March 28, 2010

Winners and Fitting My Perfect Spring Dress

Hip Hip Hooray! We have two lucky Spring Egg Winners! The random number generator picked 4 and 7. Angela and Lynne, I'll send you out an email requesting your address and I'll get those Spring Egg Kits shipped out for you to have (hopefully) by Easter!

Angela said, "How cute are those eggs! My favorite holiday crafting was making something for Mother's Day... whether we made pasta noodle necklaces,  frames, soap, or flowers. :)"

Lynne said, "I always have loved decorating for Easter - the pastel colors, bright green grass, warm & sunny days more frequent...and with chocolate a big part of the day, what's not to love? Your sweet egg reminds me of the ones Mom used to buy for my Easter basket, handmade by old-world candy makers at Olympia Confectionery on Broadway (That's Cleveland, not New York). Thanks for the memory."

Great ideas ladies and thank you to those who participated. I hope you have a wonderful Easter holiday!

Speaking of Easter and well, my birthday, I'm sure you're wondering about my Perfect Spring Dress and how its coming along. I have the bodice almost finished and I really hope the skirt comes together easy. Fingers are definitely crossed. In the meantime, I thought I would show you my fitting muslins for the bodice, that way we both learn about good fit and what to do about it. I am, by no means, a master of fit. Still working on this art. However, hopefully I can share some of my tips with you and get tips from you as well. Here we go:

One of the first questions about fitting that comes to mind is, "What is good fit?" and "Does this vary from person to person?" What I'm driving at is this, is fitting a point of view or is there a basis of "good fit" that everyone should follow? I can't say for sure and there are many times when I mock up a muslin for a garment and I don't know what I'm looking for. It's one of the reasons that it takes me so long to start and finish a sewing project. Sometimes, the fitting problems aren't wildly apparent, sometimes they are just minor adjustments. And this usually takes me a few days to ruminate on and then a few more days to think of a solution. I feel, I have strange fitting issues because when I look up ways to fix a fitting problem, the issue is usually addressed for the opposite problem that I have. For example, I have a small bust. It's weird to me that there are many tutorials and articles on large bust adjustment, but not small ones. So I end up reading these articles and doing the opposite of what it says. Anyone else feel this way?

Let's get back to the Perfect Spring Dress, shall we? Hopefully, some of you have these same issues. With this pattern there is an initial problem that isn't magnified until you actually test it. The shoulder straps are way too far apart. And I'm a broad shouldered gal (because I always have to adjust for this, on top of a small bust adjustment AACCKK!). These straps kept falling down. I think you would have to be extremely broad shouldered for them not to. The bodice itself was a little baggy and needed a little nip and tuck here and there. So, what we have are:
the shoulder straps are too far apart
the bodice is baggy

I went back to look at my Anthropologie inspiration again and concentrated on the details here. If you take a close look at the photo, the princess seams originate from the armscye. On my pattern, the princess seams are a little more straight up and down. If you think of a princess seam as a seam that has a dart at the top and bottom, then you can move the darts wherever you want, which is what I did. Take a look at this tutorial. This made it so that I could move the shoulder straps closer together without throwing off the princess seam. By the way, I couldn't find a tutorial for the adjustment of bringing the shoulder straps closer together. But I read an article about proper bra fittings and how if the shoulder straps continually fall down, the straps need to be moved closer together. I took a chance on pinching out 1 inch in the front and back at the middle and then adding 1/2 inch to the seam adjoining the side bodice. That brought the straps closer together and left the princess seams correctly over the bust.

After moving all of the darts around, I took in the back a little at the top and cut out a new muslin. It fit much better and the shoulder straps were more under control. It didn't solve all the problems though, the bust was little baggy, so I pinched that out and marked my pattern. The back has a bit of a wrinkle at the waist, but I think the weight of the skirt will take care of this issue.

So what do you think? What do you think about proper fitting? How do you go about knowing what is and is not a good fit?


  1. Sounds good to me but most importantly, it looks good.

  2. I have NO idea how to fit. NONE. I'm attending a sewing studio tonight for the first time so that I can (hopefully!) begin to learn. I too am hung up on the fit of what I think might be "the perfect dress".

  3. Thanks again for the lovely egg kit! I have yet to work on fitting... in the past I've had pretty good luck with Big 4 patterns. I guess I fit into their "prototype" so to speak, but now I'm working with my first Burda (magazine) pattern which needs adjustments. I'm making a muslin for the first time, too... I'm very excited about the learning experience. Looks like you're making great progess on your dress!

  4. Thanks very much for the Egg Kit - I'll be waiting by my mailbox daily now. :) Love your Anthropologie inspiration dress and the way you have solved your fit issues. Bravo!

  5. I understand. One of the best resources I've found is Adele Margolis' book "How to Make Clothes That Fit and Flatter." It's out of print at the moment, but you can find it used on several different used book websites. It's fabulous!

  6. I'm excited about your muslin! I can't wait to see and hear more.

  7. I found your blog as I am searching for interesting posts about small-busted women... the reason is that I am the Editor of a blog called, which is aimed at women with a small bust and is a rich supply of styling tips and lingerie advice. Your post gives me another insight... not only is it sometimes difficult to buy clothtes that fit & flatter a small bust, it's difficult to find advice to make them as well. I love your blog by the way. Have always fancied a go at dressmaking as my mum is quite skilled in that department. Sadly for me, my ambitions were cut short when I accidentally stitched up the sleevs on pyjamas I made at school. Haven't dared to get back on the sewing machine since then.


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