Failed: Lila Dress Shirt

Based on Beige Beestjes Shirt I made a new pattern, with princess seams for better shaping at the underbust and looking for a better armhole. I sewed the shirt but the fit is so bad I won’t finish it.
fitting of handsewn self drafted blouse (it doesn't fit well. Too much shaping in too few princess seams. Also needs more wearing ease and lower armhole.)fitting of handsewn self drafted blouse (it doesn't fit well. Too much shaping in too few princess seams. Also needs more wearing ease and lower armhole.) fitting of handsewn self drafted blouse (it doesn't fit well. Too much shaping in too few princess seams. Also needs more wearing ease and lower armhole.)fitting of handsewn self drafted blouse (it doesn't fit well. Too much shaping in too few princess seams. Also needs more wearing ease and lower armhole.)fitting of handsewn self drafted blouse (it doesn't fit well. Too much shaping in too few princess seams. Also needs more wearing ease and lower armhole.)

The main problems are the armholes and that the shaping at the underbust is too extreme for the fabric. This petite busty woman needs more than two princess seams at the front. Right now the shaping on those two is too extreme and the fabric stretches and flares.

I did bring the Beige Beestjes Shirt up to a pattern with princess seams, both in the front and the back. Back is nearly good now, it just needs a little less curves at the bottom. (It’s not too tight at the arm hole, the tightness there is caused by the armhole and sleeve. But it looks weird, I agree.)

It’s getting better and better though. Combining this with “Loes’ bloes” from the previous post and I’ll have something wearable soon.

Process for Lila Shirt:
using Block April 2016, to find out if it’s ok. Basically a resew of the slippery cheap market cotton shirt from June 2016 that was a failure.

  • amendments: using “upperbust” (=93 cm) at the point that this pattern drafting methode uses “borstwijdte” which is right at the horizontal line at the armpits. This brings in the sideseam at that point, by 4×2 cm for the block. At the apex (nipples) I’m still using “borstwijdte”. Basically I’ve now used my upperbust and given the block a FBA. I found that each shirt drafted from the block was too wide at the armpit, just where I wanted the armhole to be fitted.
  • amendments: elongating shoulder seam by 1 cm
  • new shirt pattern from the block will have princess lines both front and back and a new sleeve and arm hole, derived from Beige Winterbeestjes bloes. I mainly need this block for better waist shaping (and the mentioned snugness at the arm pit horizontal line).
  • amend block to have a CB that’s not straight? Has the waist shaping incorporated instead? –> only whenever there’s a CB seam. Otherwise use two princess seams.

Still working towards the ultimate Dress Shirt Pattern for all my future shirts and any woven that catches my fancy. From Block to Pattern:

  • swiffel side bust dart to the waist dart, not to the armhole.
  • match front and back panel at the shoulder seams and make arm hole nice and round at the top.
  • 1 cm wearing ease at the side seam/arm pit
  • back shoulder side dart swivveled to shoulder seam (will become part of princess seam, no yoke this time). Not sure if the line is supposed to be at a square angle with the shoulder seam. I just assume so. Next: redraw the arm hole so it’s smooth again.
  • draw princess seam. Will smoothen
  • add wearing ease: 1 to 1,5 cm at the sideseam. Compare with pattern for Beige Winterbeestjes
  • neck CB -0,5 cm; shoulder seam -1,5 cm. Bottom CB + 3 cm, sideseam -2 cm
  • SA 1,5cm
  • frontpanel: swivveled side BD close and brought it to the waist dart. Swivveled arm hole BD to the princess seam in the shoulder. Left with an akward arm hole. Smoothened it and now have a front length of the arm hole of 19,1 cm. The length of the front of the sleeve cap is 22,9. I’ll never be able to ease that in, too much difference. (the original, awkward arm hole is 19,1 cm). I’ve folded away some of the width of the sleeve, with the emphasize on the sleeve cap. Front of that is now 22,1 cm wide, the back 24,0. That’s 4 cm more than the armhole. I’m going to try and ease it in. I think 3 is the maximum you’re supposed to do but if need be I can resort to a fold at the high point of the sleeve. I’ve drawn the line a little closer to the original awkward armhole, another few mm won. Also: I had widened the sleeve at the biceps with 2,5 cm. Half of that has now been folded away. I will do another sleeve adjustment to get that back. The shape of the sleeve cap will flatten even more as a result.
  • 2,5 cm van de mouw af voor een mouwlengte van 59 cm. Machet is 13 cm hoog, dubbelgevouwen, met manchetknopen. Nagetekend van mijnwitte bloes.

