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...
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.
- Don't clip or trim any seam until you absolutely have to, you never know when you might need it.
- 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.