Category Archives: 81508 Ebb And Flow

Beyond Frustrated

I’ve just had 5 days of sewing which made me want to destroy my entire pattern collection.  I’m documenting it here so that should I tackle these particular patterns again, I will have some recollection as to what I’ve previously done.  You, the reader, shoulder probably skip this post because there are no pictures only whiny bitching.

I was at a standstill with my Spring 6PAC. I wanted a little time to figure out corrections for both my printed and solid Tee. Also when it came time to cut fabric for the 3rd layer, I wasn’t so sure I had the right fabric for the type garment I wanted. So a time out which I would use by sewing something else.

I opted to make a quick check of the Ebb.  I love this pattern. It’s been one of my favorites ever since my first muslin.  But in recent years I’ve been unable to fit it completely. Last fall I thought my remaining issue was the rising CF which was emphasized by the empire line. During the review of my spring clothing, I discovered and was somewhat horrified that NONE of my Ebb’s fit even close to nicely.  They all suffered with not only the rising CF but also deep V’s on the sides. Since I’d recently discovered that I need an RBA, I thought of making a quick muslin to see if the RBA would fix my issues. I traced my size based on finished measurements. IOW I measured the pattern and compared with my completed Brad’s chart.  I opted to trace a medium shoulder, large side. I added a 1/2″ RBA and 1/2″ shoulder slope. After that, nothing went right. Since this was a muslin, I slashed freely to let the CF drop as needed. Would you believe, it didn’t drop? Nope instead it slid to the back; and in the process all the V’s I had removed returned. What’s worse is that the original fitting, the one with only the RBA and Shoulder Slope changes fit better than the 8 subsequent changes and fittings.  After 2 days of futzing with not 1 but TWO muslins. I decided I needed to get smarter, still.  I’ll find notes on this in 2016, Indy’s, Ebb Muslin Apr folder

Moving along, how about adding sleeves to the “fit” Sweater Set, Silhouette Patterns 195. I  had fit this for a sleeveless version. Didn’t want to make sleeveless tops right now but the pattern was supposed to be easily adaptable for sleeves. The sleeve pattern is already enclosed. The designer claims that the armscye for knit sleeves and sleeveless patterns is the same.  This may be a personal preference, but I always seem to want my sleeveless versions to rest higher at the underarms and that’s the way I fit the sleeveless 195. So I thought it would be easy to add the sleeve; just trace the sleeve and lower the armscye as needed. (I even considered that the designer might be right and the armscyes be the same.)

But I ran into problems immediately. I looked at the final muslin and didn’t think all the changes had been transferred to the tissue. Yet, I swear I did that before I wrote my final blog post. Well, easy to check, do a quick muslin.  Sure enough, the center back needed to be taken in a little more, i.e my rounded back adjustment needed a little tweaking at the neckline; also the back armscye darts had not been transferred to the pattern. So no big deal. I make those to the sleeveless pattern. Then I trace the sleeveless version and get ready for a sleeved muslin. As always, I walk my seams. Let me repeat, AS ALWAYS I walk the seams. I’ve learned that anytime I make changes there is room for error. My seams won’t walk.  The front hem is 1.5″ shorter at the side 1″ shorter CF. I thought I added an even 2.5″ to both front and back to make the whole garment longer.  I don’t like the length. It’s a simply style change, isn’t it? Then I find that the side seam notches don’t match. the front armscye is a different depth from the back at the side seam. The back armscye dart has never changed the side seam length before this, did it now? Somehow, I have gotten so many things mismatched that I don’t believe the sleeveless version fits either!

