Making Version 2 was much quicker than the Muslin 1. Gone were the hours of measuring and calculating. Now I was tweaking between what my analysis said should work and what was happening IRL. As much as possible, I duplicated my previous procedure. I’m a firm believer of building upon previously acquired knowledge. My first objective had been nicely fitting a basic block. My second objective is an elegant alteration procedure. Starting at ground zero every time; changing all the parameters (new pattern, different company, different sizes etc) with every trial garment, will never help me achieve the goal of the elegant alteration procedure. So I traced a size 12 across the shoulders and above the bust of the same blouse pattern. From the underarm down, I traced a size 14. I measured down from the out-most shoulder point 3.5″ and made a mark.
The 3.5″ distance is not entirely arbitrary. My Palmer Pletsch book said to use the measurements derived from the tissue fitting session. P-l-e-a-s-e. I gave up on tissue fitting after alteration 9, or 10 while standing in a shredding pants-pattern tissue as my guide assured me we only had 10 or 11 alterations left. I knew that the line originating from the armscye had to start higher than it had for muslin #1 because I wanted extra ease higher across the back. Exactly where to start was the question. 3.5″ is about 1/2 of the total armscye length. The calculation was derived from my computer programming days of finding the quickest way to a workable mid-point. It’s an involved calculation. Take it from me that the 1/3 P&P recommended didn’t work. With no other instructions, I fell back to a reliable procedure which has saved me countless hours time and time again. What if the 3.5″ doesn’t work? Depends upon whether the lack of ease is above or below the 3.5″ point.
I drew and cut the standard FBA lines on the front by starting the armscye line at 3.5″ down from the out most shoulder point. For the back, I chose to draw the line up the center of the vertical fish eye dart to 1″ above the highest dot and the intercepting line starting at the armscye mark over to 1″ above the vertical fish eye dart. I spread the front pattern pieces at the tummy 1-3/8″. I know I planned for a slightly smaller amount. But as I worked with the FBA trying to spread the bust dart 1/2″, allowing the bodice above the dart to spread slightly and trying to keep all the tissue flat,,, well the tummy addition turned out to be a bit more than planned. The back was slightly easier. I wanted to have a 3/8″ spread in the upper back but below the shoulder; and a 1-1/4″ spread at the tummy. I got the 3/8″ spread right, but in order for the tissue to lie flat, I needed 1-1/2″ across the hip (at the tummy line.)
For this second version I chose to use a very nice shirting that has been in my stash a mere 3 years. It is 58″ wide and while I didn’t write down the fiber content I know it was cotton +. Plus something that would help it shake off and resist wrinkles. This something could be Dacron, or polyester, or acrylic. I don’t know and I didn’t do the burn test. I think the fabric is too heavy and stiff to do the lovely bow so I also kept the neckline shape of muslin 1 i.e. jewel neck folded back at center front to form a V.
I stitched the bust darts; stitched the 4 vertical darts as a 1/8″ inside tuck. I serged the shoulder seams and finished the neckline with 1/2″ single fold bias tape. I basted the sides together and slipped it on for a first fitting. As I pulled it downward over my hips I started praying that this would fit as good as it felt. No kidding, it felt nice but I know from experience that what I feel on me and what I see in the mirror may be completely the opposite from what the camera reveals.
I am super pleased with the front. It fits nicely across the shoulders, the upper chest, bust and like nearly everywhere. I do see that a dart is still trying to form below the bust darts. It may be that I should tweak the front darts.
There is no question and no way of avoiding the fact that I am thick around the middle. I see the drag lines from the bust and the excess ease at the waist. I do believe that tweaking the front vertical dart would help immensely.
In this second side shot I raised my arm so that I could check that the side sea is hanging nice and straight. Doing so consumes some of the ease we saw in the previous picture and confirms that the vertical darts need to be used if I want a semi-fitted blouse, which I do. I also see that my front and back lengths are not the same. This bothers me because I did take the time to pin out the front dart and walk the seams after truing the hems. Why is it not lining up now? No idea, but I will need to fix it.
To my surprise the back view shows excess ease everywhere. Is this version better because I used a better fabric?