Lydia struggles

Lydia v.3---lightened considerably

I thought I was almost there, folks, I really did. I figured this would be the one.

Instead, here I am (once again) questioning my validity as a sewist and my ability to produce anything resembling a wearable garment.

After the last Lydia, which was really gapy around the neck and seemed to ride up, I took a tuck in the neckline (to reduce gapiness) and altered the side-curve, which was really a little too long for my rather short waist. I also raised the neckline by a good inch. I really thought that would do it, folks. I thought I was there.

Well, this version (which admittedly is out of a different fabric) has the exact same problems! Still bulging in front above the bust (unless I pull it down, but it comes up again as soon as I raise my arms), still too low-cut. (Incidentally, when it rides up to where it seems to want to sit, the neckline is perfect). It feels like the whole front shoulder (between bust and shoulder seam) is too long. Yet when it’s in it’s “comfy position” the bottom of the armscye is way up in my armpit. It’s not uncomfortable (quite the opposite), but it seems unusual.

Here you can see the "bulge" in front of the shoulder best.

I wonder if maybe I’m trying to get this pattern to be something it wasn’t meant to, though. I want a close-fitting shirt I can layer under other stuff (see today’s SSS outfit below)—but the pattern itself seems to have a lot more ease and maybe be intended for a looser kind of garment? I feel like the sleeve cap and armscye are not the right shape for what I’m wanting—it seems to bind and pull up. I’m guessing I need a shorter armscye and shorter (maybe wider?) sleeve-head.

It didn’t help that I experimented with setting the sleeves in before the sideseams, which is a quicker and easier way to install it a) if there isn’t too much sleeve-head ease and b) if you’re better at keeping your stretch tension even than I am. So I’m going to ignore the ripply parts of the shoulder seam as being a problem with my stitching. When it’s “sitting comfy” the shoulder seam is in about the right place (but very loose due to the front pouffing) but when it’s tucked down the shoulder seam seems to fall a bit to the back.

On the other hand, it’s comfy, warm (which I really need today, despite the bright sun in the photos below, it is NIPPY), the sleeves are deliciously over-long (I added a good 3″ in length), and the waist curve seems to sit in a better place than the last one. I think it will be great for layering, assuming I can wrap my head around layering something warm under something chilly (usually I do the other way around). The pictures don’t look too awful, partly because you can hardly see anything ;).

And, I have enough fabric left to give it another go…

Edited to add back view---not that you can see much (crummy black)

Also, I experimented with a different technique for finishing the hems: incorporating a clear elastic. This is supposed to prevent stretching-out and tunnelling of your twin-needle stitches. I am not totally sold. When I tried to attach the elastic first (with a triple zig-zag) and then fold it under and topstitch with the twin needle, it was impossible to get the elastic to feed at the same rate as the shirt fabric (and I’m not up for sandwiching tissue paper into the mix just for a hem finish) When I just tucked the elastic inside a fold and double-stitched, it worked a bit better but I still didn’t have much control of the elastic tension, and there still seems to be a fair bit of tunneling. We’ll see how it holds up after a few washing, but for the most part I don’t think I’ll bother next time.

On the other hand I’m getting almost good at incorporating the elastic into the neck binding, which looks almost store-bought, at least from the outside. πŸ™‚

Self-Stitched September, Day 6:

Self-Stitched September 6

More goofy poses!

Self-Stitched September 6

Messing around. At least it's sunny!

Two pieces that I didn’t have at the beginning of the month!

Now, if I can just make a topper and maybe another pair of jeans… Oh yeah, and that winter coat.



Filed under Sewing

14 responses to “Lydia struggles

  1. Hey, it’s looking pretty good!

    Hmmm – I’m thinking maybe your bust level is high compared to the pattern, same as your waist – taking a horizontal fold out of the upper bodice but redrawing the armscye the same would have the effect of bringing the fullest part of the shirt up. From what I can guess from the side view, I’d also look into a forward-shoulder adjustment, and a sway-back adjustment (the last one might not be possible without putting a seam into the centre back with a tight fitting shirt – but having excess fabric there isn’t a bad look, just one of my pet peeves since I deal with it all the time!). I can’t tell for sure, but you may eventually end up taking in some of the breadth across the upper back.