backpanel: dart to princes seam:

pattern drafting Lila Dress Shirt bust darts

front panel: closing side dart. Making a princes seam to the arm hole results in terrible angled side panel (see pencil-finger-pencil). I opt for princes seam to the shoulder seam. pattern drafting Lila Dress Shirt bust dartspattern drafting shirt Sewing darts armhole

that weird steep armhole again… rounding it off. Butn ow the circumference gets too out of line with the length of the sleeve cap. Settling on the middle line. pattern drafting shirt Sewing darts armholepattern drafting shirt Sewing darts armhole

I made some adjustments to the block, based on this shirt. One of them is lowering the shoulderseam at the neck by 1 cm:

fitting of handsewn self drafted blouse (it doesn't fit well. Too much shaping in too few princess seams. Also needs more wearing ease and lower armhole.)

The main problem, other than the armhole, is that the extreme waist shaping a busty petite woman needs cannot be done in just two princess seams.
fitting of handsewn self drafted blouse (it doesn't fit well. Too much shaping in too few princess seams. Also needs more wearing ease and lower armhole.)fitting of handsewn self drafted blouse (it doesn't fit well. Too much shaping in too few princess seams. Also needs more wearing ease and lower armhole.)fitting of handsewn self drafted blouse (it doesn't fit well. Too much shaping in too few princess seams. Also needs more wearing ease and lower armhole.)

I’m looking at designs with more seams, more panels, horizontal parts even.

Like these from DD-atelier and CarrisaRose:

Starting on a Knip Blouse April 2016

Knip Magazine looks innovated. The patternpaper is more sturdy, instructions are no longer staccato but in full sentences. With periods. What luxury!

I bought the April 2016 edition which is about vintage looks. I want to make a blouse with a standing collar and a side darts from it, blouse nr 23:

But first a muslin. I hope to transform this pattern into a pattern I can use and reuse again.

These are the steps I took:

  1. I compared my own measurements to the measurements Knip uses. I found I fit pretty much in a size 38, if I borrow the taille from size 40. I used my upperbust measurement as if it were my full bust measurement. I ignored my real bust measurements. Size 38 fits my frame.
  2. My breasts are not standard for size 38 and the pattern will need a Full Bust Adjustment. I will repeat the trick Lynda Maynard teaches in craftsycourse Sewing the Perfect Fit. It has brought me good things before.
  3. my back is shorter than any of the sizes of the Knip. It’s 3 cm shorter than size 38. I will hack horizontal into the pattern and move things up a bit.
  4. I probably want a longer model with less flare in the hips, I will cut the muslin generously and play with it.
  5. I want longer sleeves and probably less flarey. I’ll see to that once I’ve sorted out the armhole and the sleeve cap.
  6. Arm hole and sleeve cap. I will transfer the pattern as is onto paper but then I’m going to take a long hard look and change the armhole to a better fit. I’ve got my previous three grey blouses, I’ve got Ikatbag’s explanation and I’ve been doing a pattern drafting course for the past couple of months which has taught me a thing or two also. The sleeve (cap) will come after the armhole is sorted.
  7. closing. Still don’t do button holes. I’ve got souple zippers I can put in (no blind zipper foot for my antique foot treadle sewing machine alas) and I’ve got self fasting snaps I can put it. Either way: reserve fabric/seam allowances for this.

Now,  before I go tracing size 38 (with waist 40) on the paper I’m going to find out if this is the kind of company that puts in seam allowances into the paper pattern or wants me to put them in myself.

Knip doesn’t offer seam allowances on the paper pattern. Excellent. This way I can compare their pattern with the ones I already have very easy.

And later on I can trace the sewing lines directly onto the muslin and can cut generous seam allowances that do not have to be tidy or neat or consistent. The stitching seam is right there on the fabric, clear as day. Just follow the line.

That way I can already cut more fabric at the top of the side seam. I suspect it will have to be raised considerably for a better fitting arm hole. Modern pattern companies still think that ease of movement requests more wearing ease. It does not.

