TRT with Lace Hem

I had one goal in making this TRT: checking the fit after the Pink Lace Tee disappointed me with its drag lines. But I  may as well have a little fun too, eh?

My fabric is an ITY purchased I think about a year ago.  I like the blue color but was undecided about the print both when I purchased it and when it arrived. It just didn’t say me.  While I wasn’t thrilled about the fabric, I knew it would be an excellent test, being of the same fabric previously good TRT’s were constructed with, or if something is wrong with the pattern I won’t be upset if this doesn’t turn out well.

The fun bit is adding a 6″ lace to the bottom of the sleeves and hem.


Oh and adding a keyhole neckline.  There must be hundreds of ways to make and finish a keyhole, I have a whole Pinterest board of them. I chose to create the keyhole with a facing

and bind the edge of the neck, slip stitching across the open keyhole space.

I’m happy to say this fabric cut from the same exact pattern version as the Pink Lace fits as nicely as ever.

I’m also happy that the print looks nicer in garment form then it did as flat fabric.  I’m not entirely sure my blouse is finished, even though it needs no further stitching.  I’m looking at the visible proportion of lace to bodice.

I like the swish and fell but I think there is just too much visible lace.

or maybe not enough?

I’m also thinking, I might like a bit more shaping. Maybe some elastic at the waist?  Not sure and of course, if I don’t fix it soon, it will be like this until it goes into the trash.



PS I have the TRT down pat.  Even with the extra steps required for keyhole-neckline and lace hems, I had this done in 4 hours from start to finish. Yeah!  Love TNT’s!  Yeah!!!!


PPS Re Fitting:  I see hints of the issues which plagued me on the Pink Lace TRT.  Partly I think I have a posture issue in addition to one shoulder being lower than the other. It’s been noted that I may have one leg shorter than the other.  I never seem to be straight in the pics; always leaning slightly to one side.   I also tend to stand with my weight on one leg or the other.  When I purposely stand with the weight evenly on both hips/legs and feet about shoulder-width apart, the drag lines just don’t appear.  But, I do have unnecessary ease through the body of the garment.  I  want a little more ease. I want the garment to skim my tummy and hips doing no more than indicate I have such assets.  Also, this is a basic T-shirt design. It’s even named Tee which is derived from men’s Tee shirts which are unfitted (and men often wear one size too small in order to show off their own assets.) IOW it’s supposed to have excess ease. So far, I’ve worked on variations to the basic pattern. Now  I may work on introducing a little more shape. Just for fun. KWIM?


Tabula Rasa in Pink Lace

After struggling to fit (and not entirely succeeding) two pairs of jeans, I wanted an easy sew. Something in the cut, serge, wear genre. I pulled out my Tabula Rasa Tee pattern then looked at fabric. I talk about refolding the fabric stash as if it is some sort of chore. Truth is I like handling my fabrics and I find it helpful.  During that September Sewing Room Gussy I separated out the sheers. Mostly because they contain a lot of so-called sweater fabrics that are absolutely useless in the winter unless they are underline. In that stack was a beautiful pink, knit lace. 100% polyester and Yes I did know when I bought the lace would need consideration if it was to be any type of garment. My solution was pairing with another sheer, a pink cotton knit.

I cut the two fabrics separately i.e. I cut the all the pieces out of the pink knit first; repeat for the pink lace.  Then I placed the two layers together and serge finished all the edges. Because this is a pattern I’ve made many times before I don’t have much to say about the tissue changes.  I opted to use the back with the neck darts which I left unsewn. Wonder how that worked out? I modified a technique often used to snug up knit necklines using ribbing. For my lace, I used my Curve Runner to measure the back pattern piece

I multiplied that by 2 (full neck length) and then subtract the dart (3/8*2*2 dart leg width *2 legs * 2 darts).  Then end result was 8″.  So I laid out my  straight ruler and measured 8 inches. I don’t like to work with short fiddly lengths, so I didn’t cut the elastic right away. But I did mark it at the 8″ length and again at 4″ , the middle.

I pinned one end to the back neck and began stitching with a triple zig zag set at 3.5 wide After a few stitches, I stretched the elastic so the first mark matched the center back

I stitched up to the center mark, then stretched the elastic again all the way to the other end of the neck; finished stitching; and cut the excess elastic.  The neck gathers slightly when the elastic is relaxed

I stitched shoulders together and bound the neckline edge. Totally finished:

So the back neck is not totally smooth as it would be had I stitched the darts. But it isn’t gaping  and I don’t have  a bulky dart back there, which is what I feared the two layers of fabric would create. Especially since I planned to bind the neckline. Yuck, I would have had darts of 4 layers covered by binding of two which wraps down, up and over. Another 6 layers. 10 total over each dart. Nope didn’t want that. I prefer the not perfectly smooth.

