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Back in Wadderville

2012 November 6
by elizabeth_admin

I was pretty psyched when I woke this morning and thought I had a winner just waiting to be hemmed and neckline bound.  But boy was my pride in for a reckoning.  Man.  I am pretty down right now.  But let me back up a little…

The next muslin I made for my ASOS knockoff was the Burda raglan knit top in sz 38 and an FBA with the bust dart rotated out to the side seam.  I used Debbie’s tutorial for this FBA.  I think I managed to get a pretty good fit with this method.


I still had swayback pooling in the back though.  I had tried a method of getting rid of that extra fabric, but my results were not that great.  So I just went ahead without adjusting the back pattern piece.  All of my RTW t-shirts and sweaters do that, so I’m not too axed about it.  To recap, I changed the following for this iteration:

  • Sz 38 with FBA with dart rotated to back seam
  • Raised the neckline about a centimeter
  • used smaller seam allowances on the raglan sleeves

Here’s where it looked like last night before I replaced the knit sleeves for the faux leather sleeves.




Not bad right?  Of course nothing is hemmed yet and I haven’t bound the neckline, but the fit is within acceptable limits.  But then all hell breaks loose when I swap out the knit sleeves for the faux leather ones and add one really wonky looking binding.  Why is it wonky when I own a wondrous coverstitch machine?  Because in my excitement and haste in adding my faux leather sleeves, I forgot that I needed to leave one shoulder seam unsewn to attach the binding.  I had to serge my binding on and then use the coverstitch to top stitch the binding into place.  IT. IS. AWFUL. LOOKING.  I’m almost too embarrassed to show you.  Almost.




Besides the hideous neck binding, you can see that the faux leather sleeves, despite that they are made of stretch faux leather, are not really that stretchy.  So they don’t have the same stretch ability as the double knit thereby making the sleeves much smaller than the double knit sleeves.  This in turn, changes the fit of the whole top because the essence of the raglan sleeve is that it is part of the body of the top (shoulders and part of the neckline/chest area), not just the arm area.  So if they stretch less, this creates less ease in the entire garment.  I obviously didn’t account for that.  And now I know why I shouldn’t have used a faux leather for a raglan sleeve top.  I always learn things the hard way.  Always.  *sigh*

Dare I point out how hideous the neck binding is?  Do you notice how warped it is?  How it stands away from my body like it doesn’t want to touch me?  Yeah, me too.

This top is officially a wadder.  But there is a silver lining folks, thankfully.

I have two knit raglan sleeves left over that can be inserted into another top.  And I just so happen to have some navy double knit.  Maybe I will work on the back pattern piece some more to work out my swayback issues.  If anyone has any other fit suggestions regarding the front or back, please speak up, because I’m about to hop on the train back to Muslin City.

Oh, and one more thing…  I have not given up on ASOS knockoff.  But this time I am going to copy it faithfully and put in set in sleeves.  I have already picked out a pattern.  But that’s a tale for another day.

16 Responses leave one →
  1. November 6, 2012

    Erg. I was going to suggest hacking off the binding (literally, like don’t unpick, just cut it off) and doing a wide double knit band, but that won’t save the sleeves. Still, it might be worth trying it out here, to see if you like it for next time.

  2. annie permalink
    November 6, 2012


  3. November 6, 2012

    Emmmm I like the colour…… Come on, good try! Live and learn and the next one you sew will have us all green with envy.

  4. November 6, 2012

    Gah! How disappointing! Uuugh!

  5. November 6, 2012

    I realize that this is very frustrating (really, I do!) but this is a terrific learning experience. I mean, who knew that the faux leather would react that way with the jersey? You will take the info you’ve gained from this project forward in many ways.

    I agree, though, it SUCKS to invest love and time into a garment that isn’t wearable.

  6. elizabeth_admin permalink*
    November 7, 2012

    I did already make a 3 inch full bust adjustment. I really need more than 3 inches??? Sheesh! I didn’t think the girls were that big.

  7. November 7, 2012

    What a shame the sleeves didn’t work out. I really admire your determination though, I’d have given up long ago!

  8. November 7, 2012

    Here is a link to a great tutorial on swayback adjustments. It explains visually what I tried to cover in my comment on your last post.
    You have a similar figure to mine and you should master this adjustment for better fitting garments.

  9. M-C permalink
    November 7, 2012

    A set-in leather sleeve will fix your problems only if you make sure to have absolutely no ease in the cap.. Otherwise you’ll be even worse off. But also , really, you must work on that lower back, I realize if you’ve had that issue in everything rtw so far in your life it seems like nothing, and it’s hidden (from you) back there, but still.. You’ll be amazed what a difference it can make.

  10. November 7, 2012

    Oh man, frustrating. I hope you get more luck on the next garment you do!

  11. November 7, 2012

    Free advice is worth what you paid for it, but the Asos top works imho because of the set in sleeve. The raglan sleeve doesn’t provide a visual balance for the play with texture. Why not try the Asos knockoff with Renfrew or some other tee block you’ve perfected making changes to the fit of sleeve of course.

    Treena at the Slapdash Sewist does swayback adjustments so her blog may be a good resource – I think she usually has a CB seam to get the adjustment just right.

  12. November 7, 2012

    Oh Bummer! You’re brave for showing your “disappointments” as well as your victories. I’ve learned a lesson through your experience, so thanks!

  13. November 7, 2012

    Sorry it didn’t work out; I was a bit worried when I saw that you were using raglan sleeves instead of set-in for leather. In my experience raglan sleeves offer less mobility and function than set-in. This has to do with the degree of curvature on either side of the sleeve-head for the latter-it offers, particularly in non-stretch/ lower stretch fabrics a higher degree of lateral/diagonal range (approx. 270 degrees).
    I would suggest, again, using set-in sleeves and more importantly, starting with a pattern that you know fits. Every step you take should take into account adjustments (at the most) for one thing. Starting out with a pattern that fits (I would suggest tracing it from an RTW t-shirt that fits well) will eliminate fitting modifications for everything but the sleeves. Re your response to my previous comment: set in sleeves are not hard, just pin the sh*t out of the sleeve head and sew slowly. If you’re really worried pin, hand baste, remove the pins, test for fit and then sew. Re the pooling at the back: fold and pin it out in this version and change your back pattern piece accordingly and incorporate that into the next t-shirt you make (off a similar sloper). This means the only adjustment left will be the sleeves. Best of luck.

  14. November 7, 2012

    Why not salvage the top by taking off the binding and faux leather sleeves, and put back the knit sleeves? It looks like a great top!

    For the swayback adjustment, you need to take a horizontal tuck that’s widest at the center and tapers to nothing at the side seams. You’ll get a nice fit with a center back seam, curving to follow the inward curve of your back. You probably won’t be able to get a really good fit with the back cut on a fold.

  15. November 9, 2012

    Hmm I was thinking about turning the sleeves into t-shirt length sleeves, but if that’s still too tight, take out the sleeves and swap in knit sleeves?

  16. November 13, 2012

    I think Gail has already mentioned this (thanks Gail!) but looking at your side on shot is like looking in a mirror! Our fitting requirements look identical! Anyhow, if you check out this post on my blog:

    You’ll see that my side on shot is near identical to yours in terms of draglines eminating from the bust and pooling fabric in the small of the back. I’ve managed to rectify both problems, and it surprised me in the end how simple it was; and how much happier I was with what I made afterwards. If you can bear to trudge through posts tagged “top draftalong” or “fitting” on my blog, then there’s lots on there you could probably relate to!
    Good luck!

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