Category Archives: 60565-By Popular Demand

BPD: Final Pics

SPOILER ALERT: I promise you will be disappointed.

I spent a few weeks thinking about this pattern before I ever pulled the pieces out to trace. Now I’ve spent almost a week on construction not including the 3 days I was not at home. This muslin is finished. Let me show you why.

I finally trimmed the shoulder and neckline seems. Actually, I serged them along the last basting line.  I have no idea how people work with 2″ seams. These were between 1-5/8 and 1-3/4″ and we driving me batty. The seam allowances overlapped at the neckline, flapped around and created extra bulk under the arm.  The hems no longer met.  That’s because a pattern is drafted at the seam lines and seam allowances are added afterwards. The pattern will always meet at the seam lines, but may not meet when stitched in other than intended places.  I’m now sewing far into the interior were no seams were anticipated by either the designer or myself. I’m sure I’m experiencing a fabric issue. This crinkle rayon is less stable than any knit I’ve ever sewn.   But back to the point, I serged and trimmed the seam allowances to get them out-of-the-way.

I still had a bubble of fabric around the raglan armscye. Very prominent in the front, I can’t tell if it’s there on the back.  It’s almost as if the raglan detail was two opposing curves.  I checked the pattern pieces and discovered, yes that is true for the bodice portions. The raglan on the sleeve is the smooth curve normally used but the bodice starts with the usual curve and then joins a slight opposing about mid shoulder.  I’m not sure how that is supposed to fit but I do not like the bubble forming on my body and would not have purchased a blouse with a similar detail.  Fabric may be a factor, but I think this is a design detail gone wrong on my body.  I did something we used to call “pegging a seam”.  I pinched out the bubble, pinned it on the inside and then stitched right along the seam line.

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This works fairly well.

 photo Pegged2_zps1748c4b6.jpg

Possibly I could take it in just a little more, but I’m satisfied with the current appearance and fit. Besides, I’m tired of twiddling with the sleeve.

Oh, the neckline, really is a sweet heart neckline.  I don’t see it on the illustration but the front pattern is clearly curved.

I completely released the side seam basting and restitched using a 1/2″ seam allowance from hem to about 6″ below the armscye.  I increased so that under the arm the SA was 1-1/2″.  I was surprised to find that eliminated most of the other armscye/side issues. The last issue to tackle is the result of my being short waisted.  I decided to add the empire line.  Mimie is not exactly my shape, but she does have the correct measurements in the right places i.e. bust, waist and hip measurements are the same as my own and are the same distance apart as my own.  I can look at her and see that she’s not exactly the same. I have more fluff in front around the tummy and again in the rear. Mimie seems to be equally padded in all directions. Even though we differ, she’s enough alike me to help with most alterations.  I placed the BPD top inside-out on Mimie and pinned it closed in front.  Then I pinned a length of elastic around the torso area where I wanted the empire line.  Next, along the elastic,  I marked the BPD to indicate where I wanted the Empire .

In all the photos, the front of my BPD is shorter than the back.  I do wonder if that’s a “me” thing because I notice the same issue on many garments.  I’ve added a half inch length only to the front of all my favorite patterns.  Since this fabric has grown so long, I’m going to take more from the back length than the front. I tried to get pics, but my marks didn’t show up in the photos.  I drew line horizontally and an even 2″ away from my marked Empire line all along the back.  On the front I drew a second line but it is 1/2″ away from the Empire line at center front angling to the 2″ at the side seam.  Then I brought the two lines together and basted a seam.

When I tried it on, the diagonal “you need a FBA” lines were gone from the front as was the mass of wrinkles in the center back. High Waist issue solved but this was just the wrong fabric and wrong time to be adding an Empire line. The Empire Line is very stiff .  The bodice stands away instead of draping nicely.  I feel like I’ve destroyed the line of the garment. But, in addition to eliminating back and front drag lines, the proportions are now correct for me.  Ignore my frumpy pants and hurt knee, just look at how the top works with my body.

I stepped into a hole left by a dead plant. Hole will be filled with new plant next year. Until then hole is now filled with 2 foot flag. Knee will get better.

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I know this muslin is getting better, but I’m tired of struggling with a fabric I don’t like and is unstable besides.  Most of the sewing I’ve done, has been to correct the actions of the fabric.  Maybe it’s the shorts, at the end of the day, they do look pretty terrible, but I’m just not getting excited about wearing this fabric. The more I work with it, the more I dislike it and the more I understand why I never picked it to sew up a “real” garment.  This fabric doesn’t even completely fulfill the role of a muslin. There’s not much I can  transfer to the tissue.  The next time I use this pattern, I’ve got to start the fitting with the same tissue I have now. But this one is done. I don’t want to wear it. No point in finishing.

