SP600 I couldn’t let the fit rest

My title sums up how I felt. I just couldn’t let go of how difficult it had been to fit SP600 —  and I still had issues that needed to be solved (sleeve wrinkles and front shoulder vertical folds.)  So I got to thinking about a few remarks on SG. Some of the helpful people there remarked that just like me they used a size 4 for knit pattern and made a few small tweaks but on pattern for woven fabrics they went down to a size 3. Oh and I still wondered if I had traced the right size to start with.

So I got out the originals and realized immediately that I hadn’t even traced 600, I traced 618.  I assumed that 600 was the same as 618 because 600 is the base. Well, the base is where Peggy starts.   Anything could have changed to achieve the style of 618.  So I traced Size 4 making sure I had the 1-4 pieces from 600.  I trimmed and pressed the collar and facing, I didn’t copy them. I didn’t like that collar and wasn’t planning to use it; and often I make so many fitting changes that facings have to be redrafted. In my mind, no point in copying those right now. Then I  copied the size 3 on the same tissue, exactly as the 2 sizes are printed. I used Blue ink for the size 4 and Green ink for size 3 throughout.   Then I pulled out my tissue that I called 600 but was really 618.  I compared the altered SP618 to traced 3/4 SP600.  I was half way expecting to have traced the wrong size or have done something drastically wrong due to style/pattern differences. But the size 4’s were consistent of course allowing for alteration made.  Disappointed, I started looking at what size the final 618 really was and I said “Huh?” Then again:  “Huh!”  My altered 618 is nearly a size 3 across the shoulders and down to the bust. It is a size 4 from bust to hem. Altered 618 and newly traced 6000 are not perfectly alike but really close.   The 2nd huh was from realizing I might have an easy procedure after all:

  • Trace size 3 Shoulders to bust
  • Trace Size 4 side seams to hem
  • Add 1/2″ to back side seam
  • Add 5/8″ shoulder slope
  • Add 5/8″ RBA and CB seam
  • Sew back but not front darts

With that thought firmly in mind, I trimmed the excess tissue from my newly traced 600; chose a new fabric and laid out pattern pieces.

I was glad I followed my usual proceedure and snapped out the lights to go upstairs after getting that far. Overnight I realized 2 things (1), I didn’t want to use the fabric I selected. It was a good choice and a lovely print. But all night long I kept dreaming of it sewn up in CC5967.   I’m not physic; definitely not a sensitive of any kind.  I’m even kind of socially dumb/inept. But I do have this left brain that can jump through mountains of data and come up with good solutions. It does seem to be shy about sharing the solutions thought and often brings them up during dream time.  In the morning I realized ‘ol Lefty was telling me more don’t use that fabric.  I also realized the fabric I did want to use (an interest plaid of rayon challis) and that I had really overlooked the sleeve issues.

I’ don’t thing there’s anything wrong with the draft. Rather my alterations changed things up a bit and I didn’t offset the changes which affect the sleeve.  First thing I did was reduce the sleeve cap length by 5/8″.  Not sure that’s enough because both back and front armscye are reduced 5/8″ due to the increased shoulder slope of 5/8″.  But it is a start and can be changed again.   I also pulled out the 5202 sleeve; aligned the cap lines and traced the angle of the side seam and dashed in the 5202 hem line. Only dashed in because I want to be able o use a full length sleeve or use a 5202 mashup.  So I dashed and wrote “fold here for 5202 cuff” then I added the cuff depth (3.5′) plus my standard hem (1.25″) to the bottom of the sleeve.  Trimmed the excess.  Then I measured out on each side to create a 15″ hem width/circumference.  and redrew the the sides to meet my desired width.  Trimmed the excess from the sides. I hope, have my fingers crossed, pretty sure this will work because I’ve done similar alterations in the past; but I hope I have successfully drafted a sleeve I like because I didn’t like the original on me. It just looked dang frumpy.  Then I pressed my newly selected fabric and laid out my pattern pieces.

I cut the back; serged the center back seam; taped the neckline to stabilize and stitched the back darts. Cut the fronts; stitched the bust dart and even though you will see a vertical line I did not stitch the waist dart.  I stitched a very narrow about 1/16″ tuck.  I will achieve the visual effect of the dart without actually reducing any circumference across my tummy.   Swapped the bobbin thread out for WST (Water Soluble Thread) and basted shoulders and side seams. See I had decided to take advantage of every fitting opportunity.  I’ really am hoping to have discovered a procedure that will make fitting SP woven tops as easy as fitting SP knit tops.  It’s the ease of fitting that has endeared and excited me about SP patterns — even if it did take a long time and several muslins to get here.

So anyway Fit01:

—————–Not sharing unusually dart pic of right side.————————————


So my estimation is “Not nearly as bad as either of the 2 previous SP600 blouses. Which makes me really happy. It’s what I was hoping for back there the first of April. I paid special attention to gaping at back neck and shoulder length.  Did a quick check of where my bust point is and where the bust dart points. Noted that I still have more than expected ease under the arm.  In the back of my mind I was hoping I didn’t need the extra 1/2” added to the back wide seam. Sigh, my seat really does. I made it a point to mark with pins my tummy and hip as well as the previously mentioned bust point and notated those on my pattern pieces.  As far as fit mostly I’m seeing too much ease at the underarm both front and back; 1 clear and 1 ghost V on the right side none on the left. (I forgot to add my shoulder pads and that could make a difference).  I think I’m ready to baste the sleeve in and take more pics.

OK I did a little more than just baste the sleeves.  I got downstairs and said to myself “Hold on a sec”. The back neck wasn’t gaping, the shoulders are the right length and I’m not inclined to increase the shoulder slope. At a certain point instead of improving the fit, increasing the shoulder angle starts making the shoulder peak and gape. I’m close to that right now. So I decided it was time to finish the neckline and the front facing.  I serged the shoulder seams and then wanting a front V neckline this time  I pinned the fronts together and trimmed off the lapel.  Then I added the front facings and,  my favorite, bias binding to the back neck.  I cut my sleeves. 5202 style and I have a problem. Maybe. Do you remember my saying I was adding 1/2″ to back side seam?  Well whatever you do to the bodice needs to be done or offset on the sleeve. I added 1/2″ to the sleeve seam but the front not the back.  Didn’t realize it until I was cutting the very last 3″ of sleeve. Too late. Not only that but not enough fabric to cut a new set. Can’t piece the scraps together. I don’t think I have enough left over to even use for jean pocket facings. So I was at an impasse. After a few minutes I said “glad this is a muslin”. Went ahead and basted sleeves into armscyes. And that’s where it became really confusing because they basted together without any problems. I matched cap and armscye at shoulder seam/sleeve notch and basted together without hardly slowing down. So did I or didn’t I goof?  Not sure especially when I was able to see the pics for Fit 01:

Keep in mind that cuffs are not attached.  No side V’s which means RBA must be fine. No gapping back neck also indicating RBA is fine.  On the previous 600/618 I had to increase the SA at the neck. In fact I increased the CB seam from waist up to neck to achieve a likeable fit.  Totally not needed.  I also can see that I have sufficient ease but not too much at tummy and hip. (Feels that way too).  I don’t see the front hem rising a continual issue for me that seems to always require another alteration.  Not seeing any sleeve or armscye issues, do you?

