Category Archives: Pamela’s Patterns

White Stars

I decided to wait for your advice before proceeding with the Pointelle Knit.  It and associated fabric scraps are hanging on hanger, tucked into a corner of the Sewing Room Closet.


I chose a new fabric to work with, a dark-blue, jersey knit which I think is 100% cotton. Like the first fabric chosen for fitting PP104, it  is elderly. At least 18 years elderly.  It has moved with me 4 times through the same number of states.  Always thought it would make a lovely, summer tank-dress.  I had in mind an almost maxi-length dress with 14″ side slits. Oh so sexy, but I never cut into the fabric. It’s a Walmart fabric i.e. gathered up and sold to US home consumers when Walmart exec’s scoured CONUS and convinced clothing manufacturers that garment manufacturing wasn’t returning state side and they would be money ahead by selling to Walmart for pennies on the dollar as opposed to paying to warehouse a fabric that might not ever be used.  WM did have some valuable insight about that. In addition to change in current colors, prints, etc, the whole knitting process has changed significantly.  Wovens and knits that commanded $$$ 30 years ago, are snubbed today for their lack of current processing and finishes..  I was very uneasy about the next set of tissue changes (explained below). Almost didn’t cut this fabric and then it hit me.  I need a new PJ top to go with a favorite jegging I use for sleep wear.  Whether or not my changes and this fabric work well, the resulting garment will have a purpose.

Let me back track and describe the new set of tissue changes.  There is no question in my mind that the additional 1/2″ length I removed on the right side (just below the shoulder seam) is the correct alteration for me.  This alteration smoothed out a majority of the drag lines and puffiness on the right side.  It left the center back and center fronts flowing smoothly over my body. So the first thing I did was add a 1/4″ tuck (removing 1/2″ length) just under the shoulder SA on the right side of both my front and back tissue pieces.


My 2nd concern was the bust dart.  I looked at previous photos carefully. Applied exposure and contrast  filters and enlarged until I could see the darts well.  After the 2nd set of changes, wherein I removed about 2″ length just below the shoulder, the dart no longer pointed to my apex but towards the ceiling. I did not want to restore even 1/8″ of that length. I knew I needed to remove even more on the right side. The only option I could see was moving the bust dart. I used the old-fashioned method of cut a box around the dart and move down. Fill in the now blank space and redraw the side seams.  I lowered the left bust dart 1/2″.  The right caused me consternation.  Do I lower it the same (1/2″) knowing I’ve just lowered the shoulder another 1/2″ and will need restore the armscye 1/2″ lower?  I opted to lower the right bust dart 1″ (and crossed my fingers hoping I was right).


I retrieved my armscye templates and redrew the right armscye.  I was rather surprised that the back armscye wasn’t much lower, but it did seem to fill in, a lot.

All that blue is added space when the template is copied.

I finished the tissue alterations by walking and truing seams.

I cut the fabric. Had enough to cut full front, back and full length sleeves. Also matched the stripe across back and front and the sleeves but the sleeves are not matched to the body. Not enough fabric. Nor was there enough fabric to place the stripe in a more flattering position. I taped the back neck and shoulders then serge finished the side seams.  Stitched the darts and serge finished the front side seams.   I serged the left shoulders together but basted the right shoulder and side seams; sleeves are still laying on the cutting table.  Time for the first fitting, the one right after the tissue has been traced and initial alterations if any, are made to the tissue.  The one I call Fit 00. I’m disappointed that my reasoning and effort didn’t improve the bust dart position at all.  Both are still pointing off into space and surprisingly, the left might need to be lowered a little more. This fitting confirmed my resolve to have 1/2″ seam allowances. While the first jersey fabric was  snug, and the 2nd jersey (Pointelle knit) far too loose, the elderly jersey was tight. Tight enough to hang up on my butt and skew fitting evaluation.  So first order of business with Fit00, was to rebaste the side seams at a scant 1/4″ deep and take new pictures.

Fit01, looked only slightly better but the extra 1″ (1/4″ * 4 seam allowances) of ease did make it feel better.


I had a thought to check where the waist was sitting.  Normally or at least in times past, I would need a back waist length adjustment,  I delayed making the NSA because I thought I raised the waist position 2″ when I shortened the garment under the shoulder seam.  I put the garment back on, marked where my waist hit then compared the garment to my previous knit block. I also measured the current tissue to see where the waist was exactly because that’s not marked on the pattern. The narrowest area which I assume is the waist is about 1″ tall.  My waist corresponds to about the bottom of that 1″. So for Fit 02, I made a 1/4″ tuck just above the marked waist, basted side seams back together and took pics.


Although the raised waist felt better it did not look any better nor were there fewer drag lines. Truly it began to look like a round back issue. Well could I do anything after the fact? I can’t slice the fabric apart and insert and wedge, not if I intend to wear this.  But I could take 1/4″ deep darts along the side seams across from the bust dart and increase the bust dart to 1.50″ deep.  In the pics, it looks like I’ve added a back yoke and it feels pretty good. But it’s not looking much better.

