Sunday, 14 June 2015

On Second Thoughts... I see the problem but not the solution. Can you offer me any advice, please?

I posted earlier today how bad my second attempt at the bodice of Butterick 5951 view A was. It looked really awful (no - I'm NOT going to post a picture of me in it) - very baggy at the front and my husband said it didn't meet at the back as it was much too small. I was puzzled by that. After all, although my first muslin/toile was very short, it wasn't too tight. So I tried it on my dummy, Bertha. She's not fully tuned to my size as I just haven't had the time. Same thing - too big at front and too small at the back.

Why? I wondered.

I then tried on the first muslin on myself and on Bertha. Short, yes, but not too tight.

Then I had that Eureka! moment. You may remember that I said I didn't get the chance to check the toile with my tutor - but relied, instead, on a co-pupil. You may also know that I have a relatively short back length in comparison to my very long front length. I say relatively as I'm tall so most patterns are too short even at the back, or certainly don't need shortened, though I generally have to lengthen the front bodice.

So I reckon that my fellow pupil overestimated the required addition to the pattern length, basing it on the large patch of visible flesh at the front! As I have very high hips and hips that are rather large in comparison to the rest of me, I guessed that the toile was pooling on the top of my hip and that it couldn't meet there as it was designed to my waist measurements at that point, at least 10 inches less than my hip measurement. Another reminder of how stupid I was to go ahead with the fashion fabric when I hadn't retested the changes I made to the pattern!

I wasn't able to see the back of the toile, where it fastens. I didn't want to ask DH to take a photo as he's very busy trying to get his course portfolio in for tomorrow but he confirmed what I was thinking when I asked - he had pinned me in, earlier.

So my next step was to pin my first bodice toile to the skirt, which was made up in fashion fabric. I(very carefully!) tried this on and found that it really wasn't too bad. I felt the side seams were more or less okay, just a fraction short and probably so with the back. The front was most definitely short.
So it seems to me that I need to UNDO the changes I had made to the original pattern pieces; these were, fortunately, traced. DH thinks I could get away with a 1 inch addition. Originally, front and back had a FOIUR INCH addition - the back in one whole chunk and the front in a 2" section below the armhole but above the dart and the other 2" insert increasing the dart by that amount.

I think I need to add most of the extra above the bust apex. I don't know how to add more at the front than the side fronts as these are very much involved in the dart. I previously lengthened the dart. I could perhaps have some additional gathering right over to the side seam so that I could keep that at the same length as the back? I've made the line diagram extra large to show the front darts which have the side front gathered into them. That part is the same in all the views; I'm doing view A.

I've reposted my altered pattern piece for the front, below. The side front is very much longer than the centre front in order to accommodate the gathering. I'm significantly longer in centre front and less so at the sides - I can usually make a wedge alteration, adding more to the front and tapering out to zero or nearly so at the sides. But can I do that here? I don't see how to. Currently, the skirt is being pulled up at the centre front.

Centre front (cut on fold) to right of picture, longer side front which will be gathered to fit, on left.
When I'm suggesting undoing my alterations, this doesn't include the armhole which is much too low.

As always, I'd appreciate any advice and constructive criticism.


  1. Anne - I am not really experienced enough to offer specific advice, but suggest you post this on Artisans' Square or Sewing Forum. The members are very able and always offer help on these sort of fitting issues. Or ask your tutor? Good luck.

    1. Yes, thank you. That's good advice. I'm not very active on Artisan Square so I'll go for Pattern review and link to the blog post which has more detail than I could put in any request for help. I do have some more of the fabric, by the way, so I can redo the bodice. Otherwise, I will ask my tutor but the one I can ask isn't so hot at pattern alterations and the one who is, is so busy with the new course requirements.

    2. I got one response from PR. However, unexpectedly my pattern cutting tutor was in college tonight and offered advice. It's pretty straightforward and I should have worked it out myself! She said to bring to class on Thursday.

  2. I am afraid I am not experienced in proper technical issues either - I usually just pin and cut and slash where appropriate.

    1. Thank you. I responded previously and my comment hasn't appeared, yet another appeared 3 times! Following advice from my pattern cutting tutor, I'm now busy modifying the pattern (fortunately traced and not cut, for once!) and I'll make up a toile and take to class on Thursday. The length alteration will be much less than before; the bodice back was much too long after adding 10cms.


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