Category Archives: 0456 Sleeveless Empire

Summer Scene

Palm trees and islands adorn this rayon challis fabric making it a perfect reminder of summer travel.

My pattern, Connie Crawford 0456 is quite old. It has been reissued under another number which I don’t have at my finger tips.

I made small changes for this version but they make it look like an entirely different pattern.  Instead of buttons all the way down, the lower front is cut on the fold. I also trimmed of the points of the lower front.

No changes to the back.

It’s another lovely version of a TNT pattern.


Connie Crawford 0456, Refitting

I was rather disappointed in my last Connie Crawford 0456.  The princess bodice pieces eased together but the side was almost gathered to fit the center front piece. Many of the pieces seemed to be just 1/8″ off when sewing together.  Also the skirt portion sort of stuck out rather than falling close to my body.  The last was probably a fabric issue and yes the pieces may not match up exactly due to my handling, but it is rare for so many to be off and for a piece to be unintentionally gathered to fit.  I determined to put that to right.

I started back at ground zero. OK, not that at all because I actually started intended to walk seam lines of the pattern pieces. Imagine my surprise when I realized I was not using 0456 but instead used the sleeved version of 5967 to make a sleeveless garment. There are a few other subtle differences between the two pattern. Most obvious difference is the front hem. But they are pretty much carbon copies modified to be sleeveless and fully sleeved.

I paused when I realized I had used 5967 instead of 0456.  Partly I was wanting to get this done so that when I started sewing sleeveless garments next year, I could feel secure in using 0456.  Since that was my intention, I put 5967 away with the promise to walk its seams upon first use and worked on 0456.  I was rather amazed to find that it too was off 1/8″ in several places and 1/4″ in one place. I corrected and retrued all the pieces and then wanted to make a quick garment to test all my changes.

I chose a poly crepe with a big paisley and leopard (?)  print which were harmonized together through the use of cream, coral and blue inks.  This fabric crawls like the dickens but is wonderful to wear. I spray starched it 4 times before discovering the remaining Terial spray and used that.  Consequently the fabric was quite stiff which made for easy cutting and sewing.  I finished my armscyes and neck with bias tape and a front facing.  The hem was serge finished and turned up twice.  During stitching I discovered a few more issues one being that the side front and center front lined up and stitched nicely but when pressed into place left a gap.  Far better to have a little excess during lining up the pieces for stitching and so I added another 3/8″ to the end of the side front armscye. The front facing was too wide. It wanted to hang over my armscye and be unsightly.  I trimmed first the fabric, then the pattern piece.

I am pretty happy with the result. Although a few things bother . I am just not sure these are due to fabric, to starch or something I did during construction. Probably won’t know until after the first wash which is the cause of the oddness at the center front above the hem and the wavy back waistline.

But you know, I really don’t think it’s a problem.

I walked the seams and fixed the obvious errors.  Think I’m just going to enjoy this blouse. Doubt anyone besides me notices the issues anyway.

Sunshine Yellow for Summer

I’ve got a good start on CC0456 (at some point this pattern has been renumbered 5052 and that’s how it is listed at PR).  And feel like perfecting it. I mean I’m so tired of multiple muslins and fitting tweaks that end up filling my garbage can with fabric. I want to make garments that look good on me. Continuing with CC0456 feels like a no-brainer to me.

I made a few more pattern adjustments.

  • Add 1/2″ to side seams (rather have too much ease than not enough)
  • Added 2″ to lower back which is eased to upper back.
  • Add 3.5″ length.
  • Created front V neck
  • straightened center front a little. Now, this could be my fault.  I use my rotary cutter pretty freely and know that it can go astray.  But I wonder if Connie really did curve the front to create a deep lapel. I closed up the lapel because I wanted a blouse and not a 3rd layer.
  • 2″ FTA

My fabric is a Japanese Cotton purchased several years ago from  Actually, this is a large remnant left over when I was making a moulage as per Suzy Furer’s instructions. Alas the moulage failed, IMO, because when I added ease all my fitting problems were still to be solved. (I was under the impression that drafting from measurements eliminated most of the personal fitting issues. In truth very few or my issues were solved through this method.) But I digress, I felt this largish remnant would be an excellent 2nd Try of CC0456. If all my changes worked, I’d have a garment in a beautiful fabric. If my changes were a mess, well it was only a remnant.

