A little goes a long way…

A small lengthening adjustment

I took Steph (and several other peoples’) advice and lengthened the CF by rotating the bottom of the bust piece down 1/2″. (thanks for your thoughts, everyone!)

This seemingly-insignificant alteration had some major consequences. On the up-side, it achieved its intended goal of allowing the midriff piece to sit a little lower, bringing the seam-line down to the vicinity of my waist. On the downside, now the bust feels a little too full and wide (odd since if anything the piece is narrower than before). I assume this is because it’s under less vertical tension or something. Also the neck feels a bit gapy—always a risk in a V-neck like this, the correction for which is the exact opposite of the alteration I just made :P. I’m hoping that the weight of the skirt

Simplicity 5728, v. 2, with sleeves!

keeping the bodice in place will keep this from being a problem. In today’s photos I’m wearing the Bullet Proof Bra, which brings my bust measurement up in line with the pattern’s intended 34″; it succeeds in filling in most of the extra fullness, but it still feels a little bulky/loose under the arm.

(To bra or not to bra… that is the question. On a daily basis I tend to go without—a knit top offers enough support to get me through my daily routines, and indeed most exercise except for jogging. On the other hand, a bit of support is nice for when I’m wearing wovens, and if I must wear an annoying band around my ribs, I might as well get some, ah, enhancement, from it, which is where the Bullet Proof Bra comes in. Which will I be more likely to wear with this dress? Well, whichever ends up fitting under it better, I guess…)

Arm-lift---uh oh

Then, of course, I added the sleeves.

Can I just say that woven sleeves are a pain in the arse? These particular ones have a little pouf at the top, which is achieved by lengthening, rather than widening, the sleeve cap. So they look gorgeous with my arms down, but ride up mightily the moment I lift my arms. Now, I’m not expecting to be able to do jumping jacks, but it would be nice to able to put my hands on my hips without the entire bodice pulling up around my ears. And then the neckline goes totally wonky, too. Grr.

Side view, arm raised.

On the up side, I’m no longer wondering if the armscye is too high. With the sleeve on, it feels not nearly high enough.

Incidentally, I lengthened the sleeve pattern by a full two inches to bring it to this point, which is about where I’d like a finished sleeve to end. I’m not totally sure if I want the fold-back cuffs that came with the pattern or not (do they make sense without the collar?) so I’ll have to think on that. Maybe I don’t want long sleeves at all (but I’m having a hard time thinking about anything short sleeved right now, as I’ve said).

Back, with sleeves

But, the back looks pretty good with the sleeves—I wouldn’t want to take any ease out of it, I think.

Back with arms raised

It handles the arm-raising much better than the front.

I think I’m satisfied with the bodice for now—side seam ease is something I can

Side view, with sleeves

always tweak in my final fabric (whatever that may be), so the issue that remains is the sleeve. What do you think? Keep with restrictions? Attempt to alter the cap (I seem to recall the Sewista Fashionista taking a stab at something similar not that long ago…)? Swap in a different sleeve I like better? (I haven’t done a long-sleeve in a woven for me yet, so I don’t really have any candidates. I could do a short sleeve—I’d probably like a short cap sleeve better than a puff anyway, or there’s always the lure of a pleated sleeve cap. Again, though, I don’t have a preferred pattern for any of these.

This is my first elbow dart, by the way. it does make for a nice fit.

So what do you think? Short sleeve or long? This sleeve or other? I have a feeling I’m going to go with the long skirt option. Cuz, well, I love me a long skirt.

The pattern girls, to remind you

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13 Comments

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13 responses to “A little goes a long way…

  1. I’d go for long sleeve, but that might look weird with a long skirt. You could also do elbow length, and it will create interesting proportions.
    And I like this sleeve (well, it’s the kind of thing I’d sew), but you have to follow your gut feeling.

  2. I really like long sleeves but I agree with Laurwyn that it
    might look odd (vaguely Little House on the Prairie?). I am
    surprised by how lifting the arms has that impact when it looks so
    well fitting with your arms down. Patterns are so finicky!

  3. Your problem is not the sleeve cap but that the armscye is
    sitting too low. If the sleeve attaches to the bodice too far below
    where your arm attaches to your body, it has the effect of keeping
    the sleeve down and inhibits arm movement. Or, as you found out, if
    you insist on raising your arms, the sleeve drags the bodice up
    too. The higher the armscye, the more likely the bodice will stay
    put . The solution is to raise the lower curve of the armscye on
    both the bodice and sleeve pieces. Leave the cap and everything
    else as is. There is an illustration of the alteration here:

    http://kaythesewinglawyer.blogspot.com/2010/10/life-got-in-way.html

    • Hmm, I will take a look at that. I had figured that a low armscye was the last thing I would encounter with this pattern, it being uber petite and me not… But all things are possible, I guess. Thanks! :)

  4. Carlotta

    I agree with Kay, I have the feeling this would look better with a higher armscye. I noticed Simplicity was shifting to the ‘new narrow shoulder’ look at that time, and the designers seemed to assiciate it with puff sleeves similar to the short version of this pattern.

    As for the design, I always planned to make a version with the long sleeves and the long skirt for a full Biba winter look (plus what’s with short-sleeved winter dresses, anyway?), but to omit the cuffs, since I don’t intend to make a collar either, and the sash, to avoid the prairie look (and the body already fits well!)

  5. Corinne

    I think Kay is correct, as the Sewing Lawyer illustrates. Look closely at the photo’s, follow the smile lines on the “arm lift” photo. If you raise the armscye and the corresponding area of the sleeve, it will actually place a little more fabric at the high bust area which will in turn help it lie flat. When working with knitted fabrics, the knit in and of itself, stretches to compensate for this. Woven fabrics need help. Once you fit your shoulders and upper bust with a woven fabric it should lie flat and allow comfortable movement but will never have the stretch and flexibility of a knit.

  6. Looking good, and those sleeves look awesome – I vote long sleeves!
    I agree with Kay, if the underarm is cut higher it will give you more leverage.

  7. You can fix the neckline gape without undoing the length you’ve added–what I always do is slash into the diagonal neckline at a right angle and overlap, as here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/7573004@N06/4788980700/. I imagine this is not an orthodox alteration, but I have done it dozens of times and it works very well for me.

    • yeah—sadly that’s exactly the change I made to lengthen the CF, though! Argh. I’m hoping it’ll stay in place once the armscyes are fixed and the sleeves are on…

  8. The Mom

    I would go with long sleeves, with no collar or cuffs, on the long length. Depending on the fabric, it could look almost medieval (think brocade, crushed velvet, damask, maybe with lace overlay below the bust, or the entire bodice including the sleeves. Check out VV for old linen damask tableclothes that you could dye). You could even do the ends of the sleeves with a point that comes down over the top of your hand.

  9. Pingback: Shiny Happy Things | Tanit-Isis Sews

  10. I’ll go with short sleeves since the skirt is gonna be long. It’s more proportionate somehow. But, I think it also depends on your fabric choice and what you prefer wearing. The bodice is looking good:)

  11. Sewista Fashionista

    I think the long skirt with this bodice would look lovely. The arm lift thing would be annoying. I am stumped on that one. Sometimes when I look at the same version in RTW I find that those garments have the same issues of my home-sewn ones, so some designs must share certain issues. Maybe this design does this in RTW also.

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