Jeannie’s Top

Peggy was highly enthused and gave excellent instructions. I really appreciated her cautioning that many of her measurements were her style choices.  It wouldn’t matter if our measurements were somewhat off or if we used different measurements, fabric type or pattern bases.  She used SP127, but specifically said 195 could be used as well. Having just finished fitting 195, I knew that was going to be my base.

My next thought was fabric.  I loved her use of stripes and wanted to duplicate that. Actually, I wanted to duplicate the whole thing because she’d worked out the problems. Isn’t that why we buy patterns; because someone else has worked out the details that make for a good garment? So I hunted for knit stripes in the stash. I’ve picked up stripe after stripe for other projects and said “no” because I didn’t want to give the attention they needed. Now when I want to use a stripe, I can’t find one. Part of my issue was finding a stripe with an interesting reverse side.  At best I could find stripes that were yarn dyed and therefore the same color on both sides instead of stripe one side glaring white the other. Mostly though I was finding 1-1/2″ yard cuts. Because I needed to cut 2 full fronts, I didn’t want to start with less than 2 yards. (I was right about this. When finished I had a 30″ wide by 35″ long left over. Not even enough for a tank top.) I finally decided if I couldn’t find a duo-sided fabric, I would make one.  Out came the paints.

A short hunt thought the stencils and I had one I wanted to use.  I spread out my fabric and spent a delightful 2 hours stenciling the bigger part of 2 yards of fabric.

When I finished stenciling, I pulled out the gold spray glitter

and had a go at it.  I have used the bottle before and ran out of glitter before I ran out desire to bling. I unscrewed the top and started dribbling the remains. When the glitter was all gone


I let it dry over night. Which was OK since I also needed to hem and photo my last 195 plus I needed to do some housework and stuff.  The next day (Day 2)  I pulled the fabric off my cutting table and pressed it. There was a surprise in store.  My painting ghosted.

From the right side, which I planned on being visible for most of the garment, the painting ghosted through. And I LIKED it!  Maybe I wouldn’t want this for a different project or maybe a different color would have been objectionable. But this fabric, this color, this stencil, it was an interesting development.  I pressed the fabric to heat set the paint.  I always let my fabric painting dry 24 hours and then heat set it. That may not be necessary since I added fabric medium to acrylic craft paint. But it’s what I’ve always done because it’s always worked. My painting never fades or flakes so I keep letting it dry over night and heat setting. Of course, YMMV.

Then I started with the pattern alterations.  I copied the front and started plotting points and drawing lines. As I said before, Peggy gave good instructions and I copied them down pretty well too:


I needed to rewatch only part of the video, the part where she shows how much of the neckline to duplicate. Although I’m sharing a schematic here  I did not make a separate left front.

I’m running low or Aisle Runner, my favorite pattern tissue paper, and decided to conserve by marking the opposite with the two different lines.  Besides the biggest difference was the bottom point is extended 7″ on the right front; 4″ on the left front which makes a huge difference as far as length and angle of the diagonal lines.  I drew the new lines and then folded up the tissue when it was time to cut the left front.

I copied  the back. The side would need to be shortened 3″ which I did not want to do to my now knit-sloper. I traced the back, then canted it out the recommended 3″ and traced the new shape. I needed to work on that curve since I didn’t hear Peggy give numbers just “establish a pretty curve”.  It took me 3 tries but I got there.

No change to the sleeve.  When finished my pieces looked like this (except on aisle runner paper.)

I trued the lines.  Found that the dart legs had to be evened and the back to sides needed a little tweaking.

I laid out the fabric and shifted the pattern pieces around for a few minutes. Finally, thankful this was a 2-way stretch, polyester, knit I laid the pieces out cross grain and cut the back and 2 fronts.  Peggy’s choice for finishing the garment is raw edges which I dislike. I have seen a few artful uses of raw edges but for the most part they look to me like you just gave up. Besides, I need more than just stay stitching to stabilize a neck edge. I can stretch out a stay stitched neck edge before I get the sleeves inserted!  That’s why I usually cut and run to the ironing board to apply fusible stay tape.  This time I cut. Stitched those french darts (noticed I’m not swearing at them) and then applied FOE. 3 times. The first time I applied the FOE to the side seam and hem of the right front. Ripped that out and applied to the neck edge and the flounce; repeat for left front. I carefully aligned and pinned the fronts before stitching them and then stitched the shoulder seams together. At that point, I eagerly took a peek in the mirror. Instead of delight, I said “OH MY GAWD”


That took me back to the time when I was late to church one Sunday and the only choir robe left was the XX XXL that was too big for the largest choir member we’d ever had. It swamped me. Worse yet was the chasuble? (not sure what that big white-collar like thing is called). That’s how the above pic looked to me,,, singing in the choir in robe too big. That’s all the congregation thought about that service.

LESSON LEARNED:  Things made for Peggy’s 5’7″ frame may not be exactly right for my own 5’3″ frame.

I start trimming the long diagonal edges finally shortening the front 4″ and reducing the flounce 2″ in width. It wasn’t until I added soft pleats into the flounce at the neck that I was satisfied.

I called it a day and went upstairs. Next day, Day 3, I started by doing pattern work for my next project. I like to start the pattern work and let it sit over night allowing me to think a bit. AFterward I finished the neck edge.  I was quite concered at how the front gapped:

Apparently the flouce, even trimmed was too heavy for the neck to support.  I planned on using FOE to finish the neckline but wasn’t sure FOE would be enough support. So I fused 1-1/4″ interfacing along the front neck edge

That’s held in place only by the FOE application. I’m hoping it does not ‘come free’ and curl. You’ll see in the final pics that the neck needs this support.

I cut the sleeves, hemmed them and attached to the blouse; stitched the side seams and finally pinked all the raw edges.  It was better than nothing but still I’m not satisfied with the edge finish. I may do something else with the edges or even something else to the blouse. See, I don’t have the enthusiasm for the finished blouse that Peggy did

The color is pretty. The fit is pretty good. That back is sweet. What an easy change to go from T-shirt style to Swing!

