Knitting shaped Kimono sweater shoulders- Help?! 3

Calling experienced knitters, I want your help!*** See below Please! 🙂

Mostly level shoulder ribbon

Mostly level shoulder ribbon

This is Kamakura Kimono sweater from Knit Kimono by Vicki Square is an ambitious project for me!  I am using Berrocco Ultra Alpaca, gentle to knit with and it has been a warm lapful this winter. It is Challenging! The fabric is heavy, even drooping on the dress form. You can see the armhole steek below the orange pin…

Heavy sweater sagging already!

Heavy sweater sagging already!

  • My original yarns were lovely together but not enough contrast for the pattern, so back to my local yarn shop, oh my! 🙂
  • My good friend Carol said I must learn to knit with 2 colors at once! Okay, stiff upper lip and I’ve done that!
  • This pattern is a little confusing and my local shop guru said I should knit in the round and STEEK IT! I watched Eunny Jang steek 3 ways, will take  a Very Deep Breath and slice into this after stabilizing the front edges and armholes.
    [um, almost…eek!]
  • Shoulders, oh Dear!! Mine slope down and forward. I will get lost in a straight shouldered kimono! I found this great reference, looks exactly to the point: “shaped shoulders in the round“.

So, “FeralKnitter” recommends 5 steps:

  1. Decide how much rise you want. The usual 3/4-1″ measures for me are: 2 3/4″ front and 3 1/4″ back.
  2. Measure rows/inch– easy, 13/2″, or 6.5, one medallion repeat in this pattern, even for both directions.
  3. Rise (#1) x Rows/inch (#2)  gets me adding 18(+1= 19) rows to the front, 21(1+=22) to the back.
  4. Count stitches (armhole Steek to center front Steek), 73 for the front. The back is 156 stitches across. I don’t want to V up the center back neck, so will angle up across only the shoulder seam, flat across the back neck. That takes 6″, out of 15″, 9″ x 6.5 st/”= 60 stitches each back shoulder.
  5. Divide shoulder stitches #4, by short rows, #3, and add 1.  Front 73/19=3.8, which I will call an even 4-stitch short row. 🙂
    Back 60/22=2.76. Hmm, I hope it isn’t too indulgent to call that “3”. that still isn’t an even #, so a graph is in order…

*** This is where you come in, not so much for the graph, but for the ease/stretch/ heavy sweater sag experience! I wonder how much I should reduce extending shaping from shoulders up to the neck, for this heavy sweater?  Halloo?? 🙂

Dress Fitting Class Reply

I have started the Craftsy class “The Couture Dress“.

V8648, Calvin Klein reversible wool flannel gabardine.

I had already made the dress & many of the problems she averts with re-design show here:

  • The shoulders are cut on the bias and “fall off”.  Super slick lining, Rats. Next time, I’ll pull the back up as she recommends.
  • And pull up the front a bit, less of a “cocktail hour” look.
  • The center waist panel has a center seam that could be deleted. Sure ’nuff, that topstitching looks fussy. I’ll take it out next time.
  • I didn’t use a muslin (before the class). It would’ve helped. That was pre-1912 sewing. Thank you for the shove into better sewing, you all!

Reinforced shoulders, bias reined in with grosgrain ribbon.









That Calvin Klein reversible wool flannel gabardine was a B&J’s remnant. Marked down, but still precious! I took the plunge and used it, now wish the class had been available before I cut it, SIGH!

The OLD Vogue 8511.

I don’t have the heart for another try right away, starting with an alternate recommended pattern, Vogue 8511, no longer available, got one on Etsy. Watch, out, Vogue has already issued another pattern with this number. 🙂

I’ve made the muslin and started fitting. I took the difference from Size 6 Body measurements /Dress measurements, added that Ease to my own measurements (more like 12-14). I adjusted the seam lines on tracing paper from the pattern pieces, then marked muslin pieces and traced with thread, as she recommends. Here’s what I’ve got so far:


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Next up–

  • I pulled the bodice side seam apart and pulled it in. The back side panel is now seriously off-grain. This addresses exactly that issue of the back being a smaller size than the front! And the armhole is now bizarre. Time to pull out the French curve, needs work.
  • The front waist line falls a good inch below mine on the dressform. When I pull it up, that may help those dramatic pleats in the skirt that scream–HIPS! Hoping…
  • The bodice front princess seam line needs to be altered to line up with the outer skirt tuck.
  • My dressform needs another check-up. Time to have a serious re-measuring, just in case.