The 2nd fabric was way to wimpy for the cuffs or the neckline binding. I had to make the binding two layers using a 3rd fabric to underline the binding. Confusing? It’s nice to have a stash to find such solutions.  I didn’t really want to leave the lace at any of the edges which receive hard wear. Although I did for the hem. At the hem, I simply turned up my usual 1-1/4″ and machine blind stitched.

I’m not entirely happy with the fit this time.  Since I’ve loved every version of the Tabula Rasa T up to this lace, I’m blaming either the fabric or the duo layering.

It’s possible I just don’t have the garment sitting on my shoulders properly. I’ve never had the TRT lifting in the front or the drag lines visible in all 4 pics.

I’m not getting too worked up about fit because I don’t think this sweater will be wearable more than once or twice. In fact now finished, I asked myself why did I buy this fabric at all. I know without a doubt it will snag. It will get caught on things.  I’m just going to enjoy its beauty while I can and toss it the first time it gets badly snagged.


Fitting with a PSA

 reminder PSA= Princess Seam Alteration

Fitting went surprisingly well. First off, I expected to rip a few seams. So I cut fabric, ran to the serger and serge finished because, this is fabric that ravels like the devil.  I serged the center back seam. Swapped out the bobbin for water-soluble thread, joined the upper bodice and skirt. Put the regular bobbin back in and joined the shoulders. I stitched the right shoulder 1/4″ deeper than the left. Then remembering the issues with the Mashup, I stitched the left shoulder at 3/8″ and the right at 5/8″. I attached the facing also using permanent stitching; then swapped out for WST before basting the side seams. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the mirrors reflection. Made no changes, just took pics and trotted up stairs.

Keep this in mind when looking at the pics 1) I don’t think I have the shoulders square on my body; and (2) I already have 1/4″ shoulder pads pinned into place.

I’m seeing a little bit of drooping but not big V’s. Oddly, I’m seeing more on the left than the right. The blouse feels comfortable so I’m reluctant to take in the side seams. It will be difficult to work on the shoulders a bit more, but I will try before the final.

I also see the right side swinging forward at the front hemline.  That usually indicates additional ease is needed in front. I’m surprised but yes I can offset the seams a little now and add more tissue to the pattern later.  The empire does seem to be rising in front. I tend to think that’s because I don’t have the shoulders sitting properly. Honestly, I’m hoping that goes away because I can’t fix it now. Adding length had to be done way back at the tissue stage.  (I took all length away in the skirt. The upper bodice length was untouched.)

I’m seeing the same divot (don’t know what to call it really) on the left back as I did before. I note that I’ve pinned my shoulder pads into place and the pin is placed exactly where the divot starts on my shoulder.  I realize I have several things going on here. The pins restricting the fabric, the shoulder of the blouse not square on my own; the question of were the PSA’s deep enough; and has this oddity been showing up before without my noting? Is this the aging body that I’m ignoring?

When I take pics, due to my limitations, I always end up rotating the pics. Which I never do perfectly. I only come close. For starters I don’t think I rotated this pic at all. I’m still aware that the shoulder are not sitting squarely but can’t help but notice that the front left seems to have at least an echo of back left divot. Apparently I need to do more with the left. Which is surprising to me because it is my right shoulder which is obviously lower and always requires the extra consideration.

BUT did you notice, I’m nit-picking? Little things. Not numerous V’s on the side. Not necklines nor armscyes that expose my underwear.  Not a single big complaint. By golly, I’m going to wear this!

Now was the time to consider the sleeves.  I knew I needed to shorten the sleeve cap. Also that the medium sleeve was comfortable and did not need extra ease. So I cut the sleeve at a size medium and serged  to the armscye (just after I deepened both shoulder seams 1/4″).  With some hesitance, I did not stitch the sleeve at 5/8″, only the 1/4″ of the serged seam. Firstly, I had a lot of sleeve cap to gather to the armscye and while the serger did this  easily, I’m not sure I can repeat the pleat-free stitching at the sewing machine. As for all the cap length, simply removing the size-large, side, seam-allowance was not enough and will still need to be adjusted.

When I stitched the side seams, I offset the front (beginning at the empire seam down to the hem) so that the seam would be 1/4″ deep for front but 1/2″ deep for back.  I again added my quick vents to the side seams.  Louise’s mitered vents are lovely and not very time-consuming when you have all the seam allowances the right width. Today, I’ve got wonky seam allowances and don’t really want to invest the additional time needed to miter each corner (which can be done even with differing seam allowances).  I did a number of other finishing touches, such as securing the back facing with SAS and then top stitching.  I did not cut the vent in the sleeve. Mostly because I used that on the two previous blouses just finished. This time I made a narrow hem.

