Category Archives: 195 Sweater Set

Burn-out Velvet

I’ve had this beautiful burn-out velvet for years. Years, I tell you.  I bought it after I first moved to Wyoming but the purchase was made in the Fort Collins, Colorado Hobby Lobby.  (Wyoming fabric sources dried up just before I got there and I was forced to shop elsewhere).  I can tell you it is a minimum of 13 years old. In the same time  period, I purchased another velvet in the same colorway.  I made that velvet into a kimono jacket which I still wear to this day even though there is much more padding on my hips and it positively cannot be tied over my middle. Kimono jackets are nothing if not forgiving of the changes in a woman’s life.

My burnout, however, sat on my shelves year after year because I couldn’t decide how to use it.  It was transparent and obviously needed a lining. It was too close in color way to the other fabric mentioned to make another 3rd layer. Top? Blouse? Certainly not pants. I don’t wear transparent pants which because of it is a burnout there are large areas through which my flesh will show. I loved it and refused to donate it. Finally I was a watching Peggy Sager’s  a “Let’s Sew” video and watched as she created an inner top attached to the outer top only at the neckline. Bingo! Sorry, I don’t have the link handy which wouldn’t be pertinent anyway because Peggy created 2 tops with the out-layer shorter than the inner thus the inner layer shows too.  I did just the opposite. So while Peggy’s top is interesting and dramatic, you hardly know that I’ve done something similar.

Continuing with my blouse, I decide that with only 30% stretch the burnout needed my regular i.e. not the slinky version of 195. I pulled that out and invested not more than 15 minutes converting it from french dart to armscye dart.  So glad I did this, but I think I may not have placed or maybe angled the dart correctly.

I chose to use an embroidered, very light-yellow,  transparent Tricot for the inner layer/lining. I cut only the front and back pieces without further changes.  Then, as always intended, I set up my Brother Serger ( the 1034 purchased because I needed a serger right now) for a 3-thread wide seam. This took longer than expected because I also needed to rearrange the table a little. Sigh, it will need a little more rearranging which will involve removing the machines completely.  Eager to work on my new top, I did the best I could with the arrangement of machines.  Oh what a good choice. I serged every seam, including the bust dart and  hem, on this inner layer/lining in about 15 minutes. WOW…. and it’s beautiful.  The seams rolled because I increased the looper tensions. I didn’t increase the needle (I’m using the left needle for a wide seam) tension because during testing it caused the seam to gather. (Note Remember to increase needle tension for future gathering projects.) After set up, which in the future is reduced to changing thread and maybe the needle, this is absolutely the fastest, most elegant rolled hem I’ve ever created and the nicest lining ever .

Know you can’t see too well because this is something I’m not going to model (in my generation we thought showing it all was a bad idea) and I”m showing the back. Front looks much the same.   I truly wish I’d invested $200 in that little beast (the 1034 Brother serger) long ago.  In one project he proved himself well worth the time and expense.

So onto the upper layer. After remaining inner garment fabric was trimmed of strings, folded, labeled and placed back in the stash, I smoothed out the burn out fabric and cut the 3 major pieces. I used my normal sewing order but skipped finishing the neck. When the shell/outer layer, was complete, I put shell and lining right sides together at the neck and serged.  I understitched, some times I want a little insurance that the inside will stay inside. Then I top stitched 1/4″ away from the turned neck edge. The armscye of the lining is tacked to the armscye of the shell in about 4 places. Just enough to keep it in place as I slip my arms in and out.

Unfortunately, I stretched the neck during construction which I didn’t notice until the first try on.  I used my normal cheat, elastic. This time I used a long length of shirring elastic. Doubled with the fold threaded through the eye. The tails are then pulled through the loop coming out of the eye and that makes a secure join that won’t come out of the needle. I ran the elastic in the channel between top stitching and neck edge and tied it in the back.  I was going to adjust at the next try-on, but it was fine.

So I put a drop of Frey-check on the knot and trimmed the ends.  Done.


