Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Vtg Simplicity 3430 - in progress #3

After a few days "away" from this dress, I have tried it back on to reassess and discovered the following things:
  1. It fits perfectly through the bust, neckline/shoulder, and armscye in front.
  2. It's too tight across the mid-back but too high at the back neck, and the center-back seam has a funny curve to the left.  
If I could've figured out how to take a picture of my back that could capture all of that, I would have!  What's most confusing to me is how perfect the front can be, with plenty of ease at the waist/bust, etc, just PERFECT...and yet the back is a hot mess and feels super uncomfortable.  Weird weird weird.

A little research in my two favorite fitting books and I think I've found my problem.   First I went to Jan Minott's Fitting Commercial Patterns.  The closet wrinkle chart in this book I could find was this one:

I do have pulling/tightness right there at mid-armhole in back but my tension wrinkles continue across mid-back and even lower.  I have used this adjustment in the past though.  It requires you to redraw the armhole, and I'm never sure I've done that adequately (and you won't know until you muslin!) 
So I went to the next book with helpful wrinkle charts, Fitting & Pattern Alteration by Liechty, Pottberg and Rasband.  I really like this book.  I'm such a sewing geek sometimes I just read it for fun. 

And here is where I found my first back wrinkle: 

What I love about this book is that it gives you a variety of pattern change methods.  If you're a pivot/slider, you have a diagram.  If you're a slasher/spreader, you have a diagram.  If you're one of those cut into the seam and spread people, you have a diagram.  (I wish I was one of those people.  That method always looks like it constrains proportions of things like armhole/neckline, etc. best). 

And I didn't realize it until I saw the wrinkle chart, but I have this wrinkle too:

Overall the back is too narrow, but the armhole is fine. The funny curve I get in the CB might be the fiddly zipper insertion.  I had to re-do it several times and it's possible I took up more than the seam allowance at that curvy CB level.  For now, I'm not going to address that.

To check and see if these alterations would fix my problem (before I go any further with another method) I did a terrible thing (haha).  I used the slash method (first alteration photo, far top left) and slashed my dress as shown, on each side.  Then I tried it on.

I know.  Those of you who really loved this dress so far are crying.  Sorry!  I did not love it.  In fact, it's been looking more and more Gunne Sax (and not in a good way) hanging there on my dressform.  Taunting me with it's floral print and too long skirt.  Trust me, I was never going to wear it.  The skirt was too narrow, even with 2 full widths of fabric.  It needs 3 minimum for this style (or maybe 2 widths of 60").

The good news is, the back dropped into place and smoothed out, revealing I need about 1" more in width (if I go by the amount of skin showing through the slash!)  I also need about 1" more at waist level, so I did the 2nd slash as shown in the 2nd set of photos above.  That created a new wrinkle, one that showed the CB length is too long (which I suspected anyway).

I'm altering the pattern today and I'll recut bodice only in another scrap fabric to check.  Then it's off to find another suitable fabric.  I got several lovely shirting pieces from Fabric.com's recent clearance sale! I can't resist shirting cottons, especially at $1.99 and $2.99 a yard.

Meanwhile, I'm watching it snow.  I'm stuck home in a blizzard warning, a surreal experience for those of us in Oklahoma.  Praying I don't lose power and water (and thus my sanity).

If you're anywhere east of me, it's coming your way, so stay safe and stay warm!


  1. I hope your fitting issue gets worked out without too much more trouble.
    I don't sew for myself for this very reason.
    i am east of you, but I think we are just getting thunder storms. Two of my girls are in the NE though and have already been slammed this winter. I don't know how they are going to handle more snow and ice on top of the FEET they already have. One daughter is in Phoenix and it's cool there today!
    Stay warm.

  2. I had a feeling it was just Too Small in the back. Sounds like that's it and you fixed it. I'm glad you went back to it, it seemed a shame to lose such a well-fitted front!

    I'm home today too, with the Evil Monkeys... the Husband has to go in (he's "essential personell", but I sure as heck am NOT). Maybe I'll get some sewing done, we didn't lose power last night (a flippin' miracle, trust me)! Hope you still have water and power!

  3. those books look quite interesting and helpful. Especially the second - I have the most trouble finding 'my' wrinkle to know how to fix it.

    Can't wait to see the next version. Stay warm and energized! g

  4. The very first fitting class I took many many years ago used the Jan Minott method. I didn't realize there was a book so went on line and found it. Pricey but worth it.
    Sorry your dress didn't work out. I loved the print.

  5. Thanks for alerting me to the book. It looks worthwhile, but very expensive even secondhand.

  6. Go you for cutting up a dress you didn't like to refine the fit and make it one you love. Also, I'm coming over to hang out in your sewing library. Great fit resources!!

    Stay warm up there!

  7. It will be an interesting snow day tomorrow. Most of us will be home sewing, and fitting, and reading about sewing and fitting and----


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