Sunday, June 12, 2016

Rompin' Around

I'm going to apologize in advance for the picture overload.  This might be the cutest thing I've ever made.  Except, of course, for the cute thing I made that's wearing it!  There was a little bit of bribery involved in taking these photos, but for the most part she cooperated.  She's got personality, this girl, that's for sure.

Pattern Description: McCalls 7376.  Girls' blouson romper and jumpsuit pattern.  There are strap and length variations and some cutesy little trim details.  I made view C with the single ruffle and elasticized, below-the-knee legs.  Is this not the sweetest little pattern?  I was buying other McCalls patterns at the latest pattern sale and saw this one from their early summer release.  It moved to the top of the queue and I made it right away.  It's just so adorable.

Pattern Sizing: Children's sizes 2-8.  I made a size 4.  Jane is three years old but she wears a 4T in rtw.  She's tall for her age, too.

Fabric Used: Rayon poplin. When I made my recent maxi dress, I also bought a yard and half of this same Cotton and Steel rayon poplin in this color way.  When I ordered it, I though the navy would be the same and I could use this one with the teal diamonds for contrast.  The navy is not the same, however.  This particular blue is much more of a denim blue.  I also figured I would have some of the original rayon left over and I could always make another garment with the two.  Well, I used every scrap to make that maxi dress and then stuck this small piece in stash.  It was perfect for this romper.  So Jane's romper is made of some pretty swanky fabric.

I do wish the camera had focused on her instead of the background.  I was lazy and took all these on an automatic setting. But this photo.  I love it.

Alterations/Deviations:  While being a super cute pattern, it was very fiddly to sew.  There was lots of trying on to measure elastic and placing straps.  The elastic guide for the casing at the chest was way, way too long.  I pulled that piece of elastic pretty tight to hold up the romper.  The waist casing didn't have an elastic guide.  I left that piece of elastic pretty loose for comfort.  The elastic in the leg casings are loose, too, which is why you see them riding up above her knee in photos.  It's cute either way.  I also had to give her some more room in the crotch after the fact.  It fit when I was done, but when she moved around it definitely rode up and looked a little uncomfortable. I unpicked the waist seam and sewed the crotch seam about 3/8" lower.  And I then I sewed the waist seam back on with a smaller seam allowance (using a smaller width of elastic) to give even more room- probably another 3/8" inch.  So I gave her more room in the crotch by lowering everything almost 3/4" inch.  Just something to pay attention to if you are sewing this pattern.  But she is tall.

Likes/Dislikes:  I mean, again- how stinkin' cute is finished product.  I can't help but love it.  But I do have to complain a little about the instructions.  They were confusing.  All the instructions for the different views are written together.  I had to use a highlighter to mark which parts were for my view.  I did follow the instructions closely since I wasn't sure about the order of construction.  And it all worked out. Except in the end, there was never a proper explanation of how to attach the front straps for view C.  The instructions and illustrations didn't take in to account the ruffle.  I worked it out but I can see that this would be frustrating for someone who was new to sewing, since this is a "Learn to Sew" pattern.  I flipped the ruffle up and sewed along the top of casing to attach the front of the straps  in case you are wondering.  I also need to tighten up that one strap a little.  It keeps slipping off her shoulder.  If I made this again, I'd just use the straps that tie.  They would be much easier to sew in and would also be adjustable after the fact.

This is when I told her to "strike a pose."  Lol.

Conclusion: I love the end result.  Jane loves it, too.  She wore it straight off the sewing machine.  She says it's comfy.  I know we'll get lots of use from it this summer.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Four *New Tops

*Only two of them are actually new makes.  The other two are previously sewn tops with a few changes.  I'm collecting them all in one blog post simply because they are the last four things to come off my sewing machine and I took pictures of them the other day.  I actually worked on all of them at the same time and then finished them all in one weekend.  Nothing makes you feel more accomplished than finishing four things in one weekend!

