A New System~

January 10, 2020 0 Comments

Dear Diary~

After going for a few months hearing nothing from me, here we are, two posts in one day. This is what it’s like when the SewJo returns. Always on a tear, her, and with a vengeance.

Like I said earlier, I’m going to make up the Hey June Cheyenne Tunic.

But I’m in a hurry. I need it Sunday evening. So. What to do? The old system was to copy the pattern, make changes by over-laying my shower curtain bloc on top to make a better copy. Then make a muslin, check the fit-with or without more changes, and sew it up in fashion fabric. I’ll talk a little about tracing one size for the bust and grading to the next size down for the hips when I get to it, but because this is a new way of doing things, instead of grading down, I actually added the Magic Inch into the seam allowances. Just in cases. You just never know.

I don’t have time with this top right now for experimenting with one size here and another size there, especially with a new system. I warn ya, this is going to be a picture heavy post, because if this works…even if I need to tweak it some here or there…I need to clearly cement this process.

I started out with a clean sheet of pattern paper, of course, laid down the pattern and then put my clear bloc over the top and proceeded to trace. So far so good~

For the correct size, I chose the one closest to my bloc at the bust. In my head, I’m remembering every sewist I follow write about choosing the pattern size according to your bust size. As mentioned, I could very well have graded down to the next size at the hips, but one step at a time. It may very well be that I end up doing that very thing, but for right now, I’ll do it after I sew it up and see where it needs to be taken in. I’ve read about sewists cutting out one size at the bust and grading to next size down at the hips. I can see it clearly here but I want to wait and make alteration later. That extra half inch at the seam allowances will really come in handy when I have to take everything in!!!

Here is my traced out pattern next to the original. Right off the bat, I knew I had a problem. Because the original pattern doesn’t have a bust dart maybe? Here’s the problem–the side seams are beautifully straight and even. Fold in the bust dart? They will not agree afterwards. I promise. There will be a huge gap. It’s really see hard to see here, but the original non-agreeable seam lines are the ones above the dart that curve inwards towards the body of the blouse. The lines that kinda sorta line up correctly are the ones I drew in to make the side seam lines meet. I was too busy trying to figure out how to do this to take pics of this step, but I taped the center front down aligning it up against a ruler line on my cutting mat, folded the dart together, taped it in place, put a sheet of paper under it and drew new lines in where they should be to meet the seam lines below the bust dart.

The little wedge of paper are the new seam lines: pattern line, my regular 1/2” seam allowance and another 1/2” after that to make the whole 1” SA. When taped onto the pattern piece, the new side seam lines now agree nicely. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt I will have to take this in once I get it sewed up, due to the extra seam allowance but that’s ok. Better to have to take it in than it not be big enough.

Now when the bust dart is folded, the side seams agree and are playing nicely with one another.

And Bob’s your uncle. It’s good.

What I’m not sure about is if and how badly this will skew the sleeve. We’ll see. It shouldn’t. I left the actual armsceyes alone, but will that extra 1/2” added to the side SA extend the armsceyes out by an extra 1/2”? Do I need to add the Magic Inch to the sleeve seams? Or just 1/2”? I need to give this a really good think tonight.

Now the back bodice, same process. I ended up choosing the same size as the front.

One small issue was to work in where to place the yoke in relation to the bodice bloc. I just inserted the yoke pattern piece under the plastic bloc, lined it up at the shoulders and used the tracing wheel to draw the line at the bottom of the yoke piece. That marked the top of the lower back bodice. Easy Peasy.

The lower back bodice pattern~

Repeated the same step to create the yoke piece. Then I put the yoke and the front bodice together to see if the front and back necklines agree. They didn’t. The back yoke neck line is a good 1”-1.5” longer than the front bodice. So I went to work on that. And that, my friend, is why seamstresses make muslins. To catch misfits like these before you go and waste good fashion fabric. Now…I’m getting nervous.



The longer, flatter line is from the mark matching the front bodice neckline to the center back. Ya just snip it out. And now the neckline matches up nicely!! Before I cut the excess off, I looked at the printed pattern’s back yoke piece and the shape of that neckline closely resembles the change I made here. 


The lower back bodice and yoke piece are working for me:

The only other pattern pieces I need are the front button placket and the pocket. I’ll use my sleeve bloc since it naturally matches my bodice bloc pieces and I duplicated the armsceyes exactly from my blocs. I saw there were some neck facings in the printed pattern. I doubt I’ll use those. I usually do small baby facings on all my necklines but in case it’s important here, I’ll just create one using the pattern I just traced out since I relied more on my bloc. I don’t know if the placket pattern piece will work since I worked from my bloc, but I traced and cut it out anyway just for drill. I’ll burn that bridge when I cross it.

So, as they say, this works on paper. Tomorrow, I’ll cut the fabric and baste it together to double check the fit. I’m really curious to see how well this works, if it works at all without a muslin. I would sew more if I didn’t have to do all the pattern work and sew up test muslins. Oh, it’s important and much better than sewing up something that doesn’t fit in fashion fabric, thereby wasting it, but it’s a lot of work. If I can make this method work, I’ll be a happy camper. The lesson I might very well learn, however, could be that one always makes a muslin. I’m hopeful, tho, I’ve got a bit of grace because the pattern is loose fitting. Which makes it a forgiving pattern.

Speaking of fashion fabric, here’s my intended target.


It’s very odd here. The red is a truer color in the darker pic, it’s a deep ruby red. And the blue/gray flannel is truer in the lighter color. I’m going to sew up the placket in the ruby red. I like the combo.

But I’ll tell you. Now that I’m writing about all this, the minutia is getting in my head and I’m getting more and more nervous about not making a muslin. I may change my mind and make the muslin and plan on wearing something else Sunday night. It would be a shame to waste that flannel. And that’s that. 


Jyps 🦋 

January 12, 2020

Jypsea Rose