Walmart Short Shrug

I’ve shared the inspiration

for today’s shrug back in June of 2017. It is a big comfy garment which I’ve already copied once.

Thing is, it’s mess. It’s not really a flattering garment and in the wrong fabric would add pounds to my frame.  Also, it’s not as well-behaved as is SP083.  

or the Walmart Short Ruana shared a few days ago.

But both SP083 and the Walmart Long Shrug are really easy to sew.  What I set out to do, and the reason why this post is here in the Block Party, was to take the basic measurements of both Walmart Long Shrug and SP083 and arrive at something in the middle. So I measured. I measured the Walmart Long Shrug, the SP083 and the Walmart Short Ruana.  When I put together SP083, I didn’t understand what was the back or the armscye or the front. Now, I’ve got it worked out in my mind.  I decided that the width should be my wing span (52″) minus a cuff; and the depth, the center back should be the same as the Short Ruana (30″).   I also cut 2 cuffs 14″ long and 2 neckline/front bands 52″ long that were joined to make a circle. Notice that I didn’t specify a 2nd number for the width of the cuffs and neckline?  I planned a finished 2″ + SA 1/4″. Should be cut as 4.5″ wide but I cut 9″ wide. I goofed. Didn’t really notice until I was done and it may have been a Freudian mistake as I like the finished garment.

As desired, it is both well-behaved i.e. sleeves aren’t in my soup and not catching on things as I walk by and it is attractive:

Partly the measurements but of course lots to do with the fabric:

Thinking of soft wraps, I purchased several fabrics recently from This is one of them. I thought it was a knit but close examination shows it is a burn-out with the burn-out forming the clearly recognizable feather and fan knitting pattern. Stretch is minimal. It’s not knit and no Lycra content. It does collapse because of the holes into something a bit smaller and it does hang close to the figure also due to the holes.

It’s an interesting fabric that was a bear for sewing.  I tried stabilizing with gelatin. My first foray into gelatin-stabilizer. I dissolved 2 packets of gelatin in about a cup of boiling water adding 2 gallons when all the sand was dissolved. I soaked the fabric in the gelatin solution for about 45 minutes mostly because I was waiting for the washer to finish the current load. Once the washer was empty I added my fabric and the solution — just poured it in– and set the cycle to spin and drain. So the gelatin was not further diluted. When the cycle finished, I hung the fabric to dry.  Was a bit disappointed that my fabric wasn’t stiff when dry. I’m supposing that the spin must have thrown out most of the gelatin as well as most of the water. Still it did have a little more body, which helped. But as you see above I had to use clips. Pins would not stay in place.

This is a serger garment, i.e. not a stitch at the sewing machine is required although you could sew it instead of serging.  I liked how the big ol’ serger foot grabs and holds  3 layers of mostly holes.  I planned for 1/4″ seams but I serged some off because the fabric curled like knit. Once curled it wouldn’t unfurl. Simplest solution was just serge off the curl leaving a nice flat seam.

I wanted to share a visual comparison of the Long Shrug, SP083 and this Short Shrug but my camera skills are lacking. I could not get it all in one frame. So I’m putting out here 2 frames next to each other and hoping it appears that way on your device.

I’ve lined up the 3 shrugs on their left edge (left pic).  That’s them again on the right but due to pic manipulations I’m not sure how happened, they are larger on the right than left.What I hope it shows it the Walmart Long Shrug at 56″ is the longest. SP083, the shortest but widest, is about 2/3″ as long. My Short shrug (on top) is slightly shorter and slightly narrower than the Long Shrug but both longer and shorter than SP083. This Short Shrug, is my preference. SP083, even as a knit binds. I don’t have complete freedom of movement. My Short Shrug with no stretch does not bind. It is imminently comfortable. I think I want my Short Shrug just a little shorter. I really think I would have preferred the planned 2″ wide bindings in lieu of the 4″ I created.  Still and all, it’s a nice wrap. I think I need more.


Side Note:  My issues with SP083 could be solved by making another size.  I believe there are 2 more larger sizes drafted.  But then I think, why bother?  I like this one and it takes far less fabric. This one is a known winner. SP083, still a question.




Up Cycling #2

I don’t think this one is  done, done, all the way done. It too was a knee-length dress sewn for a December anniversary dinner and is a few years old.  I trimmed 9″, but without my realizing,  this dress must have been longer than the dress shared yesterday.  So I trimmed 9″ same as the beaded beauty and then added 3″ wide off-white lace trim. During wear, I think it far too long, plus I find the flash of white at the hem to be annoying.  It was amazingly quick (did I fail to mention that the beaded beauty took less than an hour?).  It will be even faster to cut off the lace and make a plain hem. Cover-stitched, perhaps?

