Practice Dress: Gotcha!

So I said I would add darts in the back of the skirt and take out even more fabric from the darts in the front. Which is what I did:
here you see the dart of the front panel of the skirt. The original is in white thread on the right, the new one is left of that, with the pencil stripe.

Alter 4 places and take away 2 centimeter of fabric in each?
The result was as to be expected: the dress got too tight. I could not even close the zipper on the bodice.

I didn’t worry about that because I also had sewn the bodice without much care, taking it in way too much in the process. What I had done was: aline bodice and skirt matching the center back and the center front. Starting from the center sew the skirt and bodice together until you encounter a side seam. Break thread. Start at center again until you run into another side seam. Do this four times in total. This aligned the two pieces nicely.
I then sewed together the sides of the bodice, pretty much as I found them, ignoring the extra fabric hanging about. Which made it way tighter than the four darts had. Of course.

Never mind, I got plenty of information from the fitting nonetheless and after zipper-must-be-closable-alteration my practice dress now looks like this:

The back looks very good now! My ‘holletje’ is properly clothed, it shows a nice line. The two extra darts in the back did the trick. They are long ones and I just sewed them by eye, each about a centimeter wide. (taking away 2 centimeter per dart)
(ah yes, you can see I did not attach the bottom of the zipper properly. I am showing granny panties on the internet it seems. All part of a normal woman’s life I guess.)

the back is still a bit wide (I have an arched back in the photo above) and on the photo below you can also see there’s a smidge too much fabric lengthwise:
I have since then pinned away the extra length for alteration which I will note in the muslin/pattern pieces. This will also make the waist horizontal again.
The wide back I will not note in the muslin. It may be solved when I cut the pattern for the back differently, making it higher. Also the seams and the binding of the lining will alter it some more. We’ll see. I am not altering that part of the muslin.

Under the bust could do with another tuck, there’s still plenty of air left between the dress and my skin. But to be honest, this amount of ease is comfortable and allows me to move and breathe in the dress without worrying that I am bombshelling pedestrians whenever I breathe in. (I had a telling typo here: I wrote bimbshelling. If there’s one thing this dress is not going to be associated with it is a bimbo! It is a female dress yes, it does not hide my forms, but it is intended for wearing pleasure. No sexiness here, nothing on display.)(well, except my bra and my panties)(but hey, those are just handy tools in clothing form!)

So before these pictures I took apart the bodice once more. Fixed the darts in the skirt (basically I undid the tightening of the front darts I showed in the top picture), sewed the two parts together again using the center back and center front as anchor points. I fudged the side seams of the bodice, making sure this time they were not too tight. Turns out I just have to follow the lines I drew on the muslin after the previous fitting. I have some genius in me, I guess. If I would just listen to her and follow her notes on the fabric…

here’s another view of the side:
There’s a little tuck or pucker in the side seam where bodice and skirt meet. It’s where I fudged them together. Because I sewed the horizontal line first and the vertical afterwards it puckers. It will not do so in the real dress. One sews the vertical lines first and then the horizontal one.

So here’s another Dutch word for you: “frunniken”. It means “fidgeting with something you can wrap around your fingers, such as hair, thread or fabric”. I “frunniked” the side seams together. Just so I could see if I had solved the tightness.

Right now, while I am typing this, I am wearing the practice dress, just to make sure it is comfortabel enough. I practice sitting and moving in it. And I’ve recently eaten and am checking I’m not bursting at the seams. I am not, I have found a comfortable amount of ease I think.

So I have got my template for this dress!

Soon I’ll be taking apart this Practice Dress to carefully copy the pieces into pattern pieces/muslin. Such as:

  • the little shortening in the back. Amazing how one or just half a centimeter will make a difference
  • the darts: the front skirt darts can be made into this shape instead of a triangle: ()
  • alter bodice pieces: make them close higher. (left shoulder is still a bit too loose/long)

I’m guessing I’m making The Real Dress next, in the pink flowery cotton!


things to do right:

  • match tops of dress panels with the bodice lines, width wise. During tracing, cutting and sewing.
  • cut very precise (sharpen those blades)
  • pin seam allowance carefully
  • sew together, fit to make sure, thén finish the seams.



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