Altering a linen top.

Bought a linen top that was ecoprinted by independent dyer Annie Leynen from FeltingVilt in Belgium. The garment original was a tunic from MEXX. It had some nice details but its shape was all wrong for me.
10
6

Wrong shape and awful open armhole:
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Nice detail:
3

Here it is after I played around with it:

modified mexx top. eco printed.modified mexx top. eco printed.modified mexx top. eco printed.

I put in waist darts at the front, two at each side. Ending in tucks at the underbust, something I haven’t used before. I also cut off some of the length.
modified mexx top. eco printed.
modified mexx top. eco printed.

At the back I elongated the vertical darts and put in TWO horizontal darts to accommodate my sway back. One runs from side seam to side seam, the other just between the back darts. Now there’s no fabric folds anymore at the back, it lies smooth.

I put in a triangle at the armhole, using the cut off hem piece:
modified mexx top. eco printed.

I made some pleats to match the front detail and played around with the stitching so I didn’t have to tie to many loose ends:
modified mexx top. eco printed.
Nothing fancy on the inside, just fold under and stitch. I did secure the point at/to the side seam allowance.
modified mexx top. eco printed.

I should like to put in a little thingy at the shoulder band that catches the bra strap so it doesn’t come peeking. But I probably won’t because of priorities and limited time/energy.

I’m very happy with my new shirt, showing off that intriguing eco printed fabric. I love how the sewing thread and the buttons took up colour too.
Garment wise I like the front detail, with the pleats and the panel, as a means to address bust shaping. With my body shape that’s where designing starts: how to treat the underbust. Otherwise: potato sack.

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Sewing some parts of the Birds in Shoes Shirt.

Collar.

Using this tutorial from Sewaholic. Excellent work and site.
sleeve sleevecap fit shirt arm hole
I used fusible interfacing on this one.

I made the mistake all novice sewers make:
dreint a collar
I clipped too close to the edge and/or used a pointy thing to try and make a nice point.

Next time I’ll employ one of the tricks I found on the web. One is using a surgical clamp to get a good grip on the point before turning it inside out.
The other one is this beauty, from Off the Cuff, a blog about expert shirt sewing by Pamely Emy:

using a temporarily thread to catch the point.

collar point technique by Pamela Emy

Off the Cuff is a great site with expert information on sewing dress shirts. I’m sorry mrs. Emy doesn’t blog anymore, due to health issues I believe. I hope she still sews and has many good days.

My collar point topstitched:
dreint a collar

Sleeves.

I inserted my Crazy Comfortable sleeve pattern. I now think that the reason they actually work so well is because they’re on the bias… not so much because of the crazy pattern (wide flat shoulder cap. I say “flat” but it’s actually concave.) Anyway. Sewed them in. Pressed good. Added a single needle top stitch to secure the seam.

Now pinking the left over edge:
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How are these seams finished on high end dress shirts? Surely not serged/overlocked. Felled seams probably. Ah yes, I’ve found some things on the net, one of them, again, an excellent instruction from the Off the Cuff blog.

I’ve now ordered the book on which Sewaholic based her collar-tutorial was: Shirtmaking: Developing Skills For Fine Sewing by David Page Coffin.

51wyjnjldbl-_sx401_bo1204203200_ I hope to learn much from it.

Zipper placket.
It’s not done, a zipper in a shirt. But my machine can’t make button holes and I don’t like to make them by hand. Not yet anyway. I’m sewing a zipper.

I’ve attached a separate placket for it. Did some folding to get the sequence right. The precise cutting I do was very helpful, I could just lay the edges against each other (“flush”?) and treat them as one.

First I attached the zipper to the front and the placket. Then I folded back the front and the placket and sewed a nice top stitch line. Which wrinkled as I progressed with the needle:

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Because you should always press. Duh.

