I printed and traced the Nicola pattern well over a year ago. I had a beautiful piece of Anna Sui silk georgette that I knew would be just perfect for this design. But my lack of success with the fit of the Anouk dress made me afraid to cut into my fabric, or even try the pattern in a muslin. So I set it aside.
After I took the fitting class in December, one of my goals was to figure this pattern out. Really, all the Victory Patterns. Because I think that the draft is for a body type very different from mine. But I love the aesthetic enough to work through it, and I'm happy to say that I think I'm on my way.
When I traced the pattern, I had graded it from a 4 bust to 6 waist to 8 hip. That was a good start, but I'd already figured out that just grading from one size to another is not the whole solution for me, with my broad back, forward shoulders and hollow chest.
Luckily, I had traced all the pieces onto Swedish tracing paper. So a couple weeks ago, I spent a couple of hours tissue-fitting the dress. Having the pieces on Swedish tracing paper made it a lot easier than the tissue I'm using these days - it's more durable and more supple.
The adjustments I made ended up being pretty standard for me:
* 1/2" broad back adjustment, with a shoulder dart to make up the difference at the shoulder seam
* 1/2" forward shoulder adjustment - on the front only
* 1/2" tuck to correct the gaping neckline over my hollow chest
The skirt actually fit pretty well - it was a bit on the big side, but I decided to leave it because I do sometimes have "fluffy" days. When I make this dress again in a solid fabric, I'll take in the skirt, but with my busy print it looks fine.
My biggest problem (and this is something I've found with all the Victory Patterns I've used so far) is that the armhole was way too high and small for me. So I had to do a fair bit of experimentation with how much to scoop out. I ended up lowering it 1/2" at the side seam, and having to scoop out a bit more in front than in back.
|front - the innermost line is the one I used|
Here's how my pieces looked after my tissue fitting adjustments:
|forward shoulder adjustment on front only|
|broad back adjusment|
|shoulder dart to take up excess at shoulder seam|
Once I had a pretty good fit, I retraced all my pattern pieces onto tissue:
And then used those to create a bodice muslin.
When trying on the muslin, I noticed that the neckline was gaping, so I took out a tuck and then transferred that adjustment to my pattern piece and the corresponding facing piece.
Once the bodice was fitting well, I moved on to the sleeve. I had to figure out how much to scoop out of the sleeve to make it work with my new armscye. I measured the total armscye and then the sleeve cap, and made sure the sleeve cap had at least 1.5" more length than the armscye. This really was all just trial and error, and once I thought I might have the right amount removed, I made a sample sleeve and added it to my muslin to make sure it fit.
|sleeve scooped out|
|new sleeve piece|
Once I had all my fitting done, I retraced any pattern pieces that needed it. For all the pieces that are cut on the fold, I created full pattern pieces so I could cut my silk single-layer.
So - a lot of prep work. But totally worth it for the fit I got! I went into this in depth because I only found a few finished Nicolas online, and not much fitting advice at all. So I'm hoping this information will come in handy for someone with similar fit issues who wants to sew up this lovely design.
Next time: construction!