American Duchess Cape Sewalong - Mockup & Alterations - Due 10/24

Discussion in 'Costume/Cosplay' started by Melearlin Valar, Oct 11, 2020.

  1. Melearlin Valar

    Melearlin Valar Aes Sedai

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    Now that you’ve got a pattern, it’s time to test out the fit! This is always the most time consuming part of any sewing, which is why we’ve given this bit more time.

    To save yourself some time, let’s make sure the pattern is as perfect as possible first. We’re going to do some professional pattern making here :)

    Label all your pieces with the relevant information, so if you want to make this again in 2 years you don’t have to puzzle anything out.
    1. Name of the pattern
    2. Which pattern piece it is
    3. How many pieces of it you’ll need to cut of which fabrics
    4. Whether or not there is seam allowance
    5. Any relevant pattern markings (like noting if an edge should be placed on a fold, or notches for matching pattern pieces)
    6. the grainline (which whoops you'll notice my pattern is missing. This should just be a double sided arrow parallel to the grain)
    [[​IMG]

    Now, we’ll want to ensure you have a perfect pattern to work with.

    1. Trueing the seam lines. Wherever you have two pieces that will be sewn together, make sure the seams are the same length. Note, this is a lot easier if your pattern doesn’t have seam allowance, since you can just match up the edges (and also why I prefer drafting without seam allowance generally). If you do have seam allowance, make sure to subtract it! Or if your paper is transparent enough like mine, you can lay the seams on top of each other.

    You can see my shoulder piece was somehow way off here!

    [​IMG]

    I taped a piece of paper underneath the shorter one, and split the difference in fixing the line (so the longer one became a bit shorter and the shorter a bit longer, rather than doing all the changes to one seam. The new seamline is highlighted in red. Don't forget to fix your seam allowance as well!

    [​IMG]

    2. Checking angles.
    Where your pattern should have right angles (like the bottom of the front wrap), use a square edge of some kind to check. If it’s not a right angle, make it be one.

    [​IMG]

    3. Where pieces should connect into a smooth curve (e.g. the neckline), make sure they do indeed form a smooth curve and not something with a kink or sharp corner where they join (e.g. at the shoulder).

    Now it’s muslin time! I'll come back to edit this post tomorrow with fitting issues to look for in the muslin, because I need to sew mine together and take pictures for that :look But this is enough to get started until then.
     
  2. Melearlin Valar

    Melearlin Valar Aes Sedai

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    Now it’s muslin time! You probably don’t have to cut the full length if you don’t want to, as it’s the shoulder fit and the ties that might need changing. I did cut mine the full length because I was having some weirdness of length vs notches, and I did two different things for the two sides to compare.

    Remember, use your machine’s longest stitch length for a muslin, to make it easy to seam rip if you need changes!

    1) Check the shoulders. Is the seam hitting at just the edge of the shoulder? (Or close enough for your satisfaction?)

    If it’s not and you would like some advice, post some pictures here of how it fits. (Or if you already made the change, share your pictures for others!) I have extremely narrow shoulders, so I'm leaving it as is (or possible moving the shoulder point up, which I have seen from literally no one else) but I suspect a lot of folx will need to move the shoulder point out.

    2) The wrap is sitting on top of your bust instead of over it. This is probably the trickiest alteration to make; so I’m only going to demo this if someone needs it ;) But if you do please speak up, and I’m happy to post some pictures!

    Here’s someone on instagram who did a change with the angle of the front wrap to make it sit nicer over the bust: https://www.instagram.com/p/CEiRoIDpSFG/

    3) Check the wrap length in back. If you need it shorter, don’t do anything, we’ll chop it off in the actual fabric. If you need it longer, extend the edge. If you add enough length that drawing out your dart legs would make them start to overlap, you will need to draw new darts. I would keep the opening width at the end the same, and then draw a new line from the end of the dart back to the original point. (again let me know if you need pictures). You can also have a margin of adjustability by planning to do your closure with ties instead of hooks and eyes.

    If you are a larger woman (either very full busted, or plus size in general), check out this video, where a lovely costumer made a number of alterations to suit that figure: (skip over all the non-wrap content, which is just annoying)

    We'd love to see all pictures of muslins, especially if you are making alterations, to show other folks how it's done!
     
  3. Adina al'Mari

    Adina al'Mari Aes Sedai

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    I basically don't know what any of this means, except that I apparently need to go buy muslin. :p Do we do the whole thing, both layers, or just one layer to test things out? And if its just one, is it better to do the inside or outside layer?
     
  4. Melearlin Valar

    Melearlin Valar Aes Sedai

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    It doesn't have to be muslin fabric, just any fabric of similar weight lying around! (e.g. not stretch fabric, not chiffon) I know folks that like to use old sheets from goodwill. I buy bolts from Joann when I can get a good sale or coupon.

    For this, I would only do one layer since you don't need both layers to get a sense of the fit. The inside and outside are the exact same pattern pieces, so it doesn't really matter which you call it?
     
