originally published Sep 1, 2012
.Can I start by admitting I’m thrilled?
I cut pieces as indicated except for the sleeve placket. It’s a lovely looking placket but rather fussy and I’ve never finished one to my satisfaction. I’d like to work on perfecting my technique and make a really beautiful one….. someday. Today, I want to check my alteration procedure and produce a nice blouse for my 2012 Autumn 6PAC. I elected to cut bias strips to be used to clean finish the placket and neckline edge. I added interfacing as indicated (collar, front facings) and stabilized the shoulders with fusible bias tape. My fabric is astonishinly wide. I have 2.25 yards of 60″ wide shirting fabric. It’s 100% cotton but it’s been sanforized or some other type heavy duty finishing because it resists wrinkling. I prefer separate front facings because an attached facing gobbles up the yardage. With this fabric I have left slightly over 1 yard plus some large scraps to be used in a summer top next year. I know there are uneven plaids, but is the same verbage used with stripes? The striping is repeated across the 60″, but when the fabric is folded in half the stripes are not the same on the top side as they are on the bottom…. and vice versa. Usually, I would opt for cutting each piece individually. But I am more interested in fitting this blouse and it’s difficult to tell the right side from wrong side of this shirting. I decided to fold and cut opposites together and make the best of it. Such an arrangement is not automatically doomed to failure. Single layer cutting possibly would assured success, but when I have to keep track of too many things, as with this fabric, I can rapidly turn beautiful fabric into trash. I’ll keep it simple, and live with the result.
I fused the interfacing, applied fusible bias tape to the shoulders for stabilization and then basted shoulder and sides together for a first fitting. I was happy just slipping into the shell. The fabric feels nice. More importantly as I’m pinning together at top button and bottom button, I feel no tension. I roughly space two more pins between the proposed top and bottom buttons and secure the front. Then I take a look in the mirror. I’m delighted with my reflection and so I pull out the camera for a few quick piccys.
Oh and I’m still happy.
I keep my excitement in check by reminding myself that without sleeves, cuffs and collar, there’s too much fit information I don’t have. But I like the front. Oh yes I see the front doesn’t hang perfectly perpendicular to the floor– pretty sure that’s my fault– and darts are trying to form along the side. But my personal experience after growning my very own b@@bs, is that a blouse without “real” stitched darts like this can’t help but form some b@@b darts. You can try to smooth all the fabric to the side seams or elsewhere, but it doesn’t completely work unless you are working with knits. A woven fabric needs darts to traverse womanly curves and will create it’s own darts if the pattern does not. I confess that I felt slightly thrilled the first time I had enough b@@bage for my woven cotton shirts to form these drag lines. I could fix the drag lines by making a full FBA, but I don’t want to. I want the dartless blouse even if the fabric makes insists upon making it’s own darts. I see that the shoulders are, as expected, softly cupping my natural shoulder. The neckline is comfortable, even at this unfinished point. I repeat, I’m happy with the front view. Onto the side:
and I”m not entirely sure what’s happening at the shoulder. I used water soluble thread (WST) to baste the garment together. WST is wonderful for this type fitting effort. I sew at normal settings (2.5 stitch length, default tensions, standard foot) but with WST in the bobbin. I can pin and baste again, or if I’m satisfied, spritz with water or give it a big shot of steam from my Rowenta. The WST disappears and the top thread is lifted and disposed into the trash can with one easy, continuous swift, graceful…. oh you get the idea one quick movement. It looks as though the shoulder has already started ripping out. Given the brittle condition of the WST due to the heat, that’s likely. Nonetheless there is enough information to tell me how and where the shoulder falls; a rough fitting estimate and sleeve room. The side view further reveals the bust darts the woven fabric is trying to form; and also is indicating some information about the back fit. I’m not drawing any conclusions, just noting some drag lines. To gain a little more information, I lifted my arm and took a second side picture.
I think it is interesting that the front bust darts have nearly disappeared as well as the deep back folds of fabric and the much smaller folds around the bottom third of the armscye. Again no conclusions from me. I’m just looking and thinking.
Finally the back view
I’m perplexed by the back view and plan to contemplate a bit before proceeding. I cut a size 38 right across the shoulders but extended into a 40 as quickly as possible. I thought the issues with the back were caused by insufficient ease just 3″ down from the neckline. I gave this pattern a 1.50″ back waist length adjustment. That’s the biggest BWL I’ve ever made, yet I’m seeing deep wrinkles in the center of the back which usually indicate either a sway back, or a BWL length mismatch (body and pattern). I do note that in both front and back views, the shirt fabric seems to hang up on the pants fabric and become off-centered or not hang freely. There is more then enough ease. In another type garment, I would take the side seams in more. Unfortunately the picture in the magazine
doesn’t really tell me how this blouse should fit. Burda has shown this blouse in a fashion forward sense rather than something which could indicate how it should fit. This is one of my complaints about Burda which contributed to cancelling my subscription. I get that they are a fashion magazine, offering the patterns as well as styling, accessory and wearing suggestions. But they really short-change us, the viewer and magazine buyer, when it comes to indicating how the pattern will or should fit. Grrrr Burda. So I’m left saying, well when my arm is lifted, I have even less wrinkles than the model does in the front. I’m left to guess what the back and side should/could show.
You’re probably saying, ” I thought she was thrilled.” Yes I am because I spent hours measuring, calculating, comparing and deveoping the fitting information I used on 2154. I distilled that information into a simple procedure and I transferred that information to a new pattern, new pattern company successfully. The front and sides of 130 fits as well as 2154. The back of 130 fits a little better -as a result of the finished 2154 and conclusions about it’s fit. I’m pleased as punch to post that I have a simple reliable process for altering patterns for tops so that they fit me with just a bit of tweaking. I just need to finesse the fit of the back.