I thought I’d share with you the fitting
dilemmas of my most recent make – the Vogue 9082, view C. And also how I omitted the facing and fully lined this special dress when I joined in the BIG Vintage Sewalong.
As I eventually intend to make all three views, I traced all views in one big sitting to get it out of the way!
Whilst some sewers find the tracing process rather tedious I love it! Before tracing off I read the instructions all the way through, again. I say again as I’ve usually already read them as soon as I’ve brought a pattern home, or received it in the post.
By reading the instructions and then tracing the individual pieces you can learnt so much about the construction process before you even begin to piece the garment together. Or you notice things which you’ve not come across before.
Such as this piece here…..
This is the under collar of the jacket, and it is marked ‘stretch’ along the top piece. Not sure what that means but at least I’m thinking about it before i get to the making up stage.
And then I noticed these wonky pleats, and the straightness of the none existent hip curve…. When sewn up the pleats give the hip the required curve, only mine will be less as I need to grade in a size at the hip. But when I started graded down a size at the waist when tracing this piece i did look rather strange to me.
I made up the bodice in a straight size 18 using some cotton bought for £2/yd from Dewsbury market. I thought the squares would help me out when marking the fabric as I didn’t have a fitting pal.
MUSLIN NUMBER 1
As usual for me the bodice was too short at the front
The back too, but not as much
The width across the back seemed ok at this point.
I marked my bust points – definitely lower than on the pattern, must be gravity setting in!
I lengthened the bodice by 1 inch, and moved the front lower bust darts 1 1/2 inch towards the centre – my bust points where miles away from the ones on the pattern. I also lowered the side bust dart, and reduced some of the armscye – see the marking for the new cutting line.
I have an A1 size flip chart so I kept a note of my changes on there as I went along.
I added 1 inch to the length of the back, but lowered the finishing point of the dart by 1 inch so it was still the same size as the original dart…
MUSLIN NUMBER 2
The back looks huge – too long and too wide.
The side needed another dart to eliminate the excess fabric, and fit my shape…
I was happy with the length at the front.
I pinched out a full inch from the top of the bodice, grading to nothing at the waist (still on muslin no 2)
And needed to pinch out some of the length too – sway back adjustment needed.
Here’s the notes so far….
New side bust dart marked on the pattern:
Sway back adjustment on the back piece, and also taking out a ‘wedge’ from the centre back.
I chopped off the wedge from the CB and the chunk for the sway back. If there’s anyone cringing who has pattern making, drafting or fitting expertise I’m sorry. I’ve not had lessons in that department and make it up as I go along!! (I have read a lot of blogs though!)
excess removed from length of back bodice
And width. I squared of the bottom of the centre back seam
And the bit I had to chop off I added it to the side seam, thinking otherwise the waist would be too small to fit the skirt of the dress. NOTE TO SELF, I SHOULD ALSO HAVE MOVED THE DARTS THE SAME AMOUNT TOWARDS THE SIDE SEAMS AS ON THE FINISHED DRESS THEY WERE SLIGHTLY OUT OF LINE WITH THE DARTS OF ON BACK OF THE SKIRT!
Squaring up the top was a bit trickier because of the facings.
The facing were going to be chopped off and seam allowances added as I was fully lining the dress.
I removed the facing and left the top for muslin no 3 Burda style with no seam allowances so I’d get a better idea of the fit. The darts look a bit wonky here but I did true them up, honest!
MUSLIN NO 3, WITH SKIRT ATTACHED.
Unfortunately the photo looks worse than the fit was. It fit pretty well, as you’ll see in the next 2 photos.
there still looked to be a tiny bit of excess fabric in the length of the back bodice, but the make-do straps we’re much use and I thought this would improve in the final garment.
I was really happy with how the additional side bust dart improved the fit on the front. As I only added a short skirt to the bodice it hung a bit weird and forward. After tracing 21 pieces and making 3 muslins I was at this point happy to go full steam ahead and keep my fingers crossed that the skirt would fit.
The pattern piece of the top was looking rather messy to say the least!
Oh, at this point I also decided to move the waist bust darts back to their original position as the pleats on the front skirt were in a good position and I didn’t want to alter them.
I bent over the top facing, placed this piece against the crease of the paper and traced it off:
Adding seam allowances to the top:
Once it was opened up I had a full size piece which would making it easier to cut out the bodice front and choose the positions of the flowers.
I then made a pattern piece for interfacing which I thought would be needed to give some substance to the top of the dress. I traced to top of the dress identically and 2-3 inches down the sides.
And added a seam allowance to the back piece – I didn’t redraw as it wasn’t in such a state. I also make a pattern piece for interfacing too in the same way as the top above – sorry no photo!
For some reason the skirt of this dress is lined but not the bodice. As you already know I had decided I wanted to fully line my version of this dress.
I cut out front bodice and skirt pieces (front and back) in both the fashion fabric and lining. This mean 12 darts and 2 pleats for the fashion fabric and the same for the lining. OMG!!