1912 Dress #4016 Summary! 11

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This dress was fun and I recommend making it! I made it so Kate Brown,  our Secretary of State (VoteOregon!) would have a costume to wear ( my earlier 1912 one) in the Portland Grand Floral Parade, to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Oregon Women Voting! Go Suffragettes! I finished the dress and hat in time and walked with pals. Our group included the League of Women Voters, Oregon Women’s Commission, and some others. See the 1911 car carrying Oregon Suffragette Abigail Scott Duniway’s great grand daughters. They told me that she wasn’t really the first Oregon woman to vote, that was Sacagawea, sorry I don’t really know.

Go Portland Mayer Sam Adams! Yes, that is the real Mayor in the picture, though he does play the Mayor’s Aide in Portlandia. The Rodeo horse shook it’s head and snorted at my costume- no pockets, no apples or carrots! No wonder people watched for the Wells Fargo coaches1 Amazingly pretty!

The pattern came without instructions and here is a review of my posts, with a summary of the 1912 Project notes at the end.

  1. Getting bearings on the dress and pattern!
  2. Pattern measurements
  3. Making the Very Pretty Collar 🙂
  4. Pattern fitting (continued! 🙂 )
  5. Bodice fitting
  6. Fitting and shaping the skirt seams
  7. Inserting sleeve/bodice gussets
  8. The cuffs
  9. Sewing the bias bands
  10. Sewing the front panel
  11. Making a neck facing
  12. Finishing- odds & ends

VPLL Check List:

Blog points, so I can ask for more patterns!  A possible  total 25 per pattern, here’s my check list:

  • blog – a dozen posts!
  • pattern without instructions. Right, none on this one.
  • photos– max 5, plenty of photos, 20? on this summary alone.
  • fit description. This dress is high & narrow waisted, with a fitted, long skirt and inset front panel. Sleeves are elbow length with faced cuffs. The bodice is pigeon-chested.
  • alteration descriptions. I widened the bust, hips, and waist. I shortened the sleeves a bit, moved the shoulder seam for my dropped shoulders.
  • pattern change descriptions. The front panel sections differed by including/not including a 3/8″ seam allowance and they needed to be matched. I only had room for two bodice bias bands. I drafted a neck facing. If I were to make this again, I would move the bodice gathering section closer to the center chest. Offsetting it by the width of the facing fold pushed it too far off to the sides. There was no provision included for the contrast band at the hem.
  • instruction change list. There was no instruction list. I described my sewing order in the blog posts.
  • finished garment description. This long, fitted dress is completed in Pendleton wools, both light weight gabardines, a cream solid and a cream/beige mini-hounds-tooth. A solid cream fabric is used for a center front inset panel and to line the cuffs. There is a wide hem band, underarm gussets and a self-fabric belt. Bias bands on the cuffs and front are accented with covered buttons. The embroidered collar was made with a cotton gabardine over a piped undercollar. Front closure is under the left side of the panel, with snaps, hooks and eyes sewn onto cotton twill tape. A self-belt was made to match.
  • description of technique (lace, cut work etc.). Detailed descriptions are included for making the underarm gussets, the Broderie Anglaise collar work, cuff facing, bodice panel lining etc.
  • sewing skill used/needed, why. Very good skills are needed for fitting the the one-piece (no longer usual) bodice, drafting pattern pieces, fitting the components of the dress closely, to be flattering. There are plenty of tricky bits, the gussets, sewing the bias bands with appropriate ease, stabilizing bias edges.

[this is a separate checklist, including just in case 🙂 ] review checklist included at end.

