Sunday, March 26, 2017

A sleeve that will do, mostly

As I think we all know by now, I love novelty prints.
And I wear them all summer long.
And I didn't buy any of these. Shocking I'd pass on Rocko.

In the winter, I wear a down vest. I'm working from home, and it gets cold and expensive.

Yes, I wear other things I sew in ridiculous prints, like jeans. 
They are still shrinking. I'm not getting taller.

But not many woven tops.
Vogue 1257

Most of the woven tops I like are Issey Miyake patterns, or variations on that ideal.
I think Miyake's 80s sleeves tend to be slightly mis-drafted: there's a slight curve to the cap, while the top of the armscye is flat, and you get that bulge on the dropped sleeve head. I've been drafting them out of the patterns; this is from an Ebay photo of a Miyake Plantation line linen shirt. The bulge was always part of the design it seems. Which is weird; it's not a case of removing shoulder pads from a too-wide 80s shirt, but a shirt with dropped shoulders that has a vestigial rounded cap sleeve pattern piece.

The Miyake sleeves are just too wide to fit into a down vest armhole. 

Long story slightly shorter: I wanted a woven long sleeved shirt, to keep the tasteless vibe going all year long.

The body part is easy. I'm flat-chested but broad in front.
 My back is rounding, but not too badly.

The sleeve part is the tricksy part.

Bad shoulder, wider upper arms than previous patterns I've drafted/edited, and a desire  to be able to move and reach things: these have compounded my errors.

What I kept coming back to was this article about flamenco sleeves. I am pretty sure I read about this on the Curvy Sewing Facebook page, and I thank that person, whoever they were. It's a great explanation and clearly diagrammed.

I felt I was onto something

Kinda like that sleeve at the top left.  From Butterick 4238.

I had picked this up to make a Bryn Walker knock off shirt for my sister, from some of the miles of IKEA curtain linen I've hoarded kept for her. I made one for myself and was impressed at how it fit right out of the box, with little/no ease on the sleeve. In a pullover, no less. High fives all around!

First version: not bad. It needs to be a little wider at the bicep, and it pulls up in the center. Also just noticing that the sleeve needs to rotate back a little bit. Note made!

Very wearable top, I should mention. The front flap is just for grins, but it's pretty and I crammed this into a 54" wide yard of fabric (without nap) at size 14.
No buttonholes!

It features a wider, flatter sleeve cap, and a deeper curve at the base of the armsceye. There is minimal ease in the seam, no gathers.
The deeper armsceye gives me some room for the extra width of the sleeve. 

Armed with my new ideal sleeve, I draft a new pattern.

You know the drill. You draw a seam. You match the seam with its reciprocal seam. That's off. You go back the other way, sleeve to hole, hole to sleeve. 
I am removing the year it took me to get here.
Blogging is time travel.

The green line is the back piece, the lower layer red line is the front. Slightly deeper in the front, but essentially the same. 

Another way of talking about this is with a pattern that you could look at yourself

Like the Collette Sorbetto pattern, which is updated to their new block and is free on their website.

It's a standard bodice, comes with a sleeved variation. The pullover ease comes from the pleat in the front. The sleeve has gathers at the top. This covers a multitude of wide bicep sins, and is worth thinking about.
I mean, I'm spending a LONG time just trying to get rid of those gathers.

They don't look much alike because - tiny problem - I don't have a bust so I don't need a dart. Certainly not one for a B cup like that one. And that dart moves the armsceye enough to confuse the shape issue.

(There is a link, to the right, on this very page about a SBA, from Trumbelina Sews, and it's well worth taking a look at if this is an issue for you. She also addresses a broad back adjustment)

Nevertheless, there are some clearly illustrative changes. I have cut the Colette to my size and it lines up with my measurements and ease allowance.

Lining the front pieces up on the center line, my front bodice piece has a closer-in shoulder (I want that seam at the top of my shoulder for maximum mobility) and about the same armscye measurement.

(I know the shoulder slope is off. Oh and moving the shoulder seam up the shoulder would mess something else up)

(there's a lesson here in the conservation of mass)

 The fabric has to go somewhere. You pull something here, it comes from where? 
Wrinkles point to the problem.
See, it's pulling up in the center of the sleeve!  Wrinkles trying to tell me something! What is it, little wrinkle?
Did I listen? No.

The greatest difference is in the sleeve: it's the same width, just flattened out and wider in the bicep area. I've also removed most of the ease from the seam (okay I have no gathers at the top of mine).

It is a little shorter in the seam than the Colette sleeve, but it has roughly the same seam length as the Colette.

The rest is trial and error. And sewing.