To tell the truth, I was getting pretty tired of this pattern entirely.  I really thought after Test Garment #1 that all I needed to do was copy the fitting adjustments back to the tissue. Then on a subsequent garment, remove more length from the right side. To my surprise the diagonals on the left returned and in some pics there are horizontal folds of cloth across the mid back. Should I blame the fabric?  Was fabric #1 really that good when compared to Fabric 2 the Pointelle knit and Fabric 3 the elderly cotton jersey?


I finished the top. Forgot to mention the persistent dart that wanted to form at CF under the neck.  The easiest solution was a popular neckline, gathers at the center:


Not anxious to invest a lot of finishing time, I applied FOE around the neckline, sleeve and bodice hems but to make it a little special I used one of the built-in stitches on my SM


Actually, I welcomed this opportunity to practice with FOE.  I could never apply (to my satisfaction)  FOE using my Bernina 1630 or Viking Ruby.  I’ve been so pleased with how the Brother Dream Machine handles it beautifully. The only issue is how much to stretch the FOE during the stitching. I want enough stretch (with recovery) so that the FOE’d edge does not flare or flute but I’ve never wanted it to actually gather.  I did the CF gathering the old-fashioned way with a basting stitching, pulled to preferred length and held in place until the FOE could be stitched.

This top becomes a PJ for at least the beginning of the winter season.  I’m perplexed about fitting. Both tops and bottoms are becoming really difficult yet I don’t see that my body has become horribly deformed. Mostly I can see that right shoulder is lower, not so much forward, but lower than the left.


My hips still measure the same, but my waist has thickened. I’ve moved from misses petite into  women’s petite when buying my jeans because the waist is bigger …and… more comfortable.  I keep thinking I should still be able to make my standard narrow shoulder and back waist length adjustments and then add something new for the asymmetrical shoulder.  Maybe tweak the waistline a little.   Not working out that way. I’m struggling.

I’ll be taking a few days off before trying to fit knit tops again.  I ‘ve enrolled in a basic fitting course at Craftsy.  Sometimes I need to go back to basics.  I think this is one of those times. While I was able to fit  the first test garment, none of the changes I made to that fabric and tissue worked as expected on test 2 and 3; and none of my additional fitting efforts improved the last two test garments. Neither look anywhere as nice as the first test.  I need to reevaluate and start fresh.


Story of a Pointelle Knit

Although terribly please with the fit of my PP104 jersey knit, I couldn’t be 100% sure that my pattern changes would produce the same results.  Well, I really want better than that because while I was thrilled with the fit of the back, front and left side, the right side still needs major improvement.


In addition to the horizontal pull lines, there are also 2 diagonals , one on the back the other on the front which although I can’t see it in the pic probably meet at the side seam.  So I need to test the tissue changes, restore the armscye circumference possibly addressing the horizontal pulls at the same time, and then clean up that drap on the right side so it looks as good as the left.

I marked the current tissue as “slinky”. I’m now thinking of it as the Slinky Version. I then traced a copy of the back and front of the Slinky Version; folded Slinky up and put it away.


I immediately added  2″ length at the hem.  I don’t plan to add 1″ binding to every T-shirt I make. In fact I plan to use this as my basis for many other knit tops and will want a hem for most of them.  I retrieved my armscye template (traced before changes were made to the Slinky) aligned with shoulder point and underarm seam and traced the template.  I’m particularly eager for you to be able to see the different this makes but fear that pens didn’t make a dark enough mark.  The template lowered the underarm at least 1.5″ but it also filled in along the upper armscye. I finished by adding 1/4″ to the side seam allowances. I like to give myself some room to adjust.  Not all knits stretch the same amount. When I need to, I want to be able to let out the seam just a little.


Initially I did almost the same for the back i.e added 1″ to the hem, copied the back armscye template and added 1/4″ to the side seam allowance.  I stacked the tissues, cleaned the room and went away for the night.  I like to have time to reconsider all the changes that I make. Far too often I find that success is within my grasp if I just take a little time to let my right brain and left brain analyze things.  The following day, I decided to change the back side seam.  I had traced a medium going out to large at the hip.  I opted now to trace a large along the entire side seam from underarm to hem and then add 1/4″ to the SA.

The sleeve also needed changes.  I don’t have a picture because I confused myself several times and made many more lines than there are even on the back.  Essentially, I traced a small along the cap, medium along the front side seam, large along the back side seam then added 1/4″ to the side seam allowances.  At least, that’s what I intended to do.

