It has been another of those weeks where I feel like I’ve been running around like a mad woman but I don’t seem to have achieved a lot. Where does the time go? With it being Easter I’ve had the week off from work and yet the more spare time I have to myself the more things randomly appear to fill it up. Does anyone else find the same thing happens to them?
On the plus side I did eventually manage to complete a top from another new pattern, McCalls 7193 (new for me, not necessarily newly released).
This is a fairly photo heavy post.
McCalls 7193 offers two wrap over tops and two loose fitting tops with a deep inverted pleat coming off from the lowest point of the V neck. I chose to go with the looser fitting version as I’m still a little wary of woven wrap over fronts and the risk of flashing more than would be decent.
There are two pattern size options available, the first being sizes 6 – 14 and the second 14-22. I went for the larger of the two options.
The pattern is described as ‘Easy’ and so long as you have made a couple of tops before I would agree.
The pattern suggests using lightweight fabrics with drape such as crepe, charmeuse, rayon etc. I used a lovely viscose rayon that I found on ebay here for just £3.49 per meter (free postage). I had to purchase 3 meters as 2 wouldn’t have been quite enough. I do wish that more sellers would allow you to buy in 1/2 meter lengths.
I traced the pattern off onto Burda tissue paper starting with an 18 around the shoulders and grading out to a 20 once I reached the lower portion of the armsyce. I continued with a 20 down to the waist and then graded out to a 22 at the hips.
I took 2″ off the sleeve length – that is a fairly standard adjustment for me .
I then made up my first muslin to check the fit.
I specifically look out for duvets at the local charity shop. It is pretty easy to pick one up for between £2.50 and £5.00 and there is enough fabric to get two muslins out of a complete duvet. Much as I hate making muslins I know they are worth the effort.
Here is my first muslin:
Looking at the front the shoulders aren’t fitting correctly causing those diagonal lines from the shoulder to the V neck. I usually need a narrow shoulder adjustment, a sloping shoulder adjustment and a forward shoulder adjustment so I decided to do those before making a second muslin.
The sleeves were the correct length (or would be by the time they were hemmed)
Sorry for the blurred photo.
From the side view you can see that the front hem was riding up a lot. This indicated to me that I needed a FBA. There was also a lot of creasing from under the arm to the bust.
From the back there were so many wrinkles – a sway back adjustment was a high priority.
From my first muslin it was apparent that I needed to make quite a few adjustments to the pattern to try and get a better fit.
Adjustments made prior to the second muslin
Sloping shoulder adjustment
I have very sloping shoulders and often need this adjustment. I marked 1/2″ down from the outer shoulder seam and then graded a line from that point back to the neck. The shaded area in the photo was the section that I removed.
I repeated the same process for the front bodice
Narrow shoulder adjustment
I picked the center point along the shoulder seam and also a point just under half way down the armsyce and then drew in the lines shown above
I then cut this section free from the pattern
I overlapped the shoulder seam by the amount I wanted for the narrow shoulder adjustment (3/4″) and taped it in place.
I then added some extra paper underneath the pattern and redrew the armsyce to form a smooth curve
Forward shoulder adjustment
Eek, sorry I forgot to take a photo of this. I did a forward shoulder adjustment of 1/2″
Full bust adjustment
I marked my apex on the pattern and drew in the lines needed for a FBA. I normally need a 1.5″ FBA but as this was a loose fitting top I decided to go with a 1″ adjustment. I also didn’t want to add in too much extra width at the bottom as it was already loose so I tapered both sides of the pattern to meet at the original cutting point on the hem (as shown in the photo below)
I filled in the gaps with paper and taped it securely in place.
High round back adjustment
I do have a rounded upper back from years of bending over crafting so I decided to do a small 1/2″ HRB adjustment, especially as the base of the neck wasn’t sitting correctly at the point where a necklace normally sits.
After slashing the paper and measuring 1/2″ at the centre seam I filled the gap with paper. I then used my ruler to true up the centre seam and make sure that it was straight.
Sway back adjustment
I do have a rather large bum which means I need a pretty big sway back adjustment to get rid of the resulting wrinkles and pooling around my lower back.
I did a 3″ sway back adjustment as shown below.
Such a large adjustment meant that the centre back seam was all squiffy. I redrew the line so that it was straight. In order to get it straight I had to remove 2″ width at the base so this had to be added back onto the side seam – otherwise my top would have been too tight around the hips. I added in paper at the side seams, measured 2″ at the base and then graded this gradually back towards the original side seam at the waist level.
I wanted the top to cover my bum so I added an extra inch length on the front and back bodices using the standard lengthen/shorten lines
Full bicep adjustment / large arm adjustment
Although I carry weight on my upper arms I don’t normally need to make a full bicep adjustment. The arms fitted okish on the muslin but a bit more room would have made the sleeves less restrictive and more comfortable to wear.
