Friday, June 7, 2013

Over the Moon! (plus lots of name-dropping)

I made a muslin, y'all!  A real, proper muslin of a bodice!  And not only that:  the muslin was made from a pattern I altered with a SBA (Small Bust Adjustment)!  Wooot!  Can you tell I'm proud of myself?!  Baby's first SBA!


Let me back up a little.  A few months ago I came across a lovely new blog via the Colette Patterns group on Flickr, Blanca Pate, written by the equally lovely Amanda.  Let me just interject that not only do I love Amanda's style, I also love her attitude toward sewing - she seems to take her time and focus on creating a beautiful finished garment that is "just so"  -  inside and out.  I should take a leaf from her book  . . .

Anyway, Amanda had made a Hazel sundress, and it caught my eye.  It was a pattern that I had loved from afar since its release, but had always assumed wouldn't work for me because of, you know, "the girls" (or rather, lack thereof).  I clicked through to Amanda's post about her dress anyway, and:  "Wait a minute!  What?!  She did a SBA?!?!?!  You can do that with this pattern?!?"  Seriously, it had never occurred to me!  The following week found me at the Needle Shop, buying the pattern.  And since I was there, I picked up Lily too.

And then . . . nothing.  I wasn't really sure how to proceed.  I consulted my books regarding the SBA; I googled and googled looking for information.  But nowhere could I find instructions for doing bust adjustments on Dior darts (a.k.a side bust darts).  Plain old darts, sure.  Princess seams: easy.  But put the two together and I was baffled!  Amanda had very kindly directed me to this post by Symondezyn on doing a FBA for this pattern, but even after reading through it a few times, I still couldn't quite wrap my head around it.

I put the project on the back burner for a while, and then shortly before we left for SF, I decided to trace out the pattern and just give it a try.  I'd read all the reviews I could find; some said the bodice fit was loose, others felt it was on the small side.  Because I span several sizes in Colette, I decided to start at size 4, although my chest measurement puts me in a size 0 and my waist comes in at a size 6.  Also, my limited experience with Colette patterns has lead me to believe that they're drafted for women whose "apex" is front and center.  My "apices" kind of veer off to the side, so I wanted to give them some room. 


Anyhow, I got as far as doing the SBA on the tracing and cutting out my fabric, and then it sat some more.  But the other day, prompted by Miss Lulu's commitment to dealing with her UFO pile, I decided to get back to it.  I sewed up my adjusted size 4 bodice muslin and was surprised that the fit wasn't really too bad.  It was just a tad large overall, so I decided to make a second muslin one size down.  Yep, you read that right:  TWO muslins!  I'm killin'!

This afternoon, after finishing all my chores, I sat down with it again.  I retraced the pattern in a size 2, then made my markings and shifted the front piece for the SBA:


The overlap is about 3/16" - so I guess that's a SBA of 3/8" because you're taking that off twice?  I still don't quite get that part!

Shifting the pieces takes the seam lines out of true (see upper left corner):


It was easier for me to retrace the whole thing with the seamlines trued before proceeding.  Once I'd done that, I walked this and the adjoining piece together to figure out how much length I needed to remove:


Then I re-traced the whole thing one more time so I'd have a nice, neat pattern piece to work from.


I ended up not shaving any of the curve off the side bodice, because it wasn't that pronounced to begin with.  It just looked right to me.


You can see that on all my pieces, I drew in the seam lines, which made it a lot easier to walk the seams and be accurate.

Once my pattern was adjusted I cut it out and sewed it up, then gave it a nice press.  I really wasn't expecting it to fit well, mostly because I didn't make any adjustments for my larger waist.  I figured I'd tackle one adjustment at a time, and the waist is much easier to deal with - I can do that at the side seams.

So imagine my surprise and elation when it fit PERFECTLY!  Well, at least across the front, which is the problematic part.  I'll have to get Hubby to pin the back closed for me over the weekend so I can get a true assessment of the fit.    But hey - even if it's a little off, the major hurtle has been jumped.


And I was quite surprised to see when I held it together in the back that even the waist is a good fit.  I'm a little long-waisted, so this hits about an inch and half above my waist - an area that I believe measures larger than my natural waist - so, go figure.  I did try to take flat pattern measurements of the bodice at the bust (to no avail) but forgot to do it at the waist, so I was kind of flying blind.  But it all worked out.

So what have I learned?  Well, SBAs aren't really as difficult and tricky as I'd been imagining, and the small investment of time gives a big pay-off.  Also, a muslin is a very useful thing.  I may be changing my ways . . .  at least for more fitted garments like this.

So now I have a small dilemma.  I had planned to work on my PJs over the weekend for Karen's Pyjama Party - are you guys in?  But now I'm feeling that I'd like to work up a first go of this dress!  Meanwhile, I have three finished garments I need to photograph so I can show you guys:  one I finished before the trip and two I've made since coming back.  I'm planning on wearing the first one to a jazz concert tonight, so I may get a pic of it today.  We're finally having some decent weather around here!