What I do take away

1) small busy print does indeed camouflage a raglan line.

2) the proportions of this pattern can be adjusted for me.

3) it’s too promising to discard the pattern.

I need to make the BPD top  up again but I don’t have a suitable fabric. Having struggled with this crinkle rayon, I want to avoid stretch fabrics period. It will be a while before I make another post on the BPD top.

BPD: Initial Fitting

I selected this busy print

with some reservations.  I wanted a busy print, a flattering color, a woven, non-stretch remnant. I especially wanted to use my remnants.  Summer time sewing usually decimates or at least brings that section of the stash back under control. Out of the 5 criteria this fabric met 3. It is a busy print. It is a woven. It is a remnant. Since my previous attempt with the BPD top was disastrous, I decided to give the remnant greater status and use it.  That way if I was not successful with this pattern, I also wouldn’t mind having wasted a fabric.

One of the things I can happily tell you is that the busy print successfully disguises the raglan line.

The line simply disappears into all the other busy lines.     That’s my back. No shoulder pads. No facings. No hems to the garment. If you look closely, the raglan line can be seen. However, it’s not the first thing that jumps out at you. Nor does it have the effect of making my shoulders look rounder than they are. (I am after all aging and do experience some rounding.)

But I’m having fitting issues, because of the fabric.  It wants to grow lengthwise.  I measured it against the tissue and it is already 1″ longer than when I cut.  At the first try-on the armscyes hung well below the arm p!ts and of course the fabric felt like it was pulling.  I started basting the shoulder and armscye seams deeper and deeper.  With each new basting line the garment felt more comfortable, as well as slowly raising the bottom of the armscye into place.  At the time of these pictures, the shoulder and armscye seams had been increased 1″.

Initially the shoulder seam wanted to slide forward of my shoulder. I could shift it into place. But the next try-on and the seam was back in front of my shoulder instead of on top of my shoulder. I wonder if I’m going to need shoulder pads and lingerie guards to keep the blouse hanging where it should be hanging.

Then a different issue starts happening:

I’ve drawn pink lines where folds are occurring around the armscye and upper bodice.  The bodice is at least 4″ too wide at the underarm and in the bust area, yet I have drag lines which might indicate a FBA is needed.

For some reason the back is unexpectedly but definitely longer than the front. Did I measure incorrectly when adding length? Or is this yet again a fabric issue? There are several things perplexing me.  Look at my bodice pic again, but this time I’ve added lines which follow the raglan and the neckline.

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From the illustration, I thought this was a round neckline. On me it looks like it’s going to be a sweet heart neckline??  I did not get the impression that the raglan is convex curved, yet that’s what I’m seeing above.

I am going to chalk this up to  fabric issues.  I took the seams in far more than I expected and still have to fit under the arm.  I dare not remove more ease from the side seams because the mid-back is starting to accumulate wrinkles.

This would indicate a sway-back issue for others, but I know from long experience that I am short-waisted.  Anytime there is shaping of side seams or darts, I need to shorten the back-waist length.  I did. I shortened it 1″ but because the fabric wants to grow lengthwise, the waist shaping is dropping to  about the high hip.  I’m tempted to add an empire line.  An empire line would bring the shaping up where it needs to be and shorten this blouse which is now about 4″ too long.  Too bad the proportions actually look good:

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OK hair needs to be fixed, garment needs to be finished and buttoned, but the first thing I think when seeing this pic is “What was I watching on Netflix” as opposed to “When did I get to be so short and dumpy?”   From that view-point my fabric and proportion choices are good.  I plan to finish, wear and share this blouse. But I won’t transfer any fitting changes back to the pattern.  This particular crinkle fabric is too unstable for me to arrive at any other conclusions.

BPD: The Raglin Line

I moved this thought-process onto its own post because I have a lot of thoughts and I tend to write too much. But at the same time, I really need to think through the effect of the raglin line on my body and garment.

The Raglin line is a shortening illusion.  Look up vertical illusions or lines that look longer.  It’s a well-known fact that we will designate one line longer than the other if  diagonal lines extend away from the end of the line instead of extending back towards the center of the line. i.e. a button front topped by a v-neckline looks taller and slimmer than the same button front that converges with a raglin sleeve and jewel neckline.

As drafted, the BPD has a high round neckline.

