the body is round… the pattern is flat…

[i know people tried to comment on a previous entry and the comments wouldn’t post for some reason… i changed a few settings so hopefully that is fixed. so sorry! i’m new to this… bear with me! —lisa g.] 

i don’t know what inspires you to sew, but for me it’s a combination of cost and fit. i don’t know that i have ever bought a dress that i loved, fit well and was at a price i was comfortable with. sure i could take dresses to a tailor but, like so many things in life, i think i’ll just do it myself…

i found this fabric on clearance and loved the colors. it might be a little “drapery” looking but i think the bold graphics make it just modern enough for my tastes.

i wanted a dress pattern that didn’t have too much detail or seaming because it would just get lost in the busy pattern. i had a particular style in mind and after looking and looking i decided on simplicity 2692 (the one shown in green, minus the really long front tied sash).

i like that it’s gathered in the bodice yet doesn’t have any crazy details. i hadn’t made this silhouette before so i knew i definitely needed to start with a muslin to test run the fit. boy am i glad i did!!! i generally have to blend about three sizes to fit my body: small on top, slight leftover baby pooch and hips that just did not go back to their original location after having four kids! (yes, four… you read that correctly. what if i told you they are all between the ages of 2 1/2 and 7? did you just spit out your coffee? wipe off your computer screen and keep reading…)

once i made the muslin and tried it on i immediately realized the following: 1) i really do hate a side zip, 2) my ribcage does not narrow much and 3) the bust will need to be dramatically reduced! fortunately, numbers 1 and 2 are easy to remedy. 

to move the zip to the center back (CB) i will simply not cut the back pieces on the fold and i will add a seam allowance to accommodate a CB zipper. then i added room to the bottom of the midriff pieces by not tapering them in quite so much. easy enough!

now a good fit in the bust area is slightly more challenging. i started by taking room out of the center front (CF) seam, about 3/4″ then i redrew the neckline. just doing that solved most of my fit issues. to shape the bodice further (or un-shape it, in my case…), i made an inverted dart from the fullest part of the bust narrowing to the shoulder and midriff seams, pinched up that part of the pattern piece then smooshed the paper flat and taped it down. sounds real technical, i know. since this is a gathered bodice there is enough wiggle room to fine-tune the fit as i stitch the pieces together. if i were working with a smooth, darted bodice or princess seams this would need to be much, much more precise! if, after making these adjustments, the shoulder or side seams have been distorted, simply re-draw the lines to straighten, or true, the seams. don’t forget to adjust the shoulder and side seams of the back pieces to match.

with all that work out of the way i am super excited to start cutting the real material and begin sewing in earnest! it does seem like i had to do a lot of fussing and manipulation over this pattern (i almost gave up to work on something easier!), but really that’s just part of the process. how satisfying is it to take the extra prep time and come up with a garment that is custom fit? to take flat fabric and flat pattern pieces and make them work on a curved body? it doesn’t matter if you’re an 8-10-12 or a 14-16-18; making your own garments is all about the fit. the tiniest manipulations are truly the difference between an okay dress and one that you are really proud to own and wear.

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