Anyway, the first top is my grey floral Burdastyle shirt that I recently blogged about here.  I went back to the fabric store and bought another yard of this rayon to do 3/4 length sleeves like my other version.  And I like it so much better.  I was able to wear it once on a cool day a week or so ago, but this top will go in the closet until fall. Too hot for longer sleeves already.  I painstakingly unpicked the armhole seams- stitched twice and then serged!  I'm always so thorough on seams I need to undo.  Looks better with longer sleeves, doesn't it?   I think it does. I get a more billowy, bohemian vibe instead of a granny chic vibe with the shorter sleeves.

My next alteration was to this rayon challis and linen McCalls 7095 top I made last summer.  I never wore it.  Not once.  The elastic waist was too bulky.  I think there was just too much volume gathered in to the elastic waist.  So I unpicked the channel the elastic was sewn in to- again, painstakingly, because it was several rows of stitching.  And then I chopped it shorter and hemmed it.  Unfortunately, I hemmed it too short the first time around.  So I then unpicked the hem and sewed a strip of fabric on the bottom to make it longer.  Can you tell I'm missing a stripe in there?  It was definitely a dedicated remake.  But I am so glad I persevered and fixed it because I have worn this top multiple times already.  It will be a staple this summer.

The next top is a new make.  I made this as a wearable muslin.  I bought McCalls 7361 without any real intention of making it right away, but then I noticed the striped version on the pattern envelope.  I had this super cheap rayon challis in stash that I figured would be perfect.  It was not fun to cut, however. I starched the hell out of it to keep the stripe as straight as possible.  I think I did an ok job.   

Pattern Description:  McCalls 7361, a loose fitting, pullover top with neck and hemline variations.  There is some very interesting seaming in this pattern.  I made view D, the striped version, but with the v-neck.  The sleeves are cut on the bias.  

Pattern Sizing: 6-22.  I cut a 12 to try and reduce some of the width even though I normally cut a 14.

Fabric Used:  Rayon challis.

Alterations/Deviations: The finished top was so, so short.  In an attempt to save it, I added a strip of fabric to hem.  I actually kind of like the added band around the hem.  We'll just pretend it was a design feature.  So pay attention to the length if you are making this.   I also had to straighten the shoulder seam after the fact.  I should just do a square shoulder adjustment all the time now, no questions asked.  I straightened the shoulder seam from shoulder point to neckline.  I probably took a 3/4" wedge out.  Not the proper way to do it but it helped.  I'll do a proper square shoulder adjustment next time around.

Likes/Dislikes:  I like the shape.  I like all the interesting seaming with the stripe.  I do not like how low the armholes are.  You can see straight to my bra.  I'll wear a camisole under this one but maybe I'll try and raise the armholes a bit next time.  Can you do that with a cut on sleeve?  I figure I'll just redraw that underarm curve up a little higher.

Conclusion:  It's funky little top pattern.  I would like to make it again with all the changes I listed above.  I'm even kind of interested in the pleated side panels.

The last top was super quick and is probably my favorite of the bunch.

Pattern Description: Kwik Sew 3891, batwing top with curved hemline and raglan sleeves.  I think this pattern has been around for a long time.  This is the first Kwik Sew pattern I've ever sewn.  I bought a few at Hancock the other day on deep discount.  I made view A but with the scoop neckline.

Pattern Sizing: XS-XL.  I made a S with the length of a M.  I'd say generous sizing in this pattern.  Not that sizing is super important.  As long as the neckline sits where you want it to, you're good to go with this style of top.

Fabric Used:  A Nicole Miller rayon jersey from Joann's.  I bought a few yards a while back but this is the first I've sewn up.  It's nice stuff.  Nice medium-ish weight but still pretty drape-y.  I think it was perfect for this top.  I have worn this top many, many, many times since making it.  And I have to report that the print has faded.  I'm on about the 12th wash or so and it's just now fading.  It didn't fade at first so I was pretty excited about the quality.

Alterations/Deviations:  None, other than using a longer length.  I also did my own neckband length. I always cut a neckband strip and then figure out the length as I'm sewing it on.  I don't trust the length given in patterns because I think it always varies depending upon your fabric.

Likes/Dislikes:  Love everything about this top.  I love the way the raglan seams are sewn together to make the sleeves.  I like the wide scoop neckline.  The length is good.   It's so easy to wear.  I will take more care with my hem next time.  I probably should have used some fusible to stabilize first.