This where all the effort pays off and unravels, about the same time. 
I've gone too wide in the sleeve, and need to increase the height of the cap (still pulling at the center sleeve). I missed that entirely until writing this and staring at the photos.
In addition, I've continued the error of the shoulder angle, so that the top wants to fall to one side or the other. Since so much of this shirt is about the shoulder line, this is a big enough error to make me want to pick that all apart (bias binding included -KKEERRAP) and fix it.
Eh, let's make another one.
Introducing version four: the Frida
I have added 1/2" of height in the cap. Also reduced shoulder slope

Smoothing out the transition in the new sleeve cap

And lookit that! I did not change the armsceye, just paid more attention to getting the sleeve to fit at the top. Woven fabric will ease in without too much distortion.

I know, busy print, hard to read details: the sleeve is not pulling up as much. I brought in the width of the sleeve below the bicep an inch as well

Yes, I am wearing the Frida jeans. They are very very wrinkled; I am a trifle too big for them now. This is why you aren't seeing more of them in this photo. This is my blog, dammit

I am a lot closer than I was, however. I should add a slight bust dart. I am good with the slight bag at the back sleeves. Style wise this pattern needs something else going on to avoid Nurse Scrub Shirt-itis. 
My goal is to make a shirt I can move my arms in.
And that I can make out of this:
The only thing that makes me hesitate is that it's rather scratchy in texture. Maybe it needs to be culottes. I mean, it is sort of butt-centric themed.
Maybe they still have that Rocko fabric up at the Joann's super store?
I should go check.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Armsceye OR A Search for Sleeves That Fit

My enormous arms disturb me.
They probably aren't enormous, but this is how I see them

I do know that different armholes make my view happier or sadder.
And I have spent a lot of time over the last year or so trying to find a better fitting woven top. Most armsceye are too low, which makes everything feel grabby and pinched unless you're working in knits.
And for a gal who adores novelty prints and wants a sleeved shirt, I need to solve this issue.

This post is going to be a little all over the place, but I wanted to give you an idea of the process I've followed.  And it did wander all over the place.

It's a complicated article about sizing and measurement. Most folks get stuck on bad bodice fit and never get past that. There's a lot to ponder in that article, but perhaps it's better taken in small doses and worked on in pieces.

In pacing the contents of my computer, waiting for College Boy to return with my station wagon this evening, I stumbled across the page on Overflowing Stash's blog about this very topic, with a guest appearance by Kenneth King. I love Pia's deep affection for process, and working things out as methodically as possible. I will never, ever get there, because I am too easily distracted by shiny objects or exhausted and just want something done, but in my dreams I am that good.

But hands down, the piece I go to is  on sleeve types on New Vintage Lady. Rather than add width across the bicep and call it done, I want something to offset the rounded effect that provides. She's done the drawings that give you some different ideas to solve for this.  So much goodness in one blog, I tell ya.

It's a glacial editing process. I got the block down for me (the bodice, the derriere, the legs) and then I edited further for taste and framing, and then I injured my shoulder, had to stop working out and gained another ten pounds. 18 months later, I've had to start All Over Again.

I've had some humiliating fails along the way.

I was essentially gifted a scant wide yard of this palm print and I've had to put the resulting jacket aside because it's really tight in the arms and it just makes me cry. 
It's too nice to toss, but at this point I can't quite figure out how to save it.

And I know if I tossed it, I'd figure it out the moment it was gone for good.

The print placement was aces, for once

This is what is left of the very lovely Tokyo Train Ride; the shirt was dubbed Train Wreck and turned into a lining for a purse for someone I rarely see. That helps a little.

This, on the other hand, turned into a couple of decent shirts. Or what was left of the pattern when I was done fiddling with it. The key is not the design of the shirt, it's the relationship between the neck opening, the sleeve height and the armsceye.

Next week I'll show you what I came up with. I used some ideas from here, tossed others, and had to test wear 

College Boy is home for spring break (it's not even Spring, is that right?) so there will be a lot of thrifting and a little Manly Alteration Sewing.

And I need one of these for the wagon

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Pattern Drafting and thinking about sleeves

The goal is to make a one piece pattern similiar to the Tea Garden Tee/Miyake blouse. This is where I've left off the attached collar because I can only move one thing at a time.

I've taken my bodice block and a sleeve that almost works and laid them out to trace over them to make one big pattern piece. The pennies are there to hold the sheets down (they were just working with outlining a japanese sewing book pattern, so they were available)

So you see that overlap at the armceye? That rhomboidal one?
Oh come on. you know where this is going by now.

The overlap should be the shape for the gusset piece (minus seam allowances)
(this is why you draft without seam allowances. And why I need a big sign over the table that says : HAVE YOU ADDED THE SEAM ALLOWANCES TO THE FINAL PATTERN PIECES??? because I do, yes i do forget to do that)

So there it is. I did add the front facing overlap pieces.

And here it is in the $35 a yard embossed velvet

So this is all cute, but if you recall, this was a wadder.
Because I forgot to put in the gusset and add the seam allowances back in.

