My Pretty New Blouse– Otto 16 2016/2

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I removed the tissue after cutting the fabric; measured down 8 inches drew and cut my V neckline.

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I finished it with commercial bias tape which is folded to the inside, top and edge stitched for a nice finish.

Otto specifies a zipper back closure but I know from experience my block will slip over my head and slid down my body.  I do not fit woven blouses closely.  At most, their fitting will hint at a shape beneath. That’s because I don’t like my fabric constricting movement or people being able to count my curves (rolls). I did however decide to ‘fudge’ just a little. Just in case I did need a bigger opening, by creating a 4″ neckline vent closed by a single button

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and elastic loop

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Good lord! Both pics show that I need to do some serious thread clipping.

Let me back-up a sec and say that I did tape the back and front necklines immediately after cutting them. I know for a fact that necklines will stretch. Sometimes even stay stitching will cause the fabric to stretch. The back vent was formed by cutting the back on the selvege, and leaving the top 4″ open when stitching the CB seam. I pressed the seam open then top stitched to keep it open.

I echoed the same top/edge stitching on the sleeve hems

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and around that lovely mitered hem.

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Otto perfectly executed the miter. I interface my hems and serge finish the raw edge.  For this hem I left the miter unfinished; folded the raw edges together and stitched 1/4″ away. I press the seam open using a point presser before top and edge stitching.  It’s really a beautiful finish.

Fit is a bit sketchy.  I love the front view

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but admit I didn’t get the proportions right.  I think Otto used 2:1 i.e the top portion is twice width of the peplum.  Mine is closer to a 3:1 proportion.  This looks good on me. I got out my croquis and played with proportions. I could have cut the top portion at waist level. It would take more changes to the  peplum to reach a 2:1 than I wanted to make. Plus, I would not have liked the peplum at waist level with it long enough to equal the length above. It would have been almost a 1:1 proportion which doesn’t flatter me. (It turns me into a square peg atop a popsicle stick.) ATM I’m doubly glad I used my block because I did create a nice proportion. Had I copied Otto, proportions for me personally would have been off.

I did not add weight to the back hem. Part of the reason the back looks like this:

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Of course the fact I didn’t straighten the garment before pics also contributes.  The back feels just a touch tight between the shoulder blades. Something I’ve not experienced will all the previous versions using my block. I don’t know if I have many of this type fabric left.  I had 4 yards of it which tells me that it is old, old Walmart-$1-fabric old. Modern fabrics are woven differently and behave differently on the body.  Still I’m going to add 1/8″ to the back block.  That’s a total of 1/4″ ease between those shoulder blades and should be just enough.

I stitched the shoulders the same as I did all summer:  left shoulder 1/4″ deep right shoulder 3/8″ deep. That was the fix for the side swags on all my summer garments. I also added 1/4″ shoulder pads.

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They won’t be seen, as they would for sleeveless garments and I’m happy to be sporting ‘shoulders’ once again. (I don’t love my summer shoulderless appearance but I like even less the look of shoulder pads peeking out.)

To my surprise, this blouse has swags both left  and right  sides

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Surprised? No, I’m stunned.  All the shoulder draping was done to eliminate these very drag lines.  They’ve been non-existent on the garments I’ve made using my block.   They appear only when I start with a pattern and copy my shoulder slope to the pattern instead of starting with my block and copying details from the pattern to the block.  I’m really glad for this lovely, busy print which will disguise the swags from the cursory glance. To be honest, I’m not sure this is a fabric issue, which it could be, or that I didn’t do something, make some kind of adjustment that should have been made.

I have to admit this is more of an Inspired by than real Otto draft. Even the peplums had to be altered after tracing.  Despite problems noted above, I love my blouse. It makes me feel feminine. I did think this would be a one-and-done. It’s rather distinctive and multiples would be noticed. I used cheap tracing paper instead of my good paper felt (Aisle Runner purchased at Hobby Lobby). But I’ve kept the pieces. I can see at least one more version for summer and maybe another version with a button front opening. There could be more copies in my future.

