Monday, February 20, 2017

Fitting Dresses....Fitting the Neck and Shoulders Part 6 (long)

Continuing with the "Fitting Dresses" booklet from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Wrinkles across back of neck.  The back of the dress across the shoulders is too tight or the neck line  may be too high (Figure 6, A).  a cushion of fat on the back of the neck may cause this difficulty.

If the dress neck is too tight and high, cut the neck line deeper a the back.  The collar, if used, will have to be lengthened so it corresponds to the new stitching line.

You may release some width at the back by shortening and narrowing any darts or tucks in the neck or shoulder line.  If the back feels too tight, rip the sleeves from the back of the dress at least from the top of the shoulder to the underarm.  Baste sleeves in again, taking a smaller seam from the back of the dress but not the sleeve.  However, this can be done safely only if the material is firmly woven and the seam allowance is wide enough to withstand the strain across the back.

It may be necessary to rip and repin the shoulder seam, taking up more of the back seam near the neck line and less at the armhole, so as to keep the crosswise grain straight across the upper back (Figure 6, B).  Keep the direction of the shoulder seam correct.

If none of these changes improve the fit of the dress, it may be because the dress is too small and a new back or yoke will have to be cut from the same or contrasting fabric.



Neck line bulges at front.   The neck line may have been stretched or the garment cut too wide across the chest.  The figure may have particularly flat chest.

If the neck line is only slightly stretched, place two rows of running stitches around the neck line --- one on the seam line and one just above  Draw up until the neck line fits the neck closely (Figure 7, A).  Adjust gathers, keeping the correct shoulder line and lengthwise grain at the center front and center back.  Sometimes refitting the shoulder line will remove a slight bulge.



To fit a larger neck line bulge, rip the shoulder seam, smooth extra front fullness up and out into darts, tucks, or shirring in the front shoulder seam (Figure 7, B).  Refit shoulder seams, keeping the seam-line direction correct and lengthwise yarns straight at center front and center back.  This widens the front neck line, so there is less seam allowance for putting on the collar.  If the bulge is so extreme that the neck line would be too wide, it may be necessary to fill in with a shaped band of cloth.  Make this a part of the design of the dress or cover with the collar.

Neck line bulges at back.   The garment is too wide at the neck line.  The figure may be round-shouldered or have a roll of flesh at the back of the neck, causing the neck line to bulge.

If the bulge is slight, ease in extra fullness at the back neck line when putting on the facing or collar.  Or, take in the fullness with small darts, tucks, or shirring at the back neck line before finishing it.

Neck line too wide and too low.  If the neck line stands away from the sides of the neck, try taking deeper shoulder seams at the neck or using back and front neck line darts.  In doing this, be careful not to draw the lengthwise or crosswise yarns of the goods out of line.

If the neck is too low in the front and if there is extra seam allowance at the lower front of the blouse, the entire front can be lifted.  Rip shoulder and underarm seams.  Raise front and refit shoulder seams.  This will make the shoulder seam allowance on the front wider than the back.  Raise front underarm seam above back underarm
seam as much as was raised on the shoulder (Figure 8).  Mark a new neck line and armhole line.  If these changes are not possible, build up the neck line in the front or at the sides and cover the piecing with a collar, facing or shaped band. 




Neck line too high or too tight, with crosswise wrinkles in front or back.  A large neck, plump figure, or poor posture may make the dress neck line too high and too snug.  Or the front or back of the blouse may be too narrow near the neck line.  Very carefully clip into the neck line at the tight places (Figure 9, A).  do not clip into stitching line.



Or if this does not correct the difficulty, it is sometimes possible, after ripping the shoulder seam, to slip either the front or the back, as the case may be, toward the center (Figure 9, B).  This relieves the tightness.  Pin and baste the shoulder seams. Mark new neck line and armhole lines.


Any thoughts on these alterations?

Happy Stitching!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Crochet on Your Sewing Machine....

Tuesday, I got an email from Sulky on "How to Crotchet using Your Sewing Machine".  Well, first I thought that it was at 9am and sometime during the day I realized that it was 9pm.  So, I signed up.  What's an hour of my time when I could potentially learn a new technique?

