Friday, May 15, 2009

It’s the FRONT AH, Dummy!

This week, I have made (and REmade...scroll to the end!) yet another knit top. I wore it yesterday for a 'test drive' to evaluate and make a list of its faults! Most of the issues are correctable next time, I think.

I STILL need to work on the FRONT ARMHOLE SHAPE! And, duh, the problem was there on that first top...the teal one...and it is STILL there on this recent one...and duh, it won't go away unless I do something about it!!! If you look at the lower F-AH on the TEAL top, you can maybe see that the AH seam appears to be more 'on the arm' than 'on the body'...and I totally forgot to address that when I made this latest the AH on the new top is the same way!!! Duh. I will certainly address it on the next one….and I *may* have to take this one apart to ‘address’ it now!

I am also thinking this is STILL something that needs to be done on EVERY PMB top I ever make…not just knits/dartless things. I have been manually ‘scooping’ my front armholes on my PMB patterns for years, but I thought perhaps I could get away from doing it in Version 4, as there were some slight drafting changes made in this version…but it appears not. At first I thought my last woven/darted top (Empire) was a bit low in the armhole depth, then I decided it wasn't...but I am now thinking it probably *really* is too low! I bet it needs to have the front AH reshaped/scooped and the overall AH depth raised!

This goes along with what Belinda is saying about it being easier to use commercial patterns and alter them than start from scratch! BTW, Belinda, you REALLY did say it oh, so well! I was nodding and saying "uh huh, yep" as I read your blog...even though *I* stubbornly continue to use PMB. But I have long ago accepted that PMB needs--‘adjustments’ (shall we say?)--and I basically use these patterns as blocks from which to design my own styles.

Have you ever read the Minott Method books? Minott advocated ‘coding’ a pattern…you’d figure out what you needed to do to a company’s basic fitting shell, then make that adjustment to all patterns produced by that company. Well, that is kinda my philosophy with PMB. Figure out what works and what doesn’t…use what works and change what doesn’t.

But back to that F-AH…On a commercial pattern, if I did a FBA (full bust adjustment), it would change the shape of the F-AH to become more like a 'J' and less like a ')' .

Ok, maybe that’s not a great illustration, but I am limited by the keyboard’s available characters! Take a look at the examples on Debbie Cook’s photo site. She has created some great tutorials! Here is a comparison of her AH ‘before’ and ‘after’ doing a FBA.…see the difference in shape?

My point is, fuller busts need a more-deeply-scooped F-AH than what PMB is drawing...scooped down and inward, not just what you get by reducing the FSW (front shoulder width).

But PMB doesn't change the shape of the armhole with the cup size.

If the lower front armhole is the wrong shape, then the F-AH length...the length of the AH seam probably wrong, too...which means the sleeve draft isn't right either! And the sleeve issue seems to be worse in V4 than it was in 3, although that could be my imagination...but I do KNOW that the front ah notch is higher now, when it SHOULD be lower on the armhole...

As a result of my evaluation of this latest top, I have been drafting and comparing YET AGAIN to figure out HOW to correct the ah length and the sleeve. As I said before, I have been scooping my lower front AHs for years, but I generally used the sleeve that came with the armhole…I didn’t TRY to create a longer ah seam before reshaping it. But now I can see that is only half the solution…the sleeve needs to fit the ah. Basically, I have to figure out how long I need for the armhole seam to be in order to draft a sleeve that will fit into the armhole AFTER I reshape it! Working backwards...

But I have now SAVED a new pattern to try! For this one, I did change some measurements, though, to do some of the manipulations for me....on the last one, I used my measurement chart 'as is'….but this time, I created a new chart (with a new name that indicates it’s for Dartless Knits) and changed a few numbers. Oh, I don't think I've even TOLD you what I did to that first one yet!

