New Sleeve and Armhole for Burda 6909 Blouse

Here is a RIDICULOUS GOOD EXPLANATION for why and how armholes and sleeves should be shaped: Ikat bag and her Kleenex box.

 pic by Ikat Bag. Go read the post, it’s truly excellent.

How I got to A NEW ARMHOLE.

Pinning the two side pieces together at the top of the sideseam, allowing them to pivot.

Alining them with a piece of rectangular paper, making sure that the grain lines run perfectly perpendicular. Secure with tape:

The resulting new armhole:

It’s more rotated forward than the original Burda armhole. The side seams are brought up higher, the whole is brought forward, with less curve at the back and with a shortened shoulder seam.

The idea is that the arm hole sits good and well against the body, it’s the sleeve that will do all the movement.

A NEW SLEEVE:

taking a piece of cord that matches the length of the armhole, 49 cm. That’s how long the upper curve of the sleeve must be. Not longer, not shorter.

I’m pleased to see it will bring the top of the shoulder cap down because a high shoulder cap might look stylish on a shirt but it’s meant for people who only keep their arms hanging down. Stylishly.

Boldly drawing the new shoulder cap. Freehand, based on the cord.

I went for width of sleeve of size 42, hoping to get more movement at the biceps. It didn’t. I could have gone with the 38 I originally cut and sewed. But then the cap would have come a tad higher too.

Notches were transferred too. I guessed that the top notch, indicating the shoulder seam, should remain in the same position. After attaching the sleeve I’m not so sure though. It was difficult fitting the sleeve in the armhole when insisting the top notch should be at  the shoulderseam.

SEWING the NEW SLEEVE inside the Burda bodice.

I couldn’t change the armhole of the Crazy Cat Lady Blouse, that was cut from the Burda pattern with a 1,5 cm seam allowance. But I could change the sleeves because I had a bit of fabric left and could cut a new pair of sleeves from it. The cats wouldn’t sit right side up but I prefer wonky cats over restriction of movement at the arms.

I took out the wrong sleeves and put them aside. They’re back in the fabric stash.

For the new sleeves I first traced the sewing line that fitted the armhole best, in orange thread:

the Backside:

Put in the first sleeve following these orange lines. Looks alright:

Still a bit restriction but better than the original sleeves:

Below is a comparison of both sleeves.
On the left the new sleeve, on the right still the original: straining around my arm. Even though, with the orange threaded stitch lines, the armhole is at a slightly better position than the Burda 6909 pattern prescribes:

Endresult for two new sleeves, after much difficulty putting in the second sleeve. (In the end I stitched it in by hand. It’s great how many times you can stitch and rip out this cotton fabric. It holds well.)

I lack the experience of easing in sleeves.

With another fabric I tried the whole new combination: new armhole, new sleeves.

The new armhole sat fantastic on my body!
When putting in the new sleeves I ran into trouble. The cap of the sleeve was bigger than the armhole. I thought I could work with this by making it less high, less curved. Because I had learned that the flatter it is, the more arm movement it gives.

This worked for one sleeve:

But with the second one I again had really difficulty easing it in. Changing the curve of the cap I followed a faulty line, now there’s a strange angle in there. The sleeve is not as comfortable as the other one. (But still better than Burda 6909).

I should probably take it out and resew it. And learn more about sleeves and about easing them in. Best would be to see someone doing it, watch some videos.

Stylish Cat Lady Shirt (Burda 6909)

To celebrate the end of a stressful period I bought two funny fabrics, for fun blouses. With it I bought the Burda pattern 6909.

Blouse with princess lines front and back, long sleeves and a collar.

WHAT SIZE? GRADING.
First I wanted to grade the pattern.
For this I had to re-acquaintance myself with wearing ease (and designer ease) that each pattern company incorporates in their sizes. Judging from the pattern cover I should be a 42 at the bust (+ do an FBA), a 38 at the waist and a 36 at the hip. But these are their fashion sizes, it says nothing about the actual measurements of the pattern.