I cut away the excess tissue.  I made full copies instead of half pieces because I know that I will be making different fitting changes for my right and left sides. I would have made full-sized pieces eventually for working with prints and stripes so it’s not that big of a deal. When I folded out the back, I saw this interesting upward curve in the back neckline:


It’s just slight. Maybe a scant, scant 1/4″. Maybe between 1/8 and 1/4″.  It’s just enough I can see it.  I know it resulted from the last set of darts I put in the Slinky Version. They were placed just under the shoulder and intended to create the shoulder slope without affecting the length of the shoulder.

I wanted a fabric very similar to the jersey knit just used. I was hoping to minimize the issues that occur when a different fabric, different weight, different stretch are used.  Unfortunately I don’t have anything exactly like the previous cotton jersey. I did have this lovely Pointelle Knit which is somewhere between 2 and 10 years old. Bet you thought I was going to say 20! No I know I’ve purchased it since moving to SD. I don’t remember where or when but I do remember being disappointed when I realized this wasn’t going to work as a Summer Tank.  Those lace holes can be very revealing. But it will work fine for an Autumn and especially Winter garment when I’m likely to add more under layers. I don’t know if this is a blend. Pretty sure it has a cotton content. A woven fabric has a straight of grain.  The cross grain is usually very straight. Knits are different. Some are really bad at biasing. This one was slightly bad.  Enough so that I did consider tossing and choosing another fabric but then I thought it is a good test. I mean, if I totally goof this up, I probably won’t be so upset and can blame part of the defeat on the fabric. So I proceeded to struggle with and do a pretty good job at aligning stripes to cut my front and back. I had only 1.5 yards of fabric and was thoroughly planning to make 3/4″ sleeves. By aligning the sleeves stripes to each other and ignoring the body, I was able to create full length sleeves.  Since this is primarily to be a winter garment, I went with it.

I taped the back shoulders;  serge finished the side seams, and stitched the bust darts before changing the bobbin to water-soluble thread. Maybe I could have serged the left shoulders but I decided to baste the shoulders together.  On second thought, I also stay stitched the necklines.  A little late but hopefully it will help. I basted the side seams at 1/2″ and made my first try on.

For the next pics I’ll be wearing a camisole to combat both the grin through of my underwear and the tendency of the fabric to cling to my body.  I adjusted several times and still didn’t get it all correct, but I can see lots of good things.


In this back view the diagonals on the right side of my body are very clear. I also wonder if I shoulder have left the shoulder length at a medium. But otherwise, I think it’s OK>


Even with the wonky folded shoulder, it’s clear that I need to do something with the back, right side. The front however is considerably improved. There are no tight pulls from bust to side seam.

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I think the front and left-side bear out the previous observations. I’m thinking I’ll concentrate my efforts on correcting the drape on the back, right side.


It’s clear to me, that the right shoulder doesn’t just slope more, it’s actually lower.

I won’t share the next set of pics. I stitched the left shoulder seam 1/2″ deeper. When I slipped the garment over my head (after putting on a camisole), it did not settle into place. While in the first set of pics, the right shoulder folded, this set of pics the left shoulder slipped towards the back.  I did not notice this until I was carefully reviewing the pics to see why the left side had suddenly developed drag lines.  Drag lines on the right side were considerably reduced. In fact, there are none on the front or back views. They can only be seen from the side view. Oddly there are more drag lines above the bust dart than below.  I realize that I have ignore the just learned lesson that if the armscye is shortened at the shoulder it must be restored at the underarm. Oy! Vey! I take the 3rd set of pics with the right shoulder seam ripped 1/2″ at the underarm and carefully position the garment on my body.

I’m hating this garment already.  I don’t like to fuss with my clothing. This garment isn’t even complete and I know I’ll always have to wear a camisole and carefully adjust its position on my body. Add to that, this color is unflattering. It offers no contrast, actually making my complexion muddy and spotty.


I deliberately made this pic small so that you had to be ‘stepped back’.  It makes you take a bird’s-eye or overview.  I have the left sleeve inserted. Could you tell?

I look at the right side view right away because that’s where the change was made and that’s my greatest concern. I’m relieved that the most of the drag lines have disappeared. There’s still a little puffiness on front beneath the bust dart and the a little more on the back. Honestly, it could be telling me to add waist shaping. What I notice though is that the bust dart is no longer pointing to my apex


and quickly discover the same situation has developed on the left side


This is likely to be an error in the alterations made to Slinky. I cut a lot off at the shoulder seam. maybe that was the wrong place?   On the back, right-side I keep wanting to take a dart across from the bust dart line. But if I do that, the side length between underarm and waist will no longer match.  Something needs to change. But what?

The question now, though, is do I finish this garment?:

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I hate the color. Hate putting on this garment especially since I have no choice when it comes to wearing the camisole. The bust dart is in the wrong place. Period. As in whether I adjust the shoulders or not.   On the plus side, it’s the right length; maybe a little excess ease but not too tight anywhere.  I’ve discovered that the sleeve needs to be shortened 1/2″ (already transferred to the pattern!).  I’ve discovered that continued shortening of the right side is necessary. Not increasing the slope or performing a forward shoulder adjustment, but darting the right side to remove length is the correct alteration (I just don’t know the right place to put that dart).