After pressing it looked better and it sewed much better too:

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You could press the plackets first, to bring some idea of purpose into the band:
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Collar stand.
Upon fitting I saw how awful and weird the button plackets looked as they went up vertical above the zipper. Following the Centre Front line right up. Because that’s where all the buttons were supposed to go in the original pattern. I amended the pattern to not have overlapping plackets. But I didn’t amend it for height and it looks awful with the zipper not closing the gap all the way. (and you don’t want a zipper all the way to the top)

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I also found out that the collar stand I had cut didn’t fit the neck line anymore, it was too short. Don’t know how that happened as I followed the Knip pattern for the neck exactly because I hadn’t learned anything about necklines or collar (stands) yet.

I solved both by folding back the button (zipper) placket. Something else Not Done in sewing. It’s more of a dirty hack than anything else and I’m not proud. But it gets me a front that works and by now this shirt has become a wearable practise shirt so here goes:
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Fold away and topstitch in place. Awful. But functional.
Now I’ve got an acceptable shape at the front edges. (note to self: a next shirt with a zipper needs it to close a bit higher. About 5 cm.)

Now I could attach a collar stand that fits to that, I learned how to draw one at drafting lessons last Monday. No need though because the original collar stand now fits again, if I shape the rounded edges freehand. (Something else that’s going to get me in trouble. Symmetry is very important at this point of the body.)

Todays task is to finish those round edges of the collar stand and perhaps assemble the collar to it. Again using Sewaholic’s tutorials.

dreint a collar

I’ve trimmed the seams on the inside of the collar stand a bit. It was six layers thick and it will receive three more layers from the collar. That’s just too much difference from the single layer of fabric that’s the rest of the shirt.

A crazy comfortable sleeve in a small armhole.

I traced the weird thing I draped yesterday and cut a new sleeve from it. That’s one weird looking sleeve pattern:
crazy comfortable sleeve in small armhole
With the sideseams closed it is distorted:
crazy comfortable sleeve in small armhole

This is because I matched the points where the ends of the sleeve cap should meet each other, at the underarm. And sleeve seams are perpendicular to the vertical centre line running down from High Point (which is no longer the highest point in my sleeve cap). Width at biceps is 35 cm, at elbow 30 cm.

(I’ll have to do second trial after this one with horizontal lines running horizontal. Letting the guide line around the biceps meet itself at the seam. Or change the direction from the central vertical line, based on where the sleeve cap edges now meet. But first run this trial.)

Into the bodice and onto the mannequin. It fits into the armhole like a glove. It’s nice not having to ease in extra fabric. Still using lots of pins and sewing over them slowly.
crazy comfortable sleeve in small armholecrazy comfortable sleeve in small armhole
crazy comfortable sleeve in small armholecrazy comfortable sleeve in small armhole
crazy comfortable sleeve in small armhole

On me:
crazy comfortable sleeve in small armholecrazy comfortable sleeve in small armholecrazy comfortable sleeve in small armhole

Lots of crumpled fabric in the armpit. Uncomfortable. But very easy to lift my arm. The ease of wearing is amazing.

Front shows vertical line running down from High Point (shoulder) to the front. This sleeve is rotating around my arm:

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I pin away the extra fabric at the arm pit and mark where the biceps guide line now is. Also where the sleeve thinks the vertical line from High Point should run, where it to run straight down instead of coming to the front.

Picture of the sleeve cap with the pinned fabric, the new vertical line coming in diagonally and my biceps guide line which is half moon shaped. Crazy sleeve.

crazy comfortable sleeve in small armhole

Opening it up again and drafting a new cap sleeve based on the pinning. Take away fabric in the left “mouse ear”, the cap part that meets the arm hole at the front:

crazy comfortable sleeve in small armhole

I keep the rest the same. There’s the vertical guide line from High Point (HP) at a diagonal angle.

Trying to match the seam points of the sleeve cap for sewing the side seam:
crazy comfortable sleeve in small armhole

This will be sleeve one (1), based on the pinnings from the previous fit. Throwing grain and common sense into the wind.

I’ll make another one (2) based on the draft from the start but now with new sideseams based on how the new vertical line running from the Highest Point runs:

crazy comfortable sleeve in small armhole

Sleeve 2: I’ve cut fabric away at the left part of the sleeve, adding it to the right. So width of sleeve is 35 cm at (strange half moon shaped) biceps guide line and 30 cm at elbow guide line. At a right angle to the vertical guide line from HP. If this fits at all this pattern should be redrawn on a new piece of cloth, obeying the grain of the fabric.

