Right after posting my preliminary SWAP plan last time, I discovered the Tabula Rasa Jacket by Fit for Art Patterns. It had been on my radar since earlier this year but only when I came across some neckline variations did I start seeing this pattern as something I could actually wear. I immediately ordered the main pattern, the Rain or Shine variations, and the Band and Pockets variations directly from the company. The package arrived in two days and I got to work on fitting it. Following the fitting instructions in the pattern, I used size Small, with the AB front. Knowing that I prefer a jewel neckline, I used the jewel neck template from the Rain or Shine variations right off the bat.
Flat pattern alteration:
On comparison with a well-fitting top, I adjusted the shoulder slope first. The front was fine out of the envelope, the back needed a ¾” low neck base alteration – this corrects the shoulder slope and starts shortening the back (mine is very short and erect). Then I cut the muslin and sewed it using the included ⅝” seam allowances and 1½” hem allowances.
Alterations in the muslin stage:
- cut off ½” from FRONT hem only to correct the original patternwork (on walking out the pattern, the front is ½” longer below the notch and there is no reason to ease this in so I just cut it off).
- shorten FRONT, BACK, and SIDE 3″ at the hem to bring the jacket to the high hip, which is my best jacket length.
- shorten BACK 2″ evenly across the at the upper HBL to correct the balance, continuing the alteration into the SLEEVE, tapering to nothing at the hem (in patternwork, this was actually done as 1⅜” alteration at the back and ⅝” alteration at the front, both tapering to nothing at the hem – the split is because I ended up moving the shoulder seam forward).
- shorten SLEEVE 1½” at the hem to bring it to my preferred wrist length.
- take in FRONT, BACK, and SIDE ¼” at the waist, tapering to nothing at bust and lower HBL. This takes out 2″ total from the waist circumference.
- move up bust dart ¾”.
- move shoulder seam ⅝” forward, move notch on the sleeve accordingly.
- raise neckline 2″ at CB, lower neckline ⅝” at CF, redraw pleasing curve (the jewel neckline out of the envelope is more of a closely-fitting slightly curve V-neck, and much too deep in the back so I knew this would need attention).
Adding a bust dart:
At this point, I got as far as I could with the muslin and it was time to cut regular fabric. I could have made another muslin but I wanted to wear this to work to see if it would be comfortable all day. I knew there would likely be other alterations but I figured they’d be minor. I used a long-time resident of the fabric stash – a dark fuchsia wool/poly crepe with a lovely drape. No lining as I wanted this to be quick. This wearable prototype was quite comfortable, but showed that the CF needed another ½” of length. I compared the original AB and CD fronts and didn’t like the discrepancies so I figured I’d adjust the pattern piece I already knew – so I added a ½” of length to it and darted it out in a second dart. The bust dart of the AB front is meant to point at the bust apex, in the two-dart CD front the darts are just below and just above the bust line. I angled both of mine a ¼” toward the bust line.
Narrowing the waist:
Then I made another muslin because I thought I could narrow the waist a little bit more and I didn’t want to guess. I took in the FRONT, BACK, and SIDE ¼” at the waist and hem, tapering to nothing at bust HBL. This reduced the waist circumference another 2″ for a really lovely and comfortable fit.
Fixing the sleeve:
When I was sewing this second muslin, I decided to take out the bit of ease in the sleeve. On walking out the sleeve cap/armhole seam, there was ½” of ease. I took that out ¼” at each notch, taking the alteration all the way down to the hem for a very slightly narrower sleeve.
I have not had time to take pictures of the muslins or the wearable prototype so those might come later. For now, I wanted a record of the changes I made, in case I lose the piece of paper where I wrote them all as I went.
See you soon!