What would you decide?


PP104 Round Two

Somewhere around 3AM my left brain woke me up and said “You know, we’re forgetting our standard alterations.” It was like lightening struck. I haven’t paid attention to my standard alterations (1″ narrow shoulder  and back waist adjustments) since I fell in love with Connie Crawford’s 1201. I used that to develop my non-stretch block and after much effort used Connie Crawford’s 5215 to develop a stretch block.   Since developing these blocks, I haven’t made the standard alterations. Instead, I’ve either used my blocks to develop new styles or I’ve slid the block on top of the pattern and cut the new pattern to fit my blocks. Time to remember my figure issues and apply those pattern alterations.

Pamela included a line to apply a 1/2″ length adjustment through the armscye. Her instructions say that some women need a longer armscye. If you don’t (that’s me!)  fold out along the lines. I thought back to the first fitting. I was concerned with how low the armscye was sitting (mid bra band).  PP104 does not use the high, tight, classic blouse armscye but neither is it the typical boxy T-shirt that you buy in any store. It is rather a relaxed, easy fit armscye. Still I didn’t expect it to sit so low.  At the same time, the bust dart was too low, by  1/2″ or so. As I kept adjusting the shoulder slope, the armscye was raised to something more acceptable.


I’m using Hobby Lobby’s aisle runner to trace my patterns.  I like this for several reasons but dislike the fact that alterations have to be secured with something besides any of  the tapes in my possession. The fold I took across the chest was zig zagged inplace. With no desire to un-stitch and the fear that such an activity might harm the tissue, I folded a 2nd tuck just above the first and stitched that at 1/4″ removing 1/2″ with the previous 5/8″ tuck that’s a total of 1.25″ length removed — providing my calculations are right.

Then I looked at the shoulders a second time


which now look like a stepped pyramid. They are also far too wide (green arrows) and while you might not be able to see it, I can tell that the bodice is too wide.  It ripples and gapes almost as badly as the armscyes did. The pattern uses 1/4″ seam allowances through out. There’s between 1/2 and 3/4″ fabric hanging over my shoulder point.  The overhang could be caused by how much I’ve taken up at the shoulder seam. I’ve taken up so much, that the back neck is creeping up and peaking over (gold arrows). I’m undecided as to whether I should apply an NSA, copy the small or extra small shoulder/armscye line.  Looking at the back from Fit01


it does look too wide and it’s starting to curve at the upper 1/4 mark instead of down there under the arm — but in this pic I’ve already increased the slope to 7/8″ which definitely shortens the armscye pulling a wider portion upward.  I need to address both the narrow shoulder and the increased shoulder slope.  I opt to trace the ‘small’  shoulder and add a 3/8″ dart in the both front and back armscye just above the 1/2″ tuck made a few minutes earlier.

I aligned the altered pattern pieces on their respective fabric cut outs.  The backs aligned  pretty good and I trimmed excess fabric without too much concern.

About 3/4″ trimmed from the shoulders, strings from the armscyes and just a teensy bit at the bottom.

The front was an entirely different story. While the back fabric edges curled slightly, the front fabric was determined to roll tightly making it very difficult to see the full width/length.  Finally as best as possible,  I pinned the darts together and aligned the armscyes, shoulders and neckline and trimmed.

Over 2″ trimmed from the shoulder; at least 1/2″ from the armscyes

I didn’t trust the trimming I did to the fabric. So even if I made further fitting changes, I would not be transferring them to the pattern.  I decided to skip the fitting, serge and move along to the next test. I cut binding from a light weight ponte which finished to 1″ around the neckline and hems, 1.5″ at the sleeve hems. The extra binding width on the sleeves was a necessity not a design decision. Aligning stripes meant some waste and I could not cut the full sleeve length. However, I think it looks good.

The neck binding gave me issues. The first time, I pulled too tight. Which meant that the neckline contracted and rippled.  Also told me that the neckline was much smaller than I wanted.  I took a few minutes to fold the front and back in half, pin together and cut a new neckline; onto which I basted the binding.  Basted, the binding looked nice. I serged, then top stitched.  That’s the first time I’ve used my 1/4″ foot.  I ran the little blade in the well between binding and neck and top stitched a perfect 1/4″ away.  Then I pressed. At which time I realized the binding is just a bit too long. Too bad. I’m not un-serging. Nope. Not doin’ it.

I serged the sleeves into the garment; serged the side seams before adding a whiff of spray starch and a careful press for pics. I do try to make the garment look its best for the  final pics.

