I think I have a winner! (But I need some help.)

So I finally have a pattern that I think I can work with in making that dress for my brother’s wedding! It’s just a very basic McCall’s sheath dress, and I’ve spent the last couple of hours basting it together and tweaking it. There are some definite changes that have to be made– namely the neckline, which I’m going to have to reshape due to needing to take a bigger shoulder seam in order to get the armholes to stop gapping and get the bust darts, which I’d lowered some, to go back into the right place. (I decided to experiment with this to try and get it to fit, and it also told how to measure to get the point of the darts pointed at the fullest part of the bust, but I think I may have gotten it a little off.) But there are also some fitting adjustments that will need to be made, and for this I’m asking for the help of you lovely readers.

#1: The zipper in the back is gapping at the neck. I’ve already partially unbasted it and rebasted it to curve it in more– currently at 1″ in rather than 5/8″. Is this something I should be worried about, or will reshaping the neckline throw it off further, or will putting the facings in (and therefore removing some of that raw edge) solve the problem?

#2: The bust darts. I’ve never quite been able to get this double-dart bodice thing down–it seems like I always get that weird fabric bubble between the two. This is no exception. I tried tapering the side dart to get less of a point, but I’m not sure if that made it better or worse. I did also have to take the vertical darts in a bit more because it was hanging way too loosely around my waist. Which I tapered it out from the seam, further down than the point. You can see that I’m also getting some weird wrinkles in the front from the picture, too, though I think it may hang a bit better on me than on the dummy.

(And another shot of the darts on the other side.)

#3: The back. This is where I’m getting the weirdest wrinkles. Again, I had to take the darts in some more, but I actually ended up letting those out further again than what I’d originally taken in, and then taking in a little bit on the side seams. That helped a bit, but I still don’t think it should have all of those wrinkles in there.

So please, please, any advice you can offer me would be so welcome–the wedding is 3 weeks from Saturday, and with balancing 3 jobs right now, this pattern is pretty much my last shot at getting a dress sewn up in time! If the fabric is a factor, I’m using silk charmeuse, so it would be drapier than the muslin. And I really don’t know what on earth I’m going to do with it–not to mention the silk velvet I bought to make a matching wrap–if I don’t use it for this wedding. (Not to mention I really would prefer to not have to shop for a dress when I’ve got gorgeous fabric to play with!)

2 thoughts on “I think I have a winner! (But I need some help.)

  1. OK, I will try to help:

    1. I have never needed to make this adjustment, but I think there's an official one and I don't know what it's called. It looks from the photo like the dress is pulling away from your back about 2 inches down from the top. I don't think a facing would help in this case. I would guess that continuing to trim from center back in the area where it's gapping would help.

    2. In the first bust dart photo, the armhole bust dart isn't pointing at the bust apex. Looks like you'd want to change the angle of the dart to point directly to the apex — the length looks good but the angle is way off. In the second bust dart photo, the darts look like they are pointing at the bust apex but the armhole dart looks baggy, which would suggest to me that it's not taking up enough fabric and needs to be wider. Is there a chance that this form is a duct/ paper tape double? Sometimes we don't stand symmetrically when we make those body doubles, and perhaps the dress looks much different on. ???

    3. I'm playing detective on this one, like with #1 above, because I've not experienced this. Is this a “swayback” thing?

    Wish I could be more help. It's always easier when in person, but I guess photos are the next best thing. Good luck!


  2. 1. Ok, will work on that.

    2. It's not an actual body double– it's a former store mannequin that I padded out to fit my actual measurements– the proportions were just about perfect. Though I discovered later that my chest does sit lower than the dummy's. I'll have to try it on again and look at it to see if I do need to change the angle.

    3. I honestly don't know if it's a swayback thing or not. Truth be told, I'm not sure how to know if I need that adjustment, let alone how to make it!!

    Thanks for the suggestions, Antoinette. I'll look into those.


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