I marked the centre point at the sleeve cap and drew a vertical line down to the wrist. I then marked a point about 1.5″ below the end of the armsyce and drew a horizontal line across making sure that it intersected the vertical line at 90 degrees.
I then cut from the wrist up to, but not through the seam allowance at the sleeve head. I also cut from the centre line out to the sleeve seam allowance.
The cuts were pivoted as shown above to give a 3/4″ full bicep adjustment. Paper was inserted into the gap and taped in place.
After making all of those adjustments I made a second muslin (out of the same original duvet). Here it is:
In the photo it looks like there are still wrinkles around the shoulders. I think a lot of this is the way I’m holding my arm to point the remote at the camera. In reality, if I keep my arms straight the front section looks perfectly smooth and is a vast improvement over the first muslin.
Here is a side view with the FBA and dart visible. You can see that the dart is pointing too low, at least an inch below my apex. I marked with pen where I would prefer the dart to be.
I could have just cut the dart out and moved it up but the fullness from the FBA is directly related to that original dart position. I know it was a lot of work but I retraced the bodice pattern piece out again and redid the FBA with the apex an inch higher.
Here is the finished garment and although it is difficult to see on the patterned fabric the dart is pointing to the correct place and the FBA has given me plenty of room for The Ladies with no stretching or pulling anywhere.
Back to the muslin:
I’m so proud of the back of this – look no wrinkles!!!! That sway back adjustment is amazing.
But …. two other problems were visible from this muslin. The first major one was the sweetheart shape right at the centre of my butt – nope, it isn’t part of the pattern. Although I straightened the centre back seam after the sway back, I completely forgot to true up the hem. Consequently as a result of doing the sway back adjustment, the hem was raised up at the centre point by 2 inches. This was an easy fix but it does go to show why it is so important to make a muslin – imagine if this had been in my proper fabric!
You can’t see it from this photograph but I needed a full bottom adjustment as the back hem was not sitting straight – or more correctly, would not sit straight after I had fixed the sway back boo boo. The reason you can’t see it is that by the time this photo was taken I had already started the full bottom adjustment. I did this by cutting the fabric from one side seam to the other on the back bodice and pulled the hem down by hand so that it would lie straight (taking into account that weird shape left my my sway back mistake). I then inserted the lilac fabric, that you can see in the photo, to fill the gap. Once I took the muslin off I measured how much depth was needed for the adjustment (1 1/4″)
I then went back to my pattern and from the muslin worked out the height I needed to do the full bottom adjustment. I drew a line from the centre seam out to the side seam and made a cut from the centre seam to (but not through) the edge. I spread the centre seam cut 1 1/4″ (as shown in the photo) and filled the gap with paper. This adjustment added in more width at the centre back – you can see from the photo that the lower portion is bending inwards so after straightening it I then had to remove the same amount from the side seam and regrade back up to the waist.
By this time I was starting to wonder if I was just going round in circles as I had practically redone the adjustments at the hem level that I had originally done for the sway back. However, from the photo below you can see that it all worked out in the end. The back hem is straight and there is no pooling around the mid back section – yippee.
After incorporating a forward shoulder adjustment into the bodice I had forgotten to change the sleeve head accordingly. The very last adjustment I made was a forward shoulder sleeve head adjustment following this tutorial
My final thoughts
Doing all of those adjustments and making two muslins felt like a monumental task and at times I did question why I was bothering. But I’m so pleased with the overall fit of the final garment that yes, it was worth it in the end. Having a properly fitting top makes such a difference to how I feel about myself and how comfortable I am whilst wearing it. I would go so far as to say that this is the best fit that I’ve achieved to date. I don’t think I’ve cracked fitting and adjustments by a long chalk but I’m so much further ahead that even a couple of months ago. The main downside is that after making three versions of this top in such a short space of time, I now want to take a break and do something else. I must make sure that I go back to it sooner rather than later though as it would be a shame to not make use of what is now a T&T pattern.
The fabric for this top was a bargain and it feels so soft and floaty. A bit cool to wear right now unless I layer it with a cardigan and after all that work getting the fit right I’m not going to hide it underneath something else. So I’ll put it aside for a few weeks because it won’t be long until the warmer weather is here to stay.
Cost to make
Do I count the cost of the duvet to make the muslins (£5.00)? I never count the cost of the pattern when I do this section as I use the patten again (hopefully). I’m thinking that I should discount the muslin cost as it was a one off and although it was necessary, I see it as part of the pattern cost. What do you think?
2.5 meters of fabric at £3.49 per meter (3 m bought but not all of it was needed) – £8.73
1 reel of gutterman thread – £1.70
Lightweight fusible interfacing – £1.00
Total cost to make: £11.43