I’ll also give the front and back of the armhole more seam allowance, I suspect it has to be narrowed.

Let me think, what else…. More length at the bottom. A little bit of width at the seam allowance should I need width as well as length after doing the Maynard trick.

So let’s start.

  1. trace pattern
  2. adjust paper pattern for length (shortht) of back
  3. cut from muslin fabric with generous seam allowance
  4. sew the muslin and do the FBA Maynard style
  5. start the fit: CB at CB; shoulder seams on the shoulder seam; shoulder length appropriate/ arm hole begins where arm hole should be; side seams vertical; no dragmarks anywhere; adjust arm hole.
  6. adjust pattern, invent a sleeve, make a new muslin, do a second fitting.

1. Trace pattern:

Knipmode bloes 23 .april 2016/04

No sleeve yet since I’ll adjust it anyway.

2. adjust for height: draw a horizontal line at the waist marker and fold away 3 cm. Redraw vertical darts and side seam curve if needed. It’s just a millimeter for the dart and none for the sideseams since I have little waist accentuation as it is (as evidenced by going from size 38 at the arm pit to 40 at the waist to 38 at the bottom again).

Knipmode bloes 23 .april 2016/04

Allright.

Step 3: cut from muslin with generous seam allowances:

Knipmode bloes 23 .april 2016/04

Euhhh… I better press the muslin fabric a bit. It’s really dumb otherwise. So much inaccuracy.

Knipmode bloes 23 .april 2016/04

Now I’ll reposition the paper pieces again and check if my green lines are still accurate. Otherwise adjust them.

(I’d better press the tracing paper too I guess)

verdorie:
Untitled
Untitled
Untitled

This is an old bed sheet. It probably grew during pressing which wasn’t propper pressing but ironing. Distorting the fabric and the grain. Anyway. Redrawing the sewing lines and proceeding to the next step.

4: sew the muslin. Bust darts first, then shoulder seams, then side seams. Skip the other darts. Wear it inside out. Pin Centre Front to Centre Front.

Untitled

Now I’m ready for the FBA. First I’ll sew CF shut, it’s not too tight. (So Knip puts a lot of wearing ease in their patterns).

Untitled

Sideseam looks ok. Bust dart points up a bit. Ready for that cut Maynard style, I need a bit more room for my bust.

Untitled

Erm…. I better rewatch the craftsy course and relearn what I’m actually supposed to do. The Aha! moment didn’t happen this time…
I also feel this FBA doen not need (only) more length at the front edges but also a bit more width.

Ah, watching the course again I see I didn’t make the cut right.
n the mean time I cleaned up some of the extra wide seam allowances that I saw I didn’t need: shoulder seams, neck line and front edges.

I also already noted: sideseam needs to come up 1,5/2 fingers width; back armhole needs to extend a bit; neckline needs to come done a bit; shoulder seams need to go to the back a bit at the neck. It’s noted on the muslin, in black.

Now I make another small change to the shoulder seam first. Looking again I concluded there was no need to drop the front as much with the horizontal cut in the first place. The bust darts where already pointing to the good bits. Now they’re pointing a bit too low:

Untitled

Rewatching lesson 6 from Maynard Craftsy course tells me what I didn’t do this right at all. I should have put in navigation lines that need to stay horizontal. (wow! lesson 9 is about armholes! I’m so glad I have this course.)

I think I better cut a new muslin… and put the changes I made into a new piece of paper.

– Putting in 2,5 cm extra length in the Centre Front. Hiding it into the side bust dart so the sideseam won’t get any longer and the side dart will stay at its place. I have lengthened the dart a bit towards the apex though, now that more fabric needs to be taken out.

– Bringing the sideseam of the front pieces 1,25 cm wider at the apex line. I need a bit more width at the front but I don’t need the vertical darts to change place. Due to wearing ease that’s supposed to be in the pattern I guess I can add a bit of width at the inner side of CF too.

On the right the original pattern, what a mess:
Untitled

I don’t know what I’m doing!
On the left there’s the new paper pattern based on all the alteration. I’ve done some weird thing on the CF because I wanted extra width at the front but not at top. Wanted the grain preserved. I figured if I put in a zipper nobody is going to be surprised when it lies flat against my upperchest. As long as I don’t use a checkered fabric this might work.