Looking at these pics, I think the proportion is OK. But wearing…. I don’t know.

Up Cycling

I’ve made dresses the last few years to wear at our anniversary dinner.  Since anniversary is in the cold winter, I made long sleeves.  Because DH requested, I made knee-length. I’m not really satisfied with that particular look. Unlike Peggy Sagers, who I’ve come to admire, I don’t feel the only proportion which matters is length of top compared with length of skirt. Although I do agree that those lengths should vary with the person’s height. I also believe that a person’s weight has a dynamic effect on clothing proportions–because I’ve seen the results on me. Bottom line, now that I’m chubby, I don’t really like these knee-length dresses on me although I did 40 pounds ago. The anniversary dresses were worn once and then languished in my closet unselected for summer because of the long sleeves; unselected in winter because of the knee-length skirt (legs too cold and wind whistling across the nether regions); and always bypassed for something with better proportions.  When I changed out seasonal clothing, I decided these should go to the Goodwill. I loved the fabrics though and so just before the trip to make the donation, I pulled them out of the boxes.  I had re-evaluated and decided they could easily become blouses which I will wear in the winter.

My first up cycle is a black ITY with all sorts of lovely glittery designs. Great for winter.  Initially I had thought of trimming 9″ from the hem and adding a trendy note with black lace. Then I remembered some beads I bought July 2016.



I was particularly fascinated b the black beaded in the upper right corner (and just below). They were, I thin anodized with a metallic coating with colors that reflected the glitter of my dress.

So I cut 9″ off the hem. Then I put painters tape 3″ above the newly cut edge and made fringe by rotary cutting every 1/2″.

I wasn’t sure if I had enough beads to put one ever other fringe, so mine are placed on every 4th fringe.  I slide them on then knot the bottom of the fringe.

My pictures just don’t do them justice. They are glittery, shiny. Bounce the light off in all directions. It really has a holiday appeal.

Possibly, I would wear these with my ‘black, dress jeans’ .

I also have a short black skirt purchased in November and I’m planning on making a flocked/burnout velvet pant using 5682.

I hope I have the pic setting correct.  I’m hoping you can click on the pics and see an enlarged view.


Umm, probably enough pics in one post.  I have another up cycle that I will share tomorrow.


Jeannie’s Top

Peggy was highly enthused and gave excellent instructions. I really appreciated her cautioning that many of her measurements were her style choices.  It wouldn’t matter if our measurements were somewhat off or if we used different measurements, fabric type or pattern bases.  She used SP127, but specifically said 195 could be used as well. Having just finished fitting 195, I knew that was going to be my base.

My next thought was fabric.  I loved her use of stripes and wanted to duplicate that. Actually, I wanted to duplicate the whole thing because she’d worked out the problems. Isn’t that why we buy patterns; because someone else has worked out the details that make for a good garment? So I hunted for knit stripes in the stash. I’ve picked up stripe after stripe for other projects and said “no” because I didn’t want to give the attention they needed. Now when I want to use a stripe, I can’t find one. Part of my issue was finding a stripe with an interesting reverse side.  At best I could find stripes that were yarn dyed and therefore the same color on both sides instead of stripe one side glaring white the other. Mostly though I was finding 1-1/2″ yard cuts. Because I needed to cut 2 full fronts, I didn’t want to start with less than 2 yards. (I was right about this. When finished I had a 30″ wide by 35″ long left over. Not even enough for a tank top.) I finally decided if I couldn’t find a duo-sided fabric, I would make one.  Out came the paints.

A short hunt thought the stencils and I had one I wanted to use.  I spread out my fabric and spent a delightful 2 hours stenciling the bigger part of 2 yards of fabric.

When I finished stenciling, I pulled out the gold spray glitter

and had a go at it.  I have used the bottle before and ran out of glitter before I ran out desire to bling. I unscrewed the top and started dribbling the remains. When the glitter was all gone


I let it dry over night. Which was OK since I also needed to hem and photo my last 195 plus I needed to do some housework and stuff.  The next day (Day 2)  I pulled the fabric off my cutting table and pressed it. There was a surprise in store.  My painting ghosted.

From the right side, which I planned on being visible for most of the garment, the painting ghosted through. And I LIKED it!  Maybe I wouldn’t want this for a different project or maybe a different color would have been objectionable. But this fabric, this color, this stencil, it was an interesting development.  I pressed the fabric to heat set the paint.  I always let my fabric painting dry 24 hours and then heat set it. That may not be necessary since I added fabric medium to acrylic craft paint. But it’s what I’ve always done because it’s always worked. My painting never fades or flakes so I keep letting it dry over night and heat setting. Of course, YMMV.

