Thanks so much for your feedback on yesterday’s post! This recently sewn Closet Case Cielo top has also highlighted another alteration that I need to make regularly.
This is view B of the pattern, sewn in size 12, with the C cup option. I cut it slightly longer than the pattern length (I’m short through the torso, so didn’t anticipate that it would be as cropped on me as on the model, but I don’t do cropped so still wanted it a little longer). This is the same size that I sewed a dress version in last November.
I adore this fabric – it’s handwoven cotton that I bought in Chiang Mai a few years ago. Beautiful colour variations within it, and lovely to sew and to wear. I decided to do a single layer in the lower sleeve rather than the self-lining, and to bind both the sleeve hem and neckline with bias binding cut from the same fabric.
I was also able to play with the stripe direction a little on the back yoke pieces. Fun!
From the Closet Case Patterns website: Part of our Rome Collection, the Cielo Dress & Top is an easy, breezy take on a boxy tee and shift dress. Loaded with interesting details and interchangeable features, it will fast become a wardrobe building favourite. Choose between a semi-cropped top with a cuffed short sleeve (View A) or dramatic gathered long sleeve (View B). Or, make an easy fitting dress with sleek inseam pockets (View C), or without pockets (View D). All views have a slightly dropped shoulder, angled shoulder yoke and roomy fit, with a choice between an elegant bias binding or faced neckline finish.
And those sleeves are certainly dramatic! I do like a dramatic sleeve, but I tend to avoid them due to wearability issues. I don’t want sleeve hems getting in the way, and dramatic sleeves are often difficult to wear under other items. This one works for me because it comes down to a narrower opening, the sleeves are not overlong, and it fits nicely under the dramatic sleeves of my Pattern Fantastique Falda jacket. Plus, it’s fun to have something a little different in the wardrobe.
Now, looking at the front and back photos of this top, it looks to fit fairly well, albeit generously. It’s the side on photo that tells me a different story.
- That front hemline is SO high! And juts out so much! I need way more fabric there to make it level the whole way around.
- The dart looks okay, and this is already the C cup version of the pattern. It doesn’t need a FBA to add length to the centre front.
- The back neckline is VERY low as compared to the front neckline. That’s not the case when the top is flat, or on a hanger. The top is being pulled backwards.
- It DEFINITELY needs a decent high rounded back alteration.
- It could probably do with a forward head or a forward shoulder alteration as well.
- I could consider sewing size 10 instead of 12 next time.
- You can also see the excess folds of fabric in the back bum and thigh of my size 12 Style Arc Parker pants (now too big for me). Ugh.
I’ve found a couple of tutorials that make sense to me for these high round back alterations:
- This one from The Curvy Sewing Collective
- This one from the Oliver + S blog
- A Dowager’s hump adjustment from Threads magazine
- Three ways to do round back adjustments on knits from Petite Font
I also find the free videos that Alexandra from In House Patterns shares on her blog and YouTube channel to be quite useful – she has them on many fitting topics. I’m also planning to catch up on some of the many Craftsy/Bluprint classes that I ‘own’ these school holidays (before Craftsy/Bluprint vanishes completely), namely:
- Sew The Perfect Fit with Lynda Maynard
- Pants Fitting Techniques with Sandra Betzina
- Fitting Solo: From Measurements to Muslin with Linda Lee
I have a number of other construction classes to refresh myself on too. I’m generally happy with the quality of my sewing (while noting that I should sometimes think a little more carefully about incorporating a few more tailoring techniques), but it is fit that is ever changing and ever challenging.
As it happens, I do already own the following fitting books (many with post-it notes in relevant sections):
- The Perfect Fit, from the Singer Sewing Reference Library
- Pattern Fitting with Confidence, by Nancy Zieman
- The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting by Sarah Veblen
- The Perfect Fit: A Practical Guide to Adjusting Patterns for a Professional Finish
- Fitting For Every Figure, from the editors at Threads
- Fit for Real People, by Pati Palmer and Marta Alto.
These are mostly Book Depository links, but if you’re interested in any do your own googling and purchase from your preferred book supplier. It seems to me that there are a great many fitting books available; I suppose that you need to find which ones explain alterations in ways that make the most sense to you and that include the alterations that you commonly need.
EDITED TO ADD THIS COMMENT FROM THERESA: Please note that “The Perfect Fit” Singer book and the other “Perfect Fit” are the same book. The Singer Sewing Reference Library came out in the very late 80’s early 90s as a subscription library. Singer did not own the copyright; copyright remained with the publisher who was free to reprint (without the Singer label) the same material after their contract with Singer expired. Sometimes the pictures are updated but the written content and examples remain the same. The other book from the sewing reference library that pops up a lot is the “Tailoring” book so be warned. If you think you’ve seen it before or something very much like it, you may have.
As you can see, I have no lack of access to resources and information about pattern alterations! I just need to ensure that I consistently put them into practice. I’m going to put together a reference folder of ‘my’ alterations to keep right at hand beside my sewing table, hoping that will prompt me to automatically make these alterations to my pattern pieces before cutting out. And the next thing that I will do before I cut anything else out for myself is to measure myself again! Sounds obvious, really.
Something that I will note is that I would definitely NOT get a better fit in ready-to-wear clothing. Even if this fit isn’t perfect, it’s still in fabric that I love, combined with a style that I like, produced via a hobby that I greatly enjoy. It’s definitely still worth sewing, while I continue on the journey toward improved fit.