Conclusion:  I will definitely make this again.   I have worn this one so much already that people might wonder if it's all I own.  It's a great, super quick sew.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Two Skirts

I made a couple of skirts.  One I am very happy with but the other is just ok.   Nothing exciting to talk about here in my intro, so on to the review.   I'm brain dead at the moment.  We are in the last week and half of school and the kids have gone bonkers.

Pattern Description:  Simplicity 8019, a vintage 70's reprint.  The pattern is a front gored, buttoned skirt in four different lengths.  My first version is the turquoise linen skirt.  My second, which I am much happier with, is the printed rayon midi length skirt.

Pattern Sizing:  The pattern offers sizes 6-24.  I made kind of a mix of sizes 16-18.  I cut the pattern as a size 16 but when I held up the waistband piece, I realized that a size 16 waistband was not going to fit me where I wanted the skirt to sit.  This must be designed to sit right on the natural waist.  I wanted my skirt to sit lower, so I cut an 18 waistband and then sewed slightly smaller seam allowances at the top of of my skirt pieces so the waistband would fit. I'm not sure that was the best decision as the skirt would probably be a lot more flattering if it sat at my natural waist.  I think it messes with the proportion a little bit.  I think this is why I don't love the turquoise version.  

Fabric Used:  Turquoise linen/rayon blend for skirt one.  Ditsy rayon challis print for skirt two.  I think this skirt pattern lends itself to all types of fabric.

Alterations/Deviations:  Other than the waistband issue I mentioned above, I made no other changes to the turquoise skirt.  The length is the shortest length offered.  Not as short as it looks on the envelope, but remember my skirt sits lower on my waist.  When I made the rayon skirt, I was worried the waistband would be too flimsy (even interfaced).  So I added elastic to the back waistband which I am patting myself on the back for.  It keeps the skirt sitting where I want it to and takes care of some fit issues I have with the first version.  If I make this again, I will definitely do the same thing again.  I just sewed the waistband on and inserted elastic in the back half, stitching it at the side seams.  I only pulled the elastic slightly.  Just enough to give the back waistband a little bit of tension.  It's smooth when it's on.  The rayon version originally began as a maxi but I think I'm kind of over maxi skirts here lately.  I kept shortening it (three times!) until I ended up with a length I liked.  Well, I guess I like it.  There is something frumpy about it in photos but I think it looks better in real life.  It's flips and swishes around when I walk and it's fun to sit and cross your legs in with the button band split at the bottom.  It's only a couple of inches longer than the turquoise skirt.  It sits just below my knees.

Likes/Dislikes:  I like the flared shape and button front.  I do have some fit issues with the linen version.  I think those wrinkles in the back have something to do with sewing the seams with smaller seam allowances.  Or I need a sway back adjustment.  I also do not like how the front of my linen skirt wrinkles.   It's pretty unflattering and makes the button band stick out.  I know I have a little belly there but I think the button band sticking out accentuates it even more (see below!).   I don't feel that way in the rayon version.  Anyway, I'm letting the turquoise skirt sit in the closet for a while to see if I grow to love it later.  The rayon one has already been worn multiple times.

Conclusion:  Nice little skirt pattern.  I would like to make it again in a longer midi length (mid calf). I actually have some black tencel fabric that would be perfect.  And who couldn't use a good black skirt.  I'll add it to the queue!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Finally Finished Object

Well, here it is.  Not my longest running ufo (that would be my partial Nicola dress that still hangs in my sewing room) but close.  I started this dress at the end of November last year and just finally called it finished this past weekend.  I'm still not sold on the maxi length but I'm leaving it for now.  I figure I'll put this dress away now that summer is almost here and then see what I think about it when it cools down again.  It's already too hot for long sleeves anyway.

Pattern Description:  McCalls 7242.  Misses button down shirt dress with elastic waist and a mandarin collar.  There are length and sleeve variations.  I was drawn to the 70's vibe of the maxi with the long blouse-y sleeves.

