More Fitting Questions – the narrow back?

M6796, Misses' Tops

This is my next project:  McCalls 6796.

This is what many tops look like on me, without alteration (a bit worse actually, since my shoulder are narrow). Essentially, excess fabric about the waist.  I’ve a few books on fitting, and they suggest this is a narrow back adjustment.  That is, if I read and interpret the drawings/photos correctly.

Thoughts anyone?  Suggestions?  Please comment!

Another McCall’s 6844


When I first saw the pattern release for McCalls 6844, I had in mind making something for work.  The first version I made, for Thanksgiving, is fine, but not exactly what I was thinking.  Still, I’m glad I made it first.  While I like it, it’s too warm for most days (hey, I’m in Florida).  In addition, while the peplum is okay, I don’t think it’s as flattering on me as I thought it would be.  This meant the next version would be Version A.

Please excuse the suitcase wrinkles!
Please excuse the suitcase wrinkles!

When I saw this chevron metellasse at EmmaOneSock, I snatched it up.  When I received it, I loved it (still do), and seriously considered using it for something else.  It’s an interesting fabric.  I’ve never seen, much less used metellasse before.  It’s very stable, with good stretch, but almost feels and wears like a woven.  It feels like three layers – it’s definitely two.  The top layer feels like a thin burnout jersey, a middle layer of soft, fluffy, threads/fill, and then a black tricot backing.  I pulled it apart and tried to photograph it (but not well!).

???????????????????????????????In any case, while the peplum version was a bit snug, this knit fit differently.   I cut the medium (I’m a 12 in Vogue), but it hung on me, especially in the back, sides and shoulders.  Looking more closely, I saw that the shoulders were definitely too wide for me.  I had already sewn the sleeves in flat, and rather than take out the stitching, I sewed a new seam 1/8″ inch (slightly more) in from the old.  This narrowed the shoulders just enough.  If I hadn’t bee lazy, I would have ripped the sleeve out and trimmed the shoulder seams and back armcyse seam 1/4 inch.  When I sewed the side/sleeve seam, I took the side seam in 1/2 inch (one inch total each seam).

???????????????????????????????These adjustments made the jacket far less boxy on me, though my MIL thought I should add darts  for shaping in the back.  If I make this again (and I may/may not), I will make a narrow back adjustment.

Other than sewing in the sleeves flat, I didn’t make any changes.  I wish I had taken the time to hand sew the hem.  It would have looked better.  I can’t seem to avoid the wavy hem when I machine stitch on knits.

The collar not lay flat all the way to the bottom (nor on the peplum), but looking at the line drawings, they aren’t supposed to.  I ended up lightly pressing the shawl collar so it’s styled a bit differently.

All in all I like it and it is a great wardrobe builder. I’ve worn it with jeans and a t-shirt, as well as with a black skirt and top.  A bit conservative, but not too much.

Fitting Questions; Update on the Rucci (Vogue 1239); other projects…

So, any recommendations for fitting classes on Craftsy or elsewhere anyone?  Of course, fitting the self is very difficult to do without a partner.  I have reference books – Pants for Real People, Perfect Fitting Guide and Vogue Sewing Guide, but will entertain suggestions there as well.

I ask, because I cut out and nearly finished sewing another version of McCalls 6844. Recall, I did this cardi for Thanksgiving.  That one fit fine, in fact, was a bit snug.  So I made this version (A, but same pattern pieces), without regard to fit.  Different type knit, very different fit.  It’s a tad too big across the shoulders, has folds in the back, originating from the arms, and something that only can be described as chicken wings/waddle under the arms pits.  My MIL will be here tomorrow so I’ll run it by her, but I think I first need to take in the shoulder/armcyse seam just slightly, then circumference from the bust to the waist.  BTW, I cut a medium (normally I’m a 12), but a small would have been too small.  Since I set the sleeves in flat, it shouldn’t be too onerous to rip the side/arm seams out to make these changes.

When my MIL is here, I’m also going for a complete set of measurements, especially those that are impossible to do without help. I’m pretty convinced that my back is narrower than the front (if that makes any sense).

So, my before Christmas challenge?  I finished everything that I could (ran out of beads on the tree skirt) except the Rucci dress (Vogue 1239). I even made Lola, which wasn’t planned.  Finishing the Rucci dress before my trip to New Orleans won’t happen without rushing it, which I don’t want to do.  But I only need to cut, sew and insert the lining.  Soon!