Even the sides look good.  There’s very few and then they are small drag lines.  It looks full and loose like the styles I’m seeing on TV, yet except for the back, I didn’t add any ease. Definitely is a high-lo hem but at a length I think is nice on me.

But my enthusiasm is definitely down a notch from Peggy’s level.

It may be the different color. Or the fact I have greater contrast between flounce and the rest of the garment than Peggy’s duo-sided stripe. I also did not create the asymmetrical hem that she did. Or it may just be a little too different for me.  The telling question is “Will you make this again?” Well the sleeve is already ‘kept’.  It is my slim, knit sleeve sloper. I plan to use it as a base for other knit sleeves. Heck I plan to use it and the armscye as my knit sleeve sloper.  The back I love. The swing back and rounded hem really are lovely. I definitely will use that again and I’ve kept it. The front is questionable.   OK I won’t make exactly this same garment again. For starters, I don’t have any more of that stripe fabric. But I’d also like to tweak the pattern to create Peggy’s asymmetry but at a length and width that are flattering for me in place of Peggy’s original dimensions.  Also I can see really working that flounce. It doesn’t have to go all the way to the hem. It is entirely possible to stitch the front seam with a portion to the inside and the rest out there in public view. That flounce can change in other ways too. The 12″ horizontal can be moved up or down; changed from diagonal line to curve; meet the neck closer to CF or further away; can be gathered, pleated or even made from contrasting fabric. It has a lot of promise. So I will not create exactly the garment you see above a second time. I will not create another version for a few months, maybe not until the spring season. BUT I will be using these pattern pieces again. It will appear in my wardrobe in the future.  I give Peggy 2 THUMBS UP for this version.



Sleeveless Armscye Template

When I’m watching Peggy Sagers on YouTube, I know part of the reason she can go so fast, can be so successful with her sewing, is because she has already followed her own advice. Peggy already has templates for  important to fit pieces like armscyes and sleeves. I’ve just got my first armscye template. Yep B6299 gave me a sleeveless armscye template that I am 100% happy about. I can finally tell Peggy (or anyone) that I like a 20″ sleeveless armscye. THIS is my favorite. The 20″ armscye  is perfect for my body.

However, it was drafted in 4 pieces: front, side front, back, side back. Once my Linen 6299 was sewn and fitted, I took the time to carefully copy the armscye and create a 2 piece template.  I think my ironing board provided the best support for these small, curved pieces.

Before finishing the armscye, I placed a large scrap of tracing material on my ironing board; then secured my armscye on top.  I carefully  traced  the back armscye.

Added seam allowances; 2″ depth; and marked everything I could think of (seam allowances, back, front, pattern number. Repeat for front half; trim excess tracing material.

I can repeat this armscye over and over and over, Every time/any time I want a sleeveless armscye, I’ve got MY perfect one.


Before and After AKA Upcycle

I purchased a sun dress last year.  Off the rack. In a gas store. What can I say?  It was pretty. Sturgis was over and the stores were clearing out their Sturgis stuff so it was cheap.  I loved the color. DH said it was cute. I wore it a couple of times at the end of summer and put it away when I made the seasonal wardrobe change.  This year I pulled it out and took pics.Why on earth did DH think this was cute?

It was one of those garments I folded up and put in the donate box.

But it haunted me. I loved the color; design; and ITY fabric. I started seeing these tank top dresses everywhere

Seriously, these were in my catalogs; in the line up at QVC, HSN and Evine.  These things are little more than a  length of fabric gathered to a shortened tank top.  However, the prices make you want to cry. This trend also dove tailed with another style desire of mine: the empire top.  An empire, when done right for me, is very flattering.  I think I can figure out the level the empire on which the empire needs to sit on me.  Also think I can figure out how much ease I need (my empire tops are best when they don’t accent my tummy).  It’s keeping the empire line level that has me buffaloed.  Thank fully, I’m not alone.  I’ve seen a number of these tank dresses and other empire styles; on slim models; and the empire is not level it slants upward at CF.  I really don’t like that look. To me that’s preggars. A look I had to wear for 9 months some 30+years ago and have no desire to repeat.

So I put both ideas together, i.e. the tank top dress trend with my need to adapt the empire for my figure and decide to pull the discarded dress out of the donate box.  I cut away the shoulder straps close to the stitching line.  The elastic shirring was a bit more of a challenge but I managed to get it unraveling and ripped out all 5 rows.  I do have an issue.  There are little holes where the shirring used to be:

I turned the fabric up side down placing what used to be the shirred bodice at hem level.  Hopefully the holes are not noticeable to anyone else. Heck they may even close up a little in the wash.  This is one of those places where my experience trumps Peggy’s opinion.  I don’t get these little holes if I use a ball point needle in a size 10.  I’m sure Peggy is right;  that the manufacturer used a standard size 70 sharp needle and the mfg was not expecting me to remove the shirring.  But I’d rather not have those holes and wish the mfg had followed my experience instead of industry standard as stated by Peggy. . Well, water under the bridge.

The other issue I have is the CB seam at the hem. Well used to be at the shirred bodice.  It’s a little rough

Ok pic doesn’t show my concern so hopefully no one else will notice either.

From my stash I retrieved  a black ponte remnant.  Looking back, I think I saved the remnant  with the thought of using it for bindings.  It is a little heavy but for a test garment probably OK.

And this is a test. Because I don’t know precisely what to do to make my empire line level.  I traced the front and back of my knit sloper from shoulder to waist.  I saw no point in tracing below the waist when I planned to discard all that anyway.  I started by altering the back pattern piece. I tried on a striped top that I like and measured down to the stripe level equal to where I thought I wanted my empire. That number is 4.5″.  I measured down the side seam 4.5″ drew a horizontal line across to CB.  From there to the hem was 1.25″ excess tissue which I trimmed away.  My sloper contains a neckline dart the result of rotating my RBA so that I don’t need a center back seam. I rotated the neckline dart to shoulder; moved it to armscye edge  and  trimmed away.  I trimmed all the excess tissue

and proceeded to alter the front.