description– see pattern & finished garment description above.
pattern sizing– this was a small dress, hoo-boy, those hips were TINY! The skirt 0162 I made last was billed as a 25″ waist but seemed bigger, so I assumed it accommodated numerous undergarments. This dress doesn’t. Someone guessed it was designed for young women. Since pattern numbers have jumped all over the place since 1912 and have been inconsistent from one source to another, I’d say this was designed for a women ~5’2″, weighing not much more than 110 pounds.
look like photo? Yes, aside from the fact that the sketch is considerably stretched for fashion interpretation. 🙂
instructions easy? No instructions and some would have been helpful. I researched for making gussets and learning Broderie Anglaise, cited in posts.
what to like/dislike? I don’t really like the front closure, don’t feel confident with snaps, hooks and eyes. I would change the neck fitting for a re-make. The gussets were a very positive feature and I really liked the collar, so pretty! It looks like one in a current Vogue ad for Louis Vuitton spring suits. I wore a slip reaching mid-shin and really needed one as long as the dress for walking in a stiff breeze with knitting stockings.
fabric used– Pendleton gabardine wools, light weight, and a cotton gabardine for the embroidered collar. I loved working with the wool, it drapes spectacularly.
alterations/design changes? see above.
recommend to others? If you don’t need historic accuracy, consider using a zipper closure. Practice making a gusset with waste fabric beforehand. Think carefully about the cuff seams- I got them backwards. They are counter intuitive.  Place the bodice gatherscloser to the middle. Fit carefully- I was struck by how frumpy my initial muslin version looked.
conclusion? This dress has charm and great style details. I love it!
Pattern Name: E4016_DRESS. 
sewer’s skill:Advanced.
rating & why, 1-5, 1-Not a Fan, 2 – So-So, 3 – Good/Average, 4-Better than Average, 5-I LOVED IT! and why?
skill needed & why. I loved this dress. It was fun to wear, got scads of compliments. It was a challenge for me, a sewer who is likely to make errors. 🙂 I learned lots!
instructions easy? Change? [no instructions]
Fit/sizing? As expected? The pattern size wasn’t listed, so I was prepared to alter and check all areas. It was actually smaller than I expected though.
Alterations? For fit or design? I flared the skirt, all three pattern sections, back, side and front panel. I inserted darts in the skirt front and tucks in the bodice back.
volunteer for more… sorry, very little spare time, not really any with this added to the plate. 🙂

4016 Front Panel 1

The front panel was not difficult but needed some pre-planning. When I thought about the order of sewing, like the waist seam to help with bias band placement, the front panel would be helped by having the neck facing finished. The dress waist seam should be done before this one. And I wanted this panel in place so I could better judge fit and bias band placement.

As I found in the pattern post, the seam allowances on the pattern pieces for the front panel, bodice and skirt, didn’t match and needed to be coordinated. Also, I used this piece for fitting, flaring the skirt piece toward the hem. I wasn’t pleased with the neck fit after altering, since the tiny neck swam after I widened the bodice. It is covered by the collar, but I pulled the V of the front panel up to a much shallower point and would reduce (return to more like the original) neck shape if I were to make this again. [Every action ha a reaction!]

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  • The original skirt panel seemed too straight, needed some flare.
  • I thought a full bodice lining would be a good idea since this fabric is pale. You can see the neck seam pressed toward the “lining”.
  • I cut the bodice pieces with length to spare after not understanding why the neck facing curve stopped short.
  • You can see the turn of the enclosed skirt waist seam into the two bodice pieces.

Only odds and ends were left, but time-consuming! I covered the buttons while watching a movie at home, but forgot the back cuffs, out of sight, out of mind. 🙂 Hemming, horse hair, snaps, hooks and eyes, the belt, ribbons on the collar, whew!









4016 Bias Bands 1

Placement of the bias bands was tricky!  The bands needed to be crowded into position, since they curved out from the initial seams.
I put pattern pieces together and roughly measured, cut pieces that were longer, finished one end, then placed them, estimating length, finished the far end, pinned, and sewed on with a walking foot.

I placed the top tier somewhere near the end of my fingers on the skirt, skipped ~3″ between tiers. The original sketch was a “fashion” version, impossibly unlike any living humans I know in proportion. 🙂

I was pushing frantic for time and didn’t get bodice band pictures, had a terrible time with them since the bodice was already gathered. I only placed two instead of three, didn’t put any on the back, can’t tell if that matched the original…they did add quite a bit to the look and the drape of the dress! I didn’t stabilize or stiffen them in any way, did overstitch them once they were in place. I hope this helps and let me know if you have any questions!

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4016 Neck Facing 1

This pattern doesn’t include a neck facing piece, pretty common for the time, I understand. It would probably be authentic to finish off with a thin bias band, but I’m used to facings and wanted to add one here. Drafting one shouldn’t be difficult.