My best line is the button front with V neckline. The button front with high round neckline is not as good, but still not bad until a raglin sleeve is added.  Even then if the raglin sleeve is very upright, like Loes Hines BoatNeck top,

it can be flattering even on me. I’m not going to redraft this pattern.  I very much admire those who draft patterns. I’ve made some effort with drafting patterns and have a good idea how it is done.  I think changing the raglin from  very angled to upright is a massive undertaking. I’m not sure I can do it.  In fact, before trying to redraft this pattern, I’d take the Loes Hinse pattern above which I also own, add a center front placket and close the boat neck a little.

But there are things I can do that will negate the raglin and high round neckline combination. During wear, I could leave the top of the placket open in a lapel type fashion. That would create a V atop the placket front. A very good line for me. I could change the round neckline to a V, U or Deep Oval. This would involve changing the facing as well. But that’s not as hard as adding and subtracting from the sleeves, fronts and back to create an upright raglin.

There are also ways to keep the raglin from being so obvious. On my first attempt, I used a light peach-colored linen-look cotton.  Both the raglin, neckline and off proportions were very evident. I could simply don one of my vests. When a vest covers the raglin line, it simply disappears. It’s completely unknown. Invisible. Also poor proportions can be “corrected” if they are simply covered up by a vest. AND there’s a bonus:  leave the vest open and suddenly you have the tiniest waist on record.  A mere 3″ (maybe 4). I could also hide the raglin by covering it with something. Like machine embroidery or an applique or even a stenciled design. If I put the facing on the outside, the raglin would be contradicted by the curve of the facing and made to appear shorter.  If the facing were big enough, the very angled raglin, would take on the appearance of an upright raglin.

There’s also the curious, almost abra-cadabra magical effect of a busy print.  More than one person has told the tale of choosing a complicated garment pattern with many pieces only to find all their hard work disappears into a busy print.  Or making a mistake which also just disappeared because their fabric was a busy print.

 

*** Thanks to one of the commentators for reminding me of another “fix”: Shoulder pads.  There are people who shudder at the very thought of shoulder pads.  My shoulders are narrow and therefore also appear sloping.  I say “appear” because once I perform the narrow shoulder adjustment, I don’t need to further slope the shoulder.  IOW I make the shoulder narrower not more slanted and the top will fit.   There was a time I put shoulder pads in everything including sweaters.  Alas, shoulder pads are so out of fashion that I become a target of abuse. Not kidding. I’ve had people squeeze or poke a 1/4″ shoulder pad and scream “why are you wearing that hideous thing?”  (To which I can only respond, thank you for making me feel beautiful.)  Alas, shoulder pads cannot be worn in tank tops.  I also think shoulder pads should be near invisible which is hard to accomplish in sleeveless styles.  BUT when I’m brave it is an option which counteracts the raglin line. Indeed a square shoulder, even one created with padding, suddenly looks so much lovelier when pairs with the raglin sleeve. Here me out, a shoulder sleeve is an option not a requirement.

So that’s *my solutions.

  • Redraft the pattern
  • Cover up the shoulder
    •  wear a Vest
  • Fill out the shoulder
    • wear a shoulder pad
  • Change Neckline
    • to a V, U or Deep Oval
    •  fold into a lapel
    • draft new neckline on fronts and facing
  • Cover the raglin line
    • machine embroidery
    • applique
    • paint
  • Use a busy print.

First off, we’re headed into the dog-days-of-summer. This is the time of year I don’t wear vests.  I keep with me a blouse to wear as a third layer should I find myself in very overly air conditioned rooms i.e. hospital and freezer section of grocery store. So vest is out. Since I’m not sure of the fit, I’d like to chose a non-stretch fabric to construct this maybe-wearable muslin.  But I don’t have a lot of confidence. I’ve already failed hideously once. Do I really have the solution? Or am I fooling myself into holding onto an expensive pattern? I want to use something from my Under 2’s which are mostly remnants from previous projects and are FREE (in my mind.) I try a remnant that’s almost a yard long and discover, I will need more yardage because I added the 6″ in length to front and back. That facing is going to be a problem too.  While I love the one piece, it takes a lot of fabric especially since I’ve added 6″ to it’s length as well. To my surprise most of the remnants that are between 1 and 1-7/8 yards are knits. Then I remember. Yes I placed the knits orders for 1.5 yards lengths because that’s all I need when the fabric is knit and 58″ wide.  I don’t want to use knits.  I have real ease issues which I haven’t solved. My acceptable wovens i.e. right length, no stretch are all dark. Dark disguises too much. I need to be able to evaluate the pattern for fit. Can’t do that when I can’t see the drag lines.

