…continuing from part 1 back in July 2017…
I began to wonder if my requirements are even possible. But surely billions of women from the Indian subcontinent over the centuries wouldn’t have put up with immobile sleeves that keep falling off the shoulder & bodice that offers no bust support! Time to go back to the sources & try to discern the underlying principles even if the surface instructions make little sense to me.
- Looking at RTW & designer choli photos, some seem to show a bit of looseness / excess fabric near the underarm area.
- Most of the Indian drafting instruction I found online has shoulder slope of 1/2″ to 1″ at most. According to Fit For Real People standard western patterns (Big 4 presumably) assume a slope of 1-5/8″ – 2″. And the Indian illustrations seem to indicate a more T-shape finished garment shape than sloping sleeves.
- I decided to try a couple of custom-made choli blouses from House of Blouse to see how an “authentic” fit may look like on me. Because it’s made to measure, you can actually pick & mix your design details. I pushed the envelope and went for very low back neckline with no dori back ties. One big caveat before we talk about fit: the measurements instruction was rather imprecise, so that may have affected the fit…
House of Blouse Choli 1
Regular length princess cut with Wide U Neck front & Classic U Neck back (no dori ties), back opening, bust pads, & elbow length sleeves.
- I was surprised that the bust pads actually created a more lifted look. I’m now tempted to try this in my own makes now.
- Interestingly even with the princess seam, they added a centre front fisheye bust dart. It creates a nice shaping & probably holds the bust pads in place for better bust support.
- Yeah! It stays on despite the wide open back, even when I tug at the sleeves.
- Cross-front feels a bit too narrow while cross-back a bit too wide. Can feel the back armscyes cutting into the arm joints. This may be a problem with incorrect measurement or my posture / posterior arm joint “feature”.
- Total mobility. No problem with arms forward or up.
- You can definite see the fold of excess fabric underarm & armholes feel quite high up against the armpits. In the soft fabrics that I choose this probably won’t be a problem. But I wonder if this would feel a bit uncomfortable in more heavily embroidered fabric like my Muslin 2 above.
House of Blouse Choli 2
Regular length 3-dart cut with Armband Sweetheart Neck front & Armband Sweetheart Neck back (no dori ties), front opening, bust pads, & 3/4 length sleeves.
- Bust & sleeve: same as above
- Problem here. It easily slips off the shoulders
- I would assume they drafted this with the same measurements.
- Not sure if they derive additional styles from a block like western pattern maker or each design is drafted from scratch using a different formula.
- Not sure if the problem here is the Sweetheart neckline or the Armband design.
- This problem + the excess fabric foldat underarm for sleeve mobility rather defeat the armband design.
- As there’s not much excess seam allowance in shoulder & armscye seams the only fx I can do is to add dori ties to the back neckline to keep the sleeves on.
My current hypothesis
- To secure low open neckline + increase sleeve mobility:
- Don’t have back neckline on shoulder blade peak.
- Pattern’s shoulder slope need to be more square than actual slope of the body. A bit of fold under arm is the price to pay for sleeve mobility without excess width. Try pivoting on princess line to shorten neckline & lengthen side seam at the same time. Draft for arms up (shorter shoulder length, longer side length).
- To test this hypothesis I plan on trying 2 more pattern drafting approaches:
- Custom draft based on authentic choli pattern instruction found online
- Custom draft base on my moulage with the above shoulder slope modification
Speaking of moulage… This time I will be basing my pattern on flattened plastic wrap. I’m not sure if my K. King moulage is 100% accurate as it’s drafted to a formula. Even though the muslin fitted like a second skin maybe it glosses over subtle concave areas like a slight hollow chest. This becomes more of a problem when you lower necklines or move the garment edges into these gentle valleys, thus exposing gaps. I’m hoping the plastic wrap would be more accurate. I have flattened & traced it, but haven’t rationalised the block yet. So you’ll have to wait a while for part 3!