Monday, February 14, 2011

FBA on a Kimono Sleeved Top: Part 1

Oh my gosh, an actual sewing project! We haven't seen one of them in a dog's year around here, holy man.

And I'm giddy enough about this that I want to post tonight's progress, such as it is, although I'm torn about posting this now and waiting until I at least finish the fba. But I'm too excited, so here's part one. I've babbled about this project before, but I'm planning to sew two versions of Simplicity 2254 (which, of course, has never been reviewed on PR, but there's always got to be a first, and this pattern seems to be full of them, for me.)

For example, I’m trying to do my very first FBA, and for added fun, this top has kimono sleeves. I've been stalking blogs and the PR forum all evening trying to find advice and 'how tos', but this is extra difficult because most FBAs includes a slice into the armhole, and there’s no armhole here (not like they describe, anyways). However, I stalked the PR message board until I found a post titled kimono sleeve fba (couldn't be more perfect, eh?)

Anyways, one of the posters recommended checking out page 157 in Fit for Real People, which covers how to do a fba on a kimono sleeve style top. This would be perfect…if my book weren’t in southern Ontario. Luckily, the poster mentioned that the book suggests cutting off the sleeve and doing the fba before reattaching the sleeve. Thank you, JTink!

Since I’ve never done this before and I’m nervous about destroying my pattern, I’ve decided to do another first and trace my pattern using the parchment paper we had on hand. That way I can hack it up all I want with no worries!

But first I did a tissue fit to see just how bad the top would be without alterations. It wasn’t too bad; the big gap between the edge of the top and my centre bust (orange line) will mostly be covered from a neck band I’d forgotten to pin on. But it’s still too snug and too short around the bust. Also, see that big wrinkle going from the shoulder to the bust apex? Definitely need a FBA.

(Please forgive the limp hair and lack of makeup. It was late when I started this.)

The centre back isn’t so bad, but I do think it’s a little big. I want some ease to it (the pattern gives 5 inches total around the bust) and it includes an elastic around the back to snug things up a bit, but I think this is a bit much. The worst of the bulk will be taken care of if I remove the (useless) centre-back seam and make it one whole piece, and I think that I’ll remove 1 1/2 inches instead of the 1 1/4 inches that would come off if I just took the seam allowance.

I’m using the FBA method described by Patty at The Snug Bug. First, I cut off the sleeve at the shoulder, as described by JTink and FFRP. Then I did a cut from the middle of the dart to the apex of the bust, and then a long slice from the apex to approximately the mid shoulder. I ran into a snag here, though, because I forgot to leave a tiny bit (<1/8th inch) at the shoulder to pivot the cut, and lo, painters tape (only thing I had on hand) does not stick even the slightest bit to parchment paper. Crud.

Although, now I see that I measured 2 inches instead of 1 in the picture. While I need a total of 2 inches on each side of the bodice, the second inch will be added in another part of the FBA method. If using Patty's guide, make sure you read her instructions carefully. There's lots of useful information in it, but it's useless if you don't actually pay attention to the instructions (which is my usual downfall).

Aaaand, so ends tonights foray into the elusive FB(eh?). It’s after 2 am and I need real tape, and probably sleep even more. If I’m a good girl and get some writing done tomorrow during the day, I’ll be allowed to slack off continue this in the evening.

SO EXCITED TO BE SEWING AGAIN, I CAN'T EVEN EXPLAIN. But I'm sure you all understand. Heck, normally I don't even like cutting out and altering patterns, but I was just giddy tonight! Hence you guys get multiple posts from me in one day! (Sort's not a new day until you sleep, IMO.)


  1. Yay!!!! A sewing post! I am so giddy for you Heather!

    (and on the subject of the Big T - you can always call me if you need to vent/chat, we can suffer together)

  2. ooh, exciting! I'm a big fan of in progress posts, so fire away.

    Thesis shmesis! ;)

  3. You guys are awesome, thanks for the encouragement! I wasn't sure about the progress post, but ultimately, *sings* "it's my blog and I'll post if I want to!" :D

  4. Yay Heather! I'm so excited to see you jumping back in & sewing your little heart out!! Keep it coming!!


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