 

 

 

2/2016 #16

I like the looks of Peplum Wrap Blouse. Meant to make it earlier in the year.   It gives me a very feminine vibe. I’ve decided to use a navy,  cotton, floral-print fabric. That cotton might have some poly in it.  The fabric presses beautifully-(cotton) and resists wrinkles (polyester). I’m not going to give it a burn test. Confirming my assumption would make no difference in my sewing choices. However I do have a problem because it has no stretch whereas the #16 2/2016 pattern suggests fabrics with 10% stretch. I know from experience that 10% isn’t much during wear.  It’s just enough the fabric will recover from a deep breath or mild physical movement (i.e. don’t expect it to perform well at the gym but you’ll look great lunchin’ with the ladies..)

Looking at both the schematic and models,

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I think this is my basic block with a few changes.It has a center back seam. Front is cut on a fold. The bodice is separated around the waist, I think maybe just above. The front has a V neckline. The  back neckline is not shown on the models. I’m guessing from the schematic that it is scooped a little and until just now I didn’t see that the back darts had been moved to the neckline.  The blouse bottom is formed into peplums. The has a little flouncing has been added to the peplums and  front forms an overlap. The hems are mitered at CF.   The sleeve appears to standard 3/4″ length.

After that evaluation, I decided not to trace all the pattern pieces.  I rarely trace facings (pieces 6 and 7) because after I make my fitting changes, facings have to be redrafted. Since this pattern appears to be a basic block, I opted not to trace pieces 1, 2 or 3 either. Instead I quickly cut copies of my basic block which is  drafted for woven -non-stretch fabrics. That eliminates my first worry (voiced in Para 1) of choosing a non-stretch fabric when the pattern suggests 10% stretch. Copying my block also eliminates all the fitting issues. It already has my shoulder slope; my front length, my back waist length; and all the circumference I like to wear. I did copy pieces 4 and 5 the peplums.  They are 7″ deep including the 1″ hem.  I added 1/4″ SA to the hems (I prefer a 1.25″ hem); 1/4″ SA to the top of the Peplum and 1/2″ to the side seams. After tracing the peplums I drew a stitching line 7″  above my block’s  hem edge and a cutting line 1/4″ below that. Slashed and trashed the tissue below the cutting line.    After walking the stitching lines of block to peplum, I increased the peplums length  3.5″. That’s a lot. More even then the biggest pattern size Otto included. OK part of that is the difference between stretch and non-stretch fabrics  but that’s still a lot more circumference than the largest size of the original pattern.

My sleeve block already has my 3 favorite lengths marked on it. So when I cut a copy of it, I folded up at the 3/4 length line and added  1.25″ for my standard hem depth.

For necklines, I eyeballed the pattern pieces and opted for a 1″ deeper back and 6″ deep from V both options I change when cutting fabric.

The problem with all my assumptions is that I may miss subtle drafting choices. They may have drafted the back neckline 3/4″ deep and the front 5″.  That change I’m OK with as I’m using favorites which became favorites because they look good on me. It’s quite possible that at the first fitting, I would change whatever they drafted to my favorites. I’m not so confident about just slashing off the amount of the peplum from the bottom of my block. I may have significantly disrupted proportions. These kind of things are why  I would prefer to trace  the original  and apply a standard number of changes. That way I would know I have only changed the pattern for fit and all the choices the designer made  –which gives their creation its unique character and appeal — would still be intact. There’s a strong possibility that with my choice to start with my block and make minor changes, that I’m really sewing a different design which is not what I wanted.

Let’s take a look.  The Schematic

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Pics of my finished pattern pieces

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Finished! Otto 2016/5 #8 Drape Front Blouse

I could have done more fitting. I didn’t because this ITY was fabric was difficult to work with.  It acted like a nylon crepe. It was hard to keep the raw edges together for sewing. Hard to keep feeding evenly into the serger. Just a crawly, difficult to handle fabric. I’ve never had an ITY that behaved so poorly.  I don’t know if it was the extra shiny finish or the gold micro dots but I wish I’d starched the life out of it just for construction.

