Velvety Corduroy

I’ve giving a hanger shot because black is near impossible to photograph. Doesn’t seem to make sense to work hard on a photograph when the subject can’t be seen

My full post here.

For now, Close Enough

Ach! You would not believe the issues I’ve had getting this pattern to fit.  I stopped at one point to review all the PP104’s sewn to date and then reviewed a number of other patterns who’s fit pleased me.  I discovered that the fitting issues I’ve been working on have existed for quite some time.  Fabric makes a difference. With some fabrics, especially firm wovens, the issues are barely visible–easily discarded as a posture-of-the-moment effect. With softer fabrics and thin knits such as the ITY’s I’ve been working with for this round of fitting, the issues are glaringly obvious.  For those fabrics,  I may have chalked up the drag lines to fabric and not fit.  I never expect a perfect garment. I know I’ll have to rip something or that tweaks will need to be made to accommodate individual fabric idiosyncracies.  In fact, I usually baste the side seams and waistbands with water-soluble thread so that I can easily rip and re-stitch. But I’m satisfied with the level of fit for now.

It has taken me 4 T-shirts, a wadder (fabric and permanent ink pen had an unfortunate meeting) and 6 fittings devoted strictly to fitting the front of today’s T-shirt to reach this point:


I know it can be hard to see. I was playing with the drape from the Joyful Top. Also, I want to caution that posture makes a huge difference.  You did see drag lines in the pics, but in the mirror the drag lines around the bust are limited to 1 tiny pull above the bust dart which terminates in the armscye.  What it took to get this look?  After abandoning the dartless front,  I traced the darted front and made a T-shirt. Hating the angled dart which reminds to much of the french darts which I despise,  I rotated the dart from angle to horizontal posture and made another T.  Finally, I marked my apex on the fabric. Measured fabric and  marked the pattern with my BP. Which allowed me to raise the bust dart into horizontal position pointing to my BP.  Should be done, right? Bust point correctly placed; bust dart correctly placed. Done?  But no there were still horrible wrinkles.  So much that I despaired of ever finding a solution.  See, I’ve always been told that those drag lines meant that I needed to take up more fabric in the bust dart. So I did. I went from 1″ to 1-1/8″ to 1-1/4″ to 1-3/8″  without improvement. In fact, the back and sides would look worse!  Then I re-read a post by Shams re fitting the über busty. I’m not über busty.  I was small busted for so many years that I still have problems acknowledging I even have a bust. Even though I don’t have the same exact issue as Shams, I read with interest Shams statement to the effect  that if she can, she leaves the bust dart alone until almost the end. Because, she prefers to drape it in or as I call it “pinch it in”.  Reading her post gave me a light bulb moment.  I realized the best the PP104 front had looked was when I pinched in a bust dart on the dartless front version of PP104. I ripped out the side and dart stitching and pinched in (draped) a dart, my dart. I created a dart a mere 1/4″ deep. One-quarter Inch.  I still have a drag line or two above the dart. So I tried moving it and making a little deeper. Nope the best the front and sides look, is the 1/4″ deep dart located horizontally across from my BP.  It seems for that small amount of dart depth, I could just ease it along the side seam. But it’s done for now. Done. Good. And Enough. I can play with it later when I’m so inclined.

Odd to me was how the back would look beautifully smooth and with the next alteration old diagonal-to-the-side wrinkles would return. Only to disappear again. It makes it hard to decide if I needed the RBA or not.

I’m also not completely done.  The sleeve continues to display a drag line in the front view.  I’ve moved the shoulder point back, then forward. Added ease and rotated the sleeve twice more.  I have a feeling that this drag line may be due more to my posture than to position of the sleeve in the armscye. But I don’t know. I tried pinning out the drag line.  It appeared in another place.  I was almost frantic. A T-shirt should be an easy sew garment.  Then I watched one of those image shows where they the victim is given a completely makeover; and I remembered. The first thing the stylists always do is get the girl out of tacky jeans and unfitted T-Shirts.   So the sleeve will need its own metamorphism, but not now.   I need a palate cleanser. I need something easy to sew.