Fitting:

Sleeve 2, it’s on my right:
crazy comfortable sleeve in small armholecrazy comfortable sleeve in small armholecrazy comfortable sleeve in small armhole

Sleeve 1, based on previous fit, it’s on my left:
crazy comfortable sleeve in small armhole
crazy comfortable sleeve in small armholecrazy comfortable sleeve in small armholecrazy comfortable sleeve in small armhole
crazy comfortable sleeve in small armhole

Crazy amount of movement possible! It doesn’t drag up the shirt. I like it!

Fitting conclusions:
Sleeve 2 sits awful. Lots of fabric in my arm pit yet still there’s tightness there. My wrist doesn’t level out.
Sleeve 1, distorted as it may be, actually sits really nice. So much movement possible!
Still a few tweaks needed though. (is there more ease because it’s a bit on the bias?)

I’ll cut a new sleeve, on the grain, and put it in the bodice of my fashion fabric shirt. Just cleaning up the lines a bit, having high point and its line in check with grain.
The little tweaks I had to do where in the sleeve cap (just a little less drama in the wave at the front and just a little less flair near the end point back). They cause the perimeter of the sleeve cap to be the exact dimension of the arm hole. 20 cm from front to High Point, 21,6 cm from High Point to back.
This fills me with excitement! This sleeve will fit this arm hole perfectly. Have I drafted a sleeve that, while looking ridiculous, might work?

I’m sewing up my new version into the fashion shirt. (My muslin has been so tortured that it won’t hold another sleeve.)

Premature conclusions:
1. I may have DRAPED a sleeve, not drafted on. This method may work for me.
2. I may have forced myself into this ridiculous need because my arm hole is a bit weird (too tight).

Last fit, on the fashion fabric: nice. I can rotate my arm all around without distorting the bodice fabric.

crazy comfortable sleeve in small armholecrazy comfortable sleeve in small armholecrazy comfortable sleeve in small armhole
crazy comfortable sleeve in small armhole

Needs less width on the biceps. I can live with a sleeve like this and be seen in public. I’m sure sewists will cringe when they see how my seam rotates around the sleeve.

Ideas for next time: lower the arm hole at the underside with 0,5 cm. Also 0,5 cm more inward at the front. I need a little more space to tuck all the sleeve folds away.

Last play for the day: just a little more cutting and pasting at that ridiculous shape. Try and put it into a grain grid.
3 versions of the same sleeve.
1. the sleeve I found, with the rotating sleeve seam.
2. the same but straight on the grain. Versie “A”
3. version “B” that has everything transferred onto a proper grain grid.

The found pattern, crazy and comfortable:
crazy sleeve pattern with maximum wearing comfort

Version A = previous version but cut on grain:
crazy comfortable sleeve in small armhole

Version B, trying to match the side seams in length. Having som sort of straight line going from sleeve cap to wrist; cleaning up more lines:

crazy comfortable sleeve in small armholecrazy comfortable sleeve in small armhole
crazy comfortable sleeve in small armhole

end result version B::
crazy comfortable sleeve in small armhole

What do yo know, version B doesn’t look that unlike a conventional sleeve pattern after all. A sleeve block with a fairly squarish sleeve cap. (Back is left, Front is at the right of the picture).

Will have to sew these three up and try them for (final) fit. And then dare to sport crazy sleeves on my fabric shirt.

 

 

some residual notes in dutch for me:
3 versies:
1- m’n gevonden vorm. Met verdraaide achternaad. “versie krulletje”
2. deze vorm maar dan recht op de grain met z’n naad en de voornaad reechtgemaat van pols naar oksel. Wat weggeknipt is is aan de zijkant/andere naad erbij geleged en een beetje opgeschoond en ervoor gezorgd dat beide naden 59 cm lang zijn, net als de rechtgeknipte naad. “versie A”
3 “versie B” heeft de HP-polslijn recht op de grain liggen en een grid dat de grain volgt. Het voorpunt v d oksel is recht naar beneden/de pols geknipt en aan de achternaad is ruimte bijgemaakt zodat de ellebeoog 30 cm breedte krijgt en de pols 25 cm. Dit is een papieren oplossing waarvan je nog maar moet zien of het in 3D mooi wordt.