I realized a lot of the drapes I was seeing below the bust were really due to the shoulder. It’s the voice of experience of what works on my body.  I do think it odd that the shoulder causes the drapes near the hem, but that’s what happens to me. I used a 5/8″  SA on the left shoulder, 3/4″ on the right even though I only added 1/4″ SA to both.  The 3/4″ deep SA is my quick,  painless way of accommodating my   asymmetrical shoulders.

I added 1/2″ SA to the side seams but since it was tight across the tummy at the first fitting, I stitched the final side seams with a 1/4″ SA. Somehow, there is now too much front ease.

I also trimmed off 1.5″ of length from the center front blending that to nothing at the front side seam.  While the hem is definitely more even, the side pic above, shows I should still remove a little more.

I added a 15″ 3/8″-elastic stay across the back. Between that and the shoulder pads, I’m almost satisfied with the back view.

Almost?  The shoulders are much wider than I expected. The red arrows show where the garments shoulder points are.  The orange arrows are my shoulder pads which were placed 1″ inward.  However, the back itself is fairly smooth, maybe even a little large?  I’m guessing that the increased shoulder SA brought the waist and hip up just enough that I now have an excess of room at the waist and hip!

The cover stitch already had white thread so I hemmed with it. But I didn’t test first. Don’t remember what I cover stitched the last time, but this time the hems are standing a little proud. Well not a deal breaker.

My last complaint actually are the sleeves themselves.  They feel tight. Probably because I didn’t add a seam allowance. My bad. But if they are too tight, why all the wrinkles?

One thing I’ve learned about cowls and drapes, they rarely just fall into place. I finished the cowl with FOE which I stretched a little. I was hoping to cause tension which would pull the cowl a little inside.

Just letting it ‘hang’

Tuck inside

Had a clip handy in the sewing room:

Larger clip:

Think I need to buy a few broaches or find fancier hair clips.

 

Drape Front Blouse: Fitting

Cutting the fabric was easy as pie, although I opted not to cut center front or back seams. It will give me a slightly different look than the model, but I’m really more interested in how this will fit.  As Otto recommended I taped the back shoulders, then basted all the pieces together before taking pics.

My initial reaction is somewhat mixed.  I didn’t make any accommodations for my asymmetrical shoulders and therefore I see more wrinkles/drapes/pull lines beneath the right shoulder all the way to the hem on both front and back.  I also didn’t see the recommendation to use a double-sided fabric.  Something I’ll think about in the future, because the cowl inside is probably going to show. OK if that’s what you want.

I slipped shoulder pads inside and took a second set of pics. I don’t always do a good job with the pads are free-floating but they did improve the appearance of the job.  As will, I’m sure, the Spanx I will be wearing as the days get cooler->cold. The shoulders are wider than I expected.  I  thought they were extended-shoulder/drop sleeve but only slightly so more like my In-armscye cap sleeve than the 70’s bicep location. Ok I made a good story better.  These are sitting about 2″ passed my shoulder edges (See orange arrows? It was hard to find a contrasting color. Everything color wanted to blend into the background.):

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At fitting,  I thought I have enough hip room, but was missing a little tummy space. .  I was right about not needing the 2″ center front length that I usually add (and was included by default when I copied the hem line from my sloper).  That’s an easy fix–just trim the 2″ and copy the change to the pattern.

 

2016/5 #5 Drape Front Blouse

This is the 2nd pattern I’ve copied from this issue of Ottobre Design.  It’s like I keep saying, I buy the other patterns and magazines. Get excited about design details. But Ottobre Design is the one that gets me sewing.