A second and I hope minor issue, is the flaring which is most visible at the hems. Almost looks like there is too much ease, but when I try to take it in along the seams, the garment becomes too tight. Somehow when I’m making alterations I’m introducing flare/flouncing between tummy/hip and hem. Fortunately, like high low hems, this is popular at the moment. But it is something I’d like to tweak. Even a tiny bit would make me happier.

But in truth, fabric is the final vote in whether I like a garment or not.  I don’t like this one.  I don’t like the print.  It looked so much prettier on the screen.  DH likes it, but I think that light tan/coffee color does nothing for me.  The bright blue of the flowers is not dominant enough to bring out my eye color . In fact, I was thinking of putting this straight into the donate box until I took a moment to style it:

If I change to dark brown pants, shoes and sock-wear, this is wearable.

I need to rethink my tracing decisions.  My final  tracing included small across the shoulder and armscye, med from armscye to waist and large from waist to hem. The small armscye could be (but probably isnt’) the issue with my sleeve. What I have discovered is while my shoulder is narrow i.e is small, the distance from shoulder to BP is not. I think tracing the small  shoulder/armscye contributed to the  RBA and CFront length needed. Fortunately this is something I can confirm by comparing final fitted tissue to the original pattern pieces, i.e. I don’t need another 6 T-shirts and umpteen fittings.  I’m continuing to look for the most elegant fitting solutions. But now I know I absolutely need to take into consideration the length needed over my rounded back and  bust.  I think I could be permanently adding 2 new alterations along with my standard two (NSA and BWL). AND I’m OK with it.  I’d rather make fewer pattern alterations. Heck, I’d rather make none at all.  But I’m willing to make the alterations if they keep me from being nominated to WNTW or the Style Jury.

“I thought you were going to learning pattern drafting?”

I reviewed my goals and realized I had added pattern drafting to my goals, made comments SG and made comments in some posts but not  done anything. So I took two days to try drafting a basic darted blouse and here’s what happened:

First day,  I followed the directions at Leena’  Her directions are amazingly clear. I had reservations from the start because she clearly states you are not to take your own measurements.  I don’t live close to anyone who sews and understands garment construction and fitting (There are a couple of quilt makers nearby, but they refuse to make garments. “Too hard” they say).  Last time I had DH helping I was explaining where the neck of the nape is and the difference between the shoulder point and curve of the arm. I mean I was involved in providing an entire education when I just wanted to check my back waist-length. So, with trepidation, I took my own measurements.  I drafted the front and back because that’s the way Leena has it laid out. However, all it took was a 3 minute comparison with the now nicely fitting back of PP104 to determine there was no way the newly drafted pattern was even close to fitting me.  Attempting to fit would require multiple muslins and alterations. Scratch using Leena’s directions mostly because she is right about taking my own measurements. It  was difficult and I could see I was incorporating inaccuracies even as I shifted the tape measure. I can see how I was the start of the issue.

Next I tried (caution link worked this morning but not while I am writing this post), a post with a link to a worksheet for calculating the point positions.  This time I combined measurements taken from the PP104 front and back along with body measurements I was fairly sure were correct i.e. ones where I didn’t suspect moving to get the measurement distorted the measurement. Using the XLS,  I can say was terrific. I plugged-in the measurements and  the points updated. Also, it was great to be able to use inches which I am familiar with rather than metric which I must think about. But have you ever tried to plot 2/7 of an inch? How about 1/6″? Those fractions aren’t on any ruler I have. I rounded up to the closest 1/8″, even if it was just a smidge. I’d rather have too big than too small.  The resulting back was closer than the one developed from Leena’s instructions and my questionable measurements but still woefully short of being a usable pattern.   I expected to add seam allowances. I didn’t expect to look at the pattern and wonder why the armscye depth which I designated a 8″, was at least 2″ short. Also the shoulder length of 4.5″ was entirely disregarded and a 6″ shoulder point plotted.
The waist had 1/4″ wide fish eye darts and a 1.5″ dip from the side seam to the interior. I know that would make a very rounded side seam which strangely doesn’t work on my body.   There were other issues chiefly not enough ease. I thought ” I will reach my goal of a usable sloper  faster by continuing to work with PP104 making one tweak at a time.”

