So my sewjo seems to be returning, finally. I wish I could say this is because I’m getting a full nights sleep, but sadly I’m not. Someday, someday….
Totally frustrated with pattern fitting and all the hard work, time and disappointment that entails for me I decided to try a new tack – Lekala patterns. This is a Russian company that offers pdf sewing patterns, thankfully in English, that are drafted to your measurements, including height. I thought I’d try the free knit top pattern #8004. I entered my height, all my measurements and also selected the low bust alteration.
I sewed it up exactly as drafted in a polyester jersey that I purchased years ago from Cotton onto Craft in Cowes, Victoria. I was very pleasantly surprised to find garment fabrics in a small coastal town. Well actually I did make some changes. I added a banded neckline finish, stretched on, as a turned and stitched hem on a thin knit like this looks very homemade in my opinion. This top is also unhemmed.
I’m actually quite disappointed and won’t be wearing this top (it was intended as a test garment, perhaps wearable if it worked out). Despite telling the program that I’m 176cm tall this top is miles too short in the body. It barely reaches my jeans when standing straight and I would add 10cm plus a hem allowance if making it again. The sleeves are just long enough now and would be too short if hemmed. But my biggest source of anguish is that damn empire seam.
It’s too high, sitting on the bust rather than under it. You can see it’s too high at the side seam too and there is weird pulling going on. So much for using that low bust setting, I know I’m wearing a soft cup nursing bra, but still…. Empire seams are horrible to fit. I love the look of them (when fitted properly), they lend themselves very well to attractive crossover V necklines but I have rarely, if ever managed to fit them properly.
Back when I was five months pregnant with Tessa I sewed this monstrously ugly wadder.
OMG! Baggy boobs. This was my attempt at the Ottobre magazine Loving nursing top.
I looked at the very small busted model they used, measured, pinned, deliberated and lowered the empire seam….way too much. I gave up. For reference this is what a RTW empire seam looks like on me – this top is the Target nursing/maternity top that pretty much every pregnant or nursing woman in Australia owns (photo taken when 5 months pregnant with Tessa).
And here’s a me-sewn Simplicity 3503 from 2010 that was not intended as maternity wear but ended up only maternity suitable – and with the too high empire seam.
I also made a wadder of Jalie 2804 Empire crossover top back in the day. The only empire seam that I’ve made that fit was the Cake Tiramisu dress – and I didn’t think the end result dress was very flattering so never wore it much.
What should I do? Give up on empire seamed knit tops as too hard to fit? The different lengthwise street of different knits, the contracting effect of the neckband, the great difficultly of adjusting the seam once sewn all make fitting very hard. But… I really like the look of them. Dear readers, is the Lekala top pattern worth adjusting and remaking or should I give up on empire seams?