Pattern Sizing: 6-22.  I cut a straight size 14 out of laziness.  Actually, I did a lot of things out of laziness on this dress and I can tell.  I think I definitely needed a 16 in the waist and hip.  And maybe even the shoulder.  But the fit is decent.  This is not a pattern with an obscene amount of ease like you find sometimes in Big 4 patterns.  The skirt is pretty slim, which is nice.

Fabric Used:  I used a fabulous Cotton and Steel rayon poplin.  It is seriously nice stuff.  But it is on the more expensive side of the fabric I buy.  I had to buy five(!) yards of it to make this dress.   I really did need all that yardage, too.  So this actually ended up being kind of a pricey dress.  I think that's why I'm a little bummed that it didn't turn out as fantastic as I was hoping it would be.  The rayon poplin doesn't have the same soft drape that rayon challis has.   It's drape-y but it's also crisp, if that makes sense.   I think rayon challis might have been a better choice.

I bought the pattern when it first came out but didn't make it right away because of the yardage required.  Then I saw this version by Lisa g. and this one by Sew Busy Lizzy.  I was sold.  I browsed around online and bought the Cotton and Steel rayon because I was making this for a special event- my school wide art show at the beginning of December.  When the fabric arrived, I had exactly one week to sew up my dress.  I finished everything but the collar and the finishing and lost all steam.  Sewing under a deadline is never a good idea for me.  I didn't finish it in time for my art show and so it sat on my dress form for several months.  I'm not sure why I didn't pick it right back up after the show.  Anyway, months later I forced myself to finish it.  I sewed that damn collar five times (re-cutting it one time) before I got those curved front edges to match.  Then I screwed up the button holes and had to fix a few by hand (they don't look good up close).  And I also couldn't decide on a hem length.  I almost chopped it to knee length but I decided to leave it as a maxi for now.  It seems like a lot of fabric with the length and the long sleeves but I'll see how I feel later.

Alterations/Deviations:   After reading Lisa's post, I narrowed the front facing and top stitched it down.  I also shortened the sleeves two inches at the shorten/lengthen line.  I liked the big blouse-y sleeves but I wanted to be able to wear this to work and not dip my sleeves in paint.  I think shortening them was a smart idea.  They are still pretty big but don't billow over my hands or anything.  Other than that, no other changes.  The length of the maxi is per the pattern.  I could use another inch or two. I can only wear this with the flattest of shoes.  Nothing with a heel or it looks too short.  If you are on the taller side, you may want to add some length.

Likes/Dislikes:  I have some fit issues but I do like the way the collar sits.  However, if there is a photo that illustrates my need for a square shoulder adjustment, it's this one below. That diagonal pulling goes all the way to my shoulders.  I can feel it.  I think a square shoulder adjustment (adding to the shoulder seam) would solve that.  And a size up would probably help, too.  I like the way the elastic waist casing is sewn as well.  It's done with a larger seam allowance.  You have to read the instructions carefully.

Conclusion:  I'd love to try this again, sleeveless for summer.  In fact, I may just do that.  I have a soft rayon challis in stash that would be perfect.  If I make this again, I will definitely do a square shoulder and raise the armscye to match.  I would also go up a size in the waist and hip and add length.  I think despite my needing a few changes that this is a pretty good pattern.  I'm glad I finally finished it!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

More Shirts!

I made more shirts!  Can you believe it?  I made two, although one is a success and one not so much.  After my shirt making adventure recently, I was pretty sure I would take a good long break from sewing collared shirts.  But I received so much good advice from everyone in the comment section that I decided to have another go.

Pattern Description:   Honestly, I don't have any great take away from this shirt sewing experience because this shirt style is so different.  This is not a traditional shirt pattern, as you can see.  It's a BurdaStyle pattern-- Gathered Peplum Blouse 03/2015 #109.  It's a very roomy and wide blouse with a gathered bottom.  I'm not sure I would call it a peplum but I don't really know what to call it.  I actually bought this pattern from the BurdaStyle website last year around this time of year.  I printed it, taped it together, traced it and added seam allowances and then lost all steam to actually make it.  I find pdf's to be a lot of trouble.  Anyway, after reading a couple of comments on my post about shirt making that recommended I try a shirt pattern that had a back yoke and pleat detail, I remembered this pattern all ready to go in my sewing room.