I pinned the front lapels in place and steamed them to create a permanent crease. Unfortunately, I forgot to remove the pins before photos.  Full disclosure here:  In the past, I’ve done the same thing when ironing freshly laundered blouses and then wondered why my blouse kept pricking me during wear. Onto Final Pics:

Right side view looks perfect (not even the front hem is swinging forward). Left still showing drag lines below bust. I may  need to adjust the shoulder slope more than the 1/8″ I thought I was seeing when I compared patterns.

I’m not sure about the empire line rising center front.  I still don’t have the shoulders resting comfortably on my own  and they slop about a bit. So is the issue due to needing more length or needing a more secure shoulder?

Increasing the shoulder seam to 5/8″ helped greatly with the divot I was seeing before. It’s more of a suggestion which I might ignore. Do note though, how the shoulders are not sitting evenly. It seems to be sliding to the left and the right neckline is closer to my neck than the left neckline. It is sloping about.  My first corrective effort will be increasing the shoulder slope. Oddly, I don’t think I want to trim the armscye or sleeve cap down to 1/4″ my preferred seam allowance.  I’m liking where this slightly dropped shoulder is sitting.  I want to keep it that way. No idea why the hem is bending in. It just is.

I offset the front side seams because I thought I needed more ease. Now, I just don’t think so. But I’ve already added tissue to front pattern piece (thereby more ease to future versions) and besides while I’d like to blame the shoulder situation, insufficient ease really might be the issue of the front swinging forward in the first set of pics.

What is most important about this blouse is the fact MY PRINCESS SEAM ALTERATIONS WORKED!!.  They need increasing i.e. the 3/8 and 1/2″ PSA were not deep enough, I’m thinking 1/2 and 5/8 next time. But honestly,  I’m jumping around and dancing. This means I know what to do to fit my patterns which don’t have princess seams. I couldn’t be happier.

******* Alterations next version

  • Shoulders
    • Increase slope to 5/8
    • Trim seam allowance to  3/8″
  • Increase the back and front PSA to 1/2″ and 5/8″ respectively
  • Sleeve cap need sto be shortened at least another 1″ divided front/back

PS on the Ebb

I really love the way the MashUP turned out. As  I finished, I was thinking, I needed a few tweaks; more attention to the left shoulder/side which was developing a divot. But basically, I could pull out these pattern pieces and add a few dozen Ebb-like blouses any time I so desired.

Then the left brain kicked in.

The left brain said, “I wonder how the princess seam alteration we’ve been doing on the back, would work for the front?”  Left brain also suggested now was a great time to experiment because really, not much more had been done to the Ebb than what I was doing 2 years ago. Adding the alteration to both now would provide an excellent comparison to its workability.

Well, left brain isn’t entirely correct. I am making major fitting alterations that I was not making previously. But I took the point well. Mostly because I realized immediately if a princess seam alteration was the solution for both front and back, that opened up a lot of patterns I could use or use again. See, I’ve been shunning any pattern without a sewn armscye princess. I won’t even tackle a shoulder princess. (Although I will work with yokes that terminate in the armscye.) So I think, well what the heck. Do I have anything in the muslin stack that I wouldn’t mind wearing if this happens to work?  (I did. A cotton/poly lawn that I’d rescued from the home dec section of Mill ends when they were still in business. I’ve used this piece previously and had left an odd-shaped remnant. Perfect!)

So you’re probably scratching your head and wondering what is a princess-seam alteration.  Well don’t ask a real expert.  They will shake their heads and tell you  there isn’t any; that I’m crazy.  Here’s what I do:

Starting with back. I’m pretty well-trained in the LCD philosophy of fitting which I find the more I use, the more I understand and the easier it is to fit. (For me. I don’t doubt that there are bodies are there for whom this doesn’t work.) So the first thing I did was

Trace the size large. You have to start with enough but not too much circumference. The medium size that I started with in the Mashup was not large enough. I traced the Large.  So now I can start fitting alterations with L, length.  I already know from the Medium,  my usual 1″ BWL was not enough. I need 2. So I made a 2″ BWL by folding in half horizontally and about the waist; then stitching a 1″ tuck. Back and the skirt portion of the front. Length fixed.

I didn’t do any checks on circumference. I knew from looking at the pattern that more than 1/2″ was added between medium and large sizes. 1/2″ is what I added to the medium to make it fit. So I’m pretty sure C, circumference is also fixed.

