It's about exploring and sharing my creative adventures (mostly sewing these days) ~
~those activities that sometimes obsess, usually inspire, occasionally frustrate
~and always provide a delightful maze to wander through.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

V8795 - Muslin #2 - and 3 - and What I've Learned.

This is a simple pattern.   Really, it is.  Five pieces - 2 separate fronts, the back, the sleeves, and the collar.   Well, 6 if you count the facing for the right front, but because of the bulk that said facing creates I'm doing a cut-on facing.  That's one less pattern piece, and one less seam.  And on the left front, I'm using the fabric selvedge for the edge - no facing, no finishing.

Pretty darn simple, right?

Don't get me wrong, I LOVES me my Marcy Tilton designs!  If you've followed my blog at all, you know that already :)  But if you want this pattern (which is described as "semi-fitted") to actually BE semi-fitted, you may have some work to do.

With all of the fit issues this pattern is giving me, I am giving thanks that there isn't a whole lot of actual sewing involved to make it up!  I'm diving into the whole process headlong, and calling it a learning opportunity.   The good news? Light bulbs are actually turning on in my brain!   All of the reading I've done on fitting, and the tidbits of info I've filed away (whether they made sense to me or not) are finally giving me a few little "aha!" moments in working with this pattern, and some things here and there are beginning to make sense. :)

Here's muslin #2 - much, much better than #1 (yesterday's post)!
I adjusted the shoulder seam for sloping shoulders by lowering them another 3/8" at the sleeve edge.  This raised the lower armscye, and I realized that Belinda was spot on about the the armscye being cut very low.   It was also one of those light bulb moments for me.

So many little adjustments at the pattern level are simply counter intuitive for me.   Like this one - if a sleeve feels too tight at the armhole, and the bodice pulls so that you don't have enough movement, my logic tells me that you need to make the armhole larger.  But if you cut the armhole smaller, you end up with more freedom of movement.  I know I still have a lot to figure out about just which situations translate to which solutions where armscyes and wrinkles nearby are concerned, but this is one step closer for me. :)

However, see all those wrinkles on the upper sleeves?  Helpful folks over at the Stitcher's Guild thought I needed more sleeve cap - I had already removed a lot (which I do on a lot of patters - I really dislike sleeve cap puckers!), but adding some back did help (see Muslin #2.5, below)

The back, at this stage, is still a hot mess though :(  Gobs of fabric near the armscye.  Too tight at the hips, creating folds at the waist.  Wrong.  Just wrong.

On to muslin #2.5 (just a few adjustments, not an entirely new muslin.   That's yet to come.....)  The right arm (my right) looks MUCH better than the left, after adding back some sleeve cap height.

The back, however, is even WORSE than before!!!   I think I had adjusted the SA at the hip to add more fabric, but fabric folds and bulges and hills and valleys near the sleeves are oh so very very very wrong.   Still.

I had a devil of a time finding any solutions for the Battle of This Bulge, so I just took a wild guess at one, and removed some fabric from the back, at the side seam:
That's well over 1/2" removed at the armscye!
By the way, I did this AFTER re-cutting Muslin #3 (only the back & the sleeves, thank goodness - I was able to re-use the front & collar pieces *whew*).   So you can imagine what this did to the sleeves, which ALREADY had more ease than I like:
You can see that the Battle of the Bulge has been won (yay!) but just look at all of that sleeve cap pucker happening at the back of the sleeves!   Eeep!   The rest of the back is hanging much.  much.  better :)   (I adjusted the back seam to allow for more curve in at the waist & more out at the hips.   Although, one suggestion was to cut the jacket shorter, which I may do.

You can see that the upper back is too snug - I'm allowing for that to be taken care of by the knit fabric which will be the fashion fabric final.  (fingers crossed...)

The front is looking OK at this point.  There's a bit too much sleeve cap puckering here too, but the plan is to adjust the pattern & hope for the best.   Because Muslin #4 just ain't happening!