Then I started with the pattern alterations.  I copied the front and started plotting points and drawing lines. As I said before, Peggy gave good instructions and I copied them down pretty well too:


I needed to rewatch only part of the video, the part where she shows how much of the neckline to duplicate. Although I’m sharing a schematic here  I did not make a separate left front.

I’m running low or Aisle Runner, my favorite pattern tissue paper, and decided to conserve by marking the opposite with the two different lines.  Besides the biggest difference was the bottom point is extended 7″ on the right front; 4″ on the left front which makes a huge difference as far as length and angle of the diagonal lines.  I drew the new lines and then folded up the tissue when it was time to cut the left front.

I copied  the back. The side would need to be shortened 3″ which I did not want to do to my now knit-sloper. I traced the back, then canted it out the recommended 3″ and traced the new shape. I needed to work on that curve since I didn’t hear Peggy give numbers just “establish a pretty curve”.  It took me 3 tries but I got there.

No change to the sleeve.  When finished my pieces looked like this (except on aisle runner paper.)

I trued the lines.  Found that the dart legs had to be evened and the back to sides needed a little tweaking.

I laid out the fabric and shifted the pattern pieces around for a few minutes. Finally, thankful this was a 2-way stretch, polyester, knit I laid the pieces out cross grain and cut the back and 2 fronts.  Peggy’s choice for finishing the garment is raw edges which I dislike. I have seen a few artful uses of raw edges but for the most part they look to me like you just gave up. Besides, I need more than just stay stitching to stabilize a neck edge. I can stretch out a stay stitched neck edge before I get the sleeves inserted!  That’s why I usually cut and run to the ironing board to apply fusible stay tape.  This time I cut. Stitched those french darts (noticed I’m not swearing at them) and then applied FOE. 3 times. The first time I applied the FOE to the side seam and hem of the right front. Ripped that out and applied to the neck edge and the flounce; repeat for left front. I carefully aligned and pinned the fronts before stitching them and then stitched the shoulder seams together. At that point, I eagerly took a peek in the mirror. Instead of delight, I said “OH MY GAWD”


That took me back to the time when I was late to church one Sunday and the only choir robe left was the XX XXL that was too big for the largest choir member we’d ever had. It swamped me. Worse yet was the chasuble? (not sure what that big white-collar like thing is called). That’s how the above pic looked to me,,, singing in the choir in robe too big. That’s all the congregation thought about that service.

LESSON LEARNED:  Things made for Peggy’s 5’7″ frame may not be exactly right for my own 5’3″ frame.

I start trimming the long diagonal edges finally shortening the front 4″ and reducing the flounce 2″ in width. It wasn’t until I added soft pleats into the flounce at the neck that I was satisfied.

I called it a day and went upstairs. Next day, Day 3, I started by doing pattern work for my next project. I like to start the pattern work and let it sit over night allowing me to think a bit. AFterward I finished the neck edge.  I was quite concered at how the front gapped:

Apparently the flouce, even trimmed was too heavy for the neck to support.  I planned on using FOE to finish the neckline but wasn’t sure FOE would be enough support. So I fused 1-1/4″ interfacing along the front neck edge

That’s held in place only by the FOE application. I’m hoping it does not ‘come free’ and curl. You’ll see in the final pics that the neck needs this support.

I cut the sleeves, hemmed them and attached to the blouse; stitched the side seams and finally pinked all the raw edges.  It was better than nothing but still I’m not satisfied with the edge finish. I may do something else with the edges or even something else to the blouse. See, I don’t have the enthusiasm for the finished blouse that Peggy did

The color is pretty. The fit is pretty good. That back is sweet. What an easy change to go from T-shirt style to Swing!

Even the sides look good.  There’s very few and then they are small drag lines.  It looks full and loose like the styles I’m seeing on TV, yet except for the back, I didn’t add any ease. Definitely is a high-lo hem but at a length I think is nice on me.

But my enthusiasm is definitely down a notch from Peggy’s level.

