Saturday, March 21, 2009

Empire waist Blouse/dress

I'm still working on the Empire waist top I mentioned at the end of my last
post. I created the pattern using PMB, and have run into a few problems
that need to be corrected...specifically, the way the bust dart is 'trued'
when placed in the waist seam. The dart's fold line needs adequate length
so that when the dart is sewn and pressed to one side, the cut edge of the
fold line will reach the waist seam. This is not happening. No matter
whether I press the dart toward the side or toward the center, the fold line
area comes up short of reaching the seam.

I'll show you what I mean.

This is my PMB pattern as drafted. You can see there is not a large 'triangle' of fabric created below the dart at the waist seam.

The green line is the center fold line of the
dart. The dart legs are pink and blue.

If I rotate the side part of the pattern to superimpose the pink and blue if sewing the can see that the green line does NOT
extend long enough to reach the lower, cut edge of the waist seam.

The green fold line is short by about an inch!
The numbers on this pattern represent the length of the dart's fold line (green) before I extended it to the cut edge and after extending.

But also, look at the SHAPE the waist seam takes after the dart is sewn.
It is like an inverted V...a ^ shape.
This is not right and is certainly not
desireable! That waist seam should be curved as a smooth line, more like the bold pink line I have added.

I pulled out one of my drafting books, Patternmaking for Fashion Design,
by Helen Joseph Armstrong. On page 429 of the Third Edition, she
shows how to 'true' the draft to prevent this problem.

I followed her directions for modifying the PMB draft.

Below is a 'before and after' view of this pattern...on the left-- as drafted,
and on the right-- after my corrections. Even if I planned to gather the
dart, instead of actually sewing it, the pattern would STILL need the extra
length at the dart legs to prevent the -^- shape, even though the fold-line
shortage becomes less of an issue.

Anyway, these changes should take care of the FRONT pattern.

But notice the changes HJA makes to the back pattern.

The upper back waist dart on my PMB Empire dress pattern (on the left here>>>) is always much shorter and narrower than the corresponding dart on my Torso/Blouse draft, and I have always wondered 'why'.

Also, the lower back the 'skirt' portion...on my PMB Empire dress is also much smaller than it would be on the Torso/Blouse draft. I sewed a muslin as drafted, but the back was loose and not very well fitted to my shape.

However, if I just pasted the darts from my Torso block onto this dress, there was a bit too much contouring back there, and it seemed....well, 'uneven'.

But once I saw this example in the Patternmaking book, I knew what the answer was!

I DID need to paste the larger TORSO dart onto the lower (skirt) portion of the PMB dress, but I did NOT want the larger Torso dart in the upper back part! No, I needed to keep the dart that drafts on the PMB back bodice, and then trim the side at waist (shown in PINK) to make the bodice seam match the width of the skirt portion! PMB doesn't do this (original side seam on bodice shown as bold green line) just makes the dart of the lower/skirt section as narrow as the dart in the back upper/bodice, so the seam lines will match in length.

I tested this on my septic-paper muslin and it seems to work nicely, so I am cutting 'real' fabric for a test Empire blouse!

Oh, you might be confused because I keep going back and forth between calling this an Empire blouse and an Empire DRESS. In PMB, if it has a waist seam, it is a DRESS, even if it is only blouse-length, so technically this is a 'dress' pattern. But I am making a blouse!


Anonymous said...

Your pattern and explanation are excellent!! I love wearing empire blouses, too!

Can't wait to see the finished project.

Miss Popcorn said...

Hello I'm Paloma, I hope you can help me because I forgot everything I learned at school!!! well I just wanted to know how do I eliminate the darts in the empire dress? not the bust part, that it's ok but in the underbust bit I just dont know how to do it because if I close the one under the waist the upper one goes weird and if I close the upper one but cut from the bottom up to the upper waist one I cant open the pattern enough to make the flare!!! its so simple I know and I just forgot!!! please help me I always wonder how to figure this out.

Trish said...

Hi Paloma! On my Empire top, I actually sewed the darts in the lower part, as opposed to eliminating them. However, you could ROTATE them closed...perhaps slash the pattern from the tip of the dart to the hem and use dart tip as your pivot point...closing the dart would add 'flare' to the lower area, providing more hem circumference (might not be what you are after...).

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