Sunday, July 13, 2014

Red princess seams

I printed the Penny Pinafore pattern the other night, and taped and then cut away.
I like the concept of pdf patterns with the lines in different colors, but for those of us with plain black and white printers, that doesn't always work out so well. Instead of cutting in the daylight, as I should have, I did it when it was getting pretty dark. And while the dining room light is one of the brightest in the house, it doesn't do great for very slightly different types of lines. The plan was to cut such that I could grade between the 3 and the 5. I discovered the next morning that on some sides of these, the 3 is outside of the 5, and I therefore chopped it off. Oops.
Anyway, I pressed ahead with a FBA and a muslin (tracing a line a bit outside where I cut the line I needed). While the fit was overall quite good with just the FBA and some grading out towards the hips, it was a bit big, and the positioning of the princess seam line is kind of weird. I thought I must have screwed something up in the course of the FBA, but I think that's more of an issue with my weird adjustment after having cut off the line I needed.

So, the next day I reprinted the pages to reconstruct the sides where I'd cut the needed lines off, and went back to work. I did scale down to the 2 grading out to a 4 through the waist and hips.

Things I like:
  • The level of the neckline, and the height from shoulder to bust. I am short through there, so it's easy for necklines to end up super low, but not here!
  • The princess seaming. It looks great, and the FBA is so easy!

Thing I'm on the fence about:
  • The neckband is super short! For the muslin, I put it on last (er, halfway), since I wasn't sure if I was going to bother with it anyway. It did not work out well, and I'm too lazy to unpick it on a muslin. Anyway, lesson learned. Put it on before sewing the 2nd shoulder seam, and pull that puppy tight (or it won't reach nearly far enough!). I also cut the neckband based on the 3 for the actual top, instead of a 2 to match the top of the bodice.

Changes I made:
  • FBA (2" added each side) (The pattern instructions say you probably don't need a FBA with this pattern. While that may be true for folks with a C or D cup, I really don't think that's true for me.)
  • Graded from a  2 to a 4 (muslin was from a 3 to a 5 - could still use a smidgeon more space through the waist, and less through the hip)
  • Lengthened the cap sleeve a little, didn't use the sleeve band (I don't really like a banded sleeve that short)
  • Shortened the tunic length to a regular top length (cut off about 3 inches total)

And here's a lesson from the world of knitting that seems to apply - in knits, negative ease through the bust and hips can be good, but positive ease works much better in the waist. (Thank you Knit to Flatter.) This top is okay, but if I had another inch through the waist I think this would be more comfortable and more flattering.

The fabric is one yard of a cotton lycra blend from Girl Charlee. The pattern claims 1.75 yards are needed for the tunic length. I wasn't sure how big this piece was when I started, but I started laying the pieces out and they fit.
I realized toward the end of stitching this up that I cut the pieces sideways (I wonder if that's why they fit?). With small lengths of fabric I tend fo be careless about figuring out which way is which, especially with knits (where the selvage may not be so obvious). Of course, if I was thinking more carefully I could have just looked at the direction of the stitches and seen that it was sideways, but I didn't. Luckily it still fits, and there's enough vertical stretch that it's okay.

I've been watching the Sew Better, Sew Faster class on Craftsy which I bought awhile ago on a sale. While I doubt I'll ever make the jacket that's part of the class (it is not my style), it is a great class! Some of the techniques I've learned made this project much easier (especially handling the curves of the princess seams -- I'm not brave enough to ditch the pins yet though).

And finally, I seem to be demented at sewing elastic on the shoulder seams. How does one do this? Most attempts tend to end with the elastic and fabric getting sucked down into a mess in the feeddogs. I managed to get it on here by pushing it through the serger. What am I missing?

Despite my screwups, I love this pattern, and this top. More are definitely in my (near) future. I also just bought the Comino Cap top, and that will be coming up soon, once I figure out which version to start with, and what fabric from my stash to uses. 

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