Well fitting sleeves that allow for movement: angle of set in.

I cut the self drafted sleeves and put them into the bodice. Looks alright….ish. We’re only looking at the upper part: shoulders and sleeve cap. Shoulder seam length seems ok. (the neck line still has 2 cm seam allowance so … Continue reading

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:
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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.

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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).

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

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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:

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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:
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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:
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Grey little flowers blouse: tackling the sleeve

Looking at http://fashion-incubator.com/sleeve_cap_ease_is_bogus/ I realized I had incorrectly lined up the seam of the sleeve with the side seam of the bodice. That shouldn’t be done when you have a rotated arm hole and/or sleeve.

So I folded the arm hole together and found its actual lowest point, somewhere in front of where the side seam is. (seam ripper points to side seam):

I lined up the seam of the sleeve with the lowest point, which is right opposite the shoulder seam. I pinned the sleeve on and sewed it in. (Sewing was very easy since there’s no ease to fidget in.)

The seam of the sleeve is a whole 4 cm (nearly 2 inch) in front of the side seam. In this picture the armhole seam runs horizontal and my fingers are on the side seam and on the sleeve seam:

Fitting: the newly positioned sleeve gives a nice silhouet. No puckering, no folds:

It’s now a bit more wearable but still not very good.

The shoulder seam is a bit to the back. At the front, where I took out the bust dart, there’s too much fabric flapping about, I could hide an orange in there.
In contrast I do not have enough fabric over my biceps/upper arm to move around comfortably. The fabric still stretches over my upper arm. It’s not pleasant to wear:

Suddenly I realize Fashion-Incubator is talking about jackets and her primary aim is to match up stripes between bodice and sleeve. Not so much wearing comfort. I may have gotten off on a false premise…

With the second sleeve I may be able to squeeze some wearing comfort out of the seam allowances. And I’ll use the arm hole with side bust dart this time, to position the arm hole better.

Trying to find the lowest part of the arm hole wasn’t as easy because of the bustdart. (seam ripper points to side seam):

But matching the edges together got me there. I marked the spot with a red pin, this is where I will place the seam of the sleeve.

Off to bed.

Next morning: CHANGE OF PLANS
After again reading the very informative post of Ikatbag on sleeve caps and wearing comfort I decide to do things differently. More thorough.

I rip the seam on the sleeve and look at it afresh as a pattern piece. I don’t press it because I need to be able to see the sewing line/seam allowance.

I measure the length of the sewing line on the existing sleeve. This line is 1,5 cm from the edge. Seam ripper marks the end to where I should measure the piece of white thread:

The thread is 49,5 cm long. This is the length of the sewing line. However I alter the sleeve cap, its sewing line should keep this length if I want a sleeve that will fit into the existing arm hole.

I measure the width of the sleeve, without seam allowances:

This part sits over my upper arm. It’s too tight, as the fitting showed. The thread is 35,5 cm long. The width of my sleeve is 35,5 cm.

I measure my upper arm, right at the arm pit. It’s 33,5 cm in circumference.
A sleeve of 35,5 cm wide at that point gives not a lot of ease but could be enough.

I raise my arm a bit and measure from where a sleeve would connect to the arm hole. It’s 33,5 cm long and I’m surprised. A sleeve in an armhole should be 33,5 cm wide. I probably did something wrong in this measurement.

Here I’m measuring the length of the sewing line on the existing arm hole (it’s 1,5 cm from the edge):

Add front and back. The seam ripper points to the end, I’m not adding the seam allowance. It’s 49,5 cm long. This is the exact length the sewing line on the sleeve cap has and should have. There will be no easing in, it’s just straight forward sewing. That’s good.

But now I do not yet understand why my sleeve (cap) is so ridiculously tight while the numbers fit, in theory. Time to look at the actual arm hole while it is on the body.

