With Ease

I am quite pleased with the Sport Sleeve Blouse finished just a few days ago.  Lowering the cap and underarm made the blouse significantly more comfortable.  Overall the great fit and comfort, reminded me of the fit I used to able to achieve with my favorite CLD patterns. As I wore the Sport Sleeve Blouse, I became more interested in how this draft compared with CLD.  So I pulled out the last copy of my beloved Ebb; pressed out the wrinkles and set about comparing. I can unequivocally state, that I haven’t even come close. It’s not just my shoulder slope which is substantially different. Louise has stated a few times that most of her patterns are based on the kimono draft. That’s easily seen when I compare the Ebb with either the high armscye of my block or the sport sleeve draft just completed. The armscye and cap are entirely in different places. Obvious to me, the kimono draft was used  and sliced along the arc of the Ebb’s sleeve.  The Ebb has not only a very straight shoulder (which had to be changed to fit my own) but also very straight sides.  There is some obliqueness to the Ebb’s side seams but I needed a square in order to see it.  Dismissing the style lines, i.e. empire, mitered hem, button placket etc, the next really notable difference is the amount of ease. For my size, the size which fits my hips, the Ebb has additional 1.5″ ease at the back armscye and 1/2″ at the front armscye.  Hip ease is about the same. I can’t use CLD patterns straight out of the envelope. With my shape, changes have to be made. Point is, I will never copy Louise’s drafts because I’m sewing for my body only while she is drafting for the mythical ‘average’. Any shape which fits me must differ from the normal. I will never create a draft exactly like any of Louise’s.

But I might create the same skims-everything-reveals-nothing elegant aesthetic.   With that in mind, I added 1/2″ on both the front and back at the armscye and on the sleeve. I got out my 24″ ruler and drew a line from the 1/2″ extended-cap point to the wrist. I could have drawn that line to the elbow and may make that choice in the future. I opted to straighten the back and front side seams instead of adding an even 1/2″ throughout.   I used a technique learned from Peggy Sagers; aligning my curve along the side seam at the hip and then rotating out to the new armscye point.

I had hoped that the lines would show up better in the pic.

On the front I extended the bust dart lines. On the back I added a 1/2″ RBA, round back adjustment. So the CB would be straight and not require a seam or dart, I rotated that to the shoulder dart. Instead of a little 1/4″ shoulder dart, it is now 3/4″. Kinda substantial for a shoulder dart.  I’ve been thinking about an RBA for a while.  Even though the first Sport Shirt Blouse looked really great, I could feel it pulling backwards and see the Hem at CF lifting.   Instead of just thinking about it, I decided to add the RBA to test whether it is needed.  Before trimming the excess tissue, I walked the seams. It entails folding out both the substantial bust and shoulder darts and can be prone to error. So I walked carefully and then did it again.  In the end, I added 1/8″ length to the front side seam at the hem but trimmed a little of the curvature. I don’t remember developing convex curvature at waist level.  In other drafts, I’ve moved the waist darts to the side seams but I had not done that on this draft. Besides, that would have made the curvature concave and it was definitely curving outward.

I’m not sure the fiber of my fabric.  Called rayon crinkle by fabricmartfabrics, it’s rather like silk crepe de chine but the crinkles are definite i.e. not a little crepe texture. And it is smooth, silky not nubby. Love the vanilla background especially with the lilac-colored roses. Not thrilled with the ship and hate the lettering, “Cruise”.  I really hate lettering on my fabric. I think lettering defines the fabric according to someone else’s  inspiration rather than my own. Didn’t notice the lettering until it arrived along with a lot of other fabrics. I thought ‘good for muslins’. So a muslin it is for this new idea “adding extra ease and straightening the side seam of my sport sleeve block”.  Nothing new or interesting to add about the actual stitching.  As before, waist darts were left unsewn although this time I added a front overlap and button closure.


And how did my changes work?  The RBA is an unqualified success. The back looks really good and feels even better.  I don’t feel the front pulling towards the back but I do think that is still happening at least some.  I think I should increase the RBA from 1/2″ to 3/4″ and the offset for my asymmetrical shoulders needs to be increased.  It may be time for me to create and use a full back piece.


The side U’s, swags, drapes have returned. Why? I don’t know, that’s the reason I like to make one change at a time. Was it the RBA? Or the 1/2″ added ease at the underarms?  Did straightening the side seams create the problem?  Is this just another fabric issue?  I’ve had so many great patterns that went smash when paired to the wrong fabric.


I like the front view (look back at the side views to see how even the front hem hangs). I rather wish I’d done something to bring the sleeves in at the wrist.  Maybe I’m just not accustomed to the wider, bell-shaped sleeve; and I am disappointed to see the drapes along the side seams. As I noted on the sides, I’m not sure their cure.  Surprised that the left sleeve seems to have more drag lines than the right arm. They’re going to have drag lines. These are wide sleeves. Maybe not quite voluminous but they are wide and they are going to drape creating rolls and folds. That’s the nature of that beast called excess ease. I debated on the buttons. Deciding between a lilac, this vanilla and a taupe. Finally went with the button which blended the best.

‘Course the $64K question is will I make this again? Answer:  Not exactly.

I will start with the sport sleeve block and add 3/4″ RBA. That’s it. Back to one step at a time. I’m still a real novice at drafting. I know many things that can be done.  I’m questioning which I want to do based on what their effect will be.  I still don’t understand the exact cause/effect and can’t instantly say “this is a result of that”. I can’t instantly diagnose and correct an error.  I must continue to make changes slowly in order to  understand drafting.




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