It may be the different color. Or the fact I have greater contrast between flounce and the rest of the garment than Peggy’s duo-sided stripe. I also did not create the asymmetrical hem that she did. Or it may just be a little too different for me.  The telling question is “Will you make this again?” Well the sleeve is already ‘kept’.  It is my slim, knit sleeve sloper. I plan to use it as a base for other knit sleeves. Heck I plan to use it and the armscye as my knit sleeve sloper.  The back I love. The swing back and rounded hem really are lovely. I definitely will use that again and I’ve kept it. The front is questionable.   OK I won’t make exactly this same garment again. For starters, I don’t have any more of that stripe fabric. But I’d also like to tweak the pattern to create Peggy’s asymmetry but at a length and width that are flattering for me in place of Peggy’s original dimensions.  Also I can see really working that flounce. It doesn’t have to go all the way to the hem. It is entirely possible to stitch the front seam with a portion to the inside and the rest out there in public view. That flounce can change in other ways too. The 12″ horizontal can be moved up or down; changed from diagonal line to curve; meet the neck closer to CF or further away; can be gathered, pleated or even made from contrasting fabric. It has a lot of promise. So I will not create exactly the garment you see above a second time. I will not create another version for a few months, maybe not until the spring season. BUT I will be using these pattern pieces again. It will appear in my wardrobe in the future.  I give Peggy 2 THUMBS UP for this version.


Sleeveless Armscye Template

When I’m watching Peggy Sagers on YouTube, I know part of the reason she can go so fast, can be so successful with her sewing, is because she has already followed her own advice. Peggy already has templates for  important to fit pieces like armscyes and sleeves. I’ve just got my first armscye template. Yep B6299 gave me a sleeveless armscye template that I am 100% happy about. I can finally tell Peggy (or anyone) that I like a 20″ sleeveless armscye. THIS is my favorite. The 20″ armscye  is perfect for my body.

However, it was drafted in 4 pieces: front, side front, back, side back. Once my Linen 6299 was sewn and fitted, I took the time to carefully copy the armscye and create a 2 piece template.  I think my ironing board provided the best support for these small, curved pieces.

Before finishing the armscye, I placed a large scrap of tracing material on my ironing board; then secured my armscye on top.  I carefully  traced  the back armscye.

Added seam allowances; 2″ depth; and marked everything I could think of (seam allowances, back, front, pattern number. Repeat for front half; trim excess tracing material.

I can repeat this armscye over and over and over, Every time/any time I want a sleeveless armscye, I’ve got MY perfect one.


Before and After AKA Upcycle

I purchased a sun dress last year.  Off the rack. In a gas store. What can I say?  It was pretty. Sturgis was over and the stores were clearing out their Sturgis stuff so it was cheap.  I loved the color. DH said it was cute. I wore it a couple of times at the end of summer and put it away when I made the seasonal wardrobe change.  This year I pulled it out and took pics.Why on earth did DH think this was cute?

It was one of those garments I folded up and put in the donate box.

But it haunted me. I loved the color; design; and ITY fabric. I started seeing these tank top dresses everywhere

Seriously, these were in my catalogs; in the line up at QVC, HSN and Evine.  These things are little more than a  length of fabric gathered to a shortened tank top.  However, the prices make you want to cry. This trend also dove tailed with another style desire of mine: the empire top.  An empire, when done right for me, is very flattering.  I think I can figure out the level the empire on which the empire needs to sit on me.  Also think I can figure out how much ease I need (my empire tops are best when they don’t accent my tummy).  It’s keeping the empire line level that has me buffaloed.  Thank fully, I’m not alone.  I’ve seen a number of these tank dresses and other empire styles; on slim models; and the empire is not level it slants upward at CF.  I really don’t like that look. To me that’s preggars. A look I had to wear for 9 months some 30+years ago and have no desire to repeat.

So I put both ideas together, i.e. the tank top dress trend with my need to adapt the empire for my figure and decide to pull the discarded dress out of the donate box.  I cut away the shoulder straps close to the stitching line.  The elastic shirring was a bit more of a challenge but I managed to get it unraveling and ripped out all 5 rows.  I do have an issue.  There are little holes where the shirring used to be:

I turned the fabric up side down placing what used to be the shirred bodice at hem level.  Hopefully the holes are not noticeable to anyone else. Heck they may even close up a little in the wash.  This is one of those places where my experience trumps Peggy’s opinion.  I don’t get these little holes if I use a ball point needle in a size 10.  I’m sure Peggy is right;  that the manufacturer used a standard size 70 sharp needle and the mfg was not expecting me to remove the shirring.  But I’d rather not have those holes and wish the mfg had followed my experience instead of industry standard as stated by Peggy. . Well, water under the bridge.

The other issue I have is the CB seam at the hem. Well used to be at the shirred bodice.  It’s a little rough

Ok pic doesn’t show my concern so hopefully no one else will notice either.

From my stash I retrieved  a black ponte remnant.  Looking back, I think I saved the remnant  with the thought of using it for bindings.  It is a little heavy but for a test garment probably OK.

