Category Archives: ShirtVariations

2017 6PAC: First Sewn Garment

Not surprisingly is the blouse variation of the Fit For Art Jacket

My fabric is an IKAT print on peach skin.    I love the colors and prints; the drape and ease of handling during construction as well as the laundry-friendly  characteristic.

Hope you can see how well the right side fits.  No big V’s meeting along the side seam.  No big drapes visible from side view.  Especially note that the hem is level. I cut both shoulders the same. When sewing, I stitched the right shoulder 1/8″ deeper.

Even the back is devoid of drag lines.  The back does feel  a little tight when I extend my arms forward.  Before I hang the blouse in my closet, I will set out the back seams 1/8″ between shoulder and top of the side panel.  Just giving myself a little reaching room.  I think this confirmation that every fabric will need its own accommodations. The rayon test garment felt fine across the back. It too did not stretch. Other than fiber (peach skin vs rayon) and hem length (overall length  is 1.25″ shorter) there are no other differences.

L-o-v-e these button:

Can’t tell you exactly when or where purchased, but the buttons were purchased before the fabric.  I knew they were one of my colors and purchased with the hope that someday I could use them.


Blouse #1 of my Spring 2017 6PAC:  D O N E!!

TRB: The Reveal

Yes I finished! I am pleased but noted some interesting discrepancies between fitting and the final garment. l

Well not the back. The back is about the same.  Even in a medium (instead of the large used for the Jacket) the blouse is roomy.  I am using the flared side panel, which I probably won’t use in the future. Also I blended between medium and large at he hip. Possibly that will go away.   I am pleased that rotated the RBA to the shoulders worked so well. There is a possibility that a curvy body needs garment curves to at exactly the right place. IOW, darts they may not be moved elsewhere when they are needed at a specific place. Feel like I got lucky this time.

I’m a bit confused by the final side views above. Their drag lines are hardly visible in the fitting photos below.

Should I assume I need to fix something or that maybe I stretched something during the final stitching?  I do agree that I probably need to do more for my right shoulder which is lower than the left.

Also the sleeves seem a bit long but when I bend my arm, I like the length.

I love the front view

Although I have some questions. For example why is the bust dart (red arrow) so much lower than my bust (green arrow)?

I’m inclined to just ignore this discrepancy because it seems to work with this roomy blouse.

My last discrepancy has to do with the neckline depth

If I’d put my button right across from my apex, which is my preferred 2nd button, the first button spaced at 2.5″ would have been dangling at the neck edge. I considered a 2″ spacing which would have worked but required 7 button and looked off. I don’t know. Crowded? Excessive? That many buttons on this fabric, spaced that closely together upset my sense of balance.

So am I going to wear this?  YOU BET!  I do plan to shorten the sleeve 3/4″ and raise the neckline about 3/4″.  I will do that immediately.  Using the straight or flared panel will always be an option depending upon the fabric I’m using at the time.  Over all length is also subject to the current garment.  While this tunic length has its own loveliness, I see no reason why I could not shorten up to 2″ on whatever whim. As for removing the blending from medium to large at the hip? That’s a probably future event. I’m just not in a hurry to get it done. I like the roomy look.

Once again, I’d like to reiterate that the purchase of the Shirt Variations was a good choice for me. While I”m glad I went through the process of drafting a moulage, (it was a game changer for me), I still don’t like drafting patterns. I tolerate made alterations.  I will make easy minor changes such as a neckline or hem length variation. But I didn’t have to. Fit For Art spared me the entire awful experience of drafting a blouse based on the jacket pattern. But I can understand someone would skip the purchase if short on money or  loving the drafting experience.  Each to their own. This was a good experience for me.

Tabula Rasa Shirt Variations

I realized at the first fitting of the jacket, that I wanted help converting it to a blouse. I ordered the Shirt Variations immediately and continue to finish my first TRJ.  Usually my orders from PR take close to a week. I was pleasantly surprised when the package arrived about 3 days later.   I read the directions and looked at the pattern pieces.  Now if anyone wants to say $12 plus $5 shipping is a bit high, I agree. I purchased through Pattern Review because, thank God, I’ve been ordering through them for years, long before whatever validating programs have swept the on-line retail market causing so many places, Fit For Art included, to reject my address and thereby my orders. I’ll stop there because that’s a long story of its own but please don’t tell me to purchase direct from FFA. They won’t let me.