I’m taking pattern drafting off my goals. The experience confirmed (and I hope was not a negative self-fulfilling prophacy), that drafting the basic pattern is only the beginning of a long fitting process.  It did eliminate the need for a back-waist length alteration, but I would still need to do a narrow shoulder alteration; and I suspect my rounded back and more hollow front would still need attention. Drafting a pattern is not going to be the easy answer for me. I had hoped I would at least understand better why the patterns shapes are what they are. But my level of understanding is the same as before these two 4-hour exercises. No no more drafting for me.

Nearing Perfection

Before transferring my fitting changes to the pattern, I checked my pattern tracing back to the original.  I was really concerned about the side seams being uneven and the armscye being so deep.  I found when I joined the Small Armscye to the Large Side Seam,my line dropped about 1/4″ of an inch.  But I had traced the sizes I intended  and made the BWL correctly (1″ evenly across the torso above the waist.)

I drew in the underarm correction and started working on changing the upper chest depth alteration to a wedge shape. What a pain. I cannot even describe a procedure. I slashed and sniped. Spread and overlapped. All the while trying to keep the center fold line vertical while eliminating humps that formed in the tissue; reducing the armscye depth but increasing the center front length oh and keeping the shoulder length the same as my own.  The end result produced a much more deeply sloped shoulder than I’m used to seeing. I stopped there because even though this looked a bit off, I’m a believer that if that’s what the body needs, that’s what I’ve got to do.

I trimmed a wedge from armscye to waist. 1/2″ at the armscye, zero at the waist. Which incidentally trimmed away the underarm correction I’d just made.

I walked the seams and discovered that my front and back  waist tick-marks did not match. The back was lower. I altered my front BWL from 1″ to 3/4″ which was just enough to make the side seams even and the waist marks align.

My next fabric is a rayon jersey.  Love rayon. To wear I love rayon.  Not really bad to sew either.  It just doesn’t have a long life span in my closet.  They tend to pill and shrink. I accept that it’s my fault.  Since I’m not willing to dry clean all clothing, my rayon tops will always be on-the-way-out of my wardrobe; even when brand new.  This particular rayon had some kind of finish applied to the selvages extending about 2″ into the interior.  I bought it online months ago and didn’t notice this finish before.  Seeing it now, I immediately said, “Uh Oh!”  Like why would a special finish be required along the selvage?  My best guess is that jersey will always roll and this jersey will probably roll worse than usual. Otherwise why go to the expense and effort of apply a special, non-wash-away finish at the factory? ??  I laid out the fabric and also found that it wanted to twist.    At one time I switched decreased the length of yardages I purchased because I hated throwing away 1/2 a yard. I’ve since returned to buying more than I think I will need because I’ve purchased too many fabrics that after pre-washing shrunk or like this one twisted.  I lay out the fabric so that I can at least cut the pieces on-grain. It’s a slower cutting process especially since I cut one piece at a time and did as much sewing as possible before cutting the next.

But I was bold at sewing. I finished, except for permanently attaching shoulder pads before the first try one.  Bold or nuts? Well lets compare with the Gold T-shirt finished just days ago for my Spring 6PAC:

Newest version on the right, in the print.

The back is significantly smoother and free from wrinkles.  I seem to have twisted it at the left on the bottom during wear.  I noted that it seemed clingy while I was pressing. Maybe a bit of static cling? Note too, that the greatest drag lines are beneath the lower right shoulder (my right shoulder is lower than the left).  I’m not sure if I need to adjust my cover stitch a bit more or if I’m truly getting some flare at the hem.

I can still see diagonal drag lines pointing towards the side seam. But I can’t say for sure that it is an issue with the back and not just a continuation of the twist seen on the back. What I can say for sure is YEAH  the front and back hems seem even. (PP104 has a curved hem. Very lovely but if you didn’t know better you would think the hem rises at the side seam. That’s deliberate.)   I see some flare at the back hem.  Not sure if I will or won’t try to adjust that.  Thing is the biggest part of my butt is about 2″ above the hem.  I need the ease across my rear.

I’m still looking at some static cling issues while trying to evaluate fit. The front from shoulder to bust apex is perfect. Just amazingly perfect.  The diagonals have been reduced, but not eliminated.   I’m looking and saying is this a dart issue? I’ve already got a 1-1/8″ deep dart.  Should I increase the size of the wedge in the front? (Adding more front length?)

