New Look 6945 Button Up Top Muslin (pattern review)

New Look 69 45 Sewing Pattern. Lined button up blouse with sleeves or sleeveless.
New Look 69 45 Sewing Pattern. Lined button up blouse with sleeves or sleeveless.
New Look 6945 is a lined button up blouse sewing pattern that comes in sleeveless, short sleeved, and three-quarters sleeve options. I bought the pattern because it said “easy”, not because I loved it. The shirt is casual without a lot of separate pieces and topstitching, etc. It is short and hits just below the waist. There are a few pattern reviews online.

The pattern runs big with a large amount of ease and I had to make a lot of alterations to make this wearable (which never happened). There is a large amount of ease in this pattern. It was a huge pouffy sack with a gaping neckline without alterations.

Changes I made:

  • Went down many sizes on the front piece to try to make this awful pattern fit better
  • Removed 1 and a half inches from the upper bodice back. I guess this is a change I may make often in the future…
  • Brought the front shoulder up 1 and a half inches
  • Removed 2 inches from the hipline on the back pattern piece
  • Shortened the bust darts by 2 inches or so
  • A million other changes that didn’t pan out
new look 6945 top front view muslin
I guess the upper chest is too long?? I had to pin up wedges at the sides of the armholes/ armsyes

Overall, this sewing pattern did not fit me in the least. I went down to a size 8 in the front bodice and the shoulder straps were still superrrrr wide! I had to ad over an inch to the shoulders to make the top stay on my body. And since it was also inappropriately low cut I also had to add a ton to the upper chest or else risk being mistaken for a daytime hooker.

I made change after change to try to make this pattern fit me. In the end I had to concede defeat and give up. At least I tried. On to the next failed project!

new look 6945 top side view muslin
New Look 6945… Doesn’t fit, never will
I cut out over an inch from the upper back, and there are wrinkles in the small of the back and below it.
I cut out over an inch from the upper back, and there are wrinkles in the small of the back and below it.

Craftsy Class: Fast Track Fitting with Joi Mahon

I am excited about my newest Craftsy class: I am taking Fast Track Fitting with Joi Mahon. It seems like the perfect class for me because Fast Track Fitting shows you how to measure yourself and how to measure pattern pieces so you can alter your pattern pieces to closely match your own body’s sewing measurements. This process should help you escape the endlessly making muslins cycle, so you can have wearable garments more quickly and easily.

My Vogue 1004 fitting shell skirt for craftsy.com
My Vogue 1004 fitting shell skirt for my new online sewing class craftsy.com

So far I am starting with altering the skirt on the pattern included with the class (Vogue 1004 fitting shell). I am doing the skirt first because I had to order a second pattern in a different size for the sleeve and bodice. The pattern alterations I made were to make the waist bigger (ugh) and to raise the hip line. Using Joi Mahon’s tips directly from the Fast Track Fitting Class, I altered the front of the skirt and the back of the skirt separately. So, I proportionately increased the size of the front of the skirt more than the back. This should help the skirt fit the unfortunate “fullness” on the front of my abdomen (AKA fat), since I carry extra weight around my middle.

I am going to work on altering this skirt to fit, with the help of the craftsy class and also Pattern Review.

So what are Craftsy Classes all about? Here are the details, directly from Craftsy:

What is Craftsy?
Craftsy is a worldwide craft community offering online classes. It also has a patterns marketplace where independent designers can sell their patterns; a supplies shop with great deals on yarn, fabric, and class kits; and a projects section where members share pictures of their latest craft successes. With over two million members and counting, Craftsy has something for just about everyone, in categories ranging from quilting, sewing, knitting, painting, photography, cooking, and more.Why should I take a class online?
Online education isn’t just for schools and universities anymore. Craftsy courses provide you the convenience of a world-class instructor in your home, whenever you want to learn.

free sewing classes online at craftsy.com
Online education, no matter what subject, is a great alternative to in-person classes for a number of reasons. With many online learning opportunities being on-demand, you are able to learn at your own pace, anytime. Online learning is a fantastic alternative to in-store craft classes for people with busy schedules or who have difficulty leaving the house. It also allows you to watch a troubling section over-and-over again, so you can see exactly how a technique is carried out, or refer back to your class for relevant concepts before beginning any new projects.

