1930s Sew-along with Norma: Oh my poor little toile!

Just a quick post on the progress of my toile for the 1930s Sew-along with Norma.  I’m enroute to Baltimore for a wedding.

I’ve reached a point in the evaluation of the toile where I feel so sorry for it.  The neckline has stretched more and the bias tape is rippling. The toile no longer looks good enough to keep working on.  I think it’s time to retire it and use the muslin for dolly dressmaking.

On the serious side I had a deep feeling that the sleeve alteration from Helen Joseph Armstrong’s patternmaking book was not going to work out.  It solved the problem of the excess ease and created several new problems:

*Lowering the cap cut into the extra width created by the ease tuck.  The sleeve is now too tight across the biceps level.

* The cap shape is stranger looking than before.  When the sleeve was basted into the toile it displayed  what I’d describe as baggy or pouchy areas around the curve.  It’s an excess of fabric.

*The sleeve does not hang absolutely straight.  It swings a little towards the back.  Helen Joseph-Armstrong recommends undoing the sleeve and rotating it until it hangs straight.  That will do nothing for the other problems.

So—this is where I made a decision—-

First, I’ll try one more time to alter the sleeve pattern using the recommendations from the 1930s draping book.  I also have an idea about the sleeve cap which I’ll try out, too.  Then if this last attempt does not work out I’ve decided to do the most expedient thing for a second course of action—-

I’m going to draft the sleeve. But not using the 1930s drafting pattern given in this posting.  The sleeve is based on a pattern block and not a draped garment so I don’t want to mix things up.  I’m just going to go back to the French Fashion method and draft a fitted sleeve with elbow dart.

This is the best compromise I can reach.  Namely because I so want to actualize the dress into real fabric.  I think I could, eventually, drape a sleeve.  That takes time and it could put me into an ongoing loop of doing it again and again.  This isn’t about draping per se but about using draping to create as much as possible a version of a 1930s dress.  I’m reminded when my draping teacher Susan Douglas told me that drafting the sleeve was a better use of time for set-in sleeves.

Here are three photos of the droopy, draped sleeve after the Joseph-Armstrong alteration.  When I’m back from the wedding I’ll start a new bodice and altered sleeve.  Better that all this happened on a toile than fashion fabric.



Side View.  On a fitted sleeve with elbow dart, the center of the sleeve should hang parallel to the side seam up to the elbow.  Then it swings slightly to the front because of the shaping in the seam from elbow to wrist.


Front View.  Can you see the pouchy, poufy curve?


Back view.  I think the sleeve cap looks like it has a bit of a muffin top.