I had trimmed 1.25″ from the back to make the side seam 4.5″ long. So now I trimmed 1.25″ from the bottom of the front.    Suzy Furrer has you move the bust dart to the hem when converting your sloper to a knit block. How would that work since I’d already cut off the hem?  I didn’t know. So instead I slashed from side seam to CF 4 times.  Each of the resulting wedges were overlapped until my front side seam was the same length as my back side seam, 4.5″. Unfortunately, my CF looks like the dog’s hind leg i.e. bent.

My front sloper has an armscye dart. If left In my tank top, the armacye will gap or I’ll need to sew a dart. Instead I rotated it to the empire line which thankfully straightened out my CF once again.

I turned my attention to the neckline and armscye of both pieces. My sloper is drafted for the typical high  T-shirt neckline and shoulder.  I want my tank top neckline to be lower both in front and back and I want a narrower shoulder. About 2.5″ at the shoulder should do but I’ll want seam allowances too.  I drafted from front neckline to be 6.5″ deep and 1″ further away from my physical neck. I changed my back neckline to be 3″ deep and 1.25″ away from my physical  neck. Why the difference? Something I learned from Suzy Furrer is that if you move the back neckline just 1/4″ further from the neck than the front , the back will pull on the front and remove any gaping. I drafted my shoulder to be 3″ wide.  Trimmed all the excess tissue and stepped back to take a look:

The back looks about as expected. I’m really cautious about the front piece. The empire line sweeps upward pretty sharply. I walked the side seam about 3 times just to be sure front and back side seams were the same length.

I serged one shoulder. Added FOE to the neckline then stitched the other shoulder. I stitched the right-shoulder 1/8″ deeper than the left to accommodate my lower shoulder. Then I basted the side seams and slipped it on. While it is hard to tell much at that fitting,  I did decide to trim 1/2″ width both front and back but only at the empire. IOW removing  a wedge from the side seam which was  1/2″ wide at the empire zeroing at the armscye.

On these type dresses,  the skirt is usually gathered to the tank top. I’m not a fan of that look especially on me. It says preggars, again. But I wanted all the hem circumference.  I could have cut the fabric into an A-line shape. I opted instead to pleat the skirt to my top. The result:

Fit02 above


Sleek and smooth. Just what I wanted. Tank and skirt smoothly joined. No gathers to pucker or emphasize my tummy. Joy of all joys, my empire is sitting level.  That odd front piece works. My criticism is that I think I want the bodice longer.  I should have made the top at 6 or 7″ long.   After this fitting, I added a 1″ finished band to add at the bottom. I agree with Peggy that it’s a better look to stop the eye at certain places.  The neckline is one. The hem  another. So I have solid black at the hem (bottom) and again at my neckline (top) framing my stature.


I’m really pleased with this project.  I have a wearable dress and a good beginning empire.  I will not alter my empire tissue further. I will however copy it and make changes.  In addition to the empire being shorter than I prefer, my tank shoulders are still too wide. Possibly I could just indicate that a seam allowance needs to be trimmed if using FOE. I might also deepen either or both front/back neckline. Because it’s a tank.  Finally, the armscye is a bit high, especially for a tank.  But I’m still pleased.  I’ve made a very good start; and definitely have some impressive before and afters

Too much flare at the hem

oh and the humongous bust dart continue to occupy my mind. I do like a tent top but I don’t want every top I wear to stick out at the hem.  I decided to leave the bust dart alone, after all it is working and turned my attention to reducing the flare at the hem.  I aligned my hip curve by the waist and pivoted back and forth until I could remove about 1.5″ from the hem


Which creased a nice smooth side seam


At the same time, I tweaked my sleeve


I like to change the ease of the sleeve on the fly (so to speak) and folded out the excess. This sleeve makes a cylinder shape on my arm.


Could be a little tighter at the wrist or I may have stretched the wrist when I cover-stitched the hem. Basically it’s a nice sleeve neither too tight nor too loose.

I added a V-shaped embroidery


Not wanting to use FOE or a ribbing, I created facings, both front and back ..

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… using a light-weight, white knit which I interfaced with nylon tricot.

I’m not thrilled with the finished garment:

The ridge is from my back support.

For starters, this was forgotten in the closet whilst I was ill. After being ill for so long, I’m noticing that I have to deliberately get up and straighten my posture or I will walk about hunched over. No doubt my wonky posture is affecting the look.  The fabric has about 200% stretch, (I exaggerate) while my pattern was fit for about 30%. About half way through construction, I remembered why this particular fabric has been marinating in the stash for so long (about 25 years).  It’s mostly cotton. Not sure there’s any poly or nylon or other fiber.  Interestingly,  it recovers quickly the first few times it is stretched. But after that, it doesn’t recover as quickly or completely.  I remember that the longer I wore the first garment (made from this exact same fabric), the further it drooped. The scooped neckline was below my bra shortly after noon.  Also it tends to reveal rather than conceal as seen by the ridge in the pic above which is my back support (also needed more since my illness).

It’s one of those fabrics that has me asking, “Did I fit this pattern at all?”

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Sigh. Unfortunately I changed the pattern so even though fabric is clearly an issue, I can’t be sure I don’t have a pattern problem.

You know, sometimes I think I need to remove every elderly fabric from my stash. Even the 100% wools and silks. Modern fabrics are so much kinder to my figure. And easier to sew with.



Issues with CS1201 Knit Block

ETA: I wore this T-shirt half a morning and decided the sleeves were too tight. I turned them into quarter sleeves; laundered and placed my new summer T in with the other summer clothes. It is not a loss; a wadder; a big mistake. I still have a pretty, wearable garment. I just can’t wear it until late Spring. The pattern absolutely needs to altered with ease added from elbow to wrist. 

The biggest issue by far, is the rounding of my back and increased shoulder slope. They go hand in hand or at least correcting one seems to affect the other. I knew I needed to increase the back shoulder slope. Unfortunately it needs to be different amounts for each shoulder. (3/4″ right shoulder; 1/2″ left shoulder).  More critically is that the slope cannot be increased evenly.  I mean I can’t make a mark 1/2″ and then draw a line up to the shoulder point.  My shoulders have distinct angles and have double angles:


Maintaining the 1/2″ seam allowance, I tried offsetting the back shoulder 3/4″ at the armscye zeroing at about half way. Did the same on the right except it was offset 3/4″.

