pastille pt. 1: fitting & muslin

next up, the pastille dress from colette patterns book. i went into this pattern with knowledge about some tweaks i would have to make. i’ve read other people’s reviews on it and seen some serious fitting issues going on in the back! so, thanks to the awesome interwebs, i went into my muslin taking all this into consideration.

first, the front: colette patterns are designed for women with an “average american bust.” i, however, am not so “average american” in this respect. so, i knew i would have to do a serious sba to make it work for me. also, i had been studying how to draft a basic bodice block from a pattern making book and discovered that my dart intake is only 1 1/2″ -2″, whereas this pattern has more than a 4″ dart intake. uh… yeah.

on the left is the bottom half of the bodice
front which, you can see, i altered significantly

i only had to look at the pastille pattern pieces to know it in no way would fit me as is. not even close. i won’t go into details over the sba right now because some searching led me to a very good tutorial. it’s easy and totally demystifies how to reduce a darted bodice, something i have struggled with in the past. i highly recommend checking it out here.

on to the back: so, i’ve seen that people using this pattern have had some seriously excessive amounts of fabric going on in the back. since i’m rather narrow on top anyway, i decided to cut the back a size 0, but reduce the dart intake at the waist to give me the size 4 width at the waist.

to do this, i marked the innermost leg of the dart on the size 4 line (on the seamline), but narrowed the dart and redrew it (this ensures that the dart is in the right place to line up with the skirt dart). did you follow that? instead of adjusting my side seam (transitioning from a 0 down to a 4 at the waist) i just went with the smaller size then added width by taking a smaller dart. i noticed that many of the fitting problems others had seemed to be caused by excess fabric vertically and this adjustment took care of that for me.

the green line is my re-drawn dart, the line
i’m pointing to is the original outer dart leg

i know that isn’t the clearest explanation ever, if you want more details just ask and i’ll be happy to clarify!

all in all, it worked out really well and my muslin fit almost perfectly. i still had a little extra in the bust i had to reduce, but that was pretty much it. success! oh, wanna see my fabric?

that’s the understitching on the facing at the neckline,
this picture just happens to show the fabric most accurately

it’s a red, cotton-rayon blend with a twill weave. loooove this fabric. it’s so chic, classic and perfect for the winter/spring transition. and the best part, i got it for less than $3/yd. so basically, this dress (with lining) cost me less than $20.

—lisa g

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