First off, today I am wearing a blouse I made from an old New Look pattern. I added some gentle ruffles to mimic a top I saw in an Eddie Bauer catalog. I love this fabric, and I love the way the top looks in the photograph and in the mirror. I’m not so happy about how it feels to wear the shirt.

I made this top after making a blousy, peasant top in a size (14) that should have fit me but did not. I realized all the knowledge I gained as a sewing youth was no good to me now! In the years when I sewed only quilts and purses (not garments), my body changed, and no longer could I simply make a garment straight from the envelope and have it fit.

Off to the world of pattern fitting I flew. Mentally, of course. Being quite impatient, I did not want to make a muslin for a simple blouse. So I tried Nancy Zieman’s method of fitting the shoulders and then the bust. Simply, you measure your body front from armpit to armpit in order get the base size, according to her chart. For me, that would still be an 8 or a 10.

Then she gives you a method for altering the bust if your measurements do not match the envelope’s. For me, that meant adding 6 inches. Ugh. Her “easy” method only works for changes up to 4 inches, so I had to flip to a different page and do a second alteration to add width to the sleeve and armscye. Blah.

Remembering that the Big 4 pattern companies usually have way to much ease anyway, I checked the pattern piece to determine that the bust measurement was already pretty close to mine on the size 10, so I just used that and did the easy alteration. I have to say, the process is much simpler than the typical Full Bust Adjustment which requires you to slash your pattern front like Freddie Krueger.

I am pretty happy with the bust fit. But the top is still too wide from shoulder to shoulder, which means I should probably have just done the easy alteration from a base size 8. Ok, noted for next time.

Fabric bunching up and sliding off my shoulder

However, I am also unhappy with the placement of the armscye. Perhaps with the right width across the shoulders, the armscye would stay put at my, ya know, armpit, where it belongs. But I keep noticing the armscye is an inch over my bicep/shoulder area.

It makes reaching a painful operation. The little cuff cuts into my flesh, and I feel like I am going to rip the underarm sleeve out. It is so unpleasant, I don’t really enjoy wearing the blouse, despite loving the fabric and style.

Front of my arm while merely lifting it halfway up

I am not blaming the Zieman method, and in fact would try it again on a different blouse. I just think the whole blouse is too wide, displacing the sleeves. I will report back if I decide to try the method again, but in the meantime I bought a Palmer/Pletsch shirt pattern (“Amazing Fit”) that has the FBA slash lines already drawn on the pattern.

I'm not reaching to the moon, and look at those pulls! Look at my poor bicep being sliced!

Ok, that’s a lot of talk about a shirt. More importantly in my life, I got some medical news about my son today. I’m not ready to share all the details with blogland, but it is Serious News which will require big life adjustments. He is almost 17, transitioning to adulthood, and we found out today after more than 9 months of waiting, that he has mutations on 3 genes amounting to a mitochondrial disorder that causes him significant symptoms that make him seem like forever 6 years old.

It is clear now that he will need a guardian into adulthood, and there are questions about housing, transportation, and employment. Such a serious topic for a silly blog about knitting and sewing and such, but this is on my mind now. If only I could do a Full Gene Adjustment with my pattern and ruler, or patch him up with a little scotch tape.

I am grateful that he is a happy boy, and that I have my creative outlets to keep me sane and full of Mommy Goodness.

Have you signed up for my Pay it Forward giveaway from a few days ago? Of course not, I don’t see a single comment there. Go now! I will make you something loverly.


2 responses »

  1. I just came across your blog courtesy of Did you make that? I’m reading back through your entries

    As much as blogs are about whatever we want – sewing, knitting, quilting, etc – it’s also about whatever you want it to be, and maybe that’s about health sometimes. I completely understand balancing privacy but your “silly blog” is what you want it to be. I for one, find those moments that bloggers share what they are comfortable with interesting. You never know where support is going to come from.

    I don’t know what the right words are, but it must have been hard to hear that news, I am sorry for that. Good luck with the challenges ahead.

    • Thanks for your kind words. Isn’t it interesting when we downplay what we do? My “silly” blog is helping me learn new things, meet new people, spark my creativity, and renew my interest in hobbies I once loved. Nothing silly about that, is there? I appreciate your comments!

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