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Above: shoulders basted after offsetting for shoulder slope.

While the remaining diagonals and scoops disappeared across the back and below the shoulders, the back crept upward, easily visible from the front on both sides


as well as the side views;


My first thought, well was that I didn’t smooth everything into place. When that didn’t work, I thought maybe that 1/4″ tuck on the tissue removed too much ease.  I let out the center back seam as far as possible. Nope. Didn’t help. Not one iota.

Letting out the shoulder seams was a dumb idea and didn’t work either.  So I look around and think, ” where can I sew a wedge that will remove those drag lines?”    A few of the drag lines are just below the bust most are higher.  I didn’t think a wedge below the waist would help. Didn’t think just above the waist would help either.  Between underarm and bust dart did occur to me, but I really don’t have much length in that area.  The only logical place to me was the armscye. I opted to make a wedge 1″ above the cross back. Which worked perfectly  (the shoulders hug my own) but looked wonky.


I’ve never seen a dart in a back armscye.  Seen lots of yokes but just a dart? No. Never that I can recall.  I decided to stitch the wedges (one for each side) permanently and join them with a very narrow tuck (less than 1/8″). The result:


I dislike adding prominent lines on-the-fly like this.  I prefer to make such things on the tissue and cut while the fabric is flat. I’m pretty sure that I made the right amount of adjustment, but because I was fussing, trying to smooth out fabric, the right wedge was placed lower than the left. Which resulted in the slanted line above.

I may still have an issue lower down where drag lines typical of needed RBA have developed:


I question that because the lines were not there before hemming:


Also, I made a 1/4″, then 1/2″ and finally 3/4″ RBA on the woven sloper. The woven sloper showed no improvement with the 3/4″ RBA; only the 1/4 and 1/2″. Seemed at the time, that a 1/2″ RBA was the right choice. I made the RBA on the cross back line. Should it have been made further down?

Further considering the wedges, I wonder if the issue at the shoulder seam/back neck was due to the 1/2″ seam allowance.  I know for a fact that I can easily join 1/4″ seam allowances where a 1/2″ in the same place would have been a struggle.  I was reluctant to trim the shoulder seam allowances to 1/4″.  Maybe I should have been bolder.

Converting the wedges to a yoke has lots of possibilities since a yoke could be placed anywhere along the armscye although I probably should adjust the sleeve cap as well. (I didn’t this time. I eased the sleeve into the armscye. 1/4″ seam allowances helped with that.) Not sure that I want the yoke to be as low or lower than the front bust. I’m afraid that would require adjusting the side seams and hem.   I wonder if the wedges can be combined with the RBA.  Fit for Art recommends making the RBA and rotating to the neckline. That works, but I’d rather sew a single back seam than 2 darts.  I’d also prefer a single yoke seam to the 4-square thingy I’ve got up above.  I wonder if the wedges which are already noted on the pattern:


could be slashed 2″ (the length needed for the shoulder) and overlapped?  No the slash would have to go all the way across the back or I would have bubble. But I don’t want it to go all the way across because it would offset the RBA some.

The FRONT caused me only slight concern and that was the bust dart. Bit by the issue on the woven sloper, I cut a big box along the side seam at the end of the dart instead of cutting exactly on the lines. During fitting I carefully draped the bust dart; trimmed the seam allowances to 1/2″ and transferred the change to the pattern. Glad I did that because I added a bunch of fabric.  See the purple ink below:


All added fabric during fitting.  I’m just a mess at folding out a nice bust dart on tissue!

Ah, time to think.


********** I may update this post as I find other options.



CS1201: The Knit Block

I copied the final fitting changes back to my original tracing of size 16, CS1201.  After copying the changes, I folded the bust darts and adjusted the side seam. Spent an hour adjusting the bust dart depth and lines. Then I trued the seams and had to completely revise the bust dart. What a pain. But this block is now a wealth of information. It is showing a dart every place where I needed to make depth changes.  It’s possible I could move some of the darts to seams or merge with other darts. If I had the figure of 12-year-old boy (1) I could move the darts anywhere and (2) I probably wouldn’t need most of those darts. But I have a roly poly figure otherwise known as the mature-female body and there’s no question in my mind that some darts will not be able to move or not move in their entirety while retaining the fit I desire and have worked so hard to achieve.

Finally satisfied I labeled the original tracing ‘WOVEN 20170128″ on all pieces and proceeded to develop a Knit block/sloper. First up, make a clean copy with all final notations. I have several references for converting a woven block to knit block. I’m not a fan of the ‘cut one size smaller’ theory. Neither did I care for “Thousand Teeny Changes” two of my sources recommended.  I sorted through them and realized that (1) there is no standard; no reliable set of steps that will guarantee a fitted knit sloper. Whatever I do, the next step will be “make a test garment and adjust as desired”.  Once that realization struck me, I did some fast calculations and opted to take a 1/4″ tuck at cross back and cross front; and another 1/4″ tuck from shoulder through hem.  I took a 1/4″ tuck across the cap of the sleeve and then had to redraw the cap slightly.  This will be my basis. I plan to update it with needed fitting changes. But like the original tracing of CS1201, I don’t want to lose or mess-up this clean copy and so made a 2nd working copy.  On the working copy  starting with the BACK

(Back) move neckline darts to the center back. I will plan on always using a center back seam when using this back.  Move half the shoulder dart width to the armscye; the other half to the neckline.  Move 1/2″ the back waist dart to the center dart. Redraw the center back seam to include the new curvature.  I’d like to move the other 1/2″ of the waist dart to the side seam, but I’m worried the back side seam won’t match and work well with the front side seam  because….

Front mark the armscye dart as unsewn. Retain 1-3/4″ (7/8 deep dart); rotate the rest of the bust dart to the hem. I’m hoping that will add a little tummy room.  I realize I’m creating a bit of a ‘swing’ hem. For now, I’m just accepting that. Later I will consider how and how much of the swing to remove.   My front doesn’t need a waist dart. So nothing to move to the side seam.  Which is why I hesitated to move any portion of the back waist dart to the side seam.  This will be reconsidered in future garments.

