Back on the jeans wagon!

Jeans have long been a defining staple of my style, and I’ve honestly missed making them (and wearing ones that fit) since the boys came along. So when I saw the Mountain View pull-on jeans by Itch to Stitch— and particularly a tester shot that showed off just how well they don’t gape in the back– I was sold. I haven’t been feeling ready to go through the fitting process for, say, the Ginger jeans that I’ve been hoarding, but elastic waist stretchy jeans? That, my mom bod can handle.

I do have to say, this took a lot longer than I expected. I actually started this project back in August, and intended all along to do a fit check before working on all of the details. But then I heard a Love to Sew podcast episode just after cutting it out where Brooks Ann Camper was talking about hand-sewing and not overly handling the fabric, and kind of on a whim, I decided to hand baste the jeans together. I still think it was the right move, as the denim I used was one that had been sitting in my stash for a few years because it was a lot lighter weight than I wanted. But it does have the 30% stretch that this pattern calls for, so I figured it would be the perfect test fabric. The machine basting and ripping out process probably would have weakened the fabric quite a bit, since I had to make some significant changes.20180917_085635

The back is where it’s the most noticeable. The dark stitching was the original seam lines, and the yellow is the changes I had to make. I ended up having to pull the back in about an extra 1/2″ starting from the back and going through the yoke, and then taking an additional dart in the waistband that is actually in the finished product. I’m going to see if I can smooth that out in future versions. I also ended up changing the rise slightly by reducing the seam allowance between the yoke and the waistband, and while wearing them and sitting down to write this, I think that was a good move.

Additional changes I made: I added a little extra width to the hips (about 1/4″ total, I think), and pulled it in around the knees to give it a little more of a flare effect– bootcut/flare jeans are still my favorite, and the straighter leg that this originally had just looked really baggy and ridiculous on me when I tried it on. A nice feature of these jeans is that there’s an additional back leg seam to help with fitting adjustments, so I was able to take it in at the back of my knee quite easily.


Once I figured out the fitting changes and adjusted my pattern (look at me, being all smart and doing the adjustments right away, the actual assembly process went quite smoothly. Figuring out what to do with the pockets was a little tricky. I did all of the topstitching in the same color thread with the triple stitch, but I ended up deciding on a design from one of the templates in a free download from Closet Case Patterns. I’ll be honest, the pockets were my one quibble about the instructions for this pattern. The order of assembly on there has the pockets as the last thing, after the legs are all stitched together and the waistband is on, and that seems unnecessarily difficult to me. I went ahead and sewed them just after the center back leg seams, before doing the crotch or inseams or anything, but I can see that being a tricky point if you’re more of a novice in sewing pants.

So are you ready to see the results?


20181120_080711  Here you go! Overall, I’m pleased with the fit, though I think that maybe I should have made the elastic just a little bit smaller. We’ll see if it ends up bothering me enough to remove the waistband and fix it later. They’re actually quite comfortable for a high rise pant, and the elastic content means it won’t restrict my breathing (crucial when your instrument is a woodwind!)




The back view. I think that in the future, I might move up the back pockets about a half inch or so, because they seem just a little low to me. But look at the flare!! The back seam blends in really well here due to the tone on tone stitching, but I can see that being a fun detail to highlight.

I would definitely make this pattern again, and am now curious about some of the other patterns from this designer. She has some really lovely tops! I do have one other piece of denim in my stash, in the more typical indigo color, that seems to have the right stretch amount for this pattern. But it’s also more narrow than the typical denim, so I’ll have to see if I can tetris it out. Honestly, I think that is probably the most difficult part of this pattern, aside from just working out the fitting– finding the right fabric! It seems like most denims cap out at around 15% stretch, and with the nature of the wide elasticized waistband, I’m not sure that just sizing up a little would be sufficient. So I may have to branch out to some corduroys and twills to see what I can do.

For the record, I’m still planning to try those Ginger jeans at some point, once I’m certain that we’re done with kids and my weight is stable. But this works well to give me my fix now. And I think that the color will help to brighten up my winter wardrobe very nicely! (Now I just need some print tops with this color, because how do I not have this happy turquoise?!)

Also, the other reason that these jeans took longer than expected is because I took a break in the middle, which is not typical for me on a project. But the opportunity came up to write a post for the Sewcialists blog’s Sustainable Sewing theme, which went up yesterday. So if you want to see my latest Refashion Redemption Project piece, go check it out!

a post of small things, part 2

To continue from the other day…though these are slightly bigger things.

