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Jun 19, 2015

Fitting Susan's Bodice Muslin



And now onto Susan's bodice muslin.

If it looks like Susan is being fitted in a public café...hey, we were a little pressed for time -- and space!  Luckily we finished just before the lunch rush.

More photos:

There was approximately 1/2" excess height in Susan's right shoulder.  I pinned this out.  Overall, the back doesn't look too bad.  I quickly realized that Susan's back waist is roughly 1" higher than her front waist.





The area that needed the greatest alteration is the front armhole.  I pinned out a good-sized dart on both sides.









 To make this more of a "You Are There" experience, here's a short video (after some pinning):



These instructions from Dorothy Moore's book should help me to relocate that shoulder dart.



I'm hoping to be able to produce an improved bodice this weekend and then take it from there.  The good news is I'm learning a lot.

If you have any fitting-related insights to share, I'd love to hear from you.

Have a great day, everybody!

25 comments:

  1. Looks good, but there's kind of a gap at her left arm back that I think is coming from that shoulder needing to be lifted as well.

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  2. Yeah, I think that gap at the back-left armhole seam will need to be either lifted to the shoulder seam but doing that will end up making a dart in the shoulder seam, which will shorten the shoulder seam length. Adding the length that's missing will solve the problem. Anyway, shoulder seams on the back bodice block usually have a dart in them.

    Also, I notice that the side seam dart is not deep enough to take up the excess from the side seam length. You will have to make a wider dart for the side seam but it just depends on how many darts you want and where you want the darts. Right now you have 4 darts total on the pattern and it looks like you're going to add two extra darts making six darts total just for the front bodice.

    If I were you, I'd add shoulder seam darts and waist seam darts. One dart on each shoulder seam and two waist darts. This means that you'd have to take out one of the side seam darts and manipulate that dart onto one of the waist darts. Here's a video on dart manipulation, I hope it helps: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VAttkI8MjkU

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    1. When I say add waist seam darts, I mean to only have two waist darts total on the front bodice. Since you'd be working on the half front there should be 1 dart on the shoulder seam and 1 dart on the waist seam.

      You'd also have to remark the waist line. Gosh, I hope I haven't confused you. Haha. Anyway, you can always ask me to elaborate. Good luck! :)

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    2. Thanks for sharing that You Tube video, Serge. I have ben experimenting with dart manipulation recently this this has certainly cemented it for me. Least I know now that I am doing it right. Thank you.

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    3. Sure! You're welcome! :)

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  3. what is the use of the darts coming from the shoulder? It seems to me that the front width is too big. Measure shoulder point (SP) to SP across the front. if it is much too small than the control measurement you need to make a 'narrow shoulder' alteration. You should use Satah Veblen book about fitting.

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    1. I just ordered a copy -- looks like a winner.

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  4. It seems a little baggy on the back shoulder. I appreciate Susan needs to be able to move her arms. If it was for me and there was room after adjustments I would make a tiny dart to ease out them ruffles.

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  5. I agree that the armhole wasn't right but be careful with those alterations. An armhole in which you will insert a sleeve later always seems to gape a bit when the sleeve isn't there. You need a bit of ease for movement there. Only in a sleeveless style do you take that out with a gape dart. I highly recommend making the your next bodice sloper with sleeves.
    Also, in the first picture there seems to be excess length at the side front. I think it doesn't show in other pictures because she is either holding her arms up, or who've folded that out towards shortening the back waist length. If that's it, you've already fixed it, if not I think the position and size of the bust dart may need a bit more work.

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    1. I agree with Lauriana on the back armhole gap. Most of my patternmaking books mention pivoting half of the back shoulder dart into the armhole and easing this into the sleeve for wearing ease in sleeved styles without back shoulder dart. But depending on what you're using this fitting muslin for - eg as the foundation for designing different styles of tops & dressese, you might prefer to start with a gapless back armhole fit (ie larger back shoulder dart) and pivot that ease in for sleeved style later. Personally I like to know precisely how much ease/dart there is in my sloper and where it's distributed. This avoids adding/removing ease unintentionally when I derive different designs from my sloper.

      It's a little bit hard to gauge the fit without F-B-LS-RS mug shots. The photos are taken at an angle (downward) and the raised arm affects the fit. So maybe some of my observations below might not be right, but...

      I wonder if Susan is like me a B-cup that needs the fit of a D(ish)-cup, deeper (F-B) rather than wider (S-S) torso, slightly sloped & forward shoulders.

