Tuesday, August 11, 2009

White roses

Stubbornly determined to get a decent sleeve from PMB, I have continued working on getting the armholes ‘right’. I am still *trying* to believe that if the sleeves are bad, that means the bodice/armholes are still wrong, too.

After several aborted attempts, sewing only darts, shoulders and sideseams, I was beginning to run out of this white fabric. I decided to take apart two of the aborted attempts to reuse the front of one with the back of another…recutting them both according to the newest pattern, of course!

But when I got them both ripped apart, I found that my back pattern would NOT fit on the fabric back…the fabric wasn’t long enough for the new pattern! So I had to use the last of the remaining uncut fabric to cut the back…which meant that if I wanted sleeves (which I did) I would have to cut them from the two fabric backs of the previous attempts…so I ripped apart two other previous attempts also, to salvage the backs to use for sleeves!

Well, these backs had had the waist darts marked…twice, actually, in two different colors! So the new sleeves have waist darts marked on the insides…and it shows through this white fabric!

I have enhanced this image so you can see the marks better, as they are much easier to see ‘in person’ than in a picture.

I mark my darts in the traditional way…using a tracing wheel and marking paper. This paper is very old…I don’t like the new stuff I can find. But these marks don’t wash out very easily!
This is how I mark my buttonholes. When I am drafting my PMB pattern, for the number of buttons I choose TWICE PLUS ONE…that way, I can use every other button and omit the bottom TWO button marks…getting a larger space between the last button and the hem than I have between the buttons. For example, I wanted 6 buttons, so I choose 13…twice plus one…then only use 6 of the marks. ALSO, I find that the first mark is slightly lower than I really want it…I don’t know why…so I mark my buttons about ¼” above each mark. I use a hole punch and punch a hole on the center line just above the button marking. Then I use a washaway marker to place a dot in the center of each hole. If it soaks through, I can mark both the buttonholes and the buttons at one time!

As soon as I put this blouse on to check the fit…before putting in sleeves…I could immediately feel the difference! This one felt good! I had made the back longer this time, and it helped a lot. So I decided I would finish this one, complete with collar and sleeves, even if it wasn’t “perfect’.

Since I had decided to put sleeves in this top, I wanted a collar, too…the Italian collar.

But I’ve used this one before, and am not crazy about the way it fits into the CURVED V neckline.

So I altered the pattern, slashing in two places forward of the shoulder mark.

I pivoted the slashes open and inserted paper, so that the slash width at outer edge was .25” at each slash…lengthening the outer edge of the collar by .5”.

This made the collar’s neck edge better match the shape of the bodice’s front neck edge.

*But then I decided that the point area was a bit wide, so I used my curved ruler to reshape it some…trimming away about .375” width at the front edge.




After completing the collar, it was time to tackle the sleeves. The first sleeve I set was drafted with a (-.5) cap height. It had obvious pulls, so I ripped and removed to recut with a .25” cap height. There really wasn’t much change.

I released the sleeve cap and immediately, the cross grain hung much more level. Suddenly it occurred to me that what I REALLY needed to do was EXTEND THE SHOULDER of the bodice, as opposed to making the sleeve cap taller! Of course, I have only .375” seam allowance at the armhole, so that isn’t possible on this one…there isn’t much fabric there to steal! But just to see, I pinned the sleeve using only 1/8” seam allowance…as seen on the right…and it was much better! Of course, I couldn’t sew it that way…I needed to use .25” minimum, so I knew it wasn’t gonna end up as nice as it looked at pinning. Oh well! Next time…

The finished blouse *looks* nice enough!
I am very pleased with the collar changes.
But the sleeves are binding.
As usual.
I am wondering if I should increase my Bust to Bust setting...to move the front waist darts outward slightly? Not to affect the sleeves, but just to make it look/fit better!

The back still needs some more length over those protruding shoulder blades, especially that left one!

Hopefully, a bit more Center Back Length will help eliminate those diagonal wrinkles, too, by effectively giving the back pattern more shoulder angle.

I will also raise the back neck depth next time, as I lowered it too much…0.75”…on this one.

The back REALLY strains with forward arm movement.

To try to figure this out, I turned to the wrinkle charts in Total Pattern Fit, Minott Method.

I have already raised the armhole depth, so that isn’t it. The cap is definitely NOT too long, so that isn’t it. I could use more width across the blades, although with the arms at my sides it looks ok. The sleeve IS too narrow. I am thinking that fixing the back width will also fix the sleeve.

See how she moves OUT the back underarm? That is NOT just moving the sideseam forward…that is a NET GAIN. To accomplish that with my PMB pattern, I must do two things…reduce the Bust Cup Size (again?) and increase the Bust Measurement.

Neither change alone will do it---
  • Increasing the Bust Measurement will add to both front and back at underarm points…not just to the back.
  • And reducing the Cup size will add to the back underarm point but will take from the front.

No, it will take BOTH of these changes to increase the width of the back pattern without changing the width of the front.

And once the back pattern has been increased at underarm point, I can use the ARMHOLE SHAPE TOOL to increase the width at the blade level…halfway height of the armhole.

