Simplicity 2154

The Internet exploded with talk when this pattern was issued. It was heralded as the perfect timeless ’60’s look.  I was reminded of Jackie Kennedy and all her little pill-box hats. Very lovely and so were all the versions of this pattern.  I placed several similar on my wish list at ClubBMV but purchased only this one.  The others I eventually deleted from the wish list whilst Simplicity 2154 languished within my stash. You see I love the styling, but I don’t dress this way any more.  I need casual and casual-dress type clothing with a few grungies for occasional dirty work.  The pattern came to my attention again when I was looking for classic bodice blocks to fit on my ever-changing form and sewing summer garments.

The blouse is perfect for hot summer days.  Sleeveless with 4 neckline options and classic styling, I think once fitted it would be a perennial summer favorite.

Hold on a sec. By 3 neckline options, I don’t mean 43 vastly different as in round, V or turtle.  What I see in the pattern is interesting neckline rounded to a front  V cutout which can be completed as is or round collar added or a tie added or collar + tie.  I probably will never use the tie myself.  When I’m warm enough to wear this blouse, I don’t want a scarf of any weight snuggling around my neck and overheating me. But YMMV. 

I’m anxious to develop a quick method of altering bodice patterns for a reasonable fit.  I like to spend my time working with fabric manipulations and embellishments instead of struggling to fit a garment. 20 pounds ago I got spoiled to a quick fit.  At the time I could start with a size 14,  make a 1″ BWL and a 1″ NSA and know that the garment would fit or only need a bit of tweaking.  20 pounds of human-hamburger has made a significant change to my fitting needs.  I’ve discovered, it was an accident, that a size 12 consistently and very nicely fits my neck, shoulder, and upper chest (both front and back).  I’ve also discovered that my 1″ BWL  needed some tweaking.  With a size 14, I removed 1″ right where the Shorten/lengthen was placed on the tissue and garments fit fairly well.. With the size 12’s that I’ve used, I discovered that I’m short between bust and shoulder 1/4″ but otherwise shaping falls in the right place. Further the discovery that removing 1/4″ from the shoulder seam, raises the armscye just enough and the horizontal bust dart is better positioned.  These are  subtle but evident fit-improvements, at least to me.  Surprising to me is there isn’t much difference in the BWL measurement on the envelope between size 12 and 14 but a much large alteration is needed for the size 14 tissue. I am pleased at this point to note that my first step in fitting my garments is:

Fitting Step 1: Trace the size 12 between shoulder and bust removing 1/4″ from the shoulder seam. (Oddly this does not affect collars and no alteration is needed)

It’s from the bust to hem that I’m still having difficulty.  I’ve tried a couple of procedures.  I’ve:

Traced the side and hem for a size 16.  Too big across the bust; too small across the hips.

Traced size 14 bust and 16 hips. Um still not right.

Traced size 14 and added dart originating from the hem. Hem flares (think Judi Jetson) and the ease across waist, tummy and hips is still not right.

Now I was able to make each test garment fit and thereby wearable. I did so by creatively adding strips to the side while trimming width below the armscye.  I can do it, but I don’t like too.  I want my embellishments and fabric manipulations to be envisioned, planned events.  These were panicked responses. As in OMG I just ruined a wonderful fabric.  I had intended to explore the FBA with my last blouse McCalls 6512. But it contained ease in the very loose category and I really needed nothing more than cutting size 12 across the shoulders and 14 sides and hem. I can’t really count on that kind of serendipity for fitting. So now that I’ve spent a few days just playing and am turning my attention back to serious sewing and thereby fitting bodices, I’m also putting on my analytical hat to make this work.

I started by measuring.  Measuring myself, the fabulous Red Blouse (McCalls 5937) and the tissue for Butterick 2154.  I recorded the numbers in a worksheet and started trying to figure out where and how much ease needed to be added on 2154.  After a while, I looked up the ease charts on the CLUBBMV charts.  I did some more figuring.  My final solutions were based on a combination of measures of my body + semi-fitted ease and/or measurements from the finished Red Blouse.  The Red Blouse didn’t fit until I added the strips. So using those tissue measurements would be repeating the same errors made when the Red Blouse was cut out.  OTOH, I cannot accurately measure certain of my body parts and then add an ease amount. It makes more sense to use a completed garment which fits well for shoulder and neck measures.  I’m also not sure where the waistline should be on the Red Blouse’ tissue, which means I don’t know where to measure the tummy line either. (My tummy is currently larger than my hips.  If I don’t take it into account, I’ll never develop a good fitting routine.)

From the measurements I’m planning an FBA both front and back.  It’s sort of like a tent.  I’m staying pretty much the same at the very top, but the sides, front and back all need to be expanded.   The front needs to expand more than the back. After a while, I reverted to pencil and paper to figure out exactly where to add more ease. I made a list of the places to measure from top to bottom (neck, shoulder, armscye, bust, waist, tummy, hip, hem back-waist length). Then I recorded the more accurate of either the Red Blouse or My Body + Ease measurement. Next I recorded the measurements from 2154’s tissue.  Where possible I separated front and back measurements because I know my girth is not evenly distributed. I know that I will need more ease in front for some places (bust, waist, tummy) and more ease in back for other places (butt).  My final column was computation of exactly how much and where to add. I thought of sharing my chart and then decided it was TMI.  If you really want to see the chart, ask.  I’ll post something with funny numbers.