Friday, April 15, 2011

TV 423 Two-Toned Bodice (Airship hostess) Part 8

I tried on muslin 2.0 to check the fit. There is a lot more ease, but I wanted to test the fit with and without boning. I think I'm going to need most of this ease to accommodate the three layers + boning.

Front fit looks OK:

But there seems to be waaaaay too much room in the back peplum:

I did my best to pin out the excess between the side and side back pieces:

and rechecked the fit. things are looking better!

Then I pinned in the boning and called it a night:

Yesterday, I was in the DC area and I was lucky enough to be able to meet up with the other two air hostesses, Eugenia and Tracy (who, by the way, had a much better time with their initial fittings than I did). Eugenia helped me redistribute the back peplum more evenly and then we turned our attention to figuring out the sleeve.

Sleeve notes
The sleeve is designed to have a front side (the larger piece called the "outer sleeve") and a back side (the smaller piece called inner sleeve) rather than a more traditional top side and bottom side. The front or outer side is the sleeve piece that is most visible when you look at the garment from the front. The inner sleeve still sits mostly on the under side of the arm, but about 1/2 of the piece is visible from the back view of the garment.

To add to the confusion, the pattern pieces appear to have been printed in a non-standard way. I am used the to idea that, unless otherwise indicated, the pattern piece is printed from the righthand side view. You lay the pattern down over the front side of your fabric and if you only cut one layer, you have cut out the righthand side of that pattern piece.

There were not layout instructions with this pattern, so there was no indication I should expect anything different from this pattern. On closer inspection; however, it became obvious that one of the two sleeve pieces must have been printed from the lefthand side perspective. After about 15 minutes of thinking about it, we decided that the outer sleeve was printed from the lefthand perspective:

and that the inner sleeve was printed from the standard, righthand perspective:

This may have contributed to the rotation issues I had the first time I made the sleeve. I cut the muslin and Tracy was kind enough to help me pin fit it:

This is a much more natural fit then my first attempt. Hooray!

I noticed that the last fitting issue seemed to be som extra room in the side front piece. It turned out that both Tracy and Eugenia had had to make minor adjustments in the same area. Tracy pinned out the excess and I think I will be able to just fold this little extra out of the pattern and not have to rotate it into the seam, but we'll see when I take this apart.

I am feeling so much better about this project now. I think I'm ready to make changes to the pattern and start cutting out for the final version either today or Sunday.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

TV 423 Two-Toned Bodice (Airship hostess) Part 7 "A New Hope"

Now that I completed the skirt, it was time to face the music again. I knew that the armscye needed lots of adjustments, but I put the bodice back on the dress form to see if there was anything I wanted to change since I was not committed to a complete redo from the pattern up.

The view from the back looks pretty good:

But you can see from the side view, that I need to drop the waist and take in the back peplum area:

I pinned out some of the excess in the back and tightened up the waist (effectively moving the narrowest part of the back waist farther down).

It's a little hard to see in the photo because I had to pin out, but the fit was much improved.

Since I was going to redo the whole thing anyway, I decided to redraft the front to bring the contrast section a little more narrow and closer in line with the concept drawing. This means a narrower center front and a wider side front:

Those adjustments made, it was time to transfer the changes back to the pattern. Again. This time I want to focus on the armscye fit, so I decided to trace off my sloper so that I could cut it up into a more princess seam shape and see where that put the arm hole.

tracing the sloper:

paper copy that I can cut up

Deciding how much to drop the waist:

D'oh! I forget to add a seam allowance at the neck edge (the sloper has no seam allowances). Maybe that is part of the reason the collar wasn't sitting right:

Widening the side front:

Narrowing the center bust & adding 1/2" to front opening (I want a little more wiggle room for the buttons).

And here's where all my troubles began
Seriously, you mean I have to read all the directions?

That's right friends, up until now I had been using 5/8" seam allowances on all muslins and the final version except where the instructions made a note about 1/2" seams. I bet if I could go back in time and start again with true 1/2" seams, most of my fitting problems might have resolved themselves. I have a brief moment where I thought that I might be able to just resew the current bodice, but then I remembered the clipped seams and the unfixable armscye.