OK…basically, what I did was-- I started with my basic blouse block with side and waist darts, and back shoulder dart...and long sleeve. Then, on the pattern, in PE,

  • I 'slid' the front AH down 1", which made the front shoulder VERY slanted...ok, though, because this is for a knit (I lengthened the back shoulder to match this longer front SHL by rotating out the upper back AH arc).
  • Plus, I 'slid' the lower sideseam UPWARD 1" to make the side bust dart smaller...redrew front hem as an arc (center 1" lower than side).
  • Then I redrew the upper sideseam, between underarm and waist, as a more-straight line...using an arc, though, so it has some curve.
  • There was still a small amount of bust dart leftover in the sideseam, so I 'rotated' some of it to the front armhole, but then closed it by moving/shifting the whole front sideseam and the part of the ah that is between the sideseam and that new little 'dart' (that I just rotated there)...I just moved it inward (medially) to close the little ah dart I just created.
  • The end result is that the front ah is BARELY changed in shape from how it started...just barely less 'scooped' at the lower arc area, and the SS/Armpoint is just BARELY lower than it was before.
  • There is STILL a little bit of the bust dart left in the front sideseam (about .5") that I will ease to the back sideseam when I sew this.
I DID also do a few changes to the back pattern...
  • as I said, I had to lengthen the back shoulder because the front shoulder *seam length* became longer when it had to *angle* between the existing ah and the neck...and there was no back shoulder dart to the back SHP needed to be moved outward.
  • Plus, I wanted to add a shaped CB seam, so I 'selected' the back AH and SS, and rotated them (by units) outward 0.75" (at hip), pivot point is SHP. This also adds a bit of ease over the upper back but is primarily to add to the side/hip area what I will be removing from the centerback/hip area by using a shaped center back seam.

Don’t worry about trying to understand ALL this…as some of it will change for the next one anyway! I tried a few things…some worked, some didn’t…and I will eventually share (and illustrate) what DID work best!

Ok, that was the most recent top...the one finished Wednesday night! It is a blue and white checked print with sunflowers and strawberries scattered on it...the fabric was given to me from my mother's stash. The fit is not awful…it is much better than those yellow tops from the PMB NO DART silhouette…but as I said, it certainly isn’t perfect, that’s for sure!

It's that %$#+ front armhole...

Ok, so as I said, I have drafted and compared, and come of with a NEW game plan!

For the next one, as I said, I DID change a few measurements.
This time,

  • I reduced the FSS measurement by 1" to lower that front SHP for me.
  • I had to increase the SHoulder Length measurement by .375" to keep the SHoulder Point and Neck Points where they were before (because of the new shoulder angle)....and this longer SHL made the back shoulder match the front (so I don't have to rotate out the upper back ah as I mentioned before).
  • Then I used the AH SHAPE TOOL to reshape the front ah...doing 10 additional clicks downward.
My thinking here is-

  • Since I lowered the top of the front armhole (at shoulder) by 1" (by reducing the FSS measurement) and
  • I lowered the bottom of the front armhole (at Underarm Point) by 1” (by using the Dart Override Tool, setting= -0.5),
  • I also wanted to lower the midpoint of the ah by 1"...hence, the 10 additional clicks downward ( was already using 7 clicks down).

This downward clicking made my F-AH really 'square'...but was necessary to gain additional seam length so that, when I redraw the lower part with an arc, the new AH will be the same length as this square AH’s seam length, but will be a different shape. THIS WAY, the sleeve that drafts to fit this square ah will still fit the armhole after I reshape it (in PE), since the overall length of the F-AH will remain the same (before and after reshaping). So, the shape of the F-ah is less important to me at this point than the length of the seam line.

I am NOT going to do the rotating of the back ah and sideseam on the next one like I did on this checked one...that didn't please me. The CB shaping is better, but I shouldn't have rotated the back AH/SS outward. I ended up removing that extra that was added from underarm to hem on the back at sideseam, as well as tightening up the waist on both front and back sideseams.

