Can I ask your fitting advice?

I'm making a dress.  Its from a commercial pattern, and its for an upcoming wedding I'll be going to next month.  Knowing how pattern sizing is always off, I've made a test from some dollar fabric to see how it fits.  According to the pattern envelope, I should be between a 14 and 16 – so I cut a size 10 and guess what, it's still a bit too big.

But sizing aside, what do you think?  I know there are a lot of very experienced sewers out there who have given advice before – can I ask for your fitting advice on this test please?

The front view looks not too bad, although I'm not too keen on those chubby bits by my armpits.  It's my least favorite body part – do you think I should try to bring up the bodice front by reducing the amount of gathering in those pieces and sewing them in higher up on the front V ?  Or should I try to make the bodice side pieces bigger to allow them to be gathered all the way including the extra height?  It's a funny shaped piece so it would be a bit of trial and error.

Test fitting a new knit dressHere is the side view.  I think this also looks less than flattering.  It does its best to hide my figure and make me look kind of square.

Test fitting a new knit dress

Perhaps this is down to the gathering in the back of the skirt.  I can understand and appreciate the gathering in the front of the skirt, but by gathering in the center of the back skirt piece, am I adding in too much extra fabric around my middle and therefore making me look too square?  Suggestions for how to deal with the back skirt – should I keep the fabric the same size and exchange the gathers for a simple central back pleat?  Or try to redraft the back skirt piece to match the bodice size and exclude the back gathers all together?  Or keep the gathers ?

Test fitting a new knit dress


All advice very much appreciated.

And did you catch a glimpse of another dress I'm working on?  A smart red and black number for the evening dinner – more to come on this one later – if I can make this one work too.

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Amy of lecafecrochetandpurls
Amy of lecafecrochetandpurls

I think a center, central back pleat would look fabulous! Also pairing the top portion with a fitted, possibly short sleeve kintted bolero with a single, centered button. It will accentuate your bust but hide your least favorite armpit area. :0)

Gaby Tatar
Gaby Tatar

Hi Deby, first let me tell you, that I love the turquoise color, even though you mentioned, it´s only a dollar fabric.
I would suggest following:
1. that you do reduce the amount of gathering in those pieces and sew them in higher up on the front V instead of the other idea, because if the angle next to your arms is about 90° it looks a bit strange.
2. looks like the dress is too large around the hip area but I would not just sew it tighter, but try to bring the extra fabric from the side inward. You would reach this by opening the gathering in the middle on the front and back and replace the gathering by tucking, which I prefer anyway, as gathering always does put a few extra pounds on you 😉

I sketched my suggestions on your photo and now found out, that I cannot post it here, so I posted it on my facebook and will erase it again, after you saw it:

I hope, my suggestions are not too late!
Best regards from Vienna,


I think if you cut the top of the skirt piece a little narrower and had it flare out to size lower on the skirt it would help define your waist area better. Not sure about the bodice but I would probably try it both ways to test out which idea would work better.