Monday, August 22, 2011

Sorbetto modifications

It's starting to be all baby all the time here at e-beth knits, so I thought I'd throw in something that is only a little bit baby.

Ever since the Sorbetto pattern was released, I've been wanting to make one. It's a pretty simple, slightly fitted slip-on top (no closures) with a box pleat detail in the front and the armholes and neck are finished with bias tape. I've resisted making the top until now because, of course, I am currently not at my regular body size/shape. For instance, my stomach now sticks out further than my boobs. This is a little weird considering it's been about 25 years since anything on my body has stuck out further than my boobs.

But, I have an overwhelming urge to make myself a top, so, I decided to try and modify the Sorbetto to make it a maternity top. Considering that: 1) I've yet to make a top that fits me and 2) I'm completely new to pattern modification, I may well have bitten off more than I can chew. Nevertheless, I sat down at the table with my Sorbetto pattern, and my various pattern-adjusting accoutrement. These included: freezer paper for tracing, a tracing wheel, pens and pencils, a curved ruler, a calculator, a notebook, tape, push pins, and a cardboard cutting mat.

So, first up, I had to decide what pattern size to use. I decided to tackle the back first since I didn't need to adjust for boobs or belly. According to my upper bust measurement, I should use a 10. So, I started with that. I want to keep the back fitted and not baggy (to minimize the "tent effect" so prevalent in maternity tops), so I decided I would try cutting the back piece as though I wasn't pregnant and adding all of the extra inches to manage my belly to the front piece. Therefore, I measured my back across my natural waist approximately from side seam to side seam and decided I need a 14 there, so I basically drew a line that went from the size 10 line at the armhole to the size 14 line at the narrowest part of the pattern. Then, I drew a line from there to the size 18 line at the hem to account for my hip measurement. Then, I traced the pattern onto the freezer paper. Finally, I wanted to make the hemline curve (because I am making the front hemline curved so that I can add extra inches in the middle to cover the belly), so I extended the line for the center back (to be placed on the fold) 1 inch and used my curved ruler to draw a curve to the original hemline at the side seam. That was all pretty straightforward.

Next, I tackled the front which was not at all straightforward. I started with a 10 on top (shoulders and armholes) and then I did a Full Bust Adjustment. I used the technique in Pattern Fitting With Confidence by Nancy Zeiman which is unlike anything I've seen on the web, but I figured I'd give it a try. Essentially, she has you increase the bust dart according to cup size and increase the length of the front to account for the change in dart size. So, I traced a size 10 and cut it out, then followed the FBA instructions from the book, and cut that pattern piece out. That was all relatively easy. Then, I ran into something of a wall. Briefly, moving the side seam out by three inches at the waist gave me something that looked like the bust and the waist couldn't connect without creating some funky shape. I decreased the amount I added to the waist by half because I thought that if I didn't sew down the center box pleat past the bust, I would end up having extra room from that. Eventually, I was able to draw a line I thought might work for the side seam. Then, I wanted to add length to make sure it covered my belly. I added 3 inches to the center front and curved the hem to the original hemline at the side seam. Hopefully, this means that the front and back pieces will line up. Having made all of those adjustments, I cut this final pattern piece out (I numbered all of my drafts of the pattern, btw, and wrote on them what adjustments they incorporated so I could keep them straight)

Bottom line: the front pattern piece doesn't much resemble the original Sorbetto front pattern piece any longer. Actually, it looks amazingly tentish (is so a word!) which is something I've been trying to avoid with maternity wear (I feel like a blimp already, I don't need an immense, baggy shirt to emphasize that fact). So, I'm not at all convinced this modification will work at this point, and even if it does work and everything fits, I'm not sure I'm going to like how it looks on me. But that's why you make a muslin, right?

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