Depth. I like to start high and work low. The highest point is the shoulder. Now with the Mashup, I didn’t change the shoulder slope. After changing the neckline, I felt the shoulders were right. Which surprised me. I’ve always needed a shoulder slope alteration. I’m pretty sure some of the Ebb’s I’d sewn over 2 years ago had shoulder slope alterations.  So this time I compared the back of the Ebb with the back of 6299.

Admittedly, that’s hard to see (even when you click to enlarge) because it is the same white tissue on top of white tissue. I lined up carefully the grain lines and shoulders. It looks to me like the 6299 is just 1/8″ more sloped than the Ebb. That’s what I marked on the Ebb (1/8″) back and front.

Moving a little lower brings me to the level of the round back alteration. I slash straight across the back leaving a hinge at the armscye; slip a tissue beneath and then spread 5/8″ at the center back.

I pin that in place, smooth out the curve and then add 1/4″ center back seam.  It is possible to rotate the dart to the neckline or shoulders but I’m in a hurry and not doing that today.

Next up is what I’m calling the Princess Seam Alteration.  I place my curve on the back starting at the armscye notch.  I try to make a nice curve but I’ve found out that’s mostly a personal preference, so I’m not really particular about the exact curve.

It has to be extended all the way to the hem or next seam. If not you have a dart. I’d like to get away from darts and additional seams.  I cut on the curve, leaving a hinge at the hem, and then overlap 3/8″ at the armscye notch.

This creates a jog in the armscye that needs to be corrected. So far I’ve been filling in the jog instead of trimming away armscye. I took a second to look down the PSA and found that I was losing ease nearly all the way. About 1/2″ at the hip level. Well, I can’t do with less ease. Know it. So on the side seam I added 1/2″ at the hip level down; and blended up to the armscye.

Once all my alterations are done, I trim the excess tissue.

Back is done.

Front.  I have been mirroring alterations as needed, i.e. the BWL and Shoulder Slope. On the Front, I need to make the princess seam alteration. I start the same way, using my curve to draw a line from the armscye notch to the next seam which happens to be the empire line.

I slice that apart, leaving a hinge at the empire, then stop to think a sec.  With the armscye -princess pattern-pieces I’ve found that I need to pinch the front at the armscye more than the back. It is logical.  As I’m aging my back continues to round.Typical for the elderly that means  the back stretches becoming a little wider while the front becomes more concave and a little narrower. So when I slashed the front, I overlapped 1/2″ instead of the 3/8″ used for the back. 

Filled in the notch as I did with the back. I know it’s working so why not repeat the success?

And the front is finished

In its entirety as I had completed the front BWL at the same time as the back

I don’t want to work on the sleeve until I know how these alterations are working. I think I will need to remove 3/8″ length on the back sleeve cap and 1/2″ on the front but then again, I may not have made the correct changes.  Also I’m still leery of the shoulder. Although it is at the right angle, it still seems to be 1″ too long. I consider this carefully. First, my pattern 6299 pattern piece contains only a 1/4″ seam allowance. (I find 1/4″ is the easiest to work with when joining to the armscye. Under the serger foot, the 2 fabrics (bodice and sleeve) practically meld together with no effort on my part.) Point is, I think the shoulder contains an extra (from my point of view) 3/8″ length. Minus the 3/8″, the shoulder is only 5/8″ too long.  2nd point: This is a drop shoulder. The sleeve cap is flatter/lower than a regular shoulder would need.  I’ve noticed that Louise exaggerates the shoulder drop in her illustrations.  I think she wants you to know this cap is not supposed to sit at the shoulder’s edge. But she also knows that the easiest to sew,  most flattering, most comfortable drop shoulder is only a slight drop and that is what she generally drafts. Or, at least that is my impression. (I should confess I’ve not bought either her very earliest patterns, her Shapes, nor the latest patterns. I have several reasons, the #1 being my lack of fitting finesse, but also I’m looking for blouses and vests. Louise drafts every possible pattern a woman might want to use. She’s very versatile. Me, not so much).

Bottom line, I’ve leaving the sleeve alone until I get a little further along.


I thought the Mashup post would be shorter than it was and from the beginning of the project planned on the single post I made. This post on the PSA (my abbreviation and name ’cause I’ve never seen anyone else do this which doesn’t make it wrong) anyway, I expected this post to need more pics because I wanted to document exactly my changes; selfishly for myself. I’m at an age when if you don’t write down changes like you know you won’t remember a thing tomorrow, well you’ll have to repeat the whole bloomin’ process.  See you tomorrow for the fitting…


Mashup: 5967 & Ebb

ETA: Fixing a lot of little errors that neither I nor the spelling checker caught.

