Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Imperfect Fit on the Perfect Dress

I'm making a test run of the potentially perfect dress, McCall's 5753, in a chino fabric, which I cut it out in my usual size 12 (34 bust).  The neckline is a lovely shape - wonderfully dipped, but not too low. The skirt pockets took a few tries, but are a great feature.  I got the zipper in, slipped it on for a full-dress fit test, turned around to peep at the back and saw this:



OMG?!  WTF?!  Why is the bodice ridonculously wrinkly and baggy?  And the right more than the left? 


I couldn't tell from looking in the mirror what the problem is, but I think it is clear in these pictures that the bodice is way too big.  This is so strange, because a size 12 generally fits me well.

At first I believed the front bodice fit, but it too may be big, as the top is gaping:


 
I cropped out the full decolletage shot, as it is rather scandalous!  The Captain is lurking in the background.

Conversely, I may have a bit of a "large buttocks" issue.  Referring to my newly purchased  "Fitting & Pattern Alteration: A Multi-Method Approach" reference book, the pulling going on here:



Is awfully similiar to that in the picture.  However, the behind area doesn't feel tight; instead, it almost seems as though the lines are due to too much fabric above the behind to the waist.  Has anyone experienced this before?

I believe my new book, which was recommended last year on Miss Celie's Pants, will be really helpful in solving challenging fitting issues.  But I wonder if this fitting issue is even more basic: should I simply go down a size in the bodice?  Even then, I question whether the bodice will be small enough, because it seems very big.  Perhaps I need to shorten the bodice itself?  I do believe that I have a shorter torso than most. 

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this!

31 comments:

gwensews said...

It appears that the back bodice is too long. Pinch out the fold and that's the amount to shorten the bodice. Then, pinfit on the side seams to your shape.

Anonymous said...

I think it's the shape of the small of your back that's making the lower back below the waist bunchy. You can rip out the back waist between the darts and repin it taking out the extra fabric to smooth it out and taper it out to the sides. You will need to adjust the back hem but it should keep you from having too much fabric there.

kgrusso said...

It's probably a combination. You need to take all your measurements. Look at back neck to waist length and check to see the amount of difference between the bust and high bust. If it's more than and inch you need to use the smaller pattern associated with the high bust and adjust for cup size. Good luck--always good to sew a sample in muslin or other such cloth before you cut the nice stuff.

Lara900 said...

I don't think it's "large buttocks", I think it's the length of the back bodice. Try pinching out a horizontal fold at the small of your back, tapering to nothing at the side seam, pin it, and check the fit then.

I also think your right shoulder might be lower than your left -- but would correct that only once the length of the bodice looks good.

Karin said...

I should admit up front that I know nothing about adjusting patterns and own no books on fit. But, as a novice, looking at your pictures it definitely seems like the bodice is too long. And the length from your waist to your hips might be too long too. I don't think you have a big behind, and I don't think this is the fit issue. I think you are just short waisted.

Gorgeous Things said...

That definitely looks like the back length is too long. I'd do as Gwen suggests and remove the length at the back, below the shoulder blades. It would be helpful to see the front to see if there is extra length there too.

Eugenia said...

I agree with other commenters - the back is too long. I am short waisted so until I raise the waistline I always get this hump backed effect!

Elizabeth said...

So aggravating. Each new pattern I buy is a complete surprise...is it going to fit or not? I don't enjoy fitting; that's my least favorite part of sewing. I wish everything just fit me like a glove. I'm with the other girls...it looks like you've got a short waist, or either the pattern just allows for really tall women. I'd take the length out of the bodice piece, just above the waist.

amber said...

I'm no expert on this stuff, but I think the other ladies have given you good advice. I feel like this dress has a lot of potential though and I hope you can work out the fit issues. Keep us posted.

meli88a said...

I think that the bodice is cut a bit long. You might be able to do a hack save by taking the shoulders in (make the seam allowances wider) and putting in shoulder pads. I don't think that the skirt is too tight... I think you're getting those diagonal lines because there's too much fabric in the bodice.

Andrea said...

I agree with what everyone else said. The back is too long and needs to be shortened.

Audrey said...

I agree with the others on the back length. I also think the bodice may be too big, You may need a smaller size in the bodice to get the fit in the shoulder area, with a full bust adjustment if you need more room just in that area. Why don't you compare (lay one over the other matching center lines and waist marks) the pattern pieces from your lovely, wonderfully fitted, jungle print dress to the pattern pieces for this one. They both appear to be similar fitted styles with waist seams. I'll bet you will see differences in bodice length and width, also the darts used to shape the well fitting skirt versus this one.

Sindy in Tulsa said...

I'm with the other ladies; the back really does look too long. I also like Audrey's idea of comparing the dress to one that fits well. It's what I normally do and it might help to narrow down the problem. Fitting patterns can be so aggravating, I feel for you!

Twill Jill said...