I start the fitting process over, tracing a 5W at the shoulders/armscyes and 7W at the side seams. I intend to remove 1/2″ circumference on each seam at the bust after all the other adjustments are made.  I do RBA, shoulder slope and add length now.  I walk the seams. THEY WALK!!! Well it’s a good sign.  Then I add 5/8″ to the side seams so that I will have a 1″ wide seam allowance for fitting.  I make my first muslin. At which point I discover I haven’t made the 1/2″ adjustment to circumference at the bust. After that it goes downhill. Downhill through 2 more muslins. (I made a total of 3 muslin).  I adjust the RBA up (3/4″) and down (3/8″). I increase and decrease the shoulder slope.  I add 3/8, then 1/4″ shoulder pads before deciding that no shoulder pads are needed and that I’ve stretched out the neckline (reason for beginning muslin 2) I take in a let out seam allowances. Just before Muslin 3 I decide that one of my issues has been ignoring hip circumference. The designer did not specify hip circumference and the waist was more than sufficient. I assumed the designer was correct and there would be plenty of circumference at the hem. Nope I need 6″ more.  I tell you I made, increased and decreased everything I could think of. Lowered the armscyes repeatedly.  I ignored the wrinkles on the sleeves thinking I needed to get the bodice fitting first. Never, ever did the bodice fit me again. I never removed the V’s. I never made the pattern look any better than it did when the only changes were RBA, Shoulder Slope and increased hem. What’s worse, I was trying to transfer changes that I thought successful to the tissue and add the 6″ (1.5″ each SA) I needed for the hip but I could never draw a nice curve. There was too much difference between bust to waist and waist to hem.  I was thoroughly frustrated.  3 muslins, innumerable changes and fitting pics. (I will find detailed notes in Indys, 195Muslin, Muslin2 and Muslin3). I threw all my tracings and all my muslins into the trash. It shouldn’t be this hard!!!

Why did the TRT and TRJ and TRB fit me so easily while these two (Ebb and Sweater set) never even came close?

Taking Another Run At the Ebb

I remember that phrase throughout my life “take a run at”.  Generally it meant digging into the depths of some task more with the intention of discovering what was there more than the actual hope of solving/finishing.

“Making a run at it” was always productive, if an honest attempt was made. I knew people who gave lip service to making an attempt who were then humiliated when someone else successfully made the effort. 

I’ve pretty much identified my fit issues and have already had at least mild success with the Ebb.  But haven’t reached the perfection I seek. My last remaining issue has been that the Empire line distinctively rises at the center front. With busy prints, like the 3 versions in my closet, the line isn’t all that visible. But I know it’s there. Since the last time I made the Ebb, I’ve draped my shoulder and create a basic block for both woven and knit fabrics (and tertiary blocks for sleeveless version of both).  I’ve used my blocks numerous times both in fitting an existing pattern and in drafting versions of the basic style. So I’m taking another run at the Ebb, using my basic block.

I whipped the tape measure around my bust — yep no change and then checked the envelope for recommended size.  I find that I make fewer pattern alterations if I start blouses using my full bust measurement and pants using my fullest hip.   IMO, it’s easier to tweak dart depth than to add tissue trying to make an full bust and prominent seat adjustments.  The envelope suggested starting with a size Large.  So I did.  I traced a size Large.

Louise uses industry standard seam allowances which is 5/8″ unless there is a specific need for something else (like mitered corners that are best with 1/4″ SA).  I, however, use 1/4″ for shoulders and armscyes, 3/8″ for crotch curves and 1/2″ elsewhere. The point is, I can’t just slap my block on top of her patterns and call it done. I need to allow for the seam allowance differences.  So the first think I do is mark the stitching line along the shoulder and armscyes for 1/4″ SA. Really easy to do. Just takes a tick mark or two measured 3/8″ in from the cutting line. Then I slipped my block on top align center front/back and slide upward until the armscyes meet. To my surprise, my block and the traced Ebb are a lot alike. My shoulder slope is different which I copied.  Then, just for fun, I started measuring some differences.  The back shoulder is 1/4″ longer than my block and the back  is 3/4″ wider at each underarm (total +1.5″ across the back).  The front is spot on!  I needed a 1.5″ back waist length adjustment (3/4″ tuck) both front and back.  I

I was tickled pink. I

  • Chose and copied a size
  • Transferred my shoulder slope
  • Made a 1.5″ BWL.

I chose a rayon challis in a busy grey/black/white print.  Laid out my altered pattern and cut my fabric. I taped necklines and the back shoulder.  Interfaced the front as indicated on the pattern and then joined the two halves of the front. Serged the shoulders together of both the blouse and its facing then turned to the SM and stitched the right shoulder 1/8″ deeper (1/4″Sa for the left 3/8″ SA on the right and lower shoulder).  Stitched the facing to blouse; pressed turned and top stitched. Nailed that back facing in place.  It’s large facing. It needs to be anchored. Added sleeves, stitched side seams and finished hems, buttonholes and buttons.  Did you see any fitting any there? Nope.  I’m taking this purely on faith.  Using my block I knew that I had length and circumference correct.  Depth at shoulders should also be correct. The only depth of concern is the same as always for me on the Ebb, the empire line.  I feel strongly this is either going to work or I’m going to need more work at the tissue stage.  So the first try on and  fitting check was done just before hanging in my closet.


