Bodice work #1

I was serious when I said I was going to work in muslins for a year. Basically, I’m going to be taking bodice patterns (cos the skirt pieces rarely give me trouble) and altering them to fit me, without the expectation that I’m making a final product.
Last year, I entered the technical world of multiple pattern alterations. I did what I could with the time and patience I had and now I’m ready to move to the next level.
What that’s going to mean for me this year is going to bodices and working on them until I get the fit I want. I need to be watchful of over-fitting.
In retrospect, I feel like the poster child for over-fitting. You know, making that bodice fit you like a glove but then when you move you know it’s not going to fit over the winter, and it’s not like you’re giving up your Holiday snacking.
So, I’m trying to be realistic and keep the tissue and muslin fittings as such so that they will fit through normal weight fluctuations.
Josh told me about a holiday party at his work and I thought, “why not whip something up?” So, I took the bodice from this pattern you see below:
And I made a circle skirt.
The skirt was fun and easy to do without a pattern. I used the directions in Sew What! Skirts that my mom got me a couple of years back. After the skirt, I realized I was doing exactly the opposite of what I had proposed to do. I was trying to sew a final product.
So, I backed off the work on the bodice, but only after creating a muslin that fit, and I paired the circle skirt with a knit v-neck I had in my closet, which I will wear at the party.
In the photos below, you can see the first bodice I worked up. I underlined the bodice with my lining fabric to make it less of a hassle to line and it was working. Had the bodice fit (it needed an extra inch and a half or so of length), I would have used it with the new skirt. I don’t have photos of the final bodice muslin but I’m trying to think more in process and not so much in final product so I’m leaving the final photos out for this first muslin-only bodice.
For the center pleats, I tried the way the pattern suggested but it didn’t really work, so then I did what you see in the photos, which didn’t line up because I fit them to each “side” of me, if you know what I mean, so obviously they aren’t the same.
I ended up doing a simpler gathered center which fit better mostly because I had redone the FBA.
I’m going to break my muslin-only rule again so I can make a holiday dress. I found this pattern and I have some lace that I will overlay on my black lining material. I’ll keep the color of the lace a secret for now. Don’t want you getting a bad image in your mind. This is the pattern:

And instead of buying the pattern, I might just use this book, below, that my mom also got me a couple of years ago. My mom totally has my number. For instance, for one birthday, she sent me a shipment of tailor’s chalk and a Dritz chalk hem markerwith a ton of refills of chalk. So, I figure I can use the Drindl pattern in the Built by Wendy book, and of course, do my regular alterations, which now include a neck alteration in the front for a narrow upper chest- something that happens naturally from having a large chest- kind of like a hollow, sorta, but now that I see that, I can see exactly why my clothes fit weird.

Built by Wendy Dresses: The Sew U Guide to Making a Girl's Best Frock
This whole lace dress I’m making is reminding me of the Banana Republic Mad Men lace dress I tried on over the summer. Such a pretty dress. It fit decently, but I’m glad I never bought it. I’d rather just buy $50 worth of fabric and make it myself. It’s the only way it would fit and sit right. (Psst: My lace dress won’t be white or cream.)

And as a back burner, easy to fit, no head ache, hang around with the kids dress, I want to make this dress. It’s kinda not my style of dress to make but I love to wear dresses like this.

This next dress I love for the collar- my favorite part of a top. I’m not into funky sleeves but collars are my thing. Of the options in the pattern, I love the short sleeves and full skirt.
These patterns aren’t difficult and one day I know I’ll be able to just look at a pattern or dress in a store or on the street and be able to make my own. Especially these simpler cuts. For now, and in this year, I’m going to really focus on fitting simple patterns and not worry about finishing a garment.
That said, to keep myself motivated to knit the presents I’m working on, I’m not touching the lace dress until I finish the second sock.

4 thoughts on “Bodice work #1

  1. Bets says:

    Good idea about the muslins. You’ll know your stuff when you finish a project like that.

    I love the last two patterns. I’d happily make them both. Can you tell what they are?

  2. LadyD says:

    I have the opposite problem, no patience or accuracy when it comes to fit alterations. And maths is not a strong point. So i tend to pin the tissue paper on pinch out any wrinkles or add to side seams. then once I cut out the fabric I’ll baste and tweak, Most of my muslins I end up wearing…can’t stand wasting fabric.

    • Leila says:

      I’m definitely trying to get better at fitting. I don’t think I’ll ever feel like I’ve arrived. That said, my patience and accuracy have seen growth which is new for me. 🙂

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