I have been working on fitting my dress for the Fast Track Fitting Class! I still have a ways to go but I am getting there. At least this current version doesn’t make me look like a stuffed sausage with a gigantic humpback.
There is a diagonal dragline from my underarm towards the center waist, and the bust apex sits much too high, I think I may need to make a larger cup size??? Yet I don’t have a full bust??? I did remove 2 inches from the center seam front bodice, I guess that was too much. Anyway, you can clearly see that the horizontal balance line on the front bodice bust line pulls up. The thighs (and maybe the hips?) are over fitted, which is somewhat to be expected as I removed A LOT of fabric in the back to make my embarrassing flat seat adjustment and did not add any in the front for ease because I was pretty confused by this point. Hmm I still need to brush up on making pattern fitting adjustments on Craftsy.
My most successful change was to remove the giant humpback of extra fabric between my shoulder blades in my upper back by cutting out a strip of fabric in the upper back bodice. In other words, I made the back bodice shorter without touching the side seams. I still need to remove a little more (I think) and possibly lower the arm holes since I brought them up so much, making the arm holes quite a bit smaller.
Okay so a million more changes need to be made… Despite his muslin’s shortcomings, this is a major improvement on the original pattern. I would like to remind you that the unaltered, right out of the envelope patterns starts out as the worst fitting garment in the history of humankind, then only gets worse without a bunch of pattern adjustments. The changes would be easier to make if I had a fitting partner to help me with my measurements. Looking at photographs of the muslin helps so much because apparently I tend to pull at the muslin in the mirror to adjust it and then exclaim “Its perfect!! Done! I will just maintain this impossible position and not move all day.”
I am excited about my newest Craftsy class: I am taking Fast Track Fitting with Joi Mahon. It seems like the perfect class for me because Fast Track Fitting shows you how to measure yourself and how to measure pattern pieces so you can alter your pattern pieces to closely match your own body’s sewing measurements. This process should help you escape the endlessly making muslins cycle, so you can have wearable garments more quickly and easily.
So far I am starting with altering the skirt on the pattern included with the class (Vogue 1004 fitting shell). I am doing the skirt first because I had to order a second pattern in a different size for the sleeve and bodice. The pattern alterations I made were to make the waist bigger (ugh) and to raise the hip line. Using Joi Mahon’s tips directly from the Fast Track Fitting Class, I altered the front of the skirt and the back of the skirt separately. So, I proportionately increased the size of the front of the skirt more than the back. This should help the skirt fit the unfortunate “fullness” on the front of my abdomen (AKA fat), since I carry extra weight around my middle.
I am going to work on altering this skirt to fit, with the help of the craftsy class and also Pattern Review.
So what are Craftsy Classes all about? Here are the details, directly from Craftsy:
Craftsy is a worldwide craft community offering online classes. It also has a patterns marketplace where independent designers can sell their patterns; a supplies shop with great deals on yarn, fabric, and class kits; and a projects section where members share pictures of their latest craft successes. With over two million members and counting, Craftsy has something for just about everyone, in categories ranging from quilting, sewing, knitting, painting, photography, cooking, and more.Why should I take a class online?
Online education isn’t just for schools and universities anymore. Craftsy courses provide you the convenience of a world-class instructor in your home, whenever you want to learn.
Online education, no matter what subject, is a great alternative to in-person classes for a number of reasons. With many online learning opportunities being on-demand, you are able to learn at your own pace, anytime. Online learning is a fantastic alternative to in-store craft classes for people with busy schedules or who have difficulty leaving the house. It also allows you to watch a troubling section over-and-over again, so you can see exactly how a technique is carried out, or refer back to your class for relevant concepts before beginning any new projects.
So far I am happy with this class. The video format has easy question and answer interactivity with the instructor Joi Mahon. I wish the class had more examples of altering pattern measurements on a model using real numbers, but I guess that would have added too much time to the class videos.
I am like taking online sewing classes, especially since there are not a lot of sewing classes near me and I don’t know anyone who sews. Craftsy offers refunds if you are not happy with a class after you purchase it. Craftsy even has free classes for you to try out.
I am taking Craftsy’s Sew the Perfect fitting class! This class uses Vogue 8766 as a fitting shell. The pattern isn’t one I would normally choose for myself- I think I look better in V-necks because they help balance out my figure, which is top-heavy. But, I can see why the teacher, Lynda Maynard, chose it- the pattern is nice and simple, without a lot of details to get in the way of fitting. There are some options for fuller skirts, but I will be making the straight skirt option, probably with 3/4 sleeves.