And this is a test. Because I don’t know precisely what to do to make my empire line level.  I traced the front and back of my knit sloper from shoulder to waist.  I saw no point in tracing below the waist when I planned to discard all that anyway.  I started by altering the back pattern piece. I tried on a striped top that I like and measured down to the stripe level equal to where I thought I wanted my empire. That number is 4.5″.  I measured down the side seam 4.5″ drew a horizontal line across to CB.  From there to the hem was 1.25″ excess tissue which I trimmed away.  My sloper contains a neckline dart the result of rotating my RBA so that I don’t need a center back seam. I rotated the neckline dart to shoulder; moved it to armscye edge  and  trimmed away.  I trimmed all the excess tissue

and proceeded to alter the front.

I had trimmed 1.25″ from the back to make the side seam 4.5″ long. So now I trimmed 1.25″ from the bottom of the front.    Suzy Furrer has you move the bust dart to the hem when converting your sloper to a knit block. How would that work since I’d already cut off the hem?  I didn’t know. So instead I slashed from side seam to CF 4 times.  Each of the resulting wedges were overlapped until my front side seam was the same length as my back side seam, 4.5″. Unfortunately, my CF looks like the dog’s hind leg i.e. bent.

My front sloper has an armscye dart. If left In my tank top, the armacye will gap or I’ll need to sew a dart. Instead I rotated it to the empire line which thankfully straightened out my CF once again.

I turned my attention to the neckline and armscye of both pieces. My sloper is drafted for the typical high  T-shirt neckline and shoulder.  I want my tank top neckline to be lower both in front and back and I want a narrower shoulder. About 2.5″ at the shoulder should do but I’ll want seam allowances too.  I drafted from front neckline to be 6.5″ deep and 1″ further away from my physical neck. I changed my back neckline to be 3″ deep and 1.25″ away from my physical  neck. Why the difference? Something I learned from Suzy Furrer is that if you move the back neckline just 1/4″ further from the neck than the front , the back will pull on the front and remove any gaping. I drafted my shoulder to be 3″ wide.  Trimmed all the excess tissue and stepped back to take a look:

The back looks about as expected. I’m really cautious about the front piece. The empire line sweeps upward pretty sharply. I walked the side seam about 3 times just to be sure front and back side seams were the same length.

I serged one shoulder. Added FOE to the neckline then stitched the other shoulder. I stitched the right-shoulder 1/8″ deeper than the left to accommodate my lower shoulder. Then I basted the side seams and slipped it on. While it is hard to tell much at that fitting,  I did decide to trim 1/2″ width both front and back but only at the empire. IOW removing  a wedge from the side seam which was  1/2″ wide at the empire zeroing at the armscye.

On these type dresses,  the skirt is usually gathered to the tank top. I’m not a fan of that look especially on me. It says preggars, again. But I wanted all the hem circumference.  I could have cut the fabric into an A-line shape. I opted instead to pleat the skirt to my top. The result:

Fit02 above


Sleek and smooth. Just what I wanted. Tank and skirt smoothly joined. No gathers to pucker or emphasize my tummy. Joy of all joys, my empire is sitting level.  That odd front piece works. My criticism is that I think I want the bodice longer.  I should have made the top at 6 or 7″ long.   After this fitting, I added a 1″ finished band to add at the bottom. I agree with Peggy that it’s a better look to stop the eye at certain places.  The neckline is one. The hem  another. So I have solid black at the hem (bottom) and again at my neckline (top) framing my stature.


I’m really pleased with this project.  I have a wearable dress and a good beginning empire.  I will not alter my empire tissue further. I will however copy it and make changes.  In addition to the empire being shorter than I prefer, my tank shoulders are still too wide. Possibly I could just indicate that a seam allowance needs to be trimmed if using FOE. I might also deepen either or both front/back neckline. Because it’s a tank.  Finally, the armscye is a bit high, especially for a tank.  But I’m still pleased.  I’ve made a very good start; and definitely have some impressive before and afters

Too much flare at the hem

oh and the humongous bust dart continue to occupy my mind. I do like a tent top but I don’t want every top I wear to stick out at the hem.  I decided to leave the bust dart alone, after all it is working and turned my attention to reducing the flare at the hem.  I aligned my hip curve by the waist and pivoted back and forth until I could remove about 1.5″ from the hem


Which creased a nice smooth side seam


At the same time, I tweaked my sleeve


I like to change the ease of the sleeve on the fly (so to speak) and folded out the excess. This sleeve makes a cylinder shape on my arm.


Could be a little tighter at the wrist or I may have stretched the wrist when I cover-stitched the hem. Basically it’s a nice sleeve neither too tight nor too loose.

I added a V-shaped embroidery


Not wanting to use FOE or a ribbing, I created facings, both front and back ..

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… using a light-weight, white knit which I interfaced with nylon tricot.

I’m not thrilled with the finished garment:

The ridge is from my back support.