The adjustments I've made (so far):

  • Narrowed the shoulders (I usually need to do this, but the shoulders on this patter were WAY wide)
  • Forward shoulder adjustment (again, I usually do this, but it took several attempts to get it right on this pattern)
  • Lowered the Sleeve Cap.   And raised it back a bit.  And lowered it again.
  • Adjusted the curve of the sleeve.  Again.  And again.
  • Eliminated excess fabric from the back, near the side seams.
  • Raised the armscye (which was cut very low in the pattern)
  • Created a back seam, so that I could give the boxy shape a bit more of a fitted look.
  • Shortened the sleeves
  • Broad Biceps adjustment (the nice way of saying arms-that-used-to-be-muscular-and-are-now-just-flabby adjustment)
I think that's all.   For now....

If anyone has any brilliant thoughts or suggestions before I cut into the Yummy Fabric, feel free to speak up!   Right now I'm feeling that the shift in fabric, from thin woven muslin to double-sided knit will either solve some of my issues, or create a batch of new problems.....wish me luck!


shams said...

Wow, Jillian, fitting this jacket is putting you through your paces! The front looks great and your persistence is going to pay off with a really cute jacket.

Jilly Be said...

I'm definitely pacing right along here! I'm hoping for that payoff :)

Anonymous said...

Jillian -- I have some comments regarding the fit, take or leave as you like!

1) I find it REALLY helpful to draw, in Sharpie, reference lines at the following points:

- centre front
- centre back
- chestline (at the notches across the front, perpendicular to grain)
- backline (at the notches across the back, perpendicular to grain)
- bustline (through the bust mark, perpendicular to grain)
- waistline (through the waist mark, perpendicular to grain)
- hipline (through the hip mark, perpendicular to grain
- bicep (straight across the sleeve, just above the notch or reverse curve, perpendicular to grain))
- elbow (this may or may not be marked on the pattern, you can add it at the right place if the pattern is just straight by putting a mark where your elbow falls)
- straight down the sleeve from shoulder to wrist, along the grain

When you do this you have a really good visual reference as to what is pulling.

2) re sleeves: it looks like perhaps your sleeves are rotating -- a grain line might help you see this. I have the urge to turn the sleeve toward the front. The solution is to take out the sleeve and turn it, pinning it when the grain goes straight down the arm. Then in terms of pucker: first, make sure you are wearing what you'd wear underneath or have shoulderpads inserted if you'll use them. Sew from notch to notch under the arm, but release the cap. Smooth the cap into place, ensuring that the seam allowances of the bodice are folded under. Draw the new seamline on the sleeve.

3) I notice wrinkles at the back neck. In my fitting book, that's a sign of square shoulders. Perhaps you've sloped them too much? They look a bit too narrow in the back as well.

FItting's a journey and can make you very grumpy. I am a self-taught fitter but what all my books say is: BE SYSTEMATIC. Do shoulders first. Then lengths. Then widths. Then sleeves, cap first. Then sleeve lengths. Then widths. Use your reference lines to identify sagging and pulling.

What may have happened is that you may be shorter in the upper bodice than the pattern expects. That is, the distance either from shoulder to chestline or from chestline to bustline may have been too long for you. It might have been easier to take a tuck at the relevant line on both bodice and sleeve rather than moving up the armscye and now futzing at the sleeve. As you have made loads of changes to the armscye etc the shape of the pattern may have been changing.

Hope this is somewhat helpful?

Jilly Be said...

Elizabeth I've printed your post out, and I think that making all of those markings on a muslin is brilliant! I'll definitely do that next time; I can see where that would be incredibly helpful, thank you!

I really dreaded doing yet another muslin, but your sleeve advice sounds worth doing....I'll be fresher this weekend when I can work on it again, so maybe I'll have some new energy & will try this.