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Seriously can you imagine my excitement when seeing the pics for the first time. Oh yeah I can look into the camera and see something. But the real details aren’t evident until I transfer pic to computer monitor. And the details are wonderful.

The back has no diagonals. Nor fabric puddling in the mid-back (the thing that causes everyone to exclaim “you need a sway back alteration”.   The front looks pretty nice too. Even the sleeves are missing my typical forearm drape.  Tellin’ you, I’d buy this at a store.


The side view gives us just a little more information.  This is the first pic in which the front hem seems to be raising.  I did not rotate the pic which normally I must do. On its tripod, my camera tilts slightly most of the time. For now, I’m going to say CF probably needs only a little or no lengthening at all. There are some bubbles and pulls around the bust and what you can’t see is that the armscye is really high and tight. I actually plan to keep this tissue as it is because I think it will be perfect for slinky/4-way stretch fabrics.  (I’ll cut a new one).

I’m not totally sure if I need more ease across the bust (and a little depth as in a FBA), or if the real issue is that I have not compensated for the shortened armscye. I took nearly 3″ off the total armscye circumference.  Katrina Kay is an unsung hero in my mind. Just love her videos but not sure if I got the sloping shoulder information from her videos here or her website (Katrina Kay Creations which won’t pop up for me at the moment.)  I know from reading/viewing her instructions that when the shoulder slope is changed,  the armscye circumference changes and then needs to be restored. Haven’t done it and that could very well be what the horizontal pulls are telling me.

For now, my garment is hanging in the closet.  I have no issues with wearing it as is.  Tell you again, I’d buy this at the mall and proudly tell you the store!


Pattern Changes

  1. Trace
    1. small shoulders
    2. front medium from under arm to hem
    3. back
      1. medium for underarm to waist
      2. large from waist to hem.
    1. Shorten upper bodice 1.25″
    2. Lengthen just above hem 2.25″ (see depth adjustment below)
    1. Seam allowances
      1. Default 1/4″
      2. Add 1/4″ to side seams, total 1/2″ side seam allowance.
  4. DEPTH
    1. Upper armscye depth 3/4″
      1. changes shoulder sloper without changes shoulder length
      2. Restore armscye circumference
      3. Increase Bust dart depth 1/8″ (offset by 3.1.2)



Pamela’s Pattern 104

I came across PP 104 in my pattern stash while I was hunting for her pants pattern so I could copy that great fitting crotch. I pulled out PP104 asking myself why I hadn’t used this great pattern in a long time.  Oh, I remember!  I struggled mightily with Connie Crawford knit, T-shirt pattern to develop a block for stretch fabrics. Once the knit block was developed, I didn’t really need PP104.  Unfortunately, I’m once again struggling with knit tops that don’t fit as nicely as I’d like.  I have at this point discovered that my biggest new issue is the changing slope of my shoulders with a possible rounding back demanding attention too. So instead of continuing to develop a knit block from my woven, I’ve decided to start with this plain but nicely fitting, knit, T-shirt pattern.

Not having worked with the pattern in a long time, and given my maturing memory (which is to say I can’t remember stuff these days), I decided to re-read the instructions. One piece of advice grabs my attention.  The darted T-shirt front was developed for the person with a bust that is more than 3″ larger in circumference than their upper bust.  Pam recommends if you’re on the fence i.e undecided as to whether the dart is truly needed or not, try the darted version first.  So I select the sleeve, back and darted front master patterns for tracing.  I check the recommended sizing and then decide to compare with my woven block.  I know I won’t need as much ease in a knit garment as I do with a woven fabric, but still it’s a good place to start. I opt to trace the medium angling out to large at the hips.  I can always take it in.  Different story if I need to add more. At this time, I also fold the tissue along the upper bodice lengthen/shorten line.  I know from experience that I don’t need this extra length.

My fabric is a 100% cotton jersey. It’s not real beefy but it is thicker than a summer knit. This is a relatively new fabric to my stash and only 1.5 yards long.  I make a habit of checking’s remnants before checking out and this gem just jumped into my basket at the last second earlier this year.  It’s a deep turquoise background with black print — if that’s not black it’s midnight navy.  I both like and dislike the print. It’s lovely to look at and will disguise many ills both figure and sewing,  but I will want to center the print and match across the rows. So extra effort when I’d really like a quick test fitting garment.

I make full pattern pieces, arrange the front and back on the fabric and cut them out.  Next I copy my shoulder slope to the fabric marking with a fine point Sharpie which I tested for grin through.  I also mark the bust darts and then trim the neckline 3/4″ deepening to  2″ at center front.  I don’t want to mess with facings. I’ll be using black contrasting bands at the neck and hems, including sleeves.  I take the cut pieces to the ironing board and fuse bias tape to the front neckline the back neckline and shoulders.  I know I will need to try this on once or twice. I don’t want to badly stretch the neck.

