I should be tweaking the sleeve of CS1201 but my new Connie Crawford patterns arrived in the mail and I’m excited to see if good fit is as easy to achieve with the new slopers as it was with CS1201. I’m really hoping for the standardization I’ve become accustomed to with Burda and Ottobre designs. I love these magazines for the fact that once fit, I am the same size and make the same alteration on each and every pattern
I studied CS1207 and CS1204 trying to determine which to buy. At $20 per pattern, I really looked closely to determine the differences between the two. As far as I can tell they are the same plus CS1024 includess the Woven Dartless Sloper and then Mens T-shirt sloper
I started CS1204 by reading instructions. I feel it is important to point out that if you are looking for fitting instructions CS1201 is a better source. The booklet for 1204 is all about sewing. I found that the seam allowances are 3/8″ instead of the 5/8″ of 1201. Well that’s understandable. When knit patterns first started being marketed there was a big to do about the new 1/4″ SA. Thing is, after I fit a garment, I reduce most SA’s to 1/4″, the seam width my serger produces. I adapt my patterns to serge as much as possible. But while I’m fitting, I want a more width in the seam allowances. I also feel the Big 4 is onto something with their consistent 5/8″ SA. They have repeatedly and freely admitted that 5/8″ is not the best SA for all seams. The reason the Big 4 continue to use the 5/8″ SA (and the reason the inconsistency between CS1201 and 1204 disappointed me) is that a consistent seam allowance is less confusing for the dressmaker; that would be Me. So now I have to remember that Conni uses a 5/8″ SA for woven and 3/4″ for knits. Can I do this? Probably not. I use such a variety of patterns it’s probably better if I just remember to write the SA on the fitted pattern and look it up again if I ever need to use the original.
Next, I checked sizes. Finding another, in my mind inconsistency. CS1201 used standard 10, 12 etc closely aligned with RTW sizing. CS 1204 switches to the ubiquitous S,M, L sizing which typically fits no-one at all. I checked the measurements charts. In CS1201 both my bust and hips fall into the same size. For CS1204 I need to decide whether to fit my bust; choose a size larger to fit my waist; or a different size entirely to fit tummy and hips. It’s an inconsistency that is disappointing but I try not to be hard on the designer. For one thing, her decisions were spot on for my woven bodice sloper. I’ve read that she has taken measurements from volunteers across the country (USA) and listened, no actively sought their opinions. It’s quite possible that her SML works. I don’t understand why sizing is different this time, but I’m working with it.
According to the sewing instructions, I should find patterns pieces of 1) The Fitted Knit top; (2) Semi-Fitted Knit Top (3) Woven Dartless Block and (4) Man’s T-shirt. I sort through the pattern tissues, trimming apart as I go along but find pieces for (1) The Fitted Knit top (2) Semi fitted Knit Top (3) Dartless Blouse and (4) Dartless Shirt. OK, what happened to the Man’s T-shirt? Is the Dartless Blouse the same as the Woven Dartless Block? Is the Dartless shirt the Man’s T-shirt or is it a woman’s shirt? I really don’t like using men’s patterns for womens’ wear. I’ve known women who swear purchasing in the men’s department assures them of both better quality and fit. But that has not every worked for me. I grit my teeth. I don’t like inconsistencies. That’s why I’ve gotten away from the Big4. I’m not happy that I’m left to assume what is what. In all probability, Conni made an announcement at some time, some place and everyone knows the solution except me. It’s another inconsistency which is probably minor but these are beginning to add up and annoy the heck out of me.
After separating the various blocks (and hoping I’ve made the right assumptions), I re-fold the tissues and place each block into its own envelope. There are lots of pages and pieces. Connie has provided not only 4 blocks but also 12 sizes. I don’t want to sort through it all every time I think I want a new block.