The Drape Front Blouse

It reminds me of the turtlenecks put out a few years ago by Burda 9/2010 #121 and Butterick 5070.  This is slightly updated. The pattern calls for center front and back seams and the turtle neck has been converted into a shorter, front cowl.  Otto says to finish  center seams and cowl with a rolled hem.  I think the pattern is an example of updating and recycling a very good design.

I traced size 48. Nothing beats success like another success and the 48  worked well for pants on me. The pattern sheet has 3 pieces but not the 3 I was expecting.  There is a sleeve (2). There is a top-half front(1) and a bottom half front (1A). Where was the back? Well you copy the front but trim off the cowl.  I wasn’t real happy with this solution. My front and back are not symmetrical. There’s very little that is symmetrical about me. But I decided to give it a go because my fabric is an ITY knit with 40% stretch. If this was a pattern for woven fabric, I’d quit right now.

I checked fit by comparing with my In-armscye cap-sleeve pattern just drafted a few weeks ago.  I’m nervous about that because it is drafted from my sleeveless sloper and this garment will have sleeves, long sleeves. I know the differences between sleeveless and sleeved. The sleeveless is fit closer to my body and the armscye is higher. Again the 40% stretch has me thinking this, using a sleeveless sloper on sleeved garment, might work.

One of the things I was concerned about is that as I grow wider, I don’t get a whole lot more length. Some yes. But it’s very little like eighths  of an inch. Also, patterns are typically drafted for the woman with is 5’5, 5’6.   While the 48 sized pant was fine hip wise, I needed to remove 3″ in length. I know that I’m also short-waisted. I’m not as long as the standard between shoulders and waist. When I compared patterns I placed my sloper on top of the newly traced pattern; aligned center fronts and slid the sloper up until the armscyes touched. I discovered that the Otto waist was 2″ lower than my sloper and that there was an extra 1″ length in the upper chest.  I folded out at both places and copied my shoulder slope.  I checked the hem. Otto has drafted a tunic length garment. I don’t care for this proportion on me.  I’ll be wearing long pants and possibly a vest, jacket or coat. The tunic length looks sloppy and unbalanced on me in that type attire.On the model the tunic is scrunched between waist and hip another look I don’t like.  I’ve spent most of my life adding width to be sure that puddling of fabric doesn’t occur. Now it’s a fashion? To continue, I shortened to my standard length.

I start to repeat the process on the front. Holy cow, it is 2″ longer from shoulder to Bust Apex and there is no bust dart. They say that anything above a B cup must add a dart.  I’m a B cup and can tell you there are lots of garments with out darts but when I wear them a dart forms. Currently, all my drafts have the bust dart.  Even the princess seam (dart is rotated to the shoulder and hem.) But it also seems to me that the extra length may have come from creating the drape front/cowl. If the bust dart was rotated to the neck to form the cowl, then there is a bust dart in front. Also I usually  need to add 2″ length to center front at the hem. I’m thinking it may not be needed because I have an extra 1″  up at the armscye. I decide my first garment will be entirely basted with water soluble thread so I can recut as needed. Then I make the same changes as the back (1- shorter through armscye, 2″ shorter above waist) and copy my hem which includes the usual extra 2″ length.  I add 5/8 for the seam allowances. My sloper includes 1/2″ seam allowances but it is 5/8″ wider — I measured.  Otto does not include seam allowances.  The difference could be my chosen seam allowance and fabric stretch factor.  Even if this fabric has 40% stretch, I’d rather trust my sloper.

I finished the front and back by truing and walking seams.

Then turned me attention to the sleeve. I aligned my sleeve sloper with the armscye.  I was not surprised that the Otto cap is shorter.  If I’m ‘reading’ the schematics right, this is an extended-shoulder/drop-sleeve garment. That’s why I chose the In-Armscye sloper.  However, length is way off. I need to remove 5″.  It’s such a large amount that I made the adjustment in two places.  I removed 3″ above the elbow about mid-arm by making a 1.5″ deep tuck.  Repeat that below the elbow but the tuck is only 1″ deep.

