Tag Archives: Patternmaking

Chapter Two- Let The Planning Begin!

The purpose of making the corset toiles was to get a decent base shape to work with, both on my own living body and for the paper tape form we finished tonight.

I’m happy to try my hand at a couple more corset toiles to get it perfect but I needed a good enough base to make a new dressmakers dummy. Part of the design will be draped on the form and my old one is much bigger than I am after weight loss- so a new one was an absolute requirement.

MrT is a kindred spirit, we both love “projects” and he’s usually happy to help me out. This is my third body clone with him as the paper tape draper and things went very speedy- from start to finish he had it done in just over an hour and a half.

I wore the white corset toile under an old long-line white singlet (which was sacrificed in the process) and we used brown gummed paper tape. It’s 48mm wide and there’s a heckuvalot on a roll. For the princely sum of $15- it’s an affordable experiment.

Let the wrapping begin!

Let the wrapping begin!

I followed some advice from The Sewing Forum about using something like a meter ruler to alleviate some of the belly-pooch-fitting-troubles but got creative and used some of the leftover cable ties instead. It worked a treat! Such a good suggestion- used in a slightly different manner- with excellent results. You can see the idea in action below.

Smoothing out the pooch!

Smoothing out the pooch!

Once the first layer was covered MrT went over the whole form twice more, paying attention to key areas like the shoulders, the hem and the waistline. We stopped with about 5m of tape left on the roll so we could cut me out of it. He marked the centre back, then some horizontal lines at 5cm intervals so I could match it back up. Once it was off I used gaffer tape to stick it back together- it has greater holding power at this stage! Then I covered the black tape with the last of the brown paper tape so it looks nicer. Here’s some of the final pics we snapped of the process.

Mark Cut and Stick it back together

Having the form done is a HUGE weight off my mind. It might not be perfect, I might still change my mind about an underbust/overbust corset- but the main points of waist, hips and pooch have all been taken into consideration with this form. If I decide I want to wear an underbust corset with a bra I can always stick a bra over the top of this form for boobs… or make another one for the cost of another roll of paper tape and a singlet *shrugs*.

It’s currently swinging on a coat hanger but I will be plopping it on top of an old TINY dressform once I fix the base.

I am relieved and exhausted at the moment. It’s a rewarding process and I will do it again but it takes a lot out of you- not being able to move!

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Simplicity 1800- The Finished Dress

S1800_FinalThe dress is finished and I absolutely love the style. I’d happily make two or three more to see me through the summer. I’m glad made the necessary changes to the paper pattern before cutting in to the fabric. I’ve ended up with a great pattern I can re-use and know it’s going to fit just as well as this dress does. The drape and weight of the fabric is perfect for this style, it’s so comfy and cool to wear. It is a bit bright compared to what I normally wear so I am considering hunting down a cropped short sleeve cardigan in red to wear with it while I get used to seeing myself in something other than solid colours. I discovered I have a pair of shoes that match the dress almost perfectly. How cool is that?

2013-09-22 10.09.49I changed the pattern to a lined bodice and sleeves instead of using the facings. I like how the edges of the neckline and sleeves are finished because of the lining. There is one thing I’d tweak next time around (and there will be a next time!) and that’s the curve of the princess seam. It’s a little bit pointy and sits a bit low, a smoother and higher curve would suit me better, I think.

S1800_FinalFBS

Simplicity 1800- The Toile

The toile has been made and I am pleased to say this should be much easier to fit than the last pattern I tried- yay!

S1800 FBS Toile

I’m not sure that the 26DD option was the best choice. By measurements it was what I needed but on the body the bust panels were too long and the empire seam sat too low. In the photos I’ve already pinned out approximately 3cm length across the front and back, across the bust area, to lift that seam up and I like where it sits in the photos.
Note: I did a similar alteration to the Francesa top, so I wonder if I just have a higher bust than average for my size.

