New Look 6940: 3rd Time Lucky

The third fabric was chosen primarily because I didn’t want to change threads at the serger and sewing machine, yet again today.  Yes even though I’ve made 3 separate posts all this happened in about 6 hours. NL6940 View C really would be a quick and easy project if I were more respectful of my fabrics’ inherent qualities.

I didn’t want to change threads, so I looked only in my pink fabrics for a suitable fabrics.  Most of my pink fabrics were woven.  This pattern clearly calls for knits-only.  I had 2 remaining pink knit fabrics.  The first was a wonderful WFO fabric.  It is a 4×2 fine-rib knit with excellent stretch and recovery.  Walmart sold a lot of crap on those $1 bolts, but there were fabrics of excellent quality, like this one.  But this fabric is too warm for summer wear.  I know this from experience.  It makes a much better cool weather garment. Much cooler than the 100+ temps we’re regularly posting this summer.  The 2nd fabric is a fine seed stitch knit.  It’s rough on the seed stitch side but the reverse is smooth. It too is a little heavier than what I would like to use. But I have become lazy about re-threading and decide to use it anyway.

I zip through cutting. Sew the center back, shoulders and top front to the back.  I decide to solve the issue of bindings right now.  Of course this fabric not only folds nicely but happily stretches perfectly into place.  I slip the loop into place (now cut at the longest length), baste the little bit of sides together and slip the garment on for it’s for trial.  Once again the armscyes are perfect.  The neckline would be perfect too except for the loop.  I swear the loop hates me.  It again pulls the neckline sharply downward.  I check the instructions. This is the way the loop is supposed to be placed.  I don’t like it.  I undo the loop, rip a little bit of the binding at the neckline and rearrange the loop so that it will be stitched into both the neckline and the empire line.  I try that on again.  The loop looks really ugly.  I try shortening (without cutting anything) and lengthening.  The loop is bad. Just OO-G-L-Y.  I finally make the loop the same length as the center of the top section.  I basted the bottom section of the top to the top section but leaving it open around the loop and try it on again.  Not only does the loop look ugly, but the front which should curve upward attractively around the bosom, pokes out like a ducks bill! WTH.

I know it’s a fabric issue.  I knew this fabric was a little heavier than needed for a summer top. Probably why I still have it in the stash is because it is a beautiful color but difficult to find the right weather for wearing.

What did I do?  I trimmed off the duckbill and finished the !@#!!@ thing.
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I think the back of this garment is a bit too tight.  It was fine with the slinky and would be fine with a different 4-way stretch fabric.  But this slightly firmer knit shows that as I age, I’m not only gaining weight, I’m bending forward rounding my shoulders and widening my back.  Since I can see this, I will make more of an effort to sit and stand straighter.  I’m afraid that time and nature are against me and I will eventually need to make the round back adjustment. For now I think the best course of action may be to rotate the excess ease at the top to the bottom.  So when I make the NSA in the back, I’ll split the tissue all the  through the hem.  When I overlap at the neckline, the hem will automatically spread adding the needed ease across the shoulders and high hip.
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The armscye may have finished a bit high when using bands.  It’s something to note for future versions.  I also think that the hem line is uneven…tilted up at the back and down in the front.   I’m pretty sure I’m looking at the whole round back, forward shoulder issue from the side.  I won’t make any changes this time but do wonder why I didn’t see that on the McCalls pattern that I used when checking the tissue. Then again, maybe this is from raising my arm during the photo so I can see the armscye.
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See that smile. I’m actually happy how this fits.  The front issues are from my standing position (and maybe the round-back forward shoulder thingy).  I even like the front loop now simply a decorative band. It’s doesn’t scream preggers.  I’m not even sure I want to make it any shorter although that is a bit long when compared to today’s trends.

I’m calling this a TNT. I know that I need to make one more change to the back.  But I also know that I can pull this out and make it in under 2 hours if I have the right fabric.

New Look 6940 Muslin #2

I bought several fabrics from Fabricmart with interesting fiber combinations but on sale. So a low $$$ investment.  I bought 1 yard each so that I could handle the fabric and see what it was really like. Sorry but a 2″ swatch doesn’t tell me enough. Even if I know the fabric, 2″ doesn’t tell me about the over all print. So 1 yard, possible shell top, accessory or home dec item. Cheap and easily discarded if we (the fabric and myself) don’t get along.  My next fabric Hemp Rayon Jersey knit chosen specifically because it was 1 yard.
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I smoothed out the fabric on my cutting table.  It had been washed, pressed and measured upon arrival just a few weeks ago.  I laid out my pattern pieces. This time I planned the bindings but decided to skip the flat piping. I also re-read my instructions and realized the back had to be attached to the top front, the neckline finished and the loop in place before the bottom half of the front was sewn to the top half of the front. I followed instructions up to finishing the neckline, pinned the loop in place and then stopped to check the fit. The armscye and neckline were fine assuring me that the slinky was to blame for the previous muslin’s fitting issues.  But the loop made the neckline look pulled.  Like it was not only gathering but pulling downward hard.  Also, even with this little coverage, I was able to see my underwear.  I stopped and draped the top on Mimie.  Sure enough, I could clearly see Mimie’s printed covered beneath the pink Hemp Rayon Jersey.  I knew this was lightweight and pretty sure it was described as light weight on the site not translucent or transparent.  I blame myself for not unfolding the fabric and checking a little more.  It does seem like with the previous failure I would be more attuned to the fabric’s inherent qualities but I missed this.  I decided to finish Muslin #2 and call it sleepwear.