So what did I get for $12

  • Huge booklet of instructions. Well 8×11 sized pages  that were folded in half; and quite a few to page though I   didn’t count.
  • 2 sets of pattern pieces – 1 for sizes L to 3XL the other sizes L-XS which include
    • curved cuff
    • stand up collar
    • flat collar
    • back facing
    • front facing
    • front template

Because of all the fitting changes I need, I never use someone else’s facings. I always alter my pattern and then copy the pattern to make facings. With shirts/blouses I rarely use the back facing. I prefer bindings That makes 2 less pieces (back facing and front facing) applicable to me and  I won’t even trace.  I’m unlikely to use the stand up collar or the curved cuff.  I might someday but cuffs are so easy to draft and I rarely, like almost never, use a stand-up collar. I don’t like the way a stand-up collar rubs my neck. So that’s 2 less pieces for me and again, I didn’t trace . I in fact paid $17 for

  • Booklet of instructions.
  • flat collar
  • front template

It seems like a lot of $$ for what I’m actually going to use and I’m reconsidering my interest in the other FFA variation packages. Despite the cost and the inclusion of pieces I’m probably never going to use in the end, I am pleased. Why?  Because it made conversion from jacket to button front blouse incredibly easy. Just incredibly.

I traced a size medium blending to a large at the hip. Yep back to the original pattern and trace it once again because I had decided the size large makes a nice jacket but seemed a little large for a typical blouse. I also traced the flared side panel. It’s so easy to make that into a straight panel but to start with I wanted to be sure I had enough ease across my rear.  Next, put the jacket pattern  away and pull out the variations pattern. Trace the flat collar . Slide the medium Blouse Front Template beneath the jacket front tracing and added the appropriate lines.

It was amazingly easy. No measuring or pulling out the curve. Just slide the template into place and trace.  I moved from the drafting stage, which I don’t want to do, in seconds.

I still needed fitting alterations so the size medium just traced I made

  1. 3/4″ shoulder slope. That’s an increase of 1/8″ which I did because I still had a hint of back diagonals.
  2. 5/8″ RBA rotated to the shoulder.  FFA recommends rotating to the neck. I resist working with the neck as much as possible. It’s far to easy to stretch out of shape. Besides rotating to the neck looks like you don’t really know what you are doing. Rotating to the shoulder is the golden standard. There is a possibility, strong possibility, that the shoulder dart can be moved to the shoulder-neck or shoulder-armscye. I’m taking this one step at a time. While the experts seem to think a dart can be moved anywhere, my personal experience says there is a limit.  I want to know if, when and where these changes go wrong. So I make changes step by step. Rotate to the neck worked.Now I want to know if I can successfully  rotate to shoulder.
  3. 1/4″ lower back dart. Not sure what else to call that.  I’m very round and need a back dart opposite the bust dart.  I’m always bemused that it works because I have to make the side seams match and so immediately
  4. 1/4″ added to the back seam length at the hem.
  5. Increased length of front, back and side panel 2.5″
  6. Decreased that long sleeve cap 1/2″.  That may not be enough. I walked it and it seems enough but I removed 1.5″ (3/4 on front armscye and 3/4″ on back armscye).  Because I removed 1.5″ length from the armscyes I should need to either remove 1.5″ from the sleeve cap or add some back to the armscyes.  Sigh, ATM I’m doing what I can measure and not relying on mathematics alone.

It seems like a lot of alterations but there could be more.  I haven’t narrowed the shoulder. I measure the medium shoulder, subtracted the seam allowances and decided not to do an NSA, yet.  I also did not make a BWL (back waist length adjustment). Both adjustments are like 2nd nature to me. I nearly always need an NSA. The BWL is nearly always needed if there is any side seam shaping.  There is slight shaping along the side seams but I haven’t needed the BWL for either the Tee or Jacket. For now, I’m not doing a BWL, yet.

A quick walk of the seams and I proceeded to stare at the stash.  I’ve got enough fabric to set up shop in a 3rd world country. But when it comes time to choose a test fabric I stare and stare and stare.  I want this test fabric to have a similar weave, drape and weight of the fabrics I’d commonly select for blouses. For me that’s rayons and most cottons. I’ve got nothing in the muslin pile.  Either the fabrics are too heavy and stiff or they are knits.  The wrong knits. I couldn’t use most of them for musling the Tee. So I’m staring at the regular stash looking for a sacrificial fabric that will make a good muslin. That means no knits,no strip matching; no dark fabrics. Some of the fabrics I just can’t sacrifice.  I really want to wear them. Finally I do find a 2.5 yard by 60″ wide rayon.  Purchased 13 years ago, the print is slightly outdated.  But I love the colors and the rayon is exactly what I want to test. So rayon it is.


Tune in tomorrow when I test the fit.