With the first try on,


I note that the armscye is really deep, even with that 1/2″ folded out; and, as expected, is wobbling back and forth almost like flapping its wings. I see copious drag lines and drapes along both sides under the armscye almost all the way to the waist. I deepen the bust dart another 1/8″, stitch the side seams at 3/8″ instead of the 1/2″ I think is there (I’m wrong. Pam uses 1/4″ seam allowances through out); and deepen the shoulder seam 3 times  until it is 2″ deep. I’m perplexed. The first fit felt pretty good. I thought the drag lines I was seeing would all disappear with a pinch or two and the shoulder.  Instead the  4 ever deeper shoulder seams and bust darts have resulted in an awkward looking top


Instead of a few drag lines, I’ve got pouching and puffing like a severe sway back, the back neck and shoulder is now peaking over into the front and while the drag lines along the sides are reduced they’re still not gone.  I’ve taken in the shoulder seam 2″. That should be enough to correct anything…..but it looks worse.

Ah well, time for dinner


and a think.


5/8 is not a magic number

I had this brain-phart I wanted to explore. Both my muslin for CS1201 and 1204(dartless) required a 5/8″ shoulder slope. The BPh, was thinking that  I simply needed to add one standard alteration, shoulder slope, and my tops would fit beautifully as always.

So I traced another copy of PP104, the dartless version.  I made my usual BWL and the by now typical slash and slide NSA. The I drew a new shoulder line that was 5/8″ lower on the armscye side.  I knew this shortens the length of the armscye, so I also lowered the armscye by scooping out  5/8″ at the underarm and then trued the new points into a nice smooth armscye front and back.

I chose another ITY for my fabric. Well, it sort of chose me.  This is one of those fabrics that looked better on-line than it did in person. I wouldn’t have purchased it had I been in a store. But it was here. It was cheap and eventually I’ll need another muslin worthy fabric so into the stash it went. I have several ITY knits in the stash. I buy them all the time; like every time I see one I really like..  I like wearing and sewing them. They launder well and unlike rayon knits stay in the wardrobe for several seasons.  They are always well-behaved in the stash; patiently waiting the time when they are perfect for the garment imagined. Not this one. It didn’t like the stash. It would slide to the side. Creep to the front. One time it escaped to the back and beneath the stash shelves where DV (my robotic vacuum) choked trying to eat it.  I’m actually doing a bit of rearranging and came across this fabric, yet again trying to creep away. I decided if it was so determined to get my attention, it would be a muslin n-o-w.

I taped the shoulder seams and stitched them together. I didn’t think I’d like the finished garment (because of the print) and decided to use elastic to finish the neckline. I stitched the elastic to the right side; pressed folded and then top stitched.  My elastic is actually lingerie elastic with a tiny bit of trim which now peaks out at the neckline. I hemmed, then set in the sleeves and stitched the side seams. The sleeve hem gave me no end of trouble. First the sleeve itself was 1″ too long. I had to trim that. Then I wanted to turn the hem up and coverstitch but the wrist is too narrow. I fought with the CS for a short period of time before deciding it wasn’t worth it. Ripped out the badly CS’d hem and tried turning the hem 1/2″ twice. My pins would not stay in. My hem would not turn. I finally gave up. Threw it on the ironing board. Turned off the lights and went to watch TV.  Maybe it was just fatigue?  The next day, the hem turned easily; pins stayed in and I was finished (including shoulder pads) in about 30 minutes.

I’m not entirely sure what’s happening with the back. I don’t see signs of strain which would indicate the back is too narrow.  I know  both of Conni’s blocks benefited from increasing the depth of the back dart.  If this had been a woven it would be poofy. But since it’s a drapey ITY knit, it sags below shoulder blades and clings to butt. I question those diagonal lines because I know there is more than enough ease across both shoulder and butt. I may need to admit that like others, I need the CB seam. Because, even with the shoulder pads, you won’t mistake this for the back of a younger woman.  Yet, it’s not so bad I won’t be seen wearing it.

Even on the side view, I see the diagonal lines on the back. There’s also a strong horizontal on the front. That’s from my pants. Just finished, but they have an error on the waistband that needs to be corrected. I really need to get rid of that bra. I spent the day pulling it down (it creeps up and over apex no matter how much I adjust shoulder straps or hooks). Clearly it does nothing for my figure. But what’s really interesting to me is that the strong diagonal that were forming below the bust as shown here

are gone.  Interestingly, my research says the pulls above the bust indicate that the shoulder slope is too great (i.e. needs to be less than the 5/8″ I made), yet these drag lines above the bust were also visible  when the shoulder slope was too square.

That bra has got to go (pause while running off to find and destroy). Oh and the diagonal on the sleeve, prominent as always.  I just feel like all the diagonals, both front and back are going to the underarm.