Whew. Lots of changes and after I baste together I made need even more.  As I cut my fabric, I hope this is not my new normal with Otto patterns.

Interlock #3

Not sure this pattern is going to work for me. I wanted a basic knit, sleeveless top that I could vary neckline, hem and armscye details and finishes  but fit is not going too well. Maybe the issue is the cotton interlock fabric I’m using.  This being the last of my remnants and the 3rd attempt at fitting the pattern (now made 5 times because I made no fitting attempt for the camisoles), I’m quite certain that cotton interlock has limited usefulness.

I decided to play just a little and added trim to the front. I used FOE and some decorative elastics all purchased from Walmart.  I was surprised to find both those smaller trims at Walmart which is also stocking some FOE. Caution on the Walmart FOE. Yes it does seem to be good or at least reasonable quality but the quantity is small.  That is a full roll.  A single roll would not be enough to cover an adult neckline and armscye. I stacked the narrow elastic on top of the FOE and stitched the round elastic to either side of the FOE.  Makes for an interesting trim. I used the standard zig zag stitch, not even the 3 stitch, to attach the elastics. Had problems keeping the FOE straight. It wanted to wander beneath the foot. Possibly I should have used Steam A Seam to pre-attach it and the roll elastic because I also had a hard time keeping the roll elastic butted up next to the edge of the FOE. Also a possibility, I should go foot shopping. Our machines are designed for all around general purpose sewing. Sometimes a special foot is needed to adapt them for special sewing, like uncooperative elastics.

For some reason I thought the elastics would not ravel.  Therefore, I didn’t Frey Chek the edges. Well I had stabilized the front of the top with sticky WSS before beginning the trimming. WSS shrinks and changes shape rather rapidly.  Just the humidity, even winter humidity, is absorbed and causes the WSS to change shape. Get it near a steam iron and drastic, immediate change take place.  Before modeling, I needed to remove it all and I put my top  through a standard wash/dry cycle.  That’s when I found out these particular elastics do indeed ravel.  This top probably isn’t going to last long in my wardrobe because the raveling is definitely unattractive.

I planned to tweak the fit a bit as I have been seeing swags running from back, under the arm and up to the front or maybe it’s from front to back. Either way, the personal  solution I’ve  found is increasing the shoulder slope.  Before cutting this interlock, I increased the tissue’s shoulder slope 1/4″ at the armscye edge. That meant that the underarm would be or should have been too high and not long enough. So I also lowered the armscye 1/4″.

I did the embellishment first, then stitched the shoulders together before applying the trim. I basted the side seams and looked in the mirror. Nope. 1/4″ did not take care of the swags. Basted the shoulders another 1/4″ lower making a total of a 1/2″ increased slope. No and curiously no real improvement either. Finally I basted the shoulders with a total 3/4″ slope. What that got me was a lump at the shoulder seam neck edge and all the side swags. a3/4″ slope not the solution.

According the Connie Crawford, er according to my limited understanding of Connie Crawford, when correcting these swag lines, you work at the shoulder seam as long as that makes a difference, then you work at the side seam. Since working the shoulder seam had made no discernible difference, I ripped out the basting at the shoulder and  started increasing the side seam. Didn’t help. Instead I now had big drag lines indicating insufficient bust ease.

My last thought was to change the armscye finish.  I had planned a simple 1:1 binding. I decided instead to use a 1/2″ self-ribbing. However, when finished the shoulder would be too wide.So I trimmed the shoulder length 1/2″.  I cut my ribbing 1.75″ wide and 80% the armscye length. On this garment that was 16″.  Applying the ribbing took a lot of stretching and made me wonder if I my 80% was enough. But it did confirm my reaction to Peggy Saggers recommendation of 75%.  I had immediately thought no way!  No way 75% was a good recommendation for all fabrics. Perhaps I have a wider definition of ‘ribbing’ which would be why my experience supports another formula i.e 80% instead of 75%.

