Saturday, 26 November 2011

Winter Wool Dress Muslin - Advice Wanted

Today must be muslin day (toile for my British friends) as the lovely Karen blogged about her coat muslin earlier on. I agree 100% with her on the fact that there is nothing flattering about a muslin. I look hideous! But I know muslins are important to ensure a good fit. How frustrating to spend time and money and end up with a badly fit garment. Just take my Winter wool dress, from the gorgeous pattern above. If I had cut my pricey, gorgeous wool flannel what would I do with it? I wouldn't wear it, for sure.
Anyway...I need help! I need your wonderful advice on how to fit this dress and any comments are very helpful.
The dress fits like a glove from the waist down. The length needs taking by about 10 inches but that's easy. I only pinned it roughly for the photos so ignore that.
Onto the dreaded photos. Straight up with arms down you can see some bagginess in the arms.
Hands on hips the bagginess in the arms becomes clear.
Side view shows some more bagginess in the front and somethings terrible wrong at the back.
Back view. Too much fabric.
So as usual for me, the bodice is way too big, even though the measurements in this vintage pattern are smaller than mine. ( I'm a bust 32 and pattern is for bust 30). The sleeves are kimono with gussets under the arms. Disappointingly (but understandable) my pattern making class was cancelled today due to illness as I believe we were going to do kimono sleeves.

My dear readers, any suggestions, recommendations? What do I take out, where and how. Thank you!!


  1. This is going to be lovely, what a gorgeous pattern!
    Looks like a horizontal tuck on the back might help with the bagginess there. And a vertical tuck down the arms :S I think? Hopefully someone will come along with some better advice :)
    Ashley x

  2. I agree with the horizontal tuck for the back- do it right along where your bra band is, then it won't affect the darts. You can do the same for the front, but I think the front looks fine. Take in the sleeves on the underarm seam. Just be careful if the wool has little give. You don't want that "my lower arms are getting no blood circulation" feeling when you bend your elbows! I'm impressed you did a muslin, and that you did all the buttons! Wow!

  3. Gasp! What a wonderful pattern! This is going to be tremendous. But I'm not a fitting expert so will watch and learn. Sorry!! Good luck and enjoy x

  4. This already looks wonderful! Regarding the bagging at the back: it looks to me as though the bodice is too long in the body for you. The darts at the back waist look like a perfect fit, so (in my humble opinion, and what do I know?) it looks like excess fabric above the darts. Too long? I hope this helps! This is really where you need a second person to pinch excess out whilst you wear the toile. It's just finding that other person, isn't it?

  5. I was just going to make the same comment as didyoumakethat. If you shorten the bodice it might just work.

  6. I think the pattern is too wide through the upper bodice/shoulder area and since the shoulder bone is connected to the arm bone it is showing there as well. I would fix the shoulder before fussing with the sleeves. Try folding out the shoulder done to about the bust and see how that looks.

  7. You just don't slouch enough!

    Seriously, I think the bodice is too big, overall. I think you should pinch out a horizontal pleat from the back and then grade it down a size. That should take care of the overall looseness and the bagginess of the sleeves.

    I can not tell if there is a dart at the elbow. But, if there isn't, you may want to add one. This style frequently had a darted elbow and they help to make them more wearable.

    I can't wait to see what you do with this! Once you whip these fit issues, this will be beautiful.

  8. I wonder if the sleeve is supposed to have a little more ease? It doesn't look bad a little bit baggier than a normal set in sleeve. Maybe the length of the sleeve is a little too long, though. I agree that the bodice is too long, but the darts do look perfect. I'm excited to see this! It's going to be wonderful. I love shirt dresses.

  9. I agree with karen, too much length in the bodice, and too much perfect posture! I have the same problem. I end up slicing my center back seam in as much as 2 inches, tapering down to the original seam line where the tips of the waist darts fall. there's prolly a name for that but hell if I know, I just know it has a lot to do with good posture. the extra fabric is for the gals who stand with shoulders curved. slackers.

  10. I agree with several others, it appears the bodice is too big. Smaller size in the bodice would help the arms & under arms. The bodice may just have to adjusted with a tuck; have you measured your back to compare to the bodice? In fitting books they have you measure from were a necklace would sit too your waist line (where a piece of elastic would sit on your waist as you move); the length from that is your back length, you could check it then against the bodice piece from the neckline to the waist on the pattern.

  11. This is fantastic post because it's really giving us an opportunity to learn! This is going to be a gorgeous dress once the fit issue is resolved.

    I don't get how come the front can fit so perfectly and the back so poorly! It's like the pattern was made for the hunchback of Notre-Dame or something! I think I would pinch above the darts, as everyone else suggested. Also play with the centre seam. Good luck and keep us posted! xox

  12. Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting. This pattern is so beautiful! I wish I could give you and advise how to fix that problem in your muslim but I don't know how, I see the comments here must of them suggest a tuck, you should send an email to someone expert as Gertie, I'm sure she will help you!

  13. The dress I just made had a similar problem and I am glad I actually made my first muslin to test out the pattern. Turned out I needed to to take a bit of a horizontal tuck across the back as well.

    I find that vintage patterns of that era are a bit gapey in the shoulders and bust and I'm about the same size as you - I buy a vintage 10-12.

    Usually I take a V sliced wedge out of the centre seam, tapering down so the waist stays the same. That narrows the shoulders a lot.

    I think taking a little V out vertically and some out horizontally would work for this one.

    As for the sleeves - I started making a dress that had kimono sleeves which I gave up on cos they bunched horribly around my armpits and shoulders. They were a popular style in the 50's but I just don't like them all that much on me. Yours doesnt look too bad though! Does it feel comfortable? The gussets probably make it much smoother and nicer to wear. Is your fashion fabric thicker? Because I'd be wary of too much bulk with the kimono sleeve.

    Hope I've helped!!!

  14. What they said!;)
    The bodice is too long and you need to pinch it out of the muslin in an even slice across the back.
    Not sure the sleeves are "too baggy" at all - you don't want to cut your circulation off.
    It's going to be amazing!

  15. Hmmm... the bodice looks like it fits through the lower ribcage and below. However, agreed, the top portion looks large. I can't really tell from the pictures is the area across your upper chest (from shoulder to shoulder) fits or not. My suggestion would actually be for a small bust adjustment to control some of the excess in that area.

  16. You are short like me, which means that the standard back length for any pattern is too long. You probably need to reduce the back by at least 2-3cm. Front doesn't need to be reduced so dramatically if at all because of 'bust rise'. Measure you're nape to waist at the back, and then compare it with the pattern, you will soon see what the problem is. Do not shorten above the darts because this will affect your bust/chest circumference which looks OK. shorten about half way between bust line and waist line by folding the pattern and then merging the darts accordingly. Hope this helps.



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