Front looks pretty good. Shoulders are sitting where I like them; sleeve is not bad. Although right sleeve looks better than left.  Don’t know if you can see up close but I think I stretched my V neckline. Swear I cut and then immediately stitched the facing to the bodice.  Should have stabilized it. Bad decision on my part.  I will be making another front pattern piece with the V neckline because it is one of my favorites. That will help me avoid this problem.   For now, (shrug) it’s wearable muslin. UPS man won’t notice.  All he cares about is being able to tap in his gizmo that he delivered to a little old lady who came out of the house.

This is not the best back view.   Looks like I’m not standing straight or have shifted my weight to one of my legs.  Shoulders again sitting where and  like I like.  Sleeves/armscyes looking pretty good — sometimes it’s hard to tell when you have a distracting print.  Just does not look bad period. Doncha think I may as well finish this and summarize  my experience?

Well I’d say this is close and even better than the Stripe version which I do love:


I love Loes Hinse 5202 sleeve in combination with this pattern.  So easy to sew and feels comfortable. But there may still be room for improvement. I see nothing wrong with the sleeve. I’m really thinking letting out the back dart and taking in under the arm a bit more.

Which leads to my revising my procedure for Silhouette Patterns Wove Tops.  Think I will be

  1. Tracing Size 3 from shoulder to under bust ; Merge out to a size 4 from there to hem
  2. Add another 1/2″ to the back side seam from waist to hem
  3. 5/8″ shoulder slope
  4. 5/8″ RBA

Now that is something I can handle!


Striped Silk Blouse

I’ve wanted to make this blouse for so long.  The fabric is a beautiful silk stripe in the colors of the sunset (no purple though).  I put off it off until the Oriental Print was done because 1, I hadn’t fit what I planned to be my basic woven block, SP600, and 2) I didn’t want to waste my silk while I was OK with the other fabric being in a garment that still needed major improvement.

I start my journey by reviewing changes to SP600 …

  • Remove Collar
    • too large
    •  draft without button notch
  • Shoulder slope to 5/8″
  • Narrow shoulder 1″.
  • ?1/2″ dart at CB neck-seam
    • may have stretched the neck edge
    • may be the back neck is too
  • Remove front waist dart
  • Decrease sleeve width over all

…. and ensuring all these changes had been applied to my tissue.  I did not draft the new and needed collar. I envision of V neck about 6″ deep. Collar can wait. I also don’t change the shape of the  tissue’s neckline when I’m planning a neckline change.  I cut, then shape my fabric as desired.  That way, I always have a known base to return to, it’s right there on the pattern envelope.

Now thinking that I had all the major issues worked out, I pressed the silk; offset the selvedges 1/2″ to carefully align stripes and laid out my pattern. As is my habit, I snapped off the lights and went upstairs to give myself time to think.  Overnight, I decided I wanted a better match of the stripes.  With a bust dart you can match the center front and about 2/3 of the side seams.  I also have a center back seam which can be tricky.  I considered rotating the center back seam to neck darts and eliminating that match point along with rotating the bust dart to the shoulder. I rotated the bust dart and decided that was enough drafting for today.  The seamless back with neck darts remains a project for another blouse.  I cut the back immediately stabilizing the back neck by taping.  With the first blouse I needed a 1/2″ deeper seam allowance at CB.  I wasn’t sure if that was a drafting error i.e. extending the back curve wasn’t angled enough or if I had actually stretched the back neck during fitting because I hadn’t stabilized the neck. I cut the front.  Before removing it to stitch the bust dart, I rounded the lapels. I planned a Loes Hinse 5202 Tunic Blouse knock-off. Well it won’t really look like Loes Hinse because I’m shaped differently, but I will have the rounded lapel and my favorite cuff.  I absolutely love the 5202 cuff and have to force myself to use other styles. When doing my pattern alterations I had also pulled out the 5202 and placing the 600 sleeve on top had traced the 5202 sleeve length and side seam angle.  While I was at it, I trace the cuff. I can cut the cuff with measurements but I like having the pattern too.

Leaving sleeves and cuff uncut, I basted the shoulder seams and then the side seams.  I figured a 5 minute pause  wouldn’t hurt a thing. Took pics for good measure and also because I wasn’t thrilled with the peek in the mirror. First fitting pics didn’t thrill me either.

All I could think was “Rotating the dart should not have negated all the tissue alterations I made.” I just sort of paused. Open mouthed. How on earth has this gone so wrong.  I think when I’m done, I’m going back for an extensive check to be sure I traced the right size.  At this point, my blouse just shouldn’t be this far off.

Well I”m not giving up.  I’ve loved this fabric for a couple of years.  It’s silk. I really want to wear it. So let’s start fitting: pinch the shoulder. Hmmm, I changed the shoulder slope first then trimmed 1″ from the length by repositioning the armscye. Could this have ruined my 5/8″ slope?  Changed it to something like 1/4″?  Because just pinching at the shoulder point made a heck of a difference.  I chose to angle downward another 3/8″ at the new shoulder point.  I believe the armscye is much too low and it’s kind of late to change that now but it is possible to take away some of the nearly 6″ ease flapping around under the arm.  There isn’t that much at the tummy or hip.  Another consideration is the effect of the sleeve when inserted into the armscye. For Fit 2, I increased the shoulder slope, stitched the side seam 1/4″ deeper at the armscye and basted in the sleeve.  I liked this peek in the mirror. In fact I am beginning to like the blouse. For example the back looks pretty good:

Understand, I am wanting a blouse. Not anything “bodycon”; not even a sharply tailored shirt (which SP600 really could become.) I am wanting a blouse that is not loosely fit but has a little more ease than standard semi-fit.  The sleeve doesn’t look bad but I admit it isn’t perfect. Next I look at the side view

where the sleeve looks nice.  I’m getting an V wrinkly on the left side.  Interesting. I seamed the left shoulder at 1/4″ the right at 1/2″. That’s my standard these days for accommodating my asymmetrical shoulders.  For the final fit, I will increase those to 1/2″ and 3/4″ respectively and Thank God that I don’t have a bust dart. See taking up at the shoulder will work for the Shoulder Darted Front but would not had this been a Bust Dart Front because the bust dart would then be situated too high.   As a bonus, increasing the shoulder seam depth will also decrease the armscye depth.  However it will give me issues easing the sleeve. This sleeve should be 1:1 not eased or gathered.  It’s hard to see in my pics, but the CB  neck is every so slightly gaping. This is a positive because I think the back is just slightly too large.  I’ll fix both by increasing the CB seam between waist and neck.  I like it too large across hip.

Lastly onto the front

As desired, by moving the dart to the shoulder, I have a ripple on the stripes rather than a disjointed mismatch. Once again the sleeve is not perfect, but not bad and it is comfortable. That’s very important concept to me.  The front is comfortable too and I recognize that I didn’t get the stripes aligned when I pinned. I’ll take care of that when adding the button/buttonholes. It concerns me that the front is slightly too big beginning at the shoulder and all the way to the hem.  How can the shoulder look perfect on the back but be too wide in front?  Well guys, I’ve got a front shoulder dart I can use to take care of that. I probably could overlap the front’s a bit more.  That’s a good after-the-fix but instead, I’m going to offset the front/back side seams and trim 3/8 from each side that way.  Then it’s a done deal. I don’t think I can make more alterations at this point so it’s time to finish and share with you. Well, I did it, but not without some concerns.

