Monthly Archives: July 2014

I can be fit (Otto 2/2007 Style 1)


Tired of futzing with PP108, I returned to my faithful Ottobre Design Magazine.  I think Otto is not more popular because of its fabric selections. Whereas Burda photos in weird positions and dark colors, Otto chooses fabrics from the late 50’s.  They must have a warehouse someplace. Honestly, I look at the fabrics and think ugly, ugly, ugly.  Also while they use real people as models, why can’t Otto help with makeup and pose. That’s what those million dollar babe’s do. Yeah, they get paid $1mil because they need to pay for their entourage which includes makeup artists.  And it’s the photographers that say turn this way, give me that face yada yada. A good photographer gets good photographs because he/she/it stages the shoot and directs the model. I’m quite certain those Otto everyday-models, would look as great as the million dollar babes, if someone was in their corner directing their every move.  But I digress. My point is that Otto has excellent fitting patterns but it’s hard to tell from the photographs.

This is Otto issue 2/2007 Style 1 Tank Top.  In the magazine it looks more like a de facto tank top.  It look more like a sleeveless knit top on me because of tracing and fitting decisions.  Up to my using pattern 2/2014 #5, I had been getting excellent fit from Otto by tracing multiple sizes. I remeasured my self for that pattern and decided to trace a straight 46.  I measured the hip for 2/2007 #1 and decided that this pattern has negative ease. I like negative ease. Especially in rib knits.  The rib stretches over my bust making me appear to actually have both a bust and waist. However negative ease across the hips causes the garment to slowly work its way upward until all the lower coverage is bunched up around my waist. So I chose to trace a size 48. According to the measurements of the pattern, a 48 would give me 1.5″ ease in the hips and 2″ across the bust.

I haven’t grown any taller and still need both my NSA and BWL. I added the BWL above the waist. But couldn’t figure out how to do the NSA.  The shoulder is already 2″ wide. Applying a 1″ NSA was going to just about do away with the shoulder. I didn’t want spaghetti straps or strapless. So, I worried about the effect of the NSA. Then I worried about having measured correctly.  I added 1/4″ SA to the shoulders and armscye. Increase the hem from 1″ to 1.25″ just because 1.25″ is my personal standard hem depth. Then added 1″ SA to the side seams. I cut the fabric;   basted shoulder and side seams at the planned stitching line….

and tried it on for fit.  My fabric is a rayon knit. So very thin and somewhat stretchy. (Like 25% stretch). I wasn’t sure what to expect and was pleasantly surprised at the first fitting. I had applied my BWL between bust and waist. That adjustment needed to be there. It brought the waist and hip shaping in alignment with my body. But I also need to shorten this pattern between shoulder and bust.  This happens frequently but not every time. It’s not a standard adjustment for me but something I do look for. I did notice when tracing multiple sizes that the shoulder to bust distance was shorter but not by this much.  Since the fabric was cut, I  increased the shoulder seam to 1.25″. Then I looked at the underarm. As expected there was a little too much ease across my bust which caused gaping at the side seam under the arm.  I increased the side seam 1/4″ but in a wedge, like a dart where the wide part is at the underarm and the point is 3″ down on the side seam. That’s it 2 adjustments. Both easy and one 1 very small.

I’m using an up and over binding. I’m pleased with the neckline. Ok with the armscyes. I usually stretch the binding around the curves just a titch. I think I stretched 2 titches instead of one. Still not bad. May even stretch out and hang beautifully during wear.

Today’s jersey knits are so thin, they have become difficult to sew.  I used my straight stitch foot and a spyder at the beginning of straight stitch seaming.  The serger handled this fabric beautifully without even changing the size 12 needles. (Which is a good thing because I can hardly find a size smaller in an ELX705 needle).  The CS wanted gather. Instead of adjusting settings, I cut 1.5″ strips of stabilizer and fed it beneath the hem. I used the heat-away stuff — just to try something different.

Well actually I’ve had this roll for a while and seldom use it.  I decided to use it just to get rid of it. I’m not entirely sold on this heat away stuff. In fact, this time I am displeased.  The sticky WSS I used on the last top held the fabric. Absolutely nailed it in place.  This heat-away would grab the fabric but still allow it to move.  Going over steams required careful navigation. That would have been OK except I spent an hour trying to melt away the stabilizer, instead it has melted into the fabric.

It’s possible that this garment is ruined. I’m wearing it today to check fit and see what happens when it goes through the laundry.  I may throw this cr@p in the trash.

But back to fit, which I’m excited to share. Two tiny adjustments and the front is near perfect.

I expect a little pulling at the armscyes or bust because that’s what happens to me if I buy RTW. There is none.

The back is not quite as good.  I think I may have shortened the shoulders too much. It looks to me like the armscye is cutting back under the arm too soon. I know there is sufficient ease. It’s the hemming causing the bunching. Before the hem, the back hung perfectly. Even with this light weight knit, the back just hung straight. I turned the iron up to max heat trying to melt the stabilizer. I think it may have shrunk the fabric. It certainly did make little puckers where the stabilizer melted and clings together. Well this was a good fabric to try this out. In person, I really don’t like the colors.  The light color is a greenish khaki (bad color for me). the green is a dark olive and the bright blue is not the best shade for me. When I wear the right shade of blue, my eyes practically pop out of my head.  All you can notice is my eyes because they become so brilliant.

So where am I going with this pattern?  I have several knit remnants (and a few I bought on purpose) that I want to make into tank tops.  Because of my fitting adjustments, this isn’t really a tank top, IMHO.  I’ll transfer the adjustments to the pattern. I’ll shorten the shoulder to bust length only 1/2″. Then I’ll  make one more just like this one without using the melt-away/heat-away stabilizer. That will tell me how the pattern with alterations really fits and how much the stabilizer really messed up. Then I’ll be adjusting the width of the shoulder and that whole armscye area, trying to develop a true tank top.  Each version will be quick to make. Time elapses between versions because  I like to wear a garment all-day, at least once before decided what adjustments need to be made. Sort of like denim jeans. You fit jeans for how they will feel after 3 hours of wear. Usually that means so tight you have to lay down on the bed to put them on in the morning. As the day goes along, the denim softens, stretches and the true shape/fit emerges.  It’s a phenomena that is most apparent in denim but occurs to a lesser degree with all fabrics.

For now, I’m just happy to have this pattern. I found something that fit with only minor tweaking in the fit stage. That’s what I want in a pattern.


Uncommon Abbreviations

I use some of the same terms over and over but they aren’t common to the general public and may not be readily understood by every sewist.  I’ve been following common courtesy by spelling out the first instance accompanied with abbreviation and then using the abbreviation when needed subsequently i.e. Water Soluble Thread (WST) the first time then just WST.  Frankly, I know I’m lazy. I also tire of writing out these terms over and over. Yet I know that very people have read my every post and few of them are likely to understand all my abbreviations. But I’m still lazy.  I’ve opted for what I hope is an acceptable substitute. I’ve created a page on my base blog  titled “uncommon abbreviations” and I will link my abbreviations to that page. Granted the reader will have to scroll down that list to find my definition which could be a bit inconvenient for them. I apologize for that and the fact I am slightly lazy. But I’ve learned I can’t please everyone. So it’s most important that I’m satisfied with myself.

Uncommon Abbreviations