I chose a rayon knit with 30% stretch. I actually purchased a few knits recently. I realized I didn’t have knit fabrics that would make good test garments. They were either too dark or didn’t have the right stretch or I didn’t have enough yardage for a front, back, plus long sleeve.   Hope for wearable test garments (I’m tired of throwing fabric into the trash), I looked specifically for busy prints that would hide fitting issues. I gave my fabric a whiff of starch as I was pressing; laid it out and cut only the front and back.

I used all-purpose thread in the bobbin and needle for stay stitching and the bust dart.  Switched to water-soluble thread for the seams.  I was really pleased with the first fitting. I think I have only 1 issue that I will correct (there’s another I’m ignoring) but I’ll write about that tomorrow.   It’s an issue that I need to think through. Considering, my actions and the results as well as possible options and then writing it all out will help me do the needed thinking…. and planning.  So with minimal fitting, I was done. The 1/4″ tucks were perfect. The sleeve cap was good.  Rotating a portion of the bust dart worked as expected.


I finished the neckline with FOE; hemmed by top stitching. Another goof, I like my sleeves marked with minimum ease. I made it too little. I opted to create a vent in the cuff but my T-shirt may be a candidate for half or 3/4 sleeves later on.

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Not surprising, my left side is smoother and looks better than the right. I did work on the uneven shoulder issue, but it needs more consideration. As you can see, the drag lines from the bust are nothing like they were on the finished woven sloper. I’m not entirely sure if I removed too much ease from the front or if I need to take up more in the bust darts and then of course rotate to the hem. I did hate those big honkin’ nearly 3″ bust darts the woven sloper ended up having. Over all, to me, this looks good. Better than any RTW, I can buy.


In only one fitting, I’m in the tweaking stage. I’ll talk more about the back tomorrow but today just let me say, I’m not terribly unhappy with the back but I do see that a drag line formed starting at the shoulder. This is a typical line that says “Add an RBA ” or make it bigger.

Again, things I’ll think about when I write tomorrows post.  For now, I’m just terribly, terribly pleased with myself and my new sloper.


CS1201: Absolutely Usable!

Adding the gusset to the front between underarm and waist made a huge difference.  For the first time, I felt like I was nearing the end of this journey.
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I thought what I needed was to restore the darts that run under the bust dart, across side back across the other side and terminate beneath the other bust dart; then sleeve testing.  Can you imagine how upset I felt when adding the dart which cleans up all the little divots you see above, caused the deep diagonal at the bust to return?

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I hope it was the front dart and removed it but left the back in place. As you can see above, the back dart still affects the front pull lines. No  had to remove the entire dart, front, side, back, side front. That’s the only way to eliminate the pull lines at the side seam+bust.

I cut and added sleeves.  I wanted to know if the back was too wide.  I keep looking at it and thinking it’s just a smidge wide. But then I think, no a blouse WITH sleeves would need a little more room across the back.  My other question concerns the armscye total length.  Through pinching the shoulder, adding the front dart and pinching under the arm, I’ve removed 1-7/8 length.  My alteration instructions all say that when you tamper with the armscye, you need to restore it. I’m conflicted because this armscye sits about 1″ below my underarm.  If it were a knit, I’d want to raise it at least 1/2″.


If this were to be non-stretch sleeveless, I’d want snug it up to my body which would reduce length even more.  So the point now was to find out, if the back is too tight and how the armscye felt when the sleeve is inserted.

In pics below the sleeve on my right side was inserted without any changes to the sleeve cap. That side does still suffer with the not-totally-corrected lower-shoulder. The sleeve had to be ease to fit. I didn’t do a very good job. I kind of don’t care what it looks like. Just that it’s sewn well enough to determine comfort.

I lowered the cap 5/8″ for the sleeve inserted on the left. I left the front armscye dart unsewn but still had to be ease sleeve into armscye (and I didn’t do a real good job with the left either). I didn’t struggle with the easing and I like how the sleeve and shoulder are level as opposed to the poof of the right. That doesn’t mean I don’t occasionally like and use the poofier sleeve.

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Even though the back looks good, I’d rather have used a stretch woven. The back is just a bit tight; and here I thought it would be too wide.  Both armscyes feel good.  I also prefer the appearance of the left side sleeve but I’m keeping in mind that the right might be better if the lower, right-shoulder was fitted. The left just seems to hang better.  Sometimes I think it’s not just that my right shoulder is lower but that the arm is attached a little differently. Like a slightly different angle?   I really wanted to clean up the final drape lines on the front, but I prefer this to the drag lines radiating from the bust. Unless I get smarter in the future, I’ve decided to accept and like this near perfect fit and quit worrying about perfection.  This is close enough to be usable.


Some after thoughts. I transferred the last changes back to the tissue including lowering the sleeve cap. Made a note about extra ease across the back for non-stretch wovens.  Since the only discomfort is the back when sleeves are attached, I’m not changing the armscye and sleeve cap further, though I did make a note to leave the dart unsewn for sleeves.  I may work a little more with the sleeve and armscye, if I get smarter.

This new sloper contains so many possibilities. It has places marked for shoulder, armscye, bust, back and front waist.  My current plan is to rapidly trace the sloper, rotate darts are desired, add necklines and other changes as they occur to me on the fly.  It’s also good for fitting commercial patterns. Just need to keep in mind that the remaining drag lines in the sloper are probably going to reappear in the new pattern as well.  I’m looking forward to making a knit sloper and later on sleeveless styles. For now, it’s just a relief to once again have a usable-although not perfect-sloper.

Psst — I still need to correct the lower shoulder and I can’t guarantee I won’t be back making more fitting slopers in the future. This is good, but I think I can do better.


CS1201: Day 4

A funny thing happened on the way to Day 3.  At end of Day 2, I had decided  the front and back needed to be shortened 3/4″ above the waistline and from front dart, around the side, cross the back, around the other side and up to the other front dart. Leaving the center between dart to dart unchanged. Working from copies, on the back, I made a tuck all the way across. On the front, I moved the front change into the dart; folded the dart and cut the new side seam. It’s a big dart. 2-3/4″ deep instead of the 1″ usually specified for a barely-B cup. But if my body shape requires it, OK. I’ll manage.

