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Using the sloper: altering my afternoon blouse pattern

I sadly didn't take pictures while applying my sloper to my Licorice dress make, but after I made it I had a bit of leftover linen which I though would be just right for another Afternoon Blouse.

You may remember that my first Afternoon blouse was an almost success: it fit fairly well, including no need for a swayback, but it had some fabric pooling in front. I decided to apply the sloper to the pattern to see how I fare.

I have a half-sloper, in that mine has seam allowances at both the back, the side seams, and the shoulder seam. These are a leftover from the muslin period, where I needed them, but actually I find them quite useful for altering patterns as well, because it's easier to see how much the pattern really differs. If I need to use the sloper as a pattern piece, I fold in the seam allowances, and copy it, then make alterations and add new seam allowances.

This is my back sloper, overlayed on the back of the Afternoon blouse. As the pattern doesn't have a CB seam, I ignored the one on my sloper as well.

You can see that my sloper almost exactly matches the afternoon blouse (minus the dart!), except in three areas:

1. in the underarm area, the sloper is slightly larger
2. the sloper is too long at the side seam, and has a strange curve
3. the pattern is wider than the sloper at the bottom

Obviously, the sloper has a dart which does not exist in the blouse, but that just becomes pattern ease.

I'll talk about (2) first - this is a fairly big curve, and it is mostly due to the sway back I added to the original sloper. What would happen in real life if I used this sloper to make a garment without altering it, is that the side seams would a bit lower than (both) the center seams - why I know this in a future post! About half an inch or so. I don't think this would be noticeable for tops, but it is certainly something to consider with dresses, especially if they have a waist seam - it just looks weird if made like that - ask me how I know :)

I decided to ignore (3) - in fact I made the pattern piece even even wider with the changes I made below.

For (1), I decided to alter the Afternoon blouse pattern, but to be honest I didn't need to do so. I could have just as easily left the back as it was - it was a VERY close match to my own back.

However, I did alter it so this was my process: I made an inverted L-shaped cut just next to the seam, below the armscye:

Then I slashed:

Spread and taped back together:

Redrew the armscye (note - I did this in the front too!)

And the hem line:
And this was the result:

For the front, the overlay looks like this:

And we notice two things:
1. the waist seam is not in the right position, shown both by my sloper's waist seam, but also by the fact that the pattern is almost two inches longer than the sloper at the front!
2. there is A LOT more ease than in the back - this is normal, it is the pattern ease

Remember - the sloper has very very little ease, so the back was quite fitted, while the front was quite loose. Of course, while being worn, in practice there's ease everywhere, and logically that must be because the side seam migrates - although I can't say I noticed that. I'll check next time I wear it.

Given that (2) was expected, I proceeded with altering the front. I chose to do this above the waist seam, but below the big flaps. The dots mark the stitch lines:

I cut along the traced lines: the perpendicular green lines replace the dots above and are the stitch lines, and they are where I measured the amount that had to be taken in.

Then I taped the pattern shut, by pivoting at the side seam stitch line, you can just above see the pivot below against the french curve:

Because this was essentially a sway-front, I had to redraw the grainline as well. For the grainline, I had two options: make the grainline parallel to the center front (extend the bottom line), or do the opposite, and have the CF on a partial bias. I decided to have the CF match the grainline, because I think that gives the top a better shape. In the end, this turned out to be the right decision.

And this is what the pattern looks like overlayed with the sloper after the alteration. I also redrew the armscye to match the back.

Result: the big gap in the front is gone.

The big reveal - in my next post, if the weather is nice enough to take pictures!


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