Friday, 6 September 2013
Lady Skater Pattern Hack: Go Sleeveless
I know, what better way to celebrate autumn than to post the long-overdue Lady Skater Sleeveless hack! Southern hemis, this one's for you. Northern hemis, bookmark or pin for later. All hemis, ignore the fact that my photos aren't technically even a Lady Skater Dress. I'm demonstrating how easy it is to extend the bodice to make t-shirts.
So you want to make your Lady Skater sleeveless? You might remember that Cindy from Siestas and Sewing made a sleeveless skater for the tour as illustrated by the picture on the right. If you do nothing to the bodice armhole except add trim as she did, the tank becomes a mini cap sleeve that is in no way displeasing, but if you prefer a more traditional tank-like appearance you have to change your armhole:
The main difference is to reduce the shoulder width. The sleeved Lady Skaters are designed for the sleeve seam to hit right on the shoulder cap so removing the sleeve and adding trim means that the shoulder seam will extend over the shoulder cap. If you want a skinnier shoulder, remove the greatest width at the top. The red line shows the revised armhole- it's closer to vertical at the top, scooped out along the armhole curve, and tapered to nothing at the armpit. The reason why I taper to nothing at the armpit is that I am very particular about my bra band showing. My short torso / big bust combo means that my bra bands hit very high up and it's my personal preference for a very close fitting sleeveless armhole. If you prefer a looser armhole, feel free to scoop it out there too! The purpose of scooping out along the curve is to compensate for the width of the band, but also to remove the pooling of excess fabric that can happen above the bust.
After you've amended the front bodice, to amend the back bodice first ensure the shoulder width is the same as you're using for the front. The back armhole is less curved than the front and pooling is less of an issue so you don't have to scoop into the curve, just remove a more-or-less uniform amount to account for the trim. If you remove too much from the back armhole you risk the bra strap showing. Make sure also that if you scooped into the armpit in the front bodice that you do the same to the back bodice so the side seams are still the same length.
Once you have revised your armhole for both the front and the back, you'll need to determine the length of band you will use to trim. To do so measure the new armhole (less the shoulder seam allowance) and multiply it by .85 for the length. This percentage works for fabric that has some elastane / lycra / spandex but if your fabric has less stretch and recovery (for example interlock) you might find .9 works better. For the height I personally tend to use 4cm (so 2cm on the fold) as it results in a trim rather than band appearance but feel free to increase the height if you want. Remember that the more you increase your trim height, the more you need to remove from the armhole curve.
To sew on the band I follow the same process as the neckband in that I sew it on flat rather than in the round. This is because I like to sew my side seams last so I can adjust any fitting problems then. It is worth saying that if you're busty like me that you might find the extra wedge added to the front bodice piece needs to be removed in your sleeveless version. With sleeves, this wedge reduces pulling across the chest and allows freer range of motion through the sleeve. However, in a sleeveless version you might find that you need to pull the front bodice tighter at the armpit and sew the side seam closer (effectively pulling the band in and ) so that it hugs the curve of the bust without gaping.
Go forth and sleeveless!