A Second Attempt

I was satisfied with the final result from fitting the Rochelle using the Slashed Sloper, but not entirely sure I had followed instructions and definitely not sure how more complicated patterns would be handled..  Before I returned to my course Lessons of One Blouse Many Looks Blouses, I opted to attempt this fitting method a second time.

I decided to use an old favorite pattern which no longer fits and everything I try to makes it worse. Louise Cutting’s Ebb (from the Ebb and Flow pattern).  Previously, with the exception of pants, CLD pattern where quick and easy to fit me.  Her flawless draft, sophisticated styles and sewing instructions were icing on the cake when compared to the ease at which these pattern would fit and flatter me.  But with the last physical changes due to aging, fit has become a nightmare not limited to pants. I like the Ebb so well that I keep a few versions in my wardrobe all year ’round.  I’ve made a number of small variations that make the basic design look like a different pattern.  But the last few versions have all been straight copies of various sizes whose fit I could never adjust for my ‘now’ body.

I copied my woven sloper and set it aside. Then copied the Ebb sized for my bust.  The Ebb has a length/shorten line but not a waist mark nor any other fitting marks (like bust point) that would help determine how the CLD draft was adapted for the Ebb style. I opted to use the l/s as the waist and also to dot along the stitching line.   My sloper and the pattern need to be compared along stitching lines; and I use different seam allowances while CLD uses the industry standard 5/8 in most cases. Marking the stitching line with dots was necessary for the comparison.

I started comparing the backs.  To my surprise there is close to 2″ difference in back waist length. I know for a fact, I’ve only altered 1″ for past garments. But I’m using the sloper-slash or slashed sloper method  and so that 2″ was the first thing folded out.

I turned my attention to the side seam next. I had always assumed that it was straight. But I could see now that it curves to the waist and then is straight from waist to hem.  I slid my curve up and down along the side seam until it matched between armscye and waist.  I wrote those number on the back of the pattern.

Then I turned the pattern over and drew a new side seam straddling my sloper and the pattern back but favoring my sloper.  That line drawn between armscye and waist made an awkward angle at the waist. I opted to join the curve a little further down to create a smooth side seam.

Interestingly the armscye matched fairly closely. The shoulder needed to be more angled, or course. I think the Ebb shoulder dart was moved to the armscye and eliminated.  I eliminated the dart on the sloper by crossing out. I decided to keep the neckline of the pattern. It’s one of the distinctive style choices that makes this garment flattering for me.

I turned my attention to front.  The Ebb has a lower front (skirt) and an upper front (bodice) divided along an Empire that is particularly flattering for me.  The upper front also has an attached facing.  I overlapped both tissue pieces along the seam line before comparing with my sloper.  To my surprise, there is hardly any difference in back waist length at the l/s line. Again, I know I have shortened in this area every time I’ve made the pattern in the past. I’m following instructions in the Threads article and folded out the 1/2″ or so indicated when the fronts are aligned at center front and armscye.

Even more surprising is the excess length in the upper bodice

It was easier to slash the pattern

and overlap this area so that the two (pattern and sloper) are aligned.

I attempted to true (?) redraw the side seam same as the back but while the pattern and sloper fronts are the same length the side seams are not. The front side seam is over  1″ longer than the back. The instructions for using the Slashed Sloper procedure have you rotate or move the darts of the sloper to correspond with the pattern even before adjusting length.  I could see immediately that the waist darts were being ignored and the side seam straightened.   I didn’t have a clue as to what CLD had done with the horizontal bust dart. I wondered if she had moved it upward to the armscye when I saw the difference in the upper bodice length.  I wondered now if the bust dart had been moved -not rotated- moved to the empire line.  I slashed the bust dart and closed it on the sloper. I slashed the sloper along the Empire line and allowed it to spread as I would had I rotated the bust dart.  This created a dramatic curve at the Empire line which I didn’t see in the pattern.  I moved half the dart to the lower half of the bodice.  I took pictures. But by now there were so many lines, layers of tissue and tape that it’s impossible to see what I did.  Essentially I was splitting the bust dart between upper and lower bodice.

As with the back, the shoulder gained a little more slant and I trimmed the sloper so that I would be using the Ebb’s lovely neckline. When seam allowances are taken into consideration, the armscyes are almost alike.  They’re so close that I decided to use the Ebb’s armscye both front and back. which meant that I could use the Ebb sleeve without alteration.

I have a few concerns.  I think the Ebb was drafted for a slightly dropped shoulder.  That’s very apparent when viewing the sleeve cap.  My sloper is drafted for an inset sleeve and the sleeve cap is different. Yet the two armscyes are very much alike.  It was like fingernails-on-a-chalk-board to shorten the front bodice between shoulder and bust point and the length amounts removed in other places was so unusual as to make me uncomfortable.  Finally, my blouse sloper is drafted with a 1.25″ hem and ends pretty much where I like my hem to hang.  The Ebb is going to be about 3″ longer.  I’m not sure I like that or the fact that when I added sufficient width for 5/8″ seam allowances plus my hip ease, the miter angle across the hem has changed. I’m not sure how that will work.  But I’m proceeding with some confidence.  My sloper fits.  My sloper makes a garment I’m happy to wear.  I’m thinking of Sugar Plums “Casual Dartless Block” post in which she iterates her fitting needs stating plainly that she cannot use any standard pattern without changes and concludes with “the whole point of all this is to have clothes that look good and feel comfortable.”  Even if my changes created weird shapes and I don’t produce a garment identical to the Ebb, I’m confident that since I started with my block I will create a garment hat looks good and feels comfortable.

The fitted pattern:

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One thought on “A Second Attempt

  1. Interesting. I also read the article on the link you provided and the comments under the article One comment mentioned pattern drafting books (Dorothy Moore and Miller’s). Another search revealed there are many other pattern drafting books and systems out there…oh my!

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