Really, if I am using a CB seam, I can just put the uptake of the waist dart there at the waist and leave the hip as is....and I will try a little LESS hip ease this time, along with a different front/back distribution at hip. I cannot decide if I think the CB seam is worth it or not...although it is no trouble and I don't really 'feel' it or anything.

So, once I made these changes to my measurement chart and setting choices, I could duplicate the previous pattern with far fewer manual alterations needed. PLUS, the sleeve draft now matches the length of the new (manually-altered) F-armhole….this sleeve is larger than the previous one (because the F-ah seam is longer) so I can use a TALLER sleeve cap and get the same width at bicep.

This is my new AH compared to the original one on this checkered top. Original is brown...NEW is blue and green (The lower, more-square ah is the NEW one..for some reason, this picture won't enlarge).

I located a point on the upper AH that is 1" above that NEW front notch...this point was about the same level as the OLD notch. I used the scissors tool to BREAK the upper AH at this point. Then I created an arc from that point to the Underarm Point...making sure the length of NEW armhole equalled the length of the AH before my changes (NOT the brown one on the old/first pattern).

Since the new sleeve was larger, I used ZERO for the cap height instead of -.5, as used on the original. New sleeve is the PINK one.

Ok, this is too tempting to wait until I make the next top…I want to try it NOW!

So I guess you know what I have been doing today (Friday)!

Ripping out the sleeves on my brand new checkered top to reshape the F-ah and insert NEW SLEEVES!!!


And guess what! I think it worked! I think it is better!



The whole things sits a bit differently…because of the sleeve changes. It’s hard to explain how it feels.

See the BEFORE on the left (jeans) and the AFTER on the right (yellow pants).

Now, the armhole IS too low…there’s nothing I can do about that short of taking it apart to pull the whole thing upwards by resewing the shoulders deeper/lower (and cutting new sleeves yet again!!!) and I am not gonna do that ‘cause the AH is not that low…not that bad! I can stand it this time!

By getting the right SHAPE on the lower front AH, I will be able to use a higher AH Depth setting…I won’t need to use a lower AH depth to prevent that ‘biting’ into the front of the armpit that sometimes occurs. Plus, my sleeve will have a better shape and be more comfortable.

See the BEFORE on the left (jeans) and the AFTER on the right (yellow pants).

Ok, I am ready to be finished with THIS top!

And I had just enough left-over fabric to cut a few caps for chemo-therapy patients!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Yellow CB-Seam

Well, I tried another one, again yellow, this time creating a CB seam to see how much difference that makes in the look and hang of the back of my dartless garment.

Chart Changes

For this dartless test, I put my CBL back to ‘normal’ to restore the upper back length, as shortening that had obviously not helped with the ‘hanging on the backside’ issue!

I did continue to use the narrower shoulder widths of the Yellow #2…that is, both FSW and BSW were reduced by -.5” as compared to ‘regular’.

I further reduced the FSS…it is now a full 1” shorter than my ‘regular’ chart…to try to balance the sizes of the front and back armholes.

Also, I found that it didn’t matter WHICH cup size I chose to use…as once I choose the NO DART silhouette, the front length is based on the measurements, not the cup size…I tested cups A through E and got the same front length for all. The front length on my NO DART pattern IS still shorter than what my regular chart gives me (because the regular one DOES add for the bust cup size) so I continue to use the CF extension in the drafting choices to make up the lost length.

Drafting Choices

Chest Ease: 0.5
Waist Ease: 1
Hip Ease: 1

Armhole Depth: -0.5
Dart Override: 0

Side/Arm Point: -1
Side/Waist Point: 1
Side/Hip Point: -0.75*** this was a bad choice…see later comments

Cf/Extension: 1
Cb/Extension: 0

Shoulder Point: 0.25

Sleeve Cap Height Adj: -0.5
…and the CAP EASE was reduced as low as it would go…0.32

Pattern Changes

To create a shaped CB seam, I drew a horizontal line at the CB/waist, length = 1”. This is a bit much…usually the waist would indent only .75”, but HEY!, I always overdo it! :)
I redrew the back from waist to neck as a slanted curved line…but from waist to hip, instead of drawing straight down, I angled back out to the original CB line…which gives a bit of bum room in the pattern!