195 Sweater Knit

When I make changes to the tissue, as I did for the Slinky Version of 195 shared yesterday, I want to check it immediately. I didn’t get to it until after we returned from Sioux Falls.  It is getting colder. Snow is predicted. Winter is definitely here. It’s not a matter of whether I need long sleeves, it’s how warm the long-sleeve tops need to be. The blouses are phased out of rotation and I’m leaning heavily upon my rayon, cotton and ITY knit for everyday year. It will be sweater weather before too long and so my eyes turned to the pile of knits which were sold as “sweater knits”.  Because I’m pattern checking, I decided to use a blue variaged sweater knit that really is a sweater knit it is just not worsted weight. By now, I had my new serger set up (which I have posted but have bragged about on SG) and put it to work.  This was a quick sew.  I needed only make my ASA (asymmetrical shoulder alteration) at the sewing machine. All the other seams were either serged or cover stitched.

(Although I’m hunched) the back is now looking like it should i.e. no drag lines from the shoulder blades

I am disappointed that the stripes didn’t match better.  Not sure if this is due to the curve introduced by my RBA, fabric mismatch or slip when in the Serger. The new Imagine needs a little help with thick fabrics and I may have had the differential slightly misset. I’ve deicded to be happy that I’m not seeing those dreadful back drag lines.

I’m showing the front next because I want you to see that with a mere physical turn, my shoulders have settled into place and no longer look badly asymmetrical. They still are. I did do my ASA i.e. made my right shoulder seam 1/2″. Curiously the sleeves look short. I don’t recall them looking short in the two previous garments that I made using this Slinky Version of the pattern. Hoping it is just the fabric which will relax during wear.

The bust dart, now 5/8″ deep instead of 1/2″, did what I wanted in so far as eliminated the side wrinkles but curiously

I stitched it in the wrong place. I recall clearly that I marked with the purple pen and had problems reading the purple pen when I got to the sewing machine.

Bottom line: my alterations to the tissue were successful. My dart marking needs to be a little more careful.

SP 195, Armscye Dart

I’m always grumbling about the french dart which Peggy Sager’s seems to love. Finally decided I needed to do something about it. About 2 years ago, I spent quite some time playing with rotating darts. Loved the results and consider myself at least competent. But I hesitated. Why? Well in the back of my mind I was thinking that the french dart may very well have been helping to control wrinkles which occurred below the bust.  After confronting my fear (that removing the french dart would remove the good fit of 195), I decided I needed to try at least once and be sure.

I won’t share pics of the dart rotation process but will tell you it was maybe a 15 minute job. I copied the front and on it  slashed where I wanted the new dart, then closed the old dart. Done.

I pulled out a fabric that tested at 70% stretch. Yeah, a lot. Decided to use my “Slinky” version of 195 which is reduced horizontally and vertically by small increments (1/8 and 1/4) through the armscye, midriff and vertically down the entire pattern piece. By the way, it was the front of the ‘Slinky’ version that I copied and altered the dart.

I laid out my pattern pieces, then decided I didn’t want just a plan T-shirt.  I trimmed 2.5″ from the hems and cut a V neck. Also cut were 2.5″ strips from selvage to selvage.  I stitched the armscye dart first

The stitched shoulders and finished the neckline with an interesting FOE

The FOE looks like someone has randomly applied bleach to it which results in lovely ombre colors. FOE is difficult to apply to a Vneck. So I chose to apply as if I had cut a scooped neck. Then I folded the neck right sides together and put a tack in the center front which nicely restores the V.  Actually, I could have cut a scoop neck instead of the V and done the same trick but Oh Well.

Since this pattern has been used a dozen times, although not in the Slinky Version, I zipped through the rest of constructions and applied ruffles at the hems.

These are the simplest ruffles ever.  I joined my 2.5″ strips. Roughly estimated the length of the circumferences; multiplied by 1.5.  I cut at the 1.5 mark. Folded the strips in half putting long edges together and set my serger differential at 2, stitch length 4.  Then serged the ruffle to the hem. Oh, forgot to mention, I had only stitched one side seam up to this point. When the ruffle was attached, I stitched the second side closed.  The sleeve ruffles were applied before the sleeves were inserted because I prefer to wrestle the least amount of fabric at any given time.  Oh and finally, the garment is finished at my normal length.  The 2.5″ trimmed from the bottom of the back, front and sleeves included my 1.25″ hem which I wouldn’t need. Actually I only needed to cut my strips 1.25″ wide. I made them 2.5 because folding the strips in half is a neater finish that requires no additional effort.

