Category Archives: Sheaths

Sheath Fitting Garment Take 3

I am up to the third fitting garment drafted using PatternMaster Boutique. I got an email back from Karen with some adjustments to make and the most notable change was raising the waistline. She also let me cut it shorter to save on wasting fabric. Just in time because I am down to the last couple of meters of calico and the new bolt hasn’t arrived yet. The changes are small but they do make a difference in how it fits.

I printed it out, stuck it together, sewed it up and I am pleased with the changes. Raising the waistline has made a big difference to the shaping along the centre front, it’s much more flattering as you can see. There’s still some issues to address. The waist still “feels” a bit too big but if I pin it in any more it starts to sit in my folds of fluff which isn’t attractive! The front neckline is way too high. I had to clip in to the neckline to get it to stop choking me and the shoulders are too high at the neckline, they point up to my ears. I think the neckline and shoulders are linked somehow. There is still that funky fold/drag line from the front waist dart to the tip of the back waist dart. The front waist is higher than the back, same with the hips.

I got a few back and forth emails from Karen last night about the chart. The adjustments to the front shoulder slope hadn’t “stuck”. I had entered 48.8cm but the program chopped it down to 47.5cm. There are a few glitches in the program because of imperial versus metric measurements.

Karen suggested unpicking the shoulder seam and some of the sleeve cap and raising the shoulder point by 1cm. That means the seam allowance would be 5mm at the shoulder point and 15mm at the neck. That was an easy fix and meant I didn’t have to cut another one. The adjustments did wonders for the fit. It’s choking me less at the neckline and I *think* the strange diagonal line I have across the side seam was reduced as well. The only ill effect was the bust point seems lower now but I can change that in the next one.

If anyone has noticed- yes I am lopsided. My right shoulder point is a good inch lower than the left which makes things like back zips take a dive to the right. You can see the drag lines pointing to the right shoulder at the front as well. I usually fiddle with that after I’ve cut the fabric out by removing 5-10mm from the shoulder and sleeve but for the fitting garment I’m ignoring it until it’s at the last stage.

I’m having some troubles with the new front and back shoulder slope measurements not “sticking”. They seem to be dropping back down every time I save it and I don’t know how to fix that. Again, I think it’s an imperial-to-metric conversion bug. It’s Thanksgiving in America so I won’t hear back from Karen until Friday night or Saturday my time. Oh well, I was waiting for the calico to arrive anyway!


Sheath Fitting Garment Take 2

I’m back at work trying to perfect my sheath fitting garment created in PatterMaster Boutique. This is the second draft following Karen’s adjustment advice.

The pattern looks a bit better now that I’ve repositioned the bust point and entered the new waist measurement. It doesn’t look anywhere near as odd as the first one did. I made sure to select TWO front and back waist darts this time around to avoid the pleat effect I noticed last time. I printed off the pattern on the A3 printer (best investment ever for print at home patterns!) and taped the pages together.

Rinse and repeat from last time. I cut it out in calico and sewed it all up then tried it on. It is a big improvement on the first one but still not there yet. I sent another email through to Karen with the photos and the summary sheet. I included some of my own observations, even though she can probably tell from the photos what’s wrong.

There is still some excess around the side waist and a big fold from the front waist dart to the side seam.
If I pinch out the excess (removing 2.5cm vertically along the waistline from first front dart to first back dart) it sits nicer. Does the waist need to be raised? If I take a “waist” measurement closer to my bust (a hand span under the bra band) there’s a 10cm difference but that does seem awfully high up. I could use some guidance here, I don’t know what to do! The neckline is a little too high at the front and a little too deep at the back but I think I can fix that myself. The neckline also sits away from the shoulders like the slope is too steep? It sits on the shoulder point but angles up too high at the neck. It’s also quite wide from left to right.

I know it sounds like a long list of complaints but it is already so much nicer than the first one and I am excited about continuing. Being able to see the results from the changes suggested is keeping me motivated.

I got an email back from Karen a couple of days later (not unusual to wait longer than a day when you live on the other side of the world!). She asked me to tie a piece of elastic around my waist and send her some new photos. That made me giggle- with all the fancy computer programming power- old fashioned methods for finding the waistline are still the most sensible! The elastic showed that the waistline does need to be raised some more. That might make some people cringe but it had to be done. The waist darts should be at the narrowest part of your torso which makes sense when you think about it. It doesn’t mean I have to wear a skirt that high, I can drop the waist height later *phew*.

Karen sent through some adjusted measurements after seeing the photos. She raised the waistline and changed the shoulder slope and width. I’ve made the suggested changes in the software and will write about them in the next instalment!

Sheath Fitting Garment Take 1

Sheath Fitting Garment Take 1

I’ve had Wild Ginger’s PatternMaster Boutique for a few months now but I hadn’t got around to making my fitting garments until recently. For those of you who haven’t heard of Wild Ginger, they make a range of programs which draft patterns to your own personal measurements. I have a bit of experience with pattern-making already but I wanted a lazier simpler option for home sewing. And for those of you wondering what a fitting garment is, it’s a very basic, bare bones pattern, used to correct any fitting issues, which you then use as a base for further fashion patterns. The stylized patterns created from a properly fitted sloper (fit garment) shouldn’t need much adjustment so it’s worth investing the time and energy at the very beginning to avoid tears and tantrums later on.

I put off making the fitting garments for a while because I knew I’d be up for a lot of fine tuning due to my size and shape. If you’ve ever tried to gift wrap a basketball you can understand the type of frustration I expected. In the end I kicked my own butt and set out making the sheath sloper. I was feeling motivated after reading some articles on couture techniques and all those lovely finishes reminded me that I wouldn’t be able to make anything nice unless I did the hard yards first.

I got my mum to measure me the first time and plugged all those details in to the program.

The shape of the pattern pieces seemed a little odd but at the same time I’m not a “perfect industry size 10” so of course they looked strange. The bust dart and the armhole shape are just plain weird when you look at the pattern. I left the settings at their defaults and printed it off on our lovely A3 printer and stuck them on the glass sliding door to tape them all together.

Moving along, I cut it out in calico (muslin for our American friends) and set to sewing it up. One of the things I like about fitting garments is the slap-dash-sewing satisfaction you get (says the woman who only a couple of paragraphs earlier mentioned a lust of couture finishes- lol). You don’t have to hem it if you don’t want, you don’t need to overlock the seams because it won’t be worn as a real garment, you can skip on facings and interfacings and all the time-consuming stuff and you get to focus on the most important issue which is how it fits!

So, how did it fit? Well… it wasn’t a complete failure but it definitely needs some work! Thankfully, Wild Ginger has a wonderful support woman named Karen and Karen is my new best friend while we fine tune the pattern.

This is a fantastic after sale service if you can be patient and it’s worth waiting for her expert advice. I sent her a copy of the pattern summary and photos of the front, back and sides and left the following observations.

It feels a bit too big all over, I can get it on without using the back zip.
The bust point seems too high and I’m at the maximum horizontal position.
The waistline isn’t even, it’s higher at the front.
I can pinch out heaps of fabric at the waistline on the side seams, easily 15cm (6 inches?).
The darts at the front waist are leaving huge pleats, should I use two instead of one.
The sleeve and underarm don’t feel tight but the head is twisting to the front.

The reply I got back asked me to check my measurements and sure enough they were out by a fair whack at the waist. She also mentioned where to find the bust dart vertical position setting and how to measure for that. She told me how to correct the sleeve head twisting and changed some of the waist height measurements as well. And yes, I should be using two waist darts, not one!

I’ve made the suggested changes and will write about them in the next installment!