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.

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Gearing up for Sew the Perfect Fit, Vogue 8766. Choosing size.

It’s time to make a new shell for my new body. Most of my previous muslins and body blocks and pattern alterations are useless since I did the Atlas Profilax treatment which got rid of the curl in my body and brought my shoulders level and my hips too:

atlasprofilax result atlas profilax before after

I need a new basic pattern to work from.

In the past half year I got a good basic pattern for my skirts.  It’s based on video’s by Corinne Leigh from Craftovision and it works for me.

I’ve been making skirts from it the past few months.

But there’s still the upper body…

Some people are Pear shaped, other people are gracious Goblets. Me, I’m a Door With Two Melons in a Crocheted Grocery Bag Hanging from it.

pic by Marta Rostek

Flat, square and wearing big breasts high up. How do you do.

When I was a twisted door I did the body block measuring and tailoring and it was educational and gave me my body blocks. But ever since my frame changed I haven’t mustered up the courage to go through that whole process again.

Then the chance to purchase Craftsty course Sew the Perfect Fit came along. In it you alter a muslin to fit you, a real woman, perfect. I thought it ‘d be a good place to start anew. And it came with a free pattern: Vogue 8766:

Line Art

Princess lines, just what I want!

And go on, be brave, do sleeves!

I had to order quick and I opted for the sizes 6-12 because the patterns I bought previously were so ridiculously large.
But now I’m doubting my choice…. my measurements clearly state I should be looking at size 14 or 16. I wish I ordered the size 12-20 instead. I missed that that one had 12 in it also…

my upperbust = 36″
(bust 38″)
waist 30″
hip 38″

Vogue’s sizing charts:

in inches:

SIZE
4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26
Bust  29 1/2 30 1/2 31 1/2 32 1/2 34 36 38 40 42 44 46  48
Chest  27 1/2 28 1/2 29 1/2 30 1/2 32 34 36 38 40 42 44  46
Waist  22 23 24 25 26 1/2 28 30 32 34 37 39  41 1/2
Hip  31 1/2 32 1/2 33 1/2 34 1/2 36 38 40 42 44 46 48  50
Back Waist Length  15 1/4 15 1/2 15 3/4 16 16 1/4 16 1/2 16 3/4  17 17 1/4 17 1/2 17 3/4  18
Petite Back Waist Length 14 14 1/4 14 3/4 15 15 1/4 15 1/2 15 3/4 16 16 1/4 16 1/2 16 3/4 17

Yes. Should definitely have ordered the size 16…

Should I take action? Order the bigger size too? Bug Craftsy Customer Service to see if they can change the order? Hope that I can alter the smaller size myself?

I’ve been telling myself there’s solace in the wearing ease that is added to these patterns. The pattern state it’s “fitted” and Vogue’s wearing ease chart tells me they’ll add 3 – 4″ to any dress pattern with that word “fitted”:

Misses’ Ease Allowances
Bust Area Hip Area
Silhouette Dresses, Blouses, Shirts, Tops, Vests Jackets Coats Skirts, Pants, Shorts, Culottes
Lined or Unlined
Close Fitting 0 – 2 78 not applicable 0 – 1 7/8″
Fitted 3 – 4″ 3 3/4 – 4 1/4″ 5 1/4 – 6 3/4″ 2 – 3″
Semi-Fitted 4 1/8 – 5″ 4 3/8 – 5 3/4″ 6 7/8 – 8″ 3 1/8 – 4″
Loose Fitting 5 1/8 – 8″ 5 7/8 – 10″ 8 1/8 – 12″ 4 1/8 – 6″
Very Loose Fitting over 8″ over 10″ over 12″ over 6″

will it be enough? 4″/ 10 cm of ease is a lot! But I’ve been known to underestimate its importance, I’m forever knitting garments too tight. And knitting stretches!

Oh, now I remember that size, wearing ease and actual pattern measurements tripped me up before with Vogue.

Back in 2013 I found quite some discrepencies between stated size 12 and actual size 12 of the pattern parts in Vogue 8648:

I remember I had to take out nearly 4″ to make that dress fit me and I cut a size 16 then, based on Vogue’s sizing chart. The shoulders set appallingly wide. I was swimming in the garment. I was quite annoyed that I had to cut and throw away so much of the good fabric. Look how wide the shoulders were placed, the very part a whole dress gets its posture from:

Ridiculous. Back then I had to take out a lot of fabric and practically graded my size 16 down to a size 12:

Ah yes, now I remember.

One of my conclusions after all the fitting and altering back then even read: “Should try this is size 12 all around, no extra fabric needed at the bust. Even go down to 10. Hips at size 8.

That’s a relief! I feel better now. Added wearing ease to Vogue patterns is my friend. I’ll just wait until the pattern arrives and then we go play 🙂

“Note on V8766: all garments are cut on the crosswise grain of fabric.”
oh-oh…

… will this mean I won’t get a versatile upper body muslin out of this? For fabrics cut on the grain?

