Finished: gray white colour block dress

A self drafted pattern, based on the bodice toile I made using Lynda Maynard’s craftsy course Sew the Perfect Fit and my wearable practise dress Hoezee dress. Princess seams, side seam zipper and a pocket.

Selfdrafted dress with princess seams

(I cut the white part a bit too short so added a grey strip at the hem.)

Because my back is short and curved inwards I tried a back piece in two parts, attached to each other in an angle. This is based on my experience with the Hoezee dress, that needed a horizontal dart at the lower back.
Still seems to have too much length though, it now bulges above my waist:

Selfdrafted dress with princess seams

My focus was more on getting the front fit really well. Big bust, small rib cage, no real waist and a bit of a tummy:

Selfdrafted dress with princess seams

It’s alright, although I’m not really good with sewing extreme curves yet.

Here’s the process for this dress in steps:

  1. Started with a vent in the back of the skirt, per this tutorial: http://www.afashionablestitch.com/2010/sewalongs/pencil-skirt-lesson-2-back-vent-tutorial/
  2. Then I put in darts in the bodice back peace
  3. then sewed back skirt to back bodice
  4. studied princess seams, using this or this tutorial: https://allspiceabounds.wordpress.com/2013/07/08/sewing-princess-seams-with-semi-finished-edges/ and http://www.blogforbettersewing.com/2010/09/sewing-princess-seams.html
  5. stay stitch front pieces
  6. make little cuts in the seam allowance
  7. pin princess seam together, starting with apex to apex. Pin at an angle.
  8. make cuts again
  9. sew in small stitches and slow speed
  10. sew side seam
  11. put in zip, using this tutorial: http://www.makeit-loveit.com/2011/10/sewing-tips-installing-a-basic-zipper.html
  12. tried on for fit:

Selfdrafted dress with princess seams

13. made some alterations. Especially at the underbust, it had to curve much more inwards.

14. redid the zipper, using this tutorial: http://www.makeit-loveit.com/2011/10/sewing-tips-installing-a-basic-zipper.html

15. sewed bodice

16. tried the lining but the fit was terrible, after all the alterations I did to the bodice.

I tried to finish the edges with biasband but it looked terrible, next to the slick colour blocks. And I couldn’t get it to lie flat. Took it out.

I drew a new all-in-one facing, based on the finished shell of the bodice.
I took apart the shoulder seams and marked the sewing lines with staystitching. Handy!
I used this tutorial to attach the lining to the shell, even though my dress has a sideseam zipper: http://www.crafterhoursblog.com/2011/02/all-in-one-facings-tutorial.html
(Between step 5 and 6 I pressed and did understitching and pressed again.)

After the last fit I added some extra bustdarts to make the sides lie flat to the sides of my body.
It’s a bit weird, adding bust darts to a dress with princess seams, but they work. Luckily they are a bit inconspicious in the grey fabric, next to the white colour block.

Selfdrafted dress with princess seams

I then spend a lot of time handsewing the shoulder seams because there was little fabric and it all wanted to fray. But I did it.
Overall I’m happy with this dress. It’s canvas and that wears well. I like practical clothes.

The front fits well, flattering my body shape without restricting kovement or breathing. It has a pocket. The lining is made from a snotty dress shirt that I never liked and that always was too tight to wear anyway. But too expensive to throw away, you know how it is. It now has a second life and much more purpose.

There’s still an issue at the back though. I had already put in darts that cross from the bodice to the skirt but more fabric can be taken out. I’ll need to amend the original bodice toile and restudy how to attach a skirt to it.
Selfdrafted dress with princess seams

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Finished Red Deer&Doe Bleuet. With deer fabric.

Just popping some photo’s here. Will show details later.
pattern is Bleuet Dress from Deer&Doe
adjustments: FBA; considerable grading of the seams for less flare; zipper in de sideseam; a pocket in the other side seam; no collar; no sleeves; use of biaisband to finish raw edges.

It’s not been properly pressed after finishing the edges.
Also threads have not been sewn in yet.

Red fabric is sturdy cotton canvas.
Deer fabric by Stenzo and backed with soft flannel in the center piece.

Red Deer&Doe dress

Red Deer&Doe dress

Red Deer&Doe dress

Red Deer&Doe dress

Red Deer&Doe dress

Red Deer&Doe dress

Red Deer&Doe dress

FBA on Deer & Doe’s Bleuet Dress

I got the marvellous pattern Bleuet Dress by French independent pattern maker Deer&Doe.
For me it was in need of a full bust adjustment, after I determined that size 40 would sit around my shoulders perfectly.

Bleuet Dress comes in a neat package with the pattern pieces on nice sturdy paper. I was bold and did the FBA right on the paper, thereby destroying the original.

I needed to do a few things:

  1. widen the waist to size 42
  2. slim down the hip to size 40 or even less
  3. shorten the body by 2 cm
  4. lengthen the skirt
  5. enlarge the breast

The first 3 I could do on my own. It all comes down to choosing which cutting line to follow and transit souple between the one for size 40 and for size 42. The shortening is done at the waistline, through all pattern pieces.

After cutting I started by noting the sewing line into the pattern. It has an 1,5 cm seam allowance worked into it and some of it was now altered because my outer lines did no longer follow one size consistently.
FBA on Bleuet Dress from Deer&Doe
After this I shortened the waist.