You all know Louise Cuttings Ebb has been my fav forever?

Like as soon as it was issued, I had to have it. Stopped my other sewing and made my first Ebb immediately. But since my shape changed 2 years ago, I’ve not been able to fit the pattern. Oh, I get enough circumference, but I also get deep V drag lines on the side and the empire rises sharply towards center front. Something is off and I don’t know what. Other than, I didn’t have the problem before. I made a number of beautiful Ebb’s before 2 years ago.  Well let’s move along.

I dearly love this style and keep trying to create a pattern at least close to its styling. After my success with Connie Crawford’s 5967, I wondered about a mash-up. I started by copying the Ebb pattern. I compared the Ebb tissue with my fitted 5967 pattern pieces and selected a Medium. At the time, I thought that was slightly off. Usually I’m a large or X-large. When I’m a medium it is because I’m trying to use a pattern for wovens with a knit fabric. But I proceeded ( and regretted it much later).

I immediately added a 5/8″ RBA and 1/4″ center back seam. I did consider rotating the dart to the shoulders but I have to think the process through every time. It is not something  I can whip through. Decided rotating could wait for another version. I also made a 1″BWL.  I have always needed to shorten the Ebb at least 1″ to bring the subtle waist and hip shaping in line with my own. I made one other change to the back, because it has been working for me:

I drew a line on the back which would correspond to the seam which would be created by an armscye princess. I cut all the way to the edge, but left a hinge. Then rotated the side seam edge inward 3/8″. I had to fill in the a little gap which occurs in the armscye and true the armscye curve.

I did not change the shoulder slope of either front or back because when I aligned the pattern pieces, the slopes were alike.

On the front, upper bodice, I laid out my pattern pieces from 5967

I really worked at lining up the grain and the match point/notches across the bust. This may be a little more understandable with the final pieces trimmed from the excess.

(click to enlarge any pic)

I noted that the shoulder had moved closer to my neck and was 1″ shorter than the Ebb’s shoulder. I reasoned that the 1″ difference in length didn’t matter because I always narrow the shoulders about 1″.  Since I wanted a princess seam, I needed to push the side front over and then add 1/2″ at the side to compensate for the now-needed, seam allowances.  I finished by folding the front along the fold line and trimming the facing to match the rest of the bodice.  I made the 1″ BWL to the skirt portion of the front. No pics of that.

This is one that I started by serge finishing all the edges. The pieces are visually different from both the Ebb which does not fit and 5967 which does. Enough difference that I feel uncomfortable with my changes. So I serge finished all pieces and then serged the side bodice to the bodice front. I stitched shoulder seams together before swapping out the bobbin for water-soluble thread and basting the empire seam and side seams. I ignored the sleeves for now. I have to tell you, the first fitting was close to being perfect.  My biggest complaint is the bust dart (forming in the front armscye) which is begging to be stitched

No I didn’t sew the dart, I trimmed about 1/2″ off the side seam.  My bodice tops often have interesting side seams as they tilt inwards at the underarm. I’m just narrow there.

2nd but not critical issue is that I think it is too long. The proportion seems a little off.   I trimmed 1″ from the bottom of at the hem of the fabric but on the pattern I increased the BWL to 2″ . Which takes care of a 3rd and maybe unimportant issue, I felt that the blouse was a little tight across the butt, even though it looks fine. Which suggests to me that the shaping is just a little low.

I also took a close look at the shoulders

The serge-finished edge is just barely reaching the edge of my shoulder. The Ebb shoulder illustration  clearly indicates a slightly dropped shoulder and the sleeve pattern has a flattened cap for a dropped shoulder. I hadn’t cut the sleeve from fabric, so I whipped out the 5967 sleeve, placed it on top of the Ebb and added a little height.

Then I cut the fabric. Thinking I needed to do nothing else, I serge the sleeve to the armscye and finished the blouse including hems, buttonholes and buttons.  I should mention that while I didn’t allow for vents during planning, I stopped the side seam stitched 8″ above the hem edge and finished with side vents.

I did have to ease the sleeve to the armscye. Ran a little basting line and pulled up the excess. That’s something I will think about fixing for the next version. The sleeve looks and feels good.

Oh forgot to mention that I had added 1/2″ to the side seams in the tissue stage.  Just couldn’t get over the feeling that a medium would be too small.  Turns out I was right. I stitched the side seams at 1/4″ which means I needed the large at least at the hip.  Um, that’s another tweak I’ll need to make to the pattern before the next version.