Thing is what worked on paper didn’t work quite the same in fabric. I spent Day 3 trying to eliminate the rest of the wrinkles, especially these:


I could make them worse:


But not better. I could remove nearly all the wrinkles below the hip and above the bust.  I’ve got a little extra ease up there that I’m reluctant to remove.  I don’t want a close-fitting blouse. That means with many fabrics, I’m going to have a little ease moving around. Rippling. that kind of thing.  Point is, I could never remove the drag lines pointing to the side seam between underarm and waist.Even thought it feels perfectly comfortable, the hem is even too loose, I wondered if I needed more ease on one side or the other? Or both? First I let out the side seams between waist and underarm 1/4″.  Didn’t help. Next I opened the seam completely 1″ down from the underarm. Then 2″. 3″. and Finally 4″.  The drag lines did not improve.  I decided to look on the bright side. I had proved that circumference was not the issue.  Earlier I had added a 1/4″ dart running from bust dart, across the back to the other bust dart. About the same place as the excess of Day 2 but not as deep. That remove the last ripples on the front bust. I proceeded to let out and then take that dart in deeper and deeper. Until it was once again 3/4″ deep. While the front looked better around the bust and below the waist, those side seam drag lines were either unaffected or deeper.  Finally I ripped out the side seam. Gave front a back a light spritzing of starch and pressed carefully.  I hate to do too much of this even while fitting because the starch, heat and steam will reshape whatever I’m working on.  I carefully pressed. Up and down or slightly smoothing.  To my surprise, the front bust at the side seam looks like this:


On the front, I should have little shaping. I’m definitely pear. You know, little bumps on top, little dent just above the middle, biiiiiiiiiiiiiig bump below waist? A sharp inward incline at the bust is just not right. Not for me.

To test if this was indeed the cause of my problems, I cut 2.5″ strips, slipped below each side seam and basted into place.  I pinned the sides together and drew and angled line from underarm to hem.   At this fitting, the line angles steadily thereby increasing ease all the way to the hem.

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Yep! That’s the answer.  At least, the answer for the underarm/bust drag lines.


Sheesh! One error. Two days of pain.


Day 3

I mulled over the alterations I was testing on Day 2.  For sure, I needed to fix the gaping armscyes but was the 1/4″ back dart and 3/8″ front the answer?  I also needed to position the apex correctly – a move of 3/8; and shorten the lower back 3/4″. Question for me is where best to make these changes.  If I move the apex by shortening at the cross front, will I need to release the armscye dart?  I think so but that means I don’t have the extra ease wanted when inserting a sleeve. Connie says to reposition the apex to match your own. But I think that taking out that 3/8″ was reducing the bust to side seam drapes. How will I handle those if I just mark a new apex? Below the armscye? Possible. The bust dart falls 3″ below the underarm base. A 3/4″ tuck won’t interfere but it will make the front side seam  shorter than the back and the shaping will no longer correspond. So I could move the back 3/8″ tuck all the way up and directly across from the front tuck. Or will be too high to create the effect I want. See, I think if you have the figure of a 12 years old, those darts can be moved anywhere.  But when your body is curved and, lets say substantial, will the fitting i.e darts and seam curves have to correspond with your own.  Will that tuck work just as well below the underarm as it does 3″ lower? I’ve not yet worked on the lower right shoulder. I’ve been able to alter both shoulder the same and then make a small adjustment when sitting at the sewing machine. Is that still possible?  Kind of think I need to be addressing the lower shoulder from the get go i.e. the pattern.  The right shoulder is not only lower than the left, but it is lower than it was this time last year.  AND then I’ve still not addressed the tummy. It needs not only more ease (added by adjusting the side seams) but most likely a little more length as well. Howe can I do that without adding more flare at the hem? Speaking of which when do I’ll balance the hip/hem level?  All these changes definitely have an effect on other parts of the garment. That’s the chore for today.

A few more tests were in order. I’m not entirely sure the back waist perfectly horizontal.  I do have photography shortcomings.  Does the end nearest the side seam raise/lift slightly? Or is that my photo skills become apparent. One way to tell is make the back 3/8″ tuck into a dart wide end at the side seam terminating beneath the waist dart.  I’ve already seen making a front dart (at the armscye). It had no effect upon the bust to side seam drapes. Also with the dart just above the waist, the waist does not lift further Even the side view appears level. A better choice could be  increasing the bust dart from 2″ to 2-3/8″ and moving it up to correspond with my apex.



On the far left (as looking into the pic) is the final fitting on Day 2. In the middle, the 3/8″ tuck has been changed into 2 darts with wide end at the side seam and the darts are raised about 2-3″ higher than Day 2 Tuck.  I see that hem has grabbed a little high and has developed a pooch right above. More importantly the middle of the back has developed even more. In the far right pic, the darts have been corrected back to a 3/8″ deep tuck but at the higher level.  I think the tuck has to be taken further down.


I put more creedence into the left side because I still haven’t made any corrections for my right shoulder.  Far left front is Day 2 fit. On both the next 2 photos I’ve smoothed the dart that was just above the waist up into the bust dart. In the far right pic, I’ve marked my apex.  Combined with photos of the left side


I think increasing the dart nearly solves the drag lines beneath the bust lines.  I also give some leeway to the pics above because darts, tucks are more accurate if indicated on the tissue and transferred before all the sewing and pressing.

Labeled my tissues with a big “Day 2” , marked the following changes

  • Back neckline and shoulder darts stay the same
  • Move back armscye   just under the shoulder seam and folded  out  which will  changing the back shoulder slope but not length.
  • Redraw back shoulder dart.
  • Add 3/8 tuck across back just above waist
  • Redraw back waist darts
  • Adding 1/4″ to the back and front side seams from hem up to 1″ above the waist.
  • Add 3/8″ front armscye dart
  • Increase bust dart 3/4″

and then created a new back and front with the changes.  Over and over I’ve seen that alterations made to the muslin then transferred to the tissue don’t carry through to future garments.  Pants are the best example of this. I’ve made the fish dart everyone says is the solution. Pinched it out. Stitched in. Transferred to tissue. Cut a new test from the altered tissue. Guess what?  Big ol’ drag lines. Bold as ever. I am hoping the alteration I’ve made work well. But just in case I want to preserve the original and keep track of the changes.