Oh well.

I resolved to sew this muslin with 1/2" seam allowances and I expected things to be a little loose in the front, as I had transferred all the 1/8" seam increases I made as I was desperately trying to save the latest version. I saw how fast extra ease gotten eaten up with the lining and I'm going to add poly boning on this version, which will also add some bulk. I can take things in if it's still too loose in parts later.

muslin 2.0
Here is the latest muslin in ticking:
The back looks good and I like the extra length. It will make me look taller.

The side view reveals the extra room at the front. Some of these seams are now adding in 1/2" instead of 1/4" because I added the extra 1/8" to the cutting line before I realized that I would sew 1/2" seams instead of 5/8" seams. I'm sure some of this will come back out later.

I now have a 1 1/2" overlap in the front. 1/2" will be seam allowance, leaving me with 1" instead of 1/2" for the buttons. I like having the extra room for now.

Tonight I will try tacking in some boning and trying it on my body. If nothing looks outrageous, I look at sleeves again.

Question: do we want to keep a burgundy collar or do we want to go with a bronze collar so that it is more visible?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

TV 291 Walking Skirt for Airship Hostess

As promised, here is my quick review of the skirt for the air hostess costume. We are using Truly Victorian's Walking Skirt pattern (TV 291). It went together very easily. I made the MED size for the 26" - 28" waist range. I widened the placket piece and made the waistband 2" longer, as per the suggestion in the instructions. I like to have extra flexibility in costume pieces.

There was nothing tricky about this. I used a 2" seam allowance at the bottom hem to shorten the length just a little for more comfortable walking and so I could show off whatever saucy shoes I end up buying to go with this.

The only strange outcome seems to be that the waist circumference is much smaller than I expected. You can see here that the back doesn't quite match, but the waist is the right measurement. Huh. I'm glad I put in the extra wide placket and longer waistband.

Here are more shots and the finished skirt:

I to give you some idea what the final piece will look like:

I think we should add some of the burgundy to the skirt somewhere. I think we might all have enough to make some kind or trim. I think I got the bulk of the extra fabric, so we can spread it around.

Monday, April 11, 2011

TV 423 Two-Toned Bodice (Airship hostess) Part 6

Oh such sadness!

Yesterday I went back to the bodice to attempt the fit the sleeves and finished that part off. I think I solved to rotation issue nicely, but I soon began to see that I had cut the armscye back to where the seam should be at the top of the shoulder.

I should have spotted this earlier, I now realize. Back in part 3, I had a pattern mismatch scare. I need now that I should have recut the side back them and there.
But no! Then, I cut what remained of the lower front armsyce seam allowance out, thinking that this would improve the fit.

Unknowingly, that left no seam allowance. I did get the sleeve pinned on successfully, which gave me hope, but when I took it off and looked inside, I had pinned the sleeve to the last 1/16" of the armscye. I tried moving it up, but the shoulder width was getting uncomfortably narrow.

It was time to face facts: I will probably have to rip this apart and recut all of the bronze regions: the side back, side, and side front. At this point, I might even decide to remake the whole thing.


Before I could even consider this option, I needed to know if I would even have enough of the bronze fabric to do this. Also, I really needed a taste of success again.

I laid out the pieces for the skirt pattern (TV 291: Walking Skirt) and it turns out I should have plenty of fabric left over for a complete remake. I spent the rest of yesterday making the skirt because I just couldn't face the bodice. I got all but the last of the hand sewing done. I should have pictures and a review of the pattern up by tomorrow.

Here is a list of proposed changes and approaches to TV423 bodice 2.0:
1. No linings, only facings. Adding the lining seems to bee the source of many fitting problems in the lower rib cage area, so I can see no real need for it in a costume piece. I'm also going to be wearing this for the first time in late May in New Jersey, so I should be plenty warm without it. Facing things should allow this tightly fit garment to flex a little more as needed.

2. Consider moving the back waist down about 1". It appears to have crept up when I adjusted the shoulder angle.

3. redraft the armscye using my sloper as a guide and then, and this is key, remember to leave seam allowances.