I’ve been burned before, with my first dress ever, a Vogue pattern two years ago, that needed a whopping 4 inches/ 10 cm to be taken away. So I’m nowhere near marking a line on the pattern pieces, let alone cutting in fabric. Not until I find out more about how Burda works with ease.

Looking online, mainly at the sewists’ site Pattern Review.com, it seems that it’s mainly the big four pattern companies (Butterick, Vogue, Simplicity and that-other-one) which add ridiculous amounts of ease to their patterns.

Here’s a post by Glenda Sparling from Sure-Fit DesignsTM about what wearing ease actual should be and what designer ease often is:

Screen Shot 2015-10-15 at 16.24.05

The experienced people on the forum at PR say that Burda doesn’t add ridiculous amounts of wearing ease. Alright, I’ll mark the pattern pieces going from size 42 to 38 to 36 (bust – waist – hip) and I’ll put my measuring tape to these places to see what the resulting measurements will be from the garment.
If I think it sounds reasonable I’ll cut the fabric. There still will be fitting and pinning afterwards anyway.

The lines I followed on the paper pieces and blended from one to the next:

  • size 38 at the waist
  • size 36 at the hips
  • size 36 at the upper back
  • size 42 at the front bust
  • size 36 at the upper front/”shoulder straps” (but with the length/height of size 42)

added 1,5 cm seam allowance since Burda doesn’t do those.
added 4 cm seam allowance at the hem and cuffs

Before cutting I shorted the bodice by 4 cm because the pattern is for 41 cm from nape neck to waist and I only run 37 cm. However, Burda self says there’s only two cm difference between a person of 1.68 cm and 1.60 cm.They advice to take out 7 mm at the upper part and 13 mm at the waist.
I’ll have to see if my 4 cm is too much… if it is I cannot magically grow more fabric…

CUTTING THE FABRIC
The fabric has been washed to deal with shrinking. I didn’t iron it because it dried on the washing line outside and ironing might stretch the fabric. You might also think I’m lazy and I confess that is in my nature (although I prefer the term “efficient”) but that’s not the case here. Instead of laziness it was perfectionism preventing me from ironing.
Had I ironed this fabric things would have gotten too serious and I’d grown ambitious, wanting to sew a perfect blouse. With this funny fabric remaining un-ironed things stayed playful. Fact is that I have been sewing the blouse for days now with many things getting unpicked and re-sewn without it ever getting really frustrating.

I cut the fabric. Precisely.
– Had the grain of the fabric run the same as the lines on the pattern pieces.
– Took care that no cats or dots were positioned right at the apex.
– Made sure all pattern pieces have cats going the right side up.
(For the collar this means cutting one piece right side up and the other one right side down OR sewing both pieces the same way up. I need to see them interacting first before I know for sure. Leave some fabric to cut another collar if I have it wrong.)

STAYSTITCHING
staystitching: 1 cm from the edge (per Tilly and the Buttons’ advice)
1 cm = 3/8″
1,5 cm = 5/8″

Run the machine of the fabric and allow for some thread:

Don’t forget to even out the stitches after you’ve sewn a line (that’s where that extra thread at the corners is for). The sewed line must be as relaxed as the fabric. No crumpling allowed of either allowed:

Here’s a good overall tutorial about the why and how of staystitching: http://www.threadsmagazine.com/item/36859/sew-better-with-staystitching-fundamentals/page/all

staystitched everything, with black thread.

SEWING

Sewed together all princesslines and the sideseams. Shoulderseams too.
Didn’t press, cut or treat the seam allowances.

I reaped benefit from having cut the fabric very precisely. I inserted my seam ripper to show you how neat the two pieces line up. Much easy sewing.

I also used the distance-tool my sewing machine has. First I used it for the 1 cm staystitching and now for the 1,5 cm seam. You just glide the edge of the fabric along the guide.

FIRST FITTING
First fitting: not bad!
The pattern has quite a bit of ease around the torso but the shoulders are ok and the bust too. There’s a lack of shaping under the bust and in the back.