But I didn’t. No I fussed with the loop for 15 minutes finally deciding that it was too short. Rather than cutting a new loop which would have been logical, I discarded it and proceeded  to serge the two front pieces together and work on the bindings.  At 1.75″  wide by 24″ long the bindings did not want to cooperate.  They didn’t exactly roll, but wouldn’t fold evenly in place.  I fussed another 15 minutes never pinning an inch to the neckline.  I spray starched until the bindings stuck to the ironing board. When lifted, they twisted and wouldn’t fold.

I’m clearly unhappy with this fabric.  It gets excellent marks for laundry and handling during cutout.  It’s not bad when serging if I could get those dang bindings to cooperate. I hate it’s transparency.   I decided that I have maybe $3 invested and my good humour was worth at least that much. Muslin 2 went into the dust bin.

New Look 6940

I wanted an easy success. I like the challenge of complex projects, but sometimes I need an easy success.  New Look 6940 View C is perfect
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There’s no complex twisty thing that I always seem to get wrong.  It’s a 2 piece back — a place for a little shaping– and an empire front with a little loop to make sweet gathers.  My problem with empire looks is that they can easily turn into maternity looks.  Now counting 6 decades plus a couple of years, that’s not the impression I want to make.

I compared the pieces carefully with the altered McCalls 5359 shell top.  I was delighted with the alterations needed.  I cut a 16 side, 12 across the armscye, neckline and shoulder and then did my standard 1″ BWL and a 3/4″ NSA except instead of placing the NSA in the shoulder, I placed it in the neckline.  The shoulders were only about 3″ wide. That should fit on my shoulder of 4.5″.  Nonetheless, the top is too wide across the upper chest for me.  I needed a dart up there some place and I didn’t want to use it as a design feature so I split from the neckline to about bust level and overlapped the tissue 3/4″. The neckline, front and back, needed to be trued a bit.  That, of course ruined the facings… ummm I’m not sure there were facings…  so I planned to bind the neckline and armscye.  And that’s when the adventure began

The first fabric I planned to use was a freebie from a Fabricmart bundle.  It had a double-knit appearance, 4 way stretch and came in 7/8 yard of a yellow-green.
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The yellow-greens are tricky for me.  A dull yellow-green seems to throw a sickly cast onto my skin.  A bright neon Chartreuse, hurts my eyes.   This wasn’t quite the shade of my liking, but it was an interesting fabric and would make a good wearable muslin.  I planned that my bindings, the loop and a flat piping in the empire line would come from a cantaloupe colored scrap
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from a previous project.  The cantaloupe scrap was a similar fabric though I’ve forgotten the exact fiber(s). I didn’t do a burn test.  I’m not sure that would have warned me of the pit falls.  See these fabrics when placed together were squirrels.  The center back seam of yellow-green to yellow-green serged easily enough.  I serged it and had to adjust my cutting width.  I noted a little wave and also tweaked the differential feed. Good and done right?

Then I made a mistake.  Now I did read the directions before cutting the fabric.  I gathered the front using a zig zag stitch and a length of pearle cotton.  I remembered being slightly disappointed when the instructions revealed that the loop would not provide the necessary effect in front and gathering would be necessary.  I remembered and I did the gathering. But after that  I did what I wanted instead of following instructions.  I added the loop at the top and bottom of the front top section. Naturally it was too long. Didn’t even phase me.  I didn’t even think to check the instructions. I just cut off the too long loop.  Next I serged the top section to the bottom section with the flat piping in between….. AND….. ripped it out.  Love ripping serging, don’t you? I use pins sparingly.  If I know I need lots of pins, I get out the SAS.

Note: I’m using a lot of abbreviations that are common to me, but the average person wouldn’t have a clue.  If these abbreviations don’t mean anything to you, see my tab at the top labeled Uncommon Abbreviations.   I provide a detailed explanation as well as spelling out the abbreviation.

After ripping the empire line, I basted (at the sewing machine) the flat piping to the top section of the top, realigned the bottom section (of the top) placed only a few pins and serged the sections together…..The seam stretched and rippled looking exactly like the serged seam for which the differential feed is highly recommended. I had almost enough together to check the fit and decided to baste the sides together and check the fit before ripping the seam again.  To my surprise, the armscye hung well below the sides of my bra.  The neckline was considerably lower than expected, but at least covered the bra at this stage.

I’ll jump ahead and assure you that it was the inherent stretch of the fabric.  I realized now that I had a light weight slinky.  I love to wear slinky, but this pattern was not a good match…. OR not an easy match.  I knew from previous experience, that my serger adjustments would be fine for the vertical seams but all the horizontal seams would need taping and the horizontal length of the garment would need to be modified at the top.  Slinky packs and travels like a pro, drapes beautifully, wears comfortably and is a real knock-out but I have to account for its tendency to grow lengthwise.  Otherwise a mini-dress becomes a maxi- and a neckline becomes a waistline. I trimmed 1″ from the shoulders and started ripping out the empire line.  One episode of Charmed later and I had 2″ ripped.  At which point, I decided to further modify the length of the garment by cutting off the serged seam.  Bad ideas. Both the shoulder lines and empire line were choppy and needed major correction.

At this point, I decided to cut my losses.  I figure the scrap of cantaloupe fabric was free.  The piece from the bundle was free and not a to-die-for fabric anyway.  My loss was limited to my time.  I kicked it all to the dust bin and proceed to Version Two.

  Today’s post will be continued.