the changes back to the pattern made my first real garment and literally cried. Since then I’ve discovered that I should start with the largest regular sized instead of the W sizes; and I’m willing to take another run at #195 but not now. Right now, I just want to have fun.

B5967 is a Connie Crawford pattern which I’ve not yet fit or sewn. I’ve had mixed results with Connie’s patterns in the past. Some fit like almost out of the envelope. But others I’ve struggled with and finally abandoned. The difference between now and then is realizing that the RBA is a must and that I will need a little ease removed around the armscye hence the fondness for yokes and armscye princess seams. B5967 has armscye princess seams i.e. a front and side front, but the back is one piece. It has a similar lovely empire and peplum as 575. I traced the XL and compared with B6299 (also a Connie pattern). I think the 6299 draft is closer to 5967 in that 575 was intended as a vest where 6299 was intended as a sleeveless blouse. Differences are minor (neckline, armscye depth, ease) but important to me. As I compared 597 and 6299 I decided that I would want another 1/2″ at the side seams for fitting insurance. I might not need it but I’m a dithering kind of person. Always 2nd guessing, especially when it comes to fitting and while I might not need extra ease, I definitely wanted it. So I carefully traced 5967 and added 1/2″ to the side seams. I also raised the neckline 1″. Connie’s necklines tend to be a little more plunging than I like but not as bad as Burda. The existing 5967 neckline would show a little cleavage (generally a Burda neckline reveals my belly button.)

I added a 5/8″ RBA . Because the pattern already has shoulder darts, I rotated the dart formed to the shoulder dart. Fit for Art patterns recommends rotating the dart to the neck. Which I do find more effective than rotating to the shoulder. Not sure exactly why. But I do remember Gail Gregg Hazen lecturing that the curvy body needs pattern pieces that curve in corresponding pieces.  Interesting, the RBA dart rotated to the neck is perfect; rotated to the shoulder pretty darn good. But then split the dart between neckline and armscye and all advantages for me are lost. I must have an unsewn dart at CB, or darts at either the neckline or shoulder to remove all the V’s which occur on my sides. Don’t understand why so sometimes it’s best just to accept that some things are what they are. For me my choices are CB, neck or shoulder darts.

Satisfied, I then trimmed the excess tissue and walked the seams. I tell you that last one has bit me enough times to know any time I make a change to the pattern the seams must be walked. It it far too easy to make changes of uneven amounts and think I’m OK.  Have to check. Have to make sure.

I pressed my fabric. Laid out the pattern pieces. Loaded the machines with thread and snapped off all the lights. As always, I wanted to think about my decisions overnight. Which was a very good idea. Over night I decided to start by adding the shoulder slope that I will need. Also changing the back waist length. There is apparent but slight shaping for the waist (the waist is marked on the pattern pieces Thank You Connie). Since patterns are routinely drafted for the 5’6″ and I’m 3″ shorter the waist and by extension hip shaping will be too low. I’ll have wrinkles which will make the sewing community scream “Sway Back!” and even “FBA” and “Full Tummy”. Yes I have a bit of each but before making those drastic alterations, I make a 1″ tuck above the waist/below the bust putting the waist/hip shaping were it belongs and usually eliminating all 3 of those complaints. Often I find that a pattern which was the right length before my BWL, is now to short. Plus I like at least a 1″ hem. I think my tops hang better. So I added 2″ in length to the bottom pieces by slashing and spreading.

When I chose to sew this pattern it was because I didn’t want to change a thing. It had flattering lines. It had fitting lines. It had an interesting sleeve. I even said “It’s perfect. I wont change a thing”   I’ve now changed every piece. The pattern pieces only resemble the originals and I still haven’t made final fitting adjustments! I’m expecting to tweak the shoulder a bit more and tweak the front princess seam where it joins the armscye. Also I think I may need to tweak the back armscye. I need to tweak that for a sleeveless blouse or it gapes. But a sleeve often almost requires that little bit of extra ease from that gap. But I’m prepared. On my cut pieces I drew a back princess armscye line. If I need to make a dart, I will extend it along that line and make it look intentional.

With that, I began cutting and basting together. Yep water-soluble thread in the bobbin. It’s the first time I’ve made this pattern and while I have high hopes, I have fears as well.


PS. I back to journal type posts. I enjoy reviewing and writing about my experience as it is unfolding. But sometimes I think I should be kind to any readers and write in a more digestible form. Sigh. Can’t do both.