Thursday, March 6, 2008

Alterations! Part 1A--The Back.

(Oh! I'm getting excited!!! Last night I worked on doing the alterations for my third pattern out of the four in my current project cue. The last one is the Burda coat, which should be fairly easy since coats are kind of forgiving.)

Now, about today's post topic. After reading the thread that LindsayT created over at Patternreview, it seems that some people like to see alterations that other people do. I never thought my alterations would be of a particular interest to anyone, however several people in my pattern reviews have commented about a nice fit I've achieved with my latest garments. So today I'm going to show you how I approach my alterations using Simplicity 3624 (shown below and the one I did last night) as my example. If it helps anyone out there, then today's (long) post will be worth it.

First off, it's always good to take a long, hard look at my upper body sloper shown in my next picture. It was created from the Saran Wrap block concept found at Kathleen Fasanella's Fashion Incubator site, Saran Wrap Block Method 1 and Saran Wrap Block Method 2 .

Here is the pattern (backs only today, tomorrow I'll do the fronts) I created from my Saran Wrap block. I made it up in 1/4" gingham so I know it fits well.

So...where so I start with pattern alterations? Analysis. Plain and simple. What do I see when I look at my "sloper" pattern backs? A relatively normal shoulder slope, long and flat back armhole, curvier right shoulder (the dart is bigger on the right side), broad upper shoulders, narrow lower back, and a short waist. No big surprises there.

Now I analyze the block with the commercial pattern. I start with the back. I'm a firm believer in the FFRP concept to start with the back before progressing with the front, or anywhere else for that matter. So now I'll begin my analysis of the saran wrap block pattern laid over the commercial pattern. I start by matching the CB waist of both patterns. Why? Because that's the way I like to do it :) . Here is my analysis of what I see from this pic.

The pattern is extremely close in measurements to my own body. Pretty much zero ease from the shoulder to the bottom of the armhole. Is this a problem with this pattern? No, because I'm working with a knit. If it was a woven though, there'd definitely be a problem in the upper vack area, especially on that upper back and upper right shoulder which is wider than than the left. (I don't alter for asymetry in a knit, though, since it's forgiving.) The sloper pattern looks wider at the shoulder, but only because there is a dart in that pattern. The neckline of the commercial pattern drops down in the back. A possible concern is gaping, but that's a fixable problem so I'm not worried about it. Tissue fitting will tell me more. The armholes. Don't match perfectly, but it's easy to drop the armhole a little in fabric so that doesn't worry me too much either. I get leary of dropping it at this point because I want to see how the knit "behaves" when it's on me. Again, tissue fitting will help fine tune that area. The width of the back above the waist might be "tent-ish". Yeah, I'm concerned about that because...look at my next pic and I'll tell you why.

Here's my issue with the back. I swear it was made for a boy!!! The area from the waist to hem has very little difference in width. What??? *I* have full high hips. The pattern definitely doesn't account for full high hips in the back about 3" below the waist--it's very narrow in this area. Yet the area above the waist is huge where I'm narrow. There's a heck of a lot of fabric in that area. This DOES concern me. Gee, I have hip curves. Didn't the pattern model have high hip curves? Duh! I forgot. She's a 19-year old skinny thing who has never had a baby and still has that fast teen metabolism. Likely very little hip curves on her.

What's a girl to do? There are issues to be settled to ensure a good back fit. Check back tomorrow and I'll tell you how I solved my problem. This post is getting a little too long at this point. Best to do it in two sections.


Tamara said...

This was awesome!! I cannot wait to see the rest. Thank you so much!

Keely said...

Really interesting to see how you go about analysing the patterns. I look forward to seeing the rest too.

Lindsay T said...

Nice blog ya got here! Love seeing my link here and I've just added yours to my blog. It's all about reciprocity, right?

Zoubida said...

I enjoyed reading your post and how you planned alterations on this pattern. I'm glad to see you too don't like the inexistant "hip accomodation" on thi type of tops. In RTW, I simply couldn't find one with barely enough room for hips at the bottom. I asked myself if these tops are only meant for skinny adolescent girls and real women are not allowed to wear them.
I can't wait to see it finished.