Last night, I pulled out a piece of denim and some 30 wt thread and played.  Here are my results:



 Selecting the correct stitches is certainly important with this technique.  On the left side, the stitches didn't meet up exactly the way they are suppose to and knowing that I didn't have good attachment to the denim I didn't add many stitches.  I have high hopes for the stitches on the right side.  Now, it's off to see what happens when I wash out the water soluble stabilizer.  Here are the results:



You can see that there are places on the left where the stitches aren't attached to anything and doesn't look too good.  However, not a bad first attempt.  The right side looks pretty and is a definite improvement over the left side. This technique is definitely something that you would want to practice before using on a project.

I can definitely see a use for this technique - edges on home dec, pretty edges on clothing, etc.   The 30 wt thread doesn't really do this technique justice.  If I can find some 12 wt thread locally, I think I'm going to play some more.  Also, the denim is a little heavier fabric than what you really need for this technique.  Most likely, something the weight of chambray or linen would work better.

If you're really interested in this technique, look up Cindy Losekamp.  She was the one who gave the seminar for Sulky.

Have you tried this technique?  What are you thoughts on the technique?

Happy Stitching!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Thoughts on Patchwork Skirt....

While looking at new items on the Neiman Marcus website, I found this patchwork skirt:


I like patchwork and really like the idea of using it for something besides a quilt or home dec.  However, this is is pretty scrappy looking.  It is made with suede and lined with silk but it has a price tag of $995.00.  Sorry, I was unable to get a picture of the back.  If you want to see it in person, it is the Marc Jacobs Patchwork Suede A-line Skirt.

A-line skirt patterns are easy to find and with maybe one or two hours worth of time spent on pattern work you could create a pattern for your own patchwork skirt without the glaring error that is one the front of this skirt.  It's not hard to find coordinating faux suede.  What are your thoughts on this particular skirt?

Happy Stitching!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Fitting Dresses....Fitting The Neck and Shoulders, Part 5 (long)

Continuing with the "Fitting Dresses" booklet from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Fitting The Neck and Shoulders

The location and length of the shoulder seam vary with the type of garment, with the individual figure, and with the shoulder effect desired.  Generally, the seam lies along the top of the shoulder and should not be noticed from the front or the back when the dress is worn.  However, on a round-shoulder woman, it may be well to place slightly back of the normal line and cut the neck line high in the back.  This makes her look more erect.  On the overly erect person, the is more becoming directly on top of the shoulder.

The normal neck line should be made on a nicely curving line, lying close to neck at the sides and back and comfortably snug but not tight.  A cord or short chain around the neck helps to show the normal curve of the neckline (figure 3).  This curve has as landmarks the prominent neck bone at the back of the neck and the point just above the collarbone at center front.

Always allow at least a 3/8 inch seam when you shape of pin the neck line.  Most neck line alterations require changes in the shoulder seams as well.  

When fitting shoulders, first see that the crosswise grain of the goods is kept straight at and above the bust.  Also keep the lengthwise yards of the waist parallel to the center back and front.  To do this, it may be necessary to rip the seam and change the amount and place of the shoulder fullness.  Darts may be used to take up extra fullness  If necessary, take up or let out the shoulder seams so as to place them correctly (figure 3).  This may mean letting out one side of the seam more than the other or making the depth of one end of the seam more or less than the regulation amount.  

Shoulder Line too long. --- This makes the armhole line fall too far down on the arm, and often pulls the neck line from the side of the neck.  

A dress may be too long on the shoulders because the figure has narrow shoulders in proportion to the bust, and the pattern was selected by the bust measurement.  In such cases, the should have been altered before the dress was cut.

Sometimes widening the shoulders by adding shoulder pads, if they are in style, will resolve the problem. 

A slight amount of extra shoulder length can be removed by trimming the armhole over the top.  But be careful--if you cut out much, the armhole will be too big for the sleeve.

Another way to remove extra shoulder length in the dress is to make small darts at the back of the neck to pull up the shoulder slightly.

If the shoulder line is much too long, rip the shoulder seams.  Put the extra length into small tucks at the back of the neck line or in the back shoulder seam.  Take up the extra width in the front shoulder seam with tucks or shirring.

