Category Archives: 21406 Anything But Ordinary

the ABO — EBB

Sometimes being forced to think, is a blessing.  I didn’t get back to the sewing room for 2 days.  By that time I’d realized I wanted the fit of the Ebb across the shoulder and upper bodice but the relaxed fit and ease of the ABO across the hip.  I placed the Ebb pattern pieces on top of the ABO and trimmed the ABO’s shoulder and neck to match the Ebb.  I compared sleeves, but decided that the Ebb was much wider, and higher than the ABO.  I used the Ebb’s sleeve.  I serged the shoulders together and finished the neckline.  I did serge the sleeve into the armscye but only basted side seams. Then I tried it on.  Much encouraged I hemmed the garment.  I added 3″ cuffs because the change to the shoulder line and using the Ebb sleeve meant that I had a 3/4 or 7/8 length when I wanted a full length sleeve. I serged the side seams and finished the cuffs before trying on for the final pics. This I like:

In each of the follow pictures the unfit ABO is on the left, the final garment is on the right.

I will not be making changes to the back.  The completed garment fits nicely across the shoulders. There are some vertical lines towards the sides indicating excess ease. This is still a boxy garment by design. I did not put in darts. Only the shoulder area and sleeves have been changed. I’ve actually seen very similar garments back in stores and worn recently. The back is fine.

Other than being able to see the rising front hem, I’m also satisfied with the side view.  It seems to flow smoothly over front and back whereas the unfitted ABO, clung to every bump. The finished garment is also not trying to cup under my rear.

I know it’s not always easy to see details, especially if using a tablet of some kind which makes these small pictures even smaller; so I added lines. The finished garment sits smoothly across my shoulders ending just 1/2″ beyond my actual shoulder.  I do like a nice cap sleeve garment, but this is my preference for drop sleeve.  I don’t think it looks sloppy. I think it looks relaxed. It is evident even in the front view that the extra length is needed in front. I’m finding that to be a new typical alteration I need to make.

I should confess that I slipped 1/4″ shoulder pads into the final garment.  I’ve realized that my left shoulder is visibly lower than my right.  I’m not sure what’s causing the change; only that I need to make this slight adjustment. After all, it takes less than 5 minutes to pop shoulder pads in.  I’m buying them in bulk from WAWAK.

I’m really pleased.  I wasn’t sure that changing the Ebb into a 1 piece front would work. Often, the designer will rotate darts into an Empire line garment. In which case, extending the side seams to shirt, tunic or dress length, isn’t going to work at all.  As for the ABO, I’m not sure I’m keeping the pattern.  I know I don’t want to make the jacket as drafted.  The seam of the  dropped shoulder really irritates my skin even though another layer (blouse). I also know that I won’t like the top as drafted even with just the short sleeve. Again, the seam line falls in the wrong place. However, I hate to throw a $20 pattern into the trash. I’ll probably hang onto it until I need room in the pattern stash. After all, there are still some good sewing ideas and techniques in those mini-lessons called “Sewing Directions”.


the ABO

The ABO is kind of an elderly pattern. Not for the elderly, but not a vintage pattern nor a recent release. Because of the prominent drop shoulder sleeve and flowing ease, its styling is reminiscent of the late 80’s and early 90’s i.e. slightly dated. I didn’t purchase when first I became acquainted with Cutting Line Designs both because of the dated style lines and also the really dropped shoulder irritates me. However, late 2013, the designer, Louise Cutting, was asked “What is your goto pattern? What is that pattern that LC pulls out when she wants a new top and wants it now?”  Her answer was surprising.  She starts with the little top in this pattern 21406 Anything But Ordinary,  and then makes easy alterations to update the styling.  Essentially, she  folds the pattern parallel to the grain line in the shoulder area and removes the excess ease;  dramatically changing the drop shoulder. Once those simple alterations are completed, this is an easy to sew, updated pattern. Intrigued, I purchased the pattern immediately. But being me, it took this long to work on it.

I was tempted to trace the Small. Measuring across the pattern hip line indicated that the Small would fit. However, I knew from experience with CLD designs that this wasn’t quite true. I pulled out the 2X4 which I last used in October 2013 and compared ease.  I decided upon the size Medium. Once traced however, I was puzzled. The Medium contained just sufficient ease for my hips but excess shoulder length. Sigh, my shoulder is 1″ narrower than the standard.  I puzzled over how to remove the extra 3″ in the shoulder without removing it from the hip area.  This 3-piece pattern, the ABO top, is pretty boxy. Although the shoulder is sloped and the neck shallowly scooped, the side’s have no shaping. Also, there are no darts  anywhere.  This shape works well for the rectangular and apple-shaped individual but for pear-shaped me, it needs some adjustment. Which is born out by the first fitting:

Right out of the envelope, a size Medium on Me.

I look sloppy.  Even in this lovely rayon purchased from Fabricmart, I look sloppy and unkempt. The hip is almost too tight. You can see in the back it develops a fold at the center back and the raw edge wants to cup under.  The sleeves are hanging to my very finger tips and the shoulder is extended beyond cap sleeve territory into nearly 1/4 sleeve length. I’ll barely mention all the folds and drag lines everywhere. So many I’m not sure where to start.

I decided darting the shoulder might help by removing fabric at the shoulder but leaving it for the hip.  I pinched out the excess in the left shoulder and then basted in a big whopping dart. Wasn’t much help:

There are still folds  and drag lines everywhere. You can see though that one sleeve (my left shoulder) is now much shorter. Overall, not much of an improvement and not a look I wanted to “settle for”.

I had run out of time for the day.  I placed the blouse upon Mimie and shut down the sewing room.



…. to be continued of course