originally published Sept 3, 2011
I’ve decided to quit apologizing for long posts, and to quit trying to trim them down to “sound bite” size. I am instead using this as my Electronic Journal. Journal pages are usually more salient But they are also usually very personal. Since I’m sharing my journal with the world, I feel the need to share a little back ground or how-did-we-get-here kind of information. Expect to see more multi-posts on a single project. I’ve found that these type posts help me think my way through. I’ve had numerous comments that people like to follow my thinking/creative process. I’m very grateful to you for sharing that support as well as tuning into my blog frequently. Thank you and Hugs.
Last post, I mentioned that I requested input from Stitcher’s Guild. I’m eternally awed by this group of sewists. So much so that when something niggles me at the back of the mind, I “talk” it over with them. With this pattern, I was concerned about the center back sticking up weirdly; the bulge in the back armscye and, not mentioned previously, the fact that there is a long-sleeve dress version of this very same garment, which uses exactly the same bodice pieces. In my 50+ years of sewing, I’ve learned that a sleeveless and a sleeved garment need different armscyes to achieve satisfactory fits. I was afraid that either the armscye would be too low thus revealing my underwear or too tight for a comfortable sleeved garment. The responses from SG were simple and to the point: make a muslin.
Simple, to the point and alas, highlighting one of my real weakness. I don’t mind making samples. I don’t mind making tests. But I hate to spend hours making a garment fully intending to put it into the trash bin.
Sigh, I kept the front and back tissues pinned together but removed them from Mimie. One of the wonders of the Internet is how much accidental learning can take place. I had 2 dress forms before Mimie and never made much use of them. They were sort of an ego trip. I proclaimed loudly (though silently) to everyone who entered my abode that dressmaking was my creative venue. Mimie however has become one of my most used tools a result of all the pics, posts and comments I’ve read and received over the last 4 years. She is constantly in use. I needed to remove the pattern pieces while completing the aborted 6PAC jacket, the Vest and a 3rd project still to be blogged. These other projects gave me time to contemplate possible actions and indulge in one of my favorite activities: reading other sewists’ blogs.
I know that I’ve read a few of the The Sewing Lawyer’s posts here and there, but only recently I began at the last post and worked my way all the back to her very first post. I’m immensely impressed with the range of garments and fabrics she chooses to work with. Often, her failures are turned into miracles. Like so many of us dressmakers, she claims to have a “weird” figure; requiring many equally weird alterations to achieve her desired fit. I do not have exact links to her concepts to which I will be referring but I wanted to repeat or at least paraphrase some of her insights which have had a huge impact on my thinking in just the last 2 weeks.
Notably, her figure doesn’t look weird. Why? Because she invests the time in fitting, including tissue alterations and muslins, adding and subtracting as needed. About midway in her posts, she starts describing the use of her own excellent dress form. It’s clear but a little confusing, to see her removing a wedge about 1/2″ center front above her bust and then adding a wedge about 1/2″ just below her waist. The tendency is to say, “why bother?” Indeed many people did ask to which she replied that she was removing where it was too long and adding back where it was too short. She was tweaking the pattern to follow the contours and volume of her own body. The “net + or -” concepts described by other well known personalities was unimportant. What was important was putting the fabric where her body needed fabric and removing fabric where it didn’t.
On one post she said something to the effect, that she pinned the tissue together; pinned the tissue to her dress form and then starting adding and subtracting to the tissue pattern until it looked weird. Huh??? I thought. But then I said, Oh yes, I think I do understand. I do something quite similar too. I usually make 2 standard pattern alterations and then pin my pieces together. I pin them to Mimie and start checking. Do I have enough ease? Are the shoulders still too long? Is the neckline too high? Too low? etc etc. All the while, (and understanding that the tissue is not going to behave the same as the fabric), I begin changing the tissue to fit smoothly or with sufficient volume where desired over Mimie. When I’m satisfied, I remove the tissue from Mimie, make final pattern alterations and begin the layout and cutting. But if I were to stop and compare my altered tissue pieces to the original, they would look weird.
I’m sure I’ll refer to The Sewing Lawyer, Kayy, again in the future. She’s truly inspiring and, very importantly, truly eloquent. Kayy, can make her point without creating long posts. My point here, is that having read, digested and I think understood what Kayy wrote, I put my tissue back on Mimie and started making my pattern “weird”.
My pics didn’t turn out well, so try to visualize this (in your mind or on paper if need be.). Armed by the moral support received from Kayy (vicariously via reading her blog), I pined the tissue into place on Mimie, I cut a vertical slit 1/2″ from the center back starting at the neck and going downward about 7″. I place another slug of paper behind the split. After smoothing the tissue into place, I taped it. Next, I trimmed the neckline to follow my best high neckline which has been marked on Mimie for sometime. Now, that was a nice neckline both front and back.
I kept looking at the armscye bulge. Turning; smoothing; tweaking the pinning of the tissue to Mimie. Finally I pinned the front armscye to Mimie separately from the back. I smoothed the back armsyce around and into position. I trimmed a wedge off the back armscye at the underarm which was almost exactly the same wedge I had added to the back neck! De ja vue! So similar to Kayy removing 1/2″ above the bust and adding it back 1/2″ below the waist. Now I had a pattern with which I could confidently work.
As I wrote, these pics were somewhat less than informative. The back neckline fits smoothly against Mimie and joins nicely with the front. The back no longer has weird bulges but fits smoothly against Mimie. I do hope that this new “weird” piece does not alter the overall look of the blouse which I truly loved. But no, I’m not making a muslin. I did change my fabric. I’m using a soft, light-rose crepe, again, of undetermined fiber but probably polyester, acetate or nylon. The new fabric is very similar in weight and drape as the first. It’s greatest advantage is that as a WFO fabric, I have 4 yards to work with and can recut when needed.
I checked length and found that this blouse when untucked (which is how I usually wear blouses) would be longer than any of my jackets. I rarely like the look of a blouse longer than a jacket. Sorry, just me dating myself. If you like that look, go ahead; enjoy. For myself I trimmed 2″ in length; AND then 2 weeks after first having been enchanted by September 2011, Burda Style Blouse 128, I proceeded to the layout and cutting phase.