I SELECTED the back Armhole and the whole back sideseam and chose ROTATE BY UNITS tool. Pivot point was SHP…other end was SS/hem (which was hip level). Rotated CCW by .75”. Then I moved the hem line over to connect to the new SS/hip placement. This left a gap between the original CB line and this hem line…so I extended the hem line to meet the center back…giving me a wider back pattern at hipline.

I cut out this pattern and sewed it up, again, using the same neckline and sleeve hem shape as before to minimize variables.

I am getting tired of these same style yellow tops! But I only ended up with 2 of these…even though I have sewn 3…because I ripped one apart! So, all that remains is Yellow #2 and Yellow CB-Seam.

Although you can't see it in these pics (because of my arm), I should have chosen a more balanced Side/Hip placement…I used (-.75) as I had done on Yellow #2, which moved the sideseam at hip .75” forward. But since this time I was rotating the AH/SS and creating a shaped back seam, I should have probably used zero!!! Duh. So the lower sideseam angles too far forward.

As expected, the fit in the back is better with a seam, but there is just no getting around the awful fit in the armholes, both front and back! Each of the 3 tops I have sewn using the NO DART silhouette from PMB4 has the same problems, no matter how much I reduce the Front Shoulder Slope to pull up and out the excess front ah length!

The problem is in how the NO DART silhouette is created. Part of the bust dart is put into the front armhole, to be left unsewn…lowering the underarm. The remainder of the dart is left in the sideseam, to be unsewn. So, to make the back sideseam match the now-longer front sideseam, the back underarm level is raised, lengthening the back ss. This means the back armhole is now smaller and the front ah is now larger. Think about this…the front underarm went down and the back underarm went up…which creates an imbalance in both the bodice and the sleeve!

In the close-ups of each of these yellow tops, you can see the unsewn ‘dart’ that forms at the base of each front armhole because of the dart that was rotated there. But if you look back my original dartless top…the teal blue one that I created myself…you’ll see there IS a tiny dart near the ah, but not much. Well, for that one, I DID put some of the bust dart into the front armhole by using the DART OVERRIDE tool! But it is nowhere NEAR as bad as the NO DART silhouette, because the back underarm wasn’t raised upward on my draft.

So, long story short, I still don’t like PMB’s NO DART silhouette! It creates a top that is wearable but not fashionable.

I will do it my way instead.

But the good news is: I have thought up another thing to try…and it seems VERY promising!!! I can’t wait to try it…I’ll go print it out now…and let you know!

Yellow Top Redux

Well, I decided NOT to wash and try to shrink the yellow top, being fairly certain I had probably prewashed this fabric before putting it into my stash.

So on Monday, I ripped the entire shirt apart.

Then I adjusted some measurements and settings and recut the pieces. I superimposed the NEW pattern onto the OLD pattern before I printed, so I could line up the pieces with the old pattern before cutting on the NEW lines.

By Monday night, the shirt had been resewn...version 2.

Here is the comparison...the BEFORE and AFTER pics. I am holding up 2 fingers in the pics of the second version (not giving hippie signals!) to indicate which version is which.

As you can see, it really is NOT better. Probably, it is worse...although the narrower shoulders ARE better.

But the shorter upper back (distance from neck to armhole depth) is definitely BAD.

The slight loss of bust and hip ease was not good, either.

The sleeves ARE better...less full...but are still too full and fluttery. Plus, look at the way the back of the sleeve is plastered against the back of my arm (that's a clue!)...yet there is all this extra room in the front of the sleeve.

I pulled this up at the shoulders, so the second version's neck is higher and the hem is shorter.