The arm hole should be flat against my body and as small as possible (but not as small as you would do for a knitted fabric, says Ikatbag).

It’s not as close fitting as could be:

There’s still room at the front, it could be brought upwards a bit. Also at the back: the edge of the fabric ought to be the sewing line. That’s an 1,5 cm difference.

Lots of room at the side seam too, it could be brought up higher:

I note how the hole should be altered in a next, new version of the paper pattern:

It’s actually quite a bit! 4,5 cm at the front and the side seam (nearly 2 inches!) and 1,5 cm at the back and also take out some of the curve.

No wonder the numbers of the sleeve don’t work at the moment. My armhole is not very good and I need the sleeve to compensate for it which it doesn’t.

I have the choice to draft a new arm hole and sew a whole new bodice. Or draft a new sleeve into this existing arm hole and have a blouse that’s not perfect but might well work. I opt for the second. I don’t have enough fabric nor cheerfulness to sew a whole new bodice. I will alter the paper pattern though, for the next blouse.

For the existing arm hole I take some new measurements. While wearing the bodice I place the cord at appropriate points and raise my arm. To find out how much width I actually want in my sleeve cap for this arm hole to work:

I need a sleeve that’s 38,5 cm wide instead of the 35,5 cm that it is now.

I also note where the tightness is. It’s not (only) at the width of the sleeve, it’s mainly at the sleeve cap itself. It will need another shape. Less curved. But still with a sewing line that’s 49,5 cm long.

I play around with how a thread of this length can yield different sleeve cap forms. Please look at iKatbag’s post for thoughts on how different shapes influence ease of movement.

Playing.

This sleeve is actually 38,5 cm wide when I measure from side to side and include seam allowances. 38,5 cm is the width my new sleeve will have (without seam allowances). I pin the thread with length 49,5 cm to the outer points and play some more:

This will be just about the shape of my new sleeve cap. Lower at the top than the original, bellowing out at the edges. At the sides, where the red pins keep the cord at the right length, it should be horizontal. For logical connection in the round.

On a new piece of cloth I mark in ball pen the new width of the sleeve: 38,5 cm + seam allowance of 2,5 cm on either side. At the sewing line I inserted the red pins holding the thread with the right length (49,5 cm).
I play with the cord until I found a pleasing curve, resembling the one that I found above:

Now I will add 2,5 cm seam allowance around it and then cut.

Cutting the sleeve down wards, towards the cuff, I will make it more slender. Not a straight line to the cuffs. I’m using a method of “slash and spread” which is usually used to make a sewing pattern piece bigger.

Here are the two sleeve caps next to each other:

Wider, less high, less curved and a seam allowance of 2,5 cm instead of 1,5 cm. Sleeve under the cap is a bit tailored, I don’t need all that extra fabric around my arm. My arm is just a size 38.
Sewing line on the cap is still 49,5 cm, it should fit into the armhole precisely.

Staystitching. Sew sleeve seam. Pin it to the arm hole. Sew it.

Fit:

Put in temporarily and in a slap dash manner but the main idea is evident: no stretching anywhere. Fabric bundles up a bit at the arm pit but that’s to be expected with this style. It’s the price for comfort.

Very comfortable forward motion. Enough room at the back. Bit of a wide sleeve at the (lower) arm though (not enough “slash and scrunch”).

I can lift my arm sideways higher and with less restriction on the upper arm:

compared to how high I can raise my arm with the old sleeve (and no bust dart):

It’s not a very beautiful thing, my new sleeve, when I raise my arm. The shoulder bundles up. The sleeve raises the whole blouse at the side. But it’s wearable now. I can move in this one.

I’ll take it out now and tweak it some more. The drag lines show where a bit more fabric would be nice. It’s at the point where the bust dart meets the arm hole. The arm hole has a dent there, it’s not a nice oblong.

I’d sewn in the sleeve observing all the original seam allowances: 1,5 cm for the arm hole and 2,5 cm for the sleeve.
I’m going to resew it and try to give it a bit more fabric at that dent, using the seam allowance. I’m also going to try and raise the arm hole at the side seam as much as possible.

