So, I have been working a bunch on getting all of the fittings right for the Hawthorn dress. Oh boy, it has been kind of rough. I think the fact that this is a relatively fitted garment combined with my pretty much complete lack of fitting skills has made this a real test for me. Plus I am definitely larger in the waist and bust than the largest size of the pattern, so it isn’t even a matter of just figuring out how to grade between sizes!
First, mostly a note to myself – next time, just buy the freaking paper pattern. Yes, it is a little more expensive, but oh my god this thing was a pain in the ass to put together.
So, once it was all put together I wanted to get to work on my muslin. I decided to use swedish tracing paper for the first time – I’ve read about it a lot and it seemed like a good way to both trace the pattern and do some fitting in slightly less steps. The things I’ve liked about it so far: it can be drawn on and cut like paper, but sewn like fabric. It is easier to fit and make adjustments with it than paper, but it can still be taped together. Once all the adjustments are made I can keep it as the pattern forever. Things I don’t like: it can rip! (I discovered this when I tried on the bodice for the first time…whoops!) Also it is a lot stiffer than my fabric, so it is a little hard to see how things will drape. Overall, I think next time I make a muslin for something fitted but with a lighter weight fabric, I will try to find some used bedsheets at Goodwill or something and make a muslin from that!
Anyway, onto adjustments. Sorry I don’t have many pictures – I am dog sitting again and they don’t have a full length mirror. Plus the swedish tracing paper is pretty see-through and no one wants to look at that!
Bust: I did a 2″ FBA. I cut a size 18 which should fit my bust with 1″ ease, but that was apparently not enough! I followed the instructions for the Sew Along and did decide to add a side bust dart, to get more shaping. Originally I was planning to leave out the waist dart on the front bodice entirely, because it was also small in the waist, but when I tried it on it was way too shapeless and too big, so I just pinched where I thought the dart would look good and added one in that way. The waist is still larger than the size 18, which has created other problems (more on that later).
Shoulder: When I tried the bodice on after the FBA, there was a lot of extra fabric above my bust both in front and in back. During the sew along, they mention this might indicate a need for a narrow shoulder adjustment. They explain very clearly how to do the adjustment, but not really how to measure how much of an adjustment one might need. So I did a 1/2″ narrow shoulder adjustment. This definitely helped, but not as much as I’d hoped. So, I did some…
Other bodice adjustments: There was still a ton of extra fabric in the upper back, so I made the upper back darts larger – by 1″ each! It looks like there is still a little extra room up there but I wonder if it will sit slightly better when I’m using actual fabric. I can definitely make the darts even larger if need be, though. There was also still a lot of fabric sticking out above my bust, so I just pinched about 1″ out. That made everything fit much more nicely. So now the bodice is shorter, but it hits me more at my natural waist, so I am ok with that.
With all of the adjustments I had to make, I am really wondering if I should’ve cut a smaller bodice size and just done an FBA. It will be interesting to lay my new pattern piece over the paper pattern to see if it corresponds to a different size! I am pretty sure all the adjustments have changed the shape of the neckline, so I will have to take a look at my facings and collar pieces and make sure they still fit.
I also made and attached the sleeve to 1) practice since these will be my first sleeves and 2) make sure they are not too small.
Well, they are definitely not going to be too small! I decided I wanted to wait to adjust the size of the sleeve once it’s the actual fabric so I can see how everything is draping. I figure it will be ok to make them smaller then since I’ll just have to use a larger seam allowance, probably only past the elbow. But it wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be – I just have to go really slowly turning that small opening when I’m sewing it in!
So, now I am working on the skirt – remember when I said the waist is bigger on the bodice now? Yeah, that is a problem because the skirt is not bigger. And there isn’t a bigger size on the pattern. So I am in the middle of doing a bunch of research/trial and error to get the skirt to fit. I think I will also have to move the seams on the skirt because they will not line up with the bodice and that will drive me insane. Hopefully I’ll have time to work on that this week and then finally cut my fabric so I can catch up to the sew along!
One last thing – my boyfriend and I signed a lease on a new apartment today! Other than the excitement of moving in with him, I now get to think about how to set up my new sewing space!
I have this wall in our bedroom to set up a new space. For right now I am planning to put my desk right in front of the window so I can look at our great view while working, and probably some sort of bookcase/storage next to it for fabric and other things. It’s a pretty big step up from my sewing table with a plastic bag full of fabric underneath it, all wedged in between my guinea pigs and my actual desk in my much smaller bedroom. So I am pretty excited about that.
That’s it for now! Hopefully this will be a productive week, although I will have this guy begging for attention the whole time.
Until next time,