Pattern Sizing:  I cut a 40 and it is really wide.  The style is supposed to be roomy and boxy but I could have gone down to a 38 easily.  Also, the shoulders are super wide.  Maybe they are supposed to be slightly dropped.   I'm not sure.  I had a few comments on my shirt making post that have me paying attention to where the shoulder/armscye seam hits.  This shirt tells me nothing about that, though!  I left the shoulder seam as is, however.  When I make a more traditional shirt again, I will definitely look at the width of the shoulders.

Fabric Used:  Both versions are rayon challis.  For the black version,  I used two different rayons I found at Joann's.  Not sure if they were meant to go together or not, but the tan color is a perfect match between the two.   I had fun deciding which parts of the shirt would be made from which fabric. The black shirt is a definite favorite.  I love the way it turned out.  I didn't worry too much about matching those diamonds but I did try and keep them straight when I cut out the pieces.  I did an ok job.   It veers off a little in places.  The grey and white floral short sleeve shirt is a super cheap rayon challis I found at Hancock.  I'm not as in love with it as the black version.  The grey and white print combined with the style of the shirt reminds me of the Golden Girls for some reason.  Like 80's retirement home chic.  It's a little frumpy.

Alterations/ Deviations: I made changes to the sleeves on both versions.  When cutting out the black version, I turned the one piece sleeve in to a two piece because I didn't want to try my first ever tower placket in rayon challis.  I did cut long sleeves, but later decided to shorten them to 3/4 length.  I finished the hem of the sleeves with a skinny band instead of a wide cuff.  I did keep a placket opening and did a buttonhole on the cuff to close it.  On the short sleeve version, the sleeves are really the reason I don't really like it so much.  I wanted to do a sleeveless version originally.  But when I sewed it up without sleeves, I couldn't figure out how to finish the armholes.  The shoulder seams are too dropped for binding and I couldn't wrap my brain around adding a sleeve band or something similar.  I didn't think it through.  So I cut sleeves from the pattern using the last little bit of fabric I had left.  This is all the length I could do.  Meh.  I also added an inch to the length of the shirt which I think contributes to the frump factor.  And I only did four buttons instead of five ( I spaced them myself on both).  There really needs to be a button in the middle where the gathered seam sits. Oh, and I left off the pockets in both versions- front flap pockets and in-seam pockets.

Likes/Dislikes:  I really love the first version I made with the 3/4 length sleeves.  I love the print mix and the swingy, gathered bottom.  It really is the perfect blouse to wear to work.  It's easy to wear but funky and semi-professional looking.  The grey version needs longer sleeves, I think.  I am tempted to go back to Hancock and check for more of that fabric to redo the sleeves.  The short sleeves make it look dated for some reason.  If I ever make this pattern again, I will narrow the shoulder width a bit and maybe downsize the collar.  But other than that, I like it.  I am much happier with this shirt making experience than the last.  And yes, even though I'm not sure I did that back pleat correctly, I am liking the feel and fit of the back yoke versus no yoke.  I don't notice the creeping back neckline that I lamented about before but that could also be a result of using a drape-y fabric.

Conclusion:  Fun shirt pattern.  I will definitely look at shirt patterns with a back yoke from now on.  And maybe one day I'll try my hand at a tower placket.  I love the black version and it is already being worn frequently.  The grey version will get some wear as is, but I'd love to revisit those sleeves. 

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Burda Kimono Dress

I made this dress shortly after I finished my last shirt in the previous post.  I needed a palate cleanser and this dress pattern looked easy.  And it was! Super easy.  It's basically a sack with a drawstring.  I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out although I'm not 100% about the long kimono sleeves.  I might shorten them.  

Pattern Description:  Burda 6732.  A sack dress with a drawstring casing around the waist and deep patch pockets.  One version has long kimono sleeves and a v-neck and the other has a jewel neckline and sleeve bands.

Pattern Sizing:  Burda sizes 36-46.  I made a 42 but I think I'd size down to a 40 next go around.  At least on the top half. I didn't really have any fit issues because again, it's a sack.  The side seam/under arm seam could be closer to the body. 