Pleased with the back other than I probably should have placed my shoulder pads a little further up the slope. Easy fix.


Front is equally nice.  Love the 3/4 sleeve even without that neat vent trick. I’ve been using the various buttonholes on my Dream Machine to see how they really work with fabric. This particular buttonhole


I really think belongs on a jacket or coat.  It has a wide gap. Very wide. But it’s not noticeable unless you’re up close enough I’d slap your face.

It is the side that tells me the truth

linesside_resize linessideshoulder_resize

There’s always the possibility that the pic is not rotated perfectly.  My tripod won’t hold the camera perfectly upright.  My pics start slightly skewed.  I rotate them at the computer but there’s the question of how well, how accurate my correction really is. So the orange lines I drew because it’s hard to see the empire line, may not be angled as badly IRL.  Despite that, I do think the empire is still definitely sloped upwards at the center front.

Also looking at the shoulder/ear alignment I think the shoulder is falling towards the back. Which happens to reinforce what I was feeling.  I kept shrugging and pulling the shoulders forward.  I think that’s a hint of what I should do next.  I know that my back has been rounding and a few times I have made a half-hearted attempt at adjustment.  I think it’s time to look at this carefully.

But I’m really happy to share that my other issue the SWAGS on the sides beneath my armscyes are G_O_N_E!!!!!


Neither side has swags. I think that tells me the shoulder slope is correct and reinforces the urge to tackle a rounded back adjustment.

Oh and I’m wearing this. The busy print makes it difficult to see the angle of the empire line. I’ll move the shoulder pads in a little but otherwise it’s good to go — anywhere.  (Well maybe not black tie but I’ve never done black tie.)



Ebb (CLD 81508) Once my fit is close..

to fitting, I’m really eager to see if it is perfect. That’s why I had 7 Eleanor muslins.  With each iteration, the fit was so close, I couldn’t help myself. I absolutely had to make the next tweak that could make my  Eleanor perfect. Even knowing this personal  weakness,  I again tweaked the Ebb and paired it  with the  Rayon Batik purchased for my 2016 Spring 6PAC.

I’m happy to say:

 I’m close.

Let’s start by evaluating the back.

Add a few lines …

I’ am concerned the back neck is not hugging my body.  That’s not been an issue with previous Ebb versions. I question:  is this due to the newish fabric; or over-handling; or a new interfacing (a very lightweight, fusible Tricot purchased from The Sewing Workshop); OR the shoulder alteration;  OR my pressing;  OR  does the garment just need a trip through the laundry?  ( I’ve often been amazed by how much better my sewn garments look after they’ve made a trip  through washer and  dryer followed by light starching and  pressing).

I’m rather pleased that the use of 3/8″ left and 3/4″ right shoulder pads have evened my shoulders albeit not perfectly level.

I am happy at how the back hangs from my shoulders. I *think* this is how the garment is supposed to hang from a model’s body; even better that is how it looks hanging from my 60+ shoulder/back.

.. and so I look at the right side view …

… and of course add a few lines so I can see what is going on…

I must admit that the rising front hem which is echoed at the empire line does not inspire me.  I also note that the shoulder seam appears to be leaning towards the back; and wonder how significant that is.   I’m truly pleased that I do not have side swag-lines; the U lines that run from shoulder-blade  across the side and under the side seam before turning upward and meeting the front empire.  Not having those is so encouraging. It confirms that increasing the angle of the shoulder seam is the right choice for my body albeit not the total solution.

But then the front makes me shake my head:

I purchased a new interfacing so that I would not struggle with cutting blouse interfacing.

