Showing posts with label Top Draftalong. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Top Draftalong. Show all posts

Friday, December 09, 2011

Top Draftalong # 32 - Sway Back Part 2

This post has been in draft for some time. Seriously....weeks.  Day to day life and family matters have been pretty hectic to say the least. In any case, FINALLY I have a toile that I can turn into a block with which to begin drafting some designs! Hurrah!! That aspect of things I will now have to put on hold until the new year, due to Christmas gift sewing. I'm guessing though that anyone who may be following these posts will be in the same position, so it seems to me that starting the drafting process fresh in January is the best option. So this will be the last Draftalong post until the New Year.
When I last posted, I had adapted my pattern to take out a big tuck as part 1 of a sway back alteration, but had yet to test the results on my final toile. Well, here it is....(I'm not quite sure why I look like I'm striking a body builder pose on the right,btw! Heurgh!!))

See the difference?! Excess fabric gone and the additional ease at the side seams is alowing it to fall comfortably over my hips. The image on the left shows the excess fabric pinned out in a horizontal tuck in the small of my back on the original toile, and the very slight snugness on my hips.  The one on the right is the final toile, cut using the newly altered pattern . No more fabric pooling.......

and from the side......

Apart from the tuck itself, there were a couple of other elements to finalising my toile. In my previous post, I incorrectly assumed that I needn't square off the hem after I had taken the tuck out of the pattern. I assumed the "distorted" hem was all part of the "optical illusion"  to correct the sway back. Hmmmm. Not so apparently. I did indeed need to square off the hem from the CB to the side seam. You can see the distorting effect of the tuck on the hem in the left hand picture; and the "wedge" added on below the dotted line in the right hand picture....

In addition, I added a CB seam to this toile on the advice of my tutor. "Just in case" further alterations were needed. Good job too, because the tuck on it's own wasn't quite sufficient. In order to get the back to sit just right,  I ended up taking out a tapered vertical "tuck" along the CB seam of the toile,to remove the last bit of excess fabric. It tapers to nothing at the neckline, with it's widest point at the hem. Essentially, taking in the CB seam at an angle. Were I being truly conscientious or aiming for a totally accurate fitted toile, then the new CB seam would be curved inward at the small of my back. But I was happy to keep it simple and opted for a straight tapered CB seam as opposed to a curved one.

The overall shape of this toile is exactly what I'd envisaged as a basis for future designs. I will never want to make a top more fitted than this. It just wouldn't suit my shape. So for me, a simple, semi fitted, boxy shape that I can add some design details to, and manipulate shape wise, is just perfect.

One final tweak I'll make is to lengthen the bust darts. I shortened them a bit tooooo much on this toile, trying to avoid the pointy bust look. But where they are now, they're not providing quite the right amount of fullness. (Ohhhhh, NIPPLES to it!) I'm pretty sure just lengthening them will sort out any remaining drag lines on the bust....

Sooo, here is my block. Traced onto card from my final pattern. Without seam allowances. Ready to start playing with designs in the New Year. Here's a round up of the main adjustments I've made to my toile to get it to this point:
I've been sketching out some ideas as well as perusing the ones in the book that got me started on this draftalong in the first place. (Epic journey that it has become! 32 posts so far! What planet was I on, thinking I could have this done and dusted withing a few weeks??!)
I fancy starting off with experimenting with collars (Peter Pan, Sailor?) and maybe some pintucks, pleats, gathers etc. How about you? What design details would you try first if you were drafting a pattern to your own design?
Px

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Top Draftalong # 31 - Sway Back Adjustment - Pt 1

Hmmmm!! It seems like this Draftalong is becoming somewhat of an epic rather than the mini series it was intended to be. It's pretty charachteristic of me to underestimate what's involved in a project, but this fitting process has taken alot longer than I had anticipated, even by my usual standards. However, I did set out with the intention of getting the fit just right and if it takes a bit longer, well it's worth it in the end. After all, this toile and the block I make from it, will form the basis of many more tops. If the fit on this isn't right, I will never be happy with the results I achieve on any top I subsequently make from it. If this final alteration works out as it should, I am DONE with fitting. Oh how I hate fitting!