Boom blouse done:

Ah but something is wrong with my dart because I have drag lines from the bust,most easily seen in the side view

Think that my bust dart should be deeper i.e. 5/8″ instead of 1/2″. Am I going to change this one? No, I serged everything. I hate unserging. I quickly decided it doesn’t look any worse than what everyone else is wearing and said “better luck neck time”.

I also discovered the back has lost the depth it needs

It is absolutely too late to fix this.  An RBA has to be made before the fabric is even cut. So I pulled the pattern out and discovered that I had applied a 1/2″ “Slinky adjustment” i.e. a 1/4″ tuck across the back.  I changed that to 1/8″ for the next iteration.  Absolutely my patterns need to be shortened and narrowed when I’m using very stretch fabrics like Slinky and Sweater Knit. The alteration was not wrong, but the amount taken was.

I finished this just before my short vacation to Sioux Falls, but you know, I just felt it was missing something.

It still seemed too plain.  The fabric shopping in Sioux Falls is totally lacking. Not worth my time and gas. But several places carry a variety of trims and ephemera.  I found this Tulip iron Bling in Walmart

Oh sorry that pic turned out so poorly. I did a quick search of Google and didn’t find it either. Took 30 seconds to apply and then I felt like the garment was done!

This I love.

Not intended for Holiday Dressing but

Seriously, I was thinking ‘pretty’ when I bought the lace.

I was shopping Ebay for lace to hem the Up Cycles when I saw this lace yoke. I know these are all done by machine now but it took me back to my younger years when they were done by hand by little old ladies in Prague. Back then they were horribly expensive and I could only drool over such beauties.

My Ebay vendor is apparently also a Etsy vendor located in the US and so my laces arrived quickly. After finishing  Up Cycles, I pulled out an ink blue slinky fabric and SP195, Peggy Sagers Sweater Set.

I don’t buy into the advice to ‘just stitch the seams deeper’ that is  often given when someone wants to make a knit garment with a woven pattern and again when someone wants to use a normal-knit pattern with slinky fabric.  I don’t go there because I’ve already been bitten.  One of my first experiences with Slinky was a lovely Copenhagen blue that fit modestly at the neck when I set off for work.  By noon time, I was pushing back the shoulders and grabbing the neckline every time I needed to bend forward. By quitting time I was wearing my reserved-for-the-computer-room cardigan to preserve some of my modesty. The slinky top was in the trash as soon as I arrived at home.  Over the years, I’ve heard of people leaving Slinky to hang for a week before hemming; and wearing it twice at home before wearing in public; or just flat avoiding any  fabric with 100% stretch. Fortunately the manufactures have worked on this issue and recovery has been  much improved. But I still want to start with a pattern fit for a well-behaved Slinky.

I copied my now very-nicely fitting SP195 (do you see me glowing with pride?)  and made a few pattern changes on  front , back and sleeve.

    • 1/8″ tuck across the upper bodice though the armscye.
    • 1/4″ tuck across the abdomen
    • 1/4″ vertically bisecting the neck and leaving the shoulder unchanged.
    • 1/2″ horizontal tuck across the sleeve

That is only part of the reason this top took 3 sewing sessions.  The lace was the other factor.  I cut the front and carefully pinned the lace to the upper bodice.  Then I stitched following the lace design.  Often, I broke the stitching because not doing so would have been obvious. I stitched slowly, lifting the foot often to allow the slinky to recover and to turn around those curves.  Across the bottom of the lace (and bodice), I made 2 horizontal bands of stitching which attached the lace to the bodice. Then I took the front to the bathroom mirror to see how much of the upper bodice I could cut away. I was a little surprised but not unhappy that all but the lower triangles/scallops (which were stitched to the Slinky) could be cut away.

I tackled the back next. I keep the CB seam because it is truly easy to just serge it instead of converting and stitching back darts.  For this blouse I was even more pleased because I wanted a back opening

I serged from bottom to with 3″ of the top. Pressed the remaining unserged edges to the sides and top stitched them in place.  I added a hair elastic cut in half for my button elastic before proceeding to stitch the shoulders.

