Monday, March 24, 2014

Nicola: Fitting

So, let's start at the beginning.  And fair warning:  this is going to be a VERY comprehensive fitting post, so if you aren't into that kind of thing, skip it!

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

back

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:

front

back

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.

front

back

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!

21 comments:

  1. Ha, funny to see you went through as many (if not more) fitting steps than I did! I wonder who fits this straight from the pattern? Clearly worth it though :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think there must be people who fit straight from the pattern because I had a very hard time finding any kind of fitting information out there! That's why I wanted to be so comprehensive here, even though I know that a lot of my fitting issues aren't needed by everyone.

      Delete
  2. Thanks for the helpful information Gail!
    I love reading how others do their fitting - it really helps when I go to do my own :D

    ReplyDelete
  3. That's really helpful - I've got my eye on the pattern, but stash diet is keeping me from buying it ;-) Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know - that pesky Diet, LOL! It's been keeping me from doing a lot of things I want to do!

      Delete
  4. Cool! Interesting that you only so your forward shoulder at the front! I look forward to seeing your next post :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That really surprised me too! I originally had it pinned out during tissue fitting for a both front and back, because that's what I always need. But it didn't fit right until I left the back as it was and only took out the 1/2" from the front!

      Delete
  5. G: Left you a comment but I think it might have been eaten! It was a very thorough comment, of course :-) Curious to know why you don't fit your sleeve head to the exact circumference of your armsyce? It seems that you make the sleeve head larger to ease in (I assume). Or maybe I'm misunderstanding? I usually have to alter sleeves and armsyces and I always try to