For the Full Bust Adjustment I first used this tutorial: http://www.craftsy.com/blog/2014/07/how-to-make-a-full-bust-adjustment/ But I couldn’t get it to work.
I didn’t succeed with this tutorial because I wasn’t able to tell which details were important and which not. For example it wasn’t clear where in the sideseam the cutting line should start and whether it should be at an angle. I just squared it of the side line but that didn’t work.
I ended up with non functional hinges and paper that didn’t want to lie flat:
FBA on Bleuet Dress from Deer&Doe
I tried a bunch of things but it just didn’t work.

Having cut up some of the paper I started to worry but the next tutorial I tried had a nice mix of logic and bravery so I undid what I had done and taped everything back together and just kept on taping after that.

Taped everything back the way it was:
FBA on Bleuet Dress from Deer&Doe

The second tutorial was http://www.idlefancy.com/2014/01/sewing-curve-fba-for-princess-seams.html and this one worked very well for me.

It still looked awfull halfway through:
FBA on Bleuet Dress from Deer&Doe
but at least the tutorial says it’s supposed to do so. And to keep confidence and to just “tape all that crazyness down”. So that’s what I did:

FBA on Bleuet Dress from Deer&Doe

and then the tutorial instructs you to do some crazy thing and clearly states it will be counterintuïtive. Just “draw your own line, because you’re awesome like that”. And I am because look what happened!
FBA on Bleuet Dress from Deer&Doe
Voilá, a FBA.

Only needs a new line at the sideseam from the armhole to the waist, to compensate for the width added to the sideseam.

There. Done.
A bit messy but it’s all there and the paper lies flat:
FBA on Bleuet Dress from Deer&Doe

Remember to add the added length to the front side piece too and FINI.
FBA on Bleuet Dress from Deer&Doe

Here the pieces are all together. Size 40 with size 42 waist, a shortened body and a FBA:
FBA on Bleuet Dress from Deer&Doe

I later made a try out dress and found I needed to round off the apex a bit more. Along the line you can already see in the pattern.
The height of the apex and the width of the pattern pieces is marvellous!

Muslin bodice V8766 Sew the Perfect Fit

This week I watched the Craftsy course Sewing the Perfect Fit, by Lynda Maynard.
On Friday I went back to the cabin, where my sewing machine is, and that afternoon I made a muslin for the bodice of Vogue 8766.
And then I hacked the muslin to pieces, just like the teacher ordered.

I started with the pattern as is. I just traced a size 12 Petite and cut it from muslin cloth. I marked the seams in pen. Staystitched in white. Basted in black.
Muslin Sewing The Perfect Fit

I did a little trick for basting the darts: in pen I marked the wrong side so I could put the two marks together more easily.
Muslin Sewing The Perfect Fit

The tip of the dart was marked on the wrong side too: I stuck a pin through it from the right side and could mark the hole in the fabric easily from the wrong side.
Muslin Sewing The Perfect Fit

I sewed the shoulder seams and the side seams together and pinned the back seam. I knew the bodice wouldn’t fit but it’s interesting to see how a Vogue pattern size 12 sits on my body:
Muslin Sewing The Perfect Fit
Oompf it’s tight. Breathing is a luxury.

Pattern sizes are made for cup size B. I’m an F. (or FF)
Still: this is my size. This is the size my frame needs, my shoulders need. It’s just that my boobs don’t fit. And that I might be shorter than size Petite.

The side shows how much my boobs don’t fit; apart from it looking very tight the side seam does not hang vertical.
Muslin Sewing The Perfect Fit

Can’t close the center back (CB) properly. Those vertical stripes are supposed to be vertical. It’s too tight and hangs below my natural waist.
Muslin Sewing The Perfect Fit

So here’s what you do to amend the pattern:
*CHOP CHOP!*
Muslin Sewing The Perfect Fit
This is a FBA, Full Bust Adjustment, Lynda Maynard style. Instant breathing opportunities.

Suddenly the side seam hangs a whole lot more vertical:
Muslin Sewing The Perfect Fit

Hey, the back closes!
Muslin Sewing The Perfect Fit
It’s not too tight anymore. But it’s way way too long. Where the horizontal creases are is where my natural waist is.

I also needed my two darts at the top of the back pieces.

Transferring the things the muslin showed onto the pattern. Shortening the bodice/ raising the waist line:
Muslin Sewing The Perfect Fit
Muslin Sewing The Perfect Fit
This requires redrawing of the darts because even if I shorten them, they still need to take in the same amount of width.
Another muslin will show me if this will work in real life or that I should swivel part of the dart around to another place.

I put in the other changes: the FBA, the little darts at the top of the back en widening the sideseams (both at the bust and at the armhole. That last one has to do with my broad back. I need to remember this if I’m going to put in sleeves, they will need an addition 2 x 0,5 cm in width)
Muslin Sewing The Perfect Fit

Tomorrow I hope to sew a new muslin, preferably in fashion fabric.
The crafty course is really worth it. All the tricks and how to look for things and how to put them into the paper pattern piece. I really like it. And I’m surprised I only needed length in my FBA, not so much width.

All this in one afternoon! And if this bodice works for me I can put it together with my go to skirt pattern and then I have a dress pattern I can use over and over again.