4. test the fitting changes with a muslin made out of the ticking fabric I bought for my last project. Once everything is fit, I might be able to use this as the interlining. (Fitting note: watch the ease!)

5. use the sleeve pattern as only a rough guide. Test fit and redraft the pattern from the muslin. After I finished adjusting the sleeves yesterday, the rotation was very far from the concept drawing.
Notice how my back sleeve seam meets the side back seam, whereas in the design drawing, the sleeve seam is much higher up.

6. Consider boning with poly boning. Once this has wearing ease, the waist might need some light boning to maintain smooth curves at the waist.

7. Check the fit of the back hip. Right now I've got a cute peplum look, but the design drawing has the back lying smooth. I may have to take in the back hip to get a smooth fit. I won't be wearing a bustle with this.

I'm going to try to keep my cool with this. I have two other air hostesses who are expected to do this pattern with me. However, if I can't get this successfully fit, I might request a different bodice pattern for the costume. I'm almost at my limit with this one.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

TV 423 Two-Toned Bodice (Airship hostess) Part 5

Update from last night...

I let out the side seams 1/8" (for a total expansion of 1/2"). That was good, but not enough.

I was going to let out the center front, but, of course, I had already clipped it. Instead, I let out the darts 1/8" (for an additional 1/2"). Things were definitely looking better, but I wanted to be extra sure that I had enough room for the buttons, so I let out the centerfront/front side seam 1/8".

This brought me up to a total of 1 1/2" extra ease in the lower rib cage area and I think I have enough room for buttons now.

I also marked where I think I would like to expand the armsyce, but I have actually cut it out yet. I'm going to try basting the sleeve in and see if it feels better. This also might help me solve the rotation issue I was having.

I didn't take any pictures because the visible qualities of the bodice haven't changed at all. One fitting note though:

now that the bodice is no longer "skin tight" the curved seams are more flexible and I'm reconsidering adding boning. Also, I noticed that the back waist is starting to creep up above my natural waist. (This makes sense, since I lopped off about 1.25" at the neck when I did the shoulder adjustment) I am little stuck about what to do about this. It's tempting to just take the back pieces in at the waist, but this might destroy the ease I just added.

Proposed next steps:
Step 1: fix sleeve fit at the armscye

Step 2: fix sleeve length

Step 3: install final version of sleeves

Step 4: add buttons, so I know that I will be able to close the bodice

Step 5: make the skirt. I dont want to make any more bodice adjustments that will effect the waist circumference (adding boning, or taking in the back waist) until I know how the skirt will change the way the bodice sits.

Once I have the skirt done, I think I will be in a better place to decide about further changes to the bodice.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

TV 423 Two-Toned Bodice (Airship hostess) Part 4

Let's get this out of the way right now: YYYYARGGGGH!

::deep breath::

It had been quiet... too quiet. This project has been full of fitting challenges, but somewhere between inserting the lining and adding the sleeves things have gone all FUBAR.

Design ease, where did it go?
This piece has no design ease. The bodice is intended to fit very closely over the corset. Fine. The joy of wearing a corset is that you can adjust yourself to the clothes a little when necessary. I had pinned on the bodice right before I inserted the lining. I had an even 1" overlap in the front all the way down. The pattern calls for just a 1/2" overlap for the buttons, so I assumed I was all good. I inserted the lining with a 1/2" seam allowance as directed and didn't bother to refit, because who wants to put on a corset at midnight if you're not going out?

Yesterday before starting the sleeves, I clipped my seams at the waist, finally satisfied that I was all fit. I should have known better.

I got one sleeve on and got laced up and ... the horror! I was laced to my regular measurements but I could no longer get the thing pinned closed. Ack!

After about 10 minutes of fiddling, I finally got it all pinned together.

Sure, it looks ok, but between my waist and underbust (the lower rib cage area) there are some places that are only pinned together by about 1/8".

I'm never going to get buttons on here!

What I find strange is where I am having trouble with the fit. I'm used to having trouble at the waist -- it changes size fairly regularly, or at the bust -- who's proportional anyway? But to have it fit those two spots just fine, but have trouble in between them feels strange.
Here I have pin marked the area that is too tight. I have some ideas about how to fix this that don't involve throwing it in the trash, but first...