So what’s next. Obviously, just lowering pattern-shoulders by 5/8″ is not the silver bullet. The shoulder slope does need to be changed and I need a reliable way to make every shoulder slope match my body.   I need to contemplate my next action.  I am anxious to resolve this fitting issue. I’ve seen several knit tops I want to copy.

Sleeve Drag Line

This is bugging me


The sleeve drag line between shoulder and elbow. In case you can’t see it, I’ve added dashed lines along side each of the examples.

I checked my files and found this is not new. It appears time after time. Garment after garment. I’m just now noticing it. Which makes me think, I’m getting pickier and pickier about fit.  The twist will diminish according to posture and fabric.  It also gets worse. But is always there.

The last sleeve

I rotated the sleeve cap back as all the advice I could read recommended. That made the drag line worse. So I rotated forward. Incredibly this was even worse. Setting the sleeve in according to notch marks gave me the best results.  I thought it unlikely that I had cut off-grain all the sleeves I’ve sewn in the past 2 years but I had the fabric and carefully recut the sleeves. That’s (above) the best that it gets.

Linda suggested it might be sleeve cap height. Then I found a Shirley Adams Youtube clip in which she clearly shows that pressing down on the shoulder eliminated these drag lines. So I decided to give that a try.

Still using PP104 but I traced the higher sleeve cap.  My supply of ITY’s is low and besides I’m tired of just sewin’ a T-shirt.  I chose a cotton/lycra/??? blend. It’s soft and cushy and has 25% stretch.  I wanted to make an interesting neckline and stitched out this FSL Cravet

Purchased from Secretsof sometime ago, it was too large for my PE770 hoop.  I trimmed some of the furthest corners and stitched in my hoop.  I never trust true FSL. Not since my disaster with Marie’s Angel. So I hooped WSS, then tulle and a WSS topper. I used white for the base and must confess that this design probably would have worked as true FSL. Thing is, so many things can go wrong with FSL and you end up with a disaster. So I won’t dissuade you from stitching FSL, but I’m glad I slipped in that tulle. I did one goof. After stitching both colors, I removed from the hoop and trimmed the excess stabilizer (and tulle).  I should have soaked it and allowed it to dry. Instead I grabbed my wood burning tool and burned away the excess tulle. Unfortunately, the WSS burned too.  My FSL looks a little grungy and will need washing before I wear my garment the first time.

I made a mistake with my neckline finish too. A happy mistake. I knew I wanted to applique the cravet to the neck; trim excess garment fabric into a shapely neckline. Wrap the neckline edge like piping. I cut my binding narrower than usual. It was not narrow enough. Oh it wrapped beautifully, but then rolled up and to the outside. I made a 2nd line of stitching about 3/4″ away from the first and then trimmed the excess. This is a beautiful neckline finish.

Neckline Back
Neckline Front

Must remember to do again.

I hemmed the sleeves using the cover stitch and then I finished stitching the garment together.

Et Voila

This sleeve is no better than the previous.   If anything it is worse as I now have an abundance of horizontal wrinkles below the elbow.  Want to see the whole garment?

It’s the top I posted when I finished the last Tj906 pants. Absolutely love the color. The fabric feels nice. Offhand though I wouldn’t say this was a great fitting top. Which perplexes me. I faithfully copied all the tweaks from previous garments. Even using the IMO ridiculous 1/4″ deep bust dart. I do get to the point of just say F-it. But I have another question. Could the drag line really be a twist at the elbow?  I notice my  loose sleeves seeming to just wrap around and around. Could the sleeve be too long between shoulder and elbow?  Did I add too much ease?  Could the armscye be too long?   Is this just what soft fabrics do?


**Just a note:  I’m using 1/4″ foam shoulder pads attached on the armscye seam and at the neck edge.  If I don’t the shoulder collapses into a mass of upper sleeve wrinkles. With drag line is actually better than the default no-shoulder pad version (on me).  I use shoulder pads because I have narrow shoulders and my back is rounding due to age and lifelong activities. Shoulder pads help me look a little more normal and less hunched. Definitely make my tops look and fit better.  I also think they make me look a little more youthful.  But I am wondering about the choice of foam pad and garment attachment points.

For now, Close Enough

Ach! You would not believe the issues I’ve had getting this pattern to fit.  I stopped at one point to review all the PP104’s sewn to date and then reviewed a number of other patterns who’s fit pleased me.  I discovered that the fitting issues I’ve been working on have existed for quite some time.  Fabric makes a difference. With some fabrics, especially firm wovens, the issues are barely visible–easily discarded as a posture-of-the-moment effect. With softer fabrics and thin knits such as the ITY’s I’ve been working with for this round of fitting, the issues are glaringly obvious.  For those fabrics,  I may have chalked up the drag lines to fabric and not fit.  I never expect a perfect garment. I know I’ll have to rip something or that tweaks will need to be made to accommodate individual fabric idiosyncracies.  In fact, I usually baste the side seams and waistbands with water-soluble thread so that I can easily rip and re-stitch. But I’m satisfied with the level of fit for now.

