Friday, January 27, 2012

Fitting the Pastille - A New Approach

Yes, it still isn't finished. Surprised?

It's getting closer, right?

The back of the fashion fabric version was still not working, there was too much fabric in the back length-wise. After becoming increasingly frustrated with trying to fit the dress, as cut (I even had my sister try to pin-fit me at the holidays to no avail) I finally made the muslin that I should have made months before!

Major Improvement!!!

What did I learn? After taking and recording my true body measurements, I discovered that the average misses pattern has a neck to waist measurement in the back that measures 16" while mine is almost 1.5 inches shorter*. Therefore, I had to take almost 2" out of the back length (see below).

In the muslin, I was able to see that making the back shorter by cutting from the bottom or even altering the pattern at the shorten/lengthen line was not going to correct the back length the way it needed to be. The extra length was not below the armscye but throughout the back shoulder and cap sleeve area. When I placed the shoulder seams together, the underarm curve of the back piece was far below the front curve and it billowed out. After pinning up 2 inches in the area between the side seams and the cap sleeve I could see that the back neckline was now lower and in a more natural position. See the very 1st photo to see how high it was before the alteration. I also extended the back darts up to the alteration to take up some of the extra width.

I needed to change the bodice waist line to even it out from side to side. Because of the front angling down to the sides it made the dress seem like it was rising up in the front. Therefore, after I sewed the darts I used a ruler to straighten the bodice seam line so that it would match the line of the skirt.

The red marks in this photo show where the paper pattern piece will be altered.

The new bodice

The skirt portion of the dress fit well over the rear, however the curve lower on the hip was too extreme for my body. So, with the skirt portion I kept the waist at size 10 but brought the hips down to the size 8(!) and will shave some more off the hip curve so it no longer sticks out like fabric saddlebags. I might need a wee swayback alteration, bring in the waist some more and lower the bodice darts about half an inch.

Though the back alteration helped immensely, there are still three sets of drag lines on the front of this dress. I thought that altering the waistline of the bodice would eliminate the drag on the skirt, but it seems I need to bring it up even more. Perhaps I should make the side darts larger and use those to pull up the bodice sides? The third set of drag lines are just a given with cap sleeves.

Hopefully, the next time I write about the Pastille on this blog will be to reveal the finished version. By the way, the Vogue duster coat; still in its muslin phase, is being put on the back burner. There are a few separates (like my latest skirt) that I feel are more important to finish sooner than later. More on those later.

*Yeah, I don't get it either. Why 16"? Does anyone else have this problem?


Claire (aka Seemane) said...

Wow - it's very much improved :)!
I reckon that of the alterations need to get your fit spot on - you're 80% there, another 20% more twiddling and I think you'll have it. Well done for persevering hun!

jen said...

i'm petite and have a high waist (and have a bit of a sway back) so i have to make the same alterations as you do! i hate making muslins though. ;) yours is looking good but yea the waist needs to be brought up a bit on the sides and back. it's looking good!

Lizz said...

I'm also petite with a high waist and I have to make very similar alterations. It's looking really great and all this work is going to be worth it.

alethia said...

In feel your pain, I had the exact same issues, A sort back, so there is a lot of fullness above the back waistline, a narrow back, swayback, and wide hips. So I feel your pain.

mjb said...

I also realized recently that those lines for shortening the bodice were necessary for me. I need to make the back more narrow, too, I've decided after too many things with gaping zippers at the neckline.

The Slapdash Sewist said...

Huge improvement! Hopefully you can take this knowledge and apply it to future projects so they won't require quite so much fiddling.

Goodbye Valentino said...

What a pain to go through but your adjustments are leading to a perfect fit! It's going to look great!

House of Pinheiro said...

Great job...

House of Pinheiro said...

Oh darling, I can feel your pain as I have so much alterations with colette it's crazy. Ok, I can suggest some alterations that can help. The drag lines in the front looks like the shoulder seam is too high, I and its pulling to sit on the right place. Another suggestions to slim the back is to eliminate the neck dart and lengthen the back darts all the way to the shoulder. It's will make the back slimmer.ithe drag lines on the bodice looks like the bust is tight , let me know on twitter how you getting on