Friday, July 26, 2013

Walk The Seams

At 3:30 when I woke up, I did what no one should do at that time of the morning - started to think - which leads to overthinking - which definitely does not lead to going back to sleep. It didn't help that when I went to bed last night, I was panicking (on that normal not crazy level) about these tops for my daughter. Oh the pressure we put on ourselves, the expectations.

Jessica and I have the same figure type and virtually the same set of alterations but we're not the same size and my bust is sadly lacking in comparison so I can't try on her tops to see how they look although I did tie a wad of batting around my bust yesterday to get an idea. I couldn't tell. Wads don't position themselves the way full breasts do and the difference in our upper bust sizing has an impact. I tried. 

While I want the tops that fit so she'll a) have something to wear on her holiday, b) feel pretty and feminine, and c) be encouraged to sew, reality is that it's hard to fit a body that lives nine hours away and is currently nursing a new born. You can't use tricks like cutting wide side seams and adjusting to fit when there's no one available to fit. Sigh. This is why I shake my head every time someone says they're sending their measurements to China to have a dress custom sewn. Really? That's not as easy as it sounds even from the did you measure correctly perspective never mind the fit one.

Getting back on topic - LOL - I want to view these are prototypes that we can fine tune the next time we're together in August however, I'm afraid if they don't fit, it'll dash her hopes and she won't let me keep trying. I definitely don't want to do that. Oh the joys of motherhood. They never change do they? SO...

... I have two patterns in my stash that come with DDD cup sizing - Butterick 5721 above and McCall's 6536 below. I'm going to use them for the bust and copy the style lines from the other patterns and since I'm making knit garments, it's - I hope - perhaps simpler to remove ease than to try to create the bust sizing.

I decided to try this route because I'm concerned that I'm over adjusting the bust - a discussion I had with both Jodie and Steph (both blog readers) last night, the consensus of which was erring on the side of less is probably a better choice. Prior to having her baby, my daughter was a DDD so this should work with knits. Once I post this, I'll compare patterns shapes and decide.

If you read yesterday's posting later in the day, there was a warning about the middle bodice piece of Vogue 8817. LOL - the bust point is over under the arm. NOT going to work. I have an idea that may work better. I'll let you know once I know.

At noon yesterday, I thought I had one top finished and now, I'm not so sure. It just doesn't look quite right so I'll compare pattern pieces and decide from there but even if I decide to cut it differently, I was really pleased with how it came together and will use the same process.

Vogue 8691 has points along the bottom of the hem that are finished with a ruffle in the original. I omitted the ruffle, adjusted the finished length, and hemmed each section BEFORE stitching the seams together. I started by fusing a 1/4" strip of knit interfacing to the bottom of each section. The strips were cut with the stretch running the long way.

And then I serge finished the edge to trim it evenly and give a neat appearance and then...

... I turned the serging to the wrong side and top stitched from the front about 1/8" away from the hemline.

When the seams were joined, I trimmed away the visible seam allowance, pressed, and hammered flat each point. It turned out well... except... I made a mistake...

I'd stayed up late the night before to finish drafting the patterns and forgot to walk the seams. The princess seam between the side and center fronts was out by 1 1/4". Without thinking, I trimmed to the shorter length of the center front and then realized I probably should have cut another center front with the longer length as I may have affected the full bust adjustment. I definitely lost some of the drama on the points. Oh well... mistakes happen... live and learn... and... this may be fixable once I compare pattern pieces but as I keep telling myself, these are prototypes. We'll adjust from here. I'd just like them to be wearable muslins - VBG.

The neckline turned out great. It was stayed with 3/8" strips of knit interfacing cut with the stretch running across the strip so there would be no give around the neckline. I then serged a strip of fabric around the neck with right sides together, wrapped it to the back, stitched in the ditch and then again just onto the edge of the binding, and trimmed away the excess in-behind. This is my most commonly used neck finish. I like the way the serged application creates an even and well supported edge.