  5. Melearlin Valar

    Melearlin Valar Aes Sedai

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    Ok, here are pictures of my first muslin. The front is not so bad!

    [​IMG]

    It's hitting at around the tip of my shoulder. When I move around it it sometimes ends up a bit beyond the shoulder point, but not enough for me to care about fixing it. Please note, I have extremely narrow shoulders. Nearly everyone I saw on instagram needed to add some width there to make the shoulder hit the right point. So if you are average-pattern sized, you can decide whether or not it bothers you. If you are bigger than that, you will definitely need to make that change. I can post some pictures on how to do that later.

    [​IMG]

    The back neck is a little gappy, but again not enough for me to care to fix it:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Here's where it's doing something a bit odd though. When I have the wrap lying completely smooth over my bust, the wraps just angle straight down and don't make it anywhere near meeting in the back:
    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Here's where I hike it up to make them meet in the back (and I've tied and pinned it with a ribbon, as they just barely meet and would probably be too tight over an actual period dress. I'm going to use silk ribbon ties to allow for size flexibility on my final one as well rather than hooks and eyes). Doing that is causing some serious gaping in the front. I haven't quite figured out where to fix this yet. If I put the dart in the place it wants to be, it crosses over the original darts, and I would have to sew them in a curve. I want to see if I can change the angle at the shoulder in such a way that I don't have to change anything about the darts.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    You can also see that this goes a bit beyond my fingertips. I haven't decided if I want to shorten it at all, or if I like the longer proportion.
     
  6. Adina al'Mari

    Adina al'Mari Aes Sedai

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    Oof, you weren't kidding about that lady talking a lot! :lol The most helpful bits for me were about 34 min. to 45ish in, where she's working on the mockup. Now I know I am going to add some extra width to the back for sure, and some length on the front to go around me. Overall, I am really unsure about that front. It does not seem like it fits actual humans properly, no matter how they're shaped. Has anyone come up with a solution to the gaping issue so that it will lay flat and snug?
     
  7. Elia LePhant

    Elia LePhant Aes Sedai

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    I feel like the shape of the wrap arms needs to change. Like more of a curve along the inner side? I dunno I still haven’t made my mock-up so I’ll see when doing it.
     
  8. Melearlin Valar

    Melearlin Valar Aes Sedai

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    Yeah, I think this was not really made for people with substantial boobs. Since for that you really do need the top of the wrap to be shorter than the bottom seam of the wrap, which means a curved piece instead of a straight piece. Which means you have curved darts instead of straight darts. Pain in the ass basically :tug I'm still trying to see if I can do without that since I'm not super busty, but we'll see.
     
  9. Melearlin Valar

    Melearlin Valar Aes Sedai

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    Ok, I finally sucked it up and made some alterations to my pattern, and will demo here.

    I pinned out where the fabric was gaping. You can see I ended up with two darts, one dead center and one near my neck. This just takes a little playing around to see where the fabric wants to go.
    [​IMG]

    And here you can see it in the flat:
    [​IMG]

    Use a pen to draw on your fabric where your pins are on BOTH SIDES of the pin, this way you will know where the dart needs to end up. I also marked where the end of the dart fold would be on the edge.
    [​IMG]

    You are going to want to transfer these alterations to your paper pattern. The reason my lines go all the way to the other end is because I don't want to have these darts in my final pattern. I want to draft them out. The dart near my neck clearly needed to go all the way to the end. The one in the middle didn't really do that (you can see the gapping only really extended to the first pattern dart), but I know it will take out such a narrow amount at the other end that it won't really matter.
    [​IMG]

    The fun part of pattern drafting! Get out your scissors and tape! I want to get rid of this dart, so I cut along one leg, and then I'll just scootch it over until the legs meet, which essentially gets rid of the dart. Tape it closed. (Way easier to understand by looking at the pictures than by words)
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I did the same for the other dart near the shoulder. When overlapping the legs for this one, you can see the legs weren't the same length, so I have this missing piece of the pattern. Tape a bit of paper underneath the gap, and draw in a new smooth line.
    [​IMG]

    Here is the final pattern piece. I used a french curve to smooth out the kinks in the darts that are left, but you could also just eyeball it because you still want those to be straight seams and not have corners. The whole front wrap is now a bit curved, and my darts are a bit curved as well, instead of all straight lines. This makes this more of a pain in the ass when transferring to fabric, because I'll need to mark out all those curves. (Normally for darts you can just mark the tip and the ends, and use a ruler to draw a straight line between them). I might also end up just redrawing the darts as straight lines, because so little curve was added, and hope that the curved wrap piece is good enough.
    [​IMG]

    Now I need to cut out these new fronts in muslin and sew it up to see if they actually work or not. This is why fitting is the most time consuming step! Worth it for a final garment that you know is going to fit though.
     
