Monday, September 18, 2017

Monday musings...

in which our plucky heroine is grateful for rain...

It started raining yesterday evening... soft gentle rain, but intermittently relentless. This is good, it will help quench the fires, though the rain itself causes other damage after fire, the landslide danger is much increased... but here in the city, the air is beginning to clear

I have tried repeatedly over many years to find/create/fit a TNT woven blouse pattern, with no real success. Since others have had good success with the Tabula Rasa jacket and shirt variations pattern, I decided to give it a try. I do expect to have to make multiple efforts to adjust the pattern, as is always the case when I try and work out a new basic garment for myself.

Here is the schematic of the pattern pieces I am using. Because I want to make a woven button-front blouse/shirt, I am not using the vee neck jacket front, but the adapted front pattern piece from the corresponding "shirt variations" pattern from the same company. Hence in the schematic, I have indicated the difference in the pattern by a dotted line:

muslin #1 - only alteration is to use L for upper torso, shifting to XL at mid armscye to allow for bust, as suggested by pattern designer. Horizontal balance lines look mostly okay. Bust darts are at a good level. There is PLENTY of ease around the bust on the front. Shoulder seams are, unfortunately, at least 1" to the outside of where my shoulder joins my body, which is always the case.

Back is not entirely level, probably needs both a rounded back adjustment, and some room for my hips/bottom.

Sleeves are the worst problem, as is always the case. Shoulder seams are, unfortunately, at least 1" to the outside of where
my shoulder joins my body, which is always the case. In this pattern the sleeve cap seam is intended to be just inside the shoulder point.

Also, I cannot easily move my both my arms forward at the same time, or even one arm at a time. While there is enough ease in the arms if I stand rigidly straight, as soon as I move, the upper arms tighten and pull. Not sure how to adjust for this, since it doesn't match any of the alterations suggested in the information provided. Am thinking that somehow adding to the back of the sleeve cap would be helpful?

So, on to muslin #2...
in an attempt to observe what each specific change will do, I am only making one major change at a time...

major change - moved the shoulder 1" narrower (tapered along the front panel down to notch, darted out extra on back so as to not lose any width)
minor adjustment - restitched the back side panel to center back seams to increase taper and allow a bit more space in the side hip (this only added about a half inch on either side back, not enough)

this is moving in the right direction, but nowhere near a comfy blouse yet... I can tell that there is still too much width in the upper bodice center front, and not enough in the lower "peplum" zone (when I sit down, it binds across my tummy as well as across my hips in the back; when I stand up there is enough room in the lower front, but it still hangs up and binds across the hips in the back.

the vertical balance lines are getting closer to being vertical;
horizontal balance lines still looking good

back is still pulling upward in the center, needs either a RBA or for me to add a center back seam to shape the back. The lower edge is still not wide enough to fit my curvy hips properly... I am considering cutting the back into panels, rather like princess seams. This would allow me to fit the ins and outs of my contours more easily, and would also probably be more sparing of fabric when I eventually am able to make this as an actual blouse.
The thing I am pleased about, aside from having the bust darts in the right place, is that the hemline edge is basically level, in the front and on the side panels. Sleeve is still terrible, but I need to sort out the front shoulder and center front issues first, then deal with the back shaping, and only then will I be able to try and fit the sleeves in some way that will allow me to freely move my arms.

Tomorrow I am going to work on muslin #3. I have removed the sleeves entirely for now, and will work on sorting out the center front shoulder zone. Overall, I am quite pleased though, as this is already closer to a usable blouse/shirt bodice than I have ever managed before!! My goal in fitting this pattern is to create a comfortable blouse/shirt that I will be able to wear underneath my everyday pinafore, which is what I wear every day, autumn through spring, which will add an important additional option to my short list of TNT patterns. (my basic TNT patterns so far include a knit top, pinafore/dress, princess seam sleeveless dress, and knit cropped pants. Also a sports bra, and a wraparound apron)

September SMART goals (x=extra)
1 dark pelican enamel xø
2 tweedledee poncho xø
3 color wheels x ø
4 charter painting x ø
5 xx ø
6 x x ø
7 x x ø
8 x x ø
9 x x ø
10 x x ø
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x


  1. I have the same problem if the sleeve angle joining to the body of the garment is low (not perpendicular to the garment). You may try adjusting the sleeve cap height. It is explained on page 13 of this fitting guide.

    Good luck with your TNT pattern quest.

  2. The woman who writes the blog "The Couture Counsellor" has some of the same fitting challenges that you do, although not the narrow shoulders. Her wardrobe plan is different from yours, too, but the work she does to get well-fitted clothes might be helpful to your situation. I notice she almost always uses an armhole princess seam and set-in sleeves. If I wanted a fitted garment, I would find it difficult to be satisfied with the fit I could get with the Tabula Rasa pattern.

    1. I will take a look over there and see if I can find additional info that will help. I am not looking for a very fitted blouse, just one that I can move my arms freely. I have tried repeatedly every few years with standard set in sleeve blouse patterns to get one to fit me, without any success. My shoulder width and placement is that of someone who wears a XXS, unlike the rest of my body! The closest I ever came was with the La Fred Athena blouse (the original version) which also had a squared armscye and a fairly loose fit, and even then (and that was 50 pounds ago), I had to do some serious pattern modification to get the bodice to approximate anything like my shape. I suspect that I will be successful in time; I have been considering adding princess seamlines to the Tabula Rasa pattern, because it will make my fitting attempts easier, by giving me more places to adjust the pattern to my own curves.

  3. This may be what Cricket said above, but... when I have the sleeve issue it's usually because the lower armscye is too low. I have read, and sometimes experienced, that a higher armscye allows for better movement. Similar effect to dropped crotch pants which can be restrictive of a full stride!

    Best of luck - I think you've made tremendous progress so far with fitting this pattern.

  4. Might I suggest a different direction? Although I am quite tall, I am shaped very similar to you and never had success with a woven blouse over the years. That all changed when I used Darlene Miller's Circle patterns.
    The only alteration I had to make to achieve a PERFECT fit was to narrow the shoulders and do a forward shoulder adjustment.
    Darlene's patterns are wonderful. Every single Circle pattern fits me like a dream.