Fabric Used:  I used a printed linen I found at Joann's.  I picked it because I thought it was the right weight for this dress- not too lightweight but not too heavy either.  And the printed pattern  on it keeps it from being see-through.  And I really love linen.

Alterations/Deviations:  None!  Absolutely none.  Didn't mess with the length.  I didn't even mess with the back neckline after all that fitting I've done on those shirts recently.  The back neckline could use some minor adjustments ( I think I'll take a small dart in the back of the neck next time before cutting out fabric) but nothing I can't live with.  The v-neck is done with a facing.  

Likes/Dislikes:  I like the v-neck.  I love where the drawstring hits. And I love the deep patch pockets even if I didn't sew them perfectly.  You can't tell in the busy print anyway.

Conclusion:  Super easy, relaxed dress with some nice design features- the drawstring, the hem and the necklines.  I made this dress as a casual dress I could wear to work when it gets warmer but I think it looks pretty dressy after all.  I would love to try it again in a fabric with more drape.  I have a rayon poplin in my stash that I have in mind.  I am not entirely sure about the length of the sleeves.  Next time, I think I'll try the version with the sleeve bands but I may still shorten the sleeves on this dress. 

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Shirt Making. Shoulder Fitting. Blergh.

 That's how I feel about it. I'm even having a hard time writing about all of this.  Maybe I ventured in to shirt making for too long.  Although it's not the actual sewing that I'm so meh about.  It's the fit.  I did all sorts of alterations and adjustments and you can't tell.  Or I can't tell.   Or I don't know if I can tell.  Ugh.  Anyway, I didn't solve my shoulder fit issue like I thought I would. So yeah, blergh.  Time for a break from making shirts.

I started with a Simplicity pattern that I knew deep down wasn't going to be great.  But it had design features that I was digging.  It had a seam through the middle of the shirt and different options for the back so you could use two contrasting fabrics.  I'd love to tell you the pattern number but the Simplicity website is such a mess, I can't find it.  And the pattern I actually have has some weird display number on it.   The top left photo in the collage above is of two of the versions I made of this particular Simplicity pattern.  I actually made a third version that I took apart to reuse the bottom half on a subsequent version.   The bottom half of the shirt is an awesome batik that I have hoarded for a long time, which makes me sad.   The very first version I sewed up had a shoulder fit issue that I have experienced multiple times since I started sewing (and has made me abandon projects often).  So I made a proclamation that I was going to solve my fit issue for once and for all.  I took a few cell phone pics so I'll show you one horribly unflattering photo to give you an idea of what I'm talking about.

I know you can't see much in this photo, but I was trying to get a photo of how the back neckline bunches up.  The shoulders don't sit right and they don't feel right.  I get wrinkles on the front in between the armsyce and neckline.  And the back neckline rides up the back of my neck.  That really is my main issue.  The back neckline is uncomfortable.  It rides up and bunches up at the base of the back of my neck.  I also get horizontal wrinkles at the back of my neck, which you can see in the photo above.  According to Fit For Real People, that means a square shoulder adjustment, right?   I find I do much better with wider necklines and also patterns with back neckline darts.  I have read up about all the things it could be but have never come to any sort of definite conclusion.  Maybe forward shoulder? I did end up doing a forward shoulder adjustment later on- see below.  High round back?  I don't have any gaping at the back of the neck or the back armscye.   I actually tend to have pulling across the back in between my shoulders and the back neckline feels snug.  So are my shoulders broad?  I don't know.  Maybe it's a combination of several things.   I really, truly don't know at this point.  I think all this fitting has made me even more confused.  I've also suspected I had some broad back issues in the past.   I have had some success with making a quick and dirty square shoulder adjustment where I just straighten out the shoulder seam.  Which is what I did on the second two versions of the Simplicity pattern I tried (among other things).   But back necklines (and sometimes front, too) never seem to sit right.

I read up on shoulder adjustments in the books Fit For Real People (Pati Palmer and Marla Alto) and another called The Perfect Fit (author listed as Creative Publishing Int'l).  I used the square shoulder adjustment seen in the collage above.  Later when I tried a forward shoulder adjustment, I used the method described in The Perfect Fit.   There was one main discrepancy between the two books regarding a forward shoulder- one said to rotate the shoulder point on the sleeve and one said not to.  So I was confused about that.  I did end up rotating the shoulder point forward.  Is there any reason I shouldn't have?

