Category Archives: 104

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.


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.


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).


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.

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.


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.


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?


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:


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


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.


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.

Story of a Pointelle Knit

Although terribly please with the fit of my PP104 jersey knit, I couldn’t be 100% sure that my pattern changes would produce the same results.  Well, I really want better than that because while I was thrilled with the fit of the back, front and left side, the right side still needs major improvement.


In addition to the horizontal pull lines, there are also 2 diagonals , one on the back the other on the front which although I can’t see it in the pic probably meet at the side seam.  So I need to test the tissue changes, restore the armscye circumference possibly addressing the horizontal pulls at the same time, and then clean up that drap on the right side so it looks as good as the left.

I marked the current tissue as “slinky”. I’m now thinking of it as the Slinky Version. I then traced a copy of the back and front of the Slinky Version; folded Slinky up and put it away.


I immediately added  2″ length at the hem.  I don’t plan to add 1″ binding to every T-shirt I make. In fact I plan to use this as my basis for many other knit tops and will want a hem for most of them.  I retrieved my armscye template (traced before changes were made to the Slinky) aligned with shoulder point and underarm seam and traced the template.  I’m particularly eager for you to be able to see the different this makes but fear that pens didn’t make a dark enough mark.  The template lowered the underarm at least 1.5″ but it also filled in along the upper armscye. I finished by adding 1/4″ to the side seam allowances. I like to give myself some room to adjust.  Not all knits stretch the same amount. When I need to, I want to be able to let out the seam just a little.


Initially I did almost the same for the back i.e added 1″ to the hem, copied the back armscye template and added 1/4″ to the side seam allowance.  I stacked the tissues, cleaned the room and went away for the night.  I like to have time to reconsider all the changes that I make. Far too often I find that success is within my grasp if I just take a little time to let my right brain and left brain analyze things.  The following day, I decided to change the back side seam.  I had traced a medium going out to large at the hip.  I opted now to trace a large along the entire side seam from underarm to hem and then add 1/4″ to the SA.

The sleeve also needed changes.  I don’t have a picture because I confused myself several times and made many more lines than there are even on the back.  Essentially, I traced a small along the cap, medium along the front side seam, large along the back side seam then added 1/4″ to the side seam allowances.  At least, that’s what I intended to do.

I cut away the excess tissue.  I made full copies instead of half pieces because I know that I will be making different fitting changes for my right and left sides. I would have made full-sized pieces eventually for working with prints and stripes so it’s not that big of a deal. When I folded out the back, I saw this interesting upward curve in the back neckline:


It’s just slight. Maybe a scant, scant 1/4″. Maybe between 1/8 and 1/4″.  It’s just enough I can see it.  I know it resulted from the last set of darts I put in the Slinky Version. They were placed just under the shoulder and intended to create the shoulder slope without affecting the length of the shoulder.

I wanted a fabric very similar to the jersey knit just used. I was hoping to minimize the issues that occur when a different fabric, different weight, different stretch are used.  Unfortunately I don’t have anything exactly like the previous cotton jersey. I did have this lovely Pointelle Knit which is somewhere between 2 and 10 years old. Bet you thought I was going to say 20! No I know I’ve purchased it since moving to SD. I don’t remember where or when but I do remember being disappointed when I realized this wasn’t going to work as a Summer Tank.  Those lace holes can be very revealing. But it will work fine for an Autumn and especially Winter garment when I’m likely to add more under layers. I don’t know if this is a blend. Pretty sure it has a cotton content. A woven fabric has a straight of grain.  The cross grain is usually very straight. Knits are different. Some are really bad at biasing. This one was slightly bad.  Enough so that I did consider tossing and choosing another fabric but then I thought it is a good test. I mean, if I totally goof this up, I probably won’t be so upset and can blame part of the defeat on the fabric. So I proceeded to struggle with and do a pretty good job at aligning stripes to cut my front and back. I had only 1.5 yards of fabric and was thoroughly planning to make 3/4″ sleeves. By aligning the sleeves stripes to each other and ignoring the body, I was able to create full length sleeves.  Since this is primarily to be a winter garment, I went with it.

I taped the back shoulders;  serge finished the side seams, and stitched the bust darts before changing the bobbin to water-soluble thread. Maybe I could have serged the left shoulders but I decided to baste the shoulders together.  On second thought, I also stay stitched the necklines.  A little late but hopefully it will help. I basted the side seams at 1/2″ and made my first try on.