1. So you remember back when I was making that wedding dress, and I had to muslin the top of the Cambie dress 4 times to get it to fit? Obviously, planning a wedding was messing with my judgment, because this was my thought process at the time: “The bulk of the dress is going to be supported from the waist, so I should fit the waist first and then adjust the bust to fit, even though this is for pear-shaped figures. Even if it takes me multiple FBA’s and eventual conversion of the darts to a princess-seamed top.” (Which it did.) 

Well, somewhere in the moving process, I lost the final muslin. And I never actually made those changes to the pattern, because I was sewing a wedding dress/packing and moving all my stuff/often working 6 days a week, and who had time to alter tissue patterns for later projects? But the next thing I have planned to sew, aside from the costume, is a “real” Cambie. And since I’m using a bigger table at my parents’ house to cut out the costume, I dug into my refashion bin one night recently and found something to chop up and do a quick mock-up, which I’m hoping to turn into a wearable top at some point. Makes me feel better about muslin time, if I get something actually wearable out of it. But this time, I cut the size based on the bust, because it’s ok for a casual summer dress to be a little looser at the waist. Around here, it might even be preferable.

Clearly, I should have done this for the wedding dress, too. This is straight out of the envelope, with the only alterations being that I took the back darts in a tiny bit and did Tasia’s straight neckline variation. Oh well…live and learn, I guess.

For the record, I know the neckline looks gappy, but when I fold the seam allowance under, it seems to be fine. There’s also some diagonal wrinkles at the sides, but the weight of the skirt should pull that out in the real version. I think I could probably take the front darts in maybe 1/8″. Any thoughts, before I start chopping up my pretty dress fabric?

2. In other news, I’m having a surprisingly tough time with last week’s Wardrobe Architect assignment. It’s one thing to assemble silhouettes that I’m drawn to for various seasons, and another to use that to plot out a capsule wardrobe. I think where I’m getting hung up is the spring/summer bit–I already have a few projects in the queue that I’d really like to get to this season, and it’s not necessarily stuff that would make for a cohesive chunk of my wardrobe. And I haven’t really had a whole lot of time to sew in the past week or so. When I have, it’s basically been that Cambie top mockup or working on a prom dress that I agreed to shorten for a friend of mine. (Only because she’s a good friend that I see regularly–I’d already turned down one request this spring from someone else who I haven’t actually seen in years but am friends with on Facebook.) For now, this week’s assignment on colors is inspiring me more, and the more I think about this, the more I think I may be better off skipping spring altogether and focus on the summer, or even summer into early fall, since that will allow me time to get these next couple of projects done first. So I’ll come back to these later.

Thurlow fitting

I have to say, this hasn’t been nearly as painful as I’d anticipated.
Thurlows, straight out of the patternThis is what I ended up with when sewing it together straight out of the pattern. (I cut a straight size 8, for the record.) And it actually wasn’t that bad! It felt a little bit tight in the lower crotch area. And it was definitely too tight in the butt, even though it was still gapping at the center back. But still…I’ve sewed worse. Which means that my hopes that the Thurlows would work well for my shape are fully justified. Hurrah for Sewaholic!

After adjusting

After about an hour of tweaking, this is where I’m currently at. The butt may still be a little too tight, especially when factoring in welt pockets, but it’s passable. And I can sit in it, which is important. I know the front still looks pretty wrinkly, but I don’t think I’m going to mess with it too much. I learned from the jeans-fitting process that I have to allow myself a little extra room at the top of the thighs, because I have what Tasia calls “strong thighs”. (As illustrated by this initial jeans post here where you can see how far they protrude past my stomach and pelvic bones!) Besides, a lot of what is there is sagginess, and based on a few tugs I was doing when trying it on, I think that problem will be largely solved when the waistband goes on.

So here’s what I’ve done so far:

  • Let the inner thigh seams out 1/8″, for a total of 1/4″ per leg.
  • Took in the darts and side seams 1/8″, for a total waistline decrease of 1/2″.
  • Scooped out the back crotch seam to give me more room in the butt. I’m still not sure why taking fabric away from the outside of the pants gives more room, but it works. TARDIS effect, maybe? I also took that slanty back seam in quite a bit at the top. Probably a solid inch and a half.