Love the right side view (above) and the front view

DH commented on how good it looked even in the pics from the fitting. I’m perplexed a little by the back which looked better at fitting

Finished (left) Fitting (right).  Also thought the left side looked fine during fitting but there are  extra front  drag lines in the finished blouse.

Finished (left) Fitting (right).

I love the final blouse. Can see more versions of this in the future.



B5967, Sewing and Fitting

I almost made one other change at cutting.  I almost cut the front bodice and flounce on the fold. I want to get to the fitting as soon as possible and truthfully, I didn’t want to hassle with buttonholes and a knit. But then I realized part of the charm of this pattern is the front button placket and buttons. Besides, I know how to handle buttonholes on a knit (wrap the stitching area with WSS), I’m just in a hurry.  So I cut the fabric pretty much the same as for V1 of course with all the fitting changes, empire line adjustments and the new Ebb-Style sleeve. Stitching at this point was pretty standard to me; assemble princess seam then flounce to upper bodice; sew dart then flounce to upper back bodice; serge shoulders.  I stitched the right shoulder 1/4″ deeper than the left to accommodate some body asymmetry and then swapped out the bobbin for some WST before basting the sides seams for fitting. I wasn’t terribly surprised that the armscyes were too long but I was surprised at how much too long. I was surprised that I still had too much circumference.  I deepened both the shoulder and side seams to 1″ before checking the fit again in the mirror. Then I added safety pins along the flounce seam line. This busy print that selected especially because busy prints camo lots of issues, made it impossible for me to see the seam line. After pics, I hurried upstairs to make an evaluation.

The back is not terribly bad but I can see that instead of increasing the side seams I should have taken a CB seam.  I know that because the armscyes are practically covering my arm. They definitely will need reshaping some how. I didn’t realize the upper and lower back were making that repeat!.  I wish I’d looked more carefully during cutting.

I’d say the front was ok except for managing to include the selvage when cutting the front flounces and the fact that the empire line is clearly curving upward. It might just be this fabric, this color, this print, but the undulating curve is more obvious in V2 than the previous. First thought was to shorten the upper bodice and true that line a bit more but then I saw the side views.


If you can, enlarge the pics to see the lines more clearly. Look at the shoulder first. The shoulder seam is not sitting square. It is angling and slightly on the back instead of balanced between front and back. How much is that pulling up the hem and empire? Also, how much is that changing the few side pull lines.  The right side, the one already adjusted for being lower has more pull lines than the left; and the lines are on both front and back.The left has only a few lines under the bust which I think indicates I need a little more ease.

And let’s talk about that “Empire Line” a sec. I assume it was an empire which can be situated anywhere between directly under the bust to mid ribcage. Certainly the envelope pic’s indicate an empire, but once I attempted leveling the line, it has become more of a high waist. Because of the flounce, I think it looks fine. Just that it wasn’t what I was thinking. Id say Connie combined a waistline with empire line by curving across the side and up to the front empire. It would be the best of 2 flattering lines; 1) the back waist line running across the narrowest part of the body and 2) the front empire line which many larger women want because it is more comfortable for them to wear. Nice choice Connie. Too bad I didn’t like the way it looks on me.

Back to the SM….or rather the cutting board.  I serged the shoulders at the newly basted shoulder seam line; stitched a center back seam 1/2″ deep and trimmed 1/2″ off the center front. Effectively I changed the shoulder seam but moved the fitting changes from the side seams to the center front/back. Then I looked at the Empire/waist.  This is a time when I could really use a fitting partner.  I tried comparing pattern pieces again. This time digging out Connie’s 0456 which is similar to 5967. 0456 was drafted for a vest and the flounce is an A-line skirt. But I tell you, I learned no more from this comparison than I already knew from the previous comparisons.  Back up to the pics to carefully stare and draw another line, this one horizontal to the front upswing of the Empire:

Staring at it until I was cross-eyed, I decided that the upswing begins just past the side-front princess seam; if it travels very horizontally, by the time it reaches the side seam, the waist is an inch lower than the beginning point and, I think , 1.25″ lower at the CB. So that’s what I tried next.  I trimmed a wedge across the bottom of the bodice (not the flounces) beginning at the princess seam (0), 1″ at the side seams 1.25″ at the center back.  I had not cut the sleeve yet, so I made a few changes to the sleeve hoping to reduce the impact of sewing shoulder seams deeper.  I reduced the cap by the 1/2″ removed at the shoulders; and took another 1/4″ from the circumference. Then I stitched  the blouse together including the sleeves, neckline and front facing  but without hemming.