The class emphasizes tracing or copying the pattern instead of cutting into the pattern itself. This is a good habit that I need to start. It also emphasizes the importance of having vertical and horizontal balance lines on your project. This helps you to figure out where the project is hanging correctly and where it is not. The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting emphasizes this as well. Using extra-large seam allowances is important, so you have room to make changes on your muslin.
I recently asked for help fitting my last project (which I have now abandoned for good) on the blog and on Pattern Review, and got some great responses! For one, I need to go up a size. Yes, this is painful to admit- but size is just a number, and overly tight clothes never look good. Size 14, here I come. I have been lying to myself- and for what reason? Because society wants women to weaken themselves through starvation? Ugh. Why buy into that? It is a bit annoying technically, because the difference in my upper and lower halves means I have to grade from a 14 up top to about a 10 at my hips, but I guess I’ll figure it out eventually.
The first adjustment I made was to add a shoulder pad on my right shoulder only. Longtime readers know that I messed up my shoulder by sleeping on my side too much, so now my right shoulder is lower than my left. Let this be a lesson to you! Sleep on your back. I have of course been ignoring this and hoping it would go away- but, sewing is about being honest with what you have to do to look your best. To look my best, I need to admit my problem, and fix it with a shoulder pad on one side only. (Please note that for the muslin, the shoulder pad is not sewn in, just placed on my shoulder).
Going up a size does make a difference- the armholes are less tight, and there isn’t a huge amount of strain across my bust.
The first thing to do is assess the shoulder seems- they shouldn’t show up at shoulder level from either the front or the back- if they show, they need to be moved either forward or backward. I think mine are OK. There’s still some unevenness in the shoulder height, but the shoulder pad helps.
You can see from the horizontal line under my bust that the bodice is riding up a bit. The waist is a little high, especially in front. This also shows up from the side on the line above my bust. There is bagginess on my torso under my bust, a diagonal drag line from my bust to my waist. There is too much fabric on my back, perhaps caused by excess length.
The first change I made was a full bust adjustment, cutting horizontally into the fabric above my bust, and angling the cut down at the sides. This allows the fabric to relax and spread apart. I adjusted the lowered part of the bodice, letting it settle where it seemed to fit, and pinned in a piece of fabric to secure this more flattering fit. This brings the waist, especially the front waist, lower down. I added a little more length later, but didn’t get a picture.
I am not a fitting model, so one change isn’t going to do it for me. Once I did the full bust adjustment, I worked on the baggy back. I think my problem here is that my back is shorter than the fitting models, so I pulled the fabric down and pinned out a horizontal wedge across my lower mid back. This really helped! My goal was to reduce the amount of horizontal fabric, without really changing where the back waist was hitting.
Once I was happier with the back, I needed to address the bagginess at my sides. To to this, I simply pinched the sides in a bit and pinned. This was effective in adding shape and definition. I may deepen the darts more in the next muslin if I need more shape.
After this, I realized the bodice is sitting a bit high on my shoulders. To reduce length here, I pinched the shoulder seams up and pinned out the excess. One shoulder is pinned on the outside, one is pinned on the right side.
The muslin is much better now! The waist is closer to where it should be, the back is smoother and has less excess fabric, and the lower section is less baggy. There are still some issues that I need to resolve in the second muslin: it is a bit loose on my upper bust, there is a diagonal drag line under my bust (that is much more horizontal than before, which I guess is good?), and some wrinkles on my back. I need to assess if the shoulder seems need to be wider so that the outside shoulder seem hits where my arm hinges onto my side. My breasts appear to be a different heights here- this is caused by the asymmetrical pinning in of fabric for the bust adjustment, and should resolve itself naturally when I make the second muslin.
Now comes the hard part- transferring my changes to the pattern. The Craftsy class is excellent at showing you how to do this. I am not overly impressed with the class in terms of it showing you what the problem areas are and how to fix them. I guess this is inevitable thought, because there are endless figure variations, so logistcally speaking, one class simply won’t be able to deal with all of them. You’ll still need a book or a teacher to point out what your particular problems are and what adjustments you make to correct them.
My most recent (and best!) project so far was the Very Vogue 8390 Wrap Top. Since I was happy with this project, I decided to make a second version. I am happy to report that my second Vogue 8390 shirt is completed and ready to wear!