And the sleeves should take care of themselves, once the armhole changes are in place!

Here is the pattern for this white blouse (pink) superimposed on the NEXT ONE.
For the next one, I increased the BUST CIRCUMFERENCE measurement by one inch, and reduced the Bust Cup Size by one letter (C to B, which meant I also had to INCREASE the Center Front Length and Front Shoulder Slope to compensate for the lost front length the larger cup size provides). I also had to increase the Bust Point Vertical setting, lowering it 0.25” (again, because the larger cup size would have done that for me).

On the front pattern, the next one will be wider through the shoulders (longer shoulder length). Notice the odd shape of the new upper front armhole…almost like that ‘arc’ is backwards. Actually, it is…I will redraw it to scoop inward instead of outward. I don’t know why PMB draws the upper armholes whacky sometimes. Trying to do a complex shape with too few components, I suspect.

The front armhole is lower and the bust dart is smaller…because of the reduced cup size (B for next one, this one was C). I have been getting fullness at the tip/release of the bust darts on many of these last few tops…indicating that perhaps the bust darts were actually too large. Also notice that the front shoulder is higher on the new one…since I extended it outward, I think it will also need a bit more height to go over the ‘roundness’ of the shoulder joint!

Also, since the upper sideseam was moved forward as a result of the cup change, I used the SS placement tool to move the lower sideseam forward also, to get mirrored sideseams.

The back is a little longer/taller through the center, but the back shoulders are not taller. The back neck depth has been raised .25” (although it looks like it is much higher when the patterns are aligned at the waist, instead of at the Neck Point!) The back shoulder dart will be slightly smaller next time, because I increased the Front Shoulder With MORE than I increased the Back Shoulder Width.

I am hopeful that these changes will produce a comfortable sleeve. I am hoping that adding that extra inch of BUST Circumference will not make the blouse fit too loosely.
People ask me why I need for the back pattern to be so wide. Since I have a full bust, they expect me to need a wider front pattern. But perhaps it is those protruding shoulder blades…perhaps the wide shoulders…perhaps the forwardly rolled shoulders? All I know is: there has GOT to be a way to get a well-fitting pattern with comfortable sleeves!

And I think this next one might be ‘it’!!!


Laura said...

Hi Trish!
I continue to follow your journey to a great PMB blouse fit!!!
Are you sure your sleeve cap height is right? I can't help but think your sleeve looks like it doesn't have enough width in the cap, causing it to pull both in the front and back. The seams at back and front LOOK like they are properly placed, so it must be the sleeve cap right? (I'm a bit of a novice here, but seeing as I'm trying to figure out the same thing....!)
So far for me, the only thing that has even made the shirts wearable was to lower the cap height--like to about a -1 or -1.25. I have been less concerned about some wrinkles from the "casual-ness" of the sleeve cap height than having that annoying pull across the back!

Say just a thought...have you ever used Nancy Zieman's slide and pivot methods? The diagram you have in your post makes me think of that....and doing it that way. (Then the question is HOW to get PMB to draft it like that!!)
Blessings to you.

Debbie Soles said...

Hey Patricia;

My oh my you sure are demanding of your wovens at low ease levels!!:))

Turning to Minott's wrinkle charts I noticed that she also says "or move section 2 out on slv. pattern". In her illustration the arm is bent, your's are straight out. When you move your arms as in your pic using low ease I consider the slv. wrinkles and the back strain normal. What else can it do with such little fabric during body movement?

Do you think your armhole seamlines (both frt/bck) are too far out on arm?

Where do you start your slv. easing when setting slvs.? From the frontal pic it looks like there's too much in front cap..yes/no?..and that the easing started too low vs. just on either side of shoulder notch.

At that low bust ease level there is still alot of excess at back bust area, and those darn wrinkles are still there at base of back armholes..darnit! It's almost like I want to make the whole upper back more narrow and then work on the slv. Maybe using the side/arm pt. negative is doing that along with too wide widths?..yes/no? But if you don't use side/arm neg. then the pmb slv. will be all screwed up because of how it puts too much in the front cap. Why doesn't pmb evenly distribute cap ease...WHY?:))))

And that slv. isn't even that fitted...hmmmm!

At this point, with all this testing I am not convinced that you can do this solely through the chart. But what do I know!!:)))

FWIW...produce me 5,000 of these and I'll have em sold out in an hour on qvc!!LOL

Did you watch any of the fall fashion stuff?...I kept thinking of you as they were describing our "fit issues" as design elements...oh my do they love that backup or overflow of fabric on aisle 5...where waist meets bum!:))) And then to watch one of those hosts try on a jacket with too short slvs. then say..that's ok just push em up!!LOL They don't show many rear shots!!:)))


Debbie Soles said...

Geez forgot to mention..lol..nice alteration on that collar. And that is a cute blouse! Oh and might I introduce you to a wonderful new fabric blend called cotton with lycra!LOL Living here were we do I keep my lycra content at 5% and no more for summer garments..a higher count and it's too hot. But I've made some nice blouses using cotton/lycra shirting and you can go low in ease and keep mobility.


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