I’ve come to terms with the idea I will no longer be sewing or wearing pillowcase dresses. That means no easy T-shirts; sarong skirts, or most other super simple patterns. I need seams or darts to create curves in the fabric; curves to go around my own. So in that vein, I looked over Silhouette Patterns line up and found this interesting #575
It has yokes both in back and front; princess seam panels (also front and back) and set in sleeves. I love an extended shoulder and kimono sleeve but I always have to ‘settle’ for having folds of cloth that are inherent to the style and worsened by my shape.
I’ve had such good luck with the armscye princess style that I excitedly hoped I was seeing on the schematic a yoke bisecting the armscye
I should have asked. The yoke extended about 1″ or so below the armscye. On the plus side, the armscye is all one piece. Which is the negative side as well for me as it offers no place for additional shaping in the spot I need shaping. I put the pattern aside for several weeks. It was in the donate box when I decided I should try it at least once. Indy patterns are not cheap. To discard the pattern without at least a muslin seems like a real waste of $$$. Then too, Peggy’s drafting is definitely different from other Indies. She makes fitting look so easy when she drapes figures of all sizes and shapes.
Previously I had fit #195 starting with a 7W, B cup. I wasn’t entirely satisfied with either the end result or the process .So this time I decided to make a size 4, the largest of the regular sizing and add 1.25″ to the side seams for fitting. I also decided to use a C cup even though I barely fill out my B cup bras. I chose the C because I struggled with gaping in the armscye. Peggy repeatedly says you tweak the shoulder angle, increased the bust dart and if that doesn’t work go to a larger cup size. So I chose the C cup. One last change before cutting my fabric, was adding a 5/8″ round back alteration with center back seam. I need the extra length. I need roundness or back necklines stick out. I had to add it for 195. Instead of waiting until it was obviously wrong, I added the RBA now.
My fabric is a linen from the Walmart $1 days. It’s one of the fabrics which made me say WTF when people said the $1 fabric was all junk. There is junk linen but this is not it. It is a muted pink color a sort of salmon which might not be that popular. I actually had in mind doing some discharge or printing but decided it would make a great muslin. See I love the history of linen. Love sewing linen. Nothing more wonderful that putting a fresh, cool linen shirt on my back. But I hate the wrinkles that develop almost immediately thereafter. This 1.75 yards had sat in my stash for ages just simply because I knew I didn’t want to wear the wrinkled mess that would eventually develop.
For the first fitting, I basted the seams all at 3/8″ using water soluble thread . I love early successes. The levels are about right. Neither neckline nor shoulders are noticeably too wide and the back neckline does not gape at this stage.
Also there are not as many of the side diagonals as I usually see before correcting the shoulder angle. However I’m not going to work on them yet because over all the first fitting is ginormous. Peggy says, check L(ength), then C(ircumference) before proceeding to D(epth).
Frankly, though I was surprised at how large my blouse was. I had added much more to the side seams of the 7W to give my hips enough room.
I increased the 3/8″ side seams to 7/8″ increasing to 1 1/8″ at the underarm. 2nd fitting looked much better. In fact, good enough that I felt (C)ircumference was right. I started working on (D)epth at the shoulders. I increased the slope 1/2″ then backed it off to 3/8″ because the back neck started gaping and the shoulders pulling backwards ( remember I have already added a 5/8″ RBA.)
Since I couldn’t tweak the shoulder more, I offset the yoke/upper bodice (both front and back) 1/2″ at the side seam, zeroing at the side panel seam; and then a 2nd time a full 1″. That got most but not all of the side drapes/V’s that develop on my frame.
BTW, because the yoke is mostly cut on the bias, it eases beautifully. That 1″ offset was hardly an issue.
At that point I started fussing with distribution of circumference. I know Peggy says it doesn’t matter, circumference is circumference, but I swear I need more fabric on the back side of me than in the front. This blouse was no different. If I increased the side seams evenly, 1/2″ 3/4″ 1″ both back and front, I could make the front look nice and shapely, but the back would be too tight. Release so that the back skims my butt and the front is not blousey but balloonish. Eventually I realized I was also dealing with some line/style decisions and proportions that have little to do with actual fit i.e. how the fabric encapsulates the body. Like…
I don’t care for the neckline on me. I left off the little stand up collar because I hate wearing those things. They rub my neck until it is raw. I constantly pulling and push at it. Eventually I realized, don’t make those things. If you don’t like them, don’t make them. While I eliminated the annoying collar, I did not reshape the neckline. I did try to fold the ‘lapel’ and create a small V, but the linen was having none of that. It, the linen, would have made a great stand-up, mandarin collar. Too bad I didn’t agree.
You can’t see this; I made by own facing. I hate little skinny facings as was provided in the envelope. To me they are fussy and I’m rarely able to finish them nicely . So I made big facings. I usually substitute bias tape to finish the back neckline. Fearing I might have stretched the neckline, I opted for a big, back facing with which I could ease the stretched out neckline. BTW, it was worry for naught. Facing and blouse stitched together perfectly.
I also realized I have a proportions issue. Which improves with different pants, but still is not right to my eye.
Looking at the finished garment (right and me smiling), I think the shoulders may be 1/2″ too wide. Despite the different lengths of my shorts, I still think my blouse should be another 1-1/2″ longer which would give me enough fabric for a narrow hem too.
One note, I’m note sure the selection of a C vs B cup made any difference. I did remove what amounts to a 1″ deep dart just below the yoke and at the top of the lower bodice. However, I think I did near if not more when fitting #195.
The finished garment is blousey with a distinctive camp shirt vibe.
Of course the big question is will I make this again? Well a camp shirt may not make anyone say WOW but it is a very good component of nearly every woman’s wardrobe. I’ll have to recheck that the armscyes are big enough for me to wear over other tops. A favorite use of mine is transitioning my camp shirts into coordinated summer 3rd layers. So I can see more of these with long and 3/4 sleeves to be worn year round. (Unfortunately I don’t wear short sleeves very much so this version may not see much use.) I also want to make a sleeveless version to test Peggy’s theory that any of her patterns can be converted by copying the appropriate armscye and sleeve template. I’m sure she’s right. I just want to have the experience. Afterall, I have my perfected sleeveless armscye . I should try it out, right? I think seams are quicker/easier to sew than are darts (which must be marked and then sewn). I’m wondering how hard it would be to develop a more shapely version of my new camp shirt pattern. I’d love to grab this pattern, change the neckline and produce a shapely, attractive blouse. Then I take a deep breath and remember how hard I worked at converting Connie Crawford’s 0456 only to find that she had already drafted all the changes I wanted with B6299. I rather buy another pattern than redraft. So I predict a sprinkling of this pattern in my wardrobe. One or two versions spring, fall and winter. Maybe even a few in summer as 3rd layers and sleeveless. But it’s not going to be a goto like the Tabula Rasa or B6299 i.e. good pattern but not fav.