On to a new muslin and that will be a new post.
Just cut one from the new paper pattern and try it on and go from there.
This time I’m working from pressed fabric and pressed paper.
Ahh, so much better:
Untitled

Self drafted sleeveless Summer Dress

A simple Summer Dress based on the one in the previous post: a shift dress with some shaping in both the side seams and the back. Pockets. And I did a new thing to add some shaping in the front: I gathered under the breasts with some elastic and two buttons to keep it in place.
Untitled

two long darts in the back, they’re more like princess lines. (one still wonky on this picture, I unpicked it and redid it)

To add some shaping to the front, to prevent “tent like appearance” I gathered some of the fabric right under each breast.
There’s a horizontal dart running across the front panel, it angles upwards near the sides (but not on the first picture, this sat awful on my body, I remedied it after the picture).
I threaded a double thread of thin elastic through the outer most 20 centimeters of this dart.
I gathered the elastic and secured it with a button on each side. So 4 buttons for the whole dress.
Zomerjurk met zakken en soort van empire waist line

Zomerjurk met zakken en soort van empire waist line

The buttons where first put in to anchor the elastic while I could still adjust it. Then I thought: why not keep the buttons?

It follows my own body shape: fairly straight outlines but quite curvy when seen from the sides.

(the folds in the lower part of the side seam are caused by the pocket)

Edges are bound of with a biais band that I found that matches the fabric very nicely:
Untitled

Here’s the solution I tried for biais band and getting it to sit right and being able to give it nice top stitching while securing the back at the same time.
Start from the wrong side. DON’T SEW ON THE FOLDED LINE.
Instead sew somewhere in the middle of the piece between the fold and the edge of the binding band:
Zomerjurk met zakken en soort van empire waist line
This step is meant to secure the band to the fabric.
Next you fold the biais band like it’s supposed to and you stitch very close to the edge, from the right side. If the band is folded properly it will catch the back side close at the edge too. The back side will not slip because it’s already secured in place.

For the hem I used my antique tool to keep the same distance all around. Fold under and fold under again. The second time I used matching coloured thread. I’ve folded the fabric so you can see the end result.
Untitled

I like neat topstitching so much, I tried it on the bust dart. I put on the dress and determined where and how it should be. Then I just pinned it down and stitched very careful.
Zomerjurk met zakken en soort van empire waist line
A top stitched bust dart.
It was prompted because I tried on the dress, determined where the dart ought to be and then had difficulty transferring that information to the inside of the dress and stitch it there.

An alternative is probably to put on the dress inside out and determine where the dart should be.

French seams. Including the pockets.
Zomerjurk met zakken en soort van empire waist line

And to end with the beginning: this is how I cut the fabric. I used the green dress as a template. Added a generous seam allowance along the sides for French seams. Added no seam allowance along the arm holes because I knew I was going to bind them in biais band.
Again with a brushy reminder to cut pockets.
Zomerjurk met zakken en soort van empire waist line
When I sewed the side seams and tried it on for fit I had to take out nearly all the curvyness: at the bust and at the hem. I had weird “bingo wings” flapping at the side seams there.

Finished: gray white colour block dress

A self drafted pattern, based on the bodice toile I made using Lynda Maynard’s craftsy course Sew the Perfect Fit and my wearable practise dress Hoezee dress. Princess seams, side seam zipper and a pocket.

Selfdrafted dress with princess seams

(I cut the white part a bit too short so added a grey strip at the hem.)

Because my back is short and curved inwards I tried a back piece in two parts, attached to each other in an angle. This is based on my experience with the Hoezee dress, that needed a horizontal dart at the lower back.
Still seems to have too much length though, it now bulges above my waist:

Selfdrafted dress with princess seams

My focus was more on getting the front fit really well. Big bust, small rib cage, no real waist and a bit of a tummy:

Selfdrafted dress with princess seams

It’s alright, although I’m not really good with sewing extreme curves yet.

