Princess seams & jackets

I've spent at least one entire winter's worth of sewing on jackets or cardigans which still don't work on me after three iterations.  I never want to see McCalls 6844 again in my life, and I'm over the Muse Patterns Jenna cardigan as well.  But winter is always cold, and so the project is reincarnated.  Last year I had a go at McCalls 6898 (below right).  It is a blouse with princess seams and cup sizes.  The first version was unwearable, but I did learn useful things, like how short my arms really are and that I can need a full bust adjustment AND something new to me called a hollow chest adjustment on the same body.  The same neighbouring parts of the body, no less.  The next version is the white one below left, and that was quite successful and has been worn.  I did buy some beautiful liberty fabric on sale to make another version and then cut into it for a short-cut dress that I'm not so sure fits.  Cut in haste, repent at leisure...

From that pattern, I learnt the following about princess seams on me: use the D cup, drop the bust point, scoop out the top hollow part and make room for sagginess beneath the bust point (we could go for 'lower fullness' as a preferable term).

Now I am going to apply that knowledge to a jacket pattern.  I did buy a jacket pattern without cup sizes, but making bust room from scratch was too daunting and I had to go pattern shopping again.  So, the new project is McCalls 7288, view D but with the shawl collar:

I bought black merino on sale from The Fabric Store, thinking that a structured jacket in soft merino could give me cardigan-level wearing comfort but without so much sloppiness.  When it arrived (the risks of ordering over the phone), the right side up was quite flat.

But I had a plan.  It's time for the saga of the black velvet skirt.

It's 2003.  I have a baby only weeks old, my body has changed in ways that are not predictable, my lifestyle has transformed and I need some more clothes.  I vomited so much while pregnant that I am indeed lighter than before, but that isn't entirely the joyous occasion I might have predicted.  I can't try on tops when they might not fit and they might get milk stains on them.  I can't try on clothes while wearing my baby, and few changing rooms fit a pushchair.  One day I bought a skirt at Tescoes because they had a changing room big enough to put my son into the baby seat of the trolley and put the entire trolley in the changing room.  I'm not sure I want to continue this method of dressing myself.

So when I get to New Zealand (from London, baby tour of the relatives), and Mum comes shopping with me and can look after my son by the changing room, it's a very special occasion.  I buy an orange shirt which I wear until it has holes in it, and I buy this gorgeous black hippy-night-out skirt.  Which I don't wear until it has holes in it because the basque waist is not so forgiving as the oversized orange shirt.

Fourteen years later, I have cut up the skirt into its various component fabric parts, and I have added some of them to the lustre-less merino, as with the back yoke below:

In addition to the Sandra-shaping around the bust, I have also shortened sleeves and shortened the neck to back-waist measurement.

More to come.  I forgot how long it takes to write a blog post.


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