Anyhow, here is where we left off. I was happy with the front apart from needing to shorten the darts so they stop about an inch from the bust point. I'd rotated the armhole dart and incorporated it into the bust dart to create extra fullness at the bust and eliminate the gaping at the armhole.  The eagle eyed may have noticed that the side seam is pulling forward at the bust. I was worried that this may mean further bust adjustment. Not so! On further inspection of my work by my tutor (now that I'm back at college I can get a second opinion on such things, yay!) it was simply that I had inadvertently cut a curve into the side seam at the final stages when I altered the bust dart. That's what happens when I eyeball things instead of marking them out. Anyhow, I have re-cut that now so the front is all sorted.   But the back had the usual pooling of fabric in the small of my back. It's actually forming it's own deep tuck in the picture on the right....(just behind the bak of my arm).  I get this to varying degrees with everything I wear. Anything with a button back or back zip fastening really accentuates it. a shame because these are details I really like.....

Here's the tuck pinned out.....it's a big tuck let me tell you! Even my tutor was perplexed by how much she had to pin out to achieve a smooth line.....can you see the difference from the photo above?

After marking the pins with chalk and removing them...

The full scale or the adjustment became apparent. A good 3" at it's widest point on the CB line, tapering to nothing at the side seams. I felt better that even my tutor was scratching her head at this one. "it does seem very extreme" was her first response.....it's a big wedge to take out I agree, but...it's what the fabric was showing us to do...so we must obey...right?

So I marked the top and bottom of the "wedge" on the CB line of my paper pattern, and the point at which it tapered to nothing at the side seam....

Joined up my lines (ignore the middle one) and there was my tuck/wedge.....

Here it is folded out of my pattern....

Just look how much distortion there is on the CB line!!! Gah! A protracted discussion then ensued with my tutor...On her advice I eventually folded out a tuck about 2/3 the size of the one I'd originally marked out in the pictures above and directly below. She suspected that some of the fabric bunching might have been the result of the side seams of my toile being a little bit snug on to my hips, and thus not allowing the back to drop down fully. She reasoned that we could always take more out of the pattern afterwards if necessary, but that it would be trickier to add it back in if we took too much out now...

In the picture below I have taken out the slightly smaller tuck and "trued" new CB and side seams. I have marked the original distorted side seam and CB lines with dotted lines. You can see hopefully, that to "true" the seam lines I have squared down for the CB line (outside of the dotted line) and traced the original curve back onto the side seam (also outside the dotted line). So in the process I have added a little ease at the CB and at the hips where the new seamlines have gone outside of the dotted lines...This should eliminate the possibility that "snugness" is preventing the back from dropping  down smoothly...
I have also laid the newly adjusted pattern piece so that it is butted up against a 90 degree angle using my set square and metre rule. Hopefully this illustrates the effect that the alteration has had on the shape of the hem. Higher at the CB then tapering down at the side seam. This, in theory, (as far as I understand it!) should work almost like an optical illusion. When I make this up as a toile (hopefully my last!) and wear it, my sway back should make the hem appear totally straight across the back. That's the theory, and that is what I shall be doing at college on Tuesday. I shall report back with my findings ASAP! Oh how I hope this is the last tweak!
Px

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Top Draftalong # 30 - My Final Toile? (almost!)

I'll be honest. I'm impatient to get on with the fun part of this Draftalong. Namely the pattern design/drafting element. I have so many ideas in my head and the temptation is to get merrily on with that, because the fitting aspect, for me, is like pulling teeth. I loathe it. Literally! I have had to steel myself every step of the way not to screw the flippin thing up and say b*****ks to it. (Hey I'm a redhead. I still have occasional temper tantrums. What can I say....;) In fact, I had decided that where I'm at now was "good enough" to draft my final block from which all future patterns would be made. It's tempting to make do with it as it is.....but the truth is, it's not quite there. But it is truly closer to the perfect fit than I have ever got before.


Swapping to using the Sorbetto as a basis has helped because there were less issues with the fit to begin with. But the main issue was still there. The bust. See the extra dart I had to pin out of the armhole in the picture on the left? I had to do that with all 3 of the Sorbetto's I've made so far. This week has marked a turning point for me. I have finally sorted that gaping around the armhole that has haunted me on pretty much every sleeveless top I've bought in my entire adult life! Just by a a simple adjustment.