I devoted most of my time to making pattern alterations with the most significant the Full Tummy Alteration. I used the instructions provided by Fit For Art CommonFittingAdjustments. Scroll down to the “Front Bands Do Not Overlap” section. All the tummy alterations I’ve seen are nothing at all like FFA describes. However, what they show is very close to what was happening on my first CC0456

I stitched everything together except side seams which I basted at 1/2″. I even stitched button holes and attached the buttons before the first fitting.  No pics on Fit01. I peeked in the mirror and said ” My gosh that looks big”.  It’s an interesting difference between the cotton/poly of Version 1 and this Japanese cotton in Version 2.  I stitched the side seams at 3/4″ (I had altered the pattern for 1/2″ side seams).  Peeked in the mirror again and then stitched the back right princess seam 1/8″ deeper from armscye to dart.


Fit02 or is it 3 or do I still count this as Fit 01 because it is the first set of pictures and all changes were made after a cursory look in the mirror rather than careful study of pics at the computer?  I’m going with Fit01 which told me I still need to remove a little more ease from the side seams and that my left back needs the a similar deepening of the princess seam. Otherwise, this is sun-shiny cute and ready to finish.

Which I did.

I’m totally happy with the back. I was still concerned about a drag line or two on the skirt back of Ver 1 and so  I offset the back from the fold which I then eased to the empire. That  really wasn’t necessary. I’ll probably eliminate it in the future but it is an option. I trimmed the princess pieces so I can repeat the alteration in the future without having to try to garment on first. Besides, when that curved seam is trimmed to 1/4″ it is so much easier to sew it smoothly.

I think this is the best the right side has ever looked. I have not tweaked the shoulder seams only the princess seams.  I tweaked them much less than what I would have done to the shoulder. (I make a 3/4-1″ shoulder slope adjustment. The princess seams have been adjusted by about 1/2″ total).

Love the new length. The additional 3.25″ gave me enough length for my 1.25″ hem. I like this hem depth because it helps weight the garment; helps it hang instead of piling up on my hip and tummy.

Don’t think that the Full Tummy Alteration helped any in fact I now seem to have too much skirt ease in the front. It may be that the front skirt  is drafted to pull apart there at the hem. Then again I adjusted the center front line and that could be the entire issue. Regardless, I like this sun Shiny yellow as well as the pink/white dots of yesterday.

One last comment the shoulder. I extended the shoulder 1″ and using my french curve as Peggy describes, connected to the armscye. The curve is beautiful. The armscye/shoulder looks really good. But I’m going to extend it another 1/2″.  It’s my shoulder-hip balance hangup. I think I look slimmer and better proportions if my shoulders balance with my hip. It’s one of the biggest reasons I’ve had for including shoulder pads whenever possible (not possible in sleeveless garments.)



Connie Crawford 0456

Back in 2015, I remember how incredibly easy it was to fit  this pattern.  I wanted to make 50 of them. Then my back rounded some more and I, um, added some padding. By Summer’s end 2016, my CC0456’s did not fit nicely at all.  I put off trying to refit the pattern because, it’s sleeveless until now, beginning of Summer 2017.

I traced the same size (XL) and add 3/8″ to the side seams for fit insurance. I goofed tracing   the wrong lines of the side front and side back. discovered  after cutting fabric and while trying to assemble the bodice top with bottom. Knowing this was not a problem previously, I went rechecked the pattern and discovered my issue.

Left side drapes beautifully

Even then, it took me 3 fittings. At the first fitting, I knew I needed a whole lot more ease for my tummy and rear end.  I considered using the women’s sizes. However they typically have much wider shoulders and much bigger busts to go with the much wider rear ends. I have the later, but not the two former. I may yet do some measuring of the W patterns just out of curiousity  but really it was easier to trace the XL and add an inch to each of the side seams because as in the 2015 fitting,  the XL shoulder fit as in the illustration and the princess seams needed pinching 3/8″ in the armscye.

Right side needs a little more work.

I think I need to pinch the princess seam a little deeper on the right side. Maybe another 1/8″ because the left side looked beautiful.

My fabric is a poly/cotton with absolutely ZERO stretch.

