Yes and No
Yes: Thea did come to my rescue this weekend.
Yes: We successfully altered the dress.
No: I don’t have great pictures to show the success properly.
And No: I don’t think I like this dress on me.
As some commentors sharply observed from the pattern envelope picture for B5523…
… the pattern, as drafted is quite loose all over with droopy shoulders . Check out the back bodice by the armscye!!! Note the smaller (than mine) bust of the model. Hmmm…
What I saw in my mind’s eye when I saw this pattern envelope picture was not at all the reality of it. I saw a fitted empire bodice on a floaty pleated skirt. Yep, not what the designer intended at all.
I have discovered the following in my journey with this pattern:
- I really need to upgrade my camera situation (you’ll see why in a moment)
- I don’t like empire waists/bodices on my figure
- I love the collar on this dress. Love it.
- FBA’s are pretty easy when you figure them out. It’s just scary making the first slash into your precious pattern.
- Do not trust that your muslin changes are absolutely foolproof and completely construct your garment with serged seams.
- Basting is your friend. For realz. Don’t skip basting.
Thea came over yesterday and we both unpicked what seemed like miles of serged seams. Ugh! We did figure out how to make this dress work for me, but I think I may have to re-do the bodice again in a different fabric because we changed the back bodice, shoulder and sleeve so much on this iteration that the sleeve is now a little tight. And I feel a bit uncomfortable in the dress. And although we fixed the majority of the problems with the dress, I am still not convinced that I like the look on me. I thought it looked great yesterday, but when I looked at the pictures I took today, I really don’t see a huge style improvement. The fit improvement is great though.
Here’s what we did:
- Sloping shoulder adjustment. We originally did this on the B5147 sheath dress pattern and I am now realizing that this is something I will need to do on every pattern going forward. We shaved off about a 1/4 inch on front and back bodice outer shoulders tapering to nothing at the neck. (As an aside, have any other aging females out there noticed that your shoulders slope more and more as you age? I can’t even keep a purse on my shoulders anymore. Frustrating!)
- Shaved the armscye at the front and back bodice and on the sleeve cap
- If I make this again, I will omit the pleat on the sleeve, it’s a little twee
- I will need to enlarge the sleeve if I make this again. That will improve the fit on the front and back bodice. I couldn’t improve that on this version obviously because you can’t add to fabric that is already cut.
- Shaved 3/4 inch from the CB tapering to nothing at the side seam to remove the dip in the back seam
Now I should forewarn you that when I was fitting this dress with Thea yesterday. All the above alterations “worked” solving the problems we had seen before with the funky set of the sleeve/back and the dip in the back bodice, etc. However, when I took the pictures today, it seems as if the back dip is still there, but I swear it wasn’t there yesterday. So I must be standing funny and/or I put the dress on too sloppily. Also there are some pulls on the front and back bodice which are caused by the too tight arms. Nothing to be done about that on this version.
In the end, do I like this dress on me? Not really. I just don’t have the body type that this dress was drafted for and the look I was going for in my mind’s eye is not really appropriate for the style of this dress. Will I finish this dress? To be honest, I don’t know. I think I need to put it in the magic closet for a while because I am fatigued by this project now. If I do, I might keep the skirt and make up the bodice in a brick red double-knit I have in the stash incorporating all of Thea’s alterations.
Bottom line though: it was wonderful to work with Thea again. It’s so nice to have a fitting buddy. I wish she could just sit next to me with every project. I would never have a wadder then. But then, if I don’t make any mistakes, would I ever learn? Food for thought.