Category Archives: FitForArt

TRB with LH Cuff

I knew when I purchased this off the net (possibly fabricmartfabrics), that it would be a blouse, slightly oversized, with long sleeve. I love to make long sleeve blouses in multicolored prints.  I like to wear them over  T’s and Tanks for climate control, but also because I think the multicolored print pulls together i.e. finishes a look.  For that reason, I stitched this blouse with 3/8″ SA instead of the 1/2″ it was fit.  I want just a smidge more ease when I wear it as an over blouse.

I have several prints in my stash I want to use as blouses. I’ve been delaying making these blouses, for want of a perfect-fitting, sleeved blouse.  After my TNT review, I realized there was no need for further delay. I have the Tabula Rasa Jacket converted to blouse!

My change to the pattern was small. I marked where I wanted to shorten the blouse for use with a cuff. I calculated 1.25″ for the hem and another 1″ to offset not using a shoulder pad. Then I drafted my LH cuff which is nothing more than a rectangle 4X12″. The cuff would be easier to cut with a ruler. But  I forget a lot these days and even documenting in this blog doesn’t make small details easy to find. So I’ve started drafting these small easy to cut pieces to have a physical reference at hand in the future.

I’m calling this the LH cuff because I first saw it on Loes Hinse Tunic Blouse which I can no longer fit. The good news is that the cuff is simplicity itself. A rectangle sewn and overlapped at the seam line.  I overlap just the seam allowances. Mine are 1/4″.  No doubt my instructions aren’t enough for you to replicate. The pattern does have excellent instructions and I recommend its purchase. My fitting issues notwithstanding. After all, my fitting issues are due to my aging body not Loes draft.

I will be altering the cuff further. The 12″, even after seam allowances and turn of cloth, is too long. It will be 11″ long. Same width. I think the 4″ is good. The sleeve however is too long. I realize now my calculations did not accommodate the width of the cuff. I need to shorten the sleeve another 1.5″.  (I want the sleeve to blouse a little. So I want the cuff smaller than the sleeve and the sleeve a little longer than exactly enough.) For this blouse, I’m simply folding the cuff in half so it is visually 1″ wide

A few notes about the fabric. I believe that is cotton with Lycra. Certainly  Lycra for the stretch.  It is a crepe weave which makes it wonderfully drapey.  Interfacing is one of those things I really disagree with Peggy over. I think use of interfacing should be judicious; with a purpose. To listen to Peggy, you’d think it was a sin.  I did not want my front to drape. I wanted it blouse like.  I cut a wide front facing and fully interfaced it. I did use a very light weight interfacing.,Pro-Sheer  Elegance Light from Fashion Sewing Supply.

The print is small flowers in orange and yellow with a some green leaves and black dropped in wherever there aren’t flowers or leaves.  I think it will look better with my black based garments i.e. black pants, black and white printed blouse. Yet, I’m not entirely unhappy with it paired with the blues I was wearing in the pics

About the collar:

No it didn’t come with the TRJ pattern or any of the variation packages I’ve purchased.

I drafted it per Peggy’s instructions i.e. measure the neckline draw a rectangle the length of the neckline and desired width. I deliberately made my length 2″ shorter than the neckline.  I like a notched collar. I also made a pattern piece and marked the shoulder points on the pattern piece. I did however check out some of the collars in my possession. Based on them I curved the neck-edge portion of the collar from shoulder to front edge. I curved up just 1/4″. I interfaced the collar too. Same interfacing. I really do think collars and hems look better with a little interfacing. Not necessarily tailoring weft, but a light interfacing.

The one bad thing about this blouse is that I know I won’t be wearing it immediately.  I like to wear my sewn items fairly soon to check out the fit. I’ve noticed that fitting during sewing is only like 90% of the story. It’s that bit of what happens when I wear the garment that can be a killer. I’ve had fabrics that handle well during the 2-3 days of construction that drape and drag, just ugly by the midday of wearing.  Have you forgotten my complains in several of the last posts that my pants which were beautiful during fitting; photoed well several times during winter, but when I checked everything before putting away they had developed ugly X wrinkles. Can’t tell you how disappointed those were. But anyway, this blouse it pretty darn good. Into the closet it goes.