Sleeves... WTF?!!?!
I measured my armpit to wrist measurement at the beginning of the project and came up with 17", which is the same measurement that the pattern says the sleeves are for... WINNING! Yesterday, I did a quick re-measurement and came up with 16"... CRAP!

I had already cut out the sleeves, so I decided to split the difference and and just take 1/2" off the wrist edge of the large cuffs. I constructed the sleeve, added the cuff, inserted the lining, and trimmed the seam before I tested the fit. Again, I should have know better.

Take a closer look at this sleeve:
This is supposed to be a full length sleeve. I've got, like, a 7/8" sleeve. This fashion statement is know as "gangly-teenager chic"... or not.

Apparently I do have a 17" undersleeve length. I can't just let out the cuff, because I clipped in already. I can recut the cuff and put it in, but before I do that, let's discuss the armsyce disaster area.

The sleeve cap is rotated waaaaay too far forward. I set and reset the sleeve, trying to adjust the gathers to fix this problem, but there seems to be a bigger problem than that. You can see the rotation issues better in this front shot:

Also, the bottom of the armhole is up too high. I didn't get as much room from the seam as I had hoped. All the extra room seems to be taken up with the 6 layers of seam allowance, go figure.

Since all of these problems may be interlocking, I'm struggling to decide on the best order to try my solutions. If there is one fix that can solve two problems, I'd like to know. For now, here is my proposed plan:

Step 1: expand wearing ease in the rib cage
Step 1.a: Let out 1/8" from the side seam that runs under the arm. I'll let this seam out from the armpit to the waist. I don't seem to need extra room in the hips. This should give me a total of 1/2" more ease in this area. That's 1/8" on the right side, 1/8" on the right side back, 1/8" on the left side, and 1/8" on the left side back.

Step 1.b: Check fit, if I still need more room, go to Step 1.c

Step 1.c: Let out 1/8" to 1/4" from the center fronts to add 1/4" to 1/2" more ease

Step 1.d: Check fit, if I still need more room, go to Step 1.e

Step 1.e: Let out 1/8" to 1/4" from the center back to add 1/4" to 1/2" more ease, if this fails, we might be looking at a total pattern redo. The rest of the curved seams have been clipped (of course!) and so they may no have room to let out.

Step 2: Adjust armscye height
Surely making the armscye wider will affect the fit, so I don't want to drop it down before I widen that seam. I think I need to drop the bottom down about 1/2". I still want a snug, high fit, I just don't want it poking at me all day. I also may need to open up the front area a little more.

Step 3: Adjust sleeve rotation
I think that the main source of the sleeve issue is that is a notch on the front underside of the armscye that serves as the match point for the front undersleeve seam. As I redrafted the pattern, I may not have updated the location of the notch correctly. On the other hand, this problem may have solved itself after the other two adjustments that effect this area. We'll have to wait and see.

Step 4: Adjust sleeve length
Normally, I would just cut out two more sleeves and be done with it. I have plenty of bronze fabric, but I also need that fabric to make the matching skirt. Bother! Also, the other armscye adjustment might also effect the sleeve length. I have several options.

option 1: In the best of all possible worlds, I just need to add the 1/2" back to the cuff and leave the sleeves as they are. If that's not going to be enough length, I have to consider...

option 2: Laying out the skirt pattern to find out how much I really need. Do I even have enough to consider recutting the sleeve. I do have enough extra, I think I'd like to recut the sleeve. Depending on how much extra length I need after I've added the 1/2" back to the cuffs, I might only need to recut one sleeve and just use a narrower seam allowance on the other sleeve and I have sewn yet.

option 3: If I don't have enough extra fabric, I'm going to have to go with longer cuffs. This is my least favorite option because then I won't match my other two air hostesses as closely, but I'm pretty sure that I'm the only one who will notice or care.

To my fellow hostesses. It is my sincere hope that my experiments will mean that your process will go much faster.