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  • I put the paper pattern pieces together, without any seam allowance at the shoulder, and placed a fold at center back. It looks smooth at the center back.
  • the neck facing front edge fits under the bodice fronts that are folded back.
  • I traced the chicken scratch copy onto another sheet of paper, correcting curves, deepening the back a bit across the lower edge.
  • You can see the facing stay-stitched and serged on the wider edge.
  • I re-checked the fit on the dress form. The neck, back and front all looked fine, but the center front that had looked adequate to fit nicely under the folded bodice front edge had shrunk terribly, some malicious version of the “closet disease” where clothes don’t fit anymore! See he earlier pix where it looked Fine?!   Only because I rushed.
  • I sewed it on anyway, didn’t re-do it. Oops, anybody else do stuff like folding over the edge you can’t see? The “3rd Hand” sewing tool sits under the left edge of my machine table, helps to rip mistakes. *Bonus below!
  • Anybody know what this funny-looking press tool is? I love mine, use it often!
  • The seam allowances are trimmed, staggered snips.
  • Final pressing, should have been under-stitched, but I didn’t, hoping it’ll be okay under the collar.
Now onto the bias bands, front panel and finishing up. Parade pix, too! 🙂
*Bonus– The 3rd Hand is called the “Sewing Bird” in one of my favorite books, The Mary Frances Sewing Book, Adventures Among the Thimble People, by Jane Eayre Fryer. I found a first edition in a New Orleans bookstore, where I was looking for an L. Frank Baum book, The Enchanted Island of Yew, for my mom. The Sewing Bird is the little girl’s first friend in her gramma’s sewing room. I love this book! That New Orleans bookstore wanted $300 for it, out of my reach. But I have felt selfishly heartsick for that little bookstore, haven’t been back since (before Katrina).

#4016 Morning 2, fitting continues… 3

Halted last night, discouraged by a dowdy muslin. And no, dress form isn’t standing up straight, tough day for her, too. Escape to bedtime reading !

Threads articles: gussets , Feb/Mar 2010, pp. 29-43, thoroughly intimidating! But helpful. On to another, Aug/Sept 2007, pp.46-51, Vintage Patterns, helpful for closure and facing recommendations.  Time to sleep on it and redesign. I wonder if anybody else has trouble making dumpy alterations by trying to use measurements…now Today! 🙂

A bunch of things needed to be fixed!

  • The front panel pattern pieces didn’t match widths, by the 3/8″ seam allowance included in one, not the other.
  • I tried pinching in the waist skirt panel.
  • Then I looked at pulling the waist in further.
  • Oops, I added widened the back bodice and skirt, but the skirt was way off, must have goofed, so in goes a skirt mid-panel.
  • That back skirt is catching & riding up the hips, needs some wiggle room!
  • Confidence ebbed, rechecking back width to the pattern.
  • The skirt front image looked straight down the side seam, so I started playing, narrowing it.
  • The shoulder line isn’t mine 🙂
  • Well, guess it was time to think about a gusset since the paper-like fabric is shredding. The Threads article called for a 3″ slash.
  • Okay, totally straightened that side seam.
  • I widened the front skirt panel a bit, intend to go even further.
  • The waist line has returned to Empire, Thank You, Theresa!!
  • Taking the flare out of the side seams, I wanted to see how much I might add to the back, so I slit it to see natural spread. A bodice insert, including a couple of pinches at the waist helped, too.

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Okay, enough playing, now back to revisions, want to be sure it looks okay before I go to fabric…  & I need to work on Gussets Arrrggh!)

Maundy Thursday blouse progress 1

After whining yesterday about blouse closure decisions, today I tackled a few easy steps and started putting pieces together.

Sleeves & Cuffs
The over blouse will be dark red. I want the top to coordinate with the skirt I just finished, so the collar and cuffs will be that dark fabric, faced with the red. I turned the facing for a clean finish, and pressed allowances to turn the facing under a bit. You can see the red rolling a little in the bottom here.

I got ready to sew cuffs onto sleeves and got the pattern pieces out to check placement when directions said to match notches. They were printed on the cuffs but not on the sleeves, so I looked at the photo and decided the cuff should flare up opposite the inner sleeve seam, midway round the arm.


There was a considerable amount of pressing here, seamed flat, then seams opened, seams turned. I haven’t pressed the cuff flat up onto the sleeve, some care with that when I’m fresher. 🙂






A little review- lining, front & back, is ready. I sewed the sleeves in and gathered the  over blouse.

Lining Front


Lining Back










So, what’s left for tomorrow, last day before I want to wear this:

  • Sew the over blouse collar on and face that front V-neck.
  • Re configure the French lining closure- fronts, facings and collar, to open in the front.
  • Sew the lining to the over blouse.
  • Hem the waist and sleeves.
  • Sew the buttons on the collar, matching the  the cuffs.
  • Finish my Hat!

