Tuesday, February 17, 2009
My skills aren't 'all that', but the only way I'll get better is to just do it...so I am!
I am now to the point where I have to sew around all those triangular, pieced trees. Following a pieced seam is NOT easy for me...the seam allowances throw me off, as will a loose thread, a speck of dust, a fairy flying too close to my head... Ok, no fairies, but really, I have no excuse...EVERYTHING seems to encourage me to sew crooked! I have decided that gives this piece it's 'charm'....lets everyone know it is handmade...not manufactured or computerized!
That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Specifically, I needed to change the balance of the front and back above armhole level…needed more height in front above ah. I increased the CFL and FSS, and wanted to see if that was enough.
I was confident in the distribution of the waist reduction, as mentioned before…taking out 1” width on each front piece…but I had decided to see what happens if I lower the waist level. Also, I wanted to try a reduced the back shoulder width.
I decided to use the Italian collar, as I really like the looks of that one. However, on past attempts, it did not lay quite as flat in front as I desired, so I needed to modify the shape of the collar pattern.
I fused on the interfacing and stabilized the curved front neckline using bias stay tape. Then I started to assemble/sew. Princess seams first, then collar/neck/front edges.
I also decided to try a new way of doing the facings. Usually, the front facing extends to the shoulder and stops...then the seam allowances on the back of the neck edge are enclosed in the collar. Well, that part didn't change, but I redrew the shape of the shoulder ends of the front facing to extend beyond the shoulder, then curve into the back neckline area...so that there is no 'corner' on the edge of the facing. Basically, I aligned the BACK NECK FACING with the FRONT NECK FACING at the shoulder seam, and extended the front to make the outer edge BLEND into the neck.
This was my first time to try this, and it took a couple of attempts to figure out how far to sew, where to stop, where to clip, etc. Turns out, sewing to the clip is critical to success. The facing should extend BEYOND the clip for a little bit, and needs to be clipped, too, so it’s seam allowances near the ‘tip’ can also be enclosed inside the collar at the back.
I tried on the blouse after I added the collar and facings. Yuk. The waist is too tight. What? I pulled out my tape measure and measured my body. Yuk. I have gained at least 2" in my waist in the last few months! (I never worry about having a flat tire, because I am now carrying my own personal spare! Not funny.)
These are princess seams, so I could let them out, but I use 3/8" seam allowances. There isn't much to gain, but I did let out what I could. Better.
But more importantly, I could now see that the blouse back was too long…it was puddling in folds at my back waist. The front length-to-waist looked good, but the back length was too long (I had just lengthened it for this test, remember? Grrr....).
I pinned a tuck across the back at mid armhole level and tried it again...better! But now that the collar was in…with facings complete…I was NOT gonna rip it out to recut the back neck and shoulders lower (to shorten the back/raise the back waist)! What to do, what to do.....
I did do this, and it helped. But then I could see that there was still some droop…mostly at the side back area. The reduced Back Shoulder Width that I had tried had caused the back shoulder dart to be very small…it was small enough to ease into the shoulder. I suspect I need a larger one (I have wings in the back!...flying shoulder blades.). Apparently, if I want to narrow the back shoulder, I must also adjust my Back Shoulder Slope a bit more than I did. Ahhhh! More things to test! Goody.
After taking up the back princess seams to shorten the back and shoulder slope, I went back to the program, and began changing measurements to try to create a pattern that already had these changes incorporated…to duplicate this shorter upper back. I needed ALL the shortening to occur in the upper back, but subtracting the .375" from the Center Back Length and Back Shoulder Slope removed half above ah level and half below it. Hmmm….
But that also raised the FRONT armhole depth, which I didn't want to change! So I figured, I HAD to reduce the back lengths, raise the armhole depth, and then, increase the front length to recover the front height above the armhole? That wreaks havoc on the size of the bust dart...making it larger. Hmmmm…
I am always so fearful of OVERFITTING that I tend to leave a bit of excess ease in that front ah…but perhaps a larger dart IS what is needed? I pinned the princess seam up, as if to make the bust dart larger. I could do that.
But this is all too convoluted…there must be a better way!
Sewing the front princess seams larger than drafted (at the armholes) caused the seamlines to NOT be equal…just as in back, the side front piece was too short for the seamline on the center piece….resulting in a ‘jog’ of cut edge (and seamline) at the armhole. Again, this means I will have less ease than I had hoped to have!
After taking in both the front and back princess seams at armhole, I now will need to lower the armhole depth to maintain the size of the armhole. That is the current stage of progress. Cross your fingers!