Thursday, July 30, 2015


I had gotten my sewing machine onto the dining room table recently, for some simple sewing and mending.  I decided it was time to really sew.  Like, clothing!  Most of my shirts are t-shirts, and starting to wear out (or be too small).  I'm hoping to get back to supply teaching this fall, and will need slightly nicer clothes (it appears supply teachers don't wear two piece suits or dressy dresses anymore!).  I hit the fabric stash and the pattern stash, and measured my chest.  Oooohh.  I've grown a bit LOL.  I gave away a lot of pattern a while ago because I wasn't sewing and I had shrunk a bit, and learned how to do a "Full Bust Adjustment" so I was buying for my upper bust size, not full bust size.  So a lot of my patterns are a smidge small now!  I picked out Simplicity 5849.  Because, "it's so EASY!".  LOL.  And although the bust size was a bit small, the finished size matched a similar shirt I love.  I chose some lightweight fabric, the leftover from Megan's dress, made way back in 2010!

I'm trying to find a link to the pattern, I found one on Pinterest, and one on but that Simplicity 5849 is NOT the one I made.  Google is giving me a hard time today.

I adjusted the pattern by taking out 1/2" in the upper bodice, 1/2" in the sleeve length, and 1/2" in the length...but then I added 1 1/2" to the bottom (there was some shaping so I wanted to shorten the waist length).  I didn't do any bust adjustments.  I thought I was doing good by remembering to take 1/2" out of the sleeve cap to match the reduction in the upper bodice.

My first try-on confirmed all my fears.  It was sad.  The shoulders were too wide.  There was pulling across the upper bust, pulling across the upper arm, and it was too short.  Even on me, being only 5'1".

 And the sleeves fell at an awkward spot.  These pictures are from after my adjustments though.
I had to resew one sleevehead, I don't remember why now.  I was thinking of how I could get more width in the bust...since the sleeve was sewn in it seemed that I would just have to go outwards from where they connect.  Then I realized I could re-do the whole sleevehead with a narrower seam (thank god I hadn't trimmed the seam allowance yet!).
 Doing this got me almost enough room.   It made the upper bodice and sleeve heads almost an inch wider (3/8" on body, plus 3/8" on the sleeve, times two, per sleeve), and a bit longer in the sleeve head, though I didn't adjust the shoulder seams because I had already topstitched down the shoulder seam and applied bias trim along the neckline.  Got extra through the bust and upper back.  The lower back is quite boxy; I could put an elastic strip on the inside, but I don't know.
When I was cutting it, I did a size 18 for the body width but tapered in to a 16 for the armholes.  Obviously, I didn't need to do that!
 The pattern called for bias trim on the neckline, to make the casing.  I was going to make my own, but  I wanted to get it done.  I had some trim with simple green stripes that looked cute, but I thought it might show through, so I picked out this vintage flowered one.  I'd been waiting for the perfect time to use it.  I don't really think this was the perfect time as it's all a little busy, but no one sees it.

My changes really helped, but the shoulders still felt like they were slipping, and my bra straps showed.  When I was sewing it up, you were supposed to sew the end of the drawstrings at the "dots", it didn't go all the way around the neck.  I didn't seem to have marked where those dots were on the fabric, so I eyeballed it based on the diagrams.  I thought perhaps I hadn't gone high enough on the sides of the front neck, and maybe moving it up would help draw in the shoulders a bit.  It did help, but it's now down to the fact there just isn't enough fabric at the shoulders for me.

I toyed with the idea of making a wide band to draw the bottom in and give it some length.  But I wanted a billowy, loose, sort of summer shirt and I just don't think I could do a good job...I'm just not a very good, accurate, cutter and sewer!

Now...if only I had some better pants to wear with this top...

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