Friday, June 1, 2012

Project Update #2: SpringGreen Dress

How many bodices have I sewn and put back together? Too many to count at this point! I'm sure my boyfriend isn't happy in the least with tons of little pieces of thread that have been clipped in my attempt at a better fit. Honestly, I'm glad I did it! My bodice muslin fits me great!

I spent a good six or seven days working on it and eventually had to put the bodice aside and frankly, restart from scratch a few days later.

Things I learned quite quickly:
  • I will always need to do a FBA
  • Extra darts might make the whole process easier, but I just don't think it looks good to have a dart at the arm scythe
  • Don't backstitch muslin because I will have to rip that apart within 5 minutes anyway
  • All that extra muslin is reusable and I intend to use that fabric to wax my legs (lol)
Will I say I jumped into it too quickly? No, because I still feel like I had a general idea of what I needed to do and frankly, all that editing was super useful to learning. Execution was just a little weird for me, though! Plus I think it just comes down to my knowledge base and honestly, knowing what steps to do things first. Do I fix the waist size first or do the FBA? How far down am I able to push a waist dart? How much am I allowed to adjust an arm scythe before I have to change the corresponding piece on the back bodice panel? All good questions that will be answered with time and practice, but in the meantime sucks to have to waste my time with. 

In a last ditch effort to get this thing right (well, maybe not last ditch), I went to the library to look at pattern making books. Of course browsing the internet I came on reviews of the book "Fit for Real People" and I was luckily able to find it locally... only to realize that I can't check it out because my library account is a little wonky (yes, yes, I owe money to the SF library system!) Regardless, I took pictures with my handy iPhone and had at least enough to restart. I'll be buying a used copy of it after finishing this dress, before I pick up another pattern.

So in the end, this is what I actually did

  • Re-copy the pattern with size 14 below the bust and size 6 (!!!) above the bust. This immediately adjusted nearly all my problems- especially with petite sizing! Narrow shoulder concerns fixed.
  •  FBA-- was surprised how easy it was for me but this also changed the arm scythe and immediately took away my problems with it gaping at the arms. I'm surprised the "weird" shaped arm scythe actually made the bodice fit me so well.
  • Moved the darts around, the bust dart down and retilted it to face the apex. After doing the FBA, the dart was pointing away from my low full bust so taking it down an inch then repointing the dart worked amazingly.
  • Lopped off an inch from the neckline to fix gaping made by my hollow chest. Sounds weird, and yes, I'm aware that I shouldn't be changing the center front of my bodice like that... but it actually worked so I don't mind the little fudge. I also lopped off a half inch from the center back to fix gaping in the back.

The last two pictures are basically what I'm using. The wrinkles really smooth out during normal movement and the pictures don't do justice to the fit. Also, the blue fabric is an old, used and abused, sheet, so it really has no shape to it anymore; I think with the lining and a stiffer cotton, my bodice will hold it shape way better!

Now that the bodice is good to go, it's time for some intense fabric sourcing. I've been to a couple places all ready but no luck finding mint anything-- my backup color is a pale yellow. It'll suck for the name, though.


  1. ohhh can't wait to see the finished product! I'm totally going to have to search for some of those pattern making books you speak of. Sounds interesting.... :) Looks great!

    1. Thanks!

      "Fit For Real People" is from like... the late 80s, early 90s, but all the techniques seem to still hold up (sans the shoulder pads!). I figure, I'd really like to be a decent seamstress so these sorts of investments are legit!