For starters, this was forgotten in the closet whilst I was ill. After being ill for so long, I’m noticing that I have to deliberately get up and straighten my posture or I will walk about hunched over. No doubt my wonky posture is affecting the look.  The fabric has about 200% stretch, (I exaggerate) while my pattern was fit for about 30%. About half way through construction, I remembered why this particular fabric has been marinating in the stash for so long (about 25 years).  It’s mostly cotton. Not sure there’s any poly or nylon or other fiber.  Interestingly,  it recovers quickly the first few times it is stretched. But after that, it doesn’t recover as quickly or completely.  I remember that the longer I wore the first garment (made from this exact same fabric), the further it drooped. The scooped neckline was below my bra shortly after noon.  Also it tends to reveal rather than conceal as seen by the ridge in the pic above which is my back support (also needed more since my illness).

It’s one of those fabrics that has me asking, “Did I fit this pattern at all?”

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Sigh. Unfortunately I changed the pattern so even though fabric is clearly an issue, I can’t be sure I don’t have a pattern problem.

You know, sometimes I think I need to remove every elderly fabric from my stash. Even the 100% wools and silks. Modern fabrics are so much kinder to my figure. And easier to sew with.



Issues with CS1201 Knit Block

ETA: I wore this T-shirt half a morning and decided the sleeves were too tight. I turned them into quarter sleeves; laundered and placed my new summer T in with the other summer clothes. It is not a loss; a wadder; a big mistake. I still have a pretty, wearable garment. I just can’t wear it until late Spring. The pattern absolutely needs to altered with ease added from elbow to wrist. 

The biggest issue by far, is the rounding of my back and increased shoulder slope. They go hand in hand or at least correcting one seems to affect the other. I knew I needed to increase the back shoulder slope. Unfortunately it needs to be different amounts for each shoulder. (3/4″ right shoulder; 1/2″ left shoulder).  More critically is that the slope cannot be increased evenly.  I mean I can’t make a mark 1/2″ and then draw a line up to the shoulder point.  My shoulders have distinct angles and have double angles:


Maintaining the 1/2″ seam allowance, I tried offsetting the back shoulder 3/4″ at the armscye zeroing at about half way. Did the same on the right except it was offset 3/4″.

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Above: shoulders basted after offsetting for shoulder slope.

While the remaining diagonals and scoops disappeared across the back and below the shoulders, the back crept upward, easily visible from the front on both sides


as well as the side views;


My first thought, well was that I didn’t smooth everything into place. When that didn’t work, I thought maybe that 1/4″ tuck on the tissue removed too much ease.  I let out the center back seam as far as possible. Nope. Didn’t help. Not one iota.

Letting out the shoulder seams was a dumb idea and didn’t work either.  So I look around and think, ” where can I sew a wedge that will remove those drag lines?”    A few of the drag lines are just below the bust most are higher.  I didn’t think a wedge below the waist would help. Didn’t think just above the waist would help either.  Between underarm and bust dart did occur to me, but I really don’t have much length in that area.  The only logical place to me was the armscye. I opted to make a wedge 1″ above the cross back. Which worked perfectly  (the shoulders hug my own) but looked wonky.


I’ve never seen a dart in a back armscye.  Seen lots of yokes but just a dart? No. Never that I can recall.  I decided to stitch the wedges (one for each side) permanently and join them with a very narrow tuck (less than 1/8″). The result:


I dislike adding prominent lines on-the-fly like this.  I prefer to make such things on the tissue and cut while the fabric is flat. I’m pretty sure that I made the right amount of adjustment, but because I was fussing, trying to smooth out fabric, the right wedge was placed lower than the left. Which resulted in the slanted line above.

I may still have an issue lower down where drag lines typical of needed RBA have developed:


I question that because the lines were not there before hemming:


Also, I made a 1/4″, then 1/2″ and finally 3/4″ RBA on the woven sloper. The woven sloper showed no improvement with the 3/4″ RBA; only the 1/4 and 1/2″. Seemed at the time, that a 1/2″ RBA was the right choice. I made the RBA on the cross back line. Should it have been made further down?

Further considering the wedges, I wonder if the issue at the shoulder seam/back neck was due to the 1/2″ seam allowance.  I know for a fact that I can easily join 1/4″ seam allowances where a 1/2″ in the same place would have been a struggle.  I was reluctant to trim the shoulder seam allowances to 1/4″.  Maybe I should have been bolder.