Wearing a paper bag

Marina von Koenig has an excellent tutorial on her website Frabjous Couture about why regular skirts don’t fit the human form.

Hip and waist circumference do not tell where the protruding parts are. Resulting in skirt patterns that have to accommodate for people with big hips or round buttocks or a tummy. Fitting neither of those individuals very well.

Her solution is to determine the widest overall circumference and accomplish fit through darts. Individually determined darts. These virtual ladies have the same circumferences but very different body shapes:
pic by Marina von Koenig

So I went looking for a piece of carton to wrap around me:
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I have no carton in the cabin but what better to use than the sturdy paper bag my fabric from Dublin came in! Murphy Sheehy, a lovely shop.
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I cut open the bad and wrapped it around myself.
hm.
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I’m a big wider than I thought…. I had to look for additional carton.

Sorry Sisley.
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Here it is around me, a tube that indicates my widest circumference. I keep the top aligned with a piece of elastic that I tied around me. This is my natural waist and the line that any skirt will creep up to. So better make it the waist band of my skirt.
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I marked the circumference with pencil on the tube. This will be the width of the pattern pieces. Marina says no positive ease is needed with this method… I wonder.
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Now I am determining where my protruding parts are. With a pencil I mark areas where the carton cannot be folded inwards. My stomach, my hips and my buttocks all have these areas.
These are the areas where the skirt will not be altered in width. Above these areas there will be darts. The darts will end in the area.

I marked everything on the carton. Including CF, CB and Sideseams. Then I unrolled the tube and cut it at the sideseams.
I converted it to some pieces of fabric. I chose a slightly elastic fabric because I have to find out for myself that no wearing ease is needed with this method.

I cut the backpiece a little higher than the front piece. Because the small of my back grows really narrow, upwards, I’ll have some major darts there. Meaning the fabric has to travel further to reach my waist than it does at the front (hardly any darts needed there thanks to my tummy).

Then I cut some pockets. Because this whole idea of a skirt was started because I want a skirt with pockets.
Sew the pockets to the fabric. Then sew shut the sideseams, following the curves of the pockets. Then I’ll have a fabric tube and can start determining the darts.

Pockets are sewn to the front panel. The first run was with the good sides together. Then I flipped open the (half) pocket and run a seam along, for sturdyness and to make it lie flat inwards and not peek out.
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but first I’ll have to darn…
both pockets are sewn upside down to the front panel. Even though I looked and looked and then looked once more. Upside down picture:
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Gnomes in progress: insecurities

– I ironed the cotton. Ready to cut my muslin now.

– figured out the ease from this previous post. I’ll do 2,5cm on the waist, 5 cm on the hip and 7,5 cm on the bust but will cut wider so it may even end up with up to 7 cm around the hip. I want to wear this dress over a longsleeve and tights so I may add a little bit of extra ease. However, I wore the Anemone Dress today, it has no ease, and it was too loose around the hips. Apart from when I sat down, then it was good. So I guess minimum ease works for me.

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– figured out how to adjust for the extra fabric to be taken out at the side and back. I cannot make the taille detail less high, I think it has to come out from the bodice parts and the skirt part. Probably divide between the two. Perhaps sneak in a little bit of decrease in height into the waist band.

– before cutting: insert vent instead of slit in the skirt

– watch the video course on crafsty.com by Susan Khalje and follow the steps.

Then I got really insecure….  my body sloper is not very good I think. It fits well but sections may not be straight. Not if I have fitted it all by myself. Fitting should be done by someone else.

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I put the waistline of Vogue on the waistline of my sloper and the apex on the apex. It seems I should make the waist band less high…

Then I really had my doubts about the paper I cut. I cut without ease and wanted to add the ease whilst transferring it to the muslin. This is difficult. So I threw away to papers and redrew the pieces onto another piece of tracing paper.

Then I got insecure because my pieces are not very well balanced. Although the princess lines run right through the apex I fear the mid block section will not appear of equal width on both sides of the Centre Front.

Then I fot the papers from the waste basket. If I were to buy another piece of stretchy cotton I could use them to make another sheath dress….

Then I laid the pattern pieces of Vogue 8648 on top of my pieces. I grew very insecure. These pieces had their left and right mirrored, they would be of equal width, But there was so much more ease on these than I planned.

Right now I’m leaning toward just doing the course as is, from the Vogue pattern. Forget my sloper.

But with a little shortening of the top part since my back is shorter. My front too, come to think of it. I’d have to do a Full Bust Adjustment (or in this case, adjust the waiste)

all in all, gnomes are very insecure today.

making a Sloper

Wearing a handmade dress in town gives a victorious rush. Handmade, well fitting, flattering, unique. Both the accomplishment of having made this and knowing I wear something that flatters my shape really puts a spring in my step.