If it sits better I’ll trim the seam allowances. This will help with the bundling up at the shoulder.

First I’ll take out the sleeve and trace it on paper. Also make notes on the paper pattern of the bodice.

Grey little flowers blouse: tripping over arm hole.

AIM:

  1. To play some more with the armhole: position, fit, ease.
  2. the original Burda sleeve does not have the grain centered, does this have a function?
  3. another collar.

PATTERN ALTERATIONS made on the Grey Winter Deer blouse pattern:

  • bringing the armhole closer to the body in the front and back. Not taking in sideseam nor altering how it meets the sleeve. (my alterations widen the armhole… or not?)
  • shortening the shoulderseam by 2 cm. Doing this at the princess seam point instead of the arm hole. Just to find out.
  • taking off the integrated collar, inserting the collar from Deer & Doe instead.
  • a little more pronounced shaping at the underbust on the side front panels
  • not forgetting the horizontal dart in the front panels this time.

same alterations I made for the Grey Winter Deer when compared to the Stylish Cat Lady Blouse:

  • extend the front panel towards the collar, don’t let it bend away so fast

CUTTING:
using the front panel -free cut to extend the Center Front seam- for cutting the facings.

STAYSTITCHING:
not the sleeve seam though. (sleeve cap yes)

NOW CHANGE TO RIGHT COLOUR THREAD.

DARTS:
horizontal one in the front panel and the cup darts at the side.

SEWING:

  1. sleeve seam
  2. zipper (new way, just like a lined zipper pouch.)
  3. long seams
  4. shoulder seams

2. Zipper sandwiched between front panel and facing. Having it’s end peak out so it’s hidden from the right side:

Precise cutting makes for precise positioning, front panel, zipper and facing line up beautifully:

Because I did the zipper before I sewed the princess lines I could work it like a zippered pouch. I used a tutorial.

3. Princess seams are quite curvy. Here’s one panel laying on top of its partner:

Pin it down, cut into the seam allowance and staystitching to make it work:

FITTING:
– the princess seams ended way too much to the side, they don’t run over the apex.

The zipper is not yet top stitched, that may draw in the princess seams a bit. Topstitch the zipper and see what’s what. Before the topstitching I pressed and pinned the fabric carefully. On the outside it covers the zipper, on the inside it lays back a bit, for easier operating of the zipper.
But somehow, no matter how well you pin and press, the upper layer will wrinkle because the dog teeth make the under layer go faster. There’s a lot of pulling and smoothing involved to make it look acceptable. Slow sewing.

– I need little darts at the side bust, before I put in the sleeves.

FITTING 2:

Zipper top stitched. Princess seams are still off the apex, 2 cm too much to the sides at least. I think I might have added some width to the front panels when I cut it? Perhaps because I wanted a button band and snap ons buttons. Then I changed it to a zipper but didn’t take out any fabric. Will do for a next time I use this pattern.

For now I think I’ll leave it like this. It was quite an effort to sew the princes seams, with their curves, I don’t look forward to resewing them. And I fear the armhole is already positioned enough towards the bust, it shouldn’t go any nearer.

Taking in the sideseams at the underarm makes up for the surplus of fabric. Took in a whole (2x)1 cm. Now it’s snug. Might be too snug.

The curve at the underbust -more curvy than the previous blouse- works well. But still horizontal folds.
I wonder if they’d be less if the closing CF was not as stiff as a zipper is.

Sewing in side darts.

SLEEVES:
pinned one and sewed it in with sleeve running close to the dog teeth and bodice on top. No trouble easing it in.
Fitting showed I had not enough room at the front. I’m going to take out the bust dart.
(sleeve cap seems to be too roomy at the front but this is the 2 cm seam allowance bulking things up. It’s not been graded yet.)
Shoulder seam is positioned a bit to the back:


(the collar is going to need some serious engineering. I know nothing about collars! Yet.)