 

Skirt from Craftsy's Fast Track Fitting
Skirt from Craftsy’s Fast Track Fitting. Needs work, but at least it fits on my body.

So far I am happy with this class. The video format has easy question and answer interactivity with the instructor Joi Mahon. I wish the class had more examples of altering pattern measurements on a model using real numbers, but I guess that would have added too much time to the class videos.

I am like taking online sewing classes, especially since there are not a lot of sewing classes near me and I don’t know anyone who sews. Craftsy offers refunds if you are not happy with a class after you purchase it. Craftsy even has free classes for you to try out.

 

Side Seam moves forward on Skirt for Vogue 1004 in Craftsy Fast Track Fitting online class
Side view of Fitting Shell. See how the side seam moves forward? Need to fix this in the Fast Track Fitting Class

vogue 1004 fitting shell back view skirt craftsy fast track fitting
Back view of Vogue 1004 fitting shell skirt for Craftsy “Fast Track Fitting”
v1004 vogue 1004 fitting shell craftsy fast track fitting
Vogue 1004 Fitting Shell

Colette Sorbetto Top Muslin

Behold, my Colette Sorbetto Top muslin! The Sorbetto top by Colette is a free downloadable sewing pattern for a tank top blouse featuring a box pleat down the center and a bound neckline and arm holes.

OKAY YES I KNOW I sewed this shirt with an odd hodgepodge of fabrics. Struck by sensory overload at the fabric store, I picked a cotton voile that it turns out is actually incredibly ugly. Lavender flowers, bunches of purple grapes and royal blue vines, what was I thinking?? As I was standing at the cutting table I realized that this fabric was a mistake. It was probably only semi-subconsciously that I ruined half of my fabric through sloppy cutting and did not have enough fabric to make this shirt. I found some purple polyester something in my tiny fabric stash and used it to sew the front of the shirt.

Colette Sorbetto Top Muslin
Colette Sorbetto Top Muslin. Sorry about the crazy fabric colors!

CHANGES I MADE to the Sorbetto Top

  • The Sorbetto top is short, in my opinion. I lengthened the shirt two inches. I added the length at the waist, not at the bottom, to avoid a flared out edge near the hips. Make sure you have enough fabric to do this if you lengthen the top.
  • The Sorbetto top seems to run big. I made a size 4, even though that is smaller than my waist measurement indicates that I should make. It seems to me that unless you have a large bust and tiny waist, this top may be a bit too billowy and oversized to be flattering, so consider making a muslin first to test the size.
  • I would like to cut a little extra room in the arm holes next time.
Colette Sorbetto Top Muslin
Colette Sorbetto Top Muslin

The Sorbetto sewing pattern requires bias tape binding. I couldn’t find it specified if that meant single fold bias tape or double fold bias tape. I went with single fold, and that worked. I needed a reminder on how to sew single fold bias tape binding, and the tutorial at Nothing New Treasures was very helpful. You can also make your own bias tape using the Colette Patterns tutorial for a perfect match to your fabric. A half inch Bias Tape Maker will help this process go quickly and smoothly.

The construction of this shirt actually went just fine. Even sewing on the bias tape binding went okay. The only real problem for me was hemming the bottom of the shirt. Its still hard for me to fold a small amount of fabric (a quarter of an inch) evenly. When I make the real version of this shirt, I am going to use some of the vintage hem tape I found in my grandmother’s sewing box. Stitch in my Side has a tutorial that explains how to use hem tape perfectly.

Hmm… the more I look at my mismatched shirt, the more I like it. I know that it is just a false sense of pride from having actually sewn a garment that will not immediately fall apart. I am going to make a real version of this shirt using less hideous materials.

There are some lovely examples of the Sorbetto Top that other Colette Pattern fans have made. Inspiring!