I love the back. Ignore the hair, I don’t remember my last good hair day. Also the spots are from trying to steam without having the iron hot enough.


Just really love the way the stripes match across the back and then contrast with the nice vertical stripes of the sleeves.  No criticism of the fit, either.

Sleeves are not perfect, but acceptable and better than some of the sleeves I was wearing last year. Also find the sides highly acceptable. Same matching of stripes. Same contrast with sleeve stripes. Only 1 V.

I am more critical of the front:

Again the stripes match. The folded lapel creates a nice V neck. I was so lucky to find these buttons.  I watched the fabric and button glow when I placed one on top of the fabric when trying to select.  Reds have a bad habit of not matching any other red. Were it not for the folds just below the shoulder, I’d be happy with the fit as well. Those folds are interesting. They occur even though the shoulder is the correct length achieved with a dart which removed not only length by some ease right in that area. They make it look like I’m hunching my shoulders.  I can say I love the way the blouse slims me, as opposed to the Bertha Big Butt look I achieved with the orange beaded fabric.

I’m pretty happy with how the blouse looks on me. I don’t actually mind that I had to make the effort.  I am disappointed in that I’m afraid all of Silhouette Patterns woven tops are going to be difficult to fit. The sewing I love is taking a basic shape and changing it up with minor style changes, fabric and embellishment.  I don’t feel like I’m ready to do this yet. I need to transfer the last changes to the pattern and then work on the “hunched front shoulder”.  Also need to work  a little on the sleeve, but today’s sleeve is a real improvement.



  • Remove Collar
    • too large
    •  draft without button notch
  • Shoulder slope to 5/8″
  • Narrow shoulder 1″.
  • ?1/2″ dart at CB neck-seam
    • may have stretched the neck edge
    • may be the back neck is too
  • Remove front waist dart
  • Decrease sleeve width over all
  • Rotate dart to shoulder, increase 1/4″
  • Remove 1/2″ along front side seam
  • Remove 1/4″ from shoulder height by stitching shoulder seams 1/4″ deeper
  • Increase shoulder slope a second time 3/8″ (total 1″)
  • Stitch CB seam 3/8″deeper at CB neck Zeroing at waist.

I’m just not sure: 6299 Lace Hem

So I was not entirely happy with the sleeve on my last 6299. 6299 is itself, sleeveless. Emboldened by my Peggy Sager’s experiences, I borrowed the sleeve of 195 the Sweater Knit set. But it didn’t work quite right. This time I pulled out a previously fit Connie Crawford pattern, B5967, and copied the sleeve cap and circumference.  Even as I copied that sleeve, I knew I would need to make adjustments. It was drafted for wovens. I’m using my knit version of 6299.  It was a flounced sleeve. I am wanting a slim, almost close-fitting knit sleeve. So I knew I would need adjustments. And I did.  At fitting I removed 2.5″ length and 4″ circumference at the hem. (Tissue changes 1.5″ and 3.5″ respectively) and that works.


Sleeve is nice. Fit is nice, but questionable. It has the semi-fit silhouette I love.  Skims everything but still shows you’re a lady.  No lumps or bumps, just enticing feminine curves. But somehow this version of 6299 makes me look hippy. Not Boho but Big Hipped Bertha.  Strike 1?

I had planned the scoop neck and higher back neck (I added tissue to the back pattern to fill in the neck creating a standard 1″ depth in the back). I’ve seen so many lovely tops with lace hems, I wanted at least one of my own.  Several weeks ago,  I purchased 2 yards of 6″ wide embroidered lace which I thought would coordinate perfectly.  Also had a coordinating light peach FOE. Decided to use FOE for both the neckline and sleeve hems.  Then I thought for a little extra kick, I would add a  lace applique at the neck.  I searched my stash of embroidered designed but couldn’t decide between 2.  I embroidered the both. To make a nice arrangement,  I embroidered 1 of them twice.  Once the 603 pants were done , I got everything out together including my beaded slinky fabric. Well, it’s not really beaded. But the little bubbles of ?plastic? are scattered thickly across the fabric. They have different colors and sparkle like beads and glitter.  I’m not sure if the ombre is dyed or printed. (There is color on back and front but it is more vibrant on the face side.). I just loved the softly undulating oranges and the glittering beads.  Too bad that it doesn’t look as lovely sewn. It’s even less attractive in the pics. Strike 2? 3? It was easy to sew. Thing is when  I started arranging my lace appliques, I realized they didn’t really coordinate with the fabric and absolutely didn’t belong with the lace and FOE. I left them off. 8 hours of embroidery now sitting in a little plastic bag hoping for future use.  Strike 5?

I copied the hem application from some RTW and I think it is genius. Well let’s back up to placing with the hem lace.  Which was after basting in the sleeve checking length, circumference and overall fit.  I first basted all 2 yards in the hem. Took a peek in the mirror and said “That won’t do.”  I looked like a 2-year-old in a tutu. Not me. Guys, just not me.  So I ripped out the basting (Thank you Jesus for water-soluble thread) and basted the lace back in 1:1. Definitely more me, but the proportions were off. Plink around twice more adjusting the proportion of lace to fashion fabric before finding one that satisfied me.  Then trimmed the hem to 2″ and the lace to 2″. Serged lace to garment hem right sides together. Hem is then folded up 2″ and stitched into place.  (I used a blind hem).  The lace hangs freely like it is a complete underlayer. Love it. But back to the proportions, I look hippy. Why?


Anway, it’s a nice garment but looking in the mirror, I just don’t know.  It seems to be missing panache. AND it makes me hippy. I’m hoping the ‘Magic Closet” will change my mind.

SP312 + 6299 Smashup

When Gorgio’s Blouse pattern arrived in my mail as the POM, I grimaced. I felt  it was a mistake to subscribe for POM as I now had 2 patterns I didn’t want and didn’t anticipating even tracing. The POM broadcast didn’t improve my feelings. Oh Peggy did her inspirational sewing, it was my attitude towards the shoulder princess and kimono sleeve styling that were bad. I have not attempted to fit the shoulder princess and the kimono sleeve is entirely baffling.  I have little optimism that I will be able to fit the kimono due to the fact that I need to add 1″ to the side seams when I trace the pattern pieces.  I can visualize the 1″ I need filling in the underarm curve creating a lot of floppy fabric where I never like floppy fabric.  It may be possible to fit. With 3 or 4 muslins. But I’m not willing to invest the time at least, not right now.

However, the peplum and flirty hem did interest me.  Made me think. So one afternoon I pulled out 312 and traced size 4  the short sleeve version  Then I pulled out my fitted armscye princess pattern, Connie Crawford’s 6299, and aligning grainlines,  traced it’s outline on top of the previous. Well, let me tell you, the difference was mind-blowing. I expected to be changing the  sleeve/shoulder area. I knew that the hem lines would be wider and that meant some flare along the side seams  But the pieces were much more different from that. I stood back and walked away. I thought and thought. Came back and looked some more. Left again.  Did that several times.  One of the times when I left. I recalled this wonderful truism from the movie,  Indiana Jones. ” They’re looking in the wrong place.”   Instead of trying to make SP312 look like my fitted 6299, all I needed was to  make the hem circumferences the same. So now I examined only the hems of 312, measuring each and notating that on my 6299 tracing.  Then I trimmed around the outline of the 6299 — with a little allowance;  before slashing each piece from hem to waist and spreading apart  the hems to be the same width as  SP312 on a scrap of tissue I’d slid beneath.  I taped the hems in place and drew a fairly smooth curve along the hem. Hey, I’m ready to sew!

