You are supposed to make your muslin first.
The second top/jacket for my little evening capsule was to be made from the latest Cutting Line pattern, called Take Me Anywhere. Since I’ve made many of the designs in this line I confidently went straight to my lovely black/gray dupioni, made my usual adjustments (forward shoulder, add length) and stitched. After the sleeves were in I wasn’t quite sure what to do – there was some bunching right under the arm that I had never had before, and I solicited Louise’s (the designer) help over on Stitcher’s Guild. Louise suggested a shoulder pad, and she is right, the pad helps.
It looked best with a big shoulder pad, but the big pad look is sooooo 80’s. Since a big pad seemed to be the solution, it made sense that the problem would be sloping shoulders. The trusty Singer book The Perfect Fit had some guidelines for altering kimono/dolman sleeves, so I grabbed some linen and decided to give it a try.
Here’s the basic alteration: 1. Cut out the sleeve/shoulder area with the vertical cut parallel to the grainline. 2. Slide the whole shoulder/sleeve straight down the amount needed for your shoulders. I used 3/4 inch. 3. Connect the neckline to the shoulder. The Singer book used a dressmaker’s curve for the connection. Since Louise herself has used a curved shoulder line like that on Your Everyday Drifter, I used it for the front. For the back, I just used a straight line.
The result – much better look, and more comfortable, too.
You can see that the sleeves are narrower than some of the other patterns in this line. This seems like a good place to mention that I did overlay some other CLD patterns on top of this one, with the idea of borrowing a shoulder and a sleeve from another pattern. Let me tell you, each pattern really is different. Many of them are shirt-like in nature and appear somewhat similar because of that, but they really are cut differently from one another.
I really liked the linen version (which I made without the hidden button placket and double collar band for speedy testing), so I bit the bullet, unpicked the dupioni one at the shoulder and sleeve seams, recut it, and re-stitched. Better! It’s improved even more with a small shoulder pad, and I can live with that. Small pads will be permanently installed.
I’m doing my Betty Rubble hands in these photos so you can see the width of the sleeve. The drafted sleeve length is long enough that I can turn up little cuffs and still have them wrist length – and the instructions have that sleeve seam finished so you can turn up a good 3 inches or so and they are attractive on the inside.
Lesson learned. Make the muslin first, not second. Now that the little shoulder issue is sorted out, I think this will be one of my favorite casual shirt patterns. And, I get to add two to the Shirt-A-Month tally!