SLEEVE 2:
took out the bust dart. While sewing the arm hole was now too big for the sleeve. As the shoulder seam was a bit too much to the back I took it apart and used it to take away some of the excess fabric of the armhole. (we’re talking maybe one cm here, exactly how much the side bust dart took up.)

FITTING 3:
looks awful. Sits even worse.


It looks like I moved the shoulder seam to the back instead of the front (??)
The arm hole is way too wide at the front top, the sleeve cap is too narrow over my upper arm. I can’t move one bit, it looks like I sewed a sloper, with no ease.

The whole arm hole sits awful. It should be nearer to my body. Higher in the sideseam, closer to the body in the front. The shoulder seam should even be shorter I think, but then the sleeve will move on top of my shoulder and that’s not good.

But the extra ease from the abandoned bust dart is good though. It’s on the right side in this picture:

Blouse thrown in corner. I’m done sewing for the day.

HOW TO PROCEED:
got no idea. The sleeves have to come off, that’s clear. I have enough fabric to draft new sleeves. But how? What?
Take the bodice -with bust darts- as a point of departure I guess. That one sits good and looks fine. But the arm hole is a bit wide at the front. How attach a sleeve to it without it becoming wings?
Maybe a gusset at the underarm…
The bustdarts do give the armhole a right angle. It’s no longer oblong.
The sleeves need some sort of wearing ease, at the sleeve cap. Even though Fashion-Incubator makes a good case that it’s nonsense.
Drape the sleeve in the hole?

UPDATE
I think I shouldn’t have matched up the seam of the sleeve with the side seam. Fashion-Incubator shows a rotated sleeve in her last picture.

I’m also thinking about sewing it in back side to front, just to see if that changes anything.

NEXT TIME I use this pattern:
– broaden the side front panels: make the arm hole smaller by bringing it closer to the arm pit. It’s about 2 to 4 cm out.
– more soupleness at the closing (CF) to see if the horizontal wrinkles at the underbust disappear. That rules out a zipper.

Finished: Stylish Cat Lady Blouse and X-mas Deer Blouse (Burda 6909)

Burda 6909 with lots of alterations:

Among which: underbust shaping; horizontal dart at the waist; arm hole; sleeve; a lot less curve at the back princess seams and a shorter shoulder seam.

One of the things I left alone was the collar. Burda 6909 has an attached collar. I don’t understand it though. I haven’t figured out how to sew it neatly.
Must be my lack of experience again.

The instructions on the Burda leaflet were not enough for me, even though there are pictures. I did exactly what was prescribed, my sewing looked exactly like the pictures. Still the blouse looks wonky at the right angle the shoulder seam makes with the collar. Both blouses, on all four shoulders.

Next time I want a conventional collar. One you attach. One with four pieces.

By the way, I didn’t use fusing to strengthen the collar, I gave it an extra layer of fabric. It just sits between the outer fabric. I love collars, making them all neat. Turning them, pressing them, topstitching them.

That’s why I’d really like a nice collar stand and collar attachment to my blouses/dress shirt.

At the front the pattern has a long facing, running all the way up to and including the attached collar. After completing the blouse I sewed the facing to the inside of the horizontal dart to keep it into place:

I take it that on the original pattern, with button holes, it doesn’t flap.  I used a zipper because I’m sewing on an antique foot treadle machine that only has a running stitch and I don’t feel like making x button holes by hand.

On the X-mas Deer Blouse I was so focused on getting the zipper done right, and I figured it had to be done at a different stage of the sewing, way before sewing the side seams, that I forgot to put in the dart in the front panels.

So at this blouse the facing flaps around and annoys. Nice blouse though. The zipper looks great! Totally level on both panels, really nice overlap. This is the best zip tutorial I know. It’s for a lapped zipper but it shows very clearly the steps in any zipper sewing. Thank you ScruffyBadger!:

I still need to do the hem on this one. And it has some minor faults in the sewing. But I’m not correcting these, this is a fun blouse, to be worn when feeling carefree and enjoying some winter company.

One of the sleeves has been put in annoyingly bad. I may be taking it out and resew it…

But for now I’m really happy with the zipper, the shaping, the upper back, the topstitching, the top part of the collar and the fabric.

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/