Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Quest For The Perfect Substitute Bodice

The phrase up a size is not one we necessarily embrace, not because of what a number might say about us but because of what a number might say about now compared to before however - as we already know - the number is not the whole story. Up a size may have absolutely nothing to do with whether we've been fluffing up lately and everything to do with the fit of the garment. Since clothes that fit flatter and clothes that cling don't, it's worth considering.

The description for Vogue 1312 reads pullover dress has close-fitting, self-lined bodice, raised waist, seamed skirt, stitched hem and invisible side zipper. In my dictionary, close-fitting is synonymous with make-a-muslin and occasionally with go-up-a-size. Looking at the line drawing, it's easy to see that any full bust adjustment - which I'd need - is going to result in large side darts and the last thing needed with this dress is excess fabric hanging off the bust. Without waist definition, there isn't a hope it will flatter my figure. The other option is a combination of side and waist darts which would be more flattering and I'd rather sew a princess seam however - just in case - I made a muslin of the V1312 bodice and - as expected - it needed an FBA and - as expected - the resulting darts were large. I muslined V8743 instead, just the bodice.

I've made this dress before in a linen and in a stable knit only the alterations I'm using now have changed. I've sewn two muslins so far. The first fit well through the bust but felt too tight generally so, just in case, I decided to go up a size and see how that felt. The pattern comes with cup sizing. Assuming the bust fit well, remember that when you go up a size, you go down a cup because a 12D is a 14C is a 16B is a 18A.

The back seams of V8743 curve significantly. Most of that will get pinned out because my back is narrow.

Like this. Before tracing and sewing the size up, I compared the pattern pieces. Center back was the same in all sizes and the extra width was in the side back whereas center front was 1/2" wider and the side front was identical in width.

What's surprising is that the waist of the smaller size fit better. It could be because it was higher up on the body - or not. I've learned over my sewing years (thirty-eight) that just because the pattern size implies that it is larger or smaller does not necessarily mean that it actually is or that it is larger or smaller in the area where you need it to be.

Once when I was developing a T-shirt from a New Look pattern, I opted to buy a second pattern and when I compared the SAME SIZE of the newly purchased pattern with the previous one, they didn't match at all - significantly - not just slightly - which goes to show that it's just a number, just a piece of paper, and we work with what's in front of us to get the look we want to get.

I may make several more muslins in my quest for the perfect substitute bodice. I find muslins an inexpensive way to gather information and make changes before going on to the real thing.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - a visit with a sewing friend

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