Open Front Blouse

I purchased this fabric earlier this year from Craftsy. It was called Italian Floral Woven.100% polyester.  It does not feel like polyester. Crepe weave. Light. Drapes like a gorgeous rayon crepe. It’s called ‘Italian’ but it definitely reminds me of Indian fabric printing blocks.  When I purchased I didn’t know if I was making a blouse, a dress or what. A skirt would be stunning in this fabric and print.

Last night it told me what to do.  I pulled out my TNT  Tabula Rasa Jacket to make  a light weight layer for those cold places I find myself in. I planned for navy-blue, bias-tape,  front finish with a button about waist height. I didn’t want to put a buttonhole in  this fabric. But realized quickly my second choice of a hair-band button-loop wasn’t going to work either. It was too heavy. I ended up binding the front and neckline and allowing it to drape.  I may go back and add front ties. Not sure.

Because the pattern is already fit, this was super quick to sew. I had it cut and photographed in about 3 hours.  The only issue was that the fabric wanted to ravel.  I stopped during applying the bias tape along the front band to apply Frey  Check along the whole edge.

I top stitched 1.25″ deep hems for the sleeves and lower edge.  I like the weight that a hem adds.

I may want to hem the sleeves a little higher or even cut off an inch and rehem. I had forgotten that myTRJ pattern is fit for 1/2″ shoulder pads. Without the pads and with this fabric, the sleeves are a bit long.

This jacket demonstrates why I love TNTs. I created a lovely garment in mere hours. Spent most of my thought solving creative problems – like comparing 3 shades of bias tape to pick the best.

TRT Short Sleeves

I’ve had a bad run of sewing (perhaps I’ll share in another post) and needed a success. I decided to pull out my Tabula Rasa Tee pattern and work towards having a short sleeve version in addition to the full and sleeveless versions.


I put on one of my TRT’s and stood in front the mirror with a ruller trying to decide how much shorter the sleeve should be. I thought about 12″.  I figure I will use this new sleeve style from time to time and it is different enough from the long sleeve to warrant a pattern which would include a hem allowance.  I folded up the full sleeve 12″ ; traced around the existing pattern and transferred all the markings. After that, just a matter of cutting and stitching my TNT TRT.

Except that the first version looked frumpy. “Oh, of course” I thought. The length I traced, created a half sleeve (elbow length).  This is not a flattering length for me and I’ve seen several designers/stylists who immediately change the half-sleeve into something else  flattering to many of us. Anyway,  I shorten the sleeve 3.5″ (1.25″ was the turned up hem); stitch, try on  again, and then I cut the sleeve off another 1.25″. The final “sleeve” is really short:

And still not typical T-shrit length.  Looking at the sleeve above, I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to develop the short-sleeve length I desire.  I have to think of this a bit.

But I count this as a success. I do have a much shorter sleeve which looks pretty good.

. OK, I’m never going to look like some movie star but I can look like a nice, pleasant little old lady



South Dakota.

TRT: SleeveLESS Knit Top

I have a respectable stack of fabrics ear-marked for sleeveless tops. A sleeveless top takes a fraction of a yard. Well a little more if you make facings.  I accumulated these small yardages in the “Sleeveless Tops” stack from excess fabric from` winter sewing. Also I regularly cruise the remnants section of  I often find a piece or two that will make a nice summer top. I wash and then put it in the stack until summer finally arrives. Summer is here but I don’t have a sleeveless pattern which fits. Well, not one I trust.  My sloper will needs additional work. Even more to turn it into a sleeveless wonder. I’ve contemplated what it would take to make the TRT sleeveless.  I’m sure this can be done.  It would be a variation of a classic princess seamed vest.  Then I realized a pattern I had passed over might have the answer.

Yes, it’s right there in the “Swing Variations”. The vest. The people at Fit for Art have already modified the TRJ into a sleeveless Vest. I ordered the pattern and adapted the swing side-panel for my Spring 6 PAC 3rd layer (my post here).  It seemed natural to me to now pursue the idea of adapting the side panel to create a sleeveless knit top.

