Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Kind Critique

Kind critique request: you may have noticed the badge on the right, from Bunny at La Sewista!  I support her efforts to not only emphasize kindness in the blogosphere, but also to bring technique into the discussion.  I love getting compliments, but sometimes (usually) I KNOW my work could be improved.  I'd like to invite you to add your voice to our collaboration in improving our sewing.  Thank you, Mary

Hi readers,  Here is my recent top made with B 5786 as part of PatternReview's Pattern Stash Contest.  I used stash fabric, a lovely batik from a quilt shop in San Jose, CA.  I have 
me and my adopted hibiscus
been using stash fabric for this contest...I want to move some of my inventory on so I can focus on buying for 1-2 projects at a time.  

I like this blouse and would like to improve its fit, so I am asking you to take a look at the bust, shoulders, and armscye to help me fine tune this pattern.  I am wearing a soft bra in these photos.  In a molded bra the bunching of fabric at the armscye is even more obvious.

I sewed a 10 through the shoulders and a 12 elsewhere.  Size 12 started right under my arm.  When I completed the shoulder seams, I noticed that the shoulders were still too long, so I removed 1/2 at the top of the armscye, decreasing to 0 inches halfway down.  

The armholes are quite loose and my intuition tells me that I should have cut a 10 in width under the arms, and perhaps done an FBA.  Maybe another solution is a petite adjustment in length between the bust and shoulder, and then re drawing the dart.  

CB and a machine hem (!)
I would love to hear what you think. I will wear this blouse happily, even though I know it could be better.   I put some amount of effort into the construction, and that counts for something!

The pencil marks on the left part of the hem are from a slash and burn of 3 inches of back butt hem at the back-->it was not a good look for me.     

much better length in back
collar and topstitching
oops on underside
oops fixed, just because that's nicer
on Maggie, buttons from Pam Erny  (looks like Maggie is a bit lopsided)
Thanks for the freebie buttons Pam!


  1. Hey Mary.

    Really cute shirt and nice haircut. I bet the hair style is better in the heat!

    I think if you do an FBA that will definitely help the bunching. Be sure to bring the slash up into the mid armscte on the front.

    Looks like you could also use a sway back adjustment on this one.

    I can't tell because of no side picture, but Jo Ann keeps telling me to add about 1" across the upper back and it helps the shirt to lie more nicely. If necessary, you can bring up the armscye at the side seam to compensate for the extra length in the upper back.

    HTH and you enjoy wearing your gorgeous blouse even knowing it's not quite at the perfect stage just yet!

  2. Cute top! Looks like it is perfect for summer. I agree with trying the FBA. You might double check the shoulder angle. Try pinning a 1/4" or so and see if the folds in the armscye disappear. Good luck!

  3. Thank you Lynda and Darla, I will add these suggestions to my notes. It is a nice pattern, and the other views are interesting.

  4. Hi Mary ,
    I love your fabric choice . I have been wanting to try batiks for garment sewing & this is a great inspiration . I can't tell if your top has bust darts . If not they might help. I need to learn the FBA also .
    Great job from a fellow Zonie !!

  5. I'm not sure about the hi/low hem. It looks a bit long in the back. In the image you provided, the shirt is made of a flowy, drapey fabric. Your cotton batik (stiffer) is hanging up on the butt - so maybe a bit shorter on the back side would let it float better.
    Aahck. I don't like the above words.

    I just wanna tell you the batik color is lovely with your coloring and your new haircut is swingy and youthful.

  6. The trouble with sewers is we can be too nice! I agree, the top is a bit long at the back. And there is pooling of fabric at the back, so maybe a swayback alteration might help. I'm a great believer in darts - does this top have them? And I get the dart shape at the armhole too - I would say that needs to come out. However, I guess it all depends on time - really these things need to be done on a muslin, more time, more money. Sometimes I learn to live with less than perfect for casual clothes.

  7. Thank you Mary Ellen, Kathy and Sarah Liz, your feedback will help very much.

  8. Hi Mary, This is definitely a lovely, wearable top. When I'm looking at fit, I always start at the top, something I learned from Claire Shaeffer years ago. It looks like your left shoulder (on the right in the photo) is a bit more sloped than your right. Compare your shoulders against the bricks behind you, see what I mean? Of course, it could be that you happened to be standing at a tilt, in which case, never mind. ;) I learned a lot, about fine-tuning the fit of the pattern, from the Sure-Fit Designs classes with Glenda last year. Oh and cute haircut!