I still need to play with the waistband, but that should be fairly simple. I was also thinking about taking it in a little more at the knee for more of a bootleg effect, but since these aren’t jeans and I’m not sure how forgiving this fabric is going to be, I’m going to leave it for these. It seemed like a good fit when my knees are bent, so I probably shouldn’t mess with that too much, either.

So, how’s it looking? And do I need to add a little more into the backside still?

One more thing– I recently discovered on my blog reader that this is happening again! So since my plans for sewing a lot of pants fit oh-so-nicely into the “Fashionable Foundations for Frosty Weather” category, I’m signing up for sure! I mean, two sewalongs in one? Three, even, since I am busting stash for all of these! How can I resist?

Pants fitting and finishing tips

I’m compiling as many fitting resources for pants as I can find into this link. I’m no expert on fitting adjustments myself, but hopefully you’ll find these helpful. (I’ll keep updating this post as I find more.)

General fitting:
Pants-fitting basics, via The Coletterie
A link list for several pants-fitting issues, from Sewaholic.
This one is more for jeans, but some of the principles could apply to regular trousers as well. From Threads Magazine.
Baggy seat fix, also from Threads Magazine.
Adding a wedge for if you need more coverage in back, from Sewingplums.
Another trousers sewalong at A Fashionable Stitch.  (Thanks, Joanne and Alessa!)
An in-progress “Fit-n-Sew Along” at Maria Denmark. (Thanks to Maria and Not Sew Simple for keeping me in the loop on the Twitter discussion they were having about this while I was at work!)

Lauren at Lladybird hosted a Thurlow sew-along last year, which I would have been all over if I hadn’t been somewhat distracted by muslining a wedding dress. The posts for that start here. She also has a bunch of helpful links in this post to various other blog posts about fitting!

There’s also a series of posts at The Coletterie for sewing the Clover pants.

I haven’t found anything specific on the Juniper pants yet, but feel free to comment if there’s something I missed!

Stepping it up:
Adding a “French Fly” with a waist stay, from Handmade by Carolyn.
Sewing a blind hem, from The Coletterie.
Also from Twitter- a video series on drafting and sewing trousers, from Joost. (This one is more for men’s trousers, so the fit would obviously be different, but I’m sure that the ladies can learn something from menswear construction, too!)

Do you have any other favorite fitting tips or pattern alterations? Feel free to share in the comments, and I’ll add it to the list.

As for my own progress, I haven’t actually started sewing yet! Between an open-to-close work shift over the weekend, church and music activities on Sunday, and going to Philadelphia to see Muse on Monday night, I’ve barely had time to even sleep, let alone sew. But I did get the pattern traced out, and my (hopefully) wearable muslin mostly cut out yesterday. I still need to do interfacing and lining pieces, so I’m going to try to get that taken care of this afternoon. And maybe even start constructing, if time allows.

So, SO close

Does it make me sound like a horribly lazy person that I’m glad I got an unexpected day off of work? I didn’t have to go to the shop because the weather is gross and the manager predicted sales would be extremely slow. They’re selling Christmas trees now, and who wants to look for those outside when it’s rainy and cold? Not me. So I got to work on the dress this morning instead.

It took a little longer than expected, because I had to tweak some seam placements in the skirt again. But I think I am basically there, as far as the muslin goes. Except for one issue. (Pardon the iphone photos–the lighting around here is pretty terrible today due to the rain, and I figured I’d have more luck with mirror shots using the phone than I would my camera. Also, my tripod broke.)

Dress Front 2This is the front of the dress–now with spiral-steel boning! The stitching on that is completely wonky because I was having to stitch the channels on with the boning in it in order to actually get the boning inside. (I had to make these channels myself. I may have done it too tightly. I’m debating whether I’d be better off making new ones out of, say, grosgrain ribbon for the real thing.) For the most part, I think the boning helped, at least on the side and back.What I’m not sure about is all of those diagonal wrinkles right in the center front. I think it’s time to post in the Craftsy class again and see what Susan has to say.

One more note about those skirt seams–the black lines are not the seams. Those were the original thread tracings, and those seams were moved to line up with the princess seams.

Dress Front 1One change to the front that I do like is that I retraced the curve of the sweetheart neckline (the white that’s slightly showing above the original stitching.) I like this one much better.