S1800Toile_NewSideSeamThe side seam wasn’t straight, I need more room across the back hips. There’s enough room around but it’s not balanced and it makes the pockets sit funny. I took a plumb-bob, held it up to my underarm where the sleeve joined and asked MrT to redraw the line on both sides. I’ll add 5cm to the back piece at the side seam, the front can stay as it is.

S1800Toile_ArmholeAlterationLastly, the sleeves were a bit too full at the front. I pinned in a 4cm dart, tapering to the point where the bodice panels join. There is still a bit of ease and I can move but it’s no longer flappin’ about and it makes the shoulder seam sit in a much nicer position.

The instructions for assembly are a bit of a nightmare , especially for the facings but also for the pockets. I loathe facings anyway, so I plan on fully lining the bodice and sleeves in white cotton voile. At least then I can choose from a greater variety of bras without fear of show-through. 😉

I’m happy enough with this toile and the pinned alterations to proceed to the real fabric tomorrow, once I’ve transferred it all to the paper pattern. Wish me luck!

BurdaStyle Francesca Toile #2

I’ve finished the second toile, this time with the sleeves. It’s a big improvement in how it feels when it’s on but I’m still going to change a few more things.

BurdaStyle Francesca Toile V2
The neckline was dropped but I think I can get away with being a bit more chop-happy for the final version. It’s still too high, I think, for the contrast bust panels to look nice.

The band under the bust has been levelled out, I’m happy enough with where it sits now. I think I’ll end up adding elastic between the two princess panels at the back and do away with the zip altogether.

I have wrinkly-pooling-foldiness happening at back waist. Can’t be bothered correcting that the “proper” way so I’m going to combine the back panels into one piece, add another 5-10cm and gather it where it attaches to the band.

The sleeves have a huge amount of ease! The difference between my armhole measurement and my sleeve head is 7cm- yikes. I think I might make a feature of the excess and keep the gathering theme going by making it a bit of a puff sleeve. The circumference at the sleeve hem is also a bit large, so I think I’ll add some elastic between where the ties finish, just to pull it in a bit.

Once it’s made out of a more drapey, floaty fabric I think this will be a winner. I’m quite pleased with how it’s coming along.

Sadly, no fabric shopping for me this weekend *wails!!*. With any luck I’ll get out to the fabric shop on pay-day though.

BurdaStyle Francesca Toile #1

First toile made and pattern modifications have been noted down so I can alter the pattern pieces today and cut a second toile.

Bustrastyle Francesca Toile 01

I need to let it out (more than I thought I’d have to) across the hem, I’ve split it open down the front and back to give me an idea of how much I need to add. I’ll add it evenly throughout the panels. I think a total of 16cm will be enough.

I need to add some length to the front bodice and remove some length on the back bodice- the band under the bust is tilted. Fingers crossed- removing some length on the back bodice and adding some width will be enough to remove, or at least minimize, the wrinkling you can see on the back skirt panels (I’m sure some of the wrinkles you can see is just from bad pinning).

might lower and widen the neckline a small amount. It’s a nice height now without the contrast detailing but if I’m adding more fabric with the contrasting bust panels I can do with enlarging the neckline.

I haven’t added the sleeves to this toile and I’ve left off the contrasting fabric too. I will add the sleeves to the next toile but I think I’ll skip the contrasting fabric again, it’s not needed for tweaking the fit.

I’m going to transfer all the alterations to the pattern pieces today and if I have time cut out the second toile. If all goes well I should be able to sew it up by tomorrow and then go fabric hunting this weekend for the final version. I’ve already seen some gorgeous printed cotton voile online and I’m hoping they have it in store.

As pointed out on The Sewing Forum, I do have wonky shoulders and I know I need to fit for that. Generally I just pin out the excess just before I insert the sleeves but someone made the suggestion of using a small shoulder pad. It’s something I’ll mill over while I make the next toile.

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