So here it is. The result of the bust dart enlargement in the previous draftalong post.  A top where you can't see my bra from the side....woo hoo!
I didn't notice when wearing it but the left side (on the right as you look at the photo above) looks like marginally more could be taken from the armhole and added into the bust dart. Since I marked both darts exactly the same, I wonder whether this is down to my sewing the darts slightly off on one side OR is it true what they say that one side can be larger/smaller than the other? I'm intrigued...how would one test....lol! in any case, it's not enough of an issue to worry me further, especially when I look at how far I've managed to get. This is the previous toile where the issue was clearly visible. The excess pinned out at the armhole and the effect that has on the overall fit....
It's when I compare side on that I can see the most improvement.  Bra straps being visible through the armhole have been an ever present woe. But no more! I know it's only a bit of dart manipulation, but to me....to me it's goodbye to self consciousness and flashing my bra...and hello at last to well fitting tops. It's quite momentous actually....hmmm maybe I'll celebrate with a glass of wine? Good a reason as any!! Is it just me or is the improved fit on the bust having a slimming effect when you compare the two photos below?
Whilst the bust area was by far my biggest fit issue it was by no means the only one. For me to be fully happy with this toile I'm going to have to do a sway back adjustment. See the fabric bunching in the arch of my back, again?! Another ever present issue for me in off the rack clothes. Apparently I have an excessively arched back. We had a comparitively strict/old fashioned upbringing. Constantly being told "stop slouching" and "stand up straight!" Perhaps I over compensated over time! It's actually quite a straight forward adjustment, but one which will have to wait until I can enlist the help of someone who knows what they are doing enough to pin out the excess for me. It's not somthing I feel I could do on my own. Is it even physically possible?? In any case, that's my next (and final) move, before I can transfer everything onto a block ready for the fun to start!
Px

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Top Draftalong # 29 - Bust Dart Enlargement

Ok so here goes. This is a LONG post peops. I racked my brains trying to seperate this into more bitesize individual posts but each stage of this is so interlinked with the next that I decided to just keep it all together in one place. Recommend sorting yourself out a glass of wine/coffee/tea/beer (delete as appropriate) and put your feet up. Ready?
Okey dokey. Firstly I should mention that I have decided to ditch the block pattern from the book. (Eeeep! Yes the one that I've spent all that time on!) in favour of the Sorbetto from Colette patterns. The issue I'm addressing in this post was exactly the same on both patterns, but the Sorbetto just seems to suit me better overall and I just think for me it would make a better block/sloper pattern in the long run. You may recall the stage I was at here.  I had pinned out some excess fabric at the armhole and needed to transfer those markings on the toile to the paper pattern so that I could rotate this unsightly dart in the armhole and add it into the bust dart instead...(the first few photos were taken at night so apologies for the poor lighting)

Here's my toile (I used no sew interfacing to make it. Top tip. It works brilliantly!) with the armhole dart marked out where I'd had it pinned...
I layed my tissue pattern on top...

and traced the armhole dart onto it...here's the toile and the tissue pattern side by side...
I then extended a line through the centre of each dart until they crossed....
I cut along the lines at the centre of each dart, stopping just short of the crossover point to creat a hinge/pivot point...
I closed off the armhole dart by lining up the bottom dart leg on top of the top dart leg. This results in the bust dart enlarging by the exact same amount....
I then secured with masking tape (easier to reposition than sellotape and you can iron and draw over it too. Win win win!) I called it a night at this point and spent the night tossing and turning and muttering about armholes and bust darts in my sleep...apparently!
Next day (!) I secured a slip of paper with masking tape on the underside of the new dart...
This was a tricky one to do (and photograph) but I eventually managed to fold out the dart with the side seams above and below the dart lined up as they would be if I were constructing the dart on the garment (they are lined up honestly! It's the camera angle in this photo that makes it look wonky)...
Then cut along the side seam...
and open the dart out again...ta dah!! New "boobalicious" bust dart...
Of course, now the armhole is all wonky! Closing up the armhole dart has raised the bottom of the armhole too high and at a funny angle. Place a piece of paper behind the armhole and tape in place as before...
I held the pattern piece against myself to get a rough idea of where the new armhole curve should start on the side seam and marked it on the pattern. Back on the cutting table I drew in the new armhole shape starting at the point I had marked on the side seam,(make sure the first 2-3mm of the armscye is at a right angle to the side seam or you'll get a "peak" when the side seams are sewn together) drawing a smooth curve and blending it into the upper part of the armhole curve. You can use a French curve (visible in picture) but in the end I printed off a copy of the front armhole section of the original PDF pattern and used this as a template to get the curve just right
A quick snip later...armhole curve sorted. That looks better! 
Here's my new pattern piece. Unsightly armhole dart rotated into bust dart and the armhole curve reshaped. So we're done right?
Nope! One final adjustment. This is the original pattern lined up at the armhole. See how the front piece is marginally longer than the back? Well this is where my pattern cutting classes kicked in. Somewhere in the deep dark recesses of my befuddled brain, I remembered....
The width of the dart...
Is directly proportional to the "extra" length at the hem of the front pattern piece...because of course, when the dart is closed, this extra length is taken up...
Applying the same principle to my newly adjusted pattern....
I measured the width of the new dart...
and worked out how much extra to add to the hem to compensate for the extra length that would be taken up by the wider dart...(does this make any sense??)
So here is my new pattern....

