Monday, September 13, 2010

Seamingly Dartless

In the September issue of Burda, there was an article showing how to combine garments from the current and past issues. When I saw a favorite blouse #121 from the July issue combined with a great skirt #116 from the Sept. issue, and styled with a belt and shoes similar to those I have, I knew what I would sew next.
The blouse is loose fitting with extended shoulders and short sleeves gathered onto bands. This style is not typically a good one for me. The lack of shoulder seams, i.e., the extended shoulder, emphasizes my smaller, sloped shoulders in an unflattering way. But this version of the blouse featured three rows of tightly gathered strips sewn parallel to the shoulder seam, adding texture and bulk to the shoulder area. I absolutely love the blouse. I made it in inexpensive soft woven rayon. I wish I had made it in a silk. The instructions on finishing the edges of the ruffle strips was a new method for me. First the hem was folded to the wrong side of the strip on both long edges. Working from the front side, stitch along the folded edge using a narrow zig zag stitch. Turn over the strip and trim away excess hem fabric close to stitching. This seemed a little "unfinished" to me, but I tried it anyway and it seemed to work. I am curious if there will be fraying when the blouse is washed.

The skirt is a narrow pencil skirt with the shaping done through curved seams that wrap around the body. I was so impressed with the lovely shape of these curved seams and the way they shaped the fabric from the waist to the hips and over the rear. And also totally intimidated by the work that would be required if alternations were required to this pattern. I was fairly sure I knew how to draft this pattern from a standard darted skirt sloper and I was planning to do that if the muslin didn’t fit well. Fortunately it fit fine. The only tweaks required were around the waistline to make the skirt hang straight from my uneven hips and over my flat butt. Both for the muslin and for the final garment, I was very careful and precise tracing the pattern, adding seam allowances and sewing the seams. It went together beautifully. The curves are very gentle and I did not have any problem sewing them together. Burda provided a separate lining pattern piece for the front that was shaped by darts. So that the lining does not require all the seaming of the front fashion fabric pieces. And I used the lining to work backwards and confirm how the skirt was drafted.

What struck me about both these garments is that the garment shaping or dart control was in the seams. On the blouse the horizontal seam on the front actually contains a small bust dart.

The skirt is a masterpiece of darts incorporated into seams; both the front and back waistline darts as well as the side seam dart. In addition the skirt is tapered by actually drafting the vertical seams slightly inward at the hem combined with a horizontal dart at the hip line. Below are my notes and diagrams on how I would have drafted the skirt.