But still, it hangs on my backside. I wonder what using a CB seam will do?

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Dartless Top Part 3

I finally got some pictures taken of me in the new Dartless Top I made this week. Yes, I look like a deer in headlights, but whatcha gonna do? That's how it is.

As you can see, this is not too's wearable. Not perfect by any means, though!

And I always aim for perfect!

I have been thinking about my dartless pattern...about the various changes I made in order to make it fit, mismatching the sideseams….and about HOW I would do it ‘next time’.

The part about mismatching the sideseams got me to thinking about how the PMB NO DART draft also raises the back armhole as it lowers the front one. I haven’t tried the NO DART draft yet in version 4, and things do seem to be different in this version than in previous versions…subtle, yet significant differences. So, I set out trying to duplicate my dartless pattern using the NO DART choice in the drafter.

I messed around with the settings a bit and I can almost EXACTLY duplicate *my pattern*by making choices in the drafter! The only thing that is different is the shape of the front armhole (which makes the sleeve also slightly different). The lower arc of the front armhole is more SCOOPED than my pattern. This lengthens the F-armhole seam and enlarges the front half of the sleeve. But I can’t tell if it would be better than what I just sewed or not! The front armhole DOES seem a bit high/out there on the front of the arm...perhaps lower in front/more-scooped might work?

The only way to know is to sew it!

So I did.

The fabric I used is stretchier, though, so the fit is NOT the same! Even though the patterns are nearly duplicates, this second one seems so much larger!

I cannot decide if I should--

  1. toss it into the washer with HOT water, and then if it doesn’t shrink, I will disassemble and recut it smaller! Or,-
  2. go ahead and take it apart now, forget about trying to shrink it, and find out how the pattern really fits!

After evaluating this one a bit, I can tell I need to raise the armholes significantly! Plus, I have decided that to change the balance of the patterns above ah level, I just either lengthen the front or shorten the back (above ah level)...which in PMB, means either increasing the CFL and FSS, or decreasing the CBL and BSS. I will do that latter...decrease the CBL and BSS...because that will also draft a shorter armhole, although I'll still need to raise it, too.

Can't you just visualize this one being better if I pinned out a tuck across the back from armhole to armhole? That would cause the upper back to become short and force the back to 'swing out' away from my bum! Also, it would hopefully pull the lower front in closer to the body.

I think I'll have to adjust the hang of the sideseams for this, too...moving the S/Hip position forward, even though that will totally make the sideseams NOT mirrored. In a dartless knit, I can't worry about that!

That is what I'll try next time, anyway...the shorter upper back. If it doesn't work, I'll try something else!

You can see that this armhole is a bit low...which makes the sleeves quite a bit larger than the previous one.

Amazing how differently they fit, considering the front and back patterns are identical except for the front armholes!

Drafting Choices

Ok, to duplicate the (blue) pattern that I created before-

I began with the same measurement chart I had used last time...the one with the reduced cup size, and reduced the Front Shoulder Slope measurement.

Then I selected NO DART as my Front/bust dart option.

Since my back shoulder dart measures .75" at the shoulder seam, I chose a Shoulder Point setting of (.75). This makes the back shoulder area as wide as usual but with no dart, but it makes the front shoulder area wider by .75". But once I extended the SHOULDER POINT, the front shoulder tip also went up about .125" I reduced the FSS measurement (in the measurement chart) an additional 0.125" to correct for that.

I needed to use 1.5" Bust Ease to equal the pattern width of before, when I used .5" ease.

I had to use 3" Hip Ease this time, since I wouldn't be rotating any darts to the hem to be left unsewn.

I kept the Armhole Depth the same as before, .25".

Cf/Extension: 0.5

Side/Arm Point: -0.5
Side/Waist Point: 1
Side/Hip Point: 0

Sleeve Cap height = +0.5", no ease--
---Because I extended the SHOULDER POINT, the sleeve drafts instead of using a (-.5) cap height, I used a (+.5) cap height to duplicate what I had before....again, reducing the cap ease as low as possible.

