The Fitting Resolution

Some time ago I ordered the Emma dress pattern from StyleArc. I had been looking at their web site for some time, admiring many of their designs but this was the first time I had ordered anything.  When the pattern arrived I cut out a toile and then did………… nothing.

To be honest I wasn’t sure what to do next.  The pattern is lovely, but  I am in two minds about the sleeves, should I leave them as they are in which case I’m going to need a jacket or should I just use my block and draft some proper sleeves? Secondly, I can’t decide what sort of fabric to use.  The pattern suggests gabardine or thin wool, it also says you can use a stretch fabric.  I love the idea of wool, but then there is always the problem of how to keep it clean without spending a fortune at the dry cleaners.  I could go with a poly  of some sort but I am a bit prejudiced about synthetic fabrics and never feel they are as nice as wool.  This is a fairly complicated pattern so if I am going to spend the time on it I want to make a dress I feel special in.

Anyway I got the toile out again last weekend and spent a bit of time trying to get it to fit.  First off I had gaping at the back neck which seems to be a common problem on a lot of my clothes (bought as well as made).  I added a couple of darts to the neckline and it fits much better.  As the dress has princess seams running into the sleeve seams I now need to decide how to get rid of these darts.  Adding them to the shoulders is the most obviously thing to do but it might look a bit odd having shoulder darts as well as princess seams.  The back seam has a bit of shaping in it so I might just try and lose the excess there.

The second problem, also a common issue for me, was the back was a little narrow.  This was easily fixed by letting out the princess seams.  I might need to recheck this one if I decide to add sleeves, but for a sleeveless dress it looks fine.

Lastly, and one I didn’t expect, was that the bust is too small.  The pattern I bought is the same size as my full bust measurement so I am a bit puzzled about why I need some excess.  The adjustment isn’t huge, just 1 ½ cm on each side, but just big enough to make me puzzled as to how to correct.  I tried letting out the seam allowances on the side piece and although this worked I can see that I will need to lengthen the front over the bust a little to take into account the excess.


I read up on doing an FBA in a princess seam and have found lots of useful hints but all of them seem to increase the width of the overall pattern piece.  I don’t want to do that because of the design lines on my pattern. If I did make it wider I would also need to adjust the skirt part of the dress and the pockets.

Adjusting the shell is bad enough but the lining is going to be even more complicated as that has the princess seams but is one piece without the design lines.

I do wonder if I am trying to make this more complicated than it needs to be.  Have you got any ideas?


9 thoughts on “The Fitting Resolution

  1. I think this would be lovely in a ponte knit (plus no need to line then)! As for the FBA, I’m not sure I understand the issue. The FBA adds to the princess seams with the side seams remaining unchanged so the design lines should match. However, if this is not the case, I would suggest adding the width to the front piece instead of the side pieces. In any case, I think you the extra need is needed if you want to fit in the dres…

  2. It’s a lovely dress and I can imagine it looking stunning in two tones or two fabrics. As for making it fit, I know what my tutor would say: make it from your block. It would probably be quicker than adjusting everywhere. You could copy the neckline and use the original collar.

  3. As soon as I saw this pattern, my initial impression was that (speaking for me) I would get rid of that little sleeve, but I would extend the shoulder line into a small cap, as part of the dress. I agree that it would be lovely in a medium weight knit. I can hardly wait to see your finished dress.

  4. If you add width at the bust you can blend the pattern piece back to the original width at the waist I think. The princess seam FBA I have seen does that – width is only added where you need it. It’s in the Vogue fitting book.

  5. Pingback: The Fitting Resolution 2 | Jane's Sew & Tell

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