I’ve been working towards a new fitting procedure for blouses and tops. I still need the 1″ back waist length adjustment because I’ve not grown any taller. Same thing with the 1″ narrow shoulder adjustment i.e. my shoulders haven’t grown any wider BUT they have become more sloped. I realized through trial and error, altering the shoulder slope wasn’t simply a matter of sliding the ruler down at an angle making the shoulder point lower. I seem to have developed a specific shoulder slope which is not the same on the front as on the back. The increased slope is occurring as my shoulders round due to age. My shoulders are pulling forward which widens my back and narrows the front. So it does make sense that my pattern front would need to be treated differently from my pattern back along the shoulder line.
I was surprised however that in correcting the shoulder slope, diagonals form pointing to the side seams. Even when there is 8″ of ease, these diagonals form from center front and back terminating at various points along the side seam. They are not caused by lack of ease. It looked to me and many concurred, as if I needed an FBA (full bust alteration). I thought this odd because I’m barely a B cup. Why suddenly after 6 decades of not needing to add width and height over my bust, did I need an FBA? I tried several things, including multiple types of FBA’s and finally sorted out the diagonals. It is the fit of the armscye. I can’t simply trace the new lower shoulder slope. The armscye must retain it’s length and shape. Eventually, I realized I could trace my new shoulder slope and then trace the armscye from which ever Connie Crawford pattern I was working with.
I thought “I’ve got it!”. I knew what to do so that patterns would once again fit me
- 1″ BWL
- 1″ NSA
- Copy My Front and Back Shoulder Slope from my sloper
- Copy the pattern armscye from the pattern I wanted to fit.
4 alterations instead of 2. If it means I can adapt every pattern to fit me, I’m willing to do 4 alterations.
Then I took a slight detour into the Slashed Sloper pattern alteration method. That method worked well enough if the pattern style and fit is very similar to my sloper. So Louise Cuttings Ebb Blouse, which basicially adds an empire line and a little ease to my sloper, was quickly adapted. I was very excited with the success of the Ebb because I have several favorite CLD blouses I’ve really been wanting to fit.
I started with Just My Style (71114) View A because I thought this draft was also very close to my sloper. It is a dartless block with slightly dropped shoulder, high-low hem and a bit less fitted. I traced the size corresponding to my hip and applied the 4 alterations above; cut fabric and BASTED the garment together. Fortunately, I used water-soluble thread because I removed the basting 3 different times. I gave up and stitched the garment permanently after having changed the shoulder slope, adding a bust dart, and reshaping the side seams over the course of 3 days.
My fabric is either a nylon or polyester crepe. I didn’t do a burn test. It is light weight but I know from experience that it is more of a cool weather fabric as it is warm to wear. I thought this fabric would be a good test fabric. I purchased it for the interesting print. Left it in the stash because of my wearing concerns. The back looks nice enough. I am wearing 1/4″ shoulder pads and ignoring the fact that my right shoulder is lower than the left. It’s the side and front view I despise. Even with the added bust dart (making this dartless block into a darted block), I have horrible wrinkles forming at the side. This will only be wearable because it is a fall and winter garment (due to the nylon crepe) and will be covered by a vest.
I didn’t start another garment for several days. When I did, I chose to use a nice, 100% cotton, shirting fabric. It has no stretch but will be comfortable year ’round. I decided upon tracing the size corresponding to my upper bust which meant in addition to the 4 alterations above, I also needed to add 1/2 ease at the hip. But I’m willing to add a 5th alteration, if it makes a nice garment.
This is the Easy Ageless Cool (12269) camp shirt with sleeve lengthened. The camp shirt is also a slightly drop shoulder with straight sides and more of a loose fit. This garment suffers with the side diagonals too. The front hem is horribly tilted upwards because I did not attempt to add a bust dart. It’s supposed to be dartless. (The JMS hem also tilted upward until I added the bust dart.) The back looks worse than the JMS back, but it’s acceptable. This is a 100% cotton blouse. I omitted the collar and did nothing with the sleeve cuff area because after 4 fittings I was disgusted with this garment too. I finished it. Maybe I’ll wear it.
I’m not happy with my sewing projects above. But you know, sewing projects do go wrong for a variety of reasons. Even TNT patterns can shoot you down from time to time. I’m most disappointed by the fact, I could not choose a pattern, trace the recommended size and then make a series of standard adjustments to create a garment I’m happy to wear.
I’m not wiling to make a throw-away (muslin) garment every time I want to try a new pattern.
I wish the Slashed Sloper method was more versatile. It worked with patterns that were very similar to the sloper. Make a substantial change, or multiple changes (yoke + dropped sleeve + ease) and I’m unsuccessful. With that limitation, I think it would be quicker to [trace my sloper and make the few changes I want] as compared to [trace the sloper, trace the pattern, slash and fold both in various places so that they more or less match???]. And BTW, having used that method with the Ebb, I still have one more alterations to make to the Ebb before it is TNT.
I have no desire to draft patterns. I’ve done some. I finish drafting and then still have to do all the fitting. Not only that but drafting involves dozens of tiny decisions which make or break the style. It can take multiple muslins to re-create the look I want.
Definitely not buying more expensive Indy patterns that I can’t adapt to fit me. Could be clearing out of the stash the ones I own.
I don’t think making the seam allowances 1″ wide is the solution either because the problems I’m seeing now are related to the armscye and bodice front. I seem to be getting the back and sleeve pretty good.
I still believe I’m not horribly disfigured and should be able to make logical changes to flat patterns so that new patterns will work for my body.
I need time to think and discover new approaches.