Shoulder Line is too short.  The pattern was too narrow across the shoulders and should have been widened before being used.  If the material is firmly woven, a small amount can be added to the shoulders by taking smaller seams than originally planned.  In most cases, however, there is no remedy except to piece the blouse in such a way that the shoulders are lengthened and the piecing becomes a part of the design.

Diagonal wrinkles from the shoulder tip to center front or back.  The armhole send of the shoulder seam appears strained.  The Shoulder seams stands up from the shoulder line near the base of the neck (Figure 4, A).

The shoulders are too square for the shoulder line of the garment.  For a slender figure, the best method is to rip the shoulder seam and lift it at the neck until the wrinkles are removed.  Gradually slope the seam to the shoulder tip, keeping its direction correct (Figure 4, B).  Pin and mark the shoulder seam.  If it is a high-necked dress and this adjustment makes the neck a trifle too small, clip the neck line--avoid clipping into the seam line.  If the neck is too tight, recut it by the pattern.  (See also Neck Line Too High or Too Tight, future reference).

For stout figures and if the seam is wide enough, let out the shoulder seam at the armhole line (figure 4, C).  Then draw a new stitching line from the neck to armhole line and stitch.  This gives a little extra room in the armhole.  It requires increasing the sleep-cap length by trimming out a little at under part of sleeve cap.  Avoid making the armhole too deep.


Folds from sides of neck toward armholes.  These slanting folds form when the base of the neck is large or shoulders slope more than the pattern allows (figure 5, A).  First try shoulder pads (if they are in style) to square off the shoulders of the garment. If this is not satisfactory and the neck line is close-fitting across the back, clip the neck edge in a few places---but not as deep as the seam allowance.  Or if the shoulder seam allowance permits, let it out at the base of the neck.  Or take a little deeper seam allowance as the shoulder seam approaches the armhole (figure 5, B).  This latter method removes wrinkles and raises the grain at the armhole but may leave the armhole too high  under the arm.  To alter this, see (future reference).






As this is getting extremely long, I will continue this section with the next post.


Happy Sewing!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Fitting Dresses...A Plan of Fitting, Part 4

Continuing with the "Fitting Dresses" booklet from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

A Plan of Fitting

It is suggested to pin and baste all the different parts together - blouse, sleeves, and skirt-- of the dress together in readiness for the first fitting.  A basting line that marks the center back and center front helps in fitting.  Put the dress on, adjust it, and pin the openings together accurately.

Before doing any actual fitting, study the effect of all sides of the dress on the figure in the mirror.  Decide what is good and what needs to be changed.  Check to see if the lengthwise yarns drop straight at the center front and center back, and if the crosswise yarns are parallel to the floor -- especially across the bust line and the hip line.  Keep them that way throughout the fitting.

Following is a suggested procedure to use when fitting a dress:

Fit the blouse first.  Fasten a string around the waistline to keep the fullness in place.  Since properly placed shoulder seams act as an anchor to the dress, start the fitting with the shoulders.  If the pattern calls for shoulder pads, they should be in place before the fitting is done.  Then fit the neckline.  This helps to hold the shoulder seams in place.  The bust and the back are fitted next and then the armholes are made ready for the sleeves.

Before fitting the skirt, adjust the waistline fullness to the proper location.  Pin the skirt to the waistline, matching center front, center back, and side seams with corresponding points of the waist.  The waistline, like the shoulder seams, is an anchorage point.  After it is correctly fixed, the hips can be fitted.

During the first fitting, slip the basted sleeves onto the arms to test their width and length.  After the first or later fittings, when all the necessary changes have been made in the rest of the dress, pin and baste in the sleeves.  Examine the sleeves on the figure carefully from the front, back, and sides for fit, comfort, and position of the grain of goods  See that the armhole seam line ad the fullness o the sleeve cap are well placed.  Make any desirable changes.

If many changes are necessary in any part of the fitting, rebaste and try on the dress again before the final machine stitching.


What do you think of this plan of attack?  Do you follow a similar plan when your making a top, a dress or a jacket?

Happy Stitching!