princess dress shirt: honing in on a good fit


Shirt with princess seams in the front and back. More room at the upper arms. Nice thick buttons (3 mm, diameter 11 mm) and learning the bypass the button-hole-in-one function on my Janome 245S because that’s too sensitive at times.

The pattern is from the shirt in the previous post: the bunnies shirt.
Alterations I did to that pattern:

  • different curve at the apex, for a bit more breathing space
  • more room at the back, at shoulder blade height, for more room of movement for the arms
  • shortened the shoulder seam by a cm. I thought by bringing the sleeve (cap) closer to the body and upward I’d get more range of movement, Which indeed I got.
  • wider sleeve cap, more room at the upper biceps
  • little tucks/folds in the sleeve at the shoulder point.
  • lowered the shoulder slope. I have square shoulders.
  • put the neck line in the front higher
  • adjusted collar stand but not collar (awkward collar now but looks alright when I put the back up, like a polo shirt)
  • lengthened sleeves a bit but had to shorten them at first fit, causing the sleeve placket to be not long enough.
  • gave cuffs a bit more room
  • cut the zero-ease block with 1,5 cm SA and sewed it with variable SA: none at the waist and shoulders, 1 cm at the bust. Only at the princess seam, btw, the side seams where sewn with SA 1,5 cm.

With the bunnies-shirt I noticed how fast the insides of my cuffs get visually dirty. (I apply cream to my wrists and hands a lot).

So for this shirt I played with the placement of the fabric pattern. The insides have trees, just like the outside of the collar. I placed some details at the ends of the sleeves too (but they got cut a lot when I had to shorten the sleeves):

It’s a nice shirt. I’ve already worn it. Is has more arm movement than the previous shirt. But still not enough. My sewing instructor wants me to enlarge the arm hole but I’m partial to make it smaller, closer to the body so I do not drag up the whole shirt when I raise my arm.

Other things I have changed to the block after fitting this princess shirt:

  • took out the curve at the side seam which would be easily identified as “side boob”. I had put it in because I reasoned that if one needs more breathing space at the front, such a curve at the side might help. It does not.
  • lowered the shoulder slope even more.
  • took out 2 cm at the back, at the neck line
  • gave neck line 1 cm SA
  • trued the four pattern pieces around the shoulder seam
  • fiddled with the arm hole. Still fiddling.
  • took away 5 cm of width from the sleeves.
  • took away 4 cm of length from the sleeves
  • made the collar stand higher
  • made the collar fit the stand

still to do:

  • make the cuffs a smidge wider so they overlap more neatly.
  • adjust collar to new neckline
  • change the curvature of the collar stand so the top part is less lengthy and the stand will lay more flat against my body (it now stands away from my body)
  • adjust collar accordingly
  • if I bring the arm hole closer to the body I’ll need to give the sleeve extra length.

No more adjustable SA sewing. Just give it the SA it needs so I can cut precisely.

As soon as I have a good body fit I want to draft some french cuffs and sew a stylish shirt and wear it with cuff links. But first another wearable try out shirt in cheap, funny fabric.

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finished a dress shirt: bunnies shirt

My basic self drafted block. Princess seams at front and back.

It has been altered after this blouse was finished: new neck line, lowered shoulder seam at the neck, little tweaking of the sleeve cap (move it 1 cm up the shoulder seam, widen it a bit), remove flare at bottom of the side seams. Wider cuffs, slightly longer sleeve.

My block has a seam allowance (SA) of 1,5 cm and I cut the block precisely. I then add wearing ease by placing the sewing line in the SA. For this blouse I gave the princess seams an SA of 1,25 cm. Adding a total of 2 cm wearing ease. Which is enough.

For the next blouse I will vary the SA within the princess seams: 1 cm at the apex front, 1,5 at the shoulder seams, 1,25 at the waist.

Princess seams were sewn, folded to one side, topstitched and then pinked. One sleeve cap was a felled seam following instructions from Page Coffin but that did not work very well for me. I just did the other like I did the princess seams.

No ironed interfacing, all regular cotton (old sheet) sewn into place. My sewing instructor warns me that things might bundle up when the shirt is washed. I will wash an learn.

I like how the shirt fits my body shape. Not too much dragging lines at the front. I can move my arms reasonably comfortable. I’m glad I had a professional fit me half way through. It is not something you can do by yourself, not for sleeve caps. It all comes down to half a centimetre here or there. 1.8th of an inch.

First time sewing button holes and buttons with my sewing machine. It took a while (you really have to put all the dials on the Janome 245S into the right position) but then it wens swimmingly.