SO... instead of doing what I thought I'd be doing today, I'm going to recheck my work, possibly recut some pieces, and basically approach this from a different perspective of comparing and using the DDD sizing that someone else has already drafted. Eventually, Jessica won't be nursing and will - hopefully - revert to her regular sizing so the tops might be tighter now and perfect later or... who knows... we'll see. It's still fun and frustrating - VBG. I'm up for the challenge. 

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - originally I typed one done here but that may not be true so I'm grateful that I actually have some DDD sized patterns. They're rare and will be helpful.


  1. I share your frustration, my daughter travels for her job and isn't home for months on end. I would makes up several 'muslins' and travel with my sewing machine to where she was working to fit these muslins. Then return home and take the muslins apart to use as the revised pattern.Yet this method never replaces having that live body there to fit. When she returns home with her sewn piece I almost always see something I want to tweak. So far we have a pant & skirt pattern that fit!!!!! Moving upward this year searching for a shirt & jacket pattern that fit & she likes. I enjoy reading about your journey in distance sewing.

    1. I can relate. I drove back and forth to her house a few years ago to fit a bridesmaid's dress. The bride picked the fabric because of the color and it was on sale. It was the worst possible choice for all three bridesmaids and made it tricky to put the dress together. Luckily, this time, Jessica is coming her next so hopefully we'll work something out. I appreciate the encouragement.

  2. Hi Myrna, I've been reading your blog for a long time now and I'm always amazed by your efforts. I'm not sure if I missed it, but did you give your daughters HB & FB? I only ask because my HB is 40 and my FB is 49 and I bought both of those patterns for the same reasons you mentioned. For me the DDD didn't work as well as the DD, but the DDD in the Amazing fit patterns worked better than the DD. I wish you lots of luck, fitting is one of those tricky things and doing it long distance cannot be fun.

    1. That is SUCH helpful information. Thank you so much for letting me know. I don't feel comfortable giving out her measurements without her permission but can say that her upper bust is 6" smaller than her full bust. Which pattern do you use for t-shirts? Would you mind sending me a picture? Thanks.

    2. 2nd reply - Keeping your advice in mind, I isolated the section of the McCall's pattern that would make up the mid bodice of the Vogue one and then compared the details. The FBA amount was 1" in length and width. With the information you provided, that seemed to make sense. Thanks.

    3. T-Shirts...I always use a dart in my T-shirts (there is just no way around it for me) I have had success with the t-shirt from Vogue pattern V8718. There is an old pic on my blog of that t-shirt the first time I made it, if you want to take a look

  3. Myrna,
    I think I remember that you have made your daughter bras? Could you make one up and pad it out to her measurements on your dress form to give yourself a better option for fitting?

    I haven't used either of the shirt patterns that you mention, but for me the larger cup size adjustment is always too high. I'm not just bigger, but also lower than the standard B cup and those patterns with the multi cup sizes don't seem to take that into account.

    It really is hard to sew for a body that isn't nearby for fittings, especially when we are aiming for something better fitting than RTW/ out of the envelope. Good luck to you and her as you work on this together.

    Lois K

    1. Yes... but that bra was several years ago before her 60 pound weight loss and the baby.

      Since she's young, hopefully she's perky. LOL - I have to start somewhere. Interestingly, I either keep mine the same or raise it although that is possibly due to my short CBL.

      It's very hard to sew without a body. It's a good reminder of why I do not like to sew for other people. Next time, I'd rather help her with both of us in the room.

  4. oh Myrna, everything looks so beautiful!! you can sew for me anytime ;)

    i purchased some fabric to try my first go-round at 8691 yesterday. Your versions are among the ones that inspired me to get off me duff and five it a go - your versions are so flattering and fun! but of course i'm going to leave on the flounces, esp. the ruffled back one so i can pretend i have something going on back there ;) plus i love bustles :)

    Have a great weekend!!! steph

    1. Looking forward to seeing your 8691. My rear view is wide but flat. Ruffles in the middle maybe like bustle. Hmm...

  5. I have used Sandra Betzina's pattern in the past and I wear a DDD. The only change that I remember making was to lower the bust dart. Vogue patterns are on sale today.

    1. LOL - yes... I've already ordered... and then they posted the fall collection. Sigh. Not this time.

      Thanks for the tip. I'll check out Sandra's pattern.


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