Here’s the process for this dress in steps:

  1. Started with a vent in the back of the skirt, per this tutorial: http://www.afashionablestitch.com/2010/sewalongs/pencil-skirt-lesson-2-back-vent-tutorial/
  2. Then I put in darts in the bodice back peace
  3. then sewed back skirt to back bodice
  4. studied princess seams, using this or this tutorial: https://allspiceabounds.wordpress.com/2013/07/08/sewing-princess-seams-with-semi-finished-edges/ and http://www.blogforbettersewing.com/2010/09/sewing-princess-seams.html
  5. stay stitch front pieces
  6. make little cuts in the seam allowance
  7. pin princess seam together, starting with apex to apex. Pin at an angle.
  8. make cuts again
  9. sew in small stitches and slow speed
  10. sew side seam
  11. put in zip, using this tutorial: http://www.makeit-loveit.com/2011/10/sewing-tips-installing-a-basic-zipper.html
  12. tried on for fit:

Selfdrafted dress with princess seams

13. made some alterations. Especially at the underbust, it had to curve much more inwards.

14. redid the zipper, using this tutorial: http://www.makeit-loveit.com/2011/10/sewing-tips-installing-a-basic-zipper.html

15. sewed bodice

16. tried the lining but the fit was terrible, after all the alterations I did to the bodice.

I tried to finish the edges with biasband but it looked terrible, next to the slick colour blocks. And I couldn’t get it to lie flat. Took it out.

I drew a new all-in-one facing, based on the finished shell of the bodice.
I took apart the shoulder seams and marked the sewing lines with staystitching. Handy!
I used this tutorial to attach the lining to the shell, even though my dress has a sideseam zipper: http://www.crafterhoursblog.com/2011/02/all-in-one-facings-tutorial.html
(Between step 5 and 6 I pressed and did understitching and pressed again.)

After the last fit I added some extra bustdarts to make the sides lie flat to the sides of my body.
It’s a bit weird, adding bust darts to a dress with princess seams, but they work. Luckily they are a bit inconspicious in the grey fabric, next to the white colour block.

Selfdrafted dress with princess seams

I then spend a lot of time handsewing the shoulder seams because there was little fabric and it all wanted to fray. But I did it.
Overall I’m happy with this dress. It’s canvas and that wears well. I like practical clothes.

The front fits well, flattering my body shape without restricting kovement or breathing. It has a pocket. The lining is made from a snotty dress shirt that I never liked and that always was too tight to wear anyway. But too expensive to throw away, you know how it is. It now has a second life and much more purpose.

There’s still an issue at the back though. I had already put in darts that cross from the bodice to the skirt but more fabric can be taken out. I’ll need to amend the original bodice toile and restudy how to attach a skirt to it.
Selfdrafted dress with princess seams

FBA on Deer & Doe’s Bleuet Dress

I got the marvellous pattern Bleuet Dress by French independent pattern maker Deer&Doe.
For me it was in need of a full bust adjustment, after I determined that size 40 would sit around my shoulders perfectly.

Bleuet Dress comes in a neat package with the pattern pieces on nice sturdy paper. I was bold and did the FBA right on the paper, thereby destroying the original.

I needed to do a few things:

  1. widen the waist to size 42
  2. slim down the hip to size 40 or even less
  3. shorten the body by 2 cm
  4. lengthen the skirt
  5. enlarge the breast

The first 3 I could do on my own. It all comes down to choosing which cutting line to follow and transit souple between the one for size 40 and for size 42. The shortening is done at the waistline, through all pattern pieces.

After cutting I started by noting the sewing line into the pattern. It has an 1,5 cm seam allowance worked into it and some of it was now altered because my outer lines did no longer follow one size consistently.
FBA on Bleuet Dress from Deer&Doe
After this I shortened the waist.

For the Full Bust Adjustment I first used this tutorial: http://www.craftsy.com/blog/2014/07/how-to-make-a-full-bust-adjustment/ But I couldn’t get it to work.
I didn’t succeed with this tutorial because I wasn’t able to tell which details were important and which not. For example it wasn’t clear where in the sideseam the cutting line should start and whether it should be at an angle. I just squared it of the side line but that didn’t work.
I ended up with non functional hinges and paper that didn’t want to lie flat:
FBA on Bleuet Dress from Deer&Doe
I tried a bunch of things but it just didn’t work.

