This year I’m sewing along with Gertie from Gertie’s New Blog for Better Sewing. A bunch of other talented seamsters and I have joined up through the Craftsy online community to make her Starlet Suit. Here’s a reflection on my efforts to sew well.
The muslin came together pretty quickly this week. The pattern only comes with written instructions for the skirt, not for the jacket, but it was simple enough to stitch neighboring pieces together. This time I used green thread and long machine stitches to contrast with the purple thread I used for my tread tracing.
In these weekly posts, I tend to only post a quick image of my progress and a brief description of my experiences. Since fitting is not covered in the class, I’ve added more photos of the muslin below in the hopes of getting some input from all of you as to where I might need to direct my attention.
First, the easy fit: the skirt.
I think the skirt fits well, but it does need an extra half an inch at the waist. I expected I might need to add width here since the pattern size I cut had a waist measurement an inch smaller than mine. My plan is to add roughly 1/16″ to the top of both side seams on each of the six skirt pattern pieces, tapering down to nothing a couple inches below the waistband seam. Also, though the instructions for the waistband suggest that it should have an inch underlap, I don’t think it was drafted with this underlap included since it fit the skirt pieces exactly as is. Therefore, I plan to add an inch and 3/4 to the waistband to account for both the extra needed for me and for the underlap.
Now to the jacket. I had a little bit of trouble getting the side front to match with the front since the side front was much longer than I expected. I double checked to make sure I cut the correct side front piece since I’d noted earlier that this particular pattern piece was mislabeled. I had. I matched the notches along the princess seam and the stitching lines at both the armhole and the hem. I gently eased everything in from there. Later in the week when I was watching one of the class videos, I noticed that Gertie only matched the notches along the princess seam and eased between them. She did not ease anywhere else, and since she hadn’t marked her stitching lines to begin with, she definitely did not worry about matching any stitching lines or even edges at either the armhole or the hem. Since I think my muslin looks like there is a lot of extra fabric in the front side pieces, I plan to try stitching the pattern pieces together just as she did in my next muslin.
As is true for almost every pattern I make, the waist is too high for me. I plan to lower it an inch. I’m also planning to add a half an inch to it since the skirt suggested extra width was needed here. Also, the neck feels a bit high in the back. It’s hard to see since my self-photography didn’t catch it. Is it high on purpose? Would lowering the back neck seam alter the roll of the collar?
I’m not sure if the pulling and gathering along the princess seams in these side shots would be reduced by sewing those seams without the extra easing, as I discussed above. What about the area where the front meets the sleeves? And the sleeves themselves? My experience is definitely lacking in how to know whether sleeves properly fit. I think these seem to hang just fine, but I wasn’t quite happy with how they set in around the back double notches, which are just behind the underarm. You can see the issue better in the image below.
There are puckers on both sides right where the double notches are located. When I set in the sleeve, I matched the notches on the front and back, the bottom sleeve seam with the jacket side seam, and the notch on the top of the sleeve with the seam on the top of the jacket. I eased the sleeve in as necessary. I haven’t had a chance to watch any of the class videos on setting in these sleeves, so perhaps Gertie uses some trick here that I don’t yet know.
The jacket does seem to have a wee bit of extra fullness in the back princess seams, but perhaps that’s due either to the same extra easing issue that I had in the front or to the fact that the waist is snug, which makes the ease in the back appear fuller than it actually is.
My homework for this week is to watch the rest of the class videos so that I know that I’ve sewn the muslin together the right way. I’m then going to reconstruct the muslin, sewing each seam just as Gertie does and adding the extra length and width to the waist.
If you have any suggestions for me as to how to best fit this muslin, please let me know. Thanks!