Sigh, I ended up selecting a busy flower print.  It’s been in my stash for a long time because the basic color of peach is good for me but all the print colors are poor. For me, they are poor. They drain color from my face or reflect a greenish or purple-bruised light.   The fabric would be fine as a muslin except that it is a crinkle rayon.  Crinkle fabrics have stretch and therefore aren’t good when I’m asking, “Do I have too much ease?” or “Is the bust dart in the right place?”  Yes I can correct these problems with the garment in hand, but I’m reluctant to change the tissue because the next fabric be it woven or knit won’t drape the same. Ah yes drape is a factor. I’m glad this fabric does drape nicely.  No matter the style, when the garment sticks out 6″ beyond any plane of my body, it adds pounds and ends up in the Good Will bag instead of my closet.  I’m using this fabric because

  • I don’t mind if it becomes a wadder
  • It will tell me if the proportion of garment-length to my body-length is correct.
  • It will tell me if I can camo the raglin sufficiently
  • It will tell me if I need to change the neckline to a V,U or Deep Oval.
  • It will be enough to tell me whether to keep this pattern or put it in the dust bin.

Let’s cut fabric.

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* If I think of more solutions in the future, I’ll edit this post to create an all-inclusive list.

BPD: Proportions

I tackled the issue of proportion first. Mostly because the little RAL top was easily converted from frumpy to fantastic with the addition of 4″ of length (plus a 1.25″ hem). I remember shopping when I was close to 200 pounds.  I would choose clothing that was one color, loosely fitting and worn with close-to tunic-length tops.  It wasn’t so much that I was hiding the pounds as that it seemed to make me taller. Look, I quit fooling myself at 140 pounds.  I think you can make 5 pounds around the tummy or rear disappear with a little camo.  10 or 20 pounds can be made not so evident with some good underwear and careful selection of color and shapes worn.  But a 200 pound woman isn’t going to look anorexic. She’s not going to disappear. What you I hope for is the look of a happy, healthy, active person despite the too-many-pounds. Making your myself look 2-3 inches taller helps the projection of what I felt inside – healthy and happy. (I always felt I should be more active. I tend to be sedentary and enjoy sedentary activities.)  In addition to the height, I think the tunic length negated a square appearance i.e. that I didn’t look as wide as I was tall, simply by choosing garments that weren’t also as wide as they were tall.

I compared the length of the two tissues (the BPD and RAL top as altered).  I was preplexed.  I usually compare by matching shoulder points. But with the raglin sleeve, some of the shoulder height is included in the sleeve. I finally compared the back’s matching the neckline.  I added 6″ to the length.

I may still be off, but that’s a topic for tomorrow.

60565 By Popular Demand

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I purchased this Cutting Line Designs pattern ages ago.  Unlike most who rave about the jacket, I was interested in the little top. It just had this air of elegance and simplicity which appeal to me.

Then there’s this other thing. Louise is a big girl.  She’s not some model thin, wisp of humanity. She has presence and looks good, really good wearing everything she designs.  When I started buying her patterns, I erroneous assumed that if the patterns look good on her, they’d be at least OK on me.

So the first time I made this pattern, I traced my size, found a beautiful linen-looking cotton and stitched it together in no time.  I mean that.  The raglan sleeve is a two-piece sleeve.  You sew the sleeve backs to the back and the sleeve fronts to the fronts then seam the sleeves together and you’re practically done.  I note that the two piece sleeve would make it easier to reshape the raglan bump if needed but that wasn’t my issue.

LC designs nice big curved facings.  These are easy to handle.  I know I’ve written it before, but I hate working with narrow fiddley facings. For heaven’s sake if the facing finishes at 1/2-5/8″, use bias bindings.  So I love the larger facings which are easy to handle and finish.  I agree with the recommendation to top stitch because that nails the facings into place and you never fiddle with them again during the life of the garment. The top stitching also adds decorative lines and an additional  slimming front line.  That wasn’t my issue.

My issue was that the finished garment looked hideous on me. I looked at myself and wondered if I’d stumbled into the hall of mirrors and was in front of the one which squashes you down and out.  Honestly, I looked shorter and fatter.  That was my problem.

I was distraught.  I asked for help on Stitcher’s Guild. I have to say that is the only request-for-help post I’ve ever made that received not a single response. Not one from the other members or from LC herself.

Since I didn’t know what to do, I discarded the traced tissue, the fabric and stuck the pattern back in the drawer. This year I needed to purge my patterns. Aas I looked at the pattern I realized I had new knowledge on

  • how to fit patterns to my shape
  • how to evaluate and adapt for proportions
  • how to cope with the raglin design line on my figure

Instead of tossing the pattern, I decided to give it one more chance. In the next few days I will be documenting my attempt to change my experience from disaster to success.  I don’t know how the story will end. I may indeed toss the envelope into the trash.