How to Fit My Body – Lonsdale Bodice

For my playdate dress I muslined the bodice of the Lonsdale dress only. Notwithstanding the rather huge discussion of muslin making around the interwebs and the pros and cons and such of the practice, here at A Fashionable Stitch, you’ll see muslins. I cut a size 8. To give you an idea, I have a 35″ bust, 29″ waist and 39″ hip. Again, I did the bodice only because the skirt is just a half circle skirt and should fit according to the body measurements on the back of the pattern. Alright, here goes:

For the purposes of this muslin, I’m showing it to you on Ms. Prism because it’s easier for me to pin and photograph. The bodice looks nearly the same on meas it looks like here on Ms. P:

Lonsdale Dress Fitting

Really, not bad. Ms. P and I share a “full” A bust cup though and the pattern, is more or less drafted for a flatter A cup. So the section below the bust here is a bit baggy. By the way, I did try on the bodice with my bra, since I was going to make bust cups instead of going bra-less (I’ll show you exactly what I did for the bust cups tomorrow). Since the bodice is dartless, and I wanted to keep it that way, I took the excess out of the center front seam. Around the bust edges, there was a bit of gaping and so I pinned out the excess in that area as well. See?

Lonsdale Dress Fitting

Lonsdale Dress Fitting

Let’s have a look at how this transfers to the pattern piece itself. See how the front center seam is now a little curved? This was the excess taken out of the center front seam. For the gaping around the bust edge, I slashed and spread the pattern piece the amount I had pinned out. These two adjustments for me really hit the nail on the head and made my front bodice piece fantastically fitted.

Lonsdale Dress Fitting

Lonsdale Dress Fitting

For the back section, you can see that I’ve made a sway back adjustment. An adjustment I’ve been having to make on a few patterns recently. To do this, I merely pinned out the excess of the back (this is a vertical adjustment) all the way to the side and into the front bodice piece to make the waistline sit level all around my waist.

Lonsdale Dress Fitting

To fix the pattern, I slashed and spread again on the back piece and also on the front. From there, I made sure that the front and back bodice sections “trued up” or that they were the same length at the side seam so sewing them together again would be a cinch.

Lonsdale Dress Fitting

And on the front:

Lonsdale Dress Fitting

The back panels have also been adjusted here for shirring (the white piece that’s been added into the pattern). I’ll be showing a proper tutorial on how I adjusted the entire bodice for this later this month via the Sewaholic blog!

Hopefully this gives you an idea of what to look for when you make your Lonsdale dress! He he he! I receive several questions about fitting, so I thought I should include more of how I fit my body and where I have to make adjustments. Questions? Ask away!

xoxo,
Sunni

  • bunny - can you explain what you did for the gaping bust adjustment? i can’t really see what you did in the photo since i don’t know what the original pattern piece looked like. i’m having a real problem adjusting a dress to fit my g-cup bodice and i would really like to know how to get rid of gaping at the top of the dress. thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - Hi bunny (which rhymes with sunni by the way!) OK. You see that I pinned out the excess on the muslin where the bust was gaping. The bust was gaping up by my arms. Now to translate that over to the pattern, I merely slashed the pattern in the very same area taped the pattern back together with the slashed pieces overlapping each other. The amount the slashed part on the pattern overlaps is determined by how much excess you pinned out of the gaping bust. For example, I pinned out 1/2″ on each side of the muslin. Since there is only one pattern piece for both of these sides, then I only have to fix the one piece for this adjustment. I slashed the front bodice nearly all the way to the edge of the piece and then overlapped the section near the arm. Does that make sense? For the overlap, since you have one piece of the slash that goes on top of the other, you have to be careful and overlap half of the amount you pinned out to get the right amount. I overlapped the pieces 1/4″ but overall the overlap takes out 1/2″. Make sense? Hopefully this helps a little.ReplyCancel

    • Alana - Hey Bunny,
      I could be totally wrong (sorry if I am :)) but did you do a full bust adjustment? If not it could be that the dress size is too big which makes it fit all strange around the neck, shoulders and arm holes when you really only need the extra size at the bust. I’m a G-Cup too and before I started doing FBA’s I always had that problem.
      :)AlanaReplyCancel

  • Andrea - Your dress is gorgeous. Thanks for another great tutorial! I won’t be making this dress until next spring but will definitely refer back to this post at that time.ReplyCancel

  • Bee - It’s a beautiful dress, Sunni! And thanks for the extra details about figuring out adjustments and transferring them to the pattern. It helps the pieces fall together to see it all in action!ReplyCancel

  • Jolene - This is SUCH helpful information! I can always make something fit when it’s on me, but I have such trouble translating it back to the pattern. I usually just end up hacking away at my finished piece to make it fit better because muslins never did me any good when I couldn’t get the changes back to the pattern. :) Thanks for explaining how you do this!ReplyCancel

