Saturday, January 8, 2011

I'm Not Sewing, only Altering!

I'm not good at altering patterns; after nine years of sewing, I've largely been able to avoid it. For several reasons. I'm a reasonably standard size: I'm 5'5" and most patterns are drafted for women who stand at 5'6". I have no rounded shoulders, narrow shoulders, or sloping shoulders. I do have a right shoulder than dips a little lower than the left, but not so bad anyone would notice. Also, I tend to just use patterns over and over again that work for me so I don't have to bother with altering anything. My "alterations" tend to varing my seam allowances as I sew - I'll use a 1/2 inch seam allowance if I need more room, and a 3/4 seam allowance if I need to tighten it up.

And of course, I hate doing muslins. My biggest deterrent to making alterations. But before Christmas, I made a muslin and the waist and hips were too tight. Here is a photo of the bodice with no alterations: My question was whether I should add to the sides of the bodice, or whether I should narrow the darts. Audrey correctly pointed out that I should check the front darts and see if they were properly spaced; if so, I should add to the sides. Summerset correctly pointed out that if I made the darts narrower, the bodice would more properly fit an "A" cup than a "B" cup. So this morning I tried it on with these comments in mind. The darts are perfectly placed. I couldn't ask for better. And I am a "B" cup, I don't need to make the darts narrower. So the answer (thanks Audrey and Summerset!) is that I needed to add to the side seams.

But how much? Summerset also wisely pointed out that these older patterns have the seam allowances printed on the patterns, so it is easy to figure out the finished garment measurements. I measured the waist on this pattern, and compared it to my TNT pattern (that's for you, Anne), and found I needed to add an inch to the waist/hip area.

I ended up tracing new bodice pattern pieces to add the quarter inch to the side seams because the original pattern is 49 years old, and ripped a little while I was handling it. As Summerset suggested, I added to the side seams just below the 12 notch. Here is muslin #2 with the pattern alterations:

It doesn't look a heck of a lot different than version # 1 except that I am not sucking in my gut as much!

Do y'all see any other fitting issues? Does the bust area look a little too big to you? (Or am I in danger of overthinking this?) Let me know if you do!

Of course, a muslin like this doesn't tell you everything you need to know for the finished garment. How will it fit with it being interlined? How will it fit with straps on the bodice and a big heavy skirt attached? How will it fit made of silk? That means more practice.

I think, though, I will be more likely to do muslins if I have muslin fabric lying around. This fabric was given to me by a friend whose sewing relative had died. It's a cheap cotten and I don't like it, but I took it because free fabric is now mulsin fabric to me!

Parting Shot: Vicki's tablerunner now has a new home! A very appreciated Christmas gift - thank you Vicki!


gwensews said...

I think it looks good. Rule of thumb is : don't overfit. When you're working the actual bodice, you cfan always take a little nip in at that time. Glad to see you sewing/altering!

Vicki W said...

It looks so small! I'll have to make a really long one for your birthday. I won't be a bargello though!

Summerset said...

Looks great - glad to be of help! I agree with Gwen, tweak the fit when you get to the fashion fabrics. You can always baste those and try before committing to sewing the seams.

anne said...

Thanks for the TNT shout out. I am not that interested in the muslin, but did you take a picture of yourself in the mirror? And where did you get the snowflake pants? are they fleece?