Not spot on. I am in fact glad that I used a fabric that I like enough to wear even if it has a mistake, but not so nice I would be disappointed in having a mistake.

The sides are pretty good. Even when drawing a straight line along the waist:

Also note that the under bust drag lines are reduced and the single V that was trying to form on the right side is no more.

The front is nice. I finished the neckline with white, picot elastic. I love the way the picot elastic adds a little extra feminine touch. I also agree with Peggy Sagers, that having a “Stop line” at the neck enhances the over all appearance of a blouse or dress. Not sure why, but having a resting point for the eyes makes it look complete. The back is where I made the final goof

It is raising slightly and raising more than 1/4″. Also there seems to be more flouncing across the back than front or sides.  Thankfully, my style and fitting changes also repositioned the fabric print removing that duplicate image on the back which I thought distracting.

I haven’t hemmed at this point. Not sure if I’m going to. I’m afraid hemming would make my blouse too short.  Even now, it looks just a tiny bit unproportioned.

I”m thinking of morphing this pattern into the above waist version as above and then make a second for a true empire which I think is about 2.5-3″ higher.  Then of course I would want a knit version and a woven version. Why would I want both versions?  Well I really like both the woven  blouse and this knit blouse. To fit the this knit version, I make some pretty big changes to the woven tissue. I don’t want to try to remember all those changes, or make them all over again when I use a knit fabric.

So that’s it for a few days. Roomba has decided it is time for me to work on the cleaning up the Stash Room. Yes, he vacuumed up a corner/string of fabric and ended up pulling off most of the fabrics on one of my bottom shelves.  I had planned to refold and restack the shelves as part of the Sept Deep Cleaning. Guess I’ll get started with that now.  It’s a several day project which will preclude any sewing or blogging.


B5967 V2

It took me longer than expected to make what I thought would be a minor change to the empire line (that of removing the obvious upward curve at CB and CF).  And I didn’t use the fabric originally selected either. That beauty still awaits.

I started by carefully examining the original pattern i.e. not my traced and already altered pieces. I had wondered if a serger problem had contributed to the undulating empire line

I should also clarify that the serger was not at fault. I wanted to use the differential feed when joining the 2 pieces of the front princess seam. Using that feed requires adapting about 3 settings and when finished returning those settings to the default.  I neglected to return all 3 settings and unknowingly changed a knife setting as well. It took me several tries to figure out what was wrong. The serger was fine all the time. It was doing what I asked even if not what I wanted. —

I found that Connie had drafted beautiful elegant curves at the empire and again at the flounce hem. I don’t want you to think I’m suggesting Connie made a drafting error. I watched Connie’s retail pattern drafting career almost from the start.  I know that she was targeting the plus size market wanting to offer well-drafted patterns in larger sizes that were also fashionable, followed current trends and were flattering to the plus-sized wearer. She was so successful that non-plus sized ladies (and not her target market) began asking that the patterns be printed in regular misses sizes.  So when I look at these elegant curves, I know they are deliberate.  My issue is not with her draft but rather  I  think that particular undulating line emphasizes my tummy.  I’d much prefer to minimize and detract attention from my tummy.

I also had wondered about the hi-lo hem which was lower in the front. It was drafted that way. Not only was it drafted to be lower in front, the flounces are not an equal width across either flounce.    ‘Course, I have no idea what her thinking was back in 2012/13 (pattern is copyrighted 2013), but I knew I wanted to level the empire line and shorten the CF length when I started Version 2. As I examined the pattern pieces I realized I had a 3rd objective that of making the flounces an equal depth; equal across each flounce and to each other.

I transferred my fitting adjustments to my copy of the pattern and started looking at the undulating empire line. I was just unsure how to change it.  I had assumed I would simply slash some length off  the sides. Now I didn’t know; and worse, I didn’t know how much I wanted to change. Oh I knew I wanted to make them equal, but how much change would be needed. I tried to line them up next to each but that didn’t work well. I couldn’t just ‘see’ what to do.  I had a brain-phart and pulled out my beloved Ebb to compare the pieces with. Why? Why did I choose a pattern that I haven’t been able to fit in 2+ years?  Why did I choose a pattern that didn’t have the armscye princess seams?  Not even the empire depths are the same. I was asking myself how to align the 2 B5967 princess seam  pieces first to each other

and then to the Ebb

Finally sort of satisfied, more like not sure how else to align, I slipped a scrap of tissue beneath the aligned pattern pieces.

extended vertical seam lines. drew a level empire line and trimmed the excess tissue.