  9. This is a very wearable top. Especially when it's hot and humid.
    I think previous comments have already covered what you could try next. The next version will be a much faster make too.

  10. I entered a lengthy reply, tapped "Comment as" and my fabulous post disappeared. Anyhoo. Your relaxed and ruffled hair looks wonderful. Love the stripe collar with the batik! Nice little fix it on the inside collar. Very neat work overall. You done good! Wear your lovely top and enjoy.

    Shorter version of original very, very, long post-
    I say probably no FBA- your bust circumference looks good! Also, no drag lines from your bust point.

    Your 1st photo the armhole looks well fitted and molds to you with you standing with both legs equally holding your weight. 2nd photo your stance is different and asymmetrical- right leg straight and left leg bent. Right side has more excess and left side has less.

    I'd say maybe a petite adjustment, and/or a shoulder angle adjustment, but likely you need a deeper dart.

    Armhole fixing ideas-
    * On your garment you may be able to ease in some armhole excess and hold it in to cup your bust with a smaller circumference facing or shorter bias tape. With a firm-ish batik, likely dicey.

    * On your pattern, mark the excess at the armhole that appears on your garment and transfer that fullness to the dart making it deeper. Do you know how do to that flat pattern manipulation?

    Back excess- a side shot is helpful. Nice to have that center back seam. Try pinning out excess from nothing at side waist to what you need darted out at the center back. See if that solves it.

    Aren't you glad you asked sweetie?

  11. Hi Mary! wow, just a gorgeous, flattering, easy to wear every day blouse! I especially love the color and pattern on you. Every garment should be this flattering and great to wear!

    re: finessing the fit. I agree with wendyrb that taking a bit out of the front armhole and swinging it over to the bust dart would be worth trying. Flat pattern adjustments of this type are really useful to know about, being able to move fullness around and take bits out here and there just comes in handy. I could see adding maybe a quarter inch to each front side seam for a wee bit more ease, but that's pure personal preference.

    Looking forward to seeing what you do on your next version of this blouse!! steph

  12. I do not know what happened.. Hmm. Let me re-post this again..
    Your top is so beautiful on you. I love your fabric choices and how you stitched the back seam. That is beautiful!! I agree with Wendyrb and tinyjunco about finessing the fit. My only other comment is- the sleeveless shoulder looks a tad bit oversized in the shoulder. Where does it fit you on the shoulder?

    Looking forward to seeing your next version of this lovely top!



  13. let's see: i basically agree with everything i read. i do want to add something. i looked carefully at the pattern picture to make sure i knew what the top should look like and what i saw was a drapey, nehru-type collar top. so here we go -

    i notice from your picture of the back of the top that the collar is not standing up the way it should. it's laying against your back/neck. that indicates that you have a rounded upper back (as i do). there isn't enough fabric in the top to cover your back, so it's 'stealing' from the front. that causes the front to a) ride up at the bust and swing forward at the bottom, losing the drape and b) gap at the armscyes. it also causes puddling at the back waist, although there may also be a swayback thing going on as well and, as you see, it makes the collar pull down and lay flat. i agree with others that you probably need a FBA. there seems to be pulling there and it should be nice and loose to achieve the drapiness that probably attracted you to the pattern.

    if you find yourself tugging at the front of the blouse when you wear it that's a sure sign that it's the rounded upper back. one fix for a rounded upper back is very easy. it's all done on the flat pattern and needs a seam, which you already have. it doesn't change the size of the armscye (it does change the shape) or the length of the side or the shape of the neck, so it's all good. the next time you make the top, and please do, you should try it. as for the height of the armscyes, just cut them a little higher next time but blend with the existing curve. use your bra as the measure of how much you need.
    sorry you asked?

    such a beautiful blouse. why haven't i ever thought of using batiks for clothing?


    look at this one for fixing from a foldline. look up 'adjustment for rounded back'. zillions of solutions. i use them all for different style patterns. i think most of your problems will be solved in one go.

  15. barbara, tinyjunco, wendyrb, Jen S., velosewer and Sandra: Thank you very much for your help. I will make a list of possible solutions and work through them one by one.

  16. I don't know how to improve the fit but I love love love your new haircut!! Also love the new "Arizona colors" of your blog.


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