Sunday, November 07, 2010

Ms. X's halter bodice: v2 muslin

Butterick 6956 halter bodice view A

I'm making progress with this from the standpoint that altering patterns is becoming ever more familiar to me, but I still have a lot to learn.

I tried on v1 of the bodice and it fit me like a glove. Wouldn't you just know that a garment I'm making for someone else turns out to fit me perfectly. Unfortunately, while Ms. X and I have approximately the same bust size we do not have the same waist size, so I knew I was in trouble. Not trouble, but something went wrong with pattern grading the bottom half of this bodice.

I don't know why I didn't think of this before, but when I told Ms. X what was going on she came up with the brill idea of sending me some front & side photos of herself. This helped immensely. Armed with the photos, I padded my dressform as best I could to match her silhouette and waist measurements. The dress form is a little lumpy underneath the belly because I ran out of Ace bandage to smooth it out, but all the parts I need to use for fitting are pretty close to Ms. X's silhouette:

padded dress form side 1

Next I put the v1 bodice on the newly-padded form. I let out the waist darts and side seams some, pinned it all up & then sat down to think about how to redraft my pattern pieces.

Front bodice (v1 on L, v2 on R): I decreased the front darts and reshaped the side seam a bit to take it in a little bit towards the top edge and flare it out towards the bottom at the waist:

halter bodice front v1 and v2 patterns

Back bodice: I completely changed the darts. I needed the bodice to be wider at the bottom but not at the top. After thinking about this for a long time, I decided the only way to do this would be to widen the whole thing, remove the diamond dart and instead do an inverted dart on the top only. That would remove the excess width on the top:

halter bodice back v1 and v2 patterns

Here is the v2 bodice, ready to go into the mail to Ms. X. It fits the padded form pretty well with no pulling or straining of the fabric:

halter bodice muslin v2 (padded dress form)

halter bodice muslin v2 darts (padded dress form

And here's a shot of the back:

halter bodice muslin v2 back with separating zipper

There's some excess fabric near the waist which would imply I should add something of a dart back in. But my dress form seems to have an exaggerated inward curve at the waist so I'm leaving it like this. If there's excess fabric when Ms. X tries it on, she can pin it out.

That's the second zipper I've put into this bodice. I realized that in order for Ms. X to get the bodice on and off without having to do circus contortions, I should probably put in a separating zipper. So off to Britex I went.

While I was at Britex getting the zipper and some horsehair braid for the skirt muslin, one of their staff asked me what I was working on. I explained the bodice situation, the fitting long distance and how I was going to be constructing a corselette foundation with boning, etc. It so happens this staff person has a corsetry business so we got into a whole discussion about the 50s look, the shelf bust & what I was trying to do & she recommended that Ms. X wear a waist cincher for a more hourglass effect. In fact, Ms. X had suggested this in the beginning, but I really wanted her to be comfortable in this dress so I said let's try to do it without the waist cincher & see how it goes. The problem with not wearing a waist cincher is that there is less definition in the space between the bust and the waist and without a little bit of hourglass in the silhouette, you lose some of the style of a 1950s dress.

I went back to Ms. X and told her what the Britex woman had said & Ms. X decided to go ahead & get a waist cincher. What that means is I'm going to have to redo this bodice again according to Ms. X's new measurements with a waist cincher.

Now usually I would be complaining about something like this, but it's really important I get this bodice to fit as perfectly as I can otherwise I'll run into a whole bunch of problems when I construct the corselette. So in this case practice makes perfect and hopefully the third time's a charm.

The v2 bodice is going into the mail as is, along with a seam ripper and some chalk. Ms. X used to work in an alterations shop so this isn't her first rodeo.