My Pattern Changes (yellow)

The only changes I made to the pattern were on the neckline, to cut away for adding ribbing, and to the create a shaped hem on both the bodice and the sleeve.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Dartless Top Part Two, the pattern

I needed to figure out a way to create a dartless pattern that I would be pleased with. All the literature and advice I’ve read suggest that dartless patterns are good for bust sizes below 38”…or sizes of C-cup or less…so, right off the bat I am a bit disadvantaged because my bust size is a bit larger than that. But never one to take NO for an answer, I determined that it CAN be done…I just have to experiment.

My inspiration is the PLAY SHIRT instructions on page 140 of Natalie Bray’s MORE DRESS PATTERN DESIGNING. She rotates part of the bust dart to the shoulder, F-ah, and hem to eliminate having a dart to sew. I decided I would do that, too, to create a dartless block to use with knit fabrics.

Chart Changes

Because my cup size is larger than that recommended by experts, I created a NEW measurement chart to use for creating patterns for sewing Dartless Knits. I reduced the cup size in this chart by 2 letters…in PMB, each cup size extends the front length by .375”, so I know I will be losing .75” of front length. I will make up for the lost length by using the CF Extension tool when I draft the pattern.

Also, knowing that I will be putting some of the bust dart into the front armhole to be left unsewn, I reduced the FRONT SHOULDER SLOPE measurement by .5”. This is basically pulling out (at the top) the extra length I will be adding when I rotate some of the dart into the armhole.

I also reduced the BACK SHOULDER SLOPE by .25”…I don’t think that was really necessary, but I did do it…I’ll probably will put it back to ‘normal’ for next time.

Drafting Choices

To create my dartless pattern I began with the basic darted BLOUSE silhouette in PMB4. I chose NO CLOSURE, as I planned to cut the pattern on the fold of the fabric, front and back. Because my intended fabric wasn‘t as stretchy as some, I used .5” chest ease and 2” hip ease. Waist ease was left at 1”…the waist darts won’t be sewn, however, the waist ease WILL affect the size of the bust dart, so I keep it stable. I usually lower the armhole depth by .5” but for this knit, I chose to lower it only .25”…which is essentially raising the AH depth .25” above my ‘normal’.

I mentioned that I would be rotating the bust dart to shoulder, F-ah, and hem. While all these locations are choices within the Drafter, I cannot rotate the bust dart to all three locations at the same time, so I choose SHOULDER BUST DART, and will manually rotate some of the dart uptake to the hem in the PATTERN EDITOR. However, I CAN put some of that bust dart into the F-ah by using the DART OVERRIDE tool. I chose the (-.25) setting, which opens the armhole by .5”.

I changed my Side/Arm position from my usual (-1) to (-.75).

Because I knew I would be rotating some of the bust dart to the front hem, which will make the lower front wider, I changed the Side/Hip position from my usual of (+5) to (-.75)…this made the back wider and made the front really narrow! The sideseam are not at all mirrored! But that is ok…I knew I’d be changing that.

Again, because I had reduced my CUP SIZE (in the chart) by two letters, I used a CF extension of 1” to regain the lost front length.

For my sleeves, I used a CAP HEIGHT of (-.5) (normal for me is -1.25) and I reduced the CAP EASE as low as possible…it was .26”. I just drafted the sleeves wrist length, and modified them in PE.

My Pattern Changes

After saving the pattern, I opened it in the Pattern Editor portion of PMB. On the BACK pattern, I drew a line from NECK POINT to Shoulder Point, ignoring the back shoulder dart. I measured this line, and drew a matching line on the FRONT pattern.