I’m beginning to be more concerned about the sleeve.  I am careful to place my pattern on grain. I’m also careful to mark the front and back of the sleeve cap and the top –noting where it is to be placed in the armscye.  I’ve had blouses where the seam is not the match point.  Then again, I folded out a half-inch wedge on the sleeve starting at the armscye and decreasing it to nothing about 3″ down. I did that because I had to reduce the length of the underarm on the front and back pieces. If I had not, the sleeve cap would have been too large for the armscye.  It would need to be gathered to fit.  Generally, T-shirts don’t have gathered sleeve caps. Did I want a one? Since the fabric itself is twisted and static cling is “having it’s day”, I’m tempted to blame the fabric. Thing is, something has been happening with the sleeve all along. It’s worse now. But it has been present all along.   Should I unfold those wedges?  Or do I need to do something more.

I know I’m nearing perfection.  Truthfully, I don’t expect to ever reach the point of saying everything is perfect. Everything I did with this garment was perfect. Just doesn’t happen in my life.  But this has gotten a whole lot better. It’s near perfection.

The Alterations Continue

The PP104 fit looks nicer, but there were things.  Like the ease looked good across the bust and back, but I could pinch out about an inch under the arms (which meant 2 inches each arm and 4 inches total).  T-shirts generally don’t have that much ease. Did I want that much?  Also when I fit a sleeved garment, I always put the sleeve in before checking fit.  Sleeves affect fit and need to be in place when checking fit. I felt but couldn’t really see if the armscye was too deep.  I believe a sleeved garment should be a little deeper but this much? And,  I really wanted to know did I need to add a wedge of ease across the upper back or did I need length completely across the back.  Makes a difference not only in fit, but in pattern drafting/alterations.

So I traced PP104 yet again. Back and Front, yet again.  This time I added the full armscye depth Pam has indicated is in the pattern.  I used it in both front and back because I have wrinkles that indicate more length is required on both back and front.  I also traced the darted front version. I have the hardest time imagining that I need more bust room. My bust is 1″ smaller than my waist and 3.5″ larger than my hips (and tummy).  There’s not much change to my figure. I’m a nice fat, juicy pear not a blocky apple.  But I’ve received so much help with fitting by just following the advice of real people. Not experts but people who’ve solved their fitting challenges and are willing to share their experience with me.  They keep saying add an FBA or bust dart.

As usual I have digressed. This version has the bust dart and all the armscye depth Pam would draft into the pattern. I traced the small neck, shoulders and armscyes and the large side and hem lines. I left the sleeve pattern at its last draft i.e. no additional armscye depth, small sleeve cap, XL large side seams (the large felt too tight) and shortened length 1/2″ .

I used a cotton jersey in one of my beautiful bright blues. Royal or nearly royal blue. Great color with my eyes.  I trimmed out a V-neckline and spent an inordinate time finishing it–just the neckline. I wanted to do the neat trick of wrapping the front facing around the back binding. I could not get my neckline edge even at the shoulders. I ripped that apart and put it together about 4 times.  Finally, I shaped it into place and nailed it down with 2 rows of top stitching.  Not one of my finest sewing efforts but I made it work.  I did not put in the sleeves. I fused the hem up in to place but didn’t stitch it.  Then I basted the side seams.  As I thought, adding the armscye depth was not helpful.  The armscye revealed most of my brassiere. Also, it was now very easy to tell that I had way too much ease in the chest.   I was surprised when basting those side seams to find that the back was 1/2″ longer than the front. I expected that when I created the dart by pinching it into place. But now I had traced the bust dart version. It should have been even across the hem.  Since I haven’t had issues with the pattern previously, I will take the blame.  I’m just not sure what happened. Best guess is that the pattern lines as 1/8″ wide. If I’m tracing on the wrong side, I could easily and unknowingly add or subtract from the drafted measures.

Normally I don’t like to make multiple changes at the same time. But there was enough going on to convince me it would be ok.  I drew horizontal lines across the bodice right where Pam indicated to shorten or lengthen the upper bodice. I folded along that line and basted a 3/8″  wedge from raw edge to a few threads at CB and CF  and then back to 3/8″ at the opposite raw edge.  On the inside, it looks like I’ve made two opposing darts that just touch at the center fold line.  On the outside, it looks like a high yoke on both front and back.   At the same time, I basted the side seam  1 cm (my throat plate is marked in metric) starting at the armscye and angling to nothing at the waist. Looks like a dart with the fat part at the armscye and point at the waist.  Then I tried it on.