  • LM - The dress is simply GORGEOUS!!! and this tutorial is just what i needed :) Thank you so very much, your explanations make so much sense, as always! I have a quick question regarding the back panel as I intend to do that on my dress and i was curious how many more inches of extra fabric you added in relation to the initial length of that pattern piece (i hope this makes sense). Thank you so much!ReplyCancel

    • LM - I realize that you’ll have a more detaile post to show us how to do the shirring part but i just want to be done with the cutting of the fabric :) Thank you!ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - I added 2 inches to the back panel for the shirring. Just sliced it right down the middle and added in those 2 inches.ReplyCancel

  • Ban Clothing - Does the centre front have a seam? If it doesn’t I am not sure how you sliced out some of it. I guess if it didn’t originally have one you could add one in order to eliminate some of the bulk.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - Yes, there is a center front seam. If you look at the line drawing on the the pattern envelope you can definitely see that its there. Basically what I did was just tuck out some excess in that seam to get a better more moulded fit.ReplyCancel

  • RobinDenning - Thanks for posting, and how timely! I am making a Lonsdale for a friend who is petite, A-cup and I may need that same adjustment for bust gapping. When you talked about the swayback adjustment, you meant a horizontal tuck, correct? That would make sense. I think I may muslin the skirt as well, because my friend has a figure like an “8″. She has a defined waist and she is well-porportioned, but her hip curve starts kinda high, unlike my niece who is shaped more like an “A”. I am guessing that the fullness of the skirt could be increased or decreased to be more flattering if there seem to be any problems. We’ll see!ReplyCancel

  • RobinDenning - LOL. My comment makes it look like my friend has an A- cup. That was not what I meant. I was using the “-” as a hyphen, not a minus sign :)

    Not that there is anything wrong with that, as one might say! :D ReplyCancel

  • Catherine - Love seeing the tweaks people do! The shirring at the back was inspired!
    I was wondering, sometime, at your leisure, if you’d mind explaining sway backs a bit. I’ve searched all over the interwebs and found surprisingly little about sway backs. From what I can tell it’s the space around the small of the back, yes? Everyone seems to do it but it’s hard to find pictures or examples amongst any but our equine friends. I’ve seen people do it who have a flat small of their back, and those who have a deeper space at the small of their back. Could you clear up the confusion? What are sway backs? How do I know if I have one? Do I want one? And then perhaps I’ll know whether that adjustment is for me :D ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - I will definitely consider a post on the subject! I’ll look into more so that I have better information as well. Its actually a newer adjustment for me, so I’m not exactly that familiar with it. Basically though, you’ll find that if you mock up a pattern and the back waist section droops (much more visible with patterns that have a waistband like this dress) you need to bring that section up. Pin out a horizontal tuck across the back until the back waist is level with the front. Hopefully that makes sense.ReplyCancel

  • Sewing Princess - Thanks for this. I am about the same size as you and was also thinking of cutting a size 8. I might have to make the same adjustments, so it’s good to hear how you’ve done it. I am now even more convinced to finish my muslin firstReplyCancel

  • Crystal - Very helpful post!ReplyCancel

  • Casey - Great tips! I just got the fabric I ordered for my Lonsdale yesterday afternoon (yay!) and am itching to whip up a quick muslin to check the fit. Great tip about contouring the center front seam to the body; the dartless-nature of the bodice is the one concern I’ve had since I bought the pattern. Even though I’m not very large-busted (straight-up B cup), dartless styles usually look a bit dumpy on me. Shall definitely keep this in mind when I muslin my dress.

    Thanks for sharing these tips!ReplyCancel

  • Meghan - While I don’t plan on making the Lonsdale dress anytime soon, I find all of your fitting posts extremely helpful. I store them in the back of my brain (and bookmark them, naturally), so I I do come across fitting issues, they can be resolved instead of a garment lost. Thanks for sharing these tips!ReplyCancel

  • Amy - Thanks so much for this post, Sunni. Instead of launching into sewing with my fashion fabric for the Lonsdale Sew-Along, I cut out the bodice from muslin last night so I can have a round of fitting like you’ve done here. We’ll see if I need any of the same adjustments. Regardless, it’s always so very helpful to see other people fit their muslins. It makes a world of difference in sewing confidently knowing that whatever you’re sewing is going to fit well. But, without seeing more experienced sewers go through their motions, it’s hard to trust yourself when a novice.ReplyCancel

  • Fits Like a Glove « Sew Well - [...] reading about all of the fitting that Sunni of A Fashionable Stitch had to do for the bodice of her Lonsdale dress, I decided to [...]ReplyCancel

  • Lonsdale Dress Finished | Sewing Princess - [...] had to alter the bodice by taking it at the center front and take about a inch off at the back. Must be really [...]ReplyCancel

  • Allie - This post is saving me from throwing in the towel on my Lonsdale dress. I think I need to make the same adjustments you did but I am a bit of a novice. Let me know what you think after looking at my muslin… http://www.crozette.com/2011/09/i-am-not-very-experienced-in-sewing-for.html#moreReplyCancel

  • 2-in-1 Sewalong: Muslin Making - [...] A previous muslin I’ve made – post is here [...]ReplyCancel