For the next pics I’ll be wearing a camisole to combat both the grin through of my underwear and the tendency of the fabric to cling to my body.  I adjusted several times and still didn’t get it all correct, but I can see lots of good things.


In this back view the diagonals on the right side of my body are very clear. I also wonder if I shoulder have left the shoulder length at a medium. But otherwise, I think it’s OK>


Even with the wonky folded shoulder, it’s clear that I need to do something with the back, right side. The front however is considerably improved. There are no tight pulls from bust to side seam.

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I think the front and left-side bear out the previous observations. I’m thinking I’ll concentrate my efforts on correcting the drape on the back, right side.


It’s clear to me, that the right shoulder doesn’t just slope more, it’s actually lower.

I won’t share the next set of pics. I stitched the left shoulder seam 1/2″ deeper. When I slipped the garment over my head (after putting on a camisole), it did not settle into place. While in the first set of pics, the right shoulder folded, this set of pics the left shoulder slipped towards the back.  I did not notice this until I was carefully reviewing the pics to see why the left side had suddenly developed drag lines.  Drag lines on the right side were considerably reduced. In fact, there are none on the front or back views. They can only be seen from the side view. Oddly there are more drag lines above the bust dart than below.  I realize that I have ignore the just learned lesson that if the armscye is shortened at the shoulder it must be restored at the underarm. Oy! Vey! I take the 3rd set of pics with the right shoulder seam ripped 1/2″ at the underarm and carefully position the garment on my body.

I’m hating this garment already.  I don’t like to fuss with my clothing. This garment isn’t even complete and I know I’ll always have to wear a camisole and carefully adjust its position on my body. Add to that, this color is unflattering. It offers no contrast, actually making my complexion muddy and spotty.


I deliberately made this pic small so that you had to be ‘stepped back’.  It makes you take a bird’s-eye or overview.  I have the left sleeve inserted. Could you tell?

I look at the right side view right away because that’s where the change was made and that’s my greatest concern. I’m relieved that the most of the drag lines have disappeared. There’s still a little puffiness on front beneath the bust dart and the a little more on the back. Honestly, it could be telling me to add waist shaping. What I notice though is that the bust dart is no longer pointing to my apex


and quickly discover the same situation has developed on the left side


This is likely to be an error in the alterations made to Slinky. I cut a lot off at the shoulder seam. maybe that was the wrong place?   On the back, right-side I keep wanting to take a dart across from the bust dart line. But if I do that, the side length between underarm and waist will no longer match.  Something needs to change. But what?

The question now, though, is do I finish this garment?:

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I hate the color. Hate putting on this garment especially since I have no choice when it comes to wearing the camisole. The bust dart is in the wrong place. Period. As in whether I adjust the shoulders or not.   On the plus side, it’s the right length; maybe a little excess ease but not too tight anywhere.  I’ve discovered that the sleeve needs to be shortened 1/2″ (already transferred to the pattern!).  I’ve discovered that continued shortening of the right side is necessary. Not increasing the slope or performing a forward shoulder adjustment, but darting the right side to remove length is the correct alteration (I just don’t know the right place to put that dart).

What would you decide?


PP104 Round Two

Somewhere around 3AM my left brain woke me up and said “You know, we’re forgetting our standard alterations.” It was like lightening struck. I haven’t paid attention to my standard alterations (1″ narrow shoulder  and back waist adjustments) since I fell in love with Connie Crawford’s 1201. I used that to develop my non-stretch block and after much effort used Connie Crawford’s 5215 to develop a stretch block.   Since developing these blocks, I haven’t made the standard alterations. Instead, I’ve either used my blocks to develop new styles or I’ve slid the block on top of the pattern and cut the new pattern to fit my blocks. Time to remember my figure issues and apply those pattern alterations.

Pamela included a line to apply a 1/2″ length adjustment through the armscye. Her instructions say that some women need a longer armscye. If you don’t (that’s me!)  fold out along the lines. I thought back to the first fitting. I was concerned with how low the armscye was sitting (mid bra band).  PP104 does not use the high, tight, classic blouse armscye but neither is it the typical boxy T-shirt that you buy in any store. It is rather a relaxed, easy fit armscye. Still I didn’t expect it to sit so low.  At the same time, the bust dart was too low, by  1/2″ or so. As I kept adjusting the shoulder slope, the armscye was raised to something more acceptable.