Dress Back

And here’s the back. Not entirely accurate, since the very top will be tacked closed with a button. But I did add a zipper–partially to check the fit, and partially to play around with a lapped zipper. (It’s on my Check The Technique list anyway! Still needs work.) This is obviously not the zipper I’ll be using, since it’s grey–I didn’t have a white one on hand. And I think I’ll have to extend the zipped part an inch or so, because it’s just a liiiiiiiittle bit hard to pull on over certain curvy bits. (Ahem.) But with the zipper, the fit is actually quite comfortable. Even with all of those extra layers that the seam allowances made around the waist, so I think it’ll be just fine with the underlinings and such. Again, I added some boning to this, right over the darts, and I think it does do a nice job of smoothing it out. I will have to shorten the actual bones on both the side and back pieces just a little bit, though. Maybe about 1/4″.

Dress Side
Speaking of the side–I do think I am going to have to alter the curve of those pieces some. It does still pull towards the front slightly, though the boning did help that out quite a bit. I think that shaving 1/4″ out of the middle of the front and adding it to the back should do it. Again, the thread traced black lines are not the actual current seam lines. But it does look like things are laying pretty smoothly in the front, so I’m pleased with that.

Dress SkirtAnd although it’s not the most flattering view of my middle, here’s a view of the whole skirt. I tried it on with the shoes this morning to check the hem length, and I’m going to have to add at least 2″ plus the hem allowance. I might do 2 1/2″ just to be on the safe side, since it’s easier to make a wider hem than to skimp on the fabric there. The circumference of the skirt is plenty wide enough, though, and even with my long stride, I can walk comfortably in it. I guess I’ll just need to figure out if I need to add something to the hem to poof it out some, whether it’s horsehair or some tulle underlayers.

ShoesSpeaking of shoes–if you were curious, here they are! Since I rather dislike shoe shopping (mostly due to that lovely widening bony bulge you can see riiiiight under my big toes), I decided to be cheap and lazy and wear the same shoes I wore as a bridesmaid in a friend’s wedding several years ago. (Incidentally, this is the same friend whom I just made the Star Wars bibs for, and she’s going to be a bridesmaid in my wedding as well, so the circle is complete.)

Since I don’t have too many occasions in which to wear strappy silver sandals–and when I do, I usually wear my gladiator flats instead–they’re in good shape. All of the little rhinestones are still there, and I just have a little bit of scuffing on the heels and the very edge of the toes. Nothing a little nail polish can’t fix, once I find the right extra-shiny shade.

I love it when a plan comes together!

I do still have some important details to figure out. Mainly the internal support structure. But I did get the new bodice basted together with all of my pattern changes, and if I may say so myself, it worked beautifully.

Final bodice test- frontI think the moral of the story is that when it comes to very fitted bodices, princess seams are going to work for me ten times better than double darts ever will. This made a HUGE difference in the look of the front. I also like the new lowered neckline, though I think I’m going to have to adjust those curves a bit to make it look a bit more sweetheart-y. (That somewhat pointy section on the right side is the result of the clipped piece sticking out. If this was the real thing, obviously I would have pressed it and stitched down the seam allowances and such, since the Bridal Couture book strongly recommends joining the lining to the upper edge of the bodice by hand. But this isn’t the real thing.) I also did a rather sloppy version of the cap sleeves, with the side seam allowances on both the lace and the organza just folded in, but it’s enough to tell that it will work, provided I can figure out how to conceal the actual seam allowances on the sides and shoulders as much as possible.

It looks like that waist on the front is really crooked, but it’s not nearly that bad outside of the picture. For one thing, I think I forgot to tug this into actual approximate placement before I took the picture, so the top will run a bit lower. For another thing, the jeans are not helping that visual.

Final bodice test- sideSee? It’s pretty straight from the side. On an unrelated side note, yes, these are the jeans I made, and for the most part, they’re washing and wearing beautifully! But I have noticed that the waistband has stretched a bit so that it gaps in the front–though the back is still gapiosis-free!– so for the next pair, I’m going to need to stabilize and/or alter and/or completely swap out the waistband for something more contoured. On the plus side, I was afraid that it would be too tight in the crotch area, and it’s actually quite comfortable!

Ok, back to the dress. There is that one diagonal pull there, but I think once the skirt is on, that will probably straighten out. The boning might help too, once I get that in.

My favorite new detail? The back is exactly how I pictured it to be. Check this out:

Final bodice test- backThe lace is one piece, and underneath there’s the “fashion fabric” on the lower part, and organza on the upper part. So the effect when I’m wearing it is just that my upper back is covered in lace. The pattern alteration was soooo easy to do–I took my french curve ruler, started where the front bodice meets the back armhole, and did a very slight curve towards the center back. Then I added seam allowances to both of those pieces. Given my usual lack of success when it comes to flat pattern alteration, it’s very gratifying to know that this worked. Again, there is some rippling, but I do think that will straighten out when the skirt/boning is in.

