I am making a personal dress block. I covered my first experiment last week, and I was overwhelmed by the quality and quantity of the feedback. Thank you Jay, SJ KUrtz, Anne McC, Mary F, Cherry, Kim Hood, Linde and everyone else.
Even better one expert seamstress and blogger Pia of The Overflowing Stash contacted me to offer help as a fitting buddy. Although I am a keen follower of her blog I must admit that I found it rather intimidating with her outstanding designing, pattern cutting and construction skills. But we met up in Berwick Street for a tea and a mooch around the shops. What a talented and beautiful woman she turned out to be – not in the least bit scary, but warm, funny and very capable. The power of the internet!
Since last week I have redrafted my bodice block using the standard shoulder measurement in order to correct the angle of the shoulder seam. The pictures below show what the new, redrafted block looks like. It just looks miles better than the first version. The shoulder is much squarer although longer. When this is made up in calico it will be possible to see how much needs to shaved off to make it fit my shoulder. The new block is now about 1cm longer and this means the waist will now be in a much better place. I have also compared my new block to a standard size 12. It is very similar.
Using the second block (where I had altered the shoulder, bust point and length), I made another half toile (I know, but I am not fine tuning yet) The shoulder is too long so I reduced it at the armhole edge as the neck edge seemed to be good. There was a little too much fullness in the body so I have taken in the side seam. I am happy with the length, the armhole and the general fit.
I have now altered the bodice block at the shoulder, taking a centimetre off at the shoulder seam and tapering to nothing at the sleeve pitch points. The side seam fits well at the waist so I have curved the side seam, taking a centimetre off most of the length, but curving out to the waist seam.
At the evening class we have already made a s12 dress block, based on standard measurements and the instructions provided by Winifred Aldrich. She describes how to take the bodice block and turn it into a block for a close fitting dress. However. If you are two different sizes (ie bust and shoulders are small compared to your hips) this approach won’t work, will it? The front and back have to be separated in order to accommodate the wider hips.
When I made up the dress block with my own measurements I did the two halves separately. I added 3.5cms to each piece to accommodate my hip measurement.
Although I know the bodice is close to having a good fit I have not yet tested the skirt. Rather than make further calico half-toiles, I will make up this dress block in fabric. As many of you have mentioned the final stage of fitting can’t be achieved by pinning half a pattern to a thin T shirt. Rather than use calico I have found some cheap polyester suiting fabric in my cupboard that I bought it for £2 a metre in Simply Fabrics. I had bought it for a draping project as checks and stripes can be useful.
I will make up a fitted one piece dress with my new block and see how it looks. I will be back next week with an update.