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The Queen of Sew

Makes a Blouse -- A Fitting Tale

By Shirley Cunningham, For the Fit of It

(The Queen of Sew is a fictional character created by Shirley Cunningham. She calls upon the Court Fitter  to provide answers to her sewing problems. If you would like the court fitter to address your particular sewing or fitting problem, contact For the Fit of It.)

Once upon a time the Queen of Sew made a blouse. Before she cut, she measured and checked the pattern to make sure there was just the right amount allowed in the pattern for her bust and hips. All was well, so she stitched and trimmed, pressed and stitched some more. When it was finished she held it up and admired her work. All was well, then she tried it on. Oh, no! The bust and hips were right, just as she had planned but what was wrong with the neck? The front neck hung away. This would never do. The Queen of Sew was greatly disturbed, so she called for the Court Fitter and presented her problem.

QUEEN OF SEW’S PROBLEM: "Why does the front of my blouse stand away at the neck instead of laying smooth? What did I do wrong?"

COURT FITTER’S ANSWER: "You did nothing wrong. Sometimes there are mistakes in the pattern. In order for the neckline curve to lay flat and smooth on any design regardless of the style, the distance from the center front to the shoulder/neckline intersection must equal the distance from the center back to shoulder/neckline intersection of the back."

COURT FITTER’S SOLUTION: Before cutting any garment, draw onto the front and the back pattern the stitching line for the shoulder and the neckline curve. To check the accuracy of the pattern, place the center front line of the pattern on top of the center back line. Keeping the centers on top of one another, slide the front pattern until the front shoulder stitching line is on top of the back shoulder stitching line at the neck area. With the centers and the shoulders on top of one another, the shoulder/neckline intersections should match.

If this is not the case, SOLVE THE PROBLEM  by redrawing the pattern's shoulder/neckline intersections. This redrawing will require using equal amounts and adding to one intersection while removing from the other. To maintain the shoulder length, you will also have to redraw the shoulder/armhole intersections in the same way, adding to the shoulder when you removed length at the neck and subtracting when you added length. DO NOT BE ALARMED IF THESE DIFFERENCES ARE GREAT. Sometimes it happens in the manufacturing of a pattern. So you do not have this problem again, you must take the responsibility of checking and redrawing before you cut. Don’t be afraid to make a change. This type of redraw does not change the size of a neck, it only perfects the cut.

More information on For the Fit of It


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