Shoulders of the lace are pretty square. Mine are not. Between my natural slope and round back, mine are 5/8″ lower at the sleeve edge.  I carefully aligned the back over the front with the sleeve edge of the lace sticking up above; and then stitched using the back for my guide. Once done, I serged the back neck, turned it to the inside and top stitched.  The shoulder was folded towards the back and my top stitching caught the shoulder and held it at the neck edge. Once that was done, I turned to the sleeves.

Well, I forgot to mention that while I was working on the pattern and attaching the lace to the front bodice, I had my PE770 running in the back ground producing two motifs for the sleeves

I aligned these center and 4.5″ above the cut sleeve-hem edge; then zig zagged around the outside edge. Unlike the Lace Insets done in March, I did not trim away any of the sleeve fabric. I hemmed the sleeves at the cover stitch; then serged them to the bodice catching the lace armscye and securing it to the sleeve.

I thought for a bit here and decided to serge the side seams before checking fit. A good decision.  I found that the bodice length, was almost too short and that was before hemming. Sleeve circumference and length is fine.  I’m not sure about bodice circumference.  I thought I would need follow-up the 1/4″  serged side seam with a stitched 1/2″ seam (reducing circumference by 1″) . As of the fitting, it looks fine. Question is what will this look like after it’s worn for an hour? Or more?

On the pattern I ripped out the bodice tuck (front and back) over the abdomen area. That will give me enough length for a hem in future garments. This hem I had to think a sec before deciding to finish with wooly nylon— for now (DH’s famous last words)

It gives me a finished hem now and later should I decide my blouse needs to be hemmed shorter, I have a finished edge for a turned up hem.

My only other criticism is that the front hem is rising like a hot air balloon.

OK not that bad but this isn’t the first time I’ve seen the upward tilt of the front hem.  I decided to fix the pattern and added 1″ length  at CF tapering to 0 at the sides for the next iteration. (Did the same to the  base fitted pattern.)

When finished I said “Holy Crap! This is not just pretty, it is dressy!” . So it too gets added to the Holiday Dressing even though  I didn’t start with that intention.



Re-Musling 195

I had an idea about Silhouette Patterns 195 (Sweater Set) that I wanted to try.  My thought was I chose the wrong size. I thought I fit the description of the W sized woman.  The W doesn’t have and never had large bone structure and height.  She’s not the mythical Amazonian but rather a regular sized female human who has gained padding over the years. Sounded just like me and so  I chose 5w at the shoulders merged out to 7w at waist and hips.

It worked. With effort but it worked. The biggest change was taking out length between shoulder and bust.  I’ve never had to either lengthen or shorten along that line. For the 5W I removed 2″.  After that it was expected changes. I tweaked the circumference and  sloped the shoulder. I altered for my asymmetrical shoulder during construction  and before the ‘real’ garments, added length at the hem just because I like my garments a little longer.  Then I made a couple of tank tops for summer. I was happy with 195 other than I really don’t like a french dart.

Then fall rolled around and I added the sleeve.  Yikes! What a disaster. I couldn’t believe all the drag lines.  What was worse, I couldn’t remove them.  I tried a second fabric ’cause I knows that the fabric always wins. Except it didn’t. 195 would not fit with sleeves added.  I was perplexed; puzzled; miffed a little. I set 195 aside and moved onto other and I might add successful projects.

But my clever left brain continued to puzzle over 195 eventually offering a possibility.  Start with the 4. Yeah drop back into the patterns not drafted to fit anything special*1.

So I did.

I traced a size 4 and added 1″ to the side seams added 5/8″ shoulder slope and 5/8″ RBA.  Should have added 1.5 at the side seams because subsequent  pattern changes were limited to letting out the side seam to 1/4″ and making the shoulder slope permanent.

I knew I wanted added length which had to be done at the tissue stage and I thought the sleeves were a bit floppy from elbow to wrist. So I finished my muslin (of polyester/cotton knit light-weight sweater fabric with  2-way, 75% stretch) and called it Pajama Top.

I looked twice at the side views. Really focused on the bust:

That dart insisted on forming in every picture, both right and left. Since I’m trying out things anyway, I decided to go up a cup size. I traced the B cup for the muslin above; now I traced the C cup pattern. Made my tissue alterations (summarized below) and cut into   ‘real ‘ fabric i.e. an rayon knit with a print and in colors I liked very well.