My favorite this time is a 100% cotton purchased to make a blouse. I love the print. It has an old, lace type feel due to the print. But I never made the planned blouse. I grew up in cottons. Started my working career in cottons. I just know this cotton is going to be a wrinkled mess in only a few hours. So, I’m using it as my next muslin. Unfortunately, it does have the same hand as the previous fabric. Like the other, it doesn’t stretch. But it is not crisp. It’s softer without being a drapey fabric. So hard to describe. I expect not only atrocious wrinkles after a few hours of wear, but additional drooping. In some styles this droop would be a feminine touch. As a sloper, not so desirable.

I was relieved when looking at the 2″ screen of my camera, that I didn’t see I needed to start over. (That’s what happened with the moulage.  Every new moulage was as if the previous one hadn’t existed let alone cost me hours and hours of work.)  For the first time, I made a slight adjustment for my right shoulder.  I stitched the right shoulder seam 1/8″ deeper.  I’ll share the pics from the shoulder tweak.


Start with the front because I think it looks quite nice.  I don’t think most people would see anything wrong. The slight change to my right shoulder has made both sides of the front look equally nice.  I may increase the shoulder offset from 1/8″ to 1/4″.  Not sure just yet, because it may be better to remove all extra length from one side or the other. There is a slight hint of the lower bodice diagonals that used to be between waist dart and side seam both right and left. I’m sure these wouldn’t be visible had I still be using the more crisp fabric.  The solution previously was increasing the bust dart width, which BTW leaves the front length that I need for a level hem


The camera always distorts straight lines that run around a globe. So I think this is level and I’m unwilling to do anything that would change it.  But back to the diagonals, my bust dart is 2-3/4″ deep.  I’m not sure I want a 3″ or larger dart. That’s a whopping amount of fabric in the side seam and very unusual for a barely B cup. Another option could be a tuck across the upper bodice but then the front length would be short and my front hem would rise like a bird.  I would need to add length somewhere.  I never trust alterations which result in other alterations. My gut feeling is “I’m fixing the wrong thing.” And I’ve seen the time when I fixed A. Which created B. Correct B. Holy cow, I now have error C. Fix C and guess what? A is back.  I don’t trust alterations that produce the need for more alterations.  I’m Ok with alterations that only partially correct. Like the 3/8″ front armscye dart fixed the armscye length for the left side and helped the right side. A 2nd alteration was needed to completely lower the right side shoulder down onto my physical shoulder.  So the 3/8″ dart didn’t fix everything but all of one side and most of the other. I trust those kinds of alterations.

Despite my comments,  I would wear this front. I might be wondering about further corrections, but I would wear it. Moral of the story:  My Front gets 2 Thumps Up!!

To the back:


For this tissue, I moved the back armscye dart up just below the shoulder. Sliced across the back and then overlapped 1/2″. I then needed to true the shoulder, shoulder dart and the armscye. Slicing across the back and not just the 4″ of the dart was needed so the pattern would lie flat. Unfortunately, it shortened the back length about 1/8″; and so I’m seeing once again diagonals starting at the cross back, angling across the back towards the seam above the bust and maybe 1 above the bust.  Interestingly, the left shoulder is still gaping. The right shoulder with its deeper seam allowance is riding nicely where it should. Also there are fewer and less deep drag lines below the right shoulder than the left. I looked at the front and back shoulders enlarged 200%. Right and left front are just brilliant. Back shoulders are showing the anomaly and of course the wrinklers below.

My thought is I need to do the tissue alteration differently. I’m thinking either move the dart all the way up to the shoulder and slice it off. Which would entail changing the shoulder length back to 4.5″ (5″ with dart); rebalancing the dart and redrawing the armscye.  All doable. (I really did learn from the drafting class.) 2nd alternative might be rotating the dart to the shoulder dart i.e. closing the dart where it was originally taken (3″ down from the shoulder point on the back armscye),  while allowing the shoulder dart to open.  The dart would increase in size. The shoulder length stay the same.  I’d need to tweak the armscye (there’s always a smidgen of difference).   The dart would need to be redrawn and trued.  Seeing the gaping above, I should/could increase the amount of the armscye dart at the same time. Confusing? This dart


That would not take care of all the wrinklers

These wrinklers


which extend to the sides

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I decreased the back length above the waist 3/4″ (added it back at the hem to maintain overall length).  I increased the bust dart 3/4″ to remove most of the diagonals forming from apex to side seam.  While these aren’t as bad, telling me I did something right, I’m not sure if I should repeat the process i.e. reduce back length above waist/ reduce front side length by increasing bust dart.

I’ve reduced the armscye length 7/8″ over all (1.25″ on the right side). I wonder if the armscye should be restored.  Didn’t immediately do so because 1) the underarm sits 1″ below my armpit and 2)the side seam at the underarm has sufficient ease.

I’m wondering if the back is too wide.  I look and think it is; then think “no when I put the sleeve in I’ll be happy with the armscye the way it is.

Ummm. Suggestions?

CS1201: Fitting Day 2

Warning! Long Post. Many Pix!

I made few changes to the tissue. I was fairly sure I was seeing way to much ease and trimmed all the additional I’d added along the  seam allowances.  While I’m pretty sure the CB needed more length above the cross back, I’m not sure how much.  I added 1/2, could have used at least a smidge more.  Instead of cutting up my original tracing,  I traced the updated back tissue and made a 3/4″ RBA using these instructions from Fit For Art. I”m sure I’ve seen other instructions which rotate the added width at CB to the shoulder dart but this is OK. It has the advantage of  keeping the shoulders and shoulder dart as Connie drafted.