Oh, well I soldiered on, but before adding all these darts I stay stitched all sides of the front and back bodice pieces and the waists of the skirt pieces. After all the fitting polava I’d gone through I wasn’t going to risk this fabric stretching out of shape!
I made up the dress in a slightly different order than the instructions. As I was going to be inserting an invisible zip (instead of a leaped zip) I wanted the front and back pieces complete before the zip was inserted.
After inserting it with a basting stitch and it not being quite so invisible (on ourpose) I basted the other side to check the fit. I needed to let out the side seams at the waist be 0.5 cm at each side, but then was able to steam ahead and stitch the side seams ‘for real’, and make the zip invisible! I don’t use an invisible foot, just a regular zipper foot and push the coils away with my fingers as I sew.
The lining was made up identical to the fashion fabric, except i wasn’t so fussy with the darts, and didn’t press them either.
Then comes the interesting part – sewing the lining to the dress, whilst adding interfacing to strengthen the top of the dress.
I sewed the front of interfacing to the back on one side, pressed the seam open and trimmed it to barely nothing.
I then pinned it to the wrong side of the dress, and trimmed away 1.5 cm (the seam allowance) off the side seams than weren’t stitched – this would make it less bulky for the invisible zip.
From here on I followed the tutorial for inserting an invisible zip with a lining from Paprika Patterns. I’d used it when I recently made their Amber Trousers and it worked a treat!
And it did this time too!
I wasn’t sure what to do with the lining beyond where the zip finished. Suggestions welcome!
Want to check out my pattern matching…?
Unfortunately I could only match up one side seam because of the size of the pattern repeat. I released this when I was cutting out and lost no sleep and ploughed ahead. It didn’t turn out too bad, and I’ve seen designer dresses in the shops with much worse matching problems. I don’t think anyone would notice except me.
So that’s it! My new best dress!
But before i go I’ll share with you a photo of me in it incase you’ve not read the original post.
On Sunday at the golf club I got into a conversation with one of my playing partners (a bloke) who didn’t believe I was into sewing.
I told him I’d just made a new dress to wear to Ripon races and I showed him the picture above, and he said “yea, as if, you never made that!”
i said I did and that it was me wearing it,
He then said “in your dreams, that’s not you!!”
I mean, I don’t wear a lot of make up at the golf club, but i didn’t think I looked that bad without my lipstick on, wearing my golf gear!
I took it as a compliment though, and had a big glow on the inside!
OMG I am lost. I am going to need to read this a few more times. But the result is stunning. A truly unique dress. Well done you for persevering K xXx
Oh no, hope I’ve not put you off fitting for life! I’m not far away if you ever need a fitting buddy xx
No not put off I just have a long way to go. You have come so far. Well done you K xXx
Wow, what a mission! I am in awe of your perseverance, I have never gone so deeply into fitting. That’s why I like sewing with knits or making loose fitting clothes, ha! The end result is beautiful, well worth all your effort and some thing to keep for years as it’s timeless and elegant! Well done!
Aw, thanks for those lovely comments. It’s not as bad as it looks. Each Muslin only took about an hour, and it’s feels better cutting into the ‘real’ fabric knowing I’m making something that will fit. I tend to make less pieces of clothes than I used to but make things I know I’ll get my wear out of 😃
Wow your fitting really paid off, what a beautiful finished dress!
Thankyou! I think I’m getting better at it! 😃
I said before the dress is beautiful and you look lovely in it. With all those fitting issues I think you could look into getting a good plain pattern cutting book, like those by Winifred Aldrich and draft your own blocks to fit your exact measurements, seriously once you have them you can adapt them to whatever you want! I find the vintage patterns have much higher boobs and more waist shaping than we have nowadays but that’s mainly due, thank goodness, to our far more relaxed undergarments. For such a long time women forced their bodies into quite unnatural exaggerated shaping, lucky us!
I’ve really been giving it some serious thought about making some blocks, especially since I’ve lost weight. I didn’t want to before as I always felt I wanted to get back to my pre stop smoking weight. I’ve got Betty Foster’s complete block making book which I got with my overlocker for my 21st birthday. It’s quite old!! I’ve also been watching some Craftsy classes too about the subject. So hopefully I will quite soon….😀
PS I’ll look into that book you’ve recommended too, thanks.
Yes have a look. The blocks are less complicated to draft than those amendments and alterations you had to do with that pattern. To think of it in simple terms, it’s like join the dots to your own measurements.
Love it when someone doesn’t think you’ve made it! Biggest compliment ever.
Book bought & downloaded to iPad, about to start a new journey in learning, Thankyou!! 😃😃😃
Haha! Good for you. You certainly don’t waste time when you’ve decided on something! 🙂
It’ll keep me out of mischief, and the fabric shops!! 😂
Oooh! which book did you get, I just had a look and she’s written so many. I’ve enrolled on a 12 week part time fitting course in September, it may be good to have a look at her book before I start!