I truly love most of interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply but admit that I’ve got a problem — please note I recognize this could be me and me alone — when it comes to cutting said interfacing.  I always need to cut the blouse-weight interfacing multiple times.  I end up whacking away at it several times creating jagged lines.   Much as I dislike Pelon, I much prefer the easier, straight-forward cutting experience I had to whatever it is I’m doing now. 
Not only that, but TSW interfacing doesn’t appear to be supplying the body I need for the front neckline of the Ebb. Hold those tomatoes! Take another look:


The neckline will not fold into a typical lapel. I’ve pressed it into place. This IS the best  the lapel will  look. But I like that the wavy empire line is not all that detectable, even when I add lines

Overall my worst complaint?  I can’t see my dragonfly buttons:

I didn’t make buttonholes.  I over lapped the fronts; tacked them together and then stitched my buttons on top. Love these buttons.  Purchased them a couple of years ago and held onto for the perfect garment.  This is it??? They aren’t noticeable unless you are up close and personal??? Despite my whining, this is a lovely garment.  Justifies my fitting efforts and I’m proudly making it Garment #1 in my 2016 Spring 6PAC:

81508 – Wearable Muslin

This past year, every time I’ve learned something new about fitting for my body I’ve returned to this pattern and try to perfect the fit.

I began by opening my Excel  worksheet  and comparing the measurements of my body with the measurements of the body LC used when drafting the pattern.  I traced a size large. Measured the pattern.  Calculated total circumference  Calculated without seam allowances. Calculated total ease.  Calculated… and then a surprising thing happened.  I looked at the finished garment measurements which LC provides.

From that perspective, the Peggy Sagers perspective, a medium would give me 4+” bust ease and 4″ hip ease. For a woven,  non-stretch garment.  I had to ask myself, did I want more? More than 4″ ease?   I remember the medium Ebb fitting nicely across shoulders and upper chest.  It was the center front length,  hip circumference and recently shoulder  slope that cause me concern. So for the first time I can remember, I chose size as Peggy Sagers recommends.  Based on the finished garment measurements, I chose to trace a size medium.

I double checked the medium pattern at  bust waist and hip.I opted for a 2″ BWL. I’m guessing LC uses the same back waist length as the Big4. Then moved onto my…


Sloping, Narrow Shoulder Adjustment as per Katrina Kay.  My previous attempt on a Loes Hinse pattern was easier than pie. I mean it was text-book. But on this CLD pattern,   I struggled.  I could not make the alteration as KK described and retain the same armscye shape and length.  After an hour,  I walked the sleeve along the front and back armscye.  I think the sleeve cap will still be longer than the armscye. I think it will fit even though the back armscye is +3/8″ and the front is +1/8″ longer than the original.   My final alteration was adding 2″ length to the center front at the hem. Both back and front hem are fairly horizontal with only a slight up-tick at the side seams. It was difficult to  add length and keep the hem horizontal. I never really was satisfied with my addition. I think it curves the front hem too much. But I’ve seen this before and while the tissue  looks odd and on the ironing board the garment looks wrong, it hangs correctly on me.

I’m using a rayon Challis purchased not too long ago.  I thought the blue, while not my blue,  would dominate and the overall color scheme be fine for me. When it arrived, I almost sent it back. The actual fabric is dominated by taupe’s with equal amounts of blue and sage. This is not going to be a flattering coloration but it’s good for a muslin.

I used a slightly different sewing order.  I interfaced the front button bands, taped the neckline and then finished the button holes and buttons before taping the back shoulders and neckline. I basted with water-soluble thread from here on out, till I was ready to call this muslin done. One oddity, I based the right shoulder 3/8″ the left 1/2″. That’s what worked on LH5203.  I’m into repeating successes however minor.

My first try-on was a surprise.  I’m using a 3/8 shoulder pad in the left shoulder, 3/4″ in the right. Still I expected to see some swag lines on the side because the armscye lengths had been changed.

The back looks more like the asymmetrical shoulder thing is going on. Side shows only maybe 1 of those annoying swags and the worst I can say about the front is that the empire should be horizontal but appears to be curving.  To my surprise, the hem is too long at center front.

I decide to increase the slope of the shoulders another 1/8″ which still adds 1/4″ length to the back armscye but brings the front back to LC’s original draft.  I also let out the side seam from underarm to vent; basting at 1/4″ instead the 5/8 SA drafted in the pattern. This seems to be enough to fix the back!

and vastly improved the front


Even the side looks pretty good. I’m ignoring any sleeve issues right now. Noting the drag line at the bust. The hem needs to be fixed.

