Sunday, February 14, 2016

I Don't Have Good News

I don't know what made me think I could make a zillion changes to a pattern and have the end result fit perfectly. That is decidedly not how it went. But, boy, did it take a long time to get there. I know that you learn more from your failures than your successes but I'd rather succeed - at least more than occasionally.

I said I'd throw this pattern away if I didn't achieve greatness this go-round. I can't do it. I'm too captivated by the mere chance of future success. Today I made a zillion changes (if small) to the pattern as I went. I'll show you the pattern pieces tomorrow. Right now I'm fucking exhausted.

In brief, here's what went right:
  • The bust alteration was really sound. Moreover, I would win any contest at easing in bust fullness on a princess seam. If you can manage the spherical action I've got going on, you can sew any curve. 
  • The lowering of the waistline worked just as I hoped it would.
And here's what has to change:
  • The shoulders (minus the width of the side front and back - which I altered from shoulder princess to armscye princess) were an inch too narrow on each side - partially cuz they were just too narrow but also because I somehow didn't have enough height in the back collar. Somewhere along the line I started changing the construction at the back collar, necessitating less height, and I don't know if I finally sewed "as instructed" today or what went wrong, but now I need the height I removed at some point. The net result is that the shoulders are hiked up and the armscye is too high.
  • The surplice is now too closed (though this is no doubt exacerbated by a weird fix I did to get the front and back to align given that the back collar was too short and the shoulders were too narrow). As a new alteration, I removed a 1" wedge from the inner front shoulder (where the facing folds over), tapering to nothing about 4 inches down from the shoulder, so that it will be more open. Now I've got to remember to add an inch back to the outside shoulder or I'll have the same problem with the shoulder width that I had with this version . I so don't understand how you can take width from one place, only to add it back at another place (in the same plane?!) and it achieves the necessary change in fit. Or so I'm hoping.
  • My angles on the side panels (once shoulder princess panels, now armscye princess panels) weren't quite there. They weren't far off though! Of course, I might have done myself a favour by looking at some actual armscye princess seam side pieces on the web before winging my alteration. No mind. I will tonight (having already altered the pieces to fit as I think they should).
  • I had to alter the sleeve where it attaches at the underarm  (0.5 inches of additional width on each side, tapering to nothing half way down the sleeve) because it's now too snug under the arm, given all of the other changes I've made. This is something I NEVER have to do. I think I've been going a bit crazy with the high underarms and every time I make changes to some element of the pattern, it affects things in other places I can't predict (see bullet point 1). I should clarify, my altered armscye and sleeve are still higher  than the original pattern's because Vogue drafts for tall women with a smaller than average full bust. Of course, changing the height of the back collar may obviate the need for this alteration, but I figure I can more easily fix things, next time, if I have too much fabric rather than too little.
The irony of this is that I can't predict the outcome of these new changes but I'm compelled to give it one more try. Did I mention I wasted 35 bucks worth of gorgeous modal - again. It was the only fabric I had enough of in my stash (this pattern is a total fabric hog). I think I can eke out one more shirt from the @1.5 yards I've got left but, if not, I'm gonna have to buy some new fabric. Which is stupid.

Oh, I'm in that crazy post-sewing head-space where everything seems so huge and meaningful and intense. I need a bit of perspective. Or maybe a degree in fashion design.


  1. Oh, you're amazing! I hope, as always, that the next iteration is the One. I did my first FBA on the weekend, and it took me three versions of the front to get it into the right ballpark of fitting---somehow what seems simple in principle goes completely unhinged when actually sliding things around on paper. And I'm not as meticulous as you so halfway through I start half-assing everything. >_< as always, my fingers are crossed for your next phase.

  2. I'd be more amazing if this thing had worked! And good on you for your first FBA. It's a more complicated alteration than most people realize. There are like 20 steps involved! I suspect it gets easier if you do them all the time (I never do a standard FBA cuz it just messes up the proportions of my garment given how I, specifically, am shaped) but to do the first 2 or 3 is time intensive.

    BTW, I get pretty haphazard once the crazies set in (like 4 hours into the process).