Monday, August 3, 2015

Running a Little Behind...Construction of B5997

Hello, Friends!  I know I am running behind getting this post up.  I have been in back to school mode for the last two weeks, and it seems like everything has revolved around that.  Somewhere in the middle of all that, we took a long weekend to celebrate my husband's birthday!  It has all been kind of a whirlwind.

As for the construction of B5997, here goes!

After reading about Mary's trials and tribulations while making this shirt on Idle Fancy and the Curvy Sewing Collective, I formed a plan.  I decided to use the Hugh Jass sleeves aka View D, but removed 4 inches from the width of the sleeve to get rid of that hideous puff at the shoulder.

B5997 folded to remove 4 inches of sleeve width

Then to reshape the shoulder edge of the sleeve, I used the sleeve from View B, to round the sleeve off nicely.

B5997 Sleeve being reshaped

Then, I just trimmed off the excess, and my new sleeve shape was born.  I was worried that I may have messed up the size of the sleeve at the armcsye, but I have to say this was probably one of the easiest sleeves I have ever set in.  Did I mention that this shirt was constructed with French seams?

B5997 Trimmed Sleeve

The lower edge of the sleeve also needed reshaping and I just chose to do that by eye.

B5997 Freehand trimming the lower sleeve edge.

B5997 Trimmed Lower Sleeve Edge

After getting my sleeve situation worked out, it was time to move on to the body of the tunic.  I had decided to use View A for the body with the gathered yoke shoulder.  As much as I love the look of pintucks, with the way my machine has been acting up, I was not sure that sewing pintucks was a good idea.

I was working from the size 24, but needed to add 1.5 inches to the bust (I decided to add a total of 3 inches for ease) and 12 inches at the hips.  I did a sort of modified FBA, that included adding the hip width all in one step.

To begin with, I drew my cutting lines on the pattern.  Because I needed to keep the armscye shape the same, and I wanted to keep the upper width that would connect to the yoke the same, I decided to hinge my pattern right at the corners of the armscye.

B5997 Adjustment Lines

After cutting the pattern on these lines, I taped the pattern to the table with the adjustments of +.75 inches at the bust line, and and +3 inches at the hip.  Over 4 seams that results in 3 inches at the bust and 12 inches at the hips.

B5997 Adjusted and Taped

Once the adjustments were made, I laid my Swedish tracing paper over top of the pattern and traced the outer edges, adjusting the bottom of the pattern to the correct shape.

B5997 Getting traced/being redrawn

This is the finished front pattern piece adjusted for my dimensions, and then reshaped at the bottom. When you adjust a pattern it is very important to transfer all the pattern markings to the correct places.

B5997 Finished Front Pattern Piece

Next up, I adjusted the back pattern piece with the same procedure as was used for the front pattern piece.  You will note that on the back piece there was no overlap between the armscye triangle and the lower right section.  Back pieces are shaped slightly different that front pieces (obviously), and in truth I probably could have drawn one line from the top of the armscye to the lower hem and adjusted the piece that way.  It just felt a bit more consistent to do the adjustment this way.

B5997 Back Pattern Piece Adjustment

This is the finished back piece.  Again, very important to transfer all those pattern markings.  Sorry, I didn't take a picture of the full piece.

B5997 Back Pattern Piece Adjusted and Marked

So, those were the adjustments that I made to Butterick's B5997 to make it better fit my plus size shape.

I would like to make this pattern in a sleeveless version, but will probably wait til next warm sewing season to do that.  I do intend to make a few more versions of this for the Fall.  Maybe if my machine will behave I will even make the pintuck version.  Some changes I will make:  I would like to add a little more fullness to the sleeve at the bicep.  Only maybe a half inch, and I would also like to open the armscye up about .75 inches.  Two minor tweaks that I think will make for a bit better fit through the biceps.  I can also see banding the sleeve now that we have taken the puffiness out.  I put a rubber band around the bottom of the sleeve to see how it would look, and I think that this is just the right amount of fullness for banding.

As touched on earlier, I used French seam construction for the entire garment, and finished my sleeves and hem with machine rolling.  In future makes of this pattern, I will continue to use the French seams (they just worked beautifully for this, even the gathers at the yoke went in like a dream) but will hand turn my hems.  Even with careful attention, I still have a slight ripple effect on the hem.

Just like Mary mentioned in her review, make sure to stay stitch your collar and v-neck edges, they can easily stretch.  Really, do it as soon as you cut the fabric!

All in all, I really like this pattern and am happy that I took the time to make the necessary adjustments.  This is the epitome of my style and I know it will get plenty of use.

So tell me friends, how do you go about drawing your pattern adjustments?  Do you trace, or put the pattern on top and draw around it?  Maybe you just add more paper to the actual pattern?


  1. WOW! Someone close to me in size/shape! I'm going to have to binge-read your blog.

    1. Welcome to Pandora Sews, Makingtheflame! I am always happy to hear that I am not the only one this size. Now, I am headed over to binge read your blog! ;)

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. "and in truth I probably could have drawn one line from the top of the armscye to the lower hem and adjusted the piece that way."

    The way you made your alteration keeps the grainline integrity better. It's subtle but sometimes just the little things in sewing make a big difference in fit/drape, etc.

    Sorry to hear your sewing machine isn't feeling well. :-(

    1. You are exactly right, Debbie. My machine has been naughty a lot lately. It may be time for an upgrade!

  4. Thanks for the construction tutorial. I've never done this before which is probably the reason none of my garments fit. I've bookmarked this for future reference. I think I'll try this on a real simple top.

    1. Thanks, Elle3270! I hope you are able to do this and get a great fitting top. If you need any help along the way, I am always happy to (at least try) helping!

  5. I have to do a load of adjustments too but it is really worth it for a good fit. I never cut my patterns and always trace them onto pattern paper, adding in strips. I am left with pieces with a whole lot of sellotape on them but it is worth it. Thanks for the tutorial. Xx