At the final stitching, I increase the armscye slope another 1/8″ which yes shorts the front armscye length 1/8″ but leaves the back armscye 1/8″ longer than LC drafted. I offset the empire line at the center front so that it is 1/4″ deep on the upper bodice but the full 5/8″ on the other side. That tapers to 5/8″ for both about 2″ before the side seam.   While I can tinker with the middle of the empire, the side seam must stay the same as the back side seam. I also trim the center front hem 1″ and then try to re-establish its horizontal nature.

That would be a fail. I have a horizontal, straight hem with angled corners on the back, but a curved hem on the front.  At this point, I can only hope I’m at the forefront of a new hem trend and we can say ‘you saw it here first’.

I never feel as though my sewing of fitting tweaks is  as accurate as if I had been able to sew and only  adjust the amount of ease at the side seams. I’m right because the handling causes some stretching even though I taped critical curves.  But it’s more than that. A frustrating, ‘this just isn’t perfect’ kind of over all impression when the garment has been handled extensively before being  finished.

Disturbingly, my left shoulder is now lower than my right and I’m beginning to see the 80’s return. It’s got to be the shoulder pads. I’ve ordered another set from Wawak that are 1/4 and 1/2″ thick. Going down 1/4″ in thickness on both and thereby hopefully moving away from the 80’s. But also, making the difference in height between the pads  1/8″ less than the previous 3/8 & 3/4″ pads.  When I get the new pads, I’ll have to baste the shoulders and armscyes yet again and tweak armscye depth.  Otherwise, I can’t complain about the appearance of the back. I think it’s supposed to look like this.  I think the back should drop straight from the shoulders and hang free of the body.

Despite the variance of the hem, I’m also pleased with the side view. I’m not seeing multiple swag lines or even a slight pull at the bust.  I’m still getting the upward slant of the empire.  Note, I finished the sleeves and turned up a 1″ cuff but did not create that cute little divot that LC drafted in the sleeve. I know it’s an easy thing to do but by now I was ready to get this done and move on.  My preference is for 1 fitting to tweak ease at the side seams. These multiple tweaks are nerve-racking.  Besides, these are not my colors.  If they were my blue eyes would pop out of my head. No fooling, the right blue makes my eyes gorgeous. The right green and brown makes my skin smooth, slightly flushed and healthy looking.   These colors are doing nothing for me.

Straight on from the front, looks really good. I’m a bit picky and note that I haven’t quite solved the rising front empire line. I don’t think most people will notice. I’m also rather pleased with the front view of the sleeves.  These days, my front sleeves twist. I know it’s a posture issue, but haven’t been able to correct it. I’m not sure I’ve fixed it here either. These are 3/4 sleeves.  They’re not reflecting the full effect of how my arms normally hang.

This is a good muslin. I finished it and will definitely wear it a few times just because that’s the only way I’m truly sure about fit.  So many times, I’ve found that a garment almost changes shape after it’s been on the body a few hours not to mention a trip through the washing machine and dryer.

I’m rather eager for the next version and have already tweaked the tissue

  • Increased shoulder slope
  • Adding 1/2″ wedge to CF of upper bodice — trying to make the upper bodice longer instead of adding to the hem.
  • Returned CF hem to original squared off and horizontal position.
  • Added 1/2″ ease to back side seam. Hope that’s enough. Technically, changing the side seams to 1/4″ added a total of 3/4″ ease across the hip but evenly to front and back. Personal experience is tending towards adding more ease to the back.


Half an FBA

I hoped to find an easy fix for a prominent fitting error on the Ebb. So while I was waiting for Connie Crawford Basic Block, I copied the front bodice, trimmed the button band/neck facing extension and called it one piece to be placed on the fold. I don’t think I need more circumference, ease or body width. What I need is more length  at the center front.  From my drape/HBL study, ideally extra length should be added between shoulder and apex. Unfortunately, I don’t understand how to do that without badly affecting both neck and armscye. The “experts” all add length via an FBA. I partially used Louise Cuttings Dartless FBA instructions and divided the front into 4 sections. I made my first cut from CF to apex (1), second cut from apex to Empire line.  I moved the freed section down 1″, slipped a piece of tissue beneath both pieces and taped it into place. Finally I drew a curve from the edge of the  cut piece back to the side seam (2)

In retrospect, all that cutting and sliding was not needed. I could have added 1″ length at the bottom of the CF, drew a horizontal line 4.5″ (half the distance between my apex(s) (ii?) and then drawn the curve.