Today's Lessons
  1. Don't clip or trim any seam until you absolutely have to, you never know when you might need it.
  2. Leave at least an extra 1/2" of ease is to accommodate a full lining. It gets eaten up by the seams -- not really the seam allowances, just the extra space needed to handle the extra thickness of the seams when the lining is turned to the inside.

Monday, April 4, 2011

TV 423 Two-Toned Bodice (Airship hostess) Part 3

... and we're back!
This weekend was a serious marathon sewing session. I can tell that it is going to take awhile to record it all. To pick up where I left off, I marked to tucks and adjustments on the muslin and then took it apart and traced those changes back onto my pattern. Here the muslin piece:

and here's the pattern piece over the muslin:

Moving the bust dart
The biggest challenge I've hit so far with the pattern was moving the bust dart that I had to fold in to make the last muslin lay smooth. I've seen people do this and it always looks like magic. I was nervous, so I went to the internet and found a few great sources. After reading and watching these sites, I felt ready to attempt is on my own:

1. start by copying the bust dart onto the pattern.

2. retrace the pattern piece incase something goes horribly wrong

3. cut out the bust dart

4. cut a line from one of the dart edges to the bust point, leaving a teensy, tiny hinge in the paper

5. close the bust dart by sliding the top part of the pattern down

This moved the shaping dart up into the shoulder princess seam. If this were a regular full bodice front, I would have had to open up a dart somewhere else to maintain the shaping.

The last thing I did isn't really a part of moving the dart, but I also needed to expand the center front to create enough room for the button overlap. First I just added it to the center front, but then I started to worry about the grainline. I decided to add the extra fabric into the seam instead.

Muslin 1.3
I cut out the side front and center front pieces again and reattached them to the muslin. Then I started to cackle like a mad scientist in a bad sci-fi movie. It's alive! Muaaahahahhha...

My plan worked! I was so excited I could hardly believe it.

Fitting the shoulders
As I have discussed before, my shoulder slope and width differ significantly from my dress form and I can see no good fix for that. At some point, I have to fit things on my own body. I tried the muslin on without the corset to check for major issues and the arm hole was set too far back for me. You can see the creases at the front of my shoulder. The shoulders are also too long. The shoulder should only extend about 5/8" past my shoulder point and in the photo you can see that I've got cute little cap sleeves.

I put the corset on and enlisted my DH to help redraw the armscye, pin fit the shoulder, and redraw the back neck. He's getting very good at this now. I'm very lucky to have his help!

I took the muslin apart and transferred the changes back to the pattern. Here are some action shots.

midway through crosshatching the shoulder seam

reminding myself that I had marked the new seam lines, but that I would still need to add a seam allowance

the shoulder seams after I removed the pins

armscye shifted forward:

tracing the adjustments back onto the pattern

When your patterns start to look like this, you know you just have to bite the bullet and retrace them:

Final construction begins!
I was finally ready to cut this out of my fashion fabric, interlining, and lining. I got really sick of cutting and sewing this pattern by the end of the night. For some pattern pieces, I have cut and sewn them 9 times.

I used a medium weight twill I had in my stash for the interlining. I was very happy with the way it behaved.

I had a moment of panic during construction. I thought I had miss cut the side back because it did not match the front shoulder:

It turned out, after I tried it on, that I had cut the side front too large in the shoulder. I was very glad to hear that because it was much faster to fix. I just cut off the extra bit on the front:

bodice construction notes
Here it is! I've decided not to bone the seams. It's going over a corset and the interlining appears to offer plenty of support. I might do boning if I didn't want to wear a corset or if I had interlined with a lightweight muslin. Fellow airship hostesses should take this into consideration.

I'll say it before anyone else does. Deanna Troy. I like the contrast fabric in the front. It says "Coffee? Tea? Me?" but I'll be covered from neck to wrists to ankle.

I cut out and installed the collar and lining late last night. I loathe collars. They never come out well. *sigh*. I was too tired last night to take more photos. Tomorrow I shall attempt the sleeves and cuffs. If all goes well, it should be done except for buttons. I will have to decide about those with the other airship hostesses so we have a uniform look.

Then on to accessories! (oh, and the skirt)