23 comments:

  1. How fabulous! Taking my time and getting things right, rather than getting them done quickly is definitely something I need to focus on. I can do it that way if I'm sewing for someone else, but if it's for me I want it finished right now so I can wear it!

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    1. I know - what is it in us that makes us keep operating that way even though we know it's not the most effective?

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  2. that is awesome! the SBA really isn't anything to be afraid of, and i do love that pattern. i look forward to seeing this made up!

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  3. I'm always in awe of your ability to throw yourself fearlessly into a challenge, that is a fantastic ability. It definitely looks like you beat this particular challenge too. It doesn't matter if it is a little off, it is great for a first try!

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  4. These a-ha moments are always so delightful, yeah? Hooray for you!

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  5. That is awesome. The Hazel is one of my favorite patterns of all time, and yet I've done nothing but muslin it at this point. I am having the damnedest time with the fit, but I'm pretty sure I'm over-complicating it. I can't wait to see yours! So yeah, that gets my vote... ;)

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    1. I think I always tend to over-complicate things, LOL! But this ended up not being all that hard! I hope I can remember that going forward!

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  6. Strike whilst the iron is hot girl!. So cool you got the sba down. This is a great pattern, I've made it twice now and I love both of them. Plenty of time to make pajamas later!

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    1. Oooh, I looked for pix of yours but couldn't find any. Are there any around?

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    2. http://www.flickr.com/photos/bortonmenta/8901550435/ I wore this one for the final day of Me Made May and both versions are up at Pattern Review. I'm susanmenta on there. I made a few mods but they're both essentially hazels. Can't wait to see the fabric you've chosen for your version.

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    3. http://www.flickr.com/photos/bortonmenta/8901550435/ I wore both my versions for Me Made May, this one is my favourite. I reviewed both of them on Pattern Review. I'm susanmenta on there. Can't wait to see your fabric choice for your version.

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    4. Wow! I would never have recognized that as a Hazel if you hadn't told me! Amazing changes! Love that fabric too!

      You have some amazing clothes, lady! I started going through your photostream and favoriting everthing, but then I realized that I liked Every. Single. Thing!

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  7. What a fabulous result! Well done !!

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  8. Way to go on the SBA, and the muslins! I stay away from Colette unless the pattern is really, really something special for this reason. If it were me, I would go ahead and make the dress because apparently I get kind of rebellious when it comes to being obligated to sew along...

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    1. Thank you! Yes, I didn't realize that the Colettes are mostly not for the likes of me until long after I'd purchased most of the patterns. I've had OK luck with the bottoms (Clover and Ginger) but about a year and a half ago, the Peony had me in FITS! I just didn't know enough then to tackle the sizing and bust issues. But this small success has me thinking maybe I will revisit that pattern!

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  9. Yay, so glad your SBA and muslins were so successful! I bet this is going to look so cute on you!

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  10. Wow you have an amazing amount of patience! :) Your finished Hazel is going to look great.

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    1. Heh - the majority of time was spent on procrastinating! In reality, it only took me a couple hours to get it done! Note to self . . .

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  11. I like how your first SBA was on a tricky bodice like the Hazel! Well done! I believe the overlap of 3/16" means the amount reduced is 3/16". Until recently I thought that meant it had taken double the amount out too! But then I realised that you still count the overlapped bit as part of the measurement so it must be 3/16" right? Lol, this stuff does my head in! :p

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    1. Just goes to prove how much I wanted to make this dress! I usually avoid anything that requires fitting like the plague!

      You make sense with your maths - I'll take your word for it!

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  12. Hi Gail!! Thanks so much for the sweet mention!!! Also I'm a lot like you, I think a lot about my sewing problems, then something finally clicks and I feel confident enough to tackle the issue. I like to think of it as "incubating". ;) Hehehehe... But... I'm big into muslins, which is probably why it takes me so long to finish a garment from beginning to end. :) (And also why I make so many versions of one pattern!! It's not worth all the hastle for just one piece of clothing.. I have to make at least 2 or 3).

    To be honest, I still get a little confused with the SBA myself. They tend to do something funny with the armhole, which is why the Hazel worked out so well (no armholes to worry about). I actually just signed up to take "Make the Perfect Fit" class by Lynda Maynard on Craftsy - I'm only on the 3rd or 4th lesson but I've already learned so much about pattern adjustments!! I hope this helps clear up a lot of problems I have with fit. Also - I always reference the "small bust adjustment" page in the Colette Patterns handbook, which helps too. :)

    Anyway, I just take it one pattern at a time. I prefer to master the "beginner" level patterns because I know they're easier to adjust the fit to. Pattern fitting is so difficult, but it's one of the main reasons I started sewing in the first place, so I try to learn just one thing at a time and not be too hard on myself along the way!!! Good luck with your Hazel, I can't wait to see the finished dress!!!

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    1. I agree completely about muslins - for a tricky design like this one (or anything fitted) I think it's essential. And yes - I have to know I'm going to make at least a few versions of something if I go to all that trouble!

      That class is in my Craftsy wishlist, and I'm likely going to buy it when it goes on sale. Glad to hear that you think it's useful!

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