So.....this dress...I completed the construction of the entire top of the dress and although it looked put together pretty well, it was HUGE! I kept thinking, surely when I put the elastic and gathers in, it will pull it together somehow. Well folks, no such luck. Answer: Deconstruct the entire bodice, cut down each piece to the correct size and reconstruct.
This being the first garment I've ever made, my class instructor helped me out with choosing the right size. We did all the basic body measurements; upper bust, full bust, waist, hip, back, etc. and then she told me to choose the pattern size that most closely matched my largest measurement and alter from there. Here is where I lost my way. What I did not know, until just recently, is that all patterns are made for a B cup. Now, being a DD, my full bust measurement was the largest.
Imagine my surprise when the bodice was finished...the shoulders were hanging to my elbows and the bodice didn't cover the bottom of my bust. In fact, it cut me in half yet was wide enough to fit me and half another person. "How do you alter that? I screamed".
After a few frustrating comments (not to be repeated here) and a walk away from the sewing table, I began to research this issue. Low and behold there were tons of articles out here on how to properly size a pattern. I find out that for dresses, blouses and jackets, I should use my upper bust measurement for pattern size and then do a "Full Bust Alteration", FBA for short, to accommodate the difference from a B to a DD. Luckily I purchased over the amount of material needed so I had just enough to recut the bodice and include the FBA. Meanwhile, my pattern size dropped 4 sizes, with plenty of wiggle room!!! Now that I can live with much better :)
The dress is coming along nicely with the new bodice. Tonight I will gather the bottom of the bodice, finish the sleeve and skirt attachment and perhaps install the zipper. Unfortunately I did not take pictures of the before but will try to take them more often with each step for this and upcoming blogs.
Here's the progress as of today. The finished bodice will be gathered at the bottom before attaching to the skirt. I've yet to invest in a body double or try my hand at creating a "Duct Tape Form" so for now a hanger is my fitting partner. The picture quality is not great either...need to invest is a real camera and not my phone.
July 15, 2011
I love wearing skirts and dresses! Especially when the scale tips the 90′s. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of a soft, light material swinging around you in the gentle breezes of summer. For this reason, I’m trying my hand at dressmaking. The pattern I’ve choosen is McCall’s M5619 (seen above) in green with 3/4 length sleeves. The material is a lightweight cotton swiss dot in the palest teal with small pink and yellow flowers purchased from Hancock Fabrics.
The dress is rated as “easy” although it presents several challenges right off the bat. Gathered bodice and sleeves, sleeve cuffs and the installation of a 22″ zipper. Fun! Fun! I’ve also upped the anty by deciding to add underlining to the bodice for modesty (the material is quite see through) and a full skirt lining.
As of today all materials have been prewashed, pressed, cut, marked and basted.
Lesson 1: Follow cutting layout directions exactly! There is a reason the pieces are not all squashed together in an arrangement that gives you the most leftovers but rather according to “grain”. Although I’d heard this mentioned more than once, when it came to the layout and cutting, I thought I knew best.
Result: Not all pattern pieces follow the proper grain line which will inevitibly cause issues with the hang of the dress. We will see….
Lesson 2: Hand baste the underlining to the pattern pieces! Machine basting, although quicker, causes the primary material to bunch up.
Result: Ripped out all machine basted stitches and sewed them again, by hand….now that looks a lot better.
Next step is to begin the construction. Wish me luck!