My next adventure is figuring out boning placement–I’m not sure I technically need it, since this isn’t strapless, but I think I’ll have a little more peace of mind knowing that I’m not putting all of that strain on the organza in the shoulder seams. Especially since I have no idea how much this skirt will weigh when all is said and done, given the length and the layers of lining and underlining and stuff. (Plus I need to figure out if I need to add tulle and such for fullness.)

boning placement- test 1I’ve never used spiral steel boning in my life, so I’ve been using this tutorial for cutting it. It was definitely easier than cutting through an entire length of metal, but still hard! My little wire cutters, which I generally use for jewelry-making, were not quite up to the task, so I ended up having to resort to just snipping it over the same area over and over until the metal finally weakened enough that I could break it. I did get all of the lengths that I’m pretty sure I’ll need cut (a bit tricky for the front, and some of the pieces are very, very short, since I was using where my bra ended as a guideline. See between those yellow pins and the waistline!). I got the tips on all of them. The website also recommended wrapping the tips in some plumbers’ tape to keep the tips from coming off while sliding things in and out of the boning. I don’t have any, so I’ve been at a bit of a standstill ever since. Not that I’ve had time to sew since Monday anyway.

On an overall plus side, the lace is behaving better in the actual bodice, so maybe I’ll only have to hand-stitch the seams and darts (just for motif placement), instead of all over the pieces, after all!

In which our heroine changes the FBA yet again! And other fitting tales

I have to say, Craftsy classes are awesome. I’m currently doing the Couture Dress class, along with reading the Bridal Couture book (both by Susan Khalje). I’m on the Muslin Fitting video section (obviously), and posted a picture of my muslin so far with a question about when in the process I should start dealing with the boning. And I was quite pleasantly surprised that Susan wrote back the very next day with some excellent constructive criticism!So I’ve been tweaking the muslin as I could over the past two days, as per her suggestions.

As I reminder, this is what I had at the beginning of the week:

Dress Bodice 3.0

And this is what I have now:

Muslin fitting, 10/25

  1. For the back, I took a horizontal tuck across the upper back, I think about a total of 3/4″. (The seam was about 3/8″ from the foldline.) Goodbye, weird saggy armholes!
  2. Susan pointed out that the side seam was pulling to the front a bit, which I hadn’t really noticed before. She suggested taking a bigger dart and letting the side seam out just a bit. I think I’ll still have to let it out a bit in the middle–I actually ended up pinning on the side seam again after deepening the dart (about 1/8″ out from the original stitching, for a total of 1/4″), but it definitely looks better than before.
  3. I also took a nice big chunk out of the center front, by starting the seam for that about 3/8″ out from where it was.
  4. It’s just folded for now, and I’ll need to play around with it some more, but I did fold the sleeve caps under further so the edges would be on my shoulder instead of hanging off the edge. I like this look much, much better.
  5. Susan also mentioned that the shoulder seams were pulling too far towards the back, so I tried to center them up. Which basically meant shortening the front sleeve section a lot–I just checked the outer edge on the one side, and it’s nearly a full 2″ shorter than before!
  6. The biggest change: After all of that FBA work, it looks like I’m going to have to turn this into a princess seam bodice after all! I just could not get it to lie right, and it was still gapping in the front, even after I played around with shifting the inner edge of those sleeve cap strap things. And the only way I could get it to lie flat was to pin a dart out, about 3/4″ total on each side. You can see this best in the side view picture–I know it’s still bubbling a bit funny at the bust, but keep in mind that this is only pinned in for now. I hate to say it because I really wanted to avoid altering the basic design lines too much, but it really does lie much better with the princess seam. So now I just have to figure out how the heck to make it work. I’m hoping that those side dart bits will just function as a flat piece, because I’d really like to avoid the look that I had to resort to on this blouse

I’m definitely going to have to lengthen this bodice some now, because there is absolutely no way that waistband is going to hit anywhere close to the right place now with all of that darting and tucking I’ve had to do. I’d say that I’d have to patch on some muslin, but in all honesty, I’ve made so many changes to the darts and all by this point that I might be better off just re-muslining the whole thing, if I can just transfer the changes to the pattern right. (Especially since I need to change the back anyway to split that into two pieces.)

