Sunday, April 10, 2011

Weekend Project: Paying the Piper

The difference between death and taxes is
death doesn't get worse every time Congress meets.
~ Will Rogers

Most of the weekend was spent working on our taxes... Although, I felt less pressure than I expected, thanks to Lois letting me know that we all have a small extension this year - to April 18th. Thanks, Lois! I'm not sure how I missed that bit of information, but it was welcome news! ;)

I didn't get to any actual sewing, but I did do some research in preparation for a second attempt on copying my RTW top. There were 2 issues that kept my first attempt from being a true success.

The first - which I mentioned in last weekend's post - was the neckline. You may remember that the neck band didn't lay nicely. (Picture here - scroll down to bottom of post.) Thank you to Debbie, Katherine and Barbara for the advice on fixing this problem - their suggestions matched the information that I was able to find in my assorted sewing books.

Basically, depending on the source of information (and presumably on the type of material you are working with and possibly the phase of the moon - although none of my books explained the exact "whys") you can cut the neck band anywhere from the same length as the opening to one third shorter than the opening.

Next time, I think I'm going to split the difference between the 2 extremes and go for about 12-15% shorter. OR, I may follow Barbara's advice and just fold the neckline under and skip the neck band... We'll see...

There was a second issue with my first version that I didn't mention last week - too much sleeve fabric bunched up under the arms.

At first I thought I'd just re-stitch the underarm seam and take in some of the fabric. But then I thought that I probably should look into it, to make sure that this was a reasonable thing to do...

Turns out, it may be a bit more complicated than that. It looks like the steepness of the sleeve cap is the controlling variable - and the "no such thing as a free lunch" variable is your ability to lift your arm up freely.

This appears to be the relationship:

1. Steep sleeve cap = little fabric bunched up under the arms = restricted movement
2. Flat sleeve cap = a lot of fabric bunched up under the arms = free movement

I confirmed this bit of wisdom (at least, to my satisfaction) by comparing the sleeve pattern I copied from my RTW top (below) to the sleeve pattern from a commercial t-shirt pattern (above) that I have sewn.

See the difference in the steepness of the sleeve cap? Sure enough, the commercial pattern sleeves have no excess fabric under the arms, and do not allow for free arm movement overhead.

So, I think that my second version is going to include a happy medium between these 2 extremes. I may have to modify the arm holes a bit to work with the new sleeve cap. We'll see...

Hopefully I'll get to version #2 next weekend, and if so, I'll definitely post some pictures to show you how my modifications work out. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

It's funny how a "fast and easy" project is turning out to be such a learning experience for me. Funny and kind of cool... ;)

I hope you had a wonderful sewing weekend!


debbie said...

An addition to your sleeve cap info. The higher sleeve cap doeasn't really restrict arm movement. It's the depth of the underarm seam. In other words, if the underarm seam is up against you armpit you'll have greater movement than if it hangs down too far. It's especially true in a knit. In my experience 1/2" below the pit is the most comfortable for a knit and knits are pretty much all I work with now!

The especially flat sleeve cap you show is more the type seen in a dropped shoulder where there is a much looser fit and therefore less restriction in the shoulder area.