Well almost. Actually, I turn my attention to the sleeve. While struggling with SP600 alterations, I’d already been thinking about this garment.  I’m so happy to see feminine details return to fashion.  They died out when I was a kid (1950-60’s) and disappeared during my early working years as we tried to prove women were not merely sex toys and ornaments. I am pleased with the return. In fact,  I want more feminine details. I knew I wanted a U neckline trimmed in lace, and  a bell sleeve. Changed my mind about the sleeve and decided on another feminine detail the flounced cuff .  I want my flounce to finish 2″ wide. First thing I did was fold up the sleeve at the hem 3″; 2″ for the flounce and 1″ for the  hem included in the basic sleeve.  I measured across the sleeve along the fold then cut a piece of tissue 2.5″ by the length just measured +1/2″ (seam allowances).  ?? 2.5″ ?? Well,  2″ for the flounce, 1/4″ for the hem and 1/4″ to serge the flounce to the sleeve.  I’ve decided to make my flounce 1.5 times as long as the fold and slashed the strip every inch before separating each section 1/2″ apart while also taping  to a scrap of tissue.  Taping to the new tissue forms a curved shape which l cut for my flounce.

I’m still needing brown coordinating tops, so my fabric choice was a knit print primarily aqua colored but containing yellows, pinks and splashes of brown.  I pressed the fabric to smooth out the wrinkles acquired in storage and laid out my pattern pieces.  After cutting the front, I trim the neckline to the desired U shape. I also tape the front neckline right away because it will stretch. Then knowing how V and U necklines tend to gape because they are a smidge long, I reduce the angle of the front shoulder seam by 1/8″ at the neck edge.  The back shoulder remains as previously fit and should pull the front into place.  Sewing is now simple and quick because I am using an already fit pattern which has been used several times. I do perform one more trick when I am ready to finish the neckline.  I stitch 1/8″ clear elastic to the edge of the lace while pulling slightly on the elastic.  I could have gotten all scientific, determining exactly how much lace I wanted and how much to stretch the elastic but sometimes  a wink and nod are as good as careful diagnoses. This, to me is one of those times.  My object was keeping the neckline flexible but hugging my neck.  I did not plan a zipper or other opening and did not want adding lace to prevent my new top from going over my head.

These pics are all from the final; done, done, all the way done garment. I love the flounce. Peggy is absolutely right about how this slendarizes the bottom half. Tummy and hips practically just disappear.  I wonder how did peplums even fall out of favor? I do wish I had considered the back neckline and cut it a little higher.  It’s OK. It’s fine. For cooler weather though, which is when I anticipate wearing this top, I prefer to cover up a little more. I also wish I had basted the sleeves instead of immediately serging. The shoulders are a little wide which could have been easily corrected if I basted. Now it takes darts or trimming or something creative.  Hmm if I’d just checked before finishing the neckline, I could have stitched the CB seam a little deeper solving both excess ease at the waist and shoulder width.  Ah well, my hindsight always was 20/20.

I said excess ease at waist? I stitched the two princess seams deeper by about 1/4″ starting about 4″ above the waist to about 2″ below.  That took out fabric which was kind of gaping but not falling into folds like you see in a sway back

I’m thinking I should go back to the tissue and correct the back curve so it looks this nice all the time.  Think I need one other tissue correction.  Look closely at the bust.  One side has a diagonal drag going from bust to  hip. The other has several small almost straight drag lines going to the side from BP. This is the after the alteration.  Before letting out the side seams (both front and back), I had numerous deep pull lines from bust to side seam.  Surprised at what I thought was a sudden appearance of drag lines, I stopped and  checked previous versions.  Those lines are at least hinted at every time.  I think I need to permanently add a little boob bump to the front side.

6299 was not published with a sleeve but I wanted one.  So I attempted to copy and adapt the knit sleeve of SP195. I don’t think I was totally successful.  Although the sleeve and armscye were the same length, the sleeve has drag lines which are not present when using the 195 bodice. Also the sleeve is both too wide and too long.

So verdict is just like Peggy’s.   I love this. The 312 peplum is lovely; my choice in fabric makes my heart sing.  I think there is some room for improvement but then I tend to nit pick.  Of course, I’ll share my changes when I do them.



Planned Changes

  • Sleeve too wide too long twisted in armscye. May be better to start with CC 5654, 5967 or 8187.
  • Increase back seam depth at waist 1/4″
  • Add boob bump to front
  • Check width of shoulders

Snake Print 195

 I had this finished before I started on the new pants pattern but didn’t have the post written. Was so excited about the pants pattern, I delayed until it was done. Nonetheless, I do want to document and share my beaded neckline.


Silhouette Patterns 195 has become my knit block. I am especially pleased with the last alteration which shifted the french dart to an armscye dart. I much prefer the armscye dart. I think it is easier to sew and more importantly I can use it to tweak the fit of my upper body — the pear-shaped part above the bust.

I thought my fabric was an ITY knit but the way it handled in several areas has me questioning if it was a 100% poly ITY. I mean ITY  just means interlock twist yarns.  They can do all kinds of things to it which makes a difference in how it handles and wears and still call it ITY.  It is a recent acquisition for my stash selected this time because I thought it ‘went’ best with a beaded neckline I purchased off eBay.  Whew, I’ve just been taken over by the laces and trims offered on eBay. I’ve never had such a wealth offered. Prices aren’t bad either but that’s not the important point.

This neckline piece is a combination of plastic ‘jewels’ stitched onto a tulle base.  I assumed the beads and tulle base were to remain together.  Meaning, I did not remove the beads and stitch them separately onto my neckline by hand.  Of course the piece wasn’t as spectacular in person as it was on the internet.  I expected that. These kind of beads never are and so I wasn’t disappointed. I did think the size was different.  Please understand this was not the vendor’s fault.  They listed the dimensions correctly. I visualized them incorrectly. Which meant I had some fast thinking to do if I wanted to use the piece as intended.

I started by cutting out my front piece straight across from shoulder point to shoulder point. IOW not cutting the neckline at all.   I marked down about 6″ from the shoulder point and center front. Then I started shifting the neckline piece around trying to get it on the front in such a way I would simply cut the neck down from the shoulders. Couldn’t do it. Well I could if I wanted to leave the front neck totally unscooped. Not me. I don’t wear turtlenecks or high collars unless I will otherwise be naked.  I studied and played. Shifted it up, back. Side to side. Finally I decided.

I used a self-fabric french binding around the lower edge and then pinned the top of the beaded piece to the front about 5.5″ below the shoulder point. Next I made tubes which finished about the same width as the french binding and placed them from shoulder extending down to the upper edge of the beaded piece. I made a tube that were twice as wide as those extending from the shoulder and placed it across the where the beaded piece met the previous tubes. Finally I trimmed out the neckline. After joining the back and front shoulders at the serger, I stitched a french binding around the entire neck edge. It looks good until you get really close. I didn’t get some of the tulle edges covered and my top-stitching was a bit sub-par.  What I thought would be a quick, attractive neckline had turned into a 6 hour job. I was glad it was finished and that it looked as good as it did even if that wasn’t perfect.