I’m using a remnant cotton-lycra knit with about 80% stretch. More stretch than I wanted, but this is a fabric I can easily toss if I make a mess.

I copied the straight side panel then added 3″ height to the top of the panel.  I convinced myself that the vest (in which the armscye is usually lower) was 2″ longer than the straight panel and by adding 1 more inch the side panel would be as tall as I needed.   I thought that I would probably need to narrow the panel at the top (the underarm) but decided to wait until I could actually see, on me, how much narrowing was needed.  Well that was interesting

The side panel just barely covers my underwear! What you can’t see is that I have pinned a 1.5″ dart in the center under the arm to make the new side panel narrow enough beneath the underarm. Then I took a 12″ ruler in the bathroom  and standing  in front of the full-length mirror  measured how much higher the side-panel needed to be. To my surprise, I measured 2.5″ and could have raised it even more.

Well I did. I added 3″ to the top (now a total of 6″). Then I measured out from the center of the side panel 3″ on either side (of the center mark). I wrestled with my curve for a while before reaching the conclusion that I would need to draw the curve so far and then reverse it to make a nice smooth side seam. Then I cut a second panel and basted into place.

The new panel worked so well I finished the neckline and top of the armscye panel with FOE before folding the bodice along the ‘armscye’ 5/8″ to the inside and top stitching from hem up the side panel, over the shoulder and back down.  Lastly I top stitched a hem in place.

I like this but I may want other versions in which the armscye rests on the edge of my shoulder.

See? It is pretty shoulder baring  and

like the vest square, angular where the panel meets the bodice. However, that’s not bad. It’s an interesting detail I just don’t want that style detail on every sleeveless blouse I make. I see a couple of options. I could finish the armscye with a classic rib binding. I could and probably will wrestle with my sloper until I make a nice sleeveless classic  top.  I could continue to alter the side panel adding more width across the shoulders as well as curve where the side panel joins the bodice. I could recopy the bodice front and back, apply my alterations without narrowing  across the shoulders. It could be interesting.  But for now, this is ready to make over and over.  Love the TRT pattern. Just love it.



The 3rd Layer

I had given up on making a 3rd layer for my Spring 6PAC.  I couldn’t choose from amongst the large number of possibilities. Every time I imagined my fabric in one of those, I’d see a big blanket somebody forgot to leave in the bed. I’m a short woman, but no longer small.  Like most of my ancestors, OK maybe only the aunts and uncles I remember, as I have aged I’ve added width. While not the biggest in the room, I’m still substantial. A very bright fabric will make me look like a walking easy-chair or bed-blanket. Normally, I mull things over, make a decision and cope with the result good, bad or ugly. Partly because I love this fabric and want to use it to best effect, this time I just couldn’t reach a decision.

So one slapped me in the face. Well, what happened is that I love the Fit For Art Jacket and Tee patterns so much I’ve been contemplating what would be necessary to convert them to sleeveless versions. I’d come to the point of realizing that I would need to ditch the sleeve and reshape the side piece. Yes the side piece would need to be longer,  raised to a decent point in the underarm area, but would also need some changes so that it filled in the side-boob area. I don’t know how many times I looked at and dismissed the Swing Jacket alternative

Swing tops have a limited presence in my closet. They are a nice variation but I don’t want them to dominate. Just don’t.  So I skipped over this swing version until I realized that with the vest,  FFA has already done some of the work needed for converting the pattern to sleeveless blouse.I saw enough here to make the purchase. Cha-ching!

I think there is a 1/4 pattern-sheet. Not much tissue and not many pieces.  I’m not interested in the neck and sleeve flounces. Because of the alterations I make, the flounces will need to be redrafted. It is a waste of time for me to copy the flounces when I’m going to redraft anyway.   I’m not interested in guides for cutting bias or a straight band.  Hello?  I make a better cut with rotary cutter, ruler and dimensions that a light, easily blown about and small tissue piece. (Long skinny tissues are even worse. I can knock them to China and back with no effort at all.)Honestly,  if this doesn’t work for me, I’m going to feel I paid much too much.  Especially since there wasn’t a straight side piece. Why was I thinking there would be?  My bad. Definitely my bad. But I was able to figure it out how to create a straight side piece for the vest.  I pressed the tissue and pulled out my side piece for comparison.

