Thursday, November 4, 2010

Darts in Knits are Evil, Aren't They?

As a full-b usted woman, I need darts. But I don't like them in my knitted tops - they pull, they get little holes (yes, I'm using proper needles). They look odd (it's not my technique). I just don't think they look good.

Look what I was able to accomplish this week on a knitted shell. I DID alter the pattern to accommodate my figure, but did not perform my customary Y shaped slash and spread.

Look: a nice fitting garment without a dart and no pull across the front.

First the photos:

And look at that armhole: no gaping!

I even managed to get the same effect on the matching cardigan.

Here are the three FBA adjustments I performed after my other alterations were done (broad back and petite):

1. I lengthened the center front by about 3/4 to 1 inch. I simply drew in a triangular shaped wedge, lengthening the CF seam grading to nothing at the side seam. I did not curve the grading line.

2. I drew a curved "bump" at the side bust area on the front bodice only. I curved it out about an inch (to the next size on this particular pattern). I graded back to the seam line above the waist shaping. This bump is just for the bust area. I pinned and carefully eased the excess which was quite easy on this particular knit.

3. I used Loes Hinse's FBA technique at the neckline: Working on the front bodice piece only, I inserted a triangular shaped wedge on the shoulder, increasing at the neckline. This seems counter-intuitive but has worked splendidly for me! Loes explained that this reduces the arm gaping, and as you can see from my photo, it works! You would THINK you need to pinch out the excess at the outer shoulder, right? Not so. Doing the opposite has allowed extra bust room in the garment. Here's how:

First, extend the neckline at the shoulder seam about an inch. To do this, I marked an inch above the neckline on the front shoulder seam at the neckline and extended the neckline. Note: do this on the front bodice ONLY and not on the back.
Second, I simply used a ruler to draw a line from this new raised point to the outer shoulder seam, grading down to size.

Pamela's Pattern's have the forward shoulder built into her patterns, so I did not need to perform that adjustment. I actually think it may be a bit too much forward and I might adjust it next time. I did have to petite the pattern at the armhole 3 inches!!!!!!! That's huge - but it worked. I'm learning to follow my body and not so much the pattern.

Three simple adjustments and no FBA dart!

I wonder how well this will work with other knits.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Teal Skirt and Navy Knit Sweater Set

The Sweater Set: Pamela's Patterns The Versatile Twin Set
Pamela's Twin Set comes with an alternate front bodice with a dart for those with a full bust measurement 3 inches or greater than their high bust measurement. Even though I meet that criteria, I had no interest in putting a dart in this particular knit. [My next post will describe how I avoid darts in knits.]

I liked Pamela's instructions to zigzag the front facing interfacing. It set the facing very well.

Sleeve and hem are hand-stitched. This is a lovely knit with texture so I wanted it to have that invisible touch. I felt that machine stitching was unnecessary on this knit and would have caused it to appear more casual than I wanted for this particular set.

However, I decided to machine finish the facing after reasoning out that I was unsure if hand-stitching would be sufficient. I don't think this bit of stitching takes away from the finished look.

The shell needed quite a bit of shortening for proportion with the skirt but I left the cardigan the original length due to indecision. I reserve the right to shorten it later.

Skirt: Simplicity 9825

This beautiful tweedy fabric wanted to be a wrap skirt. Unfortunately, with only one yard, that was not to be, so I pulled out this tnt (tried and true). For the topstitching, I used gold topstitching thread in the needle with regular poly thread in the bobbin which my Necchi Nora handled beautifully. I am very happy with how this skirt turned out.

Next up: Skirt from this same navy knit so that I have an ensemble with options.