The armscye finish did control most of the gaping but didn’t help with the swags; and surprisingly, this interlock fits way too tight when compared with the previous which admittedly was a little snug. At least you couldn’t count the rolls. It just goes to prove the same type fabric, even with the same stretch factor will not necessarily drape the same way on the body. As home dressmakers, we are always making originals even when using our TNT’s.

I need to step back and reconsider, yet again, my fitting procedure. It’s unlikely that my figure is going to improve.  I’m not willing to change my diet. I’m not willing to endure the pain of extreme exercise. I’m at a good place in my life. Basically happy and not intent on making changes. No big goals. Just living every day to its fullest. I do know clearly how I would like my clothes to fig. I’m also reasonable. I don’t expect to look like any of the K@rd@si@ns. So for now, I’m taking a break not only from this pattern but from fitting in general. I’m going to work on my Spring 6PAC using the 25 patterns which satisfactorily  fit me. I’ll be returning to this type pattern, if not exactly this one, because I still want a basic knit, sleeveless top pattern in my TNT’s.

Interlock 2

I’m tweaking the fit of Ottobre Design Style  #1, 2/2007.  I increased the shoulder slope 1/4″ accompanied by lowering the armscye 1/4″.  I used self fabric for neckline ribbing and for binding the armscyes.

Still have some issues. Including that the back and bust look too tight while at the same time, the underarm is not snug to my  body.

I think I’m going to concentrate on correcting the shoulder slope.  I’m using up my odd interlock cuts, mostly remnants from T shirt projects. They make fine camisoles for the winter and yes if this is the only thing clean on a hot day I will wear it in public.

I probably should have known 1/4″ was not enough. It simply hasn’t been enough with Connie Crawford, Loes Hinse and Burda patterns. Why did I think it would be enough for Otto?

I fired up the embroidery machine using an old free Bernina design.  I think this was supposed to be cut work.

I copied the single design and mirrored it making the much larger design above. Not until I broke 2 needles did I remember that someone had said they thought it contained an error. I finished the embroidery by skipping the last color and completing a couple of small satin stitch areas on the Dream.

Interlock version of Otto Tank

I used to love the Otto Tank (#01 in issue 2007/02).  It’s not quite what I envision when hearing the word ‘tank’ but it is a very good summer top.  It offers enough coverage so that underwear will not show yet  is skimpy enough for the occasional triple digit temperatures we get in South Dakota. I think refining this pattern now while it can be used as an undergarment is a good idea.

Although the pattern calls for rayon knit, I’m using a cotton interlock. I know the two fabrics will not act exactly the same. I’m hoping that the end result will be close enough that only minor tweaking is needed when I change fabrics. Truth is, I was looking for a test fabric and this white interlock is just the right amount and age. Ok, well aged. And, this fabric I will model where as the nylon knit previously used was far too revealing.  I cut the front and back on fold adding 2″ length at the hem. I also  cut three 1.75″ crosswise strips to be used as ribbing.

I decided to add an embroidery using my 2016 Spring colors. Just because it is boring to make the same garment over and over. Yet that’s what you need to do. Or I need to do. I need to know how the pattern will work with various fabrics and finishes especially after I tweak said pattern for my bodily flaws unique body shape.

This was really quick to sew together. I serged the armscyes and then basted in the neck binding. Once I was sure it was correct, I serged the neck and armscye bindings before serging the side seams. Pictures below were taken before I used a 3-thread serger stitch to finish the hem edge.

I had altered the pattern to achieve Zero ease i.e. the pattern measurements equal my own. I wasn’t delighted to see my rolls, but not particularly surprised. I was most curious about the shoulder slope as I’ve not made any correction. The shoulder straps are so narrow, I wasn’t sure how much or even if I should try to introduce a slope.

The side view tells me I really should. I should increase the shoulder slope and move the armscye  because I’m seeing multiple side-swags.

