Few quick notes on the Third Fit
IMO the back is done. Well, done for this garment. Personally I’ve found that there is only so much you can do at the fitting stage. There comes a point for a change to be effective it has to be done at the tissue stage. I was so relieve during the final lessons of J Sterns Jeans Fitting when she stopped to explain that you measure and make changes to the tissue and then make a muslin. You tweak the muslin. For some people it’s done. But others are going to need a 2nd muslin even a third or fourth. It all depends on the shapes (length circumferences and depth) of your body and then how fabric can be molded to fit. So this garment’s back is done. I’ve serged and then stitched the center back, princess, empire, facing and shoulder seams. I intended to tweak the shoulder slope a bit more but issues with my serger side-tracked me. My serger does not like this particular peach skin. It has worked on others. But for this fabric the stitch is never smooth and I sometimes have puckering issues. I put in the smallest needle I’ve been able to buy (an 11); fiddle with the differential feet; individual tensions. Checked the thread paths numerous times and finally rethreaded the machine. My preference is to 4-thread serge the final seams. But I’m having to serge and then reinforce at the sewing machine. The back facing was a horror by itself. I had to adapt it for the new back-width. Easy. Done. But then stitching to the back neckline edge and meeting the front facing was incredibly difficult. I had bulges and folds and two big ugly messes; one for each side of the neck. I finally ripped out all the serging and stitching and started over. The end result is not perfect but it’s done and looks reasonably good.
I permanently stitched the sleeves into place. I do have one little pucker that I think I’m just going to ignore. Serge finishing the cap ahead of time also gathered it just slightly. Just enough that it was easy to smoothly (almost) insert into the armscye. (I prefer to insert sleeves flat.)
I had decided I like the bodice/skirt proportions of the back than the front. So I serged the back empire seam removing all the excess, just-in-case fabric along the back empire line. Then I turned my attention to the front. Since the front hem was not doing its high -waters thing, I decided against shortening the entire front bodice to match the back. Instead from the side seam to the original gathering point, I inserted a dart. I stitched a wedge (dart) 1/2″ wide and about 6″ long. The front and back empire line met easily but the hems are still offset. The back side seam is longer at the hem than the front. Irritatingly, the front hem now appears to curve upward. I do wonder if I have the blouse sitting on my shoulders correctly. Something I will definitely be more careful with during the next fitting.
I do see some folds back and sides which I’m going to ignore. I’m concerned about how the front just looks too big. So before the next fitting, I plan to extend one of those front tucks upward into the bodice and at the same time make it deeper than the 3/8 indicated on the pattern pieces. I’m also going to trim the back hem even/level and fold it up. Every line of permanent stitching gives me such a boost, that I’m going to finish the sleeve too.
I started the next sewing session by finishing the sleeve. I had begun envisioning this sleeve with the first fitting and was happy to finish it now. I serged the 1″ seam allowances down to 1/4″ (my serger default) by lining the guide lines with my basing stitch. Not quite sure that the body of the garment wouldn’t require the extra circumference available in the seam allowance so at the underarm I made a sharp turn towards the raw edge and serged off. This sleeve is drafted with a 2″ hem which I used for the ‘cuff’. I turned up the serge finished hem 1.5″ and edge stitched the fold. Then I stitched the casing along the serged edge leaving 3″ open to insert the elastic. The elastic was a bit fiddly. My wrist is a slim 6″ but I need more for my hand. Actually I like my cuffs a little loose so I can push them up a few inches when I wash my hands. Keeping them from any dampness. I don’t like my sleeves to get wet. Just don’t. So I formed a circle with 1″ elastic and pinned. Too small. Unpin; make the circle bigger. Repeat 3 times. Cut elastic. Cut 2nd elastic same length. I’ve been listening to Peggy Sagers so I wrote ‘Elastic 10″‘ on the hem of the sleeve. In pencil. Then I clipped about 2″ from some left over bias tape and stitched that to one end of the elastic. Put a big ol’ pin in the other end and threaded through my casing. When I could pull both ends out, I removed the pin and stitched the other edge to the bias. Finishing by putting a line of zig zag stitching over both ends of the elastic before trimming any unsecure bias tape. I learned this from Nancy Zieman many years ago and use it frequently. It makes a nice flat finish anywhere used but is especially nice in a sleeve cuff. No lump to irritate what is sensitive skin. I don’t know that sensitive is the right word. But I do notice lumpy elastic around my wrist more so than around my waist or say the ankle cuff of sweats. Whoops, last step is closing the 3″ gap left open for inserting the cuff and of course repeating for the other sleeve. The extra half-inch length gained by not turning up the full 2″ hem is just enough to give the sleeve a little poof. Had I planned from the start to use this sleeve finish, I might have added another 2″ to length But I like this. Really well.
I was perhaps too pleased with myself when tackling the front. The plan was to release the 3rd from the front tuck (on both sides) and create a faux princess seam. It would be faux as I wasn’t actually going to cut the fabric and would end 1″ before reaching the shoulder. It would be a shaped dart instead of a seam but placement would suggest the princess seam. I measured and marked. Stitched both sides. So why was one off? I didn’t spend much time thinking about it. I grabbed my seam ripper and started removing the offending stitches. I don’t know how it happened. I rip by wiggling the tip through the stitch on top and towards the fold. But somehow my ripper grabbed fabric and zipped through a 2″ diagonal hole. A GAPPING hole resulted. I just started at it for a full minute.
I hung the whole shebang on a hanger. Turned everything off and went upstairs for the night. DH was surprised to see me so early and lent me a willing ear as I described my disaster. Even fixed me a libation for comfort. Wish I’d quit earlier. Even a nano-second would have avoided a wadder.