I repeated the action on the back piece (no princess seam on the back)  and put things away for the night. Frankly, I didn’t think I was anywhere near a correct solution and did nothing with the flounces. It did not feel right P-E-R-I-O-D.

That evening I was looking at the eye candy on the Lekala site and realized Lekala had the equivalent of B6299. Which was a head-slapping, could-have-had-a-V8 moment. When I started the next day, I pulled out my fitted pattern pieces to B6299 and made the same comparison. Except, it was much faster. Oh yes I probably  benefited from the experience of comparing with the Ebb, but now comparing very similar patterns. with very similar pattern pieces, my conclusions were drawn much faster and I’m more comfortable with them.  About the sleeve

I applied my alterations first (removing excess cap length and sleeve length using tucks in appropriate places); then I copied the Ebb sleeve. I like that sleeve and wanted to use it.  I silently praised Peggy Sagers as I first traced the Ebb, then placing the first 5967 sleeve on top, I traced the cap.  I was also comparing circumference and length. Confident the new sleeve would work, I set it aside and turned my attention to the flounces.

Have to praise my curve runner as well. This little tool has more than worth the money I paid for it. I measured the width of my altered empire lines, subtracted seam allowances as needed and then measured the flounce on the seam that joins the empire line. I added but 1/4″ circumference to each flounce. Again, it was great to know that I had a logical process. Made me feel so confident.  Then I measured the length of the back flounce.  Using my ruler, I made tick marks 9.5″ evenly away from the  flounce’s waist/empire and then sketched in a new hem curve before trimming the excess tissue.  Mostly, I added length to the back and sides, but removed some from the center front.

Sadly, I’m not 100% sure that the flounces are right. I know that my changes to the flounces did not account for the changes at the upper bodice empire line. But since my flounces  are now a standard shape, I  think I have a good chance at being right. Besides, I really wanted to test all (fitting and empire line) the changes I made; especially  the fitting alteration I made to the back.

During fitting, I  let out the side seams to ensure that the empire would not feel close during wear. So I needed to add circumference and did so by adding a 1/2″ wedge to the bottom at the CB empire line. To remove the side V’s/drag lines discovered on the garment during fitting, I made a dart  which the public side looks like I have back as well as a front princess armscye seams.  On the pattern, I drew and cut along a princess looking line (drawn by me  with my curve) and overlapped by the depth of the dart (3/8″ total removed 3/4″). I am especially hoping this works. If it does, I have just made it possible for me to use a whole lot of patterns; patterns without back princess seams, or yokes, or darts. But….. I  keep thinking of Gale Gregg Hazen (hope I spelled her names right) who said that curvy bodies need curvy lines and they need to correspond between pattern and body (i.e. you can’t change at the hem if the problem is the shoulder or change the CB when the issue is at CF etc.)

I finished in a frame of mind that said 51% changes will work; 49% chance they won’t; 100% I’ll need to make further adaptations. I absolutely did not want to use the fabric I had selected the day before. This felt too much like a test with uncertain results. I want that fabric to end up proudly in my closet. So I hunted for another fabric. I wanted something busy, because busy prints can camo a lot of error. Couldn’t find a non-stretch woven I was willing to sacrifice so instead I chose an ITY knit. OK, this is one of those issues where I disagree with Peggy Sagers. She says the only pattern difference between stretch and non-stretch fabrics is circumference which can be corrected at the seams during fitting.  For one thing, I’m not using a Silhouette Pattern.  I’m using someone else’s pattern. I already know there are important differences between the two pattern lines because I don’t worry about the position of the waist when working with a SP blouse. Peggy uses a wide waist zone that works nicely for me. Not so with Connie Crawford’s designs. Also I’ve made lots of changes to this pattern.Not even the pattern’s designer  would be totally unconcerned after all I’ve done.   I know from experience, that  I can use a stable knit and make fitting changes during fitting; if it’s a slinky knit and I don’t make changes I’m going to throw the thing in the trash. Since I’ve selected an ITY with 50% stretch, my experience is that I need to remove 1/4″ circumference from back and front pieces and most likely the sleeve too. I find, too that the armscyes will be too long and the waist/hip too low.  Usually I would stitch a very narrow like 1/16″ tuck across the bodice in the armscye and again just above the waist.  I know it seems like not much. I can only assure you that usually enough to make me happy with the test garment. Happy enough to wear it daily.  This time, I’ve made so many changes, I’m reluctant to tweak the armscye. So last thing I did before turning out the lights, was taking a 1/8″ tuck vertically in the back and front bodice pieces and the sleeve.

Whew! Way too many words. I was anxious to document my process in case I needed to do it again in the future. Tomorrow should be a short post about sewing and final fitting. I hope.