Friday, January 4, 2013

Simply Complex - A Process Post

As I was working on this obnoxious plaid confection, I applied all of the knowledge of bodice fitting I've gained so far. It was hard because its just me, and trying to explain how to properly pin out wrinkles, place darts, and so on and so forth, to either of the men living in my house is, well, akin to explaining where the g-spot is.  I used a combination of full length mirror and camera with tripod. But before that I did a great deal of measuring of the flat patterns and made the adjustments I thought were needed first. The big issues were:

1)Large Arms
2)Rounded Shoulders
3)Full Bust

Now, all of these adjustments I've done before on a basic style bodice and an armhole princess seam. I had not done it on a two-piece raglan sleeve and a bodice with neckline and waist darts.

Full Bust

The very first thing I did was trace off a size 20 minus the seam allowance and then do a three inch (total, 1.5 inch pictured here, since it would equal 3" with both sides there) Full Bust Adjustment*. There are many many tutorials out there on how to do a Y-shaped FBA, and in this case I used the principle of moving darts (Here's a good diagram that explains that) to make the change, then close up the side dart and split the difference between the top and bottom dart.

Here's the front sleeve and adjustments made.  The thing about raglan sleeves is they usually have a dart at the shoulder if they are one piece, or effectively with a two piece sleeve as there is a curve, much like with a princess seam. Trying to move the seam line forward for rounded shoulders proved to be challenging. It was a bit of trial and error.

I swear I had made one of these with notes on the photo, but I can't find it.  In fact, it looks like I lost half my  carefully done photos and now I'm sad.  I will share what I do have, however, and try to go from memory.

Obviously, I had to do a bit of dart adjustment.  The waistline darts in the front needed to be shortened and curved in a bit to match my natural shape. I also gave myself a 1/4 inch more roof all around after pinching a dead dart in the back. Upon looking at some of these photos I realize that my right shoulder and hip are slightly higher than my left. This must be from my back injury as that is the side I normally favor (due to the nerve damage from my spinal injury/surgery my right leg will give out on me or cramp up, usually when very tired and often without warning). When I can finally convince (read: enable) a couple friends to sew more and be my fitting buddy, I will probably have a right/left pattern pieces in the future. The wrinkles with the back-fat are not noticeable in the fashion fabric, lining, and skirt weight pulling down the bodice. This is a good thing. Ok, more photos.

Ah, ok, here is the notes on muslin number one.  I didn't note it on the photo how I moved the neckline darts, see the second photo down from here.  

You can also see I actually pinched out a bunch of width in the waistline.  I did this for the first muslin, but then added in a 1/8 inch for each side seam, for a total of 1/2 an inch all around. It ended up being the perfect amount.

Here I show how I ended up re-drawing the sleeve shoulder darts. This was also to keep the neckline from gaping and to prevent bra-strap showing. This is still a slight problem but fixable if I wear the right bra. In the next one I make I'm going to add a second neckline dart.   I kept the width for the bottom of the sleeves, which was lengthened 1 inch from the original to hide some of the jiggly.

Here is the aforementioned moving of neckline dart.  As I said, I'm going to add a second dart. Really, I'm going to add 1/4 inch to this one and then split it into two darts. That would give ma a total of another 1/2 inch taken in at the neckline and successfully give me regular bra strap coverage.

Though I don't have a photo of it, I did add an inch to the waistline of the skirt and to the length.  I marked the hem by measuring 24" from the waistline, then sewed lace hem tap to the bottom and trimmed. Also, I pinked the seam allowances. I did to a second row of stitching in the bodice seams for strength and then pinked.  This is a dry-clean only dress so I'm not terribly worried about fraying.  As for finishing the hem, I did a blind stitch by hand for the fashion fabric and a rolled hem on the serger for the lining.

That's all I can think of at the moment. Felicity is suppose to help me take photos in the morning, so hopefully I'll have those edited and up this week. Let me know if you have any questions! Hope your week is going well.


  1. Oh, dear Lady! Both work paid off, because the dress looks great! I love all the details about it!!