I’ve been knee-deep working on my recent knitting project, but after picking up my sewing room I felt like starting a new project.
With the onset of fall weather all I want to work on are long-sleeved, wool dresses. I pulled out Vogue 7924 (c. 1953) from my stash and decided that I’d work up a muslin to get things started.
I had picked this pattern put as part of my fall 2011 wardrobe challenge, and as a result I have ALL of the fabric & notions purchased. I’d even steam-shrunk my light-navy wool crepe at the dry cleaners so besides fitting the bodice I’m 100% ready to go with my supplies.
I can’t remember why I didn’t start this dress sooner, but either way I’m happy to be able to use items from my own stash.
But as I was working on my muslin it was close to 80 degrees outside. So instead of only making the long-sleeved, fall version I’m going to make a short-sleeved, summer version as well.
(A light navy wool crepe on the left and cotton floral version on the right.)
I haven’t had this floral fabric in my stash for very long, but I think it’s quite pretty and will make for a wonderful spring version. The fabric isn’t really fabric, but an old duvet cover complete with a super-duper long metal zipper. The fabric is old and quite sheer so I’ll be underlining it in a white cotton batiste (both the bodice and the skirt).
I’m only now noticing a similarity between my fabric choices and the pattern envelope. Eeep! I wonder if the image has seeped into my subconscious and has ‘made’ me choose similar fabrics. Ahhh well, I love navy and the vintage floral print is just lovely.
I started cutting and constructing my bodice muslin Saturday night but primarily worked through the fit issues on Sunday night. I made countless changes to the armscye/shoulder which meant more changes to the sleeves.
I generally have to shift the shoulder seam forward due to my forward-arching shoulders (thank you computer!) and also have to shorten the shoulder width due to my narrow shoulders. But for this pattern I found I also had to adjust for my shoulder slope; I had to take more height out of the shoulder closer to the edge.
I’ve found that on 40’s and early 50’s dresses, they commonly used shoulder-pads which meant the pattern had more room closer to the edge of the shoulder (ie longer armhole depth). Not wanting to use shoulder pads along with having a petite-top half means I had to make all three of these changes to the bodice before being able to fit in the sleeve.
But did I know I had to make all three changes right away before cutting out the muslin fabric? Nope!!! I did each of these changes bit by bit, and had even set in one of the sleeves not realizing I had more changes to the bodice to complete. heh
- Side Note: I actually think it’s helpful to set in the sleeve once you’re 75% certain the bodice fits correctly since the sleeve can alter the fit of bodice which results in more changes.
I must have been in the right state of mind because I never once got frustrated at the muslin and kept at it until I was satisfied with the fit and until it felt comfortable. I’m happy to report that by the end of the evening on Sunday I had fit the bodice nearly 100% to my liking as well as setting in one sleeve.
My next challenge is to transfer all of my changes to the pattern piece. Once I do so I’m going to make another bodice up to make sure everything still fits a-okay and then I’ll be cutting out the real-deal fabric. I’ll be working on the floral one first, 100% and afterwards I’ll make up the navy wool version. I’d cut both out at once and work simultaneously, but I always find that I’d make a change here or there on a second one only after wearing the first for a full day.
Two great choices – and it is funny how you have copied the fabrics on the envelope unwittingly. I think your idea about setting in the sleeve 75 per cent of the way through fitting the bodice is right on the money! And I’m impressed by how much mojo you have – all of those WIPs you let sit while you consider the best alterations, your knitting, your latest project. Man, that’s a lot of stuff.
Seriously… I’m noticing myself doing this more and more (picking similar fabrics as the pattern envelope). heh
I think it scares people when they ask how many projects I work on at the same time. “Normal” people work on or or two, I think I always have anywhere between 5-10 projects in various stages of completedness.
After getting rid of these three projects from my chairs, I think I’ve reduced myself down to 5 sewing projects that are in the works. :) I’m feelin’ good! heh
Love the pattern! Especially view A.
You are a master at fitting. I am having serious trouble fitting armscye/sleeves properly. I would be interested to know more about how you figure out adjustments while still allowing for range of motion! Setting in the sleeve after doing 75% of the fitting in the bodice is helpful. Thanks!
Aww thanks so much Shari. I don’t think I’m a maste, since it’s a continuous work in progress, I just think I’m quite detail-oriented (aka anal) about fit. Plus who wants to wear a dress that’s uncomfortable?! :)
Aside from fitting my booty in pants, the armscye/sleeve fitting is my 2nd greatest nemesis. heh
I may make a post soon about working on my sleeve & armscye fit process if you (& others) think it would be helpful.
But I can say this… to allow for a greater range of motion you’d need to shorten the armscye (raise the bottom of the armscye up which is the same thing as stitching the very bottom of the armscye with a smaller seam allowance.) This makes the bodice at the side seam longer & raises up the armscye. The tighter the armscye is on you, the more motion you have (but don’t make it too small or else you’ll be constricted). If range of motion is your issue, just stitch 1/4 of an inch shorter at the under-arm at a time to test the fit.
Also, you’ll want to make sure the shoulders are properly fitting on your bodice first & foremost. Shoulders will affect the fit of the entire bodice, so make all of your shoulder changes first before messing with your armscye.
Shari, feel free to email me directly if you have specific fit questions.
Thanks so much for your great posts. It’s encouraging as a beginning sewer to see the struggles and challenges you face as well as your lovely finished pieces. I’ve been trying to focus on fit as well when making projects.
Thanks so much for your inspiration and insights.