Friday, March 29, 2013

Pointing In the Right Direction

There are learning moments that are doubtless game-changers. Don't get excited, I'm still deep in the middle of fucking irritating confusion, but I sense that I will, hereafter, know something critical. In a fitted woven bodice, I need an armscye dart:

Remember - this is a work in progress AND the dress form is not of the same dimensions as me... Note: The shoulder pads are inserted.
Yeah, I suspect I'm one of the 10 people on the planet who have to alter the princess seam at the bust (to give more room) AND THEN add a dart. When the freakin' jacket is already open over the full bust?!?!? That's what you get when you're fairly narrow everywhere but in the boobs - if the boobs go straight forward rather than out towards the sides.

I don't know why I resisted this for so long. It's not hard and it freakin' works! Finally, there's no puff at the armsyce seam on the front bodice and the slope of fabric that lies over the bust is flat. And, theoretically, I should have an increased range of motion at the shoulder joint. Maybe I'll even be able to raise my arms over my head! :-)

Apropos of that, fitted jackets aren't the garment known for full range of arm motion. But maximizing motion is important.

FYI, it's a 1.25" dart that I angled towards the full bust (where the plus sign is diagonally to the right) but stops quite short of it because I don't want to overemphasize the apex. Plus, that is its natural end.

You can see that I've had to remove still more fabric at the waist, about another 0.5" at each side seam.



The back is looking pretty good, IMO. I still have to press the centre back seam (I took another .5 inches out of it at some point and didn't press). It's quite hard to see - esp. as the shoulders on this form are NOTHING like mine, but on the left side I have taken an extra .25" out of the back armsyce (brought the back seam of the armscye in line with my own). I don't know if I'm going to go with the left-side alterations or stick with the earlier-iteration right-side.

The pattern was drafted with no centre back seam but S smartly suggested that I add one. If you are curvy, I feel that a centre back seam is de rigeur. It gives you another seam to fool around with, which is very useful.

Time was, I thought seams were kind of remedial. Crazy, I realize. I thought the whole idea was to make as few seams as possible because that's how you show the fabric off to its best advantage. What I've learned over the years is that seams are totally unobserved by the average viewer. People notice good fit, not the mechanism used to achieve it.

I suppose it's the subject of another post, but I really have improved as a sewist via the 8000 muslins I've made recently. It's tricky, to put it mildly, to ease the princess seams (front to side front and back to side back) when you're dealing with a fairly intense curve. I've done it so many times lately that, at this point, I intuitively know where and when to clip the seam allowances. I've also determined that it's truly necessary to sew (slowly) over the pins on those seams (bad practice though it might be) because removing them as you come upon them, but before you sew, completely skews the fabric.

I loathe making muslin after muslin but I guess, even here, there's a silver lining. Don't misunderstand. I'm SO done with this phase of the project, even as I (miserably) keep on going. I don't know where I find the tenacity. But - to understate things excessively - I'd really hate to make a suit that just doesn't fit.

26 comments:

  1. I'm vicariously learning through your fit posts - I really appreciate the level of detail you put into them. While I am larger than you, I think we have a fairly similar body shape.

    I feel ya with easing the princess seams - leaving the pins in works for me too, otherwise I have to hand-baste first. Some fabrics "work" better than others, too.

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  2. Kat: Thank you so much! It's so great to know that this rambling is useful to someone :-) It's true about some fabrics working better than others. Man, muslin SUCKS for easing. There's no give in that crappy fabric. Of course, it's really cheap, easy to write on and not hard to throw away, so I guess it has its benefits. I hope my fashion fabric is much nicer to ease. It's a lovely wool suiting.

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    1. Kristin,

      I too, find your posts helpful! When you're done, you'll be able to sew this jacket together in your sleep :-)

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  3. So agree about carefully sewing over the pins! Sometimes that's the only way to keep in in place until it's stitched. And when you get this fitted, I think you should make like 12 of them. ;-)

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    1. I know! It makes a big difference. I don't know if I'm even going to have the energy to make one at this point!

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  4. It's useful to me too, because while we probably aren't terribly similar in shape past the chest, I'd say we're pretty close in that area--I have a narrow, but very deep chest, so I can relate to your princess seam issues.