Next, I selected the Sideseam, F-ah, and lateral shoulder section, along with the lateral dart leg of the bust dart. Using the BUST POINT (not dart tip) as my pivot point, I rotated the selected area clockwise to partially close the bust dart. I wanted to leave 1.25” of dart in the front shoulder.

But as you can see, that didn’t bring the F-ah all the way to the end of the new shoulder line.

So, I rotated only that upper section of the F-ah to close the last .25”, pivot point is the lower end of the arc.

Rotating the shoulder dart partially closed put the remainder of the dart into the hem (Remember, I don’t have to put ANY of the dart into the armhole, because I used the Dart Override tool in the drafter to do that for me!). To correct the sideseams and close the front hem, I FLIPPED the back pattern and superimposed it onto the front, aligning the underarm points. I redrew the BACK sideseam to have the same waist indent as the front one, but redrew the LOWER front sideseam to match the back. I redrew the front hem using an arc to close the gap. I erased the waist darts.

Of course, THEN I began to consider the neck styling…and how I hadn’t made any decision about that yet! A jewel neck won’t stretch over my head…I didn’t want a jewel neck anyway! So I drafted a scoop neck, widening the neck .25” at the sides, and lowered the back neck a bit also. NOW, I was ready to print!

Dart Override: -0.25
Shoulder Dart Position: 0

Side/Arm Point: -0.75
Side/Waist Point: 1
Side/Hip Point: -0.75

Cf/Extension: 1
Cb/Extension: 0

Sleeve Cap Ease: 0.26
Sleeve Cap Height Adj: -0.5

More later…

Friday, May 1, 2009

Dartless Top

On Wednesday, I started making a dartless top. I didn't get very far, though, before it was time to stop and fix dinner.

I did get it cut out, though, and sewed the shoulders and sideseams before stopping for the night. I STILL don't have great lighting in my sewing room! But I do have a great cutting table, so I will be patient.

I added a generous Center Front extension to this draft...I can (and did) cut off any that is not needed to create a level hem.

The fabric I’m using is a weird fabric with lots of texture, very old, from my stash…probably cotton. It doesn't have as much stretch as it needs to have for this pattern…10” stretched to 14”. It is a bit tight in the bust, which accentuates that 'looseness' that occurs in the back waist area! So far, it is not a wadder, but I don’t think it will be great.

The ‘looseness’ at the small of the back is my main concern, though. I don’t want yet another top that hangs up on the high hips! There is excess ease at the hips, yet the fit is very close fit at the bust, shoulder blade and armhole level in back.

At fitting, I considered NOT putting the sleeves in, and instead, making it sleeveless. I wondered if this fabric would be too heavy to wear comfortably in the summer time if it had sleeves, even if only short ones?

On Thursday, I finished the top!

I decided to go ahead and put the sleeves in after all.

But I did make one critical adjustment to
improve the situation at the back. I ripped apart the sideseams and moved the front ss upward and the back ss downward, then resewed them...with a .5" mismatch. This meant I had to trim off 0.5" at the top of the front sideseam (lower F-ah...just slanted to blend) and remove .5" at the bottom of the back sideseam (I manually raised the hem at both sides anyway, to create a curved hemline…shorter at sides than at center front/back, so it was no big deal). By sliding the back ss downward a bit, I caused the back to swing out some, like the prominent seat alteration on page 35 of Natalie Bray's Dress Fitting. This helped get some of the folds of loose fabric OFF my bum! I will do this in the future on all dartless tops. Actually, I will alter the patterns before cutting!

I used my coverstitch machine to hem the sleeves, hem and neckline. I haven't used that machine in over a year, I bet! But after an initial bit of trouble it worked just fine. At first, the bulky fabric was getting stuck under the foot, especially at the seams...but then I remembered that I could lessen the pressure on the presser foot! duh. None of my other machines have that adjustment (although one I had years ago did). After loosening the pressure, it fed through just fine! I hope to be able to do some pics soon, but judging by the awful shots of me in the mirror, I probably should wait for a photographer!
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