The part I’m not so sure about is that neckline–I think the shape of it is great, and it’s good to not have it gapping now! But I feel like it’s maybe a little too high now–I’m not looking to flash a bunch of cleavage around in front of all of my relatives and friends, but I think the sweetheart would be a bit more flattering if it were maybe an inch lower.  Plus then I can have more fun with jewelry, because I still want a fun, sparkly (and possibly green) necklace! The only thing is, I’m not sure how to lower it, since letting out those shoulder straps will just shift the shoulder seam backwards again. Do I just need to redraw it a little lower or something?

I actually get nearly an entire day to sew on Saturday, which is super-exciting because this hasn’t happened in months! I’d like to get the skirt muslin pieces traced and cut out, finally, but I’d like to do some tweaking work on this bodice as well, if I have time. We’ll see, because it’s looking likely that Hurricane Sandy Frankenstorm of Halloween Doom is going to hit my tiny little state pretty hard. I’m just hoping that if it does, I don’t have to go to my retail job, because I do not want to sit at an outside register in all of that nastiness. And hey, if I lose power, I can baste and thread-trace by hand to my heart’s content! As long as it’s daylight out so I can actually see what I’m doing…

Previous wedding dress posts::
Tracing out the pattern
FBA attempt, part 1
FBA attempt, part 2 (with diagonal tuck adjustment)
FBA attempt part 3 (Bodice 2.0)
FBA attempt part 4 (Bodice 3.0)

Third time’s the charm?

I’m starting this on an unrelated note. I guess you can say I’ve been a little distracted with this whole wedding planning thing…it seems that both my blogoversary (6 years? Whaaaat?) and post #700 have passed me by with no notice. Um, yay me?

Anyway. I (finally!) had some time to sew today–I really wanted to work on this some yesterday, but I was thwarted by a co-worker who didn’t bother to show up for her shift, and ended up losing the three hours I otherwise would have had due to a last-minute lesson cancellation. Grr. So I started with some fresh paper and the original Cambie pattern and went back to square one.

Bodice Front 3.0

This is what I ended up with this time. There was a lot of cutting and taping involved–I added the side dart with the FBA, but it was too low, so I had to raise that higher, too. And that scribbled-out side of the vertical dart was my attempt to avoid what happened with the first bodice from over-wide darts.

And the result?

Dress Bodice 3.0

I think, this time, it actually worked! It’s still not perfect, obviously–I’m probably going to have to do some kind of swayback adjustment, the neckline gaps a bit, and I may have just a little too much room in the front near my waist. Plus there’s still that saggy back armhole thing going on. But, on the whole, this is most definitely a better place to work from than the previous two bodice fronts! I did already make one change from the pattern– the side ended up being too long to line up with the back side seam, so I increased the new side seam dart until it was the right length (I think about an extra 3/4″ from the original line I’d drawn). I’ll have to go back and thread-trace that at some point.

3,0 sleeve alteration
I’ve already made a few small tweaks, at least to one side of the pattern for comparison purposes. As you can see, the front sleeve isn’t gathered anymore–I swapped it out with the lining piece, because I figured it would be easier to alter a piece that’s supposed to be gathered anyway than it would be to figure out the right width on the flat piece. I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t want the sleeve to hang off the edge of my shoulder, because I just don’t think it will look right in the lace. So I’ve marked the outer edge about 7/8″ further in and tapered it down from there. (I’ll have to straighten that one line out.) I also took a small wedge out from the inner edge of the sleeve to try and combat the slight gappiness of the neckline, about 1/4″ tapered down to the original stitching line.

Aside from that, I’m going to wait to make further adjustments until I have a better idea of what effect the skirt will have on it. I did manage to get the waistband basted onto the muslin today, but I still have to entirely trace out and thread-trace the skirt pieces before I can go any further with this.

Previous wedding dress posts::
Tracing out the pattern
FBA attempt, part 1
FBA attempt, part 2 (with diagonal tuck adjustment)
FBA attempt part 3 (Bodice 2.0)

And the fitting madness continues!

Previously on “Fun with FBA’s”…

Our heroine, in her quest for the One Dress To Rule Them All, discovered that Really Big Darts are a nemesis that can only be overcome by breaking them into more (and smaller) darts. To this end, she went back to the drawing board….or tracing board, in this case…to see if she could come up with a more workable shape. Now, on with the show!

