OK, so the SIL dress project (SIL stands for sister-in-law, for those not accustomed to acronyms) is underway, right on schedule. And friends, I have the most awful confession to make, which may be difficult for those of you who have vowed never to sew for others due to feelings of exploitation and abuse at the hands of friends and family: I like it. I mean, it's fun!
This is due in part, no doubt, to the fact that my sister-in-law, Prachee, is easy to work with. It also helps that she is relatively small-busted, slim, and has good posture. Plus she only swings by once a week, so there's no rush.
I stitched up my Vogue sloper in a size 12 (corresponding to a 34" bust) and I was surprised at the amount of ease in the pattern, especially since, given Prachee's measurements and those on the pattern envelope, I expected a 12 to be a little snug in the hips. I guess that A-line silhouette provided a lot of extra room down there. Prachee wants more of a close-fitting sheath, so I ended up taking quite a bit of that extra room out (keep reading).
The only change I made to the original pattern was to raise the waist 2" -- Prachee's about 5'4 and her back waist measurement was shorter than the pattern's -- and I didn't stitch up the two vertical back darts (aren't they called fish-eye darts?). I did sew the shoulder darts and (relatively shallow) bust dart however.
Then we started fitting it to her.
While she waited, I took a full inch out of both side seams and stitched up the back darts.
Much better. But do you see how the muslin sort of floats above Prachee's left shoulder? I'll need to take that extra room out, tapering from neck (where I'll take about an inch off) to armscye (on both sides). The shoulders also need to be narrowed a bit.
The question now is front darts. Given that this will be a fitted dress in a rather stiff silk (if we use the silk she bought), I need to fit it more in the front. I had Prachee draw a chalk line at the apex of her bust, and then experimented with taking out a little volume with vertical darts. Obviously they'll be the same length and (relatively shallow) depth.
This vintage pattern I recently purchased comes to mind...
So, fit mavens, what do you think? The cheap cotton I used for the muslin doesn't really drape very well, as you can see, but neither does raw silk (if I use what she gave me, which she picked up in India).
How do you feel about those vertical waist darts in front? They're not in the Vogue sloper pattern, but there are vertical back waist darts. Shouldn't a fitted back be balanced with a fitted front? Otherwise the fabric hangs off the bust -- which is, I guess, what contributes to the original A-line shape. (I own a copy of Fit For Real People, which I can consult if need be.)
In retrospect, I might have used this vintage Simplicity sheath pattern in my stash, that's more fitted (and also a 34 bust).
I know this isn't quite the dress Prachee originally wanted...
...but I think she'll end up with something cute nevertheless. I'm not good at working from a photograph, and that dress looks like it's virtually backless, with a much more fitted bodice.
Your thoughts and suggestions are appreciated.
Have a great day, everybody!
(Gratuitous chihuahua bath photo)
Just picked this up on Etsy. View B (middle) looks almost exactly like the dress Prachee originally wanted (note shaped empire seam under bust). Why reinvent the wheel?