I pin this and sew new lines over the old ones. Looking good. Added a little bustdart too, sideways towards the sleeve. This will shorten the armhole (armscye) a bit.
But the silhouet from the front is so much better with those extra creases tucked away!

I transferred all changes to the paper pattern pieces, to use for the next blouse. The one with the funny winter deer.

SLEEVES
Confident that I’ve brought the bodice to its best fit for me I now sewed in the sleeves.
Bad result. It was way too tight over the biceps! I couldn’t raise my arm at all.

What does Burda expect me to do, stand around all day with my arms hanging down? Well… that is what the models are doing in the picture… looking more closely at it, she’s actually not able to raise her arms any higher than this:


Ugh.

I was so disgusted with how it all felt that I didn’t even take a picture. Instead I delved into the internet and learned that the problem of tightness over the biceps is more a question of the position of the armhole and how it’s shaped than it is of ease at the sleeve or ease at the shoulder cap. Pattern makers could do so much better. Very interesting stuff I read.

A BETTER ARMHOLE/ ARMSCYE

Based on the new knowledge I followed a new line in the armhole to stitch my sleeve to, here traced in orange.

Front:

Back:

I brought the armhole more to the front, shortened the shoulder seam and at the back I stitched as close to the edge as I dared. I also took out even more curve in the back princess line.

Then I sewed in the sleeve following the orange stitching lines, swerving in and out of the seam allowance. The result was good

Still not much allowance for movement but much better than it was. This is almost acceptable for daily wear. I started telling myself I can get used to this (annoyance).

So I sewed in the second sleeve the same as the first. Not so well:

A strange pucker at the top. Not the nice pleat the other shoulder has. Fold in the front.
Caused by my lack of experience of easing in a sleeve.

I took it apart and sewed it back in. A bit better.

I took it apart again and sewed it back in. Worse! Should have kept it the way it was.

Then it was time for bed, it was the second or third day of sewing.
The next morning I woke up and tried on the blouse. I then knew that even if I managed to sew in the second sleeve as ok-ish as the first, I would never wear this shirt with pleasure, the sleeves would always be restricting and annoying me throughout out the day.

I would never use Burda 6909 to sew something with sleeves again either.

So I took the pattern pieces to the table and set out to redesign the armhole and the sleeve. I’ll show you the how and what in a next post but here’s the end result after I redesigned the sleeve for Burda 6909 and put it in the existing armhole (following the orange threaded sewing line):

On the right the original ok-ish sleeve, on the left my new sleeve:

Nicer lines, better silhouet, no straining around the arms.

Here are two new sleeves and where the blouse is now:

This is ok. I’ll wear this.
Now it’s time to press the seams, grade them, notch and clip them,pink them. Put in the facing and the closing of the front. Add collar. Sew hems.
Then I should have a new blouse!

Then I’ll go and cut the deer fabric with the totally amended pattern for Blouse 6909 I have now.:

My lines in yellow with black. Explanation about the armhole and sleeve in a new post or you can go read this excellent post by Ikat Bag

———-Dutch tutorial for sewing a neat collar: https://pionikko.wordpress.com/2014/04/10/kraag-met-staander-naaien/

Linen shift dress for tomorrow/Summer

My Pleat Top Muslin is on hold because they are expecting 30 degrees heat tomorrow and the rest of the week and sewing a shift dress is fast. And I’ve got linen!
Shift dresses are easy and flattering to all, says the Merchant & Mills’ workbook:

Curlew Dress from the book. Cut on the bias. With long slender sleeves. Picture from M&M blog

But they appear to be wrong. Shift dresses do not flatter full busted women….as I learned in this post by Elizabeth from Sewnblog.com:

She also explains why: a shift dress hangs from the shoulders or from the breasts. The more bust, the more they function as a canopy. Your garment becomes a tent.

This gives words and images to my intuition. I’ve veered away from non-shaped garments since the ’90’s because I have great tent-potential. In the previous century people have more then once gasped when they saw me in tight fitting garments for the first time. I remember a day of swimming with my fellow university students…. their stunned faces, the memory still makes me feel awkward.