The first fit revealed, I had fixed everything except the right side V’s

I put it away overnight. I had tried pinching out the shoulder. Didn’t work. There is a limit to how much you can pick up at the shoulder. If this was one of my princess seam patterns I would have already altered and stitched the right side 1/8″ deeper than the left.  It’s like not only is my right shoulder lower, but the right side of me is slightly smaller. Or maybe the left is slightly stretched and bigger. I don’t really know. But I do need to change the right while the left will look perfect.

So solution 1 (pinching at the shoulder seam) was out of the running. As was Solution 2 (deepening the princess seams).  I considered adding darts where the princess seam would have been. I didn’t really want that look and moved along to Solution 3: Restoring the armscye. A pattern maker would have thought of this first. When the armscye is changed, (the 5/8″ shoulder slope) it affects the sleeve cap. The cap can be changed by an equal amount; the cap can be ignored and it will gather into the armscye; or the armscye needs to be restored.  If I restore the armscye i.e. change the armscye, I can’t unchange it. So if changing the armscye has not effect, I’ll still need to think some more. If changing it works, well “I’m in like Flynn”; but if changing the armscye makes those drag lines worse: I’m hosed. Because I can’t undo the armscye change I will have ruined a beautiful fabric.

I put my pattern piece back onto the right side and slid it down 1/4″. Cut the armscye to the new depth; repeat on back with back pattern piece.  Resulting in

A much improved right side!

So last change to the basic pattern is restoring the armscye.  Although I am wondering if I shoulder add length to the center front.  I usually need to do so except it doesn’t show up in every picture of the re-muslined SP195. Because it doesn’t, I don’t know if I have a front length problem, a camera angle issue or an editing issue.  This is one alteration that will have to wait for experience.

End analysis:  I’m very happy.  Many of the changes I made reflect my personal preferences and not the drafting of the pattern. In fact I made more small, personal style changes than I did fit alterations.  That’s a really good record.

BUT I still don’t love french darts.


*1 I practically hold up a silver cross anytime someone says ” I drafted this and it is perfect.  I’ve taken into account all the changes that need to be made for your problems and its perfect!  ”   Well, it never is perfect. As someone else pointed out it can’t be. There’s a whole tomb of fitting alterations that can’t possibly be applied to every pattern. Pattern makers listen to me:  never claim you’ve solved it all. You can’t be expected to deliver a pattern designed for square and at the same time sloped shoulders. And while asymmetrical shoulders are common, not everyone has them; nor are all are sloped evenly or the same amount. Quit making that ridiculous claim!


Net Pattern Alterations

  • Trace Size 4 regular
  • Add 1.5″ to side seams
  • Add 1″ to CF length
  • 5/8″ RBA
  • Shoulders
    • 5/8″ shoulder slope
    • +1/4″ for shoulder pads
  • Restore the armscye 3/8″ lower
  • +2.5″ length
  • Establish my standard SA
    • 1/4″ neckline, armscye, sleeve cap
    • 1-1/4″ hem
    • 1/2″ elsewhere
  • Sleeve
    • Trim 1″ from sleeve width at hem zeroing at underarm.
    • Stitch sleeve cap to armscye w/1/4″ SA but don’t change tissue.
    • Stitch underarm seam 1/2″; hem 1-1/4″

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?

Muslin 2

I dwaddled and delayed making needed tweaks. I was unsure.

Fitting is somewhat like diagnosing a bodily illness. Sure, when you show up at the hospital with a bone sticking out, they know pretty quickly what to do. But when you show up saying, “I hurt all over and I’m just so exhausted”, it takes medical staff a little longer. Truth is our bodies have only so many obvious symptoms that we report: pain, inflammation, unusual bodily bumps and a few more but not many.  Medical personal have to start putting together what they know about the body with what you are telling them.  Oh and there’s that thing called referred pain.  I know about that.  I showed up at the dentist office having made an appointment a few days earlier.  Only now I’m in pain. He asks me “So what’s this about pain?” I reply “I know this tooth chipped. That’s when I made the appointment.  I can see the tooth is chipped. But it’s the tooth directly opposite that hurts.”  That’s when he told me about referred pain.

