Saturday, September 13, 2014

Still At It

This is muslin 4B.  I think I have the shoulder seam placement and neckline right.  I really did need to lower both the back neckline and shoulders 5/8". I raised the front shoulders 5/8".  Not sure If I needed to raise the front neckline too, but I did.  What's odd is that I had to do a very tiny forward shoulder adjustment; it wasn't even 1/4". I also discovered I have narrow shoulders. I took 5/8" off the length.

Time to move on to the back. I did add 3/4" to the upper back earlier, but it wasn't enough. I figured that since 3/4" wasn't enough and I needed to taper to a size 22 at the waist anyway, I would try adding the difference between the 16 and 22 across the whole back. That's 1 1/2".

The pattern has a 1" back shoulder dart. Does this mean that the dart now needs to be 2 1/2"?  I'm having a difficult time drawing the new dart, so I am going to make a new muslin, attempt to pin it in and then adjust the pattern. Of course, all of this is academic if it turns out I don't need 1 1/2" across my upper back. I'm torn by this. Awesome because it would mean that I'm smaller than I gave myself credit for, but boo because I'd have to change the alteration.

I didn't realize I'd made so many muslins just to fit my shoulders. Who cares because I'm so happy I figured out what to do to get the shoulder seams in the right place. I am a little nervous because the front bodice is self-facing cowl and doesn't have a neckline seam. You kind of need a neckline seam to make shoulder alterations. I just hope I can join the front and back properly when I'm done with all these alts. It looks a hot mess now. I'll definitely have to make a least one muslin with the self-facing.  

The only drag in this process is that my cotton muslin from Jo-Ann is off-grain! It's the only muslin I have left and the cheap in me won't go and buy more. I purchased it months ago and have used quite a bit, so I can't take the rest of the bolt back. I have torn it from the bolt instead of cutting. I have pulled opposite corners. I have tried to coerce with steam. Sigh. I threw the remaining yardage in the washer hoping for a miracle. I haven't used it since, so we'll see what happens today.

Fall hit Chicago like a ton of bricks two days ago. I'm already thinking about B5523!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Big Thoughts

Did anyone else notice something new when the fall McCall patterns came out? If you don't wear plus sizes, maybe not. I do, but it still took me a second to notice it.


Khaliah Ali is now designing for McCall instead of Simplicity. I'm not sure how I feel about this. When I first looked at the new patterns (before realizing this was kind of a big deal) I thought, "This is just more of the same."  Then, I took a closer look at the third one.

Here it is in all its glory:


If you looked at this and thought that you needed to make that immediately, please let me know. Apparently, I am further from the pulse of fashion than I thought and I need counsel. Is this the modern muumuu?  Big girls, don't give in! We gotta fight this.

The state of plus-size fashion makes me a bit sad. Fit -- acknowledgement that there are different body shapes withing plus -- still isn't completely there. When I go into stores like Lane Bryant and Ashley Stewart, I see fashion, but the clothes are cheap. To be fair, I find that in regular sizes too. When did linings go away? I love the Encore section at Nordstrom, but it has its drawbacks too. I'm thankful for the better quality, including less polyester. The trade off is that it isn't as fashion-forward. Lined dresses and skirts are still few and far between. Lined pants are nonexistent.

All the more reason for me to start taking sewing more seriously. Speaking of which, I made a second muslin of the Vogue 8787 bodice after my shoulder alterations. I still need to lower the back neckline. That's on today's to-do list. I think the upper back is a bit tight too.

Peace and blessings.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Shouldering the Burden

Here's the story of my sewing life
  • Fall in love with a pattern. 
  • Alter the pattern tissue
  • Make a muslin
  • Make some more tissue alterations
  • Get confused and stuck
  • Move on to another project
My last three attempts have been dresses.  The fixes I know I need to make in the bodice are

  • Square shoulders -- I usually add 1/2" using the pivot and slide method
  • FBA -- about 3" using a Y-dart from Fit For Real People
I end up with something that looks like this or worse. I never went back to true the armhole!


When I realized the error of my ways, I tried to go back and smooth it out, but I still looked wonky.Then, thanks to the magic of Craftsy, I learned that I didn't have to draw the line to the armhole. I could do the entire spread at the shoulder! Truing the armhole wouldn't be much of an issue. Now what this means in teams of fit on me, I'm not sure. I did the adjustment, but didn't make the muslin.


Why? Because I found and alterations breakthrough! Every one of my attempts at a dress or top results in shoulder seams that sit way visibly forward on my shoulders. My neckline seam at CB is about 5/8" too high. Folks talk about having to pull their tops forward because of forward shoulders. I have the opposite problem; my tops pitch forward and I always have to pull them backward -- a lot. 

Now if situation is familiar to you and you've got a solve, bless you! Please send me the info. I just couldn't find anything about this condition or the alteration needed. I thought maybe my girls were stealing fabric. I thought perhaps I had a smaller shoulder joint, a large shoulder joint, hollow chest, round back, high neck base, muscular neck. You name it. (Now, I might actually have some of those, but they weren't causing the problem.)

Finally my Google search yielded something useful! I found this post from waikikimum on Pattern Review

I always add an extra 1.5cm to my front shoulder seam and take it off my back shoulder as my shoulders hyperextend backwards due to a connective tissue disorder. I must add here that I haven't heard of anyone else doing this and the alteration is usually the other way - adding to the back and taking off the front. 
If I don't add to the front shoulder seam it sits too far forward on my shoulder. At first I had trouble finding where the right point was but then I read that when looking in a mirror from both the front and back you should not be able to "see" the seam. I could always see the seam when looking from the front so I raised it by adding the 1.5cm. 
Another thing I became aware of was that the back neckline was way too wide and caused the shoulder seam to fall forward and I was always hiking my tops backwards. I now always add a CB seam so I can take in the top of the back at the neckline. Once this area fits well I then fix the shoulder seam. I hope this helps.
Because the entire seam sits forward (it's not in the right position at the neck and angles out incorrectly), I added an even 5/8" to the front.


I guess I'll figure out if this is right (versus adding a wedge) when I do the muslin. I wonder if I will still need to do a square shoulder adjustment. Hmmm. Oh well. I'm off to remove 5/8" from the back.