Thursday, December 15, 2011

PMK, darts vs no darts

Before, I mentioned that I generally choose the DARTED silhouette instead of using the NO DART choice, even when I plan to sew no darts. Here, I hope to show you why.

Below, I have superimposed two patterns...each using the identical measurements and settings EXCEPT, the RED one chose a SIDE DART and the blue/green one used NO DART.

With both pattern sets aligned at the shoulders, you can see that the front pattern is almost the same, with or without the dart.

But look at the back patterns. The no-dart pattern (in green) has a shorter back armhole depth than the darted one (in red).
But that isn't all...look at the overall length of the back patterns.

When I align the pattern sets, matching at the waist and hem, you can easily see that the back pattern of the NO DART set (green) is actually LONGER than the one that uses a dart (red), even though BOTH pattern sets were made using identical measurements!
PMK shortens the back length when a 'dart' is chosen.
I have adjusted my BACK length measurement to be longer than 'real' so that when it is shortened to use with the darted pattern, it will still be adequate.
Of course, this was NOT discovered before I sewed that last 'dud' I mentioned before...

I had assumed the overall back length of my newly-sewn top would be just the same length as the back of the previously sewn knit tops if I used the same measurement!

But no, that isn't the case when darts are chosen for one pattern but not the other.

But as I said, this is a recent discovery... sigh.

But to me, the real issue with the no-dart choice *is* the change to the upper back...that raised back armhole level. The upper back is now shorter from the underarm level up to neck.
My no-dart garments will pull to the back, trying to borrow fabric from the front. This happens because the back armhole height is too short...the distance from underarm level to the back neck on the pattern was reduced.

Also look at the sleeve. The shortened back armhole creates a sleeve with a smaller back half. This contributes to the "pulling-to-the-back" and a general feeling of tightness. When the back armhole is smaller, the back of the sleeve is smaller...there is less fabric there.

Also, this narrower sleeve's cap height would need to be made shorter to maintain the same bicep measurement across the sleeve as on the darted one...and that lowered cap height can introduce pulls that might not be there if the darted bodice were chosen. In the example above, I did NOT change the cap height on the sleeve...and you can see that the two sleeves are NOT the same width.

But here, below, you can see what happens when I change the cap height on the DARTLESS top...reducing the cap height by 0.25" so that the bicep width on the sleeve is nearly the same as before. The patterns are aligned at the front underarm point (because the front armhole on both patterns is nearly the same, I choose that as my point of alignment for comparison).

Anyway, THAT is why I choose to use the DARTED silhouette, even when I plan to sew NO darts! YMMV.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

PMK and shoulders

Edited near end for clarity, bold

I bought the knits program from Wild Ginger when it came out, but have not taken enough time to really use it as I'd like.

I told you previously about 3 of the knit tops I made, trying to work out what settings and measurements I should use. While those tops are wearable, they are not representative of the choices I'd make if I had the chance to do them over again!

I have since done yet another knit top that I am also less than thrilled is not as wearable as these others!...but I have learned a lot from this one, too, and think I have finally nailed down MOST of the choices that I need to make.

Before I show you the latest 'dud', I'll show you what I have learned.

I have tried to explain this before on the chat list and forum, but as we all know, a picture makes things SO much easier to understand!

Here is the basic knit top as it drafts with my measurements...almost.
I did lower the armhole depth by .25" on this, and as you can see, I chose the DARTED version (because I am a D cup--More about that later).
You can see that the shoulders are very slanted, both in front and in back. This is critical to notice. When the program first came out, many people were surprised to see those sloped shoulders, but were assured they worked...just try them. Well, after trying them, many were still not satisfied with the fit, so the company added settings to enable adjusting the shoulders as desired. This company does listen to its customers and tries to please.

Here you can see the basic pattern with the front and back superimposed on each other, with neck points aligned.

Notice that the shoulder angles, front and back are the same.

The shoulder WIDTHS, front and back, are the same. The program uses the back shoulder width to draft...there is no measurement for the front shoulder width. So the upper chest area in front is the same width as the upper back area in can see the upper armholes are superimposed. Right away, I know that is a problem, because my body is wider in the back at that level than in the front.
Here you see the same basic pattern with the front superimposed over the back, but this time, it is aligned at the waist and hem. You can see that the front pattern is LONGER than the back pattern, because I am using a D cup in my measurement chart. If I used a C or less, the front would be the same overall length as the back.
Now, I have made some changes to my shoulders using the settings that were added to the program.
  • I used a SHOULDER HEIGHT setting of .75...this raises the shoulders up on BOTH patterns by .75".
  • I also used a SHOULDER POINT setting of .5...this moves the shoulder point (at arm) forward by .5".
The net result of these settings is that the front shoulder is still pretty slanted, almost like it was with the original draft. But the back shoulder is much more 'square'.

Here you can see the new pattern IN RED superimposed on the original pattern (in green/blue).
At a glance the new pattern doesn't look all that different...nothing remarkable about it.
But look what happens if you flip and superimpose the new front onto the new back.
Immediately, you notice that the shoulder angles are NOT the same, but the back shoulder is higher.
But look at the shoulder WIDTHS. While the actual seam length of the front and back shoulder seams ARE the same, the width of the patterns across the upper chest and upper back are NOT the same! The back pattern is will see that the back armhole is farther out than the front armhole about 3/8". Now, I don't know about you, but that looks more like how MY body is shaped!
Here you can see those same new front and back patterns (flipped and superimposed) aligned at the waist and hem. Again, you can see that the upper back pattern is wider than the upper chest area, and the front pattern is still longer (at the neck point) than the back pattern (because of the D cup).
The new back shoulder angle looks more like the shoulder slant on my regular (non-knit) pattern. Can't you just see those shoulders sewn together and curving forward on my shoulders which also just happen to curve forward (like the shoulders of many of us!)?
How does this affect the sleeves? Well, the original sleeve is below.
And here is the new, adjusted-shoulder sleeve.
It takes some careful observations to see the differences! But if I superimpose them, it will be easier.

Below, the RED SLEEVE is the NEW, adjusted shoulder sleeve...and the green one is the original. I have aligned them at the front underarm.

Because the front armhole on the NEW pattern is not very different from the front armhole on the OLD pattern, the front of the sleeve is not very different. the new armhole has a slightly more-square shoulder...not much difference, so not much difference in that area of the sleeve.

You can see that the new, RED sleeve is bigger in the back of the sleeve cap. Duh...the back armhole of the new bodice is longer than the back armhole of the original bodice, because the new back shoulder is taller! The RED back cap line is about 3/8" outside the original sleeve, which means it will provide about 3/8" more fabric in the critical 'forward-movement' (driving room!) area. (edits in bold)

I also mentioned that I use the DARTED basic silhouette, rather than the no-dart version. I don't plan to actually SEW this will be eased in the seam and will I consider this my dartless block.

More about WHY I use the darted instead of the no-dart, later...

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