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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Jacquard Dress: pressing seams

The long seams I basted I have now sewn. Before focussing on details such as fitting at the top, shoulders, sleeves (?) and hem I will finish the seams. Because it builds confidence and gives a sense of getting things done.

The seams are quite rough. With big irregular allowances and fraying at the edges. Susan Khaljé knows just what to do: sandwich pressing, pressing, trimming and overcasting. This is Lesson 9 of The Couture Dress on Craftsy.

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Because I’m in the city which has an ironing board but no iron I decided to buy a second iron. Not a heavy duty things like the Official Ironing Iron I have (at the cabin, without a board) but a small, handy thingy. Just prefect for seams, not so handy for big sheets of fabric.

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It’s a 10 euro steam iron from the HEMA. It fits very well in my hand. I like it. It only has 1200 Watt and I kept an eye open to see if this would give enough heat. It does.

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So I pressed my seams. First sandwich: press the seams without opening them. From both sides. Then open and press it open. All the while using a bit of steam. Pressing is always with steam.

I used a rolled up towel to press the curves.

Then I trimmed the seam allowances. I plan to catch stitch the edges later on, attaching them to the lining.

Because I had to switch around the pattern pieces there is one place where the seam is dangerously close to the edge of the lining. I have marked it with a ‘red cross of pins’ so I can give it some extra TLC before finishing the seam.
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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:

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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:

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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