I was called “little fatty” at high school by my male friends, in a loving tone. Little do they know that my body has not changed in proportions since then and that I was, in fact, never fat. Just big breasted and wearing clothes with lots of wearing ease, as was the fashion back then:

80s-fashion-1983

Tents. The lot of them.

So I’m weary of shift dresses and all the oversized garments Merchant & Mills tout. I don’t want to wear a tent. But I do want to have more wearing ease for the hot weather that’s expected. And I want to buy into the luxury and style M&M favour.

I’ll add some shaping to my linen shift dress. Waist shaping. Back shaping?
I have to keep in mind I need to keep enough wearing ease so the dress can fit over my bust without needing a zipper or something.
But I have a 20 cm difference between my hip/bust and my waist….

If I were to add 10 cm (4″) wearing ease to the bust, I’d still need 20 cm (8″) wearing ease at the waist, just to be able to pull on the dress and ease it over my breasts… I’m even contemplating lacing it up a bit at the waist, just to add some shaping after I’ve gotten into the dress.

Eureka! I just remembered I already have a shift dress I can experiment on. I bought it in the 90’s on a study trip to Portugal… and I’ve worn it once, on that trip. Never since. I think I know why, now. It’s a tent.

This is it:
Shift dress example

It consists of two lovely thin layers of cotton, sewn wrong side to wrong side. This gives a nice finish at the neck line:
Shift dress example

The pattern is a simple outline. The back is as broad as the front, apart from a higher neck line.
Measurements are:
dress bust = 106 cm…(my bust = 96 cm)
dress waist = 110 cm..(my waist = 83 cm)
dress hip = 118 cm….(my hip = 97 cm)

Yep, it wears like a tent:
Shiftdresses are not for everyone
Hey there, darling “Little Fatty”. How bulging do you think my stomach is? You’d assume it’s as wide as my breasts, wouldn’t you.
In this picture I already pinned in the side seam!
(Perhaps this is a good time to note that the person who called me “little fatty” the most is now a psychologist specializing in counseling anorexic people. I wonder if he wonders how I fared.)

To experiment with wearing ease + shaping I took in the side seam at the waist and the hip, bringing the waist down to 98 cm (no less because I must be able to put it over my bust) and the hip down to 106 cm.
I made two long back darts, taking in 5 cm (dart folds to 2,5 cm) at the deepest point which was at the waist line.

Now I still have inches of wearing ease at every spot but it looks far less like a tent now:
Shiftdresses are not for everyone
It wears comfortable. It’s cool and roomy. I like it.

Alright then. These are the measurements I’ll use for the second shift dress, the real one, in linen. I hope to start it tonight and finish tomorrow, before the big heat wave rolls in.
French seams. Pockets. (here’s a good tutorial about adding pockets to a french seamed dress: Deborah Moebes at SewMamaSew). Biais band.
Perhaps I’ll make the back panel not as wide as the front panel, I don’t need the fabric. at the back, seeing how I sew it all away again with darts that one could well call princess seams.

Dress = a tube + shirring + shoulderstraps

I’m sewing a simple dress to wear under this knitted “overgooier”, pinafore:

This knitted tunic is quite heavy, even though it’s spun in the airiest of spinning techniques: Long Draw. It’s also warm.
It’s fitting in the back, follwoing that lower back curve I like to show off. So it needs a dress under it that is fitted there too.

The idea was to take a tube of 100cm in circumference, seeing as my hips and my bust both like this measurement in a dress, it’s me + some wearing ease.
Add shaping by way of shirring which is sewing elastic thread onto the fabric. A kind of mock smocking. This bypasses the need for a zipper which is good because the fabric is very light: cotton batiste. Light fabric = French seams and a fine rolled hem.
Cut holes for head and arms and treat them well. Voilá!