I needed to remove some more ease from the side seam so repeated the dart  2CM  wide. Looked OK, maybe not wonderful but certainly improved over the Spring 6PAC knit tops.  I considered calling it a muslin and tossing it. But then decided that blue is too good of a color for me. So what to do. Well I finished it.  I serged across the chest darts trimming the excess and turning that into a true yoke.  I trimmed 1/2″ from the front and back sides starting at the armscye decreasing to nothing at the waist; hemmed at the cover stitch and then serged the side seams together. Next, I styled it:

Really, how something is worn, can be more important.  I defy you to say I’m not a nicely dressed Senior Citizen ready to go stand in the bank line.

Understanding Fit

is really a journey as well as a destination. I mean part of me says just finish fitting this and let’s get onto more interesting stuff (like FSL and cording and pintucks, etc etc). But part of me wants to know exactly what has changed and exactly what the effect of the change is.  By nature I’m pretty introspective and analytical, so the latter won. I decided to trace PP104 again this time utilizing front and back armscye depth options.  The upper back was much like displayed in yesterday’s RBA, the front however was totally unimproved. If anything it was worse.  I decided to pinch in the bust dart and remove some of the excess ease in the back.

I like to do this thing of comparing the photos from one fitting to another.  I thought today I would share the fitting progression. This new ITY received 2 fittings before the final pic. The first pic (to the left) is the garment with armscye depth added. In the middle is Fitting #2 which has added front bust dart and removed ease. On the right is the finished garment–ready to go into my closet.

I really thought I needed to remove back ease from shoulder-blade all the way to the hem. But you can see in the final pics that I’ve actually taken too much ease at the hem, it is now cupping beneath my tush and at the same time fabric is pooling in mid back. Too bad because I like this fabric in person much better than I do in the pics. It is bright. Definitely spring and maybe a bit of summer. The dark is brown not black. Which I like because I think it coordinates better with my brown pants.

The bust dart I pinched, definitely helped but I had problems marking and stitching both darts the same. While the  3/4″ deep dart is a good start it isn’t enough.

I’ve now made lifting my arm to see the side seam part of the fitting routine. My problem with that and the reason I didn’t always do it in the past, is that the mere act of lifting the arm shifts the fabric. Are the resulting wrinkles and seam appearance from fit or from posture?  It’s kind of hard to decide some times.  Here you can see that I created a High-Low hem. Very popular these days and besides I had to do something because adding the dart made the front side seam shorter than the back. I definitely didn’t want to ruche the back to the front.

So the final pics are the result of 3 changes:

  1. Armscye depth increased 1/2″
  2. -1/4″ Ease (total 1/2″)  from the back  from shoulder-blade to hem
  3. Added 3/4″ Front Dart

This version fits better than the last and much better than the 2 tops just completed for my spring 6PAC. I need to work on the front bust dart, perfecting it’s position and depth and tweak the ease removed from the back.

I am loving is that these are so quick and easy to sew. Even tracing doesn’t take that long! I’m using my cover stitch  for hemming But adding neck binding/finishing at the sewing machine.  Even with 3 fitting sessions  I finished this in one sewing session of about 4 hours.


RBA: A Modest Success

RBA=Round Back Alteration More commonly called Dowager’s Hump. Discussed in detail in several places, I’m starting with the instructions from Texas A&M.  Whoa. Let me back up a sec and explain how I got to here.  I’d known my back was rounding.  It is an age factor which will happen to everyone but to varying degrees.  I’ve been ignoring the issue so far, partly because I could disguise it through the use of shoulder pads. My lamenting about the diagonal lines on the Gold and Blue Ink PP104′s, elicited a sympathetic response and discussion with a SG member. (Hi tazzieM).   Our discussion center around HBL’s and grain lines. Oh and wedges vs tucks. I decided to ignore the front diagonals for now and tackle my rounding back issues. I started with a search which turned up many posts.  I’m surprised at how often an RBA is needed.! I still hesitated to do the RBA because my wrinkles are not exactly the same.  My upper back, from shoulder to shoulder-blade is pretty smooth. My wrinkles occur below the shoulder-blade across the back and diagonally towards the side seam. But I do agree I have a round back. I can see it in my pictures and sometimes even in my reflection.

