Knit Block Reboot

Not been doing well with creating a new block for my knit tops. Having had time to reflect, I realize I need a new direction.

I’ve thrown out the previous tracings and the unfinished tops. I mean to start totally fresh with Ottobre 2/2006 #02. Style 02 because that’s where my measurements place me.  I selected my size based on my full bust.  My shoulder length isn’t even on the charts so there’s no point in choosing by upper bust. I mean the upper bodice still wouldn’t fit. At least with the full bust there is one place that ought to be correct.  This is a T-shirt pattern which means there isn’t a bust dart to indicate the bust level. To my sorrow there isn’t a waist notch either. I tried locating the waist and hip levels  by measuring for the narrowest and widest points across back and front. The narrowest point is about 4″ beneath the armscye from there the side seam slopes gracefully outward until about 1″ above the hem, which does have a notch.  I am short-waisted but even my waist is below my underarm more than 4″.  Perplexed but following my plan, I add HBL’s at those two places (narrowest and widest).

Oh my plan! I have a number of steps in my plan because I intend to be thorough. I expect that the number of steps will grow because I’m essentially draping a new knit block. To do that

  1. Trace Otto 2/2006 #2 Sz 46 i.e. full bust
  2. Determine bust, waist and hip position
    1. not notched by Otto;  
    2. found and marked narrowest and widest points
  3. Add  seam allowances
    1. 1″
      1. shoulder
      2. side seams
    2.  1/2″CF and CB
    3.  1/4″
      1. armscyes
      2. neckline
  4. Lay out and Cut fabric
  5. Mark HBL’s on Fabric
    1. shoulder blade/high bust
    2. back/bust
    3. waist
    4. hip
  6. Baste with WST
  7.  Length
    1. Add tucks so that  bust waist and hip shaping are falling in the right place
  8. Identify left and right shoulder slopes by tweaking
    1. My research suggests
      1. 1.5-2″ is standard
      2. Removes upper bodice diagonals

I’ll be updating my plan as I go along already I’ve added lines in purple, italicized text.

I selected a fabric. I didn’t want a stable knit but I also didn’t want a very stretch knit. The knits in my muslin pile had 30-40% stretch which I thought was too much. I really wanted a light-colored knit (so I can see the drag lines easily) with a 20-25% stretch.  Since there were none in the muslins, I started looking in the rest of the stash for an elderly fabric.    I figured using an elderly fabric would remove one from the stash, always a plus in my book. But I’m also keenly aware that most of the elderly fabrics just don’t handle, finish and hang the same as newer fabrics. It’s noticeable enough that I’m usually a little disappointed in the final garment because it just “isn’t right”.  My muslin fabric is a 100% cotton, jersey single-knit.  It isn’t a light-weight jersey but it’s not a heavy sweater knit. Nor is it the sweater knit of last year. No it’s something in between.  It curls like the devil which has me concerned about a lengthy fitting experience.

I laid out my fabric and pattern pieces and then walked away.  I like to give myself time to review all the decisions just made and I’m overwhelmed with catching up on housework after being away and otherwise occupied for the last few days.  It only took an hour’s reflection for me to question the amount of ease, even with the 1″ side seam allowances. I measured again, but this time tallying total of back + front less body measurements.  I found that I would have 3″ ease across the bust (including seam allowances) but Zero ease across the hips — allowing for seam allowances puts me into negative ease territory.  I rarely use negative ease. I will use Zero ease for very stretchy fabrics and some garments. For this muslin, I wanted to create the minimum ease I like in a 25% stretch garment. Zero ease wouldn’t do it. So I folded up the fabric and added strips of tissue to both sides of my pattern pieces. I proceeded to increase the front seam allowances to 1.5″ but the back I increased a full 2″. I always have to add extra to the back. May as well get that done now. For good measure, I added 1/2″ seam allowances CF and CB.

Satisfied I had a good starting place, I smoothed out the fabric, placed the pattern pieces on top and cut front and back. The sleeve I will worry about later.




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