I’m using Hobby Lobby’s aisle runner to trace my patterns.  I like this for several reasons but dislike the fact that alterations have to be secured with something besides any of  the tapes in my possession. The fold I took across the chest was zig zagged inplace. With no desire to un-stitch and the fear that such an activity might harm the tissue, I folded a 2nd tuck just above the first and stitched that at 1/4″ removing 1/2″ with the previous 5/8″ tuck that’s a total of 1.25″ length removed — providing my calculations are right.

Then I looked at the shoulders a second time


which now look like a stepped pyramid. They are also far too wide (green arrows) and while you might not be able to see it, I can tell that the bodice is too wide.  It ripples and gapes almost as badly as the armscyes did. The pattern uses 1/4″ seam allowances through out. There’s between 1/2 and 3/4″ fabric hanging over my shoulder point.  The overhang could be caused by how much I’ve taken up at the shoulder seam. I’ve taken up so much, that the back neck is creeping up and peaking over (gold arrows). I’m undecided as to whether I should apply an NSA, copy the small or extra small shoulder/armscye line.  Looking at the back from Fit01


it does look too wide and it’s starting to curve at the upper 1/4 mark instead of down there under the arm — but in this pic I’ve already increased the slope to 7/8″ which definitely shortens the armscye pulling a wider portion upward.  I need to address both the narrow shoulder and the increased shoulder slope.  I opt to trace the ‘small’  shoulder and add a 3/8″ dart in the both front and back armscye just above the 1/2″ tuck made a few minutes earlier.

I aligned the altered pattern pieces on their respective fabric cut outs.  The backs aligned  pretty good and I trimmed excess fabric without too much concern.

About 3/4″ trimmed from the shoulders, strings from the armscyes and just a teensy bit at the bottom.

The front was an entirely different story. While the back fabric edges curled slightly, the front fabric was determined to roll tightly making it very difficult to see the full width/length.  Finally as best as possible,  I pinned the darts together and aligned the armscyes, shoulders and neckline and trimmed.

Over 2″ trimmed from the shoulder; at least 1/2″ from the armscyes

I didn’t trust the trimming I did to the fabric. So even if I made further fitting changes, I would not be transferring them to the pattern.  I decided to skip the fitting, serge and move along to the next test. I cut binding from a light weight ponte which finished to 1″ around the neckline and hems, 1.5″ at the sleeve hems. The extra binding width on the sleeves was a necessity not a design decision. Aligning stripes meant some waste and I could not cut the full sleeve length. However, I think it looks good.

The neck binding gave me issues. The first time, I pulled too tight. Which meant that the neckline contracted and rippled.  Also told me that the neckline was much smaller than I wanted.  I took a few minutes to fold the front and back in half, pin together and cut a new neckline; onto which I basted the binding.  Basted, the binding looked nice. I serged, then top stitched.  That’s the first time I’ve used my 1/4″ foot.  I ran the little blade in the well between binding and neck and top stitched a perfect 1/4″ away.  Then I pressed. At which time I realized the binding is just a bit too long. Too bad. I’m not un-serging. Nope. Not doin’ it.

I serged the sleeves into the garment; serged the side seams before adding a whiff of spray starch and a careful press for pics. I do try to make the garment look its best for the  final pics.

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Seriously can you imagine my excitement when seeing the pics for the first time. Oh yeah I can look into the camera and see something. But the real details aren’t evident until I transfer pic to computer monitor. And the details are wonderful.

The back has no diagonals. Nor fabric puddling in the mid-back (the thing that causes everyone to exclaim “you need a sway back alteration”.   The front looks pretty nice too. Even the sleeves are missing my typical forearm drape.  Tellin’ you, I’d buy this at a store.


The side view gives us just a little more information.  This is the first pic in which the front hem seems to be raising.  I did not rotate the pic which normally I must do. On its tripod, my camera tilts slightly most of the time. For now, I’m going to say CF probably needs only a little or no lengthening at all. There are some bubbles and pulls around the bust and what you can’t see is that the armscye is really high and tight. I actually plan to keep this tissue as it is because I think it will be perfect for slinky/4-way stretch fabrics.  (I’ll cut a new one).

I’m not totally sure if I need more ease across the bust (and a little depth as in a FBA), or if the real issue is that I have not compensated for the shortened armscye. I took nearly 3″ off the total armscye circumference.  Katrina Kay is an unsung hero in my mind. Just love her videos but not sure if I got the sloping shoulder information from her videos here or her website (Katrina Kay Creations which won’t pop up for me at the moment.)  I know from reading/viewing her instructions that when the shoulder slope is changed,  the armscye circumference changes and then needs to be restored. Haven’t done it and that could very well be what the horizontal pulls are telling me.