Eventually, I realized there were too many other fit issues with the Simplicity pattern (sleeve issues, no shaping, one piece collar and cuffs not even remotely the right size) to make a salvageable shirt.  So I abandoned that pattern and looked for another.  I flipped through the pattern books and ended up buying McCalls 6436.  This was a much better shirt pattern than the Simplicity one.  But I'm still not thrilled with my end result.  

My first version was the chambray colored linen version on the top right of the collage above.  I decided to sew a size up to begin with thinking I could take care of my supposed broad shoulder/broad back issues.  And I did a square shoulder adjustment but I can't remember how much.  It turned out way, way too big.   I'd say this shirt pattern has an large amount of ease (it's supposed to be relaxed, I think).   I also discovered that the sleeves were more than two inches too long.  I took the cuff off of one sleeve and attempted to shorten it before abandoning this shirt.  I could possibly work on the sleeve issues and make this a wearable shirt in the future.  It would be wearable in a big, boyfriend shirt kind of way.  I'm saving it for now but we'll see.

Next I made the white and black linen version.  I used my normal size, a 14 grading to a 16 at the hip, but also made some shoulder alterations.  I took notes on my last two versions so I could document what I did.  I did a 3/8" square shoulder adjustment on the back shoulder seam only to also account for a forward shoulder (which I have suspected I needed).  I also reduced the height of the collar and collar stand by a teeny bit and shortened the sleeves 1.5 inches.  I didn't mess with the darts or side seams at all, although I think I could have.  I do feel like the shoulder fit is better than I've ever had before, but something still feels off.    The armscye feels too low, which is crazy considering my shoulder issues.  But I will say that the forward shoulder is a move in the right direction, I believe.

The last version I sewed was the blue batik shirt.  This was supposed to be the culmination of all my fitting work where I ended up with a fantastically fitting shirt (that's how it works, right?).  I did a 3/8" forward shoulder adjustment but did it on the front and back shoulder seam.   So I essentially did a forward shoulder but skipped the square shoulder.  I also raised the armscye 3/8" and reduced the collar height a tiny bit more.  The collar is teeny tiny!  I made it too small.  And I shortened the sleeves another 1/2"- so 2" total from the original pattern (and I have long arms!).  And meh.  The fit is just meh.  I actually feel like I have that creeping back neckline more on this version than the white version.  So maybe I do really need the square shoulder adjustment followed by the forward shoulder adjustment.   The blue batik fabric I used is beautiful, but not ideal for apparel.  I think its meant for quilting.  It wrinkles like crazy.  I ironed it right before pictures and it wrinkled just from trying to tuck it in to something.  I am really pleased with the placement.  I ran the stripe vertical instead of horizontal after soliciting advice on instagram.  I tried to balance the dark and light parts of the fabric and I'm happy with how it turned out.

If you've made it this far in this blog post, congratulations!  You are a champion.  It has been hard to write so I know it's been hard to read.  Just for shits and giggles, here is a photo of me in a rtw shirt that I love and wear all the time.  I don't experience any issues with the back neckline riding up or the shoulder/armscye being uncomfortable.  Looking at the photo, though, I don't see that the shirt fits fabulously or anything. In fact, it doesn't appear to fit that well at all.  But it definitely feels better.  It does have a back yoke with a pleat, so maybe that is the difference?  The fabric also has more drape but it's nothing special.  Just some hard wearing polyester.

I've written this post over a few days and now that I've read back through it this last time, I realized I've gone down a fitting rabbit hole.  I'm probably overanalyzing.  If I end up venturing in to shirt making again, I think I'll just go for a totally new pattern.   But now it's time to sew something really fun.  On a positive note, I will say that I had the opportunity to work on my precision sewing skills with all this shirt making.  I beefed up my top stitching and collar sewing skills for sure.  And I'm sure I'll wear the white linen shirt quite a bit but I'm on the fence about the blue batik shirt.  Anyone else have shoulder fit issues?