The other thing I’m seeing is that the armscye bindings make the shoulders too wide.  I need to either wrap the armscye thereby not adding any more width or trim the armscyes even deeper–deep enough to offset the width of the binding.  I do see that the front hem is doing its normal rising. Again something that I have made no effort to correct but will not.

So it’s not the perfect summer top but I can tell you when the temps get high enough, if this is the only thing clean, I will be wearing it in public. For now, it’s good enough to be a camisole.

 

Tank as Camisole

I’m eager to start using my Otto patterns again.  They too need to be refit because of my changed shoulder slope and of course the asymmetrical thingy.  I also still need camisoles. 5 is good but still short of my ideal 8. I chose to work with 2/2007 #1, a tank top  pattern for rayon jersey. Far to cold for me to be wearing tanks but I could work on the fit now if I wore the resulting garment as a camisole.

Fitting has become a much longer process. First I compare the given measurements of the body to mine and selected size 46. Otto provides a lot more measurements. Which is a relief, I knew without a doubt I needed to make a 1.75″ back waist length adjustment (BWL) instead of my standard 1″.   I then measured the pattern across the bust, waist and hips. To my surprise, this pattern has  negative ease .  From the pic in the magazine (above) I did not suspect negative ease! I rarely like to wear negative ease.  My ideal silhouette skims not hugs the curves. So I added 1/2″ at the pattern side to bring it up to ZERO ease and then 1/4″ all around for seam allowances.

I did not add embroidery or other embellishment. Well, outside the shell hemming on neckline, armscyes and hem.

I love the shell hem. It’s so easy.  I do serge the raw edges first which helps me turn the edge a consistent 1/4″

This is one of those garments I’m unlikely to ‘model’ for you. It is a nylon tricot knit. Standard fabric for slips and camisoles but kind of transparent.   I was really anxious about the fit and have already worn the cami. Nylon tricot has a more stretch than rayon jersey so I expected it to be comfortable. I did not expect the ease I experienced. I added ease to the pattern to bring the final garment up to ZERO ease.  On the pattern I trimmed 1/2″ off the front underarm and 1/4″ at CF. Both are wedge trims which taper to nothing a few inches down.  That’s all the changes I will make for a camisole.

For a tank top, I’ll need to consider a few other things.

  • I’m still not sure that the ease is correct.
  • I’m hoping that the depth of the armscye changes when using the recommended rayon jersey because it is far too deep for a wearable tank top. Maybe adding binding to fill in??
  • I want another 2″ length to wear in public. Maybe more if I’m altering the length of the straps.
  • I made no allowances for shoulder slope or length.  That will have to be addressed for a public garment.

Tanking the Otto Tank Top

My desire to have more of a “tank” top coincided when my desire to reduce the number of Under 2’s in my stash. So I pulled out a lovely knit purchased from Gorgeous Fabrics intending to pursue altering the pattern  into a tank. The fabric is a crinkle cotton. I think the crinkle has been stabilized by a line of elastic sewn to the reverse side.  It’s an interesting fabric that was easy to work with as well.

So at my age, you don’t go bra-less.  If you do, people see your nip ples around knee level.  Bad bra? Nip ples appear around the belly button.  I keep the girls where they belong by regularly buying and wearing new bras (although I do mess up from time to time.) That means that even a tank pattern, needs to be bra-friendly. I rotary cut a copy of the existing pattern from fresh tracing paper to work with. I think the neckline width is pretty good so I measured 1.5″ from the shoulder point and made a mark. Using my curved ruler, I drew the armscye from the new point back down to the curve of the underarm.  I did not lower the underarm.  Sheesh, it took 2 versions to get it bra-friendly.  I’m not ruining it now.