Dress from a tube shaped with shirring
(arm holes still need to be treated)

Sewing with elastic thread is easy! Just wind it onto the bobbin and loosen the tension a bit.
I used this tutorial amongst others:
http://www.makeit-loveit.com/2011/11/sewing-tip-shirringsmocking-with-elastic-thread.html

Beautiful fine hem (that’s the tip of my embroidery scissors, for measurement) and French Seam:
Dress from a tube shaped with shirring

I bound the neck hole with satin biais band, which follows curves and is soft enough for next to skin wear (opposite to cotton biais band):
Dress from a tube shaped with shirring

But I’m having a little trouble: the neckline stands up. Somehow the biais band has not enough width on the outer curve to lay flat. And the fabric is too light to stretch it.
It’s a common problem.

BIAS BAND? BIAIS BAND? OR BAIS BAND?
Certainly not “bais band” because that would be a group of musicians from one of the four cities in the word called Bais or a troupe singing in Bai, the Tibeto-Burman language spoken in the Dali region of Yunnan.

Still, “bais band” is a common spelling mistake over here. It’s comes from the same faulty logic that makes people call their son Brian but make them write their name as “brain”…

“Bias band” and “Biais band” mean the same thing: something going diagonally across the grain of fabric. Bias band is English, Biais band is French.
Since in my country we have the French pronounciation for the stuff, “Bee-yay”, I’m going with writing “biais band”.
Actually, I don’t know how English folk pronounce their band, do you say “bias”= “Bye-ess” or “Bee-yay”? I shall have a listen on the next round of the British Sewing Bee.

Back to my dress. I used the biais band as a facing, following these tutorials:
http://sewoverit.co.uk/ultimate-shift-dress-binding-armholes-with-bias-binding/
http://grainlinestudio.com/2012/02/15/sewing-tutorial-getting-flat-bias-necklines/
http://whoeverhasthemostfabric.blogspot.nl/2012/06/how-to-use-bias-binding-to-face-armhole.html

conclusions:
– biais band is excellent for sheer fabrics
– a neckline needs stabilizing and hem treatment, biais band is good for both.
– it automatically involves staystitching which is a good thing
– some advice to clip the band before you turn it under.

Why my band stands up I have not figured out yet. It may be too wide for that curve.
Cutting it into half would solve that problem. For now I just clipped it in a bit at the worst places and will just wear this dress and avoid any Sewing Police that comes in sight 😉

I made a study dress first, btw, and it did not have its bands turn hooray. Well, not much now that I look at it closely:
Dress from a tube shaped with shirring
(the neck line still needs finishing)

It’s really nice to be able to take a piece of cloth, sew it into a tube and make a dress from it!
It feels like sewing is not a big thing and is very logical. I like that.
A next dress I’ll use facings again, I like those too. I found some excellent video tutorials how to attach facings to the top halves, with square necklines: FashionSewingBlogTV.

This cloth is batik and had a nice looking edge. I chose to wear it at the front. (yay for french seams!)
Dress from a tube shaped with shirring

the size of Gnomes…

I measured me, my sloper, the pattern V8648 without seam allowance and took note of Vogue pattern sizes, the amount of wearing ease they add and the circumferences noted in the pattern pieces of V8648.

measurements chart

Quite a difference between the measurements Vogue follows for their size 12 and the numbers they state on the pattern. Here’s where the 3″ to 4″ wearing ease they add to all their “fitted” patterns comes into play.

But I also noted a difference between the measurements they state on the pattern pieces and the measurements that I found by measuring the actual paper pieces.

getting a head ache from all this talk about ease?

perhaps your gnome hat is too tight!

I will be following the pattern pieces but adjusting to my own measurements. Because the pattern already includes a 1,5 cm seam allowance I can grade up easily while for the hip I can keep it down. Now I have to decide how much wearing ease I prefer. I know from previous experience that the 4″ the big pattern compagnies add is way too much for me.

I may make a muslin without any ease and decide while I fit how much I want.

NB. I need to correct in height, I only need 36,5 cm from the back neck to the waist. The pattern is much longer.

let me think on it for a bit

UPDATE: I remembered this post where I gathered recommended ease, at the bottom of that post. Based on that information I will sew a muslin with

bust 97 cm + 7,5 cm ease (2.5″)

waist 76 cm + 2,5 cm ease (1″)

hip 96 cm + 5 cm ease (2″)

Now I’ll Just grade the vogue pattern to these sizes. I’ll take size 12 as a guideline, using the seam allowance to find the right line. This will become my stitch line. Then cut generously. Stitch stitchline for visibility. Sew together muslin.