I pulled my 1034 serger forward and made rolled hems along the bottom edge. Oh, I had cut the back and front hems slightly curved.  I’ve seen that several times here recently and thought it would be a nice change without getting too much going on. I added the sleeves, stitched the long underarm/side seam and then hemmed the sleeve by turning up twice and top stitching 1/4″ from the top edge.  Here again, I wondered about the ITY fabric.  Usually, my Brother produces a beautiful top stitch on ITY by reducing the upper tension to 3.8.  But I again have  less than perfect top stitching on both sleeve hems.  Ticked me off really bad because I ripped out and restitched both sleeves twice and 3 times.

I’m also a little surprised at the fit.  Not disappointed but surprised that it seems to be a swing T with fullness at the hem instead of normal skim-the-hips T.  Actually, I kind of like the extra ease, another current style trend I’ve been seeing.  Possibly, I could have corrected this if I had taken fitting pics. But I’ve made 195 so many times, I didn’t even slow down  once the neck was finished.  I just zoomed through the rest.

So this is not a garment I’m thrilled with.  The difficulty with the beaded piece and those few errors, plus the fuller-than-expected hem put a damper on my enthusiasm. But I’m not unhappy either. I think a short rest in the ‘magic closet’ and I’ll be fine.


I chose my fabric, an interesting fabric with two knit sides joined together. It is constructed probably with a double-bed Jacquard stitch pattern. It doesn’t look like double-knit it looks like double- cloth! It is heavy enough for pants. When purchased, that was exactly what I was planning. But  I’d pull it out;  pat it; even lay out the pant pieces, but would always put the fabric away.  Finally I realized that my left-brain was not telling me ‘not this pattern’ but rather ‘not pants’.  Once recast as a top, a winter top, the inspiration and execution of a garment came about in short order.

I’ve had this pattern KS3915

For quite some time.  Judging by the copyright, MMXI, I’d speculate around 2011-12. Although, it feels like I’ve had it even longer.  I’ve quit using most Big 4 and even my Kwik Sew patterns because of fitting issues; and particularly the Big 4 seem to have abandoned working from a basic block  so it seems that I can never fit their patterns. I never know what alterations to make and how much needs to be changed. AND, I’m not using 3915 now but I am borrowing the V neckline and collar from View A to use with my TRT. With this garment my Fit For Art Tabula Rasa Tee pattern moves from TNT to “block” and therefore posts involving the TRT will now be on  the Block Party Blog.

I began by tracing the collar and upper front, upper back bodices from KS3915 which become templates…

…and not just for the TRT.  I can easily use these same templates with 6299 and 195 and maybe with the raglan style 314.   Adapting a well-fitting pattern with a new detail, is one of the things I love to do.

I know that the back and front neckline must correspond in length with the collar. So next was comparing with the TRT front and back pattern pieces.  The back necklines, surprisingly, matched and no changes were needed. I laid out my fabric and cut the back and front. The back needs little prep work, so I serged the back seam, pressed and laid it aside.  With the front still on the cutting board, I laid my front template onto the cut fabric…

and trimmed away the excess from the neckline.  I stay stitched the V in the neckline, Frey Checked at the very corner and clipped.  Then I stitched and pressed the bust darts before joining the back and front shoulders;  as always, stitching the right shoulder deeper than the left. A step which accommodates the asymmetrical nature of my shoulders and removes the last of the drag lines on the right side of my bodices.  I cut the collar and folded it in half, pressed, and double checked that all the markings had been transferred to both collar and bodice. My collar will sit slightly differently because I’ve shortened the right side via that deeper right shoulder seam allowance.  Fortunately at this time there is not that big of a difference and only me during stitching and the eagle-eyed will even notice.  I matched notches and basted the collar into place



BACK UP A SEC  because I forgot to mention the flat piping.  I decided I wanted to emphasize the neckline by creating a break, a place for the eye to rest with a solid flat-piping.  I was introduced to this technique many years ago and love it.  Flat Piping is not as work intensive as the round piping everyone seems determined to use, but has the same impact.  I cut, crosswise, a strip from this dark brown scuba knit that I bought and have no intention of ever wearing (who wears garments that don’t breathe?) but makes good accents. The final piping is cut 2″ wide and folded in half. Using 1/4″ Sa, 3/4″ shows at the neckline. Now this was absolutely the worst of the sewing. I haven’t used this collar in a long time. Completely forgot how to do it. I bought the KS pattern years ago mostly for the instructions and dimensions.  First issue was how wide the piping should be.  I cut 7/8″. Didn’t like it.  Tried 1″. P-u-n-y.  What’s the point of doing this if it isn’t going to show, eh? Finally got bold enough to cut 2″ wide.  Well that looked good in theory. I basted the strip to the collar and then carefully basted the collar to the neckline. Whoa! It was weird. The right collar overlapped the flat piping. Tell you, it looked off. So take it apart, carefully arrange and pin in place so that the flat piping completely outlines the collar. Baste together. WTF @@!@@??? I had stitched it back together exactly as the first time.  Take it apart a second time. Pin. Pin. Pin. Check from the front. Baste. Ahhhhhhhh. Now it looks like the above pic and I can serge the collar to neckline seam allowance.  But dang all the width-trials and then putting it in 3 times took an hour.

Construction was pretty routine after that.  I did use the flared side pieces. I wanted a little swing. Look at the back, I’m not sure I wanted that much. Fortunately side and front look much better.

I wish the sleeve shows up a little better. I also cut  4.5 X10″ strips from the same scuba knit which were then used as cuffs on the sleeves.  Since I know, I will want to use this cuff over and over, I drew a fold line on the sleeve pattern indicating “cut here for 2″ cuff” and also indicated the strip size needed for the cuff. Actually it says ‘Cut here for 2″ Cuffs 4.5X10″‘ along that fold line. No new pattern piece is actually needed. I can fold along that line anytime I want a 2″ cuff or a 2″ shorter sleeve — the later I can’t imagine.    I prefer my cuffs to be smooth inside instead of feeling the seam. So I joined sleeve to side panel and the joined the strip in a circle, folded in half and serged to the sleeve.  I like the way that feels and I also like the way that looks.

I should have gotten a hair cut this month but that has no effect on how well I like the finished top. I will want to use my templates again fairly soon so that I remember how.  Also, there are variations to the collar itself.  I did not use the button loops and buttons. Have little desire to futz with button loops that are essentially non-functional. Should I want that look, I would still ignore the loop brouhaha and just tack the buttons in place.  I overlapped right over left. Entirely possible to use a center miter or even a right over left miter.  I hope you can click the pic to enlarge as I am wearing the collar with about 1″ turned down at the back.  It can be worn completely standing and folded down all around. It would take a little prep but it is also possible to narrow the back of the collar.  Less effort would be narrowing the entire collar.  Making a two piece collar is not out of the question, but again takes some thought and prep.  As long as the two long edges (neckline and collar) are the same, anything can be done to the collar itself.  The question for me is, do I like the shape and depth of the collar?  Yes, then change or repeat as the fancy strikes.


