Sunday, June 13, 2010

1950s Collar Confection Blouse: the muslin saga continues.

1950s Collar Confection Blouse by Decades of Style:

From the pattern envelope, "The collar on this vintage blouse pattern is as close to perfection as you can get! This is one of those patterns that will fit perfectly with a business suit or a pair of jeans. The blouse has cap sleeves with petal shaping at the shoulder edge. There are tucks in the front and darts at the back waist and shoulder to provide shaping. Draped collar and button closure. Light to medium weight fabric recommended. Make sure your fabric has a soft hand or the collar will not drape effectively. Voile, georgette, linen, rayon, silk or cotton."

I love the overall design of this pattern, and I love the concept of a basic blouse with a defining collar feature that makes it unique. If fit to perfection, this blouse could be made again and again as a wardrobe staple good for work or casual.

This is a first try muslin exemplifying the fit adjustments I made in a tissue fitting. I made no changed to the back of the pattern, except a tiny sway back adjustment. I made several key changes to the front, the most important of which was a full bust adjustment of a whopping 5" inches. I used the Palmer Pletsch y-dart FBA method. I added a side dart and moved some of the adjustment into the tucks at the waist. Because I also have a very thick middle, I also did a wide waist adjustment.

However, I am still having fit trouble. Observe below.


This version is my "(not really) wearable muslin" made of a cotton polyester blend bed sheet, thrifted for less than $2. I like the print, it reminds me of a feminine Hawaiian shirt. However the fabric is stiff, much stiffer than I expected. I think the firm drape is inhibiting some of the design features of the pattern.

Major fit issues include 1) excess fabric above the armpit and bust area 2) too high collar, 3) misplaced side dart and misplaced waist darts, and 4) trouble with the facings. Any advice?

1) I dislike the fit in the upper chest. There is just too much fabric gaping and poofing in my upper bust region. I speculate the length of the bodice in this area could be taken up at the shoulder. I also apparently have what is known as a "hollow chest" that accentuates the excess fabric. Everything seems to lay smoother if I pinch out a horizontal tuck about 1" deep at my upper bust, which means I should likely do this to the pattern. But I am unclear what effect this might have on the fit at the armhole. Any advice on altering this fit is welcome.

2) The neckline on my finished blouse is quite a bit higher and smaller than the pattern illustration's neckline. The lowest, widest part of the neckline does not span across my chest or dip as low as it does on the lovely, tiny model illustrated on the cover. Upon further inspection, I see this is because the neckline and collar pieces are not graded with the size of the pattern. Width and length change, but the collar is the same depth and width in a 30" bust as a 46" bust. This means that the larger the size, the more conservative the neckline looks.

3) All darts and tucks are in wonky positions in the fabric version (but I swear they all lined up in the tissue fitting!). The FBA side dart is sitting too low. The fabric seems to want to be gathered above the armpit, from within the armhole area, but the dart originates from the side of the pattern and sit low against my bust. I think it needs moved or replaced. Also, I realize now that the front waist tucks are not graded with the size of the blouse (just like the collar), meaning as you go up in size, they (may) shift out of alignment with the bust. Next time I plan to wait to sew the bust darts until I have pieced together much of the blouse, so I can adjust and reposition to match my bust apex and figure.

4) On this version, I resorted to using bias binding to finish the arms instead of the facings, as I struggled to get the facings to lay as they should. After ripping out the facings twice, and knowing this was only a muslin, I finally opted for the easy finish. The technique worked well. Does anyone see a problem with using bias binding to face rather than full facings?

Problem area: Upper bust/armpit excess. What do you think I should do?

I am accepting any and all advice. Thanks!


athene said...

You know, maybe you should shoot Janet at Decades of Style an e-mail and ask her if she has any suggestions for that fitting issue. She's really nice, and since she knows her pattern line very well she might be able to help if you included a photo.

Jen said...

Perhaps you do not need quite as large an FBA as you made?

MaryD said...

Looking at the side photo, it appears that the armscye is too high in the armpit (ie, the armhole is too small). Try ripping out the side seam under the shoulder and sewing to the point where it doesn't bind you (it will help to have a friend pin fit you).

Kate said...

Mary - The high armscye is a good catch. I have been paying more attention to that fit area since your comment and do see how many of my ready to wears are a bit tight there, and it does affect fit everywhere.

Athene - Good suggestion! In fact I have asked Janet at Decades of Style about the issue (and yes, she is really nice!), but she did not have a great suggestion for the full bust issues.

Jkubenka - You are absolutely correct, among a few other fit issues, there is also too much FBA. I have to rework it.

I have a number of fit corrections I am slowly working through, and I will post about them as soon as I can. Thank you all for your feedback and support!

barbe said...

I am in the same boat as you. For years when I was a "normal" size, sewing was no problem now its a different story. All my sewing failures have been the same as yours-too tight across the bust but gaping on the upper bust. Now that finding vintage in a size 20+ is impossible and repro companies don't do them, I need to make stuff myself too.

I just go thte Palmer Fit book, so am a real novice here regarding FBA. From the newbies point of view-It looks to me like you may need to redo your FBA. I'm thinking you need a larger armscyce and make a deeper bust dart on a smaller bodice. And maybe add shoulder darts to accomodate your hollow chest.

You look like you are small in your upper bust but huge at the apex (same as me!).

Perhaps you should also go back to the fit expert and show her whats not working. You paid to get it fit right, so she should have no problem making it work for you! Good luck!

Kate said...

Barbe - thanks for the feedback. I think you are right on track. I will keep you posted with more images soon as I work through another FBA. I actaulled LOVED when you said "You look like you are small in your upper bust" because I am not a ver small person, so it was kind of exciting to think i look small somewhere. :) Silly, but fun. I would love to see any details about clothing you have made yourself using successful fitting techniques. Keep me updated. Thanks!