Lola met (St.) John: New Year’s dress


Recently, several sewists I follow have made variations on the Lola sweatshirt dress from Victory Patterns.  Both Lauren and Teri’s recent posts inspired me to purchase the pdf pattern.  I had a fabric in mind for Lola – a winter white wool/rayon doubleknit from St. John’s knits, that I purchased from Marcy Tilton (sold out).

About the fabric:  I really LOVE this knit.  It’s beautiful, soft, warm and a joy to sew!  I don’t really enjoy sewing knits, but this was an exception.  I want MORE!  I’m not sure what to make with it – and I’m not 100% confident it was right for Lola.  I purchased it to make a different dress, but changed my mind once it arrived.  This fabric was super easy to work with, very stable, a bit spongy.  Other than not knowing what I would make with more, I’m not sure when I could wear it, unless it was something sleeveless.  Last night I got lucky – it was cold (to me), but today it is warm again (70).  Recommendations anyone, in case I find some more?

About the dress:  So, Lola is a casual sweatshirt dress with feminine styling.

I really liked what Lauren did with her versions – so I borrowed her ideas. I lengthened the sleeves, left off the pockets, and left off the hem and sleeve bands.  I intended to shape it more as she did, but didn’t – more on that in a minute.

And I liked the edge-stitching Teri did on her version, so I copied it.  I intended to do the edge-stitching in a contrasting coppery silk thread, but changed my mind as my edge stitching is still not perfect (especially over some pretty thick seam layers with the double knit).  I should have graded/differentially trimmed my seams, but it didn’t dawn on me until I was almost finished (I graded all after that point, which was the waist). The seams are a bit bulky. (The edge stitching helps hold the seams flat).

Like others, I would say that this dress is well-drafted, with good written instructions.  I never would have chosen this dress pattern on my own.  I’m still not 100% sure it’s me, but my family thought it was fantastic.  It’s easy to make, and the pattern is well-drafted.  It has loads of match points.

As for fitting… sigh.  I last measured myself about three weeks ago – and I was feeling pretty svelte! I was watching the snacking and walking briskly 30 minutes a day for several months, and had reduced myself.  Those measurements were out-of-date.  Shortly after taking them, I got sick with a terrible cold (still trying to shake it) and I eat when I have a cold (chocolate anyone) and was too exhausted to walk across a room, let alone around the neighborhood.

Anyway, those measurements put me in a size 6 for the Lola pattern, when I think I should have cut an 8.  I had planned to pinch out for a more shapely dress like Lauren, but not snug.  This version isn’t tight, but it is more snug than I would like for work (though still comfy).  I would have shaped the lower back a bit more, but had no room to do so.  The photos reveal fitting issues (not withstanding my poses) – please help with comments!

Two more fitting notes:  I usually have to add length in the torso with Vogue patterns. Not here.  Second – I couldn’t get the shoulders to fit right – I had a gap (see the photo).  I tightened up the seams where the sleeves met the bodice. That got rid of some of it, but not all.

Left shoulder at neck, before pinning out excess.
Right shoulder, excess pinned. Note the beauty of the fabric!

Other construction notes:  Since I didn’t do the hem band, I added five inches to the length (long legs), and sewed a 2.5 inch seam with a double needle (narrow, and it worked!).  I made the sleeves longer by adding 11 inches to the existing sleeve – just extending the lines out.  I did a one inch hem with the double needle there as well.  I couldn’t get the neck band to lay flat.  I think I should have shortened the neck band some (remember, I tightened up the neck).  Last, since my Lola was a bit more on the dressy side, I left off the triangle trim at the neckline.

So what happened to the Patou?  When I tried it on three weeks ago, it was too tight in the rib cage.  I was going to need to take the dress completely apart.  I wasn’t going to be able to start until after Christmas, and the thought was too stressful.  It would have been appropriate for the restaurant last night, but not the super-casual party we went to after dinner.

And, sorry about the lighting. I’m going to have to get a camera, not an iPhone camera.

And the backside.  I just noticed how ripply my hem is.  I'll have to seem if I can press that out. Suggestion to prevent that?
And the backside. I just noticed how ripply my hem is. I’ll have to seem if I can press that out. Suggestion to prevent that?

Thanks for reading, and please feel free to comment!