Adding a peplum to 195

Actually I started wanted to use this very lovely embroidery applique I got off eBay:

Yes I could have made one myself but I went down the rabbit hole at eBay looking for woven trims for another project (I’ve yet to start. Or even acquire all the materials).  I’ve never seen such an extensive collection of trims in my entire life. I’m also stunned at the prices. In years passed, when I could find trims at my local stores, they were enormously expensive or things you put on baby’s clothes.  The elegant variety on eBay makes me drool. And loosen my purse strings.

Anyway, having purchased I wanted to use the above applique and hunted in my stash until I found an excellent fabric:

It’s a slinky purchased during the last 3 years. Not sure exactly when or where.  Any time Fabricmartfabrics.com of fashionfabrics.com have a sale on slinkies I look.  If there is a color and pattern I like, I buy 2   yards.  Except for a brief period of time when I tried to buy exactly what was needed for a T-shirt, 1.5 yards. This decision turned out poorly as in this case where it shrunk to less than 1.5 yards; and apparently was pulled off grain at some point. 195, as fitted for slinky, would not fit on the available yardage.  I thought to try the TRT (Tabula Rasa Tee), but that too didn’t fit on the available yardage. With a few minutes study, I decided to place the TRT back, front and sleeve on the main fabric and cut the side panels and binding from a scuba knit I had no idea how to use. (Who wears fabric that can’t possibly breathe?  Why is scuba knit so pervasive?) I laid out my pieces on my fabric as is my custom, snapped out the lights and went up stairs for the evening.

I hadn’t done my Zentangles for that day. Umm I bought a book for Christmas.  It’s a workbook that takes you through 3 tangles a day; describes some of the options and uses and then has you practice before making your own Zentangle.  It’s more than a 15-minute process but I really wanted to start firing up my imagination.  I wanted to kick-start some creativity now that I’m no longer bogged down in fitting. It worked!  In spades!  Next day I *eagerly returned to the sewing room; pulled out 195 again and 0456.   First I copied 195 including all the markings. Then I thought to hold the front up to my front and located my bust point.  I love the dart rotated to the armscye but looking back I see it’s always pointed at my toes!!! (Where my BP would be except for the excellent and expensive bras I buy and wear.)   First thing was rotating the dart to point at my BP.

Then I measured the peplum length of 0456.  I cut the front and back of 195 at the same distances from the hem as the length of the peplum.  Carefully labeled those pieces as they were not only peplums but modified for slinky fit. Then I put all the pieces away except for the upper bodices of the copied 195 and the sleeve.  Talk about clearing clutter. I had no idea how much I had out until I started putting it all away.

I hear you saying “and the peplum. You kept out the peplum pattern pieces”. No I didn’t.  See, the peplum doesn’t have to be in any certain shape. It can be in the shape of a flounce; or the bottom portion that was removed.  In my case I placed the bodices and sleeve close together on the upper section of the fabric, and cut straight across the fabric the entire width of the fabric but the length of the peplum.  No side seams on a back seam.

Although there could have been.  I could have added side seams.  Could have made the rectangle longer and added darts. My mind was filled with possibilities. The easiest one worked. I assembled the upper bodices; added the sleeves and stitched the side seams and underarm of those pieces.  Then I quartered my peplum and the now assembled bodice just like is done for applying elastic.  I serged those babies together. Well I did set the differential feed to 1.2. Still it was absolutely the fastest construction ever.

…… Rewind….. back to the lace applique.

The last applique (post) I stitched around the outside edge and trimmed  away the fabric beneath.  It is quite lovely but that was a real chore. One I wasn’t eager to repeat.  After looking carefully at the applique and my upper bodice, I decided I didn’t want to use the full applique and simply clipped away the roses which would have gone around a neckline.  Didn’t want to do all that stitching, so I placed the applique on top of a sheet of Heat N Bond and on top of that, a non-stick pressing sheet. I applied pressure with the help of a warm iron to the sandwich

and then allowed it to cool. I separated the applique from the Heat N Bond but found it also lifted in some of the intricies of the applique. I poked those with my finger and removed most.  Once I cut the upper bodice out, I placed the applique on top and centered. Well almost, I did place it closer to neckline than to hem. I again applied a pressing sheet and heat. It took a lot longer to fuse the applique to the fabric.  I was surprised and had to repeat the process several times.  By accident, I once hit it with not only heat but also steam. Which caused some of the glue to turn white. It shows. Sigh.

It can be removed by picking, which I am doing, but it is a slow process and not completed by the time I took pics.

I also clipped apart the roses that go around the neckline and appliqued one to each sleeve

…before finishing sleeve and neckline with 1″ wide FOE.  I bought the 1″ wide FOE some time again and really dislike using it. I wanted a wider finish this time.  It’s good on the sleeves but a bit too heavy for the neckline. My neckline wants to collapse slightly.

Confession, I thought the final garment would look much better than it does.

I think the problem is that there really isn’t much contrast.  The applique, especially in the pics, tends to blend in with the fabric  and not be noticeable.  My garment becomes fine as a supporting player but doesn’t really stand alone unless I want to be plain, plain, plain and unnoticeable. What’s the point of all the work if no one should notice?


*I’m retired. My days are pleasant but not nearly long enough.  I have many good days only a few bad but seldom do I start  a day feeling excitement; of eagerly anticipating an event.

Clever Closure

Despite it’s errors, which I will share, I’m really happy about this blouse and have much to say about it.

Let’s start with the fabric, a rayon-challis, striped-print purchased recently.  I emphasized the ‘striped’ because for a long time I wouldn’t sew with stripes and reached the point of checking carefully to be sure I didn’t buy any striped fabrics.  (I’m buying most fabrics on-line and it’s easy to miss subtle details that will be obvious when the fabric is received like the Bargello nature of the Faux Surplice blouse shared Nov 30.) Then I learned about Pinterest. Started collecting pins. One of my most inspiring and I think soon to be most helpful boards has been my Stripes board.  It has freed me from the assumption my only choice was carefully matched stripes which were usually mis-matched some place. That board and all the wonderful artists it represents has opened my eyes to creative uses of striped fabrics.   For this blouse I cut the front and back on grain which made the stripes horizontal; and cut the sides and sleeves cross grain giving them a vertical direction.

Especially by using the Tabula Rasa Blouse version, I think this arrangement is excellent for us larger ladies.  I think the stripe disruption causes the stripes to slendarize me instead of adding pounds to my frame and especially hips which I think is best exemplified by the full back version:

I was absolutely thrilled at this tall, slender version of me.  Stripes across the back were supposed to be matched. ‘Fraid my center back seam which allows the much-needed round-back alteration was also a place for the fabric to slip just a bit. I did not attempt to match the stripes from back to sleeves.  It just happened.

