I'm embarking upon an epic fitting exercise and learning to sew the perfect fit this year, following along with the Craftsy course of the same name and the lovely instructor Lynda Maynard. You can read Part 1 of the series at 2013 is the year of Sew the Perfect Fit. Today, fitting the bust and bodice adjustment.
In the last post I talked about the mystery of pattern sizing. According to my measurements I should have been anywhere from a size 14 to a 20 based on the pattern envelope, but with Lynda's advice in the course, I picked a size 12, based on my high-bust measurement to get a good fit around the neckline, shoulders and chest and then was prepared to make other changes lower down to get the good fit.
The next few lessons went as follows:
Lesson 3 – The Muslin Test Garment, why, how, marking, construction
Lesson 4 – Fitting Standards, Assessing proper fit and what it should look like, fitting patterns
Lesson 5 – Neck and shoulders, narrow or wide shoulders, rounded shoulders and more
Lesson 6 – Upper body, full bust adjustment, lengthening, etc. How to transfer all of those adjustments to the paper pattern.
Tracing the pattern and making the muslin
I wanted to keep the pattern intact so I used my Clover Double Tracing Wheel and the Saral transfer paper to transfer the pattern to my muslin using this method – How to Trace a Pattern. I was able to mark the cutting line and the stitching line and darts, and then followed Lynda's advice to mark a number of horizontal and vertical lines on the muslin to assist with fitting later.
I went over all of the lines with a dark contrasting thread so I could see them easily, sewed up the darts and side seams along the marked stitch lines, basted in a zip to allow for easier fitting and it was ready.
Here is the muslin right out of the packet made in a size 12.
I had to breathe in mightily to get this zip closed and was not able to breathe too easily for the rushed photos. Yes, the fit around the neckline, shoulders and upper chest was perfect – Lynda was right! I don't want to change this at all. But the rest was too tight and too short. Great, gives me lots to work on. (Sorry about the revealing photos, should have used a darker fabric. Just imagine its a bikini and we're on the beach.)
One of the things I really love about this course is that Lynda uses three different models for the fitting, all with very different body shapes and sizes and shows us how to deal with each fitting issue – makes it so much easier when you can see the adjustments on a real person.
Once I had this on, it was pretty obvious what was wrong and where. And once I had slashed the fabric open in the too tight areas, it was easy to allow the fabric to do its own thing and show me where more was needed.
1 – The black stretch lace in the photo falls on my natural waist and the stitch line of the pattern is about 2 inches too high so it was obvious I need to add some more length. I slashed straight across the middle and added in some more fabric both front and back to bring the stitch line I had marked at the waist down to the natural waistline.
2 – The bust darts also fall a bit too high, so I made a mark and a note to shorten them when I made my pattern changes. It's all still very new to me and I'm not seeking perfection on my first attempt – I'm still just learning!
3 – It's too tight in the front, especially at the waist and some at the bust. So I slashed from the bottom up to the side dart point and added in some fabric on each side. I also allowed for the fact that the bust would increase a little anyway by lowering the dart.
4 – It's also too tight everywhere in the back, so I slashed from the bottom to the shoulder and added a piece of fabric from nothing at the top to the widest point at the waist.
Let's take a look at what the franken-bodice now looks like.
That's a LOT of pins! It's a little bit uneven but its not always easy to pin onto yourself while wearing it! I think I could still make a small adjustment to the front, and open a little above the bust along that horizontal line to drop it down a little. I think I'll see how this first try goes and maybe do that next time.
Next up is transferring all of those adjustments to my paper pattern and then making another bodice to double check. Be back with that soon.
Disclosure – I bought the course myself and am not being compensated in any way from Craftsy for this course review. I really love the Craftsy classes and negotiated this special rate for your benefit. I am an affiliate so will receive a commission if you buy this course using my special discount link.
Authored by: Deby at So Sew Easy