Need a good book on how to get RID of the fashion stuff in today’s patterns. Won’t wear anything that has darts, or is close fitted. (Can’t stand the retro fashions now – how ’bout the 60’s and 70’s?)I have bought patterns that have been so badly illustrated that I never saw the darts. I prefer stuff that I can use quilting, embroidery and heirloom bits and pieces on. I can trace, but haven’t found a suitable tunic top to use. Would also like to know how far to adjust necklines (Adding a turleneck to a jewel, etc.)and converting sleeves to sleeveless. Anyone know of any good books? (have power sewing)
Weezy, what you are asking for is a whole course in pattern drafting. Honestly, there are patterns on the market that are suitable to your needs. Rather than looking in the "fashion forward" sections of pattern books, look for "basics." Rather than looking at the envelope illustrations, check the small black-and-white schematic diagrams on the back of the envelope. From those small drawings, you will clearly see design details, including darts and shaping seams. Look for patterns that have more fitting ease, with the least amount of construction possible, so that you can embellish to your heart's content.
Another alternative would be to check vintage/old pattern web sites. They generally have patterns from whichever era of the past you feel most comfortable with.
The amount you need to raise a jewel neckline to convert to turtleneck depends on a few factors, for example, how much stretch your fabric has and how much of a cowl or tight fit you want. Drape a turtleneck by folding a piece of the fabric you are working with, pinning it with safety pins, and slipping it over your head to make sure it will fit. Then adjust the neckline edge accordingly on your pattern.
On sleeveless tops, the underarm is generally cut higher (think: cover the bra under the arm) and are cut narrower over the shoulder. If you can not find a suitable pattern, pinfit a bodice meant to have sleeves, and check how much you will have to adjust.
*Another thought... something I just did as a favorite fabric store went out of business (Boo hoo hoo!)and that is to look NOT in the catalog... but ask to look in the actual pattern cabinets. It takes some time, but I found some fairly old patterns, many that were basic with few details (including a culotte pattern from 15 years ago!)... and some that were specialized (hats and crafts).Also, I had recently done this in a store that specializes in quilting. They decided to get rid of all their patterns from McCall's, Burda, Vogue, etc... so I bought several patterns for very little.THEN... the store brought in a small company's pattern that were designed to show off quilt panels. I don't know the name of the pattern company, but I bet if you go to a store that specializes in quilt supplies, you might find some similar patterns.Another type of pattern you can look for are the "ethnic" style of patterns. Things like kimono or dashiki (spelling?, African influence) styles have very little in the way of shaping, and can be a good canvas for embellishment.By the way... on the "darts" issue. If they are not bust darts (which for full-figured folks like me, keep the tunic from looking too baggy)... but vertical waist darts, they can be usually replaced easily with gathers or tucks. I just picked up at the closing fabric store the Threads book _Fitting Your Figure_ that contains reprinted Threads Magazine articles like "Turning darts in pleats", "Modifying sleeves" and other pattern altering ideas. Good luck, Chris
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