I'm happy to report that everything lined up perfectly when I made my toile (that post to follow) so I was super chuffed with myself and this process has marked a bit of a Eureka moment for me. Both in fitting and the pattern manipulation process. It's a case in point that "every action has an equal and opposite reaction".  Each alteration will impact on another part of the pattern and generally require a compensatory alteration elsewhere to get everything to line up again. It's this emerging awareness of the "bigger picture" that feeds the slight addiction I have to pattern drafting. It's a bit of a love hate relationship because it has me swearing and tearing my hair out as much as it has  me jumping for joy at a new principle understood!

I tell you what though...I never thought I'd be referencing Newton and Archimedes to in a blog post about how to make a top that fits me!! Hilarious! Hmmm. Professor P...has a nice ring to it...;)
Px

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Top Draftalong # 28 - Bust Adjustments

Ahhh, finally! I am soooooo sorry if I've kept anyone waiting with these posts. But I have managed to squeeze some time out of the last few days to make some progress on the Top Draftalong. I have lot's to share with you, but first things first. This is the last of the "mini posts" detailing the fitting issues covered in the book. Bust Adjustments. (Bleurgh!!) As luck would have it though,  there are a number of decent tutorials out there to reference for this particular area of fitting.; a roundup of which can be found at the end of this post.  Here's what the book has to say on the subject of bust adjustments:

"With a larger than average bustline, your toile will appear very stretched across the bust and the darts will not be providing enough fullness. Mark your bust point with a dot on the toile then transfer this position to the paper pattern. Draw a line through the centre of the dart to the bust point. Draw another line beginning at the middle of the shoulder, down through the bust point to the hem, passing through the middle point of the waist. Cut through the dart, leaving a 3mm hinge at the bust point, then cut from the shoulder to the hem, leaving a hinge at each end. Place a piece of paper underneath the pattern, then spread out the vertical opening by the required amount at the bust point. The dart will automatically be enlarged. Pin in place and then reshape the side seam. (diagram far right of image)"

"A smaller than average bust forms folds of excess fabric over the bust which must be dispensed with. draw the lines and cut your pattern as before, but this time overlap the vertical opening at the bust point to remove the excess fabric. This of course, decreases the bust dart. Reshape the side seam"

Gertie has a roundup of great tutorials here. There's an example of the FBA  in action here and here and a well illustrated example of the SBA here (in fact the first stages are applicable to the FBA too).
Px

Monday, July 18, 2011

Top Draftalong # 27 - Sloping or Squared Shoulders

The penultimate mini post of the tutorials the book gives on pattern adustments. This one deals with sloping or square shoulders. Here's what it says in the book...

" Sloping shoulders will make the toile fall into folds over the shoulder by the sleeve head. It will look as if the toile needs enormous shoulder pads to fill out the shoulders. Lift the shoulder until it fits correctly and pin out the excess wedge of fabric. Remove this wedge in an equal amount from the front and back of the paper pattern, giving a new shoulder line. Lower the underarm curve, removing the same anount as you have taken from the shoulder. This keeps the armhole to it's original size....

Square shoulders form pressure creases on the toile and it looks as if they want to burst through the shoulder seam. Open the sleeve end of the shoulder seams and lay another piece of fabric over your shoulder.  Spread open the seam to the required amount and pin to the piece of fabric. Draw half of the extra wedge needed on the front, and half on the back of the paper pattern, then raise the underarm the same amount to keep the armhole it's original size."

Sounds pretty straightforward. Although how necessary it would be to add an extra strip of fabric in for square shoulders, I don't know....I suspect simply unpicking and re-pinning the shoulders with the extra needed being borrowed from the seam allowance, would be a pretty simple alternative. Important to take the seam allowance into account when making and transferring these adjustments. My pattern for instance is without seam allowance. I drew the seam allowance directly onto the muslin.   So when I mark my adjustments on my toile, I need to do this within the stitching line for it to translate accurately to my paper pattern. Does that make sense?
Interesting that this adjustment mentions the armhole. There is no seperate instruction in the book for enlarging/decreasing the size of the armhole/armscye. But I guess the technique would be very similar to this post.

Also pertinent to the adjusting the armscye, neckline and shoulders:  Sherry very kindly reminded me in the comments section of this post "I would add this - once you have done this alteration lay the F and B together with shoulder seam (stitching lines) together, and check the armhole curve."

Thanks Sherry!
 
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