The RBA is more complex than my NSA. My NSA is a slash, overlap and smoosh the pieces flat.  I can do that anywhere along the shoulder line and be assured of a fix. With the RBA, I needed to know exactly where on the pattern the first slash should take place. Also, the instructions indicate that the amount of the RBA can be measured.  To figure out where the RBA needed to be, I held my tape measure at my neck, aligned with the shoulder seam and took a picture.

Then I cropped so I could see detail.

My biggest horizontal drag line is below my armscye! Does that mean I should make my RBA there or up by the bubble? And what should I think about the side diagonals?  I decided that the mid-back bubble was probably the fabric shifting upward and the causation below that. Also, I know that the apex of roundness back there is not below my arm. It’s more like mid-arm.  I’ll need to offset for  the shoulder seam when I get to the pattern. So I decided to start by making the first slash 8″ down from the shoulder/neckline point. Next was how much. The horizontal is pretty deep, but that bubble is not.  I know from experience that it only takes the grain being off a little to make a big difference. I started by opening  a 1/2″ wedge at the CB seam.  Trouble with that is the 1/2″ that the neckline skews away from straight up and down of the back line:

and it’s the reason I have avoided the RBA up to now.  The easiest solution, is to add a seam allowance and sew a center back seam. I would do that, if I wasn’t fitting a T-shirt pattern.  I do want a T-shirt pattern and I’m willing to accept some less than perfect fit for a T-shirt.  There are several things that can be done. The recommendation is to slash from neckline to the RBA and allow the neckline to open. Hmmm, I think that’s going to make a nice gaping back neckline on me.  I could rotate to the shoulder (slash from shoulder line to RBA), except that will make my .5″ too long shoulder line 1.75″ too long. Not what I want at all.  I tried trimming the additional shoulder length at the armscye, but then my armscye that was 2″ longer than before. Ache! Doesn’t that create another problem. I don’t like solutions that create more problems.  I don’t like alterations that require more alterations!

So I did my RBA slightly differently. (1) I slashed across the CB seam at 8″ and opened the 1/2″ wedge. (2) But then I slashed from neckline to RBA forming the hinge at the neckline instead of the RBA.(3) I allowed the neckline slash to overlap slightly along the RBA.

I confess that I was not entirely sure this would work.  For one thing, I thought when you added ease for roundness you needed to add both horizontal and vertical ease. I’m adding only vertical ease.  (The slash is horizontal, across the body. But it adds length, vertical ease). Also not following instructions exactly, I dont’ think I’ll have exactly the same results (If you always do what you always did…..).  But I’m willing to try. Hey this will be another winter/spring T-shirt that I can cover with a vest. Right now my T-shirts look as good as anybody’s in the bank line!

By now  I’m so tired of Blue and Gold. I confess I made my last garment a T-shirt because I thought I could zip through the sewing.  This time, I wanted to be careful of the fabric, hmmmm, features I would deal with.  From my stash I chose the brightest pink ITY.  I like ITY. It stretches but still has some stability (no it’s not the most stable knit). It recovers nicely when worn and I’m fortunate that I’m not bothered by it.  I know some people can’t stand poly of any kind. I don’t mean just the people at SG. Some of those people in the bank line swear they can’t wear poly.

I’m in a small rural town. Definitely a throw back to pre WWII. Our social activities are limited. There is the Post Office line, The bar,  The American Legion Steak Night, City Hall and the infamous BANK LINE.

