Monday, December 4, 2006

SWAP garments #1 and #2

I was determined to finish a SWAP garment on Day One of the SWAP sewing time. I wanted to wear my red velvet skirt to a wedding reception Friday night, and I was able to do that. There were a few glitches in the construction, and the details of that project are posted with my SWAP photo album.

My satisfaction index for this project is about a 7.

I was away for the weekend, and yesterday (Monday) I started on garment #2. A black panne velour sleeveless shell. I had previously modified the pattern to move the bust dart so it angles up from the waist, and to lower the bust as always. It is a New Look Pattern 6483, and I have not used that brand before. I measured and drew off a size 14, with a 16 front below the armhole. This is my usual adjustment. At least as 'usual' as I can say to date.

In all due respect, the pattern is suggested for woven fabrics, not knits, so I was prepared for some possible fit problems, and thought perhaps the side or back seams would have to be taken in a bit. What I was not prepared for was that the neckline was vastly too large - even given that I had adjusted the center front to delete about a half inch of fabric at the neckline. The shoulders of the garment would have to be pull to the sides past my bra straps to make the neckline lie flat.

Fiddle-dee-dee. I poked around for awhile pulling up the shoulders, taking in the back, and trying all sorts of options to make some sort of fit. This is the part that I have most difficulty with, especially if I have worked to make fitting adjustments, then in real life (as opposed to paper fitting the pattern) things don't work out. I just don't have the experience to know what to do about fitting issues.

I had previously made a similar top from a Burda WOF pattern, and messed it up in turning under the neckline edges. Apart from that, and the resulting twistedness from the stretching, it fit quite well, and I love the look of the velour on the body. Instead of reusing that pattern, I wanted to try the version with the angled dart, and it was a spur-of-the moment thing to use the velour instead of making a muslin from a woven print.

With some help from my husband, who is not particularly handy with pins, but whose heart is in the right place, I got the shoulder seams rearranged so that everything looked as good as possible. A few more rounds of basting and re-basting finally got the back seam in place and the shoulders acceptable. There is still a bit too much fullness in the neckline, and I will likely have to design a decorative feature to hid the wrinkles. Get a lemon - make lemonade.

I love the look of this velour, and I am so glad I also have a piece of ivory in the same fabric. It will be a cowl neck top.

I learned some things about working with velour.
  • Cutting on a damp day works better than a dry day, far less static.
  • Seams do not stay even (ie edges will not stay lined up) even for basting. I had to remove the back seam and reposition everything and even with many carefully placed pins, the edges wanted to slide apart leaving one seam allowance narrower than the other. Pulling stitches from a knit is a pain, so watch this carefully, baste carefully, and sew on the SA side of the basting.
I also learned some things about my body.
  • Right shoulder is lower and much more forward - computer mouse side.
  • Right upper back is wider than the left side. Very obvious in the back armhole of the tank top. I will have to make the SA much narrower there to accomodate.
  • I already knew one shoulder seam was 1/2" longer than the other, but that does not seem to show.
  • In the last 2 garments, the twist in my torso seems to make the right side of the garment feel smaller than the left. I still have to explore this - is it true, or just sloppy seaming or off-grain cutting.
I think the next thing I should learn is not to be quite so picky. None of the above is majorly problematic. Only I would notice.

I'm now in a conumdrum about this pattern, though. Should I start over with a smaller size, should I use what I have and figure out how to reduce the neckline, should I make what I have in a woven to see how it fits in the recommended fabric. Probably all of the above.


Laura said...

In all honesty, I've gotten weird shoulder/neckline results a lot from New Look - I think they draft for a linebacker, or something.

BettyF said...

Well, I'm glad to hear that, though I've had neckline problems before.

It seems difficult to get the bust to fit without some flapping about above it. I need to find out how to get the top 5-6" of a front to fit better. On this particular top, I could pinch 1/2" of extra fabric center front. With a button-up shirt, the CF overlaps at the neckline and gaps at the bust.
I need a fitting class.