Bodice front, take 2After carefully thread-tracing the darts by hand on the original muslin bodice, and trying to add some length to the front in order to make it line up with that center front part, I was left with this new muslin bodice. As you can see, the darts are much smaller than the original version, and the sides are a bit more angled. To be honest, I don’t know enough about patternmaking to have an answer as to why the bottom is still wider than the top, aside from the darts, because I thought the whole point of those diagonal tucks was to make it so it was more fitted at my waist and still had more room left for my chest. Oh well.

Undeterred by this, I went ahead and basted Bodice 2.0  to the original back muslin pieces. An unforeseen consequence of my changes, unfortunately, is that the front is now at least 2″ longer than the back, and much lower than the center front was in the original bodice . (This is why my usual fitting method is “try things on and pin the heck out of it while I’m wearing it”…. obviously, I do not understand flat patternmaking AT ALL.)

This is how it looks now. And I have to say that the results of this experiment were…odd.
Bodice 2, front

The front. On the plus side, the darts worked much better, and it looks like my chest has plenty of room. Also, the caps ended up a bit more gathered and narrow at the front, and from this angle, it looks better than before. Also, it doesn’t look like the neckline is gapping quite as much, though it’s hard to tell because I was crunched for time and therefore didn’t actually press that curved edge under.

On the not-so-good side, diagonal drag lines under the bust. Also, I oddly have quite a bit of room left at the center front–it’s like the reverse of the gapiosis problem that’s usually reserved for me and pants waistbands.

Now, the back is where things get even stranger….

Bodice 2, backHoly swayback adjustment, Batman!! Turns out my reverse front gapiosis is due to it somehow ending up too small in the back. At least, at my lower back. Based on what that neckline is doing, it’s actually too big up top!  This is also after my fitting assistant (aka my mom) pinned the back out an extra quarter-inch to try and alleviate the tightness, and after I’d loosened the original back dart adjustment by 1/4″ each as well. Also, it seriously looks like I need darts by the armpits. (Though, to be fair, that was a problem the first time, too.)

So I think it’s safe to say that this particular pattern adjustment is NOT going to work. Back to the tracing board…again.

Next time on “Fun with FBA’s, in which our heroine attempts adding a side seam dart to the original bodice pattern. Will she find success? Will her nemesis, Gapiosis, come to annoy her again? Will she ever solve the Mystery of the Saggy Back Armpits? Stay tuned!

Previous wedding dress posts::
Tracing out the pattern
FBA attempt, part 1
FBA attempt, part 2 (with diagonal tuck adjustment)

fun with FBAs, part 2: Getting closer (I think)

Dress muslin 2 
After some fiddling around tonight, including trying the double dart (which just wouldn’t lay right, there was just too much fabric), I discovered a solution that just might work. I took a smaller dart in each side of the front, and then took a slightly diagonal tuck all the way up. That seemed to solve the excess fabric problem pretty nicely, and the front looks pretty good now! (See lower left). You know, aside from the completely wonky lower edge. (See upper left.) The center front looks like it’s a pretty good placement for the waistband, so I’ll have to go with that. I think the best bet will be to cut an entirely new front piece with these changes, because I need to make sure it’s ok with the grainline changes that those tucks will make at the side. If that doesn’t work, I’m going to attempt the princess seam adjustment.

Aside from evening up the lower edge, I do need to play with the sleeves a bit. (See front sleeve picture.) On the left side of the picture, I folded the outer edge in to make it more narrow, and on the right side, it’s as sewn. I’m thinking the left side will probably work better with the lace. The other issue with the front is that the neckline is gapping slightly on the curved edges, and I’m not really sure what to do about that.

I also took a bigger dart on each side in the back, about 7/8″. I think I need to slightly loosen that up again, because once I get all the layers and especially the boning in there, I think it might be a bit uncomfortably tight if I don’t. I’m a flute player, so I’m a big fan of breathing, you know? Looking at this picture now, I can also see some diagonal pulling towards the center seam, but I guess I’ll let those darts back out a bit first and see what that does.

The other thing I need to figure out is the back armhole, because it’s gapping pretty badly. But I think that’s an adjustment that may need to wait for after I get the waistband and a skirt on this thing, because I know that’s going to weigh things down a bit more.

All in all, I think this is pretty good progress for the evening!

Previous wedding dress posts::
Tracing out the pattern
FBA attempt, part 1