It has taken me 4 T-shirts, a wadder (fabric and permanent ink pen had an unfortunate meeting) and 6 fittings devoted strictly to fitting the front of today’s T-shirt to reach this point:


I know it can be hard to see. I was playing with the drape from the Joyful Top. Also, I want to caution that posture makes a huge difference.  You did see drag lines in the pics, but in the mirror the drag lines around the bust are limited to 1 tiny pull above the bust dart which terminates in the armscye.  What it took to get this look?  After abandoning the dartless front,  I traced the darted front and made a T-shirt. Hating the angled dart which reminds to much of the french darts which I despise,  I rotated the dart from angle to horizontal posture and made another T.  Finally, I marked my apex on the fabric. Measured fabric and  marked the pattern with my BP. Which allowed me to raise the bust dart into horizontal position pointing to my BP.  Should be done, right? Bust point correctly placed; bust dart correctly placed. Done?  But no there were still horrible wrinkles.  So much that I despaired of ever finding a solution.  See, I’ve always been told that those drag lines meant that I needed to take up more fabric in the bust dart. So I did. I went from 1″ to 1-1/8″ to 1-1/4″ to 1-3/8″  without improvement. In fact, the back and sides would look worse!  Then I re-read a post by Shams re fitting the über busty. I’m not über busty.  I was small busted for so many years that I still have problems acknowledging I even have a bust. Even though I don’t have the same exact issue as Shams, I read with interest Shams statement to the effect  that if she can, she leaves the bust dart alone until almost the end. Because, she prefers to drape it in or as I call it “pinch it in”.  Reading her post gave me a light bulb moment.  I realized the best the PP104 front had looked was when I pinched in a bust dart on the dartless front version of PP104. I ripped out the side and dart stitching and pinched in (draped) a dart, my dart. I created a dart a mere 1/4″ deep. One-quarter Inch.  I still have a drag line or two above the dart. So I tried moving it and making a little deeper. Nope the best the front and sides look, is the 1/4″ deep dart located horizontally across from my BP.  It seems for that small amount of dart depth, I could just ease it along the side seam. But it’s done for now. Done. Good. And Enough. I can play with it later when I’m so inclined.

Odd to me was how the back would look beautifully smooth and with the next alteration old diagonal-to-the-side wrinkles would return. Only to disappear again. It makes it hard to decide if I needed the RBA or not.

I’m also not completely done.  The sleeve continues to display a drag line in the front view.  I’ve moved the shoulder point back, then forward. Added ease and rotated the sleeve twice more.  I have a feeling that this drag line may be due more to my posture than to position of the sleeve in the armscye. But I don’t know. I tried pinning out the drag line.  It appeared in another place.  I was almost frantic. A T-shirt should be an easy sew garment.  Then I watched one of those image shows where they the victim is given a completely makeover; and I remembered. The first thing the stylists always do is get the girl out of tacky jeans and unfitted T-Shirts.   So the sleeve will need its own metamorphism, but not now.   I need a palate cleanser. I need something easy to sew.

A second and I hope minor issue, is the flaring which is most visible at the hems. Almost looks like there is too much ease, but when I try to take it in along the seams, the garment becomes too tight. Somehow when I’m making alterations I’m introducing flare/flouncing between tummy/hip and hem. Fortunately, like high low hems, this is popular at the moment. But it is something I’d like to tweak. Even a tiny bit would make me happier.

But in truth, fabric is the final vote in whether I like a garment or not.  I don’t like this one.  I don’t like the print.  It looked so much prettier on the screen.  DH likes it, but I think that light tan/coffee color does nothing for me.  The bright blue of the flowers is not dominant enough to bring out my eye color . In fact, I was thinking of putting this straight into the donate box until I took a moment to style it:

If I change to dark brown pants, shoes and sock-wear, this is wearable.

I need to rethink my tracing decisions.  My final  tracing included small across the shoulder and armscye, med from armscye to waist and large from waist to hem. The small armscye could be (but probably isnt’) the issue with my sleeve. What I have discovered is while my shoulder is narrow i.e is small, the distance from shoulder to BP is not. I think tracing the small  shoulder/armscye contributed to the  RBA and CFront length needed. Fortunately this is something I can confirm by comparing final fitted tissue to the original pattern pieces, i.e. I don’t need another 6 T-shirts and umpteen fittings.  I’m continuing to look for the most elegant fitting solutions. But now I know I absolutely need to take into consideration the length needed over my rounded back and  bust.  I think I could be permanently adding 2 new alterations along with my standard two (NSA and BWL). AND I’m OK with it.  I’d rather make fewer pattern alterations. Heck, I’d rather make none at all.  But I’m willing to make the alterations if they keep me from being nominated to WNTW or the Style Jury.