Firstly – thank you everyone for your supportive and interesting feedback yesterday. It made me feel very connected and valued. And Nick made pulled pork with apple sauce on home made sourdough bread, hummus and Vietnamese salad. Which we enjoyed with a glass of Prosecco.
Back to work!
I made a bodice block to my own measurements, and then how after fitting the toile, I made a one piece dress block. This week I made a dress in order to test the fit further. To those readers who have not done this before I have to warn you about a few things.
- The style lines are not the most flattering. The bust dart comes from the neck to the bust point – this is rarely used and not very pretty. But, combined with a waist dart (bust point to waist) it gives the most accurate fit through the bodice.
- The same is true of the relatively big darts at the front and back waists. If you have a relatively small waist and want a close fit these are definitely clunky.
- The high round neck and simple shoulder line of the block will not flatter everyone.
- A fitted one-piece dress is one of the hardest garments to fit well – a waist seam is much easier as the skirt and bodice are joined. Here all the shaping is carried out in the vertical seams/darts
- This style of dress (the sheath) is best suited for a relatively straight figure without too many curves. It has to go in (upper chest) out (bust) in again (waist) and out again (hips). The less curve on the body beneath the better. A man, by contrast just needs to come in from shoulder to narrower hip.
- Also getting a good fit is a tedious, back and forth type of project. You need patience, and ideally a helper.
- If you are more or less fitting yourself (as I was here) taking photographs can be really helpful in allowing you to see the garment on your body fairly clearly.
OK. Now you can see me in my grey fitted dress – first iteration. I am not saying it is perfect. Far from it. But before we talk about what is not working yet, let’s look at what is good about this first version.
- The neck is good (there is a seam allowance of 1.5cms).
- The shoulder is now at the correct angle and the right length.
- The fit across the upper chest is generally good although the diagonal pull imply that it is a little bit tight. I could slightly let out the bust dart (by say.25cm) to deal with this.
- The armhole is not too tight or too loose (includes a 1.5cm seam allowance)
- The bust point and wasit is in the right place.
- The fit across the torso is is more or less OK, although the front darts are pulling down and out.
- The back view shows the neck, shoulders and armholes are good.
- The back darts are not perfect but not too bad.
In terms of what to do to improve the fit, what would you do?
For me I thought that the key to improving the fit was to take in more at the back (rather than the front or side). Here is the dress pinned out at the back, effectively creating a second back dart. If you compare the first and second versions of the front view you can see how pulling the fabric in at the back waist lifts up the skirt and begins to make it look much better. At the back (I pinned myself) it is not very accurate, but this can be sorted out with the pattern and a ruler.
I added a second back dart towards the CB seam, making it 3cms at its widest point (at the waist), compared to 4cms of the existing dart, and the same length as the block dart. I hemmed the skirt and finished the neckline with a bias strip. The horizontal pulling that was evident in the first version has now disappeared.
Now we come to look at the fine tuning.
I would like to lengthen the front darts as the poke-y look is due to them being too short and wide for my figure. Of course long front darts are not very attractive.
What am I trying to do with this one piece block? Actually I am desperate to make it into a princess line so that I can get the close fit through the waist, plus the shaping for my curved lower half. But this is a one piece dress and the only way I can get the fit right is by extending the darts. The lower part of the dress needs to include walking ease – otherwise I can see that extending them to the hem – even pegging the skirt slightly might make the design more attractive (not really the point with the a block dress). Before I complete the dress, does anyone have any further fitting advice for me please?