Regarding the back neck wrinkles, I THINK (could be wrong) they will smooth out when I make this from a knit. Plus I didn't trim any of my SA's yet. But I'll file your notes. And maybe cut wider SA's in the fashion fabric, just in case....

I'm just beginning to get the concept of being systematic in fitting. I get that it's important. Really I do. I just haven't processed it in my brain yet....your list is very helpful, and I will grit my teeth and do my best at avoiding my usual willy-nilly methods....

MWAH and a HUGE thank you! Taking the time to share your knowledge here is very. very. very much appreciated, thank you!

Karin said...

Phew! You've been working hard! I don't have any suggestions. I am not a great fitter. I think the final iteration of the muslin looks pretty good, actually. I am sure this will be a fab jacket when you get down to the fashion fabric.

Coco said...

Wow, girl. what a journey! I am enjoying all your muslins and your story...glad you are sticking with it!

Jane M said...

I am wtching this one closely sine I too love the look of this jacket but getting it into a final fit that flatters me is the challenge. Thanks for the ongoing inspiration and your persistence.

Anonymous said...

I have loved the look of this jacket since I first saw it. I think you are close to getting it conquered. Thanks for the very detailed post.

Linda Coan said...

Wow, you have put so much effort into fitting these muslins! I'm sure your hard work will pay off in the final jacket.
Sounds like you've learned a lot in this process. thanks for sharing all the details! I've had some similar fitting issues and didn't know how to solve them, now I have a few clues. :D

Martha said...

Such a cautionary tale for those of us who (sometimes) jump straight to Yummy Fabric. Shams is right - your final jacket will be divine and something you will love. And I, too, may print out Elizabeth's directions. Great advice.

Thanks for sharing the journey.

luckylibbet said...

Wishing you luck! Sure hope the hard work pays off... Heather

House of Pinheiro said...

Oh I know how a pattern can cause fitting nightmares,,.you doing so well , it's wonderful learning from your journey...

tinyjunco said...

hi Jilly! kismet once more - i'm sewing this very same jacket meself right now, and i'm housesitting in albany too....i'll send you an e-mail, maybe we could meet (at stone mountain? heehee!) and commiserate sat or sun. i'm like Elizabeth, largely self taught at fitting, but i'm happy to give you another set of eyeballs and hands! :)

i think 'semi-fitted' is pushing it for this jacket. it seems more boxy with drop shoulders to me. so far i've had decent results with the fit, but then i have wide flat shoulders, long waist and am smaller thru the hips. i'm also working with stretch materials and not trying for as much 'fit' as you are. Having met you in person, i just do not think that you are going to get a true semi-fitted garment (in a woven) without some darts (even released ones) and/or princess seams. Your figure is just so nice and three-dimensional! :)

But as you say any time spent fitting yourself is so incredibly worthwhile, i can't recommend it enough. it is so HARD and takes so much hard thinking, but wow do you learn a lot! FWIW, i agree about making a 'short waist' type adjustment on the back above the waist, and maybe adding some more fabric to the sides. And the front is looking just so elegant, your finished jacket is going to be swoon-worthy!!!!

Keep on Truckin', as they said back in the day (hee!) and take all these adjustments, etc. in your stride. I had to laugh at this comment of yours: "That's well over 1/2" removed at the armscye!" i regularly have to add 2.5" - 3" to the back shoulder seam to accommodate my shoulders - some of us just aren't conformists ;)

take care, steph

Jilly Be said...

Steph - That would be wonderful if we could get together and compare notes; I'd love it! Sunday will probably be more do-able for me, but let's connect via email/phone :)

Three-dimensional figure...I'll go with that description and relish it lol!

Dixie said...

Good for you, for sticking with this. Fitting is definitely the hardest part of sewing for me. I applaud your perseverance!

The Hojnackes said...

You sure have more patience than me! I am pulling for you to get it all worked out and have a fun, fabulous jacket in the end.

Andrea said...

I admire your perseverance in this, Jilly. Looking forward to the final jacket modeled!!