Thursday, April 18, 2013

Comparing Curves

Sewing can be hugely satisfying when it's going well and hard on the ego when it's not. Luckily, it's satisfying enough, frequently enough, for me plus - as you know - I can't help but follow up those questions that wander through my mind. I do get to great results... eventually. Today's posting is two out of three. It's also encouraging to walk into my closet and know that all my favourite clothes were made by me. The fit might not be perfect now but it was definitely the best I could do at the time with the skills I had and even my least well-fitted garment is far Far FAR better than ready-to-wear. This is good.

I just realized that if I set up the tripod in the studio and open the French doors, I can take pictures against the wall in the hallway... by myself... with the tripod and the timer. This is much better than waiting for someone to help although I'll need to fix that patch on the wall sooner than planned plus I'm incredibly self-conscious having my picture taken and listening to that beep, beep, beep countdown just about does me in. I'm going to research a remote. Maybe that will help. Otherwise, I just get stiffer and more false feeling by the beep. Chloe thought the whole thing was rather fascinating. Her head swiveling antics made me laugh. Do you think they have modeling classes for adults? That could be fun and helpful.

This paisley t-shirt is New Look 6735 - the pattern I've been using as my TNT for several years. The front is one piece with easing at bust level. The back has a center seam that flares below the waist  and the side seams are curved. I've made this pattern in a range of fabrics. When the fabric has less lengthwise stretch, I substitute a bust dart for the easing. With this particular t-shirt, it was supposed to be a quick sew to test the alterations and not a "real" garment only it turned out to be one of my favourite t-shirts. Luckily, there are no headlights because I didn't even try to match the print.

In response to Debbie's comment yesterday that my fit preference seems to be body hugging, I'll describe the fit of the three t-shirts profiled and would appreciate feedback on how they look in terms of fitted or over-fitted. They do not feel over-fitted however, I certainly do not want to look sausage-like... so just in case....

This t-shirt skims my body. If I suck my tummy in and turn, my torso moves within the garment. It fits the closest at the bust and doesn't cling to the hips which means that it doesn't try to walk up my body all day long. Because I'm so curvy, if a garment is too fitted, especially at the hem, it will walk and it drives me absolutely crazy to be pulling down my clothing all day long. The same with sleeves. I like a generous bicep width so my upper arm doesn't look like a drumstick and a wider hemline so the sleeves won't stay stuck up my arms every time I move and constantly need pulling down. This t-shirt is very comfortable. I can - as Elizabeth said in Magic Bullets and Purgatory - forget that I'm wearing it.

You may need to enlarge these images to see exactly what I'm talking about but this is Vogue 8536 AFTER I had tweaked the back fit somewhat. Before the tweaking there was a lot more bagginess above the waist. After tweaking there is still too much ease above the waist while below the waist the back clings and wants to walk up. It shouldn't. There is more than enough circumference.

In the front, I added a 1" FBA and substituted the easing for a dart. It fits comfortably over the bust and clings through the hips. This is really quite strange because, as you can see, it's not a lack of width. I've pinned out the wings at the side seam. It's something in the cut of the garment over the high hip and tummy. I really like the shape of the neckline. I'd copy that to another top.

The version I'm showing you is my second try. I added flare at the side of the back piece so I could maintain the ability to cut on fold. Below is...

... the back of Vogue 8691. The flare in this garment is distributed across the entire back. If you click through to the pattern, you'll also see that I've changed the hemline in the back to be straight across. In the front, I eliminated the flare turning it into a princess seamed t-shirt but not just any princess seamed t-shirt. The fit of this particular back is far better than any other princess seam pattern I've tried so far. Very. Flattering.

Adding a center back seam to Vogue 8536 could improve the fit but it would also substantially change the pattern so I may as well use the one I've already tried and tested. If I want to avoid princess seams in the front, an option is to pair either the New Look 6735 or the Vogue 8536 front with the Vogue 8691 back.

This is the back of Vogue 8691. It fits smoothly without clinging. There is enough ease at the hips to keep the garment from walking and not enough that it flares away from the body. It feels much like how I described the paisley t-shirt.

And this is the front. I think it needs a full bust adjustment. I've been debating that for a while and will probably add between 1/2" and 1" for next time. In this case, I would have done more work on the sleeves - as shown by the pins below - only I was in danger of over fitting and tweaking the poor thing to death so I decided to leave it as is and see if a trip through the washer works any wonders.

This version was cut using the same pattern pieces as the black and white version that I showed earlier this week and yet I took it in an additional 3/4" at center front and center back. That's the fabric factor and illustrates why when you're creating a TNT pattern, especially one from a knit, you need to use the same fabric muslin to muslin because even though you've made that pattern before (and I've made this one five times) the fabric factor can make a HUGE difference. Multiple seams are certainly a fitting advantage.

I have quite a few princess seamed patterns for blouses, skirts, and dresses but surprisingly only two other princess seamed t-shirt patterns in my stash. The first is Vogue 8323 which I've made four or five times and the other is...