There are no photos, but let me paint you a picture: I raise an arm and there's a breeze on my stomach.

Love those pins. Now they need a new jacket.
I have some more velvet from District Fabric ...

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Simplicity 8276 The Dalek Onesie

Four yards of Spoonflower printed cotton knit, three yards of cheap poly knit lining, zipper by the yard and two days later

Yes, I made one. A Dalek onesie. 
The huggable, lovable exterminatin' Doctor Who villain!

I do love a mashup. It's true. I can't do anything straight out; it has to have a twist to it, or I just can't pay attention.
I made no weapons for this one. Because my weapon is LOOOOOOOVE.

The cotton spandex jersey shrank three inches in the wash/dry (this is the one yard piece. No idea about the shrinkage in the three yard piece in the other print. Same fabric so I assume roughly the same ratio).

I needed to shorten the whole garment anyway by four inches, not just two, so it worked out just barely

Attaching the center panel to the sides in a knit would be tricky.

Wonder tape sticks to this knit (it doesn't like texture) so WonderTape! to attach, then stitch.

My initial thought was that a minky fabric would be too heavy, so go with a cotton knit. Which is too lightweight (perhaps if it were a darker print in a slicker fabric this would work) so it needs lining.

This is the cheapest poly knit I can find. Thanks Pacific Fabrics for keeping the lights on for my emergencies.

I sewed a center zipper instead of the button overlap in the pattern. I sewed the lining to the fabric for the front and the back at the seams.

I added a crotch zipper for convienience. Sewed the crotch together to sew that. Then shoulders. Then sleeves. Then pockets to sides, adding seam tape to prevent total stretchout for pockets (woven pockets, larger than ones indicated).

I was going too fast to take a lot of photos. I thought I took more.

I changed out the hood to a two piece model, cribbed from this model

Two side pieces and a center panel make a hood that is easier to wear and see out of. 

The directional nature of the print made the layout more exciting than usual (yes, I flubbed a sleeve and recut). It's about a 6" repeat print. I did print a fat quarter of matching cream colored knit for the hood.

You can't see the ears. They are there.

Lined the hood with the 'vent' fabric, also used it for cuffs at wrists and ankles.

Now for the pattern review.
It goes together well enough, the instructions are clear enough, I did not use their ear patterns but they are similar enough. The tails on the photographed models are being held by the models because they will need more support than the seams will give them - they will be dragging badly.

You can hang them with a string from further up the seam 
The legs are in the wrong places, but the process is valid enough. Strings!

. The center section is over a yard tall straight from the envelope, and the other pieces eat up a lot of length, so alter first and buy yardage second.

My biggest issue is the width between the legs.

To get the design to read properly, I'm standing with my feet about two feet apart in this photo. I don't do that very often; I had hip replacement surgery about ten years ago, and it's just not a natural stance.
Probably not for you either.
I just don't think so. And pardon my lack of Converse high tops; they don't fit my wide feet anymore

Yes, I look silly. I also have my feet closer together and the center is pretty baggy and foldy. Doesn't read really well. 

All the poses are ...awkward to hold for any amount of time.

There's a lot of fabric in this pattern. I knew how ridiculous this was going to be, and I am happy with it for that. If I were looking at this for a lounging pajama, I'd.....change that up.

So, in the field, how'd I do?

Whenever I stood with my feet apart, people recognized what I was.

When I didn't, I got the usual "I see that you are dressed specially for this event, but what you are is beyond me" glance. "That's a Doctor Who thing, right? You always do Dr Who, right?"

I got a few 'oh...wait...I know you're....oh yeah!' and one "OH MY GOD YOU'RE SO CUTE!" bear hug. I did get more smiles from little kids, because clearly I was in my pajamas as well as they were.  Which is about what I thought.

This is going to get more wear next winter at the Anglicon weekend in December, and will be perfect for the hotel sleepover breakfast lounging. Dalek casual.

As for convention floor wear, it gets pretty warm pretty fast. Not as awful as a suit of EVA foam armor or a Chewbacca fur suit (they faint, but luckily the padding helps the landing), but not as comfortable as it would appear.

As for the restroom issue: a zip crotch would need to run from ankle to ankle to pull up the bottom and be fully functional. My zipper was not long enough. Dropping the top in a stall involved managing a lot of fabric you'd like to keep off the floor. It was really tricky.

Frankly, a robe would be easier.

And I met a customer in the field!

I did not get her name or permission to post online, so I have removed the face of this fine human being (with some super Doctor Who tattoos) but that fabric on her dress is another of my Spoonflower prints. 

As ever, I had a wonderful time talking with other cosplayers, comic book artists and more comic book artists. I bought art from great people. A wonderful time was had.

And did I go to SewExpo?
Unless I go tomorrow morning and blow off my familial obligations: 
Nope. There just aren't enough hours in the week anymore.