Having cut up some of the paper I started to worry but the next tutorial I tried had a nice mix of logic and bravery so I undid what I had done and taped everything back together and just kept on taping after that.

Taped everything back the way it was:
FBA on Bleuet Dress from Deer&Doe

The second tutorial was http://www.idlefancy.com/2014/01/sewing-curve-fba-for-princess-seams.html and this one worked very well for me.

It still looked awfull halfway through:
FBA on Bleuet Dress from Deer&Doe
but at least the tutorial says it’s supposed to do so. And to keep confidence and to just “tape all that crazyness down”. So that’s what I did:

FBA on Bleuet Dress from Deer&Doe

and then the tutorial instructs you to do some crazy thing and clearly states it will be counterintuïtive. Just “draw your own line, because you’re awesome like that”. And I am because look what happened!
FBA on Bleuet Dress from Deer&Doe
Voilá, a FBA.

Only needs a new line at the sideseam from the armhole to the waist, to compensate for the width added to the sideseam.

There. Done.
A bit messy but it’s all there and the paper lies flat:
FBA on Bleuet Dress from Deer&Doe

Remember to add the added length to the front side piece too and FINI.
FBA on Bleuet Dress from Deer&Doe

Here the pieces are all together. Size 40 with size 42 waist, a shortened body and a FBA:
FBA on Bleuet Dress from Deer&Doe

I later made a try out dress and found I needed to round off the apex a bit more. Along the line you can already see in the pattern.
The height of the apex and the width of the pattern pieces is marvellous!

Long skirt with butterflies.

Vlinderrok

Vlinderrok

I took another piece of upholstery fabric, wrapped it around my hips and cut it a little wider than that. It was a rectangle 110 cm wide and 90 cm high.
In the back I cut the fabric a bit narrower at the top and sewed a zipper there. The back seam I treated as a vent.

I tried it on for fit and determined how much I had to take in at the top. I made some large darts in the side, where otherwise the side seam would have been located.
This is how long the side seams are. They run well past my hip. They make for a slight A-line.
Vlinderrok

I added two little darts in the front.
Usually I have to add long darts in the back but because the zipper is on an angle inwards I did not need any darts in the back.
Funnily enough the pattern in the fabric matched just at the base of the zipper. Lucky coincidence.
I caught the top edge in a waist band and finished it nicely. (I’ve been wearing it, that’s why it’s creased.)

Vlinderrok

Muslin bodice V8766 Sew the Perfect Fit

This week I watched the Craftsy course Sewing the Perfect Fit, by Lynda Maynard.
On Friday I went back to the cabin, where my sewing machine is, and that afternoon I made a muslin for the bodice of Vogue 8766.
And then I hacked the muslin to pieces, just like the teacher ordered.

I started with the pattern as is. I just traced a size 12 Petite and cut it from muslin cloth. I marked the seams in pen. Staystitched in white. Basted in black.
Muslin Sewing The Perfect Fit

I did a little trick for basting the darts: in pen I marked the wrong side so I could put the two marks together more easily.
Muslin Sewing The Perfect Fit

The tip of the dart was marked on the wrong side too: I stuck a pin through it from the right side and could mark the hole in the fabric easily from the wrong side.
Muslin Sewing The Perfect Fit

I sewed the shoulder seams and the side seams together and pinned the back seam. I knew the bodice wouldn’t fit but it’s interesting to see how a Vogue pattern size 12 sits on my body:
Muslin Sewing The Perfect Fit
Oompf it’s tight. Breathing is a luxury.

Pattern sizes are made for cup size B. I’m an F. (or FF)
Still: this is my size. This is the size my frame needs, my shoulders need. It’s just that my boobs don’t fit. And that I might be shorter than size Petite.

The side shows how much my boobs don’t fit; apart from it looking very tight the side seam does not hang vertical.
Muslin Sewing The Perfect Fit

Can’t close the center back (CB) properly. Those vertical stripes are supposed to be vertical. It’s too tight and hangs below my natural waist.
Muslin Sewing The Perfect Fit

So here’s what you do to amend the pattern:
*CHOP CHOP!*
Muslin Sewing The Perfect Fit
This is a FBA, Full Bust Adjustment, Lynda Maynard style. Instant breathing opportunities.

