To be honest this post is mainly for my benefit and future reference – I find it’s easier to work this sort of problem out if I write it down. Comments/suggestions very much welcome though!
So on a mad whim I decided to join the Vogue 1419 Sewalong, co-hosted by Lauren of Lladybird and Megan at the McCall Pattern Co. Blog. I usually don’t do this sort of thing. But I’ve been sewing costumes all summer, for which the sewing process tends to be of the quick and dirty variety, and I fancy stretching myself.
V1419 is rated Advanced, which I’m not. But having looked through it I know all the relevant techniques are within my reach if I put my mind to it, and I do want to master more careful skills (partly inspired by Caroline at Allspice Abounds). This isn’t to say I’ll use them all the time: I’m lazy. But I’d like to have the option of nicer work for important things.
So I started as I meant to go on: making a full toile. This is its story.
Long post ahead! Short on garment photos (I haven’t had a chance to take decent ones -I finished the toile last night and am posting from work) and high on diagrams of dubious artistic value.
This time round I started with the pattern itself. I am usually very sloppy about transferring markings. Not on something this complex. I marked every single little circle and big circle and notch and crosshair with contrasting thread, and it took absolutely forever. I am so glad I did. They line up beautifully, and the instructions are remarkably clear given how unusual the construction is. I personally didn’t find the construction too hard once I’d figured out how the pieces went together; mind you, I was just interested in fit at this stage and so didn’t bind the inner seams or put in buttonholes. So.
both my general experience of Vogue as running small-ish (EDIT: Thinking back, this is wrong and probably based on my mum’s opinion. I haven’t used many Vogue patterns and I generally take the same size/s in them as other brands) and a specific warning from Megan on Twitter about this pattern running small, I compared my measurements to the pattern sizing and cut a size 22 – the largest size and the one matching my widest measurement (hips). The fit across the shoulders and hips is fine, which is great, although it suggests that this pattern does come up very narrow in the shoulder: my go-to Vogue shirt pattern is only a 16 in that area, and so I was expecting this toile to be too big up top.
The main visible issues are a) severe wrinkles around the bicep, plus total inability to raise the arm; and b) loose fabric at waist-height on both front and back.
Here’s an attempt at a sketch of the shape of my body (red) inside the garment. Apologies for the dodgy scans …
Having worn it around a bit and examined the wrinkles, I think these are the actual underlying issues.
1. Lower edge of armscye too low
This completely stumped me at first, but after sleeping on it I think it’s a fairly common problem – basically, the armhole is too large vertically, which restricts my arm movement. However, the unusual construction camouflages the problem; I think it’d be more obvious with a more familiar-looking sleeve.
Solution: Either cut the underarm edge of the front and back higher (below, E) and reshape the gusset and side to fit (below, F). Or cut the entire top of the pattern and overlap it to shorten the upper bodice, then add the lost length back in towards the waist (below, A & B). This latter approach is apparently the one Marcy Tilton recommends – I found a Pattern Review thread with someone asking the same question about V8920.
2. Bicep of sleeve fractionally too narrow
I have fairly chunky upper arms.
Solution: slashing and spreading the upper and lower sleeve pieces to make them a little bit wider (above, D). Probably not too hard.
3. Too loose at waist
I was expecting this, to be honest – I made a straight size because I didn’t want to mess with grading before I’d had a chance to test the construction, but I never take a straight size in practice. My waist is a minimum of one size smaller than my hips, often two, in every pattern company’s sizing except Sewaholic … who make a point of sizing for the big-hipped.
Solution: Go down a size between hipline and bustline only (above, C)
4. Loose fabric at lower CB
This could be any number of things – could just be the same problem as #3, or it could be a swayback-like thing caused by fabric pooling above my backside. Definitely the least bothersome issue; a bit of extra room in the back isn’t the end of the world. The final version has a belt, which will help.
Solution: See if #3 fixes it. If not and it really bugs me, put in a CB seam and curve it to follow my lower back.
To be continued …