I’ve already decided I am unlikely to ever use the Fitted Knit top. It is drafted for making leotards, bathing suits and other garments requiring negative ease. Probably the only garments I wear with negative ease are tights and socks. Even my long johns are fitting with more than Zero ease. I want to work with the Semi Fitted Knit top. I’ve been making blouse after blouse after blouse. I’d like to add a few knit tops to closet which don’t have bust drag lines. According to the chart I’m somewhere around a size L. I pull out the XS to Large block. Ack! It looks too small. I compare quickly with my just fitted CS1201. Yes CS1201 is for wovens and CS1204 is for knits. My understanding is that patterns are typically altered in increments of 1/8 and 1/4″ to change from woven fitting to knit fitting. This came up in two of my recent Craftsy courses and is repeatedly asked at Stitcher’s Guild. My CS1201 also has darts which for CS1204 would have been moved to sides seams. Moving to the side seam and then eliminating the darts will also reduce width at certain points (like waist and shoulder length). But the difference between my CS1201 woven block and this knit block CS1204 (a block BTW that is drafted for measurements 1to 2″ larger than my own) is 1.5-2″ smaller on the back and again on the front. From eyeballing, I’d say about it’s at least 4″ smaller than my woven block. “That can’t be right.”, I think. So I pull out the tape measure and start measuring. I add front plus back measurements less 1.5″ for seam allowances. (Each seam has a 3/8″ seam allowance. There are 2 seams containing 2 pieces ergo 3/8″ * 2 * 2 is 1.5″). The knit block which should fit me with ease, will not. It has negative ease. I don’t wear T-shirts with negative ease.
I’m sure I must be wrong. I measure again. OK if that’s right, I must have chosen the incorrect size. But a check of the size chart confirms that the Large should fit me with ease. Well it is what it is, so maybe I need to go up a size. I pull out the XL to 6X tissues. At least this set looks larger, like it might have positive ease instead of negative. However, when I measure, I need to go up not 1 size but two (to a 1X ) for any positive ease (over my measurements). Also I’m stunned by the shoulder length. The shoulder length of the Large is 4- 3/4″ including seam allowances of which there should be two measuring 3/8″. This XL has a 3- 1/2″ shoulder length and that also includes the two seam allowances. A 2-3/4 (net) shoulder length is too short for me for a T-shirt. It would be OK for tank top, but T-shirt? Not buying it. I check sewing instructions. (Didn’t I read these the night before?) According to the instructions, I’m going to need 3/8″for the armscye but the neckline is bound which does not reduce the length of the shoulder. Whew! Even one less seam allowance makes a difference, but 3-1/8″ is not enough for my personal wearing standards.
AND there’s another thing that really bothers me. The sides seams of the Large are nicely shaped. Very similar to Pamela’s Pattern 104 which I have loved since day one for its “Essence of Waist” (and thoroughly regret that it has developed bust drag lines). PP104 was so flattering that I want similar shaping. I was, in fact relieved and pleased when first looking at CS1204 and realizing that the side seam was not straight up and down, but shaped. Well the XL and 1X also have shaped side seam but visually it appears to slope outward in a curve from bust to waist and then inward to the hem. Instead of my pear shape, or a typical apple shape, it is orange-shaped. What?? Wait a sec, I do know a few ladies in the plus-size range for whom this would make a good T-Shirt. They however do not and will not sew. I sew, but am not making a T-shirt for an orange. I making a T-shirt for little ol’ pear-shaped me.
At this point I’m just stymied. I don’t trust the pattern to fit me. I have not had enough positive experiences with Connie Crawford’s patterns to just go for it when visually and measured facts say it won’t work (the way I want). The only other pattern of her’s that I’ve used was a jean pattern which I made fit me by copying crotch curve and other fitting points from another jean pattern. So I’ve got one nice success CS1201, and one “Holy Cow I don’t want to go through that again” experience.
It’s just too many inconsistencies. To many visual and measured points that I can’t reconcile. Much too much for me. I decide to put all the CS1204 tissues away and consider other options for a while.
.. but wait…