Suddenly the side seam hangs a whole lot more vertical:
Muslin Sewing The Perfect Fit

Hey, the back closes!
Muslin Sewing The Perfect Fit
It’s not too tight anymore. But it’s way way too long. Where the horizontal creases are is where my natural waist is.

I also needed my two darts at the top of the back pieces.

Transferring the things the muslin showed onto the pattern. Shortening the bodice/ raising the waist line:
Muslin Sewing The Perfect Fit
Muslin Sewing The Perfect Fit
This requires redrawing of the darts because even if I shorten them, they still need to take in the same amount of width.
Another muslin will show me if this will work in real life or that I should swivel part of the dart around to another place.

I put in the other changes: the FBA, the little darts at the top of the back en widening the sideseams (both at the bust and at the armhole. That last one has to do with my broad back. I need to remember this if I’m going to put in sleeves, they will need an addition 2 x 0,5 cm in width)
Muslin Sewing The Perfect Fit

Tomorrow I hope to sew a new muslin, preferably in fashion fabric.
The crafty course is really worth it. All the tricks and how to look for things and how to put them into the paper pattern piece. I really like it. And I’m surprised I only needed length in my FBA, not so much width.

All this in one afternoon! And if this bodice works for me I can put it together with my go to skirt pattern and then I have a dress pattern I can use over and over again.

Green skirt in progress: misunderstandings

I marked out where the zipper was going to end. I’ve determined the waist band will be 3 cm wide, just over an inch. This is how it will sit and where I’ll stop sewing at the bottom.
Untitled

Following Corinne Leigh’s tutorial at youtube Craftovision channel about sewing an invisible zipper. I did fine. Put it in:

Sewed shut the side seam. Noticed error.

Clearly I had not understood the tutorial well. The white “lips” of the zipper are peaking out from the seam.

Here’s where I did something wrong. Corinne says to start sewing the side seam as close as you can to the point where you stopped sewing the zipper. I must have misunderstood where that’s supposed to be exactly.

I took out a bit and tried how it was supposed to look before I sewed it like this:

Much better!

But now I had been a tad enthousiastic and sewn a bit more higher up than supposed to. The zipper will boink into the stitching and not into the zipper stop at the bottom of the zipper. It’s only a question of 1 mm but still enough to harass that stitching, especially that one lone stitch:

It needed some fortification. I took the left over thread after I snipped it after sewing and thread it through a needle and whipped it through a couple of times. Only through the white zipper fabric, not the green fashion fabric.
It’s a zipper stop of some sorts. Just enough to fortify that lone stitch at the picture above.

Here you see it from the inside:

Next. After fitting I saw that the fit was good. So I pressed open the seams.
No need to finish them, they are already finished.
The first side seam shows I’m still getting used at working with broad (= 1/2″) seam allowance. Here I was squeemish:

At the other seam I had grown bolder:

Next: the darts.
My projected darts would work fine: both front and back would have two darts, each 3″ from the centerline.
Front darts would each have 1/2″ in width and 2″ in length.
Back darts would have 3/4″ width each and 4 1/2″ in length.

I located them, drew them, pinned them, sewed them.
Then this.

The silk had not stayed close to the fabric. Not at the point of the dart.
I tried the skirt on and though the width is ok, the darts end in ugly puckers now that the actual fashion fabric doesn’t receive the start of the dart in a smooth curved angle.
So these have to come out.
And I used a tiny stitch width to make for extra nice looking darts…

making a Sloper

Wearing a handmade dress in town gives a victorious rush. Handmade, well fitting, flattering, unique. Both the accomplishment of having made this and knowing I wear something that flatters my shape really puts a spring in my step.

So on to the next one! There are many things to do better and many things to discover.

Here’s what I’ve set in motion:

– I enrolled in a class over at Craftsy.com: The Couture Dress by Susan Khalje. The Craftsy course is very good!

– I started a sloper, using this tutorial sloper from Leenas.com. Making a sloper is not easy.

– I bought fabric…

For the sloper, I drew my measurements unto paper using that tutorial. It took me two days. Then I made a copy in muslin to try it on. Here’s the back piece:
Untitled

All the important lines are ‘drawn’ in contrasting stitching lines. This ensures stability and visibility from both sides of the sloper. This is a tip from Susan Khalje’s course I applied to the process of making a sloper. There are many more!