For me, the wonderful thing about TNT’s is that I can put my time into embellishments.  So this Tank version isn’t quite a TNT, but it’s close enough that I felt like having a little fun.  I went through my collection of graphics and found an interesting feather.  I wish I could give credit for this but I saved the file with only date and time.  There were 4 in the pic.  I cropped to 1 feather and then imported into my Cameo Silhouette Studio program.  I converted it to a cutting file, resized, repeated, mirrored and arranged.  I spent at least an hour developing a design I wanted to use.

Silver stars and nails were added just before sewing was complete.

Then because it became a large design (12X18″) I moved the Cameo from its shelf in the computer room to the kitchen table.  Previously I’ve ironed two layers of freezer paper together and put that into the Cameo for cutting on its shelf.  That does work but not perfectly.  There will be bubbles (no matter how hard I try to press evenly) between the two layers. When the Cameo cuts, the bubbles won’t cut cleanly.  That won’t do for this design. It has to cut very well because it has lots of small dots and dashes and paisleys and stuff-that-needs-to-be-cut. On the shelf, the work receives minimal support. This would be fine if I could also use the mat.  The length of mat needed, will not feed smoothly through during cutting. It bounces when it reaches the wall.  At the table, this isn’t an issue.  Since I was using the table, I could also use a mat and I only needed 1 layer of freezer paper.

But at the table I couldn’t connect the computer to the Cameo.  I had the learning experience of transferring my design to SD card complicated by the fact my computer is not accessing its built-in SD-reader. I must use a USB adapter. The first USB adapter I tried was broken. How the heck do these things break? It would show up in File Explorer but then the computer couldn’t do a file copy.  Eventually I changed readers. Another problem solved. Another appears.  I haven’t previously  transferred files to the Cameo using the SD card.  I’d read about it — and forgotten the instructions. So I diddled at the Cameo for 15 minutes before I was able to figure out the menu selections I needed to load the file. Another problem solved  …

and another appears.  The cameo wouldn’t cut the freezer paper. 3 sheets of freezer paper later and I know to set the blade to a depth of 2.5. I learned that after running back to the computer changing software settings ; downloading the file; and cutting at the Cameo several times. I think I’ve got the procedure down, now.  I love technology. To be truthful, I love this kind of plinking around convincing devices  to do what I want.

Down to the sewing room with my stencil.  I spread out my fabric and placed my altered pattern on top.  I chalked the outline of my pattern pieces upon the fabric then cut out around the intended front allowing a good 4″ margin all around.  I trimmed the  stencil, still leaving a nice margin and sprayed the shiny side with stencil glue before carefully placing the stencil on the upper bodice.  I smoothed it into place; dug out my white textile paint and a dabber.  Painting took less then 5 minutes. Sheesh, all that work for 5 minutes of daubing up and down with a teaspoon of white paint.  After clean up at the sink (I love acrylic paints) I removed the stencil from the fabric.  Last time I stenciled, I left the stencil on while the paint dried. I also had a bit of a problem placing my stencil that time. I had sprayed it twice with glue after having tried to iron it into place.  I still have bits of freezer paper on that project.  Not wanting to repeat that experience, I carefully pulled the stencil away now before the paint was thoroughly dry.  The design was beautiful.  But a little flat looking. I had glitter handy. Not something I buy regularly. This came with some purchases made during the last Nebraska Junk Jaunt. I sprinkled glitter lightly over the paint. Then left all to dry.

The next day, I placed my pattern back on the fabric and cut the pieces for my new tank top.  I taped the neckline back and front, the shoulder and the armscyes.  Usually I tape the front neckline and back shoulders. But this was all so skinny I was afraid it would stretch if allowed to dangle without support.  Before beginning construction, I cut strips 1.75, 1.5 and 1.25″ strips from the fabric. Using white Stretchy Max I roll hemmed one side. Then I serged shoulders together and finished the hems, armscyes and neckline using the type A, Up and over binding.

There is no real change it the fit. It’s all design details and whatever the fabric does.

Fit is fine, I’d say I can make the neckline wider and maybe the shoulder a little more exposed. But you know, I think It’s a great summer style.