I wanted to use my T-shirt pattern, but wanted to style something slightly different. I spent an hour looking at current  fashions on HSN and QVC (yeah that’s where folks like us look for high fashion).  I didn’t want to do anything that would affect the fit of the shoulders or torso. So nothing much at the neckline or anywhere else. I decided to scoop my neckline 2″. The high round neckline typical of T-shirts is not flattering for me. But it is still winter and will still be cool through most of our Spring. In fact, I will wear long sleeves up to almost the end of May. Ah sleeves. Yes I decided to add ease from elbow to  wrist for a fuller sleeve.  To really point out the fullness, I gathered slightly about 3.5″ above the raw hem edge.  This was not a big deal.  To add sleeve to the edge, I placed my pattern on fabric. Then aligned my ruler with the hem and slid it over 2.5″ from the hem edge. Drew a line straight up to meet the sleeve which happened to be about elbow length.  Repeat for other side.  Then for the gathering, I aligned my ruler along the hem of the now cut out sleeve and drew a horizontal line 3.5″ above the hem edge. I found the center of the horizontal and made a tick mark 3.5″ to each side. I used 1/2″ clear elastic and the triple zigzag to attach 5″ of elastic along the horizontal chalked line. On the inside it looks like this:

Once hemmed (I used my CS. Yeah!) it looks like this:

I think I erred, slightly.  I left my hem length at 1.25″.  I think you get a slightly fuller look by turning up 1/4″ twice. But I’m not unhappy.

So the front, doesn’t look much different:

This fabric looks terrific in pictures. Not so wonderful in the stash or real life.


It shouldn’t. I’ve made no changes to the front beyond scooping the neck slightly.  I finished the neckline with a bias band (it’s habit to cut bias), which is stitched 3/8 from the edge and then wrapped up and over before top stitching just below the well of the previous seam.  The shoulders are still slightly too large. There are still diagonal wrinkles from the bust (no surprise there); a little too much ease across the waist and hip but not the tummy (?).  The sleeve may be slightly long but I like it this length for this gathering.  Truth is, I haven’t shortened the sleeve because I still may shorten the shoulder which will bring the sleeve up on my arm and make it look shorter.

It is the back which is slightly eye-opening

The back is now smooth across the shoulders and upper back down across the shoulder blades. The diagonal lines I’m seeing are at a lesser angle and pointing at the hip, not the side. They are also in the area which I know to have too much ease.  I considered removing ease in this area way back at the Gold PP104.  I believe the hip ridge line is caused by the jean pockets.

The side is equally encouraging:

There are no diagonal drag lines front or back. Astonishing!  I think that’s the kind of thing that happens when you find the true cause of your problems. I mean you fix the real problem and all the little distracting, irritating little…. goobers disappear. I know that was true with computers. Fix the obvious problem and everything else works like it’s supposed to.

I still need some changes

The front and back shoulders are still too wide. Need 1/2″ NSA or retrace the pattern using the Small shoulder line.

The back has obvious excess ease below the shoulder blades all the way to the hem.  I think tracing a medium back could be the answer.

The front still has diagonal wrinkles from the bust line.  I’m thinking instead of doing a tuck for the front BWL, I should do a dart or wedge.  I’m not sure if this works (dart vs tuck BWL).  It is simpler than tuck and add wedge immediately above the tuck.

I only notice the front flare in the pictures. Which makes me wonder if I need to correct it or not.  I don’t think there is overall too much ease (as visible on the back). More like just too much below the tummy and above the hem. Not sure I can or even should do anything about it. Some changes are fitting issues. Once you find the fitting solution, you accept the results as necessary; as personal style.

The hem is actually too long for a T-shirt. However I use this same pattern for knit tops and use it to compare with patterns to check for sufficient length and width. (Style changes all.)  I see a little flare right a the hem. I think it may be from my hemming procedure.  I turned up the hem 1/2″ and secured it with SAS. Then I covered stitched the hem. The cover stitch is not exactly adjusted correctly but it’s close enough to pass my tests. Only on the longest hem (the sleeves don’t flare or ruffle along the hem), does my problem occur.

The hem has also developed into the  high low style. Probably because I added length across the shoulders. High-low is very popular right now with some real extremes that I won’t wear.  This is not bad, IMO.