Then I sewed the darts with their fabric outwards. This way I could concentrate in fit. Not on silhouette, which is what you’d do if this was a dress, then you’d sew the darts with their fabric folded inwards.
A sloper is meant to have little ease and really copy the body form:

Untitled

I sewed one side seam together, put it on and pinned the other side seams and the shoulder seams at the lines. Then started hours of adjusting, repinning, drawing on the sloper, restitching, having a cup of tea, trying it on again, repinning it, drawing some more, identifying significant points on my body, ripping out stitching, putting in new stitching lines. All the time keeping good track of what was to be changed and documenting it well on the sloper. I had four colours of pens and made sure to rip out old sewing lines that were no longer accurate.

I really tested this baby. Afterwards it looked a mess: lines of all colours, threads hanging everywhere. But I had my information. I transferred it unto another piece of muslin and this is how my final sloper looks. The front piece:Untitled

Quite different! My shoulder darts are humongous. And still I need little tucks at the armhole. Those I could not transfer, strangely enough. Couldn’t swivel them around, as you usually can do with darts.

You also see how left differs from right. Yeah, there do not exist many women who have identical breasts.

Then there’s a little horizontal dart on the right, near the waist line. Because I am crooked. The picture below, from one dress from the back, shows this. I feel like I am standing straight but you can see clearly I am not. There is an S curve to me:

It is now reflected in my sloper and will be a part of all my future dress patterns. The sloper and any pattern from it may look crooked on the cutting table, but once I put it on it gets cancelled out by my own crooked frame and the waistline of a new dress will lie perfectly perpendicular to the floor and the side seams will be straight vertically.

The sloper also shows slight differences at the left and right at the neck/shoulderline. The reason is also in the dress picture: I carry one shoulder higher than the other. This is very handy for wearing shoulder strap purses and I recommend it to all women.

Over all, the sloper from the tutorial yielded very good base to work from. I merely had to account for the difference between left and right and had to take out the ease that was added during the tutorial because I wanted a tight fitted sloper. I will add ease back in in every pattern I draft using this sloper.

Back and Front:

Untitled

The back has a small shoulder dart on one shoulder and huge darts to follow the shape of my back (which is one of my nice features I feel). And there’s a large wedge in the side because I’m crooked in the side. This wedge presents a problem because when you adjust the length in a pattern you need to take away the fabric along a stretch of the whole width of a pattern piece.

My wedge doesn’t stretch the full width of a (potential) back piece. I cannot put in a dart like that in a solid piece of fabric that spans the width of my back. It will look ridiculous, no matter how straight it makes the waist grain lie.

Solution: a visible waist line. A seam in the pattern piece. I can adjust the length using the seam.

Con: I will not be able to make a dress with long back panels. There will always have to be a waist seam to accomodate this wedge that has to come out.

Pro: this will only apply to patterns where I want a real fitted look and really straight running grain lines. In other patterns I can get away with it. Because I also discovered that although I love the closely fitted look, dresses with a more loose fit are comfortable too.

Con to the Pro:  I’ll confess: my posture echoos the fit on a dress. Wearing a fitted dress I have good posture. Wearing a loosely fitted dress makes me sloughs and bulge my belly and sit with my breast resting on my lower abdomen…

But let’s not dwell on these perfectly normal things. Look, I bought fabric:

Untitled

Untitled

Handdyed quality linnen from Stof tot Verven

Lia is a wizzard. This is dyed using the ice technique which gives these wonderful flowing colours, breaking the dyes in all kind of shades. This fabric looks like opal! The pictures do the colours no justice. They are beautifully saturated and diverse.

She folded the fabric in such a way that it has a mirrored image down the fold. Perfect for a front panel! It’s 1.5 m x 2 m

Lia is all about quality too. Not only is this quality linnen and a light fast dye, she also serged all around the fabric before handling this and it has been preshrunk.

I’m really looking forward to using this linnen in a dress with simple, beautiful lines. Give it an interlining and a lining, just like it’s done in the craftsy course. Silk.

But first a few other practice dresses to really figure out this sloper and the patterns it can provide.

ps. just a little note I jotted down for myself:

these posts I want to read and this site too, the essentialist. Maar de leukste blog is nog steeds under construction