  10. Adina al'Mari

    Adina al'Mari Aes Sedai

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    Ok, here we go.

    I watched the video Melelleleleeee provided, and right off the bat added 2 inches to the back piece before doing any fabric cutting.
    [​IMG]
    I am quite happy with how the shoulders turned out. They sit nicely and it feels balance. I did not mess around with anything but the back width.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I've never really sewn from a pattern before, so I am no expert, but somewhere in this pattern I think there is a mistake. When I had hubs do the photoshop thing and then printed, the page with the sleeve came out at about 7/8in. instead of an inch, which of course made it too small. So then we did some math, and corrected the printing size so that it would equal 1 in. like the other bits. Doing that, however, meant that the cape sleeves are two inches longer than the cape back, which is weird. Its also the same problem the woman had in the video, (she talks about it around 42min. in) so I am blaming the pattern. :p I added some scrap fabric to make up the difference after the fact, and have now made the correction to my paper.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Also, I left the front pieces much longer before I even cut anything, since I have plenty of bust, and I haven't darted them yet.
    [​IMG]
    I am honestly toying with not darting them at all. I don't like the weird way it hits on anyone really, let alone busty women like me, and would much prefer it to lay like this, high and tight.
    [​IMG]
    Not sure how to make that happen without just leaving it alone. Plus, I also kind of like it when the pieces are just hanging down, its almost like a cape/poncho thing, which is another mark on the side of leaving things alone. So we will see.

    The sleeves are longer than my fingertips, which I am okay with, and will adjust a tiny bit when I hem the final piece.
    [​IMG]

    Other than accidentally sewing my collar on upside down, this came together easier than I was expecting. My main concern for the "real" thing is that I've picked a super slippery, light weight sheer fabric. I am not sure how it will feel and sit when its all put together or if I will need to make any further changes with it at that time...

    I'd love to hear any thoughts/suggestions you may have.
     
  11. Melearlin Valar

    Melearlin Valar Aes Sedai

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    The shoulders look great!

    Remember if you added fabric to the center back, you will need to add the same amount to the center of the collar.

    I also had some weirdness with the back length vs shoulders - if I matched the notches, the length at the back had about 2" difference. If I matched the back, the notches were off. I think I ended up going with matching the back and juts moving the notches.

    That's looking really nice without the darts. The darts could potentially get rid of that fold along the bottom of your bust, but only if you care! You could also make those pieces just taper along the edge to be narrower in the back. But if you are working with a lighter fabric, I think it's fine to leave it as is. I wouldn't recommend it with a heavy fabric, where the folds of extra fabric might get bulky.
     
  12. Melearlin Valar

    Melearlin Valar Aes Sedai

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    Deadline here is a bit flexible, since I'm still fiddling with my mockup and therefore can't start cutting my real material to show pictures for the next step :look

    If anyone else has moved on, let me know and I can start the next post, it will just link to a lot more youtube videos than pictures.

    My changes look pretty good, but there are still two things I'm deciding on:

    It's way less gappy than before, but I'm still getting an unusual fold or excess up by the shoulder, and I'm not sure if that's due to needing more fitting, or because humans cause fabric wrinkles when they move:
    [​IMG]

    The shoulder seams are also falling really far down my back. (this happens to me in a lot of patterns, and I haven't figured out what body quirk of mine is causing it). It's possible this is a remnant of being an edwardian pattern, because victorian patterns put the shoulder seam on the back of the shoulder and not on top like modern ones. Or it's possible I've got a fitting issue. This is at least easy to fix, just chop off some of the front shoulder and tape it to the back shoulder.
    [​IMG]

    Update: I decided I'm going to go fairly dramatic with the alterations instead of just changing the shoulder seam. It feels like it hits better when the whole thing is hiked forward and down. Which means the back neck needs to be cut a bit deeper (which will shorten the neck-> shoulder length as well), the collar needs to be trimmed (so it doesn't sit so far towards CF) and the wrap needs to be cut down so it crosses at a more flattering point

    Sigh, this was supposed to be a fast and easy project. If I wasn't using one of the most treasured fabrics in my stash (wool satin!) I would have just called it here and sewed it up already.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2020
  13. Laralelle Susandrea

    Laralelle Susandrea Aes Sedai

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    Quick post to say I already found two idiotic and boneheaded mistakes, but that's why we use muslin first! :desk Back to the machine!:sword

    Ok, I'm not particularly busty, but I am awfully big. The front needs to be much longer!! I don't know if I want darts or not, so I'll lengthen the front piece and try again, see if that makes a difference in the darts.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2020
  14. Laralelle Susandrea

    Laralelle Susandrea Aes Sedai

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    Length fixed, time to double check my notches and what not (remember those boneheaded mistakes? That was mistake number 1) and cut to the real fabric. I was trying to get this done before the new year, but I have a friend coming over tomorrow and staying for New Year's, and she's sleeping in my craft room. I'll need to stop and clean up at some point.