    Maundy Thursday

A new pattern- Blouse (Shirtwaist) #4925 1

to go with skirt #0162, a 

I’ll make the big blue one, over-blouse, “French lining” and sash.

The overblouse is cut in one piece, 2 sides, left & right, with 3 tucks, up & down, front & back, over the shoulders.  The piece is pretty spectacular! How to paper fit this? I folded for sleeve length and diameter, distance from front waist, up over to back waist. It seems okay (fingers crossed!).

I didn’t think it would fit on the fabric! This Pendleton wool is pretty spectacular, very wide and wonderful. I even had to piece the tracing paper!

The big arc across the bottom gets gathered around the waist front. There will be some gathering in the back (top of the photo) and the straight bit on the right will be 3/4 sleeves, cuff yet to be cut.

I sewed and pressed the tucks. Okay, maybe this will be a
problem. This tucks are falling off the shoulders. My dressform has spiffier shoulders than I do…

We’ll get back to this, bigger fish to fry. This has to be done and wearable in a couple of days (Yikes!).


The “French Lining”
I looked at the pattern for a while over this, especially after I’d cut out the lining in my wool (ouch!).
There are 2 side back pieces, #’s 9 & 10. Clearly the second from Left is a  side front, no sweat. But this needs to be in the “lining fabric”, back 3 steps.

So I cut out new “lining” for the underblouse and put it onto the dressform, nice Pricess seams and I was tired, so I did them backwards and upside down.  Where did I put that nice seam ripper?!
N.B.- see how nicely the fronts overlap?  More on that soon…


I placed the seam allowances on the outside (inside for a lining). The sleeve seams will be on the inside, facing in. Rats, when I got the skirt fabric, I thought it was a very dark Navy. Now it looks more like a very dark grey, not such a good match with this underblouse.

The collar and neck facing:
Facing directions say to sew the right shoulder, then finish outer edges. Back and front facings fold at centers.
Collar instructions say to finish or face, seam up the center back, to be closed with hooks.

Now, remember that generous front allowance? I matched backs and side seams onto the dressform–looks for all the world like that should be a front button placket… we’re now up to three closure options, deep breath!

I went back to the collar and moved the seam to the left shoulder. I walked a tape measure around the facing, measured my neck, and added 2 1/2″ to the neck diameter, didn’t change the facings. Man, was that one strait-laced time!! No, thank you!
Here’s the original size collar on top of the facing. This is when I decided I must do a muslin of these two pieces, at least… I’ve never seen a seam  that took so much clipping. I’ll use tiny stitches
when I use good fabric.

Anyway, it looked nice on the dressform and was impossible to wear. The collar was entirely too small for my old neck. I cut it down more than an inch, 2″ around, curving down another 1/2″ in
the front. I  just looked for the wrinkles when I tried it on, marked it, and serged off the excess.








Here’s the tall one, reminds me of my great-great grandmother Simpson.


And here’s the serged one, more wearable:








Just one more thing for today. I finished the collar, edge-stitched, pressed and ready to use. The 3/8″ covered buttons are ready for it. 

Now, to figure out where I want this to OPEN!!

I’m thinking, open  in the front, where the extra fabric already is ready for facing.

But that collar should at least overlap around to the shoulder seam, or do a Mandarin dip, or somethin!!

And I don’t really want to make another dozen tiny buttons. Hmm. Maybe sleep on it…Ideas?




Skirt #0162 finished! 2

Last finishing bits:

The Hem:
I wanted a little more body so I sewed in horse hair, then covered it with a sheer ribbon, in case I start kicking up my heels. 🙂 This would have been so much easier with black horse hair, but I didn’t find any…


The Placket:
It needed reinforcing but I didn’t want more bulk, so I used a black cotton twill tape.  The waist band looked better when I took the elastic off and refitted it, pretty bulky though, with the twill tape! In an earlier blog, a pucker showed on the placket, so I took it apart and restitched it.

I like the buttons. What I would do differently? Those back buttons should hit higher on me, just at the knee, and they are lower. Next time! If you are fitting, I’d choose where that pleat starts and move it, if you need to!
But the skirt is done, ready for this Saturday, an Oregon Suffragette! Watch for finishing the shirtwaist & hat…