For this version, I used a 100% cotton jersey in bright turquoise. This particular jersey is fairly thick and holds it shape well. It was on sale for half off, so it ended up being $3.00 a yard. I made the short sleeve version (view B).
To skip the facings, this is what I did:
- Remember that the sewing pattern instructions tell you to cut out you fabric with some of the pattern pieces wrong side up. I forgot about this and had to re-cut the front pieces of the shirt so the right side would be facing out. Luckily I had plenty of extra fabric.
- Try to buy a very closely matching thread because it will be on display.
- Before you sew your pattern pieces together, add a 5/8 inch turned under hem to the bottom of the shirt body pieces and to the chest/neckline edges of the shirt front. (A hem that is turned under twice (hiding the raw edge) would probably be better, but this was too difficult and not worth it to me.)
- Trim the extra fabric from the turned under edge. Be careful not to cut into the fabric anywhere else. Do this before sewing the pattern pieces together. This just made it easier to assemble all the pieces neatly without too much extra bulk in the seams.
Again, I did have to ease in the sleeves on this version. Maybe that is normal for all sleeves, so its not in the pattern instructions?
With summer coming up, I might consider making Vogue 8390 in View A, he halter top version. I am not sure… I don’t love the way halter tops look on me, and plus it would be pretty low cut. Looking around, I saw a couple of really cute versions on some sewing blogs. The Subversive Sewer made a nice halter top with this pattern. Journey to Couture made this shirt and mentioned that with a thicker fabric that having the facings made it feel too bulky.
I really liked working with the jersey, and I would like to work with knits more in the future. Using the walking foot and stretch stitch worked find with my sewing machine. I did have one instance of my fabric being stuck inside of my sewing machine, but unscrewed the throatplate and pulled out the fabric and that fixed it. I had seen a YouTube video about a jammed sewing machine, so I knew not to panic.
My latest project is Vogue 8645, view A (the shorter version). I used a pale lavender handkerchief-weight linen/rayon blend, lined in a white handkerchief-weight linen/rayon blend (If I was smart enough to look at the entire package instead of just the top, I would have realized that the dress was lined early enough to buy enough fabric to line it in lavender instead of white. Someday, someday.) This dress is notorious for being a tent- pretty much every blog entry I looked at called it out for having a huge potential to overwhelm the wearer, and my boyfriend kept on calling in a prairie dress when I was sewing it. I copied Wearable Muslin and made a size smaller than I should based on my measurements. Good call!
Marie Oliveira made V8645 and was not happy with it! She’s got a point- I think curvy girls most likely fill this dress out better than less curvy girls. I am an inverted triangle, so this dress could even out my figure by making my lower half look a little larger- or it could just make me look lumpy and shapeless. And, Marie also ran across a Vogue catalog where, yes, they featured this dress as a maternity gown. Ugh. maddening. A dress should not be marketed to pregnant and non-pregnant women at the same time!
I think angling the torso more sharply would have been an easy fix for the designer to do to eliminate tenty-ness, but oh well. I am still wary about making more form-fitting clothes, and this dress should be good for the summertime because it is so loose. Thank god for the sash, though!
The dress has the potential to be pretty plain looking, but mystitchnbitch points out that the shoulder ties manage to give it some flare.
I’m pretty pleased with my work- it came out pretty much how I expected it to, and I think I am getting a bit better at lining things up on the grain! I was expecting a loose-fitting dress, which is what I got. I can’t wait to be able to make more tailored clothes, but this dress is a good step in building my skills.
I think I could wear it out in public! I’m not happy with the back view, but oh well- I wasn’t expecting a dress that would look good from all angles, and this seems like it would be nice on hot summer afternoons. Yay!
My main problem with this pattern was the instructions on the shoulders- I really felt that they could be more detailed, with larger pictures that are easier to see. I think I managed just fine, even though I did not follow the directions exactly. I sewed the shoulders together right sides together, then sewed down the little flaps. The shoulder ties cover up any deviations from the instructions here. I also shortened the dress by a few inches.
I’m very happy with this dress. I would not sew it again, because I don’t need two tent dresses, but I got exactly what I was expecting. Yes! I think for my next project, I am going to make Simplicity Sew Simple 1961, which is a cardi-wrap in a knit fabric. This will be my first time sewing a knit fabric, so wish me luck!