After (what seemed like) an awfully long dry spell, I managed to sew a cardigan today. This is special because I made adjustments to the pattern, and my adjustments worked! Usually, when I sew a commercial pattern, I just use a TNT block and morph the design details to it.
But I mulled it over and came up with an idea of what should work. I would like to think I do know how I am shaped and how patterns are drafted and how to meet somewhere in the middle.
I can't be that hard, can it?
I read Imogen Lamport's blog regularly (it's on my blogroll over to the right) and I've even had a professional consultation with her. I learned that my body proportions are long in the upper torso, and my shoulders are narrow. I did refer to my TNT bodice block to make sure the pattern looked about right. But this time, I really did just alter the pattern- here is how I did it:
Since this was a cardigan to wear over a black tank dress (I sewed that last weekend) I wanted to use "loud" fabric. That's another thing I learned from Imogen. Wearing something busy around my shoulders and upper torso helps balance me out visually. I do feel good wearing things she suggested, so it's good. A garment can be busy by virtue of the fabric selection, or, design details. To follow through on this idea, a military jacket would be good for my shape; epaulets, buttons, plackets and top-stitching are all good for me.
I didn't want the boring back side of this fabric to show at all, so I lined the entire bodice. That makes it warmer for my ice cold office, too.
One more thing about proportions- since my waist sits quite low for my height, a short jacket gives some balance. And the black dress is a good quiet background for the jacket.
In the past, I would have used these fabrics opposite - I would have made the print dress and a black cardigan. But I can wholeheartedly say that I enjoy wearing clothes more now that I have developed some insight into proportions. This jacket had a lot of criteria to meet - and it succeeds!
I especially like that I completed it within one afternoon. I needed some instant gratification!