 

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:
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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:

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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

altering the toile 2

before:
Untitled
after:
Untitled

before:
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after:
Untitled

I took in the waist dramatically. Then I used the darts in the bodice to fix the difference in width between the skirt and the bodice. This is easily done by sewing the horizontal seam from one side to the (torned loose) dart and then from the other side. The flap of extra fabric will be the dart. In this case the darts have not been sewn and are loose on the inside. Making for the boxy folds that are especially noticeable from the side. Once sewed shut and to one side THe lines will flow effortless.

In the front view you can see how well it is fitted now. There is plenty suggestion of a waist now.

I sewed the darts in the skirt by eye and I was a little too peeved enthousiastic. There’s not enough room for lining or breathing. In the real design I will give an inch or a little more of extra width.

(don’t worry about the uneven height in the side seam. I put in a zipper for better fitting and I sewed it quickly. I would have taken a photo from the other side if I were smarter at balancing iPads and trying to take photo’s with it.)

I took a bit of the seam below the bust to incorporate it in the dress, I need a bit more length now that the bodice has to cave in under the bust to meet the dress. In the real design I’ll probably give it even a little bit of extra length.

I made sure the middle lines matched up. From there I match the other lines. In the real dress I will not sew up the skirt separate from the bodice, I’m more tempted to follow the lead of the vertical lines and make sure they line up first.

What now? take apart the toile and make it into real pattern pieces?

I don’t feel confident enough to start cutting into the dress fabric yet. I think I want a practice dress first. The question is: do I go out and buy cheap fabric or do I cut out the view A and use that flowery sheet? hm. I need to go to the fabric shop to get a zipper anyway …. o wait. New fabric means washing and waiting for it to dry. eh….I’ll think about it.

Oh, one thing:

I’ll never buy a bloody pattern again! I can just as well copy pieces from a dress I have already and make alterations. What a scam, sizing in patterns!

Detecting Ease in the woods

on the search to find the correct amount of ease!

for this pattern, Butterick 5603, I chose size 16 per instruction by Butterick.

because me:  Butterick 16:

chest 36″            36″

bust 38″             38″

waist 30″            30″

hip 38″              40″

we are made for each other! Just slim the hip down to a size 14 and you’re ready to twirl in that dress!

yeah.

well.

Butterick is carrying an invisible little bug inside it called “ease”. Each pattern’s got some. You need a little bit of ease at least, otherwise you couldn’t move in a garment. This is called wearing ease. I have not yet figured out what the required minimum is.

I know with knitting you can work with negative ease because knitting stretches.

Woven fabric doesn’t stretch so negative ease won’t work. Unless you have the Hulk’s sense of fashion:

Hulk smashes negative ease!

Besides ‘wearing ease’ there’s something called ‘designers ease’. This is the amount of ease the designer added to get a certain look. There’s the “fitted look” which follows the body forms and there’s “loose fitted look” which hides them pretty much.

A burlap sack has a lot of designers ease:

“loose fitted silhouette designer foot fashion insures easy victory”

somewhere hidden on the site Butterick mentions the ease they standard add to their patterns. You have to find it by yourself, they do not point to it when they guide you through the size determining process.

They have decided that a “fitted silhouette” needs about 4″ of ease. That statement reminds me a lot of squirrel poo….

I like nuts! I love nuts! I poop nuts!

4″ is the difference between a 12 and a 16! Between a European 40 and a 44! That’s not a “fitted silhouette” that’s the difference between a “Whoa there, foxy lady!” and “Hello there, gnome lady”:

“Hello there.”

I love wearing size 44, don’t get me wrong. As a matter of fact, I’m wearing the sweater on the above picture right now. A nice big handknit sweater. With bustdarts. It looks fine and is very comfortable. But when sewing a retro dress that has “hot mama” written all over it, I would like to know in advance how nutty the designers breakfast was when he decided the amount of ease.