      The manipulations you did on the front + shorter back length seem to indicate the bust shaping isn't sufficient. You can pivot the shoulder dart into the existing side and waist darts if you want to keep your slopers standard (usually either side+waist or shoulder+waist).

      The slight wrinkle at side seam arm pit level (the "excess length at side front" Lauriana pointed out) may indicate the slight sloped shoulders - ie the armholes need to be positioned lower, resulting in steeper shoulder seam slope & shorter side seams.

      If the armholes feels restrictive / cut into the arms, then it may also indicate deeper torso & the need to scoop out more from the lower armscye, which may continue up the front armscye (removing cross-front & maybe even shoulder widths) and blend into existing back armcye just below the shoulder seam (armhole plane tilting towards the front, so wider cross-back with narrower cross-front).

      Nowadays if I were to use a commercial pattern I tend to start with a smaller size (actually my younger self size), then do FBA + add width at the side seam. This gets me to the end point quicker. I've been obsessing about fit these last couple of years. In case examples of non-standard slopers are useful for comparison, you can see what my slopers look like here...
      Bodice (0 ease base sloper): http://overflowingstash.com/tag/moulage/
      Other slopers (indlucing sleeves): http://overflowingstash.com/tag/blocks/

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    2. Agree with this small size and do FBA. Then you don't have so much excess everywhere to get rid of. Draping on the body might have worked better.

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  6. Where next? A subway platform?

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    1. How about in the lobby of the FIT museum during MPB Day, while all 30 or so of us shout out conflicting opinions about what we think needs to be done to create the perfect fit for her...

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    2. hahahaha!

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  7. Welcome to the world of fitting for boobs and a short waist. I always have my hiri kiri knife at the ready when I'm fitting myself! I've been down this road with bodice slopers, and find they have limited use. Mostly I use mine to compare to vintage patterns at the shoulders and armscye and hips to make sure it fits there. Also, you'd need separate ones for princess seams, kimono sleeves etc. Here's my advice: go on SusanKhalje.com and watch her free video about picking a pattern based on the high-bust measurement. It's standard fitting advice. Then, get a commercial sloper or fitting shell pattern, with sleeves. I'm guessing that the downloadable ones from BurdaStyle doesn't have huge armholes like the Vogues, McCalls etc. Once you've gotten the correct size in the shoulders/high bust (the hardest part to alter, so you start from there), you'll probably need to do a full bust adjustment, shorten and fit the waist, take in the hips etc. Another suggestion is to make a "duct tape" dress form (google it) of Susan, if she's willing, so you can fit things on her at home, or invest in a small adjustable dress form. I got myself a custom fitting shell from Stringcodes.com and only had to do an FBA and a few other adjustments to make it work, so I use it to check the size on patterns.

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    1. By the way, the reason I mentioned fitting the hips is that I have a tunic-length bodice sloper that goes over the hips. It's very useful for fitting, since most tops go below the waist and over the hips.

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  8. I think the fit on Susan is quite flattering. The style and shape is casual and professional, it gives her both moxie and class...a rare and coveted look to pull off but she does it well.

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  9. Loving this process andv the fit adj. are looking good. Thanks for sharing your wealth of information and reference books.

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  10. You're on your way! As long as you are learning, you can't go wrong. I am a very recent convert to drafting from the moulage and I recommend it highly - you know, in the way that newbies think they have found the Holy Grail :)
    I bet you will get something quite nice from this effort. Being able to walk around the client and look & tuck means you can correct things so much faster and easier than fitting oneself. Looking forward to future installments!

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    1. ps, I haven't read all the comments but if you still get wrinkles on the sides, consider shortening the side seams.

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  11. That back shoulder gap is something that I have as well and I have found that it's from a high rounded back. Other than that you look like you've got a good handle on the fixes. I'm looking forward to the garments you make for your client.

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  12. First I had to laugh due to the location of the fitting but hey you gotta do what you gotta do. Secondly, your learning so that even better just remember your fitting her and she will love the end result. I have had issues with the gap in my bodice armhole on a vintage pattern that I have (by the way, thank you for making me look twice at them at garage sales, resale shops and sometime the trash, lol) I went down a size and did a FBA and it worked out perfectly, I just need to get my lazy but in action and finish sewing. Jetsetsewing.com stated some really good information too, you can never go wrong with the information Susan Khalje provides. all of it has helped my a great deal as well as Nancy Zieman's Pattern Fitting with confidence (got at the library for .10 cents). I've relearned some techniques that make my return to sewing worthwhile. I know you can do it.

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  13. I agree that Sarah Veblen's book will be a great help to you. I also think the Fit for Real People book by Palmer Pletsch would be helpful as well.

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