I think my side piece is 2″ shorter than the swing side for the vest.  I traced the upper oh 4″ of the vest piece then laid my side piece on top to trace its long sides

Finally, I trimmed the excess from my tissue

I marked both the large and medium sizes and measured the difference (1/2″ on each side) because I plan to use the large for vests and the medium for blouses.

Now it was a matter of cutting and stitching fabric. I used the originally selected boucle. I want my vest to last. I’ve noticed the vests which wear the best; the vests that look good year in and year out, are heavily interfaced and lined.  Well, I didn’t want this heavily interfaced.  I don’t want to stiffen the boucle.  I want a relaxed vest. I looked for lining but didn’t find anything I thought would work well with my 6PAC plans. I opted to fully interface the vest pieces with fusible tricot.  I was looking at a lighter fusible (I wanted to retain the soft drape of the boucle) but decided upon this slightly heavier interfacing because I’d already decided no lining and this tricot was slick. I want a slick lining.  Well what I want is a lining that slips over whatever is underneath and doesn’t catch or cling. The tricot was a better match for that characteristic. I cut interfacing first so that I could immediately fuse the boucle when it was cut.  I returned the boucle to the cutting table after fusing; placed the pattern tissue back on top and trimmed boucle+interfacing back to pattern dimensions. Then I stitched darts and shoulder seams.  I finished the long side seams (front +back) with a quick run through the serger.

I mucked about with the front band.  Part of me saying “Hurry so this will be done within the 6PAC time-frame” and part of me saying “Relax. Lot’s of 6PAC’s  are posted after the end date”.  Part of me knows the real ‘win’ is getting a coordinated wardrobe; but part of me wants to beat the deadline at all costs. The logical side won. So I mucked about, eventually deciding I wanted a band that wrapped the front edge with a 3-button closure.  I cringed when it came to cutting bias from the boucle.  I know that cutting the band will leave large remnants of fabric virtually unusable. Least, I never seem to find a use for them. I considered cutting a band cross-grain but this band must follow the curved neck.  I know from experience that a woven fabric, especially a woven without any Lycra, will not stretch around the neckline and I will have an uncomfortable neckline. Eventually, I remember the 1+ yard of fabric left from my Second Blue T. I had gleefully placed it in the stack I think of as “Summer Tanks”.  It’s a wonderful weight fabric that works 4 seasons of the year.  I cut a small strip and started experimenting with wrapping the edge.  I wanted a french binding. You know, one large strip folded in half sewn raw edges together; wrapped and top stitched. The small strip (1-3/4″) was widened to 2-1/4″ and finally 3″ before I liked the results.

Even with the sample, I wondered if it looked OK.  Did it look cheap?  I double checked with DH who wouldn’t know couture if it bit him in the rear. But, he does know when something looks cheap, haphazard or other wise not flattering.  With his approval given, I trimmed the back neckline 1/2″ deeper.  My rounding back results in necklines creeping forward and being uncomfortable. I was afraid that between that and having 2 necklines fighting for dominance (vest and blouse/sweater), I would be unhappy. So I trimmed the neckline and then bound the entire edge from hem up, across neck and down the other side to the hem.

The pattern comes with extensive directions. Enough to make me fall asleep. I’ll give it to them. They are thorough and I should not complain.  I skipped over most and went directly to the vest instructions. Reading carefully before I even adapted the tissue for a straight side from the flared side.  I was surprised at how the armscye was finished. If I read this correctly, the underarm of the side piece is bound; the side piece sewn to the front and back and then the armscye bound. Well this could be useful for some artistic touch but I wanted an easy clean application with emphasis on easy.  I bound the armscye edge of the side piece  and serged its sides before stitching to the  back and front sides.  I added a little SAS in the armscye area of the back and front, folded to the inside and carefully pressed. Using the cover-stitch I topstitched nailing the side seams and the armscyes into place. I should mention that I used the coverstitch to top stitch the long front binding and again when I hemmed the vest.  I used the coverstitch more than the serger and sewing machine put together.  But I didn’t do anything new or unusual with it. I like the way it nails things into place and catches the edges.  Had I used the sewing machine, there is a chance a few edges would have escaped.  My thread matched so well that you won’t see my topstitching in any of the pics.