I should mention I added a center back seam and a 5/8″ RBA. I think that eliminated most of the drag lines I usually see (and did not see at all with this pattern, this version). The hem is right at my widest point. In combination with the above side views, and from the feel of the garment, I think there is plenty of ease across the hip and am at a loss the explain the drag lines.

The pattern has a left front and a right front for a truly asymmetrical and intriquing front hemline. Personally, the center V is avant garde enough for me. In fact, I’ll probably square that hemline.  While I think the hemline looks good, I think the the points are supposed to overlap instead of spread. Something I may or may not work on in the future ’cause, like I said, I think this looks good.

My biggest complaint, and I’m not sure I’m complaining, is how high up on the shoulder  the armscye crosses.  I am very narrow shoulder and usually avoid halter tops.  Especially as I’ve aged, gained weight and spread at the hip, I’ve tried to avoid the narrow shoulder/wide hip contrast.

Not a complaint but I will develop a neckline without the lapel and I very well could add a collar. The pattern does lend itself to some variation. Something good in my estimation because the pattern can be used multiple times.

I used only 4 front buttons. The lowest button is 2″ below the empire line but it rests 1/2″ above the waistband of my pants. No flesh shows; no muffin top either.


Fit  Changes:

  • 1.” BWL
  • 5/8″ RBA
  • +1/4″ CB both upper and lower bodice
  • increase princess seams SA 3/8″  from armscy to notch
  • Increase front ease by changing front SA to 1/4″ (-1/8″) and calculating CF with  3/4″ button radius + 1/4″ +1/4″SA.  (Moving the CF line 1″ towards the cut edge)
  • Increased SA at the underarms 1/8″
  • Increased ease at side seams 1″ all pattern pieces.

Tech changes i.e. nothing to do with fit but with construction

All seam allowances changed to 1/4″ except

  • Side seams 1/2″
  • Hem 1.25″

I think those 1/4″ SA’s make sewing princess seams a snap.

Embroidered 0456

I gave serious thought as to what I could use as a top with my straight inseam PP113’s

It’s muted tone threw me off and had me wondering if this comfy pair of pants would be winter pj’s.  In my stash I found a peach cotton poly fabric that was previously a table cloth.  It’s color just seemed to glow up next to the pants.  I had made the decision to use embroidery in hand sized amounts. Any large embellishments would be done with paint, ink, felting, couching or some other method. So, I was surprised to find myself upstairs planning an extensive embroidery.  But I couldn’t help myself. When I had seen the fabric next to the pants, I had a flash of inspiration (with a dash of compulsion?).   Of course, I couldn’t find the embroidery design I imagined.  It’s the curse of having such an embarrassingly large collection of designs.  You know you have something but you can’t find it.  I finally started copying designs that were close to what I “saw” into a working directory.  Many of my designs were free.  A large number were digitized by enthusiastic, talented but non-embroiderers. So I never just use a design.  I never just hoop up and go for it.  I always test first in Embird.  I look for density and watch the way a design stitches out. I discarded some possibilities because I didn’t want to do the work that would reduce the number of colors. (I’m envisioning a tone-on-tone garment.)  I discarded a few more because of the large number of jumps.  I tested two. Printed templates and made an arrangement.  Until I settled on my arrangement, I was planning to use my PE700.  10 hoopings. TEN.

Or TWO.  Two if I used my Ruby.   I don’t use my Ruby often for embroidery.  It makes beautiful embroideries.  But I like to be sewing while my machine is embroidering.  To use Ruby, I had to keep myself busy doing something else.    It became a question of Ruby or PE700.  I decided upon Ruby because I needed to do laundry.  Laundry for me includes washing folding and ironing clothes.  To my surprise and delight, Ruby was able to complete both hoopings, 84,000+ stitches  during the time it took me to do my laundry.

The next day, I cut and stitched together 0456. I’m really pleased with the final blouse and how it looks with pants:

This is something I’m proud to wear.


OMG I need 50 of these

I’m talking about Connie Crawford’s B0456.