I got the metric pattern cutting for women, the 6th edition. Bit tired this morning, ..stayed up late reading it! I bought it on amazon. Good luck with your course. 😀
Thanks, will have a look!
Fantastic work, Ali! No wonder you were offline for a bit. Amazing perseverance & a fantastic compliment from that golfing bloke! You might just take another look at the book you already have, as the process description might not be outdated, just some words or phrases. You’re really looking great, Gawjus One!
Aw thanks Hun, I never thought I’d look in disguise and be unrecognisable in a frock and a pair of sunglasses! Can’t wait to wear it again, got 2 weddings in September so it won’t have long to wait, in the meantime Gertrude’s enjoying wearing it 😀
You’ll look positively posh, m’dear!
Wow such dedicated fitting, I’m impressed. The dress is beautiful and just right for a day at the races. Take compliments whenever you get them, that’s what I say!
Thanks! It certainly paid off, it was comfortable to wear all day, Even after a 3 course meal!! Looking forward to a quicker dress next time I use this pattern 😃
Glow away, dear! You look fabulous in that dress. Very nice work indeed!
Aw, thanks Robyn ☺️
The dress looks great. You’re starting quite a journey here. Good luck with that. I have a number of fitting books etc (started this process when I went on college pattern cutting course) and find some much better than others (for me that is – different models seem to work differently on different body shapes) I agree that your original book is likely to work very well – I love Betty Foster. I was sad I was too late to get her model for making the mini pieces. I look forward to seeing further posts on this.
Thanks Ann. I am wondering where this will lead, I just need a someone to help me get accurate measurements so I can get started. The Betty Foster Book looks a bit simpler than the other one I’ve bought, I might be looking like an 80’s throw back soon with big shoulders pads if I follow some of her styles! I’ve got all the mini block notepads so they should be useful when creating patterns from the blocks 🙂
My brain hurts! I am somebody who actually has to work through a process like this myself, step by step, otherwise it doesn’t really make sense to me immediately. I’ve slowed down a lot with my own dressmaking lately, partly because I’ve got other things on the go, partly because I already have too many clothes and partly because I am no longer happy with something I make being just ‘wearable’. I do like the idea of drafting my own blocks and maybe I’ll get round to it some time – I look forward to seeing how you get on with it but you are obviously one dedicated dressmaker these days!! Golfing bloke was spot on and you definitely deserve a ‘glow’ after all your hard work.
I’m tending to only make clothes or gifts for occasions as I’m struggling to find time for sewing. I’m
Looking forward to trying out pattern making when I have some blocks. 😃
The time spent on preparation before you actually made the dress really paid off. In response to your ‘ you didn’t make that’s doubter – it’s far too good to have been anywhere near a shop!
Aw thanks! And now i know I’ll be able to make a dress in an afternoon if needs be. 😃
I look at this as you look at that sock pattern 😉 But you and the dress are looking good (and grown up 😉 )
You’re right, it’s like gobbledygook 😂
Wow! what lot of work you put in to fitting, but worth it the finished dress looks so good on you!!
Thanks Trisha! I am super duper pleased with it. I’ve been looking thrown my stash today and thinking I might make another soon – should be a fairly quick dress next time 🙂
Good gracious Ali! What perseverance you have to keep at this (and to make sense of all your adjustments). It certainly paid off with a lovely, lovely dress. However, I must go and rest my head now after trying to decipher how all your tools and marks actually work together. I’ll have to stick with muumuus for a bit longer.
Hope you’ve recovered Jen! My brain was mashed after all that too, lol 🙂
I’ve fully recovered thank you, and very inspired. Now, just how do I convert all this info from my brain to my project? Yikes!
It certainly looks like you put a lot of effort into getting the fit right but it was worth it as your& the dress look great
Fantastic work and a great blog post! I love nitty gritty posts like this! Your hard work really did pay off – you look fabulous!
I just sew the lining centre back seam as normal, from bottom to top, as close as I can to the zip. Am I doing it right or wrong?! I dunno!
I’ll give it a go, sounds good to me, it’s still flapping open at the minute! 😃
Blimey, that’s commitment to making the perfect fit, but well worth it if you’re going to make all three versions of the pattern. I’ve never put this much effort into fitting and just tend to adjust the fit as I go, after making the initial grading changes, body shortening and hem reduction. I found your explanations really interesting. I love the typical backhanded compliment from a bloke!
You’re so good at doing these alterations, I think you should run a masterclass for the Spoolettes 🙂
It would have to involve wine and cake too! I have a Craftsy fitting class and was going to do it with one of my sewing/golfing buddies, maybe a few of us could get together as it’s hard on your own. I end up daubing myself with the sharpie instead of the muslin!! 😀
Great post. Your alterations are inspiring! The finished dress is stunning. You look very trim these days!
Thankyou! I’m feeling better too, more like my pre stopped smoking weight. ☺️
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