What’s the #3 about?  Well I have also noticed a vertical fold just in front of the armscye which indicates too much width across the upper chest (and another reason for doing only half the FBA).  I noticed on my tissue that the original armscye swooped in a little bit more than the final armscye that I drew  using the recommended method (align french curve with original armscye; note numbers; slash/slide armscye;  align french curve with side seam and shoulder point). I redrew the curve trimming about half of the difference while maintaining a nice curve.

I walked the armscye seams before starting the above alterations. Walked  again after having trimmed the front armscye. Walked it a 3rd time to be sure. I had not altered the back armscye curve this time but found that it was short 1/8″. The front was short 5/8″ both before and after the above alteration.  I walked this seam 3 times because I had walked the seam twice before the previous Ebb and had thought the armscye was shorter than the sleeve cap. But during stitching, I had to convince the front sleeve cap to stretch to fit  the front armscye. I must have gotten my figures mixed up.  That’s all it could have been because I clearly needed a higher sleeve cap.  I considered adding a wedge and then figured it would make more since to add an even 5/8″ across the sleeve cap.

My fabric is a cotton, lawn batik. Well that’s how it was advertised.  I hesitated because I’ve always heard you want rayon batik for garments. When it arrived, it looked more like my playful efforts with color discharge than batik but the colors were even more beautiful in person than on the net.   I don’t think this is 100% cotton. I think somebody forgot to mention it had some other fiber content. It behaved on the cutting table with the exception that it didn’t want to fold crisply.  I cut fabric one day and stitched the  next. Overnight the cut pieces changed shape. The hems were especially evident.  I had to trim them back into shape and chose a rounded shirt tail which I promptly ran through the serger forming a rolled hem.   I did tape the neck and shoulders but I’m not sure it helped.  Then it again this could be my own mistake:

I’ve been seeing this cute neckline which is essentially a slit in the center front. Instead of the top of the slit standing tall and proud, the points are folded over. It maybe that I folded too far down. It may be that my fabric didn’t want to cooperate and should have been stabilized with something firmer.It maybe that the designers know something extra about drafting this neckline and I am clueless.

I know that cotton will never have the drape of rayon. But honestly, I didn’t expect this fabric to look larger, less elegant. I’m not upset. I envisioned this as a 3/4-sleeve blouse to pop over other clothing providing myself with either a little more warmth when the prairie winds blow or a little sun protection when the sun shines brightly and burns the heck out of my skin.

Just looks summery to me — hot hot summery. (Where are my shorts? Opps, not yet. We’re still due another snow storm.)

My sleep cap addition worked really well.  I didn’t use the hem vent on the sleeve. I trimmed 3/4″ (hem vent needs 2″) and then hemmed straight across 1.25″ deep. Sadly, I don’t know if my FBA worked or not:

The hem rises both center front and center back. Possibly my fault when I trimmed away the odd fabric growth.  The Empire line rises between side and apex but then drops slighty into center front. What??  Fortunately, this is not easy to see. I didn’t see it in the mirror and couldn’t see it in the pic until I lightened the pic 80%.

I almost wish I had not critiqued the Empire line.  I like this blouse. It will perform as envisioned. Also, I know for a fact most people won’t even realize this was not intended.

I don’t think I will be revisiting this exact alteration. As I type this, I’m about half way through fitting Connie Crawford basic block.  It’s my intention to use the basic block in developing patterns/clothing that fits me without all the slash, slide, smush business.

A New Ebb

I planned to smile just before the camera flash. Didn’t make it.

Despite the fact that I have a perfectly fitted tracing of CLD 81508 (Ebb) pattern, I traced it anew. Crazy?  Well I wanted a second opinion as to whether the Slash-and-Slide NSA worked better than the Slash-and-Smash NSA. So I checked size (still the same) and traced all pieces carefully noting all dots and nips and other pattern markings. I measured my armscye. Then  made the 1″ Slash-and-Slide NSA  by dropping my vertical starting midway along the shoulder and the opposing horizontal started at the notches.  Sliding caused the armscye to drastically change shape.  I aligned my french curve along the curve. Oddly, the back curve stayed the same lenght. Front curve is a different matter. The front armscye curve is about 1″ longer than as Louise drafted.  I measured the  curve and cap of the sleeve and compared both total and front measurements. The sleeve cap is still longer than the armscye. So I left as is.