... Vogue 8699 which I haven't made even once. It's similar to my version of V8691 above only there are shoulder princess rather than armscye princess seams in the back. I like the way the seams on the Vogue 8691 back are further over under the armhole.

When my friend was over the other day, she was wearing Vogue 8871 shortened to a top. It looked fabulous. The curved side is similar to Katherine Tilton's Vogue 8710 but the shaping through the waist is much different. I don't have this pattern... yet... but after seeing Patti's it's on my wish list. I imagine now that I'm in the process of coming to terms with the need to embrace princess seams - LOL - I'll be ordering many more like this although you really don't need too many as long as you're willing to play with what you have...

... and I am... later... this afternoon. This morning, I'm taking Chloe to the puppy parlor to have her hair and nails done (go figure) and then I have a few errands to run including a stop at Fabricland. After that, I can work on another top.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - positive comparisons


  1. I have opposite issues. My body is thick waist, no hips, no boobs. The patterns with the curvy side seams do me no favors. Despite my hope they would add curves, they look terrible. I actually had to draw the curve out. I am slowly learning what type of pattern works better for me. I think all these shirts look good on you:)

    1. It definitely is a journey to finding what works best for us. Good luck with your search. Thanks for the compliments.

  2. I love a princess seam top or dress! Gives me plenty of places to nip and tuck without having to think toooo much. Your fitting is brilliant and shows in these tops, and flattering on you - no way you would get a fit like this from RTW ever again! I am currently making a long evening dress with, you guessed it, princess seams...J

    1. Yes. I agree. Princess seams are much easier to fit. There's more pieces and more fiddling but I think easier results over curves.

      How lovely to have brilliant fitting. I'm going to savor that compliment for a while. Thanks.

  3. When you said you had too much fabric in the back above the waist I thought you meant that it was standing away from the body. To me that looks like there's too much length from neck to waist so it's pooling at the waist. A swayback tuck will take care of that once you figure out how much needs to come out. LOL

    Did you try comparing the center back length of the Vogue and New Look? I'm assuming there's some curve in the cb of the NL but that might give you a clue.

    1. It's not the CBL or a sway back adjustment because I've used the same measurement on all the t-shirts shown and this is the only one with the issue.

      The Vogue 8536 is cut on fold. The flare that I added at the side is significantly more than the flare of the New Look with the side and center flare combined. The New Look has more flare along the center back seam than Vogue 8691 which has more at the side. Both fit nicely. AND... thanks for asking me to compare them... the New Look has an even squarer shoulder. Hmm.... I'll be exploring that finding because my best armhole was developed with that pattern.

    2. I can see how distributing the flare would make a difference in how they fit.

      The NL has a more square shoulder when comparing. Are the armhole depths the same? In you NL pic it's hard to tell how it fits under the arm because they're up but in the Vogue they look a bit short (at the underarm) and the sleeve looks like it's cutting in. It could just be the pic/angle.

    3. Good questions. I was thinking along the same lines when I was sewing earlier. It doesn't feel like it's cutting in but I want to compare the shoulders and armhole shape for my next t-shirt. I don't think there is ever an end to the perfecting - VBG. I really appreciate the feedback. Thanks.

    4. Quick answer - the New Look back armhole is substantially longer, and the shoulder is squarer while - as you're suggesting - the front armhole is cut further into the body. I'm going to go back to the original tissue and work my way through it using the new alterations and then compare the resulting shapes and see what happens. So interesting.

    5. One of the things I liked about the Vogue pattern (for me) was that the front armhole was cut deeper. I had started having problems with excess fabric above the bust and tried doing a hollow chest alteration and wasn't getting the fit I wanted with the pattern I had been using. I decided to start from scratch with a brand new pattern (the Vogue) and the rest is history.

      It will be interesting to see how the redo turns out. Since you like the fit of the originally altered NL and how it changes doing the new set/order of alterations it may help you solidify them. Just to throw it out there if it's completely different, then what? Just kidding. But it could happen. LOL

    6. LOL - you are so funny. Actually...

      ... it's quite surprising. The first go around included a lot of gyrations to get to that fits pretty good point including - I discovered when I read my notes - a sway back HOWEVER... with this second set of alterations there are less of them, they are much easier to implement, and the results are darn near identical. The back hip is wider this time because I included the back/front hip differential. It'll be interesting to see how that turns out. I didn't want to mess with this too much so I'm glad to see it's so similar. At the workshop in Oregon last year, Marcy complimented me on how well that t-shirt fit especially through the back so that's definitely what I'm aiming for. I'm just looking at the sleeve now. The front armhole has been an annoyance for a while so I'm thinking about it too. It doesn't cut but I don't think the line is as flattering as it could be.

  4. Your New Look 6735 looks wonderful. I also really like the soft v-neck on your Vogue 8691. For me, Vogue 8699 worked out much, much better than V8323, which I never was happy with. It's not just you forever futzing to find the "right" top pattern!

    1. Thanks. NL6735 is by far my favourite so far although V8691 is running a very close second. I'll try V8699 sometime soon then. Happy to have futzing company.


Thanks for commenting. I appreciate the feedback and the creative conversation.