You said, "This is so strange because a size 12 generally fits me well." A good thing to keep in mind is that patterns and off-the-rack clothing are often different. I take a 14 in storebought clothes but need to use a 16 for patterns. It's a lovely dress so make the suggested alterations and stick with it - it's a great dress!

Clio said...

My first thought was that the bodice was too long and that was causing the fabric to slouch down to rest above the derriere. Otherwise, the skirt portions seems to be fitting you quite well!

jadestar003 said...

With regard to the wrinkles on below the waist. You don't appear to have them below your buttocks, only below. I think you have what is known as a sway back. I have this problem too. Check out the link below for the adjustment, it's dead simple but very effective.
http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=cEHda-hgcHMC&pg=PA155&lpg=PA155&dq=swayback+adjustment&source=bl&ots=8JV45uYh3P&sig=JGfdgr-mcsYcGjZoTETm_VKhIIc&hl=en&ei=-pqqS--HBJz60wSR-PnUAQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=10&ved=0CCsQ6AEwCQ#v=onepage&q=swayback%20adjustment&f=false
Good luck! Nice dress by the way, despite the 'defects'!

K.Line said...

I have a short torso also. It def looks like the bodice is too long (as many here have said). I see what others mean by the "sway back" adjustment - not that I'm an expert by any means. Just saying, it seems to fit fine in the width of the bum, it just has that strange tug above it. Maybe cutting the torso will resolve some of the challenge.

BTW, I do love the pattern. I'm sure you're going to sort it out beautifully. But it's frustrating while you figure it all out (says she who has made 4 bras, not one of which has fit YET.)

~buzzybee~ said...

I agree - the bodice needs shortening.
It may be that you shorten it more at the centre back, less at the sides, and maybe even nothing at the centre front. To me the sides do look like they need shortening.
Make sure you fold out the darts when you trim the pattern, so that they sit correctly.
I would also check that you haven't accidentally stretched the centre back when inserting the zip - this is easy to do when the CB seam is shaped.
I think the buttock crease could just be a result of the zip in the too-long bodice pushing down, so leave it for now and recheck after your bodice alteration.
Otherwise looking good!

quer|elastisch Sabine Sprotte said...

Hi there,

just discovered your blog.

Didn't read anything cause of time ... you might have a hollow-back. There are ways to alter the pattern.

Look here: http://www.berninamylabel.com/webautor-data/21/ml_passform.pdf
Page 5 - only in German, but you may translate it by Google.

Greets from Germany.
Sabine

CyberGirly said...

Looking forward to reading about how you are fixing these fit issues!

Maggie said...

Sometimes fitting garments makes me so frustrated, so I feel your pain (as I am sure anyone reading this blog can relate to.) Great advice was already given by much wiser people than me, so I can't wait to see how you worked it out :)

lorrwill said...

I am so glad you are posting this so those of us who are as stymied as you are can learn along with you!

Kathi said...

Good luck to you - I am anxious to see how you fix the problems and to see the end results!

Zi said...

I had the same, but opposite, problem on the dress I'm making - I tried it on and found puffing in the wrong places because the torso of the dress was too short for me... Good luck fixing this!!

Sheila said...

Sorry I can't help, but surely like the commenters suggestions that would be helpful in the future...lovely pattern and great fabric choice.

Little Sewing Alcove said...

Yep, you're short waisted. I have to adjust every pattern up by 1 1/2" to get things to fit right. Great pattern and fabric tho...looking forward to the end product!

fattyboomboom said...

I'm currently sewing this pattern myself, and I had to shorten the bodice by 1". It's my standard petite alteration to shorten every dress pattern above the waist. This is the reason that there is no RTW dress with a waist seam that fits me--no, not a one. Thank heavens we sew, right? I too have high hopes for a perfect sheath pattern. Thanks for sharing your process. I can't wait to see your finished project!

Betty said...

..Don't know if you are standing funny, but your right shoulder seems to be lower than your left. Not sure how to adjust...any suggestions?

Ali said...

I've been obsessing over whether I'm short-waisted and I came across this post -- thanks! I totally have this problem with my bodices (more the back than the front) and once with swayback, too. Thanks for sharing, this is so, so helpful!

Anonymous said...

You might be interested to investigate Simon Henry's book The Little Black Dress: How to make the perfect one for you. I have completed a made-to-measure LBD for my daughter-in-law and it fits her perfectly because I made my own pattern pieces according to her measurements following a few very simple instructions.

Robin said...

I definitely agree with everyone else about the bodice being too long (and also the skirt part may also be too long from waist to hip as well.) I recognize this issue well and was glad to see that I had the diagnosis right after reading everyone else's comments. Definitely not large buttocks (in your case, maybe partially in mine...LOL!) I don't know if you've been making petite adjustments as a matter of course, but I believe from looking at you you are a true petite (not in the legs, but in the body, like me, even though I'm shorter.)

It was great to meet you on Saturday and I look forward to keeping in touch with you via your blog!