My fabric is a light weight woven Rayon. I love Rayons, but my immediate reaction to this one (when I pulled it out of the box) was “Whoa. That looked better on the Internet”.  But I needed muslin fabric and set it aside.  Now was it’s turn.

Like all of CLD patterns, this one is perfectly drafted. It sews together quickly, possibly because you aren’t fighting any inconsistencies. I stitched the mitered vents and notched sleeve hems. Top stitched the back facing and the entire neckline. Top stitching made the neckline very crisp; professional.  I stitched the front pieces and shoulders together; turned up the hems and fused into place. But I basted the sleeve, the underarm and side seams.  Checked fit and then finished. I’m very pleased to share with you the final garment and my fitting observations.

I added orange lines to the pics to help point out the issues I see.

There’s no doubt that my back is rounding and requiring more ease. However the Slash-and-Slide does not remove any ease across the back.  Judging from where my orange lines start, I might actually be able to remove a little ease from shoulder to hem. The vertical lines below the shoulder are definitely the result of ease. Is it too much ease?  I kind of like the floating effect of the back.  This occurs because the rayon has a slight amount of body and so does not cling but shifts and drapes nicely. In another fabric the ease might really appear to make the garment too large.

I want to share the back of the first Ebb I made. I absolutely loved this garment and wore it for several years. But the lack of ease across the back is very evident because of all those diagonals, falling from the widest part of my back:

After the first version above, I always added a scant 1/8″ to the CB along the fold. Because of my new Slash-and-Slide method, that correction is not needed.

I’ll share the front next, because if I could only be viewed from back or front, I’d be totally satisfied with this garment.

Granted I’m being really picky about fit. I’ve reviewed some of my earlier garments and missed some of the fit issues I’m seeing now. For instance, I first noticed  the sleeve twist only about 2 months ago.  Since this blouse is not skin-tight, I believe the twist is not badly detracting. I also see the vertical drag lines around from bust and in the skirt. I know these result from insufficient upper-shoulder to apex length. Can’t be corrected now at all. The two blue arrows are pointing to vertical folds in front of the armscye which represent a new and real problem to me.  They were not present when using the Slash-and-Smash NSA.  That method removed a bit of circumference that is not needed in front in total conflict with the theory that an FBA would solve the other bust and front skirt diagonals.  Since they aren’t that horrible, I’m going to ignore them and continue working on fitting this pattern by adding an FBA.  Maybe I’ll get smarter and figure out how to both use an FBA which adds length and circumference while removing circumference up there.

It’s my side view that tells the whole story, or at least 99% of it.

I quit drawing lines because I needed so many. The garment shoulder is not sitting evenly on my shoulder. Again we see the diagonals from the back and front. Correcting the front with an FBA will probably correct the shoulder as well (as seen on my draping attempt post.) In the side pic above, the front hem is clearly seen lifting upwards. This fabric has subtle horizontal lines. A careful look will reveal that those horizontals also slant upwards.

In a way, I wish I’d been more careful with my sewing. I assumed this would be a muslin. I knew I was not making any effort to correct the upper bodice length or sleeve twist. My whole point was to double-check on the effect of my new NSA method. The garment performs as expected. But the fabric looks so much better in the finished product. I should have been more careful about thread color selection (I used white) and anticipating the need for the upper torso length, made at least a 1/2″ FBA.

Well I like it and will wear it this Spring and Summer for sure:

Modification to a Favorite

The Ebb Blouse is one of my absolute favorites.

This time I made it with a fabric purchased from Loes Hinse (another favorite designer). A soft 100% rayon in a crepe weave.  Had I not seen the description in a reliable place, I would have said this was polyester.  The trip through the washer confirmed LH had correctly described this fabric.  Out of the washer, it felt like split wood.  It shrank lengthwise slightly (about 1″ in 2.5 yards) but did not shrink width-wise. It was wonderfully drapey and crawly. I mean it would not stay in the stash.  It wound it’s way downward to the floor and was traveling out the door accompanied by the 2 other pieces also purchased from LH.  I just knew it would be perfect in the Ebb.