However I had some issues. First off, I couldn’t find some of my blouse pattern pieces.  I considered use the  large size which is fitted but fitted as a jacket.  I fit the medium for use as a blouse and as you can see above, the ease if perfect.  The jacket is, as a minimum roomy.   So I should have 2 sets of pieces for the TRT with each piece is labeled respectively Jacket-Large, Blouse-Med.  I could find  the neck-darted back and the 1″ front placket front. But the plain pieces i.e back with CB seam and front extended for a CF seam were nowhere to be found.I preseume what happened was something like this: a frantic, creative process followed by a sweeping clean-up. Said clean-up sweeping away these 2 valuable pieces. Sigh, with no other alternative I traced again the basic front and back sized medium and set about trying to restore alterations which made it a TNT.  Easier written than done because I make lots of notation on the basic piece but in subsequent copies only note the current changes.  So I did which I could remember and compared as best as possible to the neck-darted back and button-placket front. Then hoped for the best which created issues down the line.  having the basics in hand I proceeded to my inspiration piece

I’m being inspired by  the Afternoon Blouse by Jennifer Lauren.  A PDF pattern is available in her store  which I didn’t buy. I hate PDF patterns and avoid them as much as possible. I hate printing all the pages, then assembling them. Then they never stay taped together so I need to either trace the pattern or struggle with missing pieces. What’s more, I have little faith that any pattern is going to fit me the way I want.  Sadly, I’m passed the days when a simple tuck for a BWL (back waist length adjustment) makes a pattern fit.  I’m  usually looking at a possible 8-10 alterations and lengthy fitting process. Well I have become smarter and found that some patterns are easier to fit but this is not one of them As much as I drooled over the neckline, I could not spend the $$$ needed to work with a difficult-to-fit me pattern.  Instead, I worked with my TNT, the Tabula Rasa Blouse version.  After tracing and then altering the front and back pieces for fit (as best as possible), I set about adding a front pointed tab to my front pattern.  First I added a 3/8″ front seam allowance and extended it up above the shoulder line. Not that I need it that far, that just where my big ruler ended. Then I guesstimated that the button should be at the fullest part of the bust.  I can tell you that I have pretty routinely shifted button placement around so that one would be right on that line. In fact, I’ve often wondered why they even indicate individual button placement on a pattern because everyone ends up shifting that button to the best place for them and then rearranging the other buttons for a pleasing effect.  Anyway, I drew a horizontal line from my bust point out across the front. I was using pencil here and dotted in my first distal point about 2″ from the CF line. Then placed a 2nd point 2″ above and a 3rd 2″ below on the CF stitching line. Now I could draw a triangle extending from the center front. Didn’t seem big enough.  Changed those points to 4″. Whoa! Too big. I’m over-weight but not really a big girl. I adjust the points back, then back again.  I stopped at 2.5″ .  Picked up my curve. Found a nice curve from shoulder point to the furthest triangle point and drew my neckline curve.  Add 3/8″ for seam allowances and I’m done.

It did take a few minutes and, at this point, I’m unsure of the final results.  My plan was to cut 2 fronts, then slice off the point from the left side.  However when it came time to sew, I kept both points. I realized what I’d done after I’d topstitched around the neckline, twice.

Oh well. Some things are what they are.  I made a mental note to cut that off for the next version.  Wonder if I will remember.

My front button:

Is a huge thing.  I almost didn’t get it into the buttonhole foot of my Dream Machine

My foot is similar to this but not exactly the same.

The Dream Machine using this foot, automatically measures the perfect buttonhole for your button. Like I said this old button was almost too big.

It was definitely too heavy for the rayon challis fabric even though my facing was cut from a poly cotton shirting fabric which was itself interfaced. My solution was the time-honored practice of sewing a 2nd button on the private side and directly beneath the big button

It’s a bit tricky. This button is old, I’m thinking 40’s, 50’s but was just what I thought I needed: a big focal point

I wanted to bring attention to that unusual button placket which seemed to get lost in the stripe fabric. I even top stitched twice around the neckline trying to break attention away from the stripes.  In that respect, the stripe fabric was not a good choice. Sort of like setting  up a 60,000 stitch embroidery that doesn’t show up. What’s the point of so much effort if it is just going to disappear.

Front picture shows one of the pattern issues which developed. Well, tissue issue. The original pattern is fine. My alterations, well they can make unexpected changes. Here’s one, the sleeves, which have been used previously and are fitted for the front-placket blouse pattern, are too long.I did notice that as soon as I tried it on but haven’t correct it, even now.  I seem to remember trimming the shoulder  a 1/2″ in length but couldn’t find that info.  I was waiting to see the blouse on me to decide if it is the shoulders or the sleeve which need to be shortened .

Having seen the pics, I’m thinking……. a little of both i.e. 1/4″ from the shoulders and 1/4″ from the sleeve. It’s an easy tweak even when done in two places and I will be much more satisfied with this blouse in the future.

Ummm so what else.  Well the side view was a surprise

When I was sewing the front was 1″ longer then the side front. Both sides. But the back matched perfectly.  I pinned the sleeve-side unit to the front and back (as in the instructions), took the pins out and pressed both pieces before pinning again.  Pinned the second sleeve-side unit into place and discovered it too had the 1″ difference. So I stitched it that way and trimmed 1″ from the bottom of the blouse. (Also folded the front tissue up 1″).  To my surprise the front is just dramatically rising.  First thought, this can’t be sitting correctly on my shoulders.  But it is. Or it isn’t far off. This will need some careful walking to determine what really needs correcting. The back matches. The notches match. The sleeve notches match. How did the side front get shorter than the side back? A mystery I must solve because..

I will be making both this TRB and this tabbed version in particular in the future.  Not next week. I mean I won’t be making the tabbed version next week. I very well could make a different TRB version.  I love this pattern because it was so easy to fit as well as being flattering and easy to sew.  You can’t get much better than that. Oh wait, yes you can. From time to time, the designer, Rae Cumbie offers Variations. These are templates to use for easily creating style variations to the basic pattern.  Love it!

This Tabbed version is especially interesting to me.  I made one tab, how about several?  Mine is 2.5X2.5″, other sizes are possible. I’m not even sure the 2.5×2.5 is the best on me.  I placed my tab bust level, how about moving it up? Or down (especially on a jacket)? I made the pointed tab,  if you buy the PDF pattern  Jennifer Lauren includes a rounded tab and some other style variations. But beyond style, I also want to perfect the technique. I haven’t worked a lot with plackets of this sort.  I have a “magic placket” pattern with which I can stitch 3 sides of a box and create a rectangular tabbed opening after it’s all folded and pressed correctly. But this sticking-out tab is a little different. Not something I’m familiar with and it sets my mind to thinking……


Faux Surplice

Returning to the much-loved Tabula Rasa Tee pattern but moving posts about it to the Block Party Blog because I don’t wish to make endless duplicates of the TRT but I love the fit and the ease of sewing. Which means I need to find easy ways to keep the TRT looking different; cute; fresh which is a perfect subject for the Block Party.

I bought the Clever Crossing Variations

several months  ago.  I’ve already used it to make a Surplice Front for my Autumn 6PAC. To me there are 3 variations rather than the 5 advertised because I think the Shaped Band and Curved Front are almost the same, as is the Cross Over Yoke and Full Front Cross Over Yoke. To be honest, I’m unlikely to sew ‘real’ surplice fronts.  I’ve never solved the gaping problem. Oh I’ve tried innumerable tweaks, but they all fail before the end of the day.  What works for me is some sort of Faux Surplice which is what I will be doing using the Yoked Surplice.