As shown earlier, I had attached pony-tail holders on the right to function as button loops (I hate making buttonholes in boucle even interfaced boucle) now I added the 3 buttons on the other side.

These are fabulous buttons. Fabulous enough I wish I was a better photographer.  They are artist glass. A half-globe set onto a gold ring. They change color as the light strikes and could easily have been used with a different colored fabric – like purple. However my photo skills are lacking and of the 3 pics this is the best which is wholly unsatisfactory IMO. At least it is clear and you know you’re looking at buttons.  Total time start to finish, about 3 hours. I did note that the side piece is curved, but the finished armscye looks very square.

I made one big mistake with the vest.  Sort of an oversight.  I’ve noticed that all my vests really need to be refitted. My back is rounding so that my vests pitch forward as well as creep up the back of my neck. This is corrected somewhat by adding an RBA (already done for the TRJ and TRT). I also think that I should add a front closure to all my vests so that  my vests won’t hang oddly in the front especially noticeable in side views. Well, I added the front closure but I didn’t think to compensate for the smaller, vest-circumference.  My vest, when closed is obviously too small across the waist:

Left open, It fits fine from either side

No falling forward or back front wrinkles. I am once again surprised at the back

having those 2 diagonal lines. Swear, I haven’t been noticing them on other versions of either the jacket or tee. Was I blind?  Did I pull things out-of-place when taking pics?  Do I need to make further pattern alterations?  For now, I think I’ll make it a point to take pics during subsequent wearing of these troubling garments (vest and T2).  I’ll gather a little more data before making changes.  It is possible that I have fabric issues but I hate to fall back on that old excuse. Especially since I’m complaining about 2 very different fabrics.

I have to say I don’t love the vest with my Print T

My Print T doesn’t contain this bright blue. The vest looks fine with both my blouse and T2 because they contain the same color.  Again, my mistake. However, I don’t hate my vest either. Plus, I have another vest in my closet that I can wear with the Print T. So not a big loss. Just not a big win. Well, except that I did complete my Spring 6 PAC on time!!!!

The Last Knit Top for my Spring 6PAC

This was the hardest garment to sew. The pattern was easy. Actual sewing was a cinch. It was the choices of fabric, trim cuff finish that stymied me.  I was brunt when my Faux Surplice went so wrong and then was destroyed by the slip of the ripper. I still wanted/needed a plain top appropriate for South Dakota spring. But I didn’t want “just another Tee”. I wanted it to stand on its own as a garment rather than exclusively being a supporting player.  Supporting players are very important. In this case however the Tee might become the star should the weather become very warm, as it often does during SD springs.  Then again it needs to submit to being covered up and becoming a supporting player when the weather cools sufficiently that a 3rd and 4th layer become necessary. Changeable weather is the reality of South Dakota Springs.

I mulled over possibilities. Delaying until it was almost too late. I realized that the Colette Sorbetto , wildly popular with the sewing community a few years ago, had crossed into RTW and was being interpreted as an inverted pleat and waist released and several other minor variations  in addition of Colette original pleated front.  I realized this was the easy change I wanted that would make the garment both supporting cast and star as needed.

I chose to use this double-knit fabric which I think I purchased from Nancy’s Notions.  I questioned the statement ‘ ideal for jackets, pants, tops, and skirts’.  It’s been my experience that fabrics I’d wear for pants are not the same as what I would wear for tops.  I went with my gut and ordered royal blue yardage for a top.  When it arrived, I knew I was correct.