I placed the front tissue back on top of the now disassembled, starched and pressed pieces.  Trimmed the excess and all the frayed edges. Then copied the front darts and the guide lines.  I made a few extra guidelines above the center front and above the tummy.  The back,  I cut  from fresh fabric.  I opted not use a CB seam this time.  The first time I was concerned about not enough cross width. Now I don’t think that’s an issue but I did mark the center back as well as the darts and guide lines and the few extra horizontal lines above the center back.

 I serge finished the neckline, armscye and the hemlines.  I also serge finished the 1″ CF seam allowance.  I’m hoping that helps keep the area from stretching.  I need to know if I’m creating the pooching from my alterations or heavy handling.  All the darts and seams have been basted with water-soluble thread.  When I know I’ll probably be ripping seams, I prefer having WST.   Hoping I’d fixed the cross back bowing with these few changes,I did my first try on and pix.

I’m happy to report that most of the bowing has been removed with just the RBA:


This is judgement call, and mine can be questioned. I don’t have mad fitting skills.  Fitting frustrates me because I can’t read the lines. Expert advice rarely helps.   The best solutions have come from  internet ‘friends’.  So I think this is improved. But I don’t think the increase from 1/2″ to 3/4″ made a big difference. I was hoping the line would be perfectly straight.  Since it’s not and because the final fit on Day  1 included the armscye darts where todays muslin did not, the next step was working on the gaping armscyes.

I will share some Day 2 first fit pics

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Note that the back neck is not pooching at all. It’s nicely hugging my neck.  Fixed no doubt by extending the RBA across the back instead of stopping at the dart. Since this is a sloper for a garment and not a moulage, I think the cross back width is correct. There are some drag lines below the cross back. I don’t think they reach the cross back, more shoulder-blade area. The back is also lacking flare and ripples at the hem. all 3 according to Fit for Art indicators for an RBA.   I need to fix the gaping armscye but at the same time, I’m wondering if I need to remove at or above the waist, the 3/4″ length added at the cross back?

I’ve worn fronts worse than this. It’s still gaping/pooching at the zipper (CF), though not as badly as end of Day 1. When I extended the back, did that also release the front pooching?  The apex is a little lower than I prefer but I’m leaving that until later. I need to correct some front arm gaping. Once again, this is a blouse WITH sleeves sloper. They, the armscyes should not be tight. Suzy Furrer even said to leave the armscye dart unsewn on a blouse with sleeves because it would be more comfortable to wear. Besides, once the sleeve is inserted, nobody can peek inside.  Initially, I’m more concerned about the deep drag lines forming diagonally from apex almost to the side seam. I can increase the seam allowance depth. I’m not sure I want to. Once again, this is to be a blouse.  Blouses are not normally skin-tight. From years of Peggy Sagers’ lectures, I know I like 1-2″ bust ease.  Also as in Day 1, the front waist is slightly rising. Another problem to be left until the upper bodice is fit. It’s entirely possible that changing the shoulder slope and fixing those bust drag lines will improve the waist guide line position.

One, I think, minor notation. I stitched the back darts 1/2″ and front darts 1/8″  deep vs the 1/4 and 1/2 Connie drafted. I know from experience that my back darts need to be deeper than the front, but I also saw that during Round 1.

I knew I needed to be able to see if correcting something on the front created issues in the back or side and vice versa.The succeeding fittings were, necessarily, multiple small changes and consumed the rest of the day. (My sewing sessions are usually 3-4 hours).

Next fitting I intended to add 1/4″ darts high on the armscye that might later be smoothed up to the shoulder seam.  I didn’t want to mess with the shoulder length. It was perfect for me.  I’d also intended to increase the side seam depth 1/8″ for this fitting; but as I thought about the pix, I changed my mind. I created a 3/8″ front armscye dart but  did nothing to the back. Instead the side seams were stitched to the full depth Connie drafted, 1″.  The hem felt a little tight in back but loose in front.  Up at the tummy, the front was too tight it’s seen in the pic through the drag lines that suddenly develop for the first time below my tum tum.

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The underarm feels fine. Hugs my body without being tight and I don’t think I’m seeing any new wrinkles at the armscye. I’ve not added a back armscye/shoulder dart and the back armscye sticks up a bit as always:


Now this is a back that looks slightly, an itty bit, too wide.


Like I should use the 5/8″ SA instead of the 1/4″ for which I adapted my tissue. However I’m more concerned by the waist where another pooch has made its appearance.


Next fitting? Let out the side seams  about an inch above the waist to the hip (which also happens to be the bottom edge/hem).  I may want to offset the front side seam at the hem — later. For now, too much ease is tolerable.  I also need to add the 1/4″ back armscye dart.

Both actions (back armscye dart and narrower side seams) improved the look and feel. Surprising  the side view was also improved but the front about the same.  Contemplating some advice received recently , I added a 3/8 tuck at the center back between the darts which then tapered to nothing at the side seam. You have to see this back NOW!


There are some lines above that are new. I”m not sure that’s a fitting issue or a sewing issue.  I do find that these changes are best when done to the tissue. For one thing, I make the same change on both sides. Even though it’s not patently obvious, one side of that fisheye dart is higher than the other.  Pretty sure that pulled the fabrics off grain and is responsible for most of the drag lines.  The back fisheye dart even slightly improved the side but not the front


In for a penny in for a pound, eh? I extended the fish eye dart. It starts below the bust dart increased to 3/8″ at the side seam; continues across the back at 3/8″ to the other side seam and then tapes to nothing beneath the other bust dart.

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Looks better in the mirror. For one thing, my front view is slightly turned so that the right side, the lower shoulder, is prominent.  In the side view I think the drag lines are coming from the side seam not the tummy. Think also I have the issue of the grain being off. More importantly,  I think the dart is at the wrong place on the front.  I think this really needs to be above the apex.  I  don’t like the bust guide line hovering just below my personal apex.

That concludes 3 days of working with CS1201. 1 day of prep; 2 days fitting. I don’t mind spending the time when I feel like I’m making progress.  It’s helpful that I’m working with something that feels familiar.   Right now, I need to think about the changes and results and decide what to do next.  You know, I’m really thinking of new fabric that’s not been pressed, stretched and steamed.  Yes, new fabric to go with a newly modified tissue.