On the pattern pieces there are little gems of ease knowledge hidden away. At the waist and bust area small circles occur with a cross in them. Nearby are measurements. There’s one on pattern piece 10 that reads:

waist.

size 14 = 29,5″ 75cm

size 16 = 31,5″ 80 cm

and one on piece number 5 that reads:

hip.

size 14 = 38″ 96cm

size 16 = 40″ 101 cm

That’s the ease right there! for a 30″ waist (real body) they give you a dress with a 31,5″ waist (wearing ease + designer ease)

And for a 38″ hip you get a 38″ hip! How stupid is tha…hey…..wait a minute! How come the hip on my dress is so much more than 38″?

I better remeasure one or two things….

And after that I’m off to raid the closet to find out what the ease is on some of my favorite dresses. But first let me do some detecting….


art by Bruno

Minimum wearing ease in a fitted garment is approximately 2,5 cm (1″) at the wasitline (to allow for large lunches!), 5 cm over the hip to allow for sitting, 7,5 cm at the bust and 3,5 cm over the upper arms for arm and torso movement.”

quote from The Design Manual

wearing ease bust = 2,5 “; waist = 1″ and hip = 3”

from getcreativeshow

bullet Bodices have 1 1/2″ – 2″ wearing ease at the bust
bullet Dresses have 3/4″ – 1″ wearing ease at the waistline
bullet Skirts and pants have 1/2″ – 3/4″ ease at the waistline
bullet All garments have 2″ – 2 3/4″ wearing ease at the hips

from Scott R. Robinson

and Kenneth King’s Wearing Ease Minimums for Torso:
Bust -3 inches 
Waist – 2 inches
Full hip -2 inches
Armhole- 1 -1/2 inches
Bicep- 1 1/2 inches

from Threads

conclusion: you need a little bit of ease on your patterns but how much exactly is only known by squirrels.

what shall I have for breakfast today?

humbug! size chart lied

grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

I made the toile and it is too big. 4 inches too big! everywhere! 10 centimeters too much!

only around the bust, that’s where it fits. But the waist, the hips, the back: everything is too big.

I followed the sizing chart of Butterick to the lettre. They must be off their rocker. I bought the 16 as those fit my body measurements exactly.

But after making it it turns out I’m no 16. I’m a 12 or a 10 even. The pattern I bought is 14-16-18-20 so it’s not easily mended either. They lied.
Bah!

is this what “ease” is all about? Butterick says they incorporate 3 to 4 inches of ease into any dress called “fitted”:

Ease Chart
Fitted, close fitting, loose fitting, semi fitted, very loose fitting…these are terms you’ll find in the garment descriptions in this catalog and on our pattern envelopes. They are our standard for fit and are the terms that tell you exactly what to anticipate when it comes to fitting. Each term indicates a general amount of wearing ease and design ease that is built into the pattern. Ease is the amount of “space” in a garment beyond the body measurements; the specific amount of ease will vary from style to style.

Misses’ Ease Allowances for Dresses:

  • Close Fitting = 0 -2 “
  • Fitted             = 3 – 4″
  • Semi-Fitted = 4 1/8 – 5″
  • Loose Fitting = 5 1/8 – 8″
  • Very Loose Fitting = over 8″

from Butterick

is this right? is this wat 4″ of ease is supposed to be like? But it looks ridiculous!

Who dreams of so much ease in a fitted, retro looking Summer dress?? I don’t. And neither does Gertie.

Lesson learned: Butterick is nuts mind the added ease when choosing your pattern size.

Now what?
redraft for a size 12? invent that myself? fiddle with the toile untill it fits and transfer all alterations to the paper pattern? (I’m not good enough to do a good draped fitting)
I’ll sleep on it. I do see a new toile in my future.

Gertie Hirsch says: measure (the ease on) a dress that fits you well. I have that pink galadres my mum made. It fits nice around my tummy. And there’s a red linen dress from Claudia Sträter…I could measure that one.
I’ll be on a quest to find out what my preferred ease is.