Well, it’s what I intended to do before running into some unexpected issues. I had traced the pieces for the yoke at the same time that I traced the Surplice Front for the 6PAC. So now I pulled them out to see how they worked. I understand the concept, but sewing my fitted T pattern pieces with the new yoke pieces aint gonna work. They just won’t stitch together smoothly. Let me assure you I don’t think that the drafting is the issue. Rather it is possible I didn’t read instructions correctly or I’ve made more changes to the TRT pattern than I remember. Also possible, I trimmed bits and pieces when my rotary cutter went wild.  I opted to skip finding out what caused the difference and go straight to creating pieces that do work together.  I cut a piece of aisle runner long enough to copy my front piece and  folded it in half. I traced with the CF on the fold.  When  trimmed of the excess tissue, I had a full front i.e. both left and front sides joined in one piece.  Using the left shoulder template from the Variations, I traced the curve on the left shoulder of my new full front. I cut apart along that line and added 1/4″ seam allowance only to the new left piece. I think the SA is already on the other piece.  Will find out for sure when I sew everything together.

I planned to used the left over pink polyester rib knit for binding before I even finished that failure of a garment.  So now I cut a nice long piece 2.5″ wide.  I laid out my pattern on  an ITY knit printed in sort of a Bargello pattern. It’s very abstract and once cut apart hard to see the Bargello. I stitched the CB seam, the front darts and attached the fronts and back together only at the shoulder. Then I folded the band of rib knit in half, pressed and basted it along the neckline.  I basted it twice. Three times until I was satisfied it was laying snugly.  Then I serged. One long sweep joining the band all around that most interesting neckline.  Then I attach the left shoulder to the front( up till now it had been dangling free). Time for dinner. I put the unfinished top on a hanger and trotted upstairs.

When I returned the next day, I was horrified; the neckline that I carefully basted 3 times was rippled and flopping about:

Yep that fabric that was lousy in its entirety as a top and was nasty as just banding. I’m actually glad DH interrupted me for dinner.  I much prefer having this happen before construction is complete.  I threaded  3/8″ lingerie elastic through the rib knit band securing it under the cross and again on the side seam.

I cut my sleeve short enough for  a 3″ wide cuff (which I cut 6″ X 10.5″) and added the left over rib knit in the seam which joins cuff to sleeve.

Here’s why I love the TR jacket and T:  I sew this little bit; then this little bit.  Stop to do this little thing. Suddenly, I’m putting in the hem and I’m done. It is hardly more effort than an old fashioned and ugly T shirt. I did test my cover stitch before putting the garment under the foot for hemming.  That burnt me on the BS145 version garment.  Nasty fabric anyway.   To my surprise I had to crank the pressure down a half turn.  I don’t recall turning it up, which I do when I want pin tucks.

Of course I added shoulder pads. Without shoulder pads, I have no shoulders.  Then I took pics.

I think it is really cute. Love it.


BSS145 Cowl Collar: A Successful Failure

I’ve had this pattern, Bresnan Studios 145…

… for 2 or 3 years.  I bought it specifically for the cowl which is a separate piece.  Most cowl blouses have incorporated the cowl into the neckline of the pattern. Makes sense but it also makes the blouse require more fabric.  The BSS145 cowl can actually be cut from a  completely different fabric which would lessen the amount of fabric even more. Which would make it excellent choice for those “whoops not enough fabric” situations.  The tunic itself, is a basic T-shirt with short flutter sleeves. Bresnan Studios.com is closed, sigh, but the patterns are still available in her etsy shop.  I believe  her original intention was to develop a pattern line of women’s clothing in which all the parts would be interchangeable. Great idea, and similar to Peggy Sager’s (Silhouette Patterns) original thought, but didn’t seem to really take off.

This pattern has languished in my stash a few years. I’m always intending to make it but struggling so much with fit that I didn’t get to it.  I pulled it out this week because I’m seeing so many cowl neck garments for sale.  They are even starting to show up on my rural-casual friends. I think it’s trending!  So, I pulled it out and then said “Crap. Have to fit a whole new pattern. At least it doesn’t have any weird pieces to fuss with.”  Then I thought, why fit yet another T-shirt? So I pulled out Silhouette Patterns 195, the Sweater Set (and Peggy’s own favorite).  SP195 has become my goto basic knit top. I’m using SP195 so much that this and future posts in which 195 is utilized be at my Block Party blog.

The tissue stage of my project is very short. I folded out the sheet of 195, traced the collar

also traced the front and back neckline with a little of the shoulder and armscye to make my template(s).


I pulled out 195 front, back and slim sleeve pieces.  I place them on my fabric (a shiny polyester knit).  I trace the neckline of 195 with a purple pen but cut the rest of the front and back.  Removed the pattern pieces and placed the BSS145 front and back necklines on my fabric roughly aligned with my the traced neckline. I goofed here, so please learn from my mistake. The front shoulder/neckline needs to be cut wider than the back because the collar will fill in part of the front shoulder/neckline. I offset both front and back about 1/2″.

It is a fairly easy and common construction.  The pieces are cut. Front darts stitched and the cowl stitched into the front neckline. Back is cut (for me it needs a CB seam to accommodate my round back alteration) and a back neck facing is finished and attached. The cowl is tucked at specified points (be sure to transfer all the notches from the pattern pieces); then front and back shoulders are aligned; the back neck facing folded around the shoulder sandwich and then the shoulders stitched.  If done correctly, the shoulders are inverted and you have a lovely smooth neckline inside and out.  Trouble for me is I can rarely align the sandwich correctly and achieve the smooth neckline. After 3 tries on only one shoulder, I gave up and aligned front with back shoulder; added a little SAS to hold it in place and then stitched following by serge finishing the shoulder seams.  I like to ensure the shoulder seam stays hidden; so I fold and press that seam in position and secure it with a tack stitch.  I do this nicely.  It isn’t obnoxious, but it is visible.

The rest of the construction typical and easy T-shirt, i.e. insert sleeves, stitch side seams; stitch hems. Oh but I goofed again.  I did not test my coverstitch before zipping through the hems. They had to be ripped out which is an agonizing 45 minute job compared to the 7 or so minutes putting the hems in.  I tested before trying again, but this fabric would not cooperate. It insisted upon tunneling and gathering. I think this is the first fabric I could not tame through adjusting tensions and adding WSS.  I top stitched 2 lines to simulate cover stitching. Then discovered that the 30% stretch this fabric tested at, was not enough. My knit top was definitely too tight across back and biceps. OK this is why I make 1/2″ seam allowances.  I rip out the side seam/sleeve stitching and serge the  seams adding 1″ to the body and 1/2″ to the biceps. But got to tell you if this poly happens to shrink at all, this top will have a short life span.  BUT that isn’t the worse. The knit is rumpled during wear. Sat mouth-watering on the shelf. Hung beautifully on the hanger. On my body, Yuck!  Well I’ve had this problem before. Nice slick camisole takes care of it. NOT THIS TIME:

UGLY! It’s the fabric.  I’ve made this pattern several times.  I have had to manage ease. Did have an issue with sleeves.  All solved. The pattern is a keeper. I’m just glad I don’t have any other cuts in my stash.  It’s the kind of fabric you can’t even use for muslins because ‘the read’ will not be true.  I told DH I wouldn’t wear it unless I could cover it with a vest or something.

But it’s not a total failure. I love the cowl.  I have a template for future use. I understand how to cut the associated pieces and construct.  I have visions of style changes to the cowl. Because it is the separate piece, it is malleable and transferable. So the garment is a failure, but the pattern a success!