I made 2 changes while cutting out the fabric.  I placed the center front 1.25″ away from the fold. Secondly, I had decided upon a faux cuff.  I added 1″ to the length of the sleeve.  I spent a lot of time making sure that center pleat is as perfect as I can make it.  I chalked the lines; then based and heartily pressed.  This fabric is not going to make a sharp pleat. I’m hoping that it will keep the press-lines so that I can easily press the pleat back into place.  I stitched the pleat first, shoulders next and then finished the neckline.  After that, stitch sleeve to side piece and finished the cuff.  I serge finished the hemline and turned it up 1-1/4″ and stitched from about 2″ on either seam of the underarm before inserting 1″ elastic.  I made this very close-fitting. My elastic finished into an 8″ circle which is only 1″ larger than my wrist.  The elastic has to stretch to get over my hand!  The only sewing I’d criticise is the closing the opening that I left over the underarm seam.  That was a darn tight place to get my machine foot into.  My stitching is not perfectly straight and one of the 4 ends of stitching does not meet.  I really must think this further through before choosing this finish again.  I can do better. If only I could remember how.

I top stitched the hem in place, started beneath the pleat on one side, stitching all the way around and end under the pleat on the other side.  This left the pleat itself, free.

I did not wear  a camisole for pics.  I think I need to Roger-up and wear a camisole under all my tops. My figure is such that a camisole helps my tops to slide over my body.  I discovered this in Nov of 2015 when working with sweater knits. Made numerous camisoles (think I have 8) and wore them religiously.  Every pic proved that a cami, a slick cami was a good choice for me.  I think that’s what I need to do with all my tops.  Put something under the tops so that they don’t cling to my body. That’s not going to help my pics.

Several posts ago, someone suggested I give consideration to a Full-Tummy-Alteration. I think they have a point. Especially since that’s the only thing ruining the front view of my blouse. The back, I dunno

I did not expect those 2 strong diagonals. Haven’t seen them at all before this pic. Is it possible that the fabric is too drapey?   Although I do have to posit, that may be the result of my sharply pulling down the back side seams just before the pic.  My goal is to pull the garment out of the center of my back where it is pushed by my butt. I find it interesting that those diagonals are appearing right above where I pull.

Still I think the camisole is the right decision. One a day. Every day. Summer may be a little warmer this year.

Finally, I do want to say, I love this fabric. I plan to buy 3 or 4 cuts next payday.  It behaved beautifully during the construction process from layout to hemming. (Hemming is usually my final step.)  It did not make a crisp pleat but then I seldom want a crisp pleat. The blouse looks better on the hanger then on me. Without my body to distort the fabric, it makes a gorgeous garment. This kind of garment I want several hanging in my closet and I’m happy to have it as my 2nd top for my Spring 6PAC

A collar for the TRJ-B

I wanted a collar. In my mind a classic blouse needs a classic notch collar.  The Variations package does not have a notch collar so I set about creating my own.

Well, not entirely. I copied the collar from Connie Crawford’s Camp Shirt #5047. Then measured the neckline of the TRJ-B and subtracted 1″.  I folded out enough length so that the tissue was the same as the neckline -1″.  Then I cut two. Interfaced. Stitched. Turned inside out.  I basted the collar into the neckline. But didn’t feel entirely comfortable.

So I turned the collar again stitched 1/2″ in along the collar edge.  Trimmed. Turned. Pinned to collar edge. Twice more and the collar looked good, except not quite as wide as I entirely envisioned. Not entirely satisfied, I finished my blouse.

I like the way it looks in front, but seems a bit narrow across the back.  I will use the collar again, I’m just not sure at this moment what my changes will be. Definitely want a wider collar across the back. I’m thinking, of making  a series of blouse each with a slightly wider collar until I settle on a collar I like that also looks really good on the TRJ-B.

I do like the blouse,muchly.  Possibly it’s the ITY knit fabric and the geometric print. I wouldn’t say I love those colors, but they’re really very nice.

Somehow, the sleeve is slightly longer  this version but not so that I’m going to do anything about it. I’m more concerned about the difference between right and left side views:

The left is exactly what I want. However the right is showing the effects of the lowered shoulder.  I made no changes to the pattern and no changes during cutting.  When stitching, I stitched the right 1/8″ deeper than the left i.e. the left SA=1/4″, right SA = 3/8″. That is apparently not enough.  I must remember to make a  greater difference. Also interesting, and I have no explanation, the  front is rouched along the side piece while the left is pretty smooth. No idea why this is a problem now except that drag lines and errors are more evident in light colors.  I will walk the seams and recheck the notches.  Sometimes thought, it’s just the sewist. Not the fabric or the pattern.