Cooling-off dress: McCall’s 6331

After I tried Lynda Maynard’s suggestion, only to be rewarded with a still-wrinkly back AND the reappearance of all the problems I had already worked hard to correct*, I decided I needed to move on to another project for a while.  Yes, I know I said I was not going to do anything else until I successfully made Craftsy’s fitting class dress, but I really needed a break.  Sewing is a hobby for me, and hobbies are supposed to be fun! Instead of being fun, sewing was just becoming a grueling task that made me angry.

For my cooling-down project, I choose McCall’s 6331.

McCall's 6331
McCall’s 6331

It has several options- over the shoulder straps, halter straps, as well as a romper option (with a back zipper instead of a side zipper, which seems like it would make going to the bathroom hard, but whatever). I’m not really built for halter straps, so am going with the shoulder straps option (View B).  This dress looks good for warm weather, and will let me avoid having to deal with fitting my arms and upper back, meaning I might actually be able to make something wearable.  It has different cup size options, which is a plus.

I started off making a bodice muslin in a size 14, cup size C.  Despite the fact that the muslin still had folds and drag lines in all the usual places (diagonal line from bust to waist, lots of horizontal folds on back), it was clearly too big.  But, it did expose a problem that I thought had been due to mistakes I made in altering previous muslins; the back waistline clearly dipped down in back. I made a second muslin in a size 12; the fit was closer, which was good; this is supposed to have a close-fitting bodice. With my size selected, I was able to start making alterations.

unaltered M6331 size 12 back
Unaltered back. See how the center waist dips down?

I’ll get to the front alterations in my next post, but first I’m going to discuss the back. Making it in the proper size made the fit closer, but also made the fit problems more apparent, especially the dipping in the center waist.  In fitting, drag lines are supposed to point to the problem area; this is especially true here. As I already said, I was surprised to learn that this problem was a result of misalignment between my body and the pattern, and not a drafting mistake that was my own fault.

To correct this, I took off the zipper and made a 1 1/2″ triangular horizontal wedge to remove length from the center back, but keep the length of the side seams the same.

Using triangular wedges to removing length from center back, but keep side seam length the same.
Using triangular wedges to removing length from center back, but keep side seam length the same.

Craftsy

Comparing the two sides, I was happier with the left side.  I marked and measured the changes on the muslin, then transferred them to the pattern.  I also added length to the darts to keep the overall length the same.

Making these alterations presented me with a new dilemma; how to adjust the balance lines and where to put the new zipper, since these things shifted during alterations? I marked two options on the pattern; one wider than the other.

m6331 fully altered back, both cb options

 

 

I tried the narrower center back option first, but ended up going with the wider center back option, since that one had fewer back wrinkles.  Is it perfect? No.  But, this is progress.  At least there isn’t a huge lump of fabric on my back like other muslins have! I’ve decided that for this project, I will be happy with “good enough,” instead of “perfect.” Only making muslins is getting boring!

 

 

 

*I think Lynda Maynard’s suggestion is probably correct, but I’ve been getting some great responses from the readers as well.  I’m going to start from scratch one size up when I feel ready to deal with the aggravation again.

Lynda Maynard’s replay to question about wrinkles on back!

I really needed a concrete plan to get rid of the wrinkles on my back, so I posted a question on Craftsy’s Sew the Perfect Fit question forum, along with a picture of my back from muslin 3 on my last post.  So, now I have a plan.  Here is the question and the reply:muslin 3 back

Side posted on Apr 12, 2013: Hi Lynda, Do you think these wrinkles on my back are caused by excess length, insufficient width or both? The bodice feels comfortable on my body, and seems to be hitting at my waist.

Lynda Maynard responded: Hi Side, The upper balance is arcing up as it nears center back, which indicates that there may be slight roundness in the upper back. The bodice appears to be too tight. I would recommend releasing the side seams so the back will “hang” properly. Then, place extra fabric strips in the side openings and redraw the seamlines. You will also need to redraw the waistline seam. Lynda

Check out Craftsy’s Sew the Perfect Fit.
Thanks!