For now, my garment is hanging in the closet.  I have no issues with wearing it as is.  Tell you again, I’d buy this at the mall and proudly tell you the store!


Pattern Changes

  1. Trace
    1. small shoulders
    2. front medium from under arm to hem
    3. back
      1. medium for underarm to waist
      2. large from waist to hem.
    1. Shorten upper bodice 1.25″
    2. Lengthen just above hem 2.25″ (see depth adjustment below)
    1. Seam allowances
      1. Default 1/4″
      2. Add 1/4″ to side seams, total 1/2″ side seam allowance.
  4. DEPTH
    1. Upper armscye depth 3/4″
      1. changes shoulder sloper without changes shoulder length
      2. Restore armscye circumference
      3. Increase Bust dart depth 1/8″ (offset by 3.1.2)



Pamela’s Pattern 104

I came across PP 104 in my pattern stash while I was hunting for her pants pattern so I could copy that great fitting crotch. I pulled out PP104 asking myself why I hadn’t used this great pattern in a long time.  Oh, I remember!  I struggled mightily with Connie Crawford knit, T-shirt pattern to develop a block for stretch fabrics. Once the knit block was developed, I didn’t really need PP104.  Unfortunately, I’m once again struggling with knit tops that don’t fit as nicely as I’d like.  I have at this point discovered that my biggest new issue is the changing slope of my shoulders with a possible rounding back demanding attention too. So instead of continuing to develop a knit block from my woven, I’ve decided to start with this plain but nicely fitting, knit, T-shirt pattern.

Not having worked with the pattern in a long time, and given my maturing memory (which is to say I can’t remember stuff these days), I decided to re-read the instructions. One piece of advice grabs my attention.  The darted T-shirt front was developed for the person with a bust that is more than 3″ larger in circumference than their upper bust.  Pam recommends if you’re on the fence i.e undecided as to whether the dart is truly needed or not, try the darted version first.  So I select the sleeve, back and darted front master patterns for tracing.  I check the recommended sizing and then decide to compare with my woven block.  I know I won’t need as much ease in a knit garment as I do with a woven fabric, but still it’s a good place to start. I opt to trace the medium angling out to large at the hips.  I can always take it in.  Different story if I need to add more. At this time, I also fold the tissue along the upper bodice lengthen/shorten line.  I know from experience that I don’t need this extra length.

My fabric is a 100% cotton jersey. It’s not real beefy but it is thicker than a summer knit. This is a relatively new fabric to my stash and only 1.5 yards long.  I make a habit of checking’s remnants before checking out and this gem just jumped into my basket at the last second earlier this year.  It’s a deep turquoise background with black print — if that’s not black it’s midnight navy.  I both like and dislike the print. It’s lovely to look at and will disguise many ills both figure and sewing,  but I will want to center the print and match across the rows. So extra effort when I’d really like a quick test fitting garment.

I make full pattern pieces, arrange the front and back on the fabric and cut them out.  Next I copy my shoulder slope to the fabric marking with a fine point Sharpie which I tested for grin through.  I also mark the bust darts and then trim the neckline 3/4″ deepening to  2″ at center front.  I don’t want to mess with facings. I’ll be using black contrasting bands at the neck and hems, including sleeves.  I take the cut pieces to the ironing board and fuse bias tape to the front neckline the back neckline and shoulders.  I know I will need to try this on once or twice. I don’t want to badly stretch the neck.

With the first try on,


I note that the armscye is really deep, even with that 1/2″ folded out; and, as expected, is wobbling back and forth almost like flapping its wings. I see copious drag lines and drapes along both sides under the armscye almost all the way to the waist. I deepen the bust dart another 1/8″, stitch the side seams at 3/8″ instead of the 1/2″ I think is there (I’m wrong. Pam uses 1/4″ seam allowances through out); and deepen the shoulder seam 3 times  until it is 2″ deep. I’m perplexed. The first fit felt pretty good. I thought the drag lines I was seeing would all disappear with a pinch or two and the shoulder.  Instead the  4 ever deeper shoulder seams and bust darts have resulted in an awkward looking top


Instead of a few drag lines, I’ve got pouching and puffing like a severe sway back, the back neck and shoulder is now peaking over into the front and while the drag lines along the sides are reduced they’re still not gone.  I’ve taken in the shoulder seam 2″. That should be enough to correct anything…..but it looks worse.

Ah well, time for dinner


and a think.