Good: bodice not terribly ill-fitting. Bad: shoulders like, two inches too wide. Ugly: serious gapping problems, remedied here with carefully placed pins.
So here's my Joan Blue Bow Dress (previous posts here) bodice muslin for the Mad Men Challenge, with one sleeve. I made it up in a rayon/poly/lycra blend doubleknit I bought ages ago for $3.99 or something from Fabric.com--the fabric has almost identical stretch and recovery to my blue wool doubleknit (at least, I THINK/HOPE it does).
So, oh fitting Oracles--what sayeth these wrinkles? Will I be in business with a few simple alterations, or am I really in for it?
Here's my sketch again, if you're not completely sick of it by now:
Muslin back view:
Is that all that annoying wrinkling just swayback, or also because I'm shorter-waisted than the pattern? Or is it because the waist is too tight? Hmm....
Side view--what the heck is going on with these diagonal wrinkles? (Also, yes: I have NO BUTT. It is completely 2-dimensional back there.)
The shoulder and sleeve have issues (other issue: accidentally put sleeve seams on outside):
Gapping isn't so bad now that I've pinned up a bit of the bottom:
I really hate this part of sewing. I always doubt my ability to read the wrinkles, and I'm afraid I'll over or underfit, and sometimes I just get really, really confused as to what the actual fitting issues are and what are, say, poor posture issues or weird photo issues. That said, I adore a well-fitted garment (isn't that why I'm sewing, after all?), and I know this effort will be worth it.
So, the good:
- It's not way too small. I cut two-inch (I know!) seam allowances out of unfounded fear. The pattern is in a bust 34" (my high bust measurement), and my full bust is 38", but there was plenty of ease built in. Though I'm surprised the waist is even close to fitting--the pattern measures less than 26" in the waist, and my waist is a good 2 inches bigger than that. Hurrah for knits!
- The bust darts even seem to generally be in the right places. Shocking! Though perhaps they are a smidge to close to the "bust apex."
- This v-neck bodice is totally flattering, no?
The bad, and my tentative plan of alteration attack.
- The shoulders are ridiculously wide on me. I always have this problem with set-in-sleeve styles--I have super narrow shoulders.
- The fix: a narrow shoulder adjustment. At least 1 inch...
- The waist is too long. It's at least an inch below my natural waist.
- The fix: shortening the bodice by a bit.
- The sleeve is too loose. Probably as a result of being made up in a knit, albeit a stable one.
- The fix: take in the sleeve at the underseam.
- The waist might be a smidge tight? There seems to be some pulling/wrinkles at the front overlap.
- The fix: unbaste side seams and pin to fit?
- Something really awful and bunchy and wrinkly is going on at the back waist.
- The fix: I don't know! Maybe this will go away when I shorten the bodice... but it might also be too tight? And I KNOW I have swayback, as all my RTW things bunch like this, so I probably need a swayback adjustment, too. Not that I've ever done one. Err...
- There are some weird diagonal wrinkles on the side.
- The fix: ???
- Bust darts end too close to "apex"?
- The fix: End a bit farther from "apex?"
At this point I think I'm going to give up on the wearable muslin concept. While I think I COULD easily alter this to fit, it would take up precious sewing time I don't have. Plus I think it'll be easier to adjust if I just give myself permission to draw all over this thing without fear. Most importantly, I have limited closet space, and a gray dress just isn't ME (or Joan, for that matter).
I think I'm also going to give up on altering the pattern to be more like the inspiration dress--I'm not sure that I want to invest time/energy in widening the V and drafting my own shawl collar here. I am going to make a bow belt instead of the plain belt, though. It is a bow dress after all! And I will lower the neckline on the dickey, too.
Bonus: my entire fancy muslin-wearing outfit (that's a RTW doubleknit pencil skirt from Target). Fairly certain Joan does NOT wear stripey wool knee socks with heels.
So what do you think? Is my assessment on-target? Any help with interpreting these photos is much appreciated.
P.S. One of the essential rules of fitting is wearing the same undergarments you plan to wear with the finished item. I don't normally do shapewear, but I know Joan always wears a long-line bra and girdle... so I tried to approximate that look with some weird Spanx thing that comes up to right below my bra. BUT I COULDN'T BREATHE. So half of these photos are with that thing, half are without. Oddly enough, the fit issues were mainly the same either way.