Having made a dozen versions of the Ebb straight from the pattern, I desired a slight change. Just something a bit different.  I check my inspiration files and came up with a dress from Burda Issue May 2010 #138.



I didn’t want the short pleated sleeve, paneled front or the dress length.  I wanted the center tucks. I started by tracing the Burda front-bodice, then trying to figure out how it needed to be altered to replace the Ebb front-bodice.  It took about an hour for me to think “wouldn’t this be easier if I just worked from the Ebb pattern?”.  I pulled out a piece of tracing paper. Put the Ebb on top and rotary cut a new piece. Slid the Ebb beneath the copy and transferred needed markings.  Sliced-off vertically the excess (the placket) beyond the center front and then sliced 3 times horizontally from CF up to the side seam. Then I slipped a bit of tissue under my new bodice; spread the horizontal slashes and taped into place.  I folded the horizontal slashes the way I wanted the tucks to form and then slashed the excess 1/4″ past the CF (effectively adding a 1/4″ SA at the same time as truing the new CF).  When opened, the tucks are easily marked and have the angled shape necessary to form the a nice even seam.  Lots of words, but less than 5 minutes todo.  I threw away everything I’d copied from Burda and was ready to cut fabric.

Well not quite.  Remember I said these fabrics were trying to crawl away?  I’ve given up on all methods to stabilize creepy crawly fabrics other than starch. Starch works. Starch takes the flimsiest fabric and turns it board stiff.  Thereby making it handle easily.  Downside is that this is a liquid experience that must be allowed to dry.  So I stopped to starch the fabric and allow to dry while I occupied myself elsewhere.  Even though I know I’m going to starch these types of fabrics, I don’t do it until I’m ready to sew.  I don’t have a bad pest problem.  Every few years a mouse tries to move after the first freeze.  Several types of bugs do the same thing –every year (mice are only an occasional problem).  When we replaced the house’s, siding we also sealed every crack.  The person working with us said we used twice as much caulking as he’d every used anywhere else. Yet, the bugs get in every fall (and a few baby snakes every summer).  Since critters love to eat starch, I protect my fabrics by not starching until I’m ready to cut.

I forgot to mention that I lengthened the sleeve at cutting time.  I like the 3/4″ but I wanted this to be different.  I used MarciaE’s method.  I slipped a piece of tissue underneath my pattern and extended the grain line to the length desired (for me that 20″ plus hem allowance, 1/2″ this version). I crossed my new grain line with a horizontal line and then measured out from the grain (which happened to be in the very center of the sleeve) the width I wanted at the wrist.  I extended the side seams down to the new hem level and trimmed away all excess tissue before cutting the fabric. What I desired was a lightly gathered-at-the wrist, long sleeve. I attached elastic at the wrist hem  using a 3 step Zigzag while the sleeve was still flat.  The stitched the side seams before turning the wrist up twice and top stitching. It’s an easy sleeve which I think looks nicely feminine.

As far as sewing, I changed the routine by folding in the CF tucks and tacking them into place before stitching the CF seam line.  At the cutting table I added 1/4″ to the side seams of the skirt portion (not the bodice).  Then made the hem line even instead of the mitered flaps that make this blouse so unique.  Without the extra 1/4″ when making the straight bottom hem, the blouse is too tight across my hips.  Probably I could have added the 1/4″ to the CF and CB but I didn’t.  Either way, I did need to slightly ease the skirt portion to the upper bodice portion. But I don’t think you can tell.


I’ve had this blouse done for about 2 weeks. It needed to be washed to remove the starch.  I think it needs to be washed one more time. The first trip through the laundry didn’t remove all the starch. The fabric is still visibly stiff and not draping as it did when first arriving at my house.  I don’t think this is the best look for me.  Adding the tucks added volume to the front where I have no volume.  But it is still feminine and even though still stiff from the starch, was comfortable to wear.

Would I do this again?

  •  The sleeve yes. It will be easier than before because now I have a pattern.
  • The bodice no. I’m onto something different. But I will cut a copy of the bodice pattern and make changes to it instead of trying to morph Burda’s bodice into something I want that works with the Ebb pattern.  BTW the issue which killed my Burda modified version?  The neckline.  I couldn’t figure out how to raise that thing from cleavage depths. Everything I did either removed the tucks or distorted the neckline.  I’m not a pattern cutter and that proves it.