Tips for sewing a button hole with the button hole foot on the Janome 245S:

  • attach foot
  • put stitch width on 5
  • put stitch length on the button hole image. If you put it a bit to the left stitches will be closer together
  • lower lever on the left side of your needle, it needs to touch the foot
  • put button in foot
  • the hole will start at the front, then go backwards.
  • it does not like to encounter multiple layers of fabric. Sometimes you better turn the fabric and start the hole from the other side.
  • do a trial hole on pieces of scrap fabric
  • put the stitch dial onto “reset” in between every hole

 

Sewing on a button without a button foot:

  • remove foot
  • remove under pressure on the dog feeders
  • choose zigzag stitch
  • put pin in fabric
  • place button on pin (need some space between button and fabric)
  • put foot down
  • crank needle with hand and aim for one hole
  • crank further and adjust stitch width until the needle finds the second hole
  • start sewing a few times
  • for a 4 hole button: don’t break yarn, lift foot, turn fabric, put foot down and aim for the other holes

 

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:

new fabrics

I haven’t finished the grey Birds in Shoes shirt yet. Nor the Little Grey Flowers shirt. I haven’t finished drafting the new shirt pattern yet. And I haven’t finished reading Shirtmaking: Developing Skills For Fine Sewing by David Page Coffin yet.
51wyjnjldbl-_sx401_bo1204203200_

But what I did do was buy a whole lot of new fabrics:

buit van Stoffenspektakel. vooral linnens

The last couple of weeks I’m gearing up to make a whole new set of basics.
This is my inspiration board:

Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 21.03.59

Clean lines, no ruffles. Functional garments. Natural fibres.
Light blouses, light trousers/skirt. A darker dress over it, a dress with pockets. With a light shawl or collar framing my face.

I’m studying to make the shirts in the funny patterned fabrics at the moment so that when I can do a half decent job I can turn these:
buit van Stoffenspektakel. vooral linnens
into nice shirts.
Two linens, one cotton and the white one is silk (for a more shaped/draped garment).

Here’s four meters of mid weight linen:
buit van Stoffenspektakel. vooral linnens
For a shirt and a skirt or trousers.

Some darker and stiffer fabrics:
buit van Stoffenspektakel. vooral linnens
The denim is for a pinafore dress, with pockets, like my main inspiration picture:


Dress by Bespoke tailor and designer Ivey Abitz

The dark linnen will become trousers I think. I have one pair of linen Summer trousers in olive green and I love it. We’ve drafted a block for trousers on my drafting course and pretty soon I’ll learn to make a pattern from it. I’d love to have another pair of trousers.

The olive green grey piece of linen in the picture is intended to become an exact copy of this vest:
 design by Marcy Tilton, fabric seller.
Make it stiff, shape it with top stitching and facings and linings. And make it work for a girl.
I love the “bib” shape and it will give me a firm front while lots of shaping can happen at the underbust. The neckline also makes a perfect frame for whatever I’ve got going on there: a blouse with an interesting collar; a handknitted lace shawl or a sparkling necklace.

With the fabrics I keep contrast in mind. It resembles the contrast in my own face colouring: medium to halfway harsh. I look good in these contrasts.
Before I found it necessary to buy funny patterned fabrics, to keep myself entertained during sewing.

Now I’m working towards silhouettes, ensembles, combinations that form a unit. The quality of the fabrics will bring (tactile) delight to the process of sewing and the entertainment will now come from precision sewing. I’m so enthousiastic about it!
I cannot yet get my hands and the fabric to do what I’m seeing in books and internet tutorials but it’s vastly entertaining and I sometimes get it right and that’s a real boost.

Wait until I can do this:

Or this:

In the mean time I bought these cufflinks:

Teehee!
*off to wash my fabrics*

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

Sewing blouse Birds in Shoes: cutting the fabric

I lay down the paper pattern with weights (my rulers). I pay attention to grain and I make sure no circles or flowers or dots or round bird faces are at the place where my nipples are.
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The zipper is there to give me some idea how it will be.
CF is not a straight line, it moves back a bit at the top. On my body is is a straight line though. I’m a bit nervous how this will look in patterned fabric. This is an experiment.

I add a 2 cm allowance all around and mark it. With ball point. Ball point doesn’t wash out but it’s on the raw edge.
I cut very precisely and when sewing I use an old fashions distant-keeper, at 2 cm precisely. That way I always sew right at the seam line.
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The bust dart I mark in the seam allowance and then I take not of how far from the cutting edge the legs should extend:
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The shoulder cap is too difficult to find the seam line by only using the cut line as a guide. I mark the sewing line itself. In pencil, on the WS of the fabric. 14,5 cm from the cut edge:
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Little tailor tacks to indicate where the vertical darts end and have their widest point:
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“Sorry. You’re done cutting. Actually, not sorry at all.”

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