Summary (Spring 2015 6PAC)

The nice thing about getting several 6PACs under your belt, is that you don’t have to wear the clothes right away.  It takes a couple of years of successful 6PAC sewing to get to this point:  I leave my 6PAC in the sewing room until all 6 pieces are done. It helps me avoid another pitfall, that of finding the first few garments in the 6PAC are worn out, no longer wearable, by the time I finish the 6th and last item in the collection. So my 6PAC has been patiently waiting for this day. The day when I share my collage:

I have completed a Blue and Gold 6PAC with 2 pairs of pants, 2 T-shirts, 1 blouse and a 3rd layer Vest. Then the fun begins of trying them on to see the outfits;

I got tired of trying on the clothes and didn’t repeat all the tops with the blue pants. There should be an additional 3 outfits of blue pants with Gold T, Blue Ink T and Blouse alone. That would give me a total of 8 possible outfits!  Of course, I have favorites from the bunch. Truthfully, I’m more likely to be wearing the with-vest options.  I happened to have a blue vest waiting for ironing when I took these pictures.

I’m more likely to wear these outfits than without the vest. Even amongst this set, I see potential favorites.

I tried using the blouse as a 3rd layer:

It looks OK but feels tight across the back and in the sleeves.  Loes Hinse tends to draft closer to the figure.  If this had been the camp shirt from Loes Cuttings EAC, it would have been comfortable. Shrug; while I could wear the blouse as a 3rd layer, I probably won’t.

Officially my Spring 2015 6PAC is done.  Unofficially, I feel dissatisfied with my color choice.  It “feels” more like fall than spring.  I may do a 2nd 6PAC later on in true spring colors.

Crochet Trimmed Neckline

The lovely crochet neckline on the Blue Ink T, is not really crochet.  It is achieved by using a sheer fabric and an FSL embroidery design.Read my full post here.

Ribbon Placket

I was terribly excited about this concept presented in the Craftsy Course Pattern Making for Knits.  I was expecting to learn formulas for using stretch (there were some of those).  Surprised and excited when she demonstrated an easy, very easy neck placket method.   I kept the neckline high and tight but provided ease of access by adding this neckline to my last version of PP104, the Blue Ink Tee.

I estimated my placket length at 3″. I didn’t want to cut my ribbon exactly that length.  I wanted a little manoeuvering room and something to hang onto if needed. I cut my ribbon twice the proposed placket length and added 1″ at each end. Total for this placket is 8″.  I think this formula ([2*placket lengths] + [(2 ends *1″])worked well.  I set this aside at my sewing machine.

Next I prepared my neckline.   I took the garment front to the ironing board and fused a 1″ x 4″ strip of interfacing across the center fold of the garment inside.  I was aiming for half an inch on either side of the center fold line, but I didn’t think it was critical.  I.E. 3/8 on one side and 5/8 on the other would be OK too.  Then I turned it over and along the front side drew my stitching line.

I stitched along the lines and  Frey checked within the lines. I placed a pin at the end of the placket opening before cutting it open.  I learned the hardway.  If I definitely want to “cut up to but not through”, I need a pin at the “not through” point.

I placed my ribbon, with about an 1″ hanging beyond the raw edge, along the left stitching line.  All the following stitching needs to be done on the front side; the public side. The placket will look backwards until almost the end of the procedure.

I marked the “stitch to but not through point”, it will become the placket bottom, with a pin and then stitched down to the pin.  I’m reluctant to stitch over pins, especially when it is critical. So I removed the pin and then took this picture:

Then I was a little stumped because I needed to stitch along the wrong side of the remaining placket side. But if I continued here, I would be stitching the placket and ribbon to the front of the blouse. This wouldn’t work. I twisted and turned the fabric because I knew I had to get the front below the placket out of the way.  Finally I told myself to rewatch the class later and I pushed the needle up button. With the needle up, it was a cinch to rearrange and push the garment out of the way and continue to sew with the ribbon on the wrong side of the garment.

Turn it back to facing me and it just looks wrong some how.

That’s because the placket needs to be turned to the wrong side.

A little steam; a few seconds at the iron and the placket is beautiful

The only thing necessary now, is to trim the excess ribbon. It will be securely caught in the neckline finish.  I like to kind of nail my plackets together at the bottom. So I stitched a line from the placket bottom to the ribbon side.

I don’t know that is really needed with the ribbon placket. But I found with previous plackets, stitching this line keeps the placket corner looking sharp on the outside.

Not shown, but I also hand stitched the ribbon to the front along the edges. That too helps keep the placket invisibly in place, but is not required.

This Ribbon Placket is the easiest placket I’ve ever done. It can also be economical because it uses up short amounts of ribbon. Ribbon that would otherwise be discarded or take up storage room.