    I'm also intrigued by the armscye dart--I've fought myself about putting one there several times, but since I'd never really seen anyone else do it, I decided that it simply wasn't done. I'm amazed by how nicely it makes the muslin behave in that area though!!

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  5. Stupid question: Why an armscye dart? Why not rotate it into a bust dart?

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    1. I could certainly have done that but really, I like how it looks. It enhances the narrowness of my frame and the projectile quality of my boobs. I think it's fun.

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    2. "It enhances [...] the projectile quality of my boobs" <--Yes! I want that! :-P So I'll try to quit fighting the dart.

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  6. Coming along nicely! Keep going :)

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    1. Oh, I'm keeping on. If reluctantly. :-)

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  7. You're really thorough on your muslins - with all your markings. I don't quite understand all the vertical and horizontal lines though. I bought Sarah Veblen's book on your recommendation but I haven't had time to read it yet - I presume this aids the correcting of the pattern after fitting? for example if you are taking out the excess where your dart is when adjusting your flat pattern you re-draw the lines and use your previous lines to measure the change ??. Urgh I get confused just thinking about it. I can see that this process has really helped you so it's worth taking the time to learn. The jacket is looking good.

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    1. I'm getting ever less thorough as the muslins progress :-) The lines tell you whether your fabric is balanced (along with other signs like pulling fabric or gapes etc.) If the HBLs slant up or down (under the arm, for example) it gives you info about where you need to add or remove fabric till they are able to lie flat. Also, if the lines veer from straight over the bust, you might need to slash the fabric above the full bust or below it to give extra room and to allow them to return to level position. It's fascinating how useful they are as a fitting tool. I was not into them at first but I can barely imagine a muslin without them now.

      BTW, it does start off confusing and I'm still quite mediocre at interpreting the muslin. But that's a different process than making the changes (once you know how to interpret the muslin) on the fabric and then transfering those changes to the paper pattern. That took me many tries to understand and internalize.

      S. showed me a number of times how to do it, but it's only in the doing that you start to see, while it's quite time-consuming, it's not difficult.

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    2. That's really helpful - thanks. I'll try this out on my next make and dig my book out.

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  8. Ok, that is looking so fabulous. And I say, dart where you need to dart.

    I wonder---is this the kind of project it would be worth making twice, like, make up a full jacket, tailored, etc., out of less-totally-expensive materials, THEN make up your uber jacket? I've seen that recommended in tailoring circles and for wedding dresses, and this seems like it might be the sort of project that calls for it... (ducks and runs away before you start throwing shoes at me. Or bras...)

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    1. Ha! I am mentally throwing bras at you!!! That's actually a SERIOUSLY good idea for a number of reasons I will enumerate later.

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  9. I can relate to being ready to move on to the sewing, but having to go a few more rounds with the muslin. Uuugh, it's short term misery for long term excellent fit. I'm mulling over a bust fitting issue myself at the moment. I may have to add an armscye dart. Thanks for the unintentional suggestion! ;-)

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    1. You know, I did 1.5 more rounds with the sleeves, re-altered all the pieces again and it's done, Well except for retracing the insanely marked to shit pieces that are staring at me now. I need simple pattern pieces or I'm going to go nuts (and probably fuck something up). Should I make another muslin? Probably. But I happened upon Sarah Veblen's musings on when to stop muslining. Even she says perfection is not your goal in all but the fewest of projects. At some point, says she, you've got to cut and sew.

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  10. it sure looks like it's coming along nicely. I get what you are saying about seams (many vs avoiding). You are right people don't notice them and unless you're dealing with a plaid or something that is going to emphasize them (which could be fun in itself), fit > seams.

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    1. It's so true. I don't know why I had that idea...

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  11. I really appreciate the detailed fitting tips! I'm going to try that dart sometime. Also, I had no idea about HBLs. They seem like an incredibly helpful tool! I

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    1. Thanks Stephanie. I really recommend Sarah Veblen's book on this.

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  12. Love the dart...I always have odd fabric pooling around that area. Maybe this would be a solution? I'm going to have to give it a try.

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  13. Really, you must. It's strangely perfect.

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  14. "It enhances the narrowness of my frame and the projectile quality of my boobs. I think it's fun." I agree with you! It looks great. Yay for darts going right where you need them!

    Nice work on this muslin.

    I agree with S about the center back seam, although I am not curvy. It is helpful for my wide back as yet another spot to add room.

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