Our fitting diagnoses can also take a circular route.  They say ‘read the wrinkles’ and ‘the wrinkles point at the issue”.  I’ve noticed, thought, that the wrinkles have two ends which point.  How can I be sure, for example a wrinkle from the front crotch is pointing to a short front crotch, a full front thigh, or a short back crotch?  Give up?  On me it’s nearly always a short back crotch!  So I look at the wrinkles on my 195 top. I’ve made the obvious corrections the usual amounts. Am I still looking at obvious causes? Or should I be considering something else?

I really had to agreed that these:


looked like a needed RBA.  I was puzzled and hesitant because the downward diagonal didn’t seem to be accompanied by fabric stretch across the center back.  I had a 1/2″ CB seam (added for the purpose of making an RBA) and decided to use it to test.  I restitched that seam so that it curved from neck  out to cross back and returned to waist.   I increased the width at the cross back 1/2″.  Did that work?

Unfortunately that would be a “no”. The same diagonals are present from shoulder-blade to side seam at the hip.

Perhaps not enough ease at the hip.  No pic above also shows the result of stitching the side seams at 1/4″ instead of 1/2″.  In fact letting out the seams was a mistake.  I altered my tissue for 1/2″ side seams.  At 1/2″ the front armscye is nice and smooth

Add a little more ease and the front armscyes are now gaping.

The sides views weren’t improved either.

So what’s next. I started by returned the side seams and center back to the 1/2″ seam depth I desired.  Perplexed, I measured the armscyes.  Measuring right at the edge (which I was thinking would be a nice place to wrap FOE), but not including seams allowances at the shoulder or side seam give me an 17-7/8 armscye. Measuring inward at the seam line as Peggy drafted, 19.5″.  My minimum armscye, the armscye I would want for leotards and scuba suits is 19.5. Ummm…  I opted to lower the armscye 1/2″ and take more pics.

Lowering the armscye had an interesting effect.  I lowered it 1/2″. That’s all. However, compare the two underarm pics

The underarm in the right hand pic (and looking at my right side underarm) is considerably lower than the left.  I measured.  I measured down from the underarm 1/2″ and redrew the sides to curve smoothly.  I trimmed the excess, then serge finished. It’s hard for me to understand why the underarm looks 1-1.5″ lower.

Good news is that the diagonal wrinkles, as seen in the side views,  are better

Not completely gone, but much lessened.  So what now.


Well, I wear sleeveless tops in spring, summer and fall. I never want a neckline that high during any of those seasons.  So I trimmed the neckline to the highest I will wear and I finished it with FOE. I didn’t have to finish it. But sometimes, I start something and I’m not satisfied until it is all the way done. Then I looked carefully at the back alterations I’ve made to previous garments.  This is not exactly a brand new fitting issue.  I drew a line across the back where I’ve previously altered the back and made 1/4″ darts at the sides which zero at CB.  It seems as though I need extra length at cross back, but then it’s too much length at the side only a few inches lower

My back photo caught me just removing my hands from settling the back into place. So, it

could be suspect.  Front and side however look really good even lightened 70%.

The final proof would be sewing up one of my pastel knits. Unfortunately, I’m not inclined to make another sleeveless garment at the moment.  Temps have once again dropped to the point photo sessions being uncomfortable. For now, I’m listing the accumulated changes

  • Size 5W across shoulders and armscyes; 7W down side seam
  • 1″ tuck above bust on both front and back pieces.
  • Shoulder slope increased to 1/2″ left, 3/4″ right
  • Decrease bust circumference 1.5″ starting at underarm zero on side seam 4″ lower
  • RBA 1/2″
  • Add 3/8″ seam allowance to CB
  • Cross bust dart 1/2″ at side seams, zero at 3″ towards CB.
  • Length add 2.5″ (1.25″ length, 1.25″ hem)
  • Lower underarm 1/4″ (may need to be increased)

I’m this close <>.  I count it a success, my first real success with fitting Silhouette Patterns. In the next few weeks the weather will warm and I will return to tweak my 195 sleeveless top.  For now, there are other things that need to be done.  If it stays cool long enough, I might take on the long sleeved top.