Why the Mixed Bag Result?

So if I love the primary purpose of this exercise, the collar, why am I calling the end result a mixed bag result?

In the fewest words possible: the blouse pattern.

I opted to work with CC5503 because I want a sleeveless style with the extended shoulder.  I’m having issues fitting the PAS a pattern I loved forever. I’m at the point it looks good  at fitting but during wear the shoulders slide around. I’m constantly readjusting my clothes something I truly dislike.  I was hoping fitting a similar style by Connie would be the solution.  But all Connie Crawford patterns are not created equal, at least for my body.  It’s almost as if she is using different blocks.  One block provides beautiful perfect fit by changing the shoulder slope and adding ease on the back at the hip (along with my usual BWL but not the NSA required on most patterns.)  A different pattern and perhaps (?) different block and I struggle getting an acceptable fit making so many changes that I lose track.  I can’t say it’s fundamentally a different block only that it feels that way to me.

I mentioned in a previous post that the illustrations for CC5503 are ugly to me.  Partly it’s that yoke.  Yes the Yoke is most definitely a fitting opportunity. Some of the bust dart rotated into it.  When the yoke and lower front are stitched together it creates a lovely shaped front. However I find yokes cut in this area are not flattering to me.  They tend to minimize the bust something I’ve never had much of to start with.  I cut the cowl as low as I did to break up that yoke line. The cowl maybe slightly too low but it accomplished its purpose, the yoke is barely noticeable.

I alter the shoulder slope so much that it affects the armscye.  I usually need to restore the armscye by tracing it a second time (after drawing the new shoulder slope)  aligning with the new shoulder point. I wondered if I could change the shoulder slope but adding at the neck instead of removing at the shoulder point. I added 1″ evenly along the shoulder and drew my new shoulder slope by aligning at the shoulder point.  I didn’t trim any fabric. I was really concerned about the extended nature of the shoulder. Did it need to continue its angle all the way to the end?  Way out there past the shoulder point?  Or did it curve upward at any point? The PAS has a slightly upward curving shoulder slope kind of like a camel hump.  5503 was perfectly straight.  PAS no longer fits. 5503, I’ve got no clue about it.  I taped the front neckline, back neckline and back shoulders before basting the shoulders (along the new sloper) and the side seams.  I went through 6 shoulder fittings. 6 stitch and rip. Thank God for WST. I never was able to remove all the armscye gaping. Finally I serged along the original shoulder line and called it a day.

I am unsure of the shoulder slope effect because the armscye itself was a tremendous issue. I whole-heartedly disagree with the leave-off-the-sleeve method of making a patter sleeveless and this is the last time I will even attempt such nonsense.  Their theory is that just pinching in along the side seam under the arm will both correct the fit across the bust (for sleeveless) and make the sleeved-armscye short enough to be sleeveless. It did not nor ever has worked for me. Phfft. I’m done ever trying this again because in order to leave 1/4″ of my bra exposed, the side seam was pinched in 1″ and created:

Which felt worse than it looks.  The armscye binds horribly in front; and I repeat my B-cup bra was still showing under the arm even having remove 4″ of bust ease. It occurred to me that the PAS fit very nicely along the sides. I was having PAS issues above the bust. I ripped out the side seams. Then pulled out the PAS and compared side seams  to CC5503.  As expected the PAS, being drafted for sleeveless-ness had a higher under arm point.  About 1.5″ higher than the 5503. I was shocked to see the PAS underarm was also 1.5″ wider (it really stuck out there) than the 5503. What to do? My fabric is already cut. If I’m going to use the PAS as a guide, I’ve got to get more fabric width at the underarm. I added gussets to sides (all 4 front and back). I found scraps about 4″ wide and 6″ long. Aligned grain lines to side seams and serged together. Yep serged. There was no going back as far as I was concerned.  The end result:

Is neat and mostly unnoticeable. I point out that instead of removing ease as done with the pinch-the-side-seams method, I’ve actually added at least 4″ ease.  The finished armscye is very comfortable. BTW I used one of my favorite finishes, commercial bias tape, stitched and turned to the inside and top stitched.


Front armscye tightness gone. The shoulder peaks making it look a little like a petal sleeve. I’m not sure it can be smoothed into a curve. I couldn’t but there are other seamstresses who could.

I did not copy any of my fitting changes to the tissue. For one thing, I never got  nice back view:

and that was with clips at the hem!  The side view is nothing to brag about either.

This is barely wearable, IMO.  I’m particularly proud of the collar and the gussets but the over all appearance is so deplorable I’d hate to admit I stitched it together. Fortunately, a wrap will cover most of its ills.  When I do my annual closet switch-over, this blouse will be donated.  But back to my point about not copying the fitting changes to the pattern. There are too many fit issue with 5503.  Even with its above-the-bust issues, the PAS is a better fitting garment.  I think since my secondary goal was to produce  a nice extended-shoulder block, I need to start with a smaller sized PAS – the size that used to fit my shoulders – and add width where needed.   The 5503 will be removed from my pattern collection.





4 thoughts on “Why the Mixed Bag Result?

  1. I admire your tenacity! I like you in the following design features of this top: cowl neck, yoke and CB seam, so keep those in mind before you discard the pattern (or consider adding those features to another pattern). 🙂


  2. I had a rtw top last fall that was way more open than I’d wear hopeless for taking up and remembered I had a cheap too small tight shell in the perfect color for the print. I was afraid it had hit the donate bin but found it thankfully and it looks great with the little pop of color in the opening. I think the extra layer made my top look nicer too as it was a thin fabric. Maybe a layer peeking out would let this work out for you as mine did. You did a nice construction job. Maybe you can get some wear out of the work and decide if you want to tweak it if there is a next round.



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