What would I do without you?

I can’t believe my last post was one week ago.  It’s March Break and the kids are off school, so I’ve been going to the zoo, the museum, running them to opera day camp and generally not sewing.  I’m not complaining – it’s fun to spend time with them since I don’t get to do that on a regular basis and they’re fun kids to be with – but obviously I’m not getting anything done around my sewing corner!   v7751 r2 

I want to thank all of you who shared your opinions and advice for my shirt.  This is probably the best reason that I love to blog.  No one else in my life has the experience or the expert eye – or the patience and time – to pinpoint faults and then provide solutions!  Your comments and suggestions confirmed my sewing intuition, which is encouraging in itself.  I did tweak it some, as you’ll read about, but it was too late for some solutions!

I am lacking a clone.  I did have a duct tape dress form once upon a time, but it collapsed out of shape because I neglected to fill it with expandable window insulation foam or whatever I was supposed to use.  I do have a stack of duct tape awaiting DH’s attention to make another clone of myself, which will make fitting things much easier.  There’s even a can of the said expanding insulation waiting to fill out the shape properly and prevent future collapses.  But in the meantime, I have to sing the praises of my DH.  There are days when I think he’d best fall off the planet and others when I know perfectly why I decided to marry him!  And here’s one reason:  I put this shirt on and asked him if he’d help pin out the back to tweak the fit.  He was quite willing to help and even took pictures so I could see the results after each adjustment.  He was very careful and meticulous about following my directions and pinning the fabric gently so as not to hurt it.  Was there ever such a good man?

Unfortunately for this post, all the pictures are on their way to South Africa in his camera as I write this, so I’m unable to share the ones he took.  The ones included here are the final version of this shirt!  First DH pinned out the excess through the waist area – a total of about 3 inches, I think.  It needed to fit closer.  I wouldn’t normally want a shirt fitting as closely as this one does, but given the fabric texture and the colour I’m comfortable with it and it makes a more pleasing silhouette.  And one of my many buttons did not get buttoned for this shot!  Oh, well!v7751 r3

Then he pinned out about 1/2” at the CB hem.  I had thought perhaps more should be taken in, but he said that it pulled across the hips like I was afraid it would.  I then asked him to pin out the wrinkles across the back shoulders, but after doing the other adjustments he said it wasn’t pulling.  Huh?! Now either I had to believe him, or he didn’t know what he was looking for.  In the end he pinned out only 1/2” – something I honestly couldn’t be bothered adjusting.  I would have taken off the collar and shortened the CB length as per Tanit-Isis’ suggestion, but for 1/2”?  I might want perfection, but I’m quite happy to live without all the work of re-attaching a collar.

I think perhaps this fabric was not the best choice for this design.  I’m still happy with the shirt, but when I make it up again, I’ll be taking the advice of Ruth who emailed me the suggestion of cutting out the back pieces roughly and letting the bias cure for a couple of days BEFORE cutting the pattern pieces properly.  This makes a lot of sense to me, and will be the way I make up bias garments in the future.  I’m also amazed at how this silk is not wrinkling.  The garment had been folded for days prior to putting it on to take pics for this post, and you’d never know it!  Gotta love Italian silks!

Anyways, I’m done with this shirt, so on to something new for next time!

v7751 r4

Bias can be soooo difficult!

V7751 (3)
the wind is blowing full in my face

Well, another top, and I don’t know what to think of this one.  I put a lot of effort into finishing it with the hopes that I can wear it for while (read years).  The hem is hand picked instead of machine stitched because I wanted it to be invisible on this silk; I practiced my hand-bound buttonholes again and went with self-covered buttons.  All the seams are left unfinished since they’re mostly on the bias and won’t fray.V7751 sleeve ventI was really looking forward to this shirt, truth be known. I really liked the pattern – Vogue 7751 – and was hoping that it would turn out significantly better than it has. I actually gave up sewing for years because I couldn’t make something fit my upper half properly once I grew out of my teens, and this shirt is making me feel like I’ve not learned a darn thing.  Mind you, it’s the first proper centre-front buttoned shirt with a collar and set-in sleeves that I’ve made since the no-fitting-required-big-shirt 80’s, so perhaps I should give myself a break.  But here’s the problems, and, please, any advice would be greatly appreciated!

V7751 back
there is a lot of ease along the hemline....

I honestly think the problems with this shirt stem from half of it being cut on the bias.  The sides are cut on the straight grain and join the front and back in princess seams.  Fine.  But as you can see from the picture above, the bias is pulling out of shape across my shoulders.  And this isn’t just because I’ve got one hand on my hip.  It just pulls.  Same problem across the front of the shoulders.

Now, I admit some of this may just be my stupidity.  As I was working on this, I let it hang – it’s bias, after all, right?  And the bias stretched out a good 5 inches through the front and back of the armholes.  I didn’t realize this until I had basted the sleeves in and taken a few pictures from the back to see how things were fitting.  I’m sorry I didn’t save the pictures to show you, but it looked like the shirt was three sizes too big through the shoulders.  It was awful.  Then it twigged that maybe the pieces had stretched out of shape.  So I pulled out the basting and compared front and back patterns to the actual garment and realized that I probably should have stabilized the armscyes on all pieces.  Too late to do that properly, so I measured each pattern piece along the sleeve opening, cut a corresponding length of remnant on the straight grain and eased it all back into it’s proper shape.  Then I patiently and gently steam shrunk the extra fabric back into it’s proper shape.

V7751 4
it’s perfectly balmy outside today – an incredible 14C!

It has made a huge difference, but it still pulls!  Then, because less than perfection in a shirt drives me goofy for some masochistic reason, I thought perhaps my fabric was too flimsy.  The pattern suggested everything from chambray to challis and handkerchief linen, so I thought this silk would be an appropriate choice.  It’s a beautiful crepe-weight textured silk.  It’s gorgeous.  And I was so looking forward to this silk shirt!  Here’s a lightened photo that makes all the things I’m unhappy about abundantly clear.

there is NO wind plastering the shirt in this pic

And looking at these pictures in the sunlight makes me think that it could be taken in across and below the waist, but do I really want it taken in so it pulls everywhere?  I’ve spent some time looking at the PR site for Vogue 8747 – another shirt pattern waiting in my cue – and it seems that every single review shows pictures of very snug-fitting shirts.  Maybe it’s my age, but I have a phobia of snug-fitting shirts.  I like mine with enough ease to skim over my body, not show everything.

That said, I really don’t know what to do with this one.

When I encountered these bias-related problems, I looked up the pattern on PR, and found that the bias back created fitting issues for others, too.  So what do you think?  Should I just leave it as is, or should I fit it a bit more at the risk of the bias pulling across the entire garment?