This isn’t totally a detour from the 6PAC. I know I’ll need to refit my blouse/shirt patterns for my Autumn 6PAC. I’m looking for an easy and logical method. So far I’ve discovered that I’m expanding between waist and the hip-line crease. The other parts of my body are not changing. Therefore if I go up a full size to fit the lower torso, I experience a whole slew of fitting issues everywhere else. Instead of 2 quick alterations, I’m making bunches of alterations to the tissue and then needing 3-4 fitting try-ons to come close to a nice fit. I decided that I wanted to fit a summer, button-front shell i.e. a sleeveless button-front shirt. This is a nice look on me and some variation is always in fashion. If I fit this style now, I’ll be one-up when I’m ready to make shirts for the fall and winter (assuming my weight really has *stabilized at 10 pounds heavier than last year.) Besides, I know for my region I will be exclusively wearing sleeveless garments for at least another 8 weeks. After that, I’ll alternate between sleeveless and short-sleeve with the need for a cardigan or over-blouse in the mornings and freezer section of the grocery store.
It was a favorite of mine for many years, before I lost 50 pounds. But I havent’ made it in so long that I couldn’t remember details. I was surprised that front and back tissues would be used for both a sleeveless and sleeved garment. I checked the instructions and found a brief reference that the user might need to take in under the arms for fit. Now I often have to do this. Apparently the average B-cup woman has more flesh on her rib cage underneath the arm than I do because I frequently take in about a half-inch under the arm. I suspect that my rib cage is more bone than flesh when compared to the average woman. But I’m surprised to read this fit suggestion from a major pattern company. I really think they failed us here. I really think they should have included a back and front drafted for a sleeveless garment. I looked carefully at the pattern pieces. I had made my standard 1″ BWL. So I made made my standard 1″ NSA and then pinned the pieces together and tried them on Mimie. Granted this blouse “fit” me, as I understood fit, at 194# so I may be a little more demanding now. I was surprised to see that the hem would have been just above my knee. I also noted at least 12″ ease across the hips. The shoulder/upper torso ballooned over Mimie’s form (which is still bigger than my own) and the waist was in the wrong place despite the 1″ BWL. The tissue had been trimmed to a size 16. You know from the front of the envelope that McCalls 8086 is supposed to be loose-fitting but this was astonishing. I started counting the tissue alterations and decided this pattern had lived out it’s usefulness. I’ve discarded it and moved along to KS 3038:
The thing with Kwik Sew patterns is that I’m not tempted to trim the paper. It’s bulky, difficult to smooth wrinkles and forget about pressing. I’m sure I’ve made this sometime, but couldn’t find the tissues. No mind, it needed to be fit again anyway. I traced a large across the shoulders and armscyes (upper torso area). But traced the sides and hem of the extra large, truing as needed between sides. I anticipate using this pattern several times. The yoke is an applique. It looks nice and is easy to add, but just as easy to leave off. The front can be either a faced button band or tab button band. The collar is a shirt collar with stand. Not my favorite. Truthfully, I prefer the convertible collar. I never button the top button. I like the look of the collar folded back creating a V to frame my face. The convertible collar does this much better than the shirt collar and stand. It is possible to change a collar + stand into a convertible collar, but I didn’t want to work on that right now. Truthfully, I’m looking for that easy logical method of tissue fitting. I don’t want to invest time in details. I chose to eliminate the collar, the “yoke” and the tab button band (I’m using the facing) but I did trace all the pieces for future use. To the tissue, I made a 1″ NSA and a 1″ BWL. I had pinned the tissue together and tried it on Mimie. These were the 2 issues I could really see at the tissue stage. I wasn’t sure about the overall ease. Tissue does not drape and move the same as fabric. I decided I’d rather have too much fabric and make bigger seams than to throw the fabric away because it was too small. One other thing, I added a center back seam. Yes I’m beginning to need a bit more shaping across the back and decided to address that now.
I fused interfacing to the front facing and serged the shoulders and center back. I basted the side seams and did my first try-on. I’m pleased to say it was pretty much as I expected. The shoulders, upper back and upper torso fit nicely. I planned a narrow hem and was pleased with the length. I may want different lengths in future but this is a good starting point. I carefully pined and overlapped the fronts and discovered lots of ease. I pinched and pined and finally went back to the sewing machine to make another line of basting stitches 3/8″ deeper than the first. This was a little close across the hips. Not bad for a T-shirt, but I like my blouses and shirts to freely move over my hips. Under the arm I still had too much ease. Back to the sewing machine, but this time I basted only between the underarm and bust dart another 3/8″ dart. This felt good, but the armscye was just about perfect which I knew would mean that when I added the armscye facing it would be too low.
I finished the armscye with bias tape. That way I made only a 1/8″ seam and my armscye remained perfect. My final serging was 1-1/4 at armscye trickling to 3/4″ at the waist and 5/8″ over the hip. I transferred these changes to the pattern. Since I wasn’t adding the collar, I reshaped the neckline and finished it with 1″ bias tape. finally 5 buttons and a narrow hem later, I was ready for my photos:
I’m pleased with the front and side. There is no getting around the fact that I’m overweight and carrying most of the padding in my tummy.
I may have one badly placed design–the blue flower with orange center almost directly over my belly button. I do see the fabric folds behind my armscye which are repeated on the back:
The garment feels comfortable. I’ve seen these folds before. I’m involved in this odd dance of ensuring enough ease across my back while not having excess ease slightly lower. It was the reason for adding the center back seam. I’m annoyed that this did not show up during pinning or in the tissue stage as it can be corrected. I think I’ll leave well enough alone. But I may start over with the tissue. I still needed 4 fittings. I much prefer 1 fitting with a bit of tweaking and I know that was possible 10 pounds ago. I don’t think that large shoulder and extra-large body is the answer to my quest for an easy fitting process. But at least I have a nice blouse that I want to wear.
*There really are times when I’d be happy for my weight to stay the same. While I wish for smaller body that was mine when much younger, I tire of this constant refitting. I’d very much prefer to devote my time to embellishments and fabric manipulations rather than sewing the same basic garments time and again due to weight change.