Converting the wedges to a yoke has lots of possibilities since a yoke could be placed anywhere along the armscye although I probably should adjust the sleeve cap as well. (I didn’t this time. I eased the sleeve into the armscye. 1/4″ seam allowances helped with that.) Not sure that I want the yoke to be as low or lower than the front bust. I’m afraid that would require adjusting the side seams and hem.   I wonder if the wedges can be combined with the RBA.  Fit for Art recommends making the RBA and rotating to the neckline. That works, but I’d rather sew a single back seam than 2 darts.  I’d also prefer a single yoke seam to the 4-square thingy I’ve got up above.  I wonder if the wedges which are already noted on the pattern:


could be slashed 2″ (the length needed for the shoulder) and overlapped?  No the slash would have to go all the way across the back or I would have bubble. But I don’t want it to go all the way across because it would offset the RBA some.

The FRONT caused me only slight concern and that was the bust dart. Bit by the issue on the woven sloper, I cut a big box along the side seam at the end of the dart instead of cutting exactly on the lines. During fitting I carefully draped the bust dart; trimmed the seam allowances to 1/2″ and transferred the change to the pattern. Glad I did that because I added a bunch of fabric.  See the purple ink below:


All added fabric during fitting.  I’m just a mess at folding out a nice bust dart on tissue!

Ah, time to think.


********** I may update this post as I find other options.



CS1201: The Knit Block

I copied the final fitting changes back to my original tracing of size 16, CS1201.  After copying the changes, I folded the bust darts and adjusted the side seam. Spent an hour adjusting the bust dart depth and lines. Then I trued the seams and had to completely revise the bust dart. What a pain. But this block is now a wealth of information. It is showing a dart every place where I needed to make depth changes.  It’s possible I could move some of the darts to seams or merge with other darts. If I had the figure of 12-year-old boy (1) I could move the darts anywhere and (2) I probably wouldn’t need most of those darts. But I have a roly poly figure otherwise known as the mature-female body and there’s no question in my mind that some darts will not be able to move or not move in their entirety while retaining the fit I desire and have worked so hard to achieve.

Finally satisfied I labeled the original tracing ‘WOVEN 20170128″ on all pieces and proceeded to develop a Knit block/sloper. First up, make a clean copy with all final notations. I have several references for converting a woven block to knit block. I’m not a fan of the ‘cut one size smaller’ theory. Neither did I care for “Thousand Teeny Changes” two of my sources recommended.  I sorted through them and realized that (1) there is no standard; no reliable set of steps that will guarantee a fitted knit sloper. Whatever I do, the next step will be “make a test garment and adjust as desired”.  Once that realization struck me, I did some fast calculations and opted to take a 1/4″ tuck at cross back and cross front; and another 1/4″ tuck from shoulder through hem.  I took a 1/4″ tuck across the cap of the sleeve and then had to redraw the cap slightly.  This will be my basis. I plan to update it with needed fitting changes. But like the original tracing of CS1201, I don’t want to lose or mess-up this clean copy and so made a 2nd working copy.  On the working copy  starting with the BACK

(Back) move neckline darts to the center back. I will plan on always using a center back seam when using this back.  Move half the shoulder dart width to the armscye; the other half to the neckline.  Move 1/2″ the back waist dart to the center dart. Redraw the center back seam to include the new curvature.  I’d like to move the other 1/2″ of the waist dart to the side seam, but I’m worried the back side seam won’t match and work well with the front side seam  because….

Front mark the armscye dart as unsewn. Retain 1-3/4″ (7/8 deep dart); rotate the rest of the bust dart to the hem. I’m hoping that will add a little tummy room.  I realize I’m creating a bit of a ‘swing’ hem. For now, I’m just accepting that. Later I will consider how and how much of the swing to remove.   My front doesn’t need a waist dart. So nothing to move to the side seam.  Which is why I hesitated to move any portion of the back waist dart to the side seam.  This will be reconsidered in future garments.

I chose a rayon knit with 30% stretch. I actually purchased a few knits recently. I realized I didn’t have knit fabrics that would make good test garments. They were either too dark or didn’t have the right stretch or I didn’t have enough yardage for a front, back, plus long sleeve.   Hope for wearable test garments (I’m tired of throwing fabric into the trash), I looked specifically for busy prints that would hide fitting issues. I gave my fabric a whiff of starch as I was pressing; laid it out and cut only the front and back.

I used all-purpose thread in the bobbin and needle for stay stitching and the bust dart.  Switched to water-soluble thread for the seams.  I was really pleased with the first fitting. I think I have only 1 issue that I will correct (there’s another I’m ignoring) but I’ll write about that tomorrow.   It’s an issue that I need to think through. Considering, my actions and the results as well as possible options and then writing it all out will help me do the needed thinking…. and planning.  So with minimal fitting, I was done. The 1/4″ tucks were perfect. The sleeve cap was good.  Rotating a portion of the bust dart worked as expected.


