Sarah (the One Pattern Many Looks Blouses instructor) urges you to follow the lessons in the order given. Which I do agree with. Each lesson is meant to add new knowledge and skill preparing you for the next lesson. But I’ve done a lot of these things on my own. I haven’t done them in this order. A great value to me is seeing how each idea is connected with the next. How it all hangs together. So I didn’t skip lessons but I haven’t made samples of the yokes or moving the bust dart down. My imagination was piqued when she rotated the bust dart to the neckline. Ah, I said, this is part of what I need for that pattern. I purchased a pattern this spring which is quite trendy and alas likely to be untrendy next spring. I really need to make it now or forget it. But I have problems understanding how it should fit which means I don’t know what to do to make it fit me. The gathered neckline is part of my issue. So I eagerly set about rotating the bust dart to a V-neckline.
I traced off my basic block and set the back aside. I decided I wanted a more summery neckline and opted to make the neckline 1″ wider. I started by making a tick mark on the front shoulder 1″ away from the neck. I know that I’m comfortable in a neckline that is about 7″ deep when measured from the shoulder-neck junction down my chest. So I made a tick mark 7″ down from the shoulder/neckline on the center front . I aligned my curve between the two tick marks and sliced with my rotary cutter.
I redrew the legs of the bust dart to intersect with the apex before proceeding to divide the neckline edge into 5 roughly-equal sections and drawing a line from each division to the bust apex. I slashed from the ticks along the neck edge to the apex bust dart and again from side seam to apex along one of the bust dart legs. I overlapped the bust dart legs which caused the neckline slashes to open. Tissue was placed beneath the neckline slashes and those wedges taped into place. I returned my curve back to the neckline. Heeding Sarah’s instructions, I trimmed away rather than adding a bow to the neckline.
I turned my attention to the back. First I made the back neckline match the front. Along the shoulder line, I made a tick mark 1″ from the neckline and trimmed that amount evenly away from the neckline. I think I’m going to always need to address the excess ease/circumference at the back waist. I know this is a circumference and not a length/swayback issue. Swayback occurs when length along the back is longer than the sides. That’s not my issue because slashing and overlapping at the center back doesn’t help. It creates a new issue. Yep on me it does. On me shortening the center back seam which is what a swayback alteration does, causes the back hem to bow and curve upwards at the center back AND I will still have masses of extra fabric in my mid-back. What works for me is deepening the center back darts as done here. If I don’t want to stitch the back darts for style reasons (or because I’m lazy) then I need to do something else. I think the something else is a center back seam which can be tweaked to fit my back. To add a center back seam (#1 in the pic below) I added a seam allowance (1/4″ the amount my serger makes). Since I have a center back seam, I don’t need the shoulder dart. I could keep it for stylistic reasons but I removed it for this version. I slashed the dart open from shoulder to dart tip and then angled towards the back. I was aiming for about 3″ down from the neckline. I didn’t slash through the neckline but created a hinge. I overlapped the dart legs, smoothed the pattern as well as possible and then taped into place. I think it’s interesting how that immediately creates (2 in the pic below) a curve in the upper back:
The #3 in the pic? I’m still working on a sleeveless solution. First I aligned my curve on the existing armscye and made note of the numbers. Then I made a tick mark on the armscye 1″ in from the side seam. I used my curve sliding it up and down on the side seam until I matched the side-seam curve of my sloper. Then I rotated the curve to match the 1″ tick and the side seam. I slashed along my curve removing a wedge. From the last attempt, I know that the armscye is too low. I added tissue beneath the pattern and made a mark 3/8″ above the armscye. Then I aligned my curve using the numbers noted at the beginning of this paragraph and cut a new armscye. That’s what you see above. The front needs to match, so I repeated the same armscye procedure on the front. I took a deep breath and selected my fabric for cutting.
I’ve run out of yard-cuts of woven fabric. My fault entirely. About 3 years ago I realized I was buying wovens but sewing knits. At the time I had a shortage of knits. As in I couldn’t find any in my stash. I made an effort to sew a woven every 3rd garment. Not that I had to sew two knits and then a woven but just constantly checking to see if I the last two garment sewn were knits then deliberately chose a woven fabric project; AND when I was shopping to buy knits and delete wovens. I also changed my habit to buying 2 and 2.5 yard cuts because most of my projects seem to need 2 yards or a little more. Not only was I not buying wovens, but I wasn’t creating any large left-overs. Took 3 years but I decimated the stack of “Under 2’s” (less than 2 yards of fabric). Now I have no choice but to dig into the large 2+ cuts for sleeveless projects which will create large left overs. Sigh 6 of one of half-dozen of the other. There is no perfect solution. Since this is a learner exercise I chose a peach and read rayon print. I certainly would not have used peach and red in my art work but this fabric is pretty. I laid out my pieces and cut my fabric. I stitched the shoulders together and started on the neckline where I discovered a BIG FAT OMISSION. I knew I wanted to finish my neckline with a facing. I should have created a facing for the V neckline before I divided and spread along the neckline. I didn’t. I replicated my neckline tracing from the sloper and measuring as done for the full front piece. But error somehow crept in and while I could gather the neckline to the facing, the result stood proud.
Yes instead of hugging my neck, the neckline stood away and slithered over to the arm. I used a time-tested fix. No I didn’t rip, I added a casing and inserted 1/8″ elastic; pulling it tight and securing it by stitching to the facing:
It was a bit of twiddling, but worked beautifully; imperceptibly with this style.
I anticipated adding extra curve in the center back at the waist. This particular fabric likes to cooperate and it was unnecessary
or maybe I really need a dart at the back neckline? eh?
End result? I’m pleased. I have not only rotated the bust dart to a V Neckline successfully, I’ve created a very nice sleeveless armscye. That armscye is finished with commercial bias tape which is folded to the inside. Best of all I’ve got a good idea how to work with that spring purchased pattern.