Adding Fullness to the Basic Block

One Pattern Many Looks Blouses first “real” lesson  working with the sloper starts until Lesson 2. Until then it’s all about creating the sloper.  Sarah Holden begins Lesson 2 by showing hem changes.  Hems are really pretty easy. I’ve experimented with a number of them.  I’ve found there is really only about 3 hem shapes and the same number of lengths that I like to wear. Adding that to multiple finishes (turned up, narrow hem, faced, pin-tucked etc etc) I can get enough variety to never be bored with a hem.  So Sarah’s discussion of hems wasn’t particularly enlightening for me. It was her masterful use of the green curve ruler that fascinated.  I’d recommend watching this segment just to see her whip that curve around creating beautiful, elegant curved shapes.  But I’m not taking the time to make and share a separate hem-sample.

What set me on fire and had me getting out the tracing paper was the segment following hems: Adding Fullness. I’ve fused craft interfacing to the back of my sloper which makes it stiff and easy to trace. I can slap that down on top of new sheet of paper, run the pen around the edges and make dots through the darts in less than 5 minutes. Good Heavens, it is quicker than tracing any pattern and there’s no fitting. It fits already. Er, I know how it fits and I like the fit. YMMV So I made my copy and hung my sloper back up. Working with the copy, all darts are rotated to the hem then a second slash is made between armscye and hem and that is spread half as wide as the first. spread Realizing my description is not easy to understand, I’m adding a pic with the usual warning: I’m not good a taking pics. Don’t have and won’t have a better place to take pics. Hopefully these are clear enough for you to make sense of.

Front ————————————————— Back

For my size bust and dart, when the first dart is closed it spreads at  the hem 3″. That is true with both front and back darts. I was truly surprised that the back dart spread 3″. The back dart is only 1/4″ deep. I’ve wondered a few times if I even need it.  I spread the second slash 1.5″ (3*1/2=1.5″).  Adding 4.5″ to each piece at the hem 18″ total (4.5*4=18).

I opted for a deep scoop neck, but didn’t change the pattern. After I cut the fabric, I removed the tissue and then drew my curves on the fabric.  I made the neckline 1″ wider at the shoulder. 1″ deeper in back and 6″ deeper in front.

I also decided I wanted to work on a sleeveless version hoping I can come up with a template for a woven-fabric (i.e. non-stretch)sleeveless armscye.  I don’t remember the exact differences between sleeved and unsleeved armscyes. It seems to be that sleeveless armscyes  are higher and the underarm fitted closer to the body. But I don’t remember. I skipped ahead in the lessons to the “Sleeveless Option” segment where Sarah says to just pinch in the side seam until the armscye fits the way you like. Huh? Nothing about raising the armscye? I made a check on the Internet reading 4-5 different instructions/posts. They all say basically the same thing, pinch in the underarm until desired fit is achieved. This doesn’t sound right to me because I know that changes the overall shape of the armscye without raising it at all. But it’s what I’ve got for now. I made no changes to the tissue.

I chose a pretty summer, rayon Challis.  I looked at that pattern piece and realized if I chose a cotton lawn it was going to add bulk around my already bulky midsection. Also, this was the rayon I had that was less than 2 yards. I really hated to use a larger piece of fabric and create a big left over. As it was, this was 1.5″ yards and I had 16″ plus two big side pieces left over.

I cut my fabric, marked and cut the neckline. I immediately rolled up the cut pieces and hied myself to the iron where I fused bias tape to the armscyes and necklines. I absolutely didn’t want to deal with these areas in a stretched-out shape.  I serged the shoulders together and finished the neckline with commercial 7/8″ bias tape. I like using the commercial bias tape and usually fold it to the inside where it is hidden. This time I left it evenly straddling both sides of the edge as a decorative finish. Then I basted the side seams together and started pinching the side seams at the underarm. Let’s skip to the finish where I serged the side seams and made a narrow hem creating:

So glad I chose this rayon Challis. It drapes really well.  I think a crepe might also have been a good choice. BTW that is not a center front and back seam. It’s the print.  Fit wise, I generally don’t like that much fullness at the hem. I’ve been noticing that my blouses tend to hung up on my right hip. I’ve wondered if I’ve developed one hip higher than the other. In this pic, the back falls pretty smoothly but gets hung up on both hips at different points. I don’t think that’s a fit issue. There is more than sufficient ease.   Since  I prefer less fullness at the hem, at the final stitching I made the seam allowances 1″ wide tapering larger at the underarm.

I was truly interested in the sleeveless armscye:

I pinched the side seams 1.5″ (1.5*4=6″ )and quit then because I didn’t want to remove any more bust ease.  The armscye just covered my underwear. The armscye would have been unsat if I had sewn a facing.  I bound the edge leaving the commercial bias tape showing.  During wear I can tell that the front armscye curve is too close, too shallow. The back feels OK. I don’t know why one would be tight and the other fine. I will work with the sleeveless armscye again.  I didn’t transfer changes to the tissue. The armscye is not close to being finished although it is wearable..

I have to tell you this garment was fun. It put the fun back into sewing which was so needed after muslin after muslin for the Ascona and Rochelle patterns.  If I had ended with fitted patterns and garments to wear, I would say that those patterns were worth the effort of the muslins. Instead I’m disappointed and maybe just a bit down.  This was not nearly as much work and the final garment is fun to wear.  It distinctly reminds me of Ottobre Design #1 2/2015:

I intended to make the Otto pattern from the day I first saw it. I knew that I would need to make it a little longer. I’m surprised and pleased at how my little garment turned out to be so like this design that I admired.



8 thoughts on “Adding Fullness to the Basic Block

  1. I’ve never used “craft interfacing”. Is there a brand name? Store? How do you fuse it?Do U think “craft interfacing” might be good to put on the back of all traced off patterns?


    1. It’s a medium weight nonwoven. The fusible was not good. It didn’t stick permanently. I basted my pattern to the interfacing to keep them together. It’s nice because my block is thicker than posterboard. I’ll use what I have on my blocks but wont buy it again. Much too thick and stiff to use on the TNT’s.



      1. Thanks for the reply.

        I, too, use a non woven but it is not fusible.

        What is the advantage of a “fusible” non woven?



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