    Yeah, I know, so much work for a simple Tshirt, but once you get it… you’ll be like me, adding design elements and whipping up fitting Ts in an afternoon! I’ve recopied my fitted pattern three times in the last 7 years, I’ve used it to death!

    • Thanks for the thoughts! I know I have the swayback, I’m just not particularly interested in doing anything about it in a T-shirt (wovens are a different story, of course). I would’ve sworn I didn’t have forward shoulders, but maybe (or maybe my posture’s just gone to pot in the last year, not at all impossible). I think I will give “petite-ing” the armscye/front a shot, but does that mean I should do the same to the back, too? Oh, whoops, I had a picture of the back I forgot to put in… d’oh!

  2. jadestar003

    Wow, you really are a prolific sewer! I’m impressed. You mentioned poofiness around the shoulder area, and the neckline not sitting right. IS it possible you have sloping shoulders? I can’t tell from the postures as your shoulders are raised due to your pose. If you have sloping shoulders like me the armscye will sit uncomfortably high, and you end up with excess fabric at the top. Also, you get wrinkling below the front shoulders.
    Below is the link to some info on a sloping shoulder adjustments taken from the book ‘the perfect fit’. Don’t know if that helps.

    • If anything I would have said I have straight shoulders (my shoulders are relaxed in the back view… actually in all of them, though the other shots it’s hard to tell anyway). But thanks for the ideas! Sometimes how we think of our bodies is not how they actually are πŸ™‚

  3. Sewista Fashionista

    If you take safety pins and pinch out of the bulging back and do the same to the front,what would the curvature of the pattern look like? Then you can consider if you really want to take the time and trouble to alter this pattern or move on.

    It could be the set of your shoulders but it could be the pattern also. Neckline fit is a big thing for me and I have trashed patterns whose fit was so poor that it meant I was going to have to essentially redraft to get it right. I used to always presume it was some lack on my part, poor fitting or sewing skills, but now I realize that some patterns are not well-made, or they are just not made for me. My local thrift store accepts sewing patterns and I send them on with my best wishes that they find the person whom they will truly flatter.

    • Yeah, I think I will give it one more attempt before I throw in the towel. I’ve seen lots of other, very successful versions of this pattern online, and the thing I like most about it is the possibility for endless variations… but if it’s not the right shape for me, it’s not the right shape for me.

      Thanks again everyone for the comments!

  4. It sounds like it’s too long in the armscye, but I’m not totally convinced that’s the issue… but without seeing it in person, it’s hard to say for sure. I like the idea of pinching it out until it fits how you want and then taking a look to see what happened.

    On the other hand, it looks perfectly adequate in the photos, so it’s definitely wearable, right? Which is always a plus… doesn’t make it any happier in terms of perfecting fit, but you did get a nice top.

    Sorry, I’m not really TRYING to sounds boring and pedantic, I’m just tired. πŸ™‚

    • LOL. It is wearable—I wore it all yesterday and am actually wearing it again today—it’s so nice to have a long, warm top to layer cuter, summery ones over. Because it is definitely not summer here any more. 😦

      I have a feeling it’s a combination of a long armscye/different sleeve cap shape than I want/and my reckless lowering of the neckline. πŸ˜‰

  5. Zena

    I’m a fitting noob, but I’m thinking there’s something up with the armscye. If the armscye is smaller (closer fit), then you get more range of motion. Compare that to an oversized T-shirt, where if you lift your arms the whole shirt comes along for the ride.

  6. Marie-Christine

    An easy thing to think about… most patterns, and currently Burda, are meant for a B cup. From the photos, it doesn’t seem to be the case :-). What you need is an SBA (small bust adjustment), which includes length as well as witdth. Check out the slapdash sewist for that specifically, and then check out Debbie Cooks tutorials it’s easy to adjust – every time she adds, you take away :-).
    I think that’s probably all that ails you, really.

    • I am definitely an SBA candidate, though I like to claim I’m a “small B” (I’ve certainly never met an A-cup bra that fit). I’ll give the shirt a try later with my bullet-proof bra (which brings me into full B territory πŸ˜‰ ) and see if that helps. πŸ™‚

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