Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Pattern fitting advice needed

I’ve booked a private sewing lesson in a few weeks to focus solely on my fitting issues on my top half.  The teacher has suggested either making up a couple if muslins in advance using unadjusted pattern pieces and then adjusting them and then making the appropriate changes on the paper pattern, or starting from scratch by adjusting the pattern pieces first then making up a muslin from those.

I prefer the idea of having some muslins ready to go.  I can always take more fabric with me to make new muslins, plus I intend to make copies of the pattern pieces, so I will have unadjusted originals whatever we do.

The class will be 4 hours long so it’s going to be an intense one-on-one class.  My main aim is to be able to look at a muslin and see the fitting issues and know how to adjust them to make the fit better.  But I am unsure on which patterns to use.

I think my options are:

a) Focus on one pattern for an item I am keen to make - in this case it’s the Rooibos dress
Positives: I will have a good-to-go adjusted pattern that I can use straight away
Negatives: I will learn very specific adjustments to a non-standard bodice so I may not be able to apply what I have learnt to other garments

b) Make up a couple of muslins for two basic bodices, I’m thinking a princess seamed bodice and a standard darted bodice, and then work on those

Positives: I will hopefully have the skills to adjust most bodices
Negatives: I may be trying to cram too much in here, 4 hours may not be enough to do two different bodices

c) Pick one basic bodice that I think I can learn the most from and focus on this

Positives: Will have plenty of time to get it right
Negatives: Which type of bodice to pick?? I really struggled fitting a princess seam, but only have two princess seamed patterns and am unsure if learning adjustments on these types of bodice will be that useful to me. I have quite a few gathered bodice patterns, but would rather get the fit a standard darted bodice right as I think these adjustments will be applicable to most bodices as you can always pivot darts into gathers and so on.

d) Same as C but take a Rooibos muslin with me in case we have time to look at that too

Positives: If there is time I will be able to adjust the Rooibos
Negatives: Same as c) – which bodice to pick??

I am erring towards d) – taking a basic darted bodice and a Roobios in case we have time to look at that too, and for the time being avoiding princess seams.

In terms of basic bodice patterns, I had a rummage in my pattern stash and I only own about two top patterns, one is Colette Jasmin, which as it's bias cut is no good for me at this stage.  In my dress pattern stash the only simple darted bodice pattern I could find was this:
Burda Style Danielle
So I was thinking of buying this pattern as it looks pretty good for my purposes:

Colette - Peony
In terms of a princess seam pattern I was thinking of New Look 6457, View A destroyed me but I am thinking view E might be good to try out
New Look 6457
What do you think?  I basically need advice on what bodice to take and whether you think my plan makes sense?  What do you think is realistically achievable in 4 hours?  Do you have any other suggestions for simple bodice patterns I could use?


  1. Hmmm it's tricky! I think I'd probably go with D too. If you take a couple of muslins but prioritise them then you can just see how you get on, as it's so hard to know in advance how long everything will take. I can't wait to hear how you get on...I think having a private lesson to address something you find tricky is such an excellent idea and perhaps something I may do in the future! Good luck :)

  2. That sounds like a great idea, I love the idea of C that you would have 2 well fitted bodices that you can adapt from there on. Maybe it would be worth checking with the tutor to see if this is achievable in the time frame? Incidentally who are you going to? I'm only down the coast and I'd be interested in who teaches you and how you get on as it might be something I'd like to do....

  3. I think I'd go D as well. There are good tutes on the web for fitting princess seams - I think 'regular' bodices are much more difficult to fit. I agree with Louise too - check with the tutor to see if you can bring two muslins - the Rooibos and the 'regular'. Can't wait to see how it goes!

  4. Hey Law,
    Is there one pattern company you use most often, e.g. Colette or Simplicity. If so, I'd recommend taking a basic bodice and a princess seamed bodice from one of their patterns. I think four hours would be enough time to do both. Then if you get the tutor to spend a little time on moving/rotating darts that should cover you for most bodices you'll come across - including Rooibos & the Danielle dress.
    Look forward to hearing about the class,

  5. Great investment law, really good idea. I'm with the other two ladies, get your basic and see what you have time for. Peony would be a lovely dress to make up too- and with your drafting skills you could adapt to make tops as well ....Enjoy it!

  6. Definitely take a basic pattern and if you want to make a rooibos take that too. I always get really confused by gathered bodices as you can get it quite wrong (or at least I can). After learning those two you should be much more comfortable looking at patterns and your shape and fit issues and the princess seam option will probably be much easier with that experience. If you are going to make some basic bodice muslins straight from the pattern check that you are using the size based on your upper bust measurement (otherwise the shoulders and back will be a mess too), and then check that the muslin will actually go round you at the front, there isn't a lot of point making muslins you cant fit inside.

  7. Thanks for all the advice guys! Plenty to muse on there.

  8. I think get the basic fit right and then see what time you have left. Have you thought about the Colette Sorbetto as a starting point? It's a very plain, basic top with darts AND it's free to download! May be worth considering. Very best of luck, I think it's a fab idea having a one-to-one to solve a tricky issue. x


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