Sunday, January 13, 2008

Divide and conquer, or why it's good to know your ruler...

Adding darts to a pattern than has none and needs them desperately:

After my last post, I decided to examine my best fitting jackets and the common denominator is a prevalence of shaping darts in both the front and back. So, I pulled up sleeves and grabbed my curved ruler and got to business. I had determined how much needed to be removed by pinching out the excess at my waist after basting the side seams in a curve so that it was comfortable and gave a nice silhouette. I also basted new darts, but I eyeballed it. It was crude, but illustrative, as evidenced by the following image.
Based on this photo I realized #1: that the pockets had to go; #2 the darts had to be extended up the back, at least to the shoulder blades (about mid armscye); #3 I really suck at just eyeballing darts. I mean seriously, how crazy crooked are those seams? They aren't even level...

Enter the ruler...
At this point, I did a flat measurement of the new width of the back, compared this to the original pattern piece, and found that 3" had to be removed from the waist. This was after taking roughly an inch in at the waist by changing the side seam (meaning, I went from a basically straight seam to a nice curve by indenting 1/2" on each side at the waist and tapering to almost no seam allowance at the very bottom of the hem).

Shaping the back, or how to take in 3 inches gracefully:
As I was limited by not having a CB seam, I thought two back darts would be both visually appealing and balanced. For a total reduction of 3", that would be 1.5" on each side. On the pattern piece, I added two 18" fish eye darts to the back first. For placement, I found the center back then the center of each side, right and left. Using my ruler, I drew the lines on the pattern, starting from the bottom hem and extended to the top edge of the pattern piece. I measured up 18" from the bottom hem on the left side and marked. I had already marked out the waist line, so at I centered 1.5" (.75" on either side of my vertical line) and marked. Using my curved ruler, I drew out the legs of the dart.

I unpicked all of the seams I had sewn so that I had only the back piece in front of me and could lay it flat. Using a chalk pencil, I copied all the markings from my pattern piece to the wrong side of the fur. I sewed the darts, then basted the side seams, following the curve I had established earlier. I basted the shoulders and tried on once again to see if I was successful.
Much better, right? No more pockets, but that's okay. The waist looks good and, despite the little ripple at the waist (I have to learn to stand straight but I was operating the camera by remote control and had to move fast), it really does lay well. You can see the changes much more clearly on the lining. Note an ease pleat has been added, as well.

Adding front darts...
Having fixed the back, I could now move to the front, which also needed attention. I knew pretty much right away that I would have to add an additional dart under the bust from the side seam. This was easily done and I grabbed my now much loved curved ruler and chalk pencil. I marked my new darts on the pattern piece. Once more, I unpicked the shoulder and side seams so that I could lay the pattern piece flat. I transferred the markings and sewed the new darts on the front.
How good does that front look? Good enough that I permanently stitched the side seams and set the sleeves. Once more, you can see the changes more clearly on the lining.
Despite that my husband dislikes my choice of lining fabric, I think this is turning into a very cute little project! When I modeled my progress, my husband tried to calculate how much I could sell it for on eBay. I encouraged him to sell an old flashlight-type tool that he had and ever since, everything we own has been appraised for possible sale on eBay. It's more than a little amusing, to say the least. But hey, I love the lining; I think it' unusual and it makes the fur look more brown than black where every other fabric I tried made it more black. I also interfaced it because the knit backing of the fur was still rather rough and it could be felt through the lining.

Next post will be of the completed jacket... Stay tuned!


Chicago Sarah said...

Go go go! (I love the lining fabric, it's probably just a boy thing)

cidell said...

Great job with the fitting and I love the lining. It's going to be really really cute!

Sarah @ Sewer-Sewist said...

You modifications to this jacket are really shaping up---the style changes very much suit you. (Although I don't think I could sacrifice the pockets!)

Looking forward to seeing how it turns out.