I finished the neckline with FOE; hemmed by top stitching. Another goof, I like my sleeves marked with minimum ease. I made it too little. I opted to create a vent in the cuff but my T-shirt may be a candidate for half or 3/4 sleeves later on.

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Not surprising, my left side is smoother and looks better than the right. I did work on the uneven shoulder issue, but it needs more consideration. As you can see, the drag lines from the bust are nothing like they were on the finished woven sloper. I’m not entirely sure if I removed too much ease from the front or if I need to take up more in the bust darts and then of course rotate to the hem. I did hate those big honkin’ nearly 3″ bust darts the woven sloper ended up having. Over all, to me, this looks good. Better than any RTW, I can buy.


In only one fitting, I’m in the tweaking stage. I’ll talk more about the back tomorrow but today just let me say, I’m not terribly unhappy with the back but I do see that a drag line formed starting at the shoulder. This is a typical line that says “Add an RBA ” or make it bigger.

Again, things I’ll think about when I write tomorrows post.  For now, I’m just terribly, terribly pleased with myself and my new sloper.


CS1201: Absolutely Usable!

Adding the gusset to the front between underarm and waist made a huge difference.  For the first time, I felt like I was nearing the end of this journey.
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I thought what I needed was to restore the darts that run under the bust dart, across side back across the other side and terminate beneath the other bust dart; then sleeve testing.  Can you imagine how upset I felt when adding the dart which cleans up all the little divots you see above, caused the deep diagonal at the bust to return?

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I hope it was the front dart and removed it but left the back in place. As you can see above, the back dart still affects the front pull lines. No  had to remove the entire dart, front, side, back, side front. That’s the only way to eliminate the pull lines at the side seam+bust.

I cut and added sleeves.  I wanted to know if the back was too wide.  I keep looking at it and thinking it’s just a smidge wide. But then I think, no a blouse WITH sleeves would need a little more room across the back.  My other question concerns the armscye total length.  Through pinching the shoulder, adding the front dart and pinching under the arm, I’ve removed 1-7/8 length.  My alteration instructions all say that when you tamper with the armscye, you need to restore it. I’m conflicted because this armscye sits about 1″ below my underarm.  If it were a knit, I’d want to raise it at least 1/2″.


If this were to be non-stretch sleeveless, I’d want snug it up to my body which would reduce length even more.  So the point now was to find out, if the back is too tight and how the armscye felt when the sleeve is inserted.

In pics below the sleeve on my right side was inserted without any changes to the sleeve cap. That side does still suffer with the not-totally-corrected lower-shoulder. The sleeve had to be ease to fit. I didn’t do a very good job. I kind of don’t care what it looks like. Just that it’s sewn well enough to determine comfort.

I lowered the cap 5/8″ for the sleeve inserted on the left. I left the front armscye dart unsewn but still had to be ease sleeve into armscye (and I didn’t do a real good job with the left either). I didn’t struggle with the easing and I like how the sleeve and shoulder are level as opposed to the poof of the right. That doesn’t mean I don’t occasionally like and use the poofier sleeve.

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Even though the back looks good, I’d rather have used a stretch woven. The back is just a bit tight; and here I thought it would be too wide.  Both armscyes feel good.  I also prefer the appearance of the left side sleeve but I’m keeping in mind that the right might be better if the lower, right-shoulder was fitted. The left just seems to hang better.  Sometimes I think it’s not just that my right shoulder is lower but that the arm is attached a little differently. Like a slightly different angle?   I really wanted to clean up the final drape lines on the front, but I prefer this to the drag lines radiating from the bust. Unless I get smarter in the future, I’ve decided to accept and like this near perfect fit and quit worrying about perfection.  This is close enough to be usable.


Some after thoughts. I transferred the last changes back to the tissue including lowering the sleeve cap. Made a note about extra ease across the back for non-stretch wovens.  Since the only discomfort is the back when sleeves are attached, I’m not changing the armscye and sleeve cap further, though I did make a note to leave the dart unsewn for sleeves.  I may work a little more with the sleeve and armscye, if I get smarter.

This new sloper contains so many possibilities. It has places marked for shoulder, armscye, bust, back and front waist.  My current plan is to rapidly trace the sloper, rotate darts are desired, add necklines and other changes as they occur to me on the fly.  It’s also good for fitting commercial patterns. Just need to keep in mind that the remaining drag lines in the sloper are probably going to reappear in the new pattern as well.  I’m looking forward to making a knit sloper and later on sleeveless styles. For now, it’s just a relief to once again have a usable-although not perfect-sloper.

Psst — I still need to correct the lower shoulder and I can’t guarantee I won’t be back making more fitting slopers in the future. This is good, but I think I can do better.