OK, fabric helps and mine is a rayon challis I think purchased from Fabric Mart late last year.  I always grab the rayon challis when it’s on sale.  I love sewing and wearing this fabric all year round. But it doesn’t last long in my wardrobe.  It looked kind of bright on the Net page. So I bought only 1.25 yards which is enough for sleeveless or short-sleeved tops-usually.  When it arrived I almost donated immediately. This is so not me. I’m the pastel’s lady. Soft, muted colors in conservative styles. Small, dainty jewelry. Same with shoes and purse: small, dainty, conservative colors and styles. This is bright enough to put your eyes out. I kept it because I realized it would do well as muslin.  I’m not sorry at all for having used it to test the pattern.

My changes are miniscule.  I increased the side seam between armscye and empire seam 1/4″. It’s a dart like adjustment that takes 1/4″ away at the armscye but leaves all the ease at the empire seam. The back armscye was slightly gaping, so I increased the princess SA by 1/8″ on both back and fronts. That’s it. That’s all. My total adjustments to this pattern are:

  • BWL, done on the original tissue
  • +1.25″ hem length
  • Creating facings.
  • Increase Side seam 1/4″ at armscye
  • Increase princess seam 1/8″ at armscye

That’s nothing.  I’ve never fit a pattern with so little effort. I want to make 50 of these.

I added length evenly to the hem. For the first time, the hem looks even without having to add at CF or CB

The armscye was drafted for a vest type garment. In my mind that means the armscye is 1/2-1″ lower to accommodate under layers (blouse, camisole, etc).  I thought that I would be increasing the shoulder slope and that would raise the armscye. When I didn’t increase the shoulder slope, the armscye becomes almost too low.  I bound the armscye without reducing the height of it at all.  works fine, but I must remember to add a seam allowance if I want to use any other finish.

I love it. Just love this garment.


I couldn’t resist this pattern.

I think it is so cute but I didn’t want to work with it right now.  I don’t think of it as a “basic pattern” which is what I’m really needing at the moment.  I use my fitted basic patterns to help me with fitting new patterns. A unique garment like this will be of little help for fitting new patterns. Plus, it’s not a pattern I’m likely to make many times because it is unique.  It’s the type of garment that with the second copy, instead of “lovely blouse” comments, I get “Oh. You used that pattern again”.  I’m ego-challenged enough to prefer the former.

I began by making gross cuts around the pieces need for the top. Pressed and then folded out my 1″ BWL. I can do that, because it is clearly marked on the pattern. I always do the BWL because no matter how big my hips get, my spine doesn’t grow any longer. I need patterns to be shorter between under-bust and waist.  I love the way Connie stacks her pieces on the tissue.  It was possible for me to cut a few pieces entirely and only parts of others were traced along with notches, direction arrows and the like on all.

Already, however, I’m making changes to her directions. she plans for this to be a completely lined vest. I intend to have a summer top. I set aside the right, lower-front piece.  My fronts will be pointed but at the same length so that I can check the hem’s levelness.  I  matched top center front piece with bottom front piece to create a front facing. I also slipped the center back under a piece of tissue and carefully cut the neckline and shoulders but then free-handly cut the curve for a back facings. (Note: I often don’t use back facings.  I prefer to bind the neckline.)

Neither the princess lines that terminates in the armscye nor the very sloping armscye which terminates at a very narrow, neck-hugging shoulder are my best looks. Another reason for contemplating that I won’t be making many copies of this top.  I know the princess seam  will need to be adjusted at fitting. I’m also opting to wait until fitting to adjust  the shoulder slope. I considered copying the slope with CS1201 but this is an “it depends” situation. If that shoulder is narrow enough, a slope adjustment won’t be needed or could be swept into the armscye princess seam.

However there is no doubt that I will need extra hip room.  Too bad this pattern doesn’t have a CB seam. OTOH since it has an Empire seam, the easy fix was adding 3/4″ at the CB fold and easing the resulting piece to the Upper back.

I added 1.25″ to the lower front and back. So far (all 2 garments), Conni has drafted a higher hem then I prefer. I’m not sure about adding the CF length I usually need. (I still consider the wedge added to the back of  5215 a fluke. Probably a result of my alterations.)  There’s also the possibility that the princess seam styling has already been adapted for the extra length big girls need.

So all these words, but I’m really starting with very few alterations:

  • BWL, done on the original tissue
  • +1.25″ hem length
  • Creating facings.

I feel like I’m taking a real chance with this pattern.