So on to the next one! There are many things to do better and many things to discover.

Here’s what I’ve set in motion:

– I enrolled in a class over at Craftsy.com: The Couture Dress by Susan Khalje. The Craftsy course is very good!

– I started a sloper, using this tutorial sloper from Leenas.com. Making a sloper is not easy.

– I bought fabric…

For the sloper, I drew my measurements unto paper using that tutorial. It took me two days. Then I made a copy in muslin to try it on. Here’s the back piece:
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All the important lines are ‘drawn’ in contrasting stitching lines. This ensures stability and visibility from both sides of the sloper. This is a tip from Susan Khalje’s course I applied to the process of making a sloper. There are many more!

Then I sewed the darts with their fabric outwards. This way I could concentrate in fit. Not on silhouette, which is what you’d do if this was a dress, then you’d sew the darts with their fabric folded inwards.
A sloper is meant to have little ease and really copy the body form:

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I sewed one side seam together, put it on and pinned the other side seams and the shoulder seams at the lines. Then started hours of adjusting, repinning, drawing on the sloper, restitching, having a cup of tea, trying it on again, repinning it, drawing some more, identifying significant points on my body, ripping out stitching, putting in new stitching lines. All the time keeping good track of what was to be changed and documenting it well on the sloper. I had four colours of pens and made sure to rip out old sewing lines that were no longer accurate.

I really tested this baby. Afterwards it looked a mess: lines of all colours, threads hanging everywhere. But I had my information. I transferred it unto another piece of muslin and this is how my final sloper looks. The front piece:Untitled

Quite different! My shoulder darts are humongous. And still I need little tucks at the armhole. Those I could not transfer, strangely enough. Couldn’t swivel them around, as you usually can do with darts.

You also see how left differs from right. Yeah, there do not exist many women who have identical breasts.

Then there’s a little horizontal dart on the right, near the waist line. Because I am crooked. The picture below, from one dress from the back, shows this. I feel like I am standing straight but you can see clearly I am not. There is an S curve to me:

It is now reflected in my sloper and will be a part of all my future dress patterns. The sloper and any pattern from it may look crooked on the cutting table, but once I put it on it gets cancelled out by my own crooked frame and the waistline of a new dress will lie perfectly perpendicular to the floor and the side seams will be straight vertically.

The sloper also shows slight differences at the left and right at the neck/shoulderline. The reason is also in the dress picture: I carry one shoulder higher than the other. This is very handy for wearing shoulder strap purses and I recommend it to all women.

Over all, the sloper from the tutorial yielded very good base to work from. I merely had to account for the difference between left and right and had to take out the ease that was added during the tutorial because I wanted a tight fitted sloper. I will add ease back in in every pattern I draft using this sloper.

Back and Front:

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The back has a small shoulder dart on one shoulder and huge darts to follow the shape of my back (which is one of my nice features I feel). And there’s a large wedge in the side because I’m crooked in the side. This wedge presents a problem because when you adjust the length in a pattern you need to take away the fabric along a stretch of the whole width of a pattern piece.

My wedge doesn’t stretch the full width of a (potential) back piece. I cannot put in a dart like that in a solid piece of fabric that spans the width of my back. It will look ridiculous, no matter how straight it makes the waist grain lie.

Solution: a visible waist line. A seam in the pattern piece. I can adjust the length using the seam.

Con: I will not be able to make a dress with long back panels. There will always have to be a waist seam to accomodate this wedge that has to come out.

Pro: this will only apply to patterns where I want a real fitted look and really straight running grain lines. In other patterns I can get away with it. Because I also discovered that although I love the closely fitted look, dresses with a more loose fit are comfortable too.

Con to the Pro:  I’ll confess: my posture echoos the fit on a dress. Wearing a fitted dress I have good posture. Wearing a loosely fitted dress makes me sloughs and bulge my belly and sit with my breast resting on my lower abdomen…

But let’s not dwell on these perfectly normal things. Look, I bought fabric:

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Handdyed quality linnen from Stof tot Verven

Lia is a wizzard. This is dyed using the ice technique which gives these wonderful flowing colours, breaking the dyes in all kind of shades. This fabric looks like opal! The pictures do the colours no justice. They are beautifully saturated and diverse.

She folded the fabric in such a way that it has a mirrored image down the fold. Perfect for a front panel! It’s 1.5 m x 2 m

Lia is all about quality too. Not only is this quality linnen and a light fast dye, she also serged all around the fabric before handling this and it has been preshrunk.

I’m really looking forward to using this linnen in a dress with simple, beautiful lines. Give it an interlining and a lining, just like it’s done in the craftsy course. Silk.

But first a few other practice dresses to really figure out this sloper and the patterns it can provide.

ps. just a little note I jotted down for myself:

these posts I want to read and this site too, the essentialist. Maar de leukste blog is nog steeds under construction