Monday, April 9, 2012

The Tailored Suit: Final Improvements -Sleeve Fit

I really hope this is the last time we ever speak of this muslin, but I do want to let you know that all of your comments of yesterday were so helpful. My sewing partner, S, came over again this morning (I know, part sewing helper, part saint) and she assisted me in sorting out that pulling at the front seam.

Here's what we realized:
  • Turns out, I had cut off the seam allowance?!? On the plus side, I had the side front armscye curve dead on. So we added the seam allowance back on.
  • We rotated the sleeve 1 cm towards the front. Wow, that's easy. All you do is move the sleeve head notch 1 cm towards the front sleeve. And it made a BIG difference. (Thanks Sherry.)
  • We moved some width I added to the front sleeve onto the back sleeve - because the underarm seams weren't aligning. We don't want to move the extra space over the bicep, but we do want the seams to line up.
  • We removed some fabric from the arm - there was too much. (Thanks Phyllis.)

In truth, S realized all of this. I just agreed with her. Gotta love friends!

In the final analysis, these adjustments should make the sleeve fit pretty close to perfectly within the armscye.

I have a lot of emerging feelings about the need for sewing partnership - 2 brains are better than one (as are 4 hands) - and the expectations we can reasonably place on a paper pattern to fit without major adjustments. No doubt these will be the topics of some future posts.

This afternoon will be all about cutting the pieces. Never thought I'd be so thrilled to spend 3 hours cutting and marking fabric. In a rather amazing twist, I'm actually on target with my work plan. Sure, I had the benefit of a 5 day weekend (not originally factored in), a genius helper and I've been working many weekday evenings (not my usual thing), but I'm happy to say that this 70 hour undertaking hasn't put me behind schedule. Even if that schedule is arbitrary.

Do you have a sewing partner? If so, tell us about it. What are your thoughts about the need to make numerous alterations on patterns? Do you think it's the sign of sub-optimal pattern drafting or do you feel it's the role of the sewist to undertake any and all fitting challenges to gain the final result (s)he seeks?

28 comments:

  1. All I can contribute is to re-iterate how impressed I am with your perseverance AND to note that you are undoubtedly learning tons! One day, you'll be the one guiding someone through all these steps. . . And even sooner, you'll be the one wearing a beautiful suit that you made by yourself!

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    1. Thanks F! I really am learning a lot. And I cannot wait to have a finished product. :-)

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  2. Awesome.

    And, I wish I had a sewing buddy. For so many reasons! I do enjoy spending quiet time with myself but, truthfully, all of my hobbies are solitary activities and I am a very social person.

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    1. I am very solitary in my sewing. I spend hours alone. I never realized how much fun it would be to work with someone else.

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  3. Well done for finishing your muslin. I was interested in the part about rotating the sleeve head. Do you need to adjust the positioning of the shoulder seam as well? I think with everyone being different shapes and sizes pattern alteration is inevitable. However I do question the traditional drafting of the jacket sleeves. You (and I think Sallieoh) have proved Kathleen Fansella's theory that it's wrong. It puts me off making a jacket because when you buy a pattern you expect to alter but not completely redesign it.

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    1. I did not change the position of the shoulder seam - although that might be an adjustment for a rounded upper back. Today, Steph's post shows a RTW shoulder sleeve that looks rather like the one I ended up with http://3hourspast.com/2012/04/11/6916/ - the asymmetric version.

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  4. It's kind of like painting a room. The more work you put into prep, the better the finished product. Your 70 hours will be well worth it!

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    1. I hope so! (I mean, I'm sure you're right.)

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  5. at times i think a sewing partner would rock, because we could split the bottle.

    then i think we probably wouldn't get anything done.

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    1. Ha! Don't think that wasn't a danger.

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  6. Oh, I can only be jealous of those who have a sewing buddy!

    About altering patterns - I've been going back and forth with this one lately too. I think that alterations are necessary for achieving good fit. But with good drafting, they should be somewhat predictable. I know where I deviate from a fit model and those are the places that I will almost always have to alter. And that is fine.

    BUT then there are some patterns that just have some wonkiness to them - things that don't line up or just do not fit my particular size/shape that would leave me basically redrafting the whole thing. A few months ago I muslined a sheath dress and the only place it fit was the waist. I wrote it off as being "not for me". I'd probably still be altering it now if I'd continued.

    For a big project - like your jacket - I'm willing to do a lot more tweaking than for a less complicated project.

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    1. I'm committed to making this one work but it deviates so much from my natural shape that it's been quite rough. I wonder if making my next jacket (different pattern, different lines) will be easier or if the challenges will be very different.

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  7. How wonderful that you found someone willing to help fit. It definitely helps the assessments go faster! I read through some of your previous posts and I applaud all the effort! I've decided that the next jacket I make will be a total self-draft. It's just so much head-wonking work to rework another pattern to fit me and I'd love to just have a block that works out all the sleeve and shoulder issues.

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    1. Thanks Amy! I'm not at the stage that I could draft something as complicated as a jacket - I'm very novice in that way. But once I've got my blocks figured out, the world is going to open up, I realize.

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  8. Hooray! I'm so glad you got this to work out for you! And I'm totally envious of your sewing buddy. I wish I had one. :-(

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    1. It's a very amazing thing. I hope for you that you find yourself a fitting friend very soon :-)

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  9. Now, I am dying to do a jacket this year!! I can't wait to see yours!

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    1. You mean I haven't totally turned you off this idea forever??

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  10. TBH I'd kill for a sewing buddy! A rare and miraculous find that would be :) So happy for you that you're ready to start the real thing!

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    1. Thank you! Just give me good sewing vibes.

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  11. I'm very lucky to have a sewing buddy (Ann from Gorgeous Fabrics) and we live only 30 minutes away from each other. We're both expert sewers but it's still really great to have someone to help with fitting. I have differing opinions about having to make corrections to a poorly drafted pattern. If the pattern comes from someone who has the skill set to know better then I'm annoyed but if there are drafting issues from someone new to the game then I chalk it up to a rookie mistake. Marfy makes the most flawlessly drafted patterns - really they are just incredible - no other company comes even close to their level of quality.

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    1. Wow, you're like the dynamic duo! Amazing.

      I hear you about Marfy patterns. Mardel has also told me they are the best. I'm not quite at the stage that I feel comfortable without instructions. But I"m getting there :-)

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  12. I know no one who sews (besides on the interwebs, thank goodness for sewing blogs), and I don't like my clothes to be closely fitted, I like a much looser silhouette, so for me fitting isn't much of an issue, also when I am at my proper weight a size 14 or 16 fits me out of the envelope pretty much perfectly. Don't hate me, I haven't been at a proper weight for longer than I care to remember.

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    1. OK, I won't hate you, even though that's totally not fair. :-)

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  13. I wish I had a sewing partner! Certain things would be *so* much easier! Not to mention the two brains better than one thing.

    I'm so glad you had S for this. I think your brain might've popped otherwise. And then we would all be very, very sad.

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    1. The thing is, there are things you cannot see when you're fitting yourself. And I was about to loose my mind - at which point there wouldn't have been any brains left in this project :-)

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  14. Ugh, I really wish I had a sewing buddy! I keep trying to convince all my friends that they really need to start sewing! I took a dressmaking class last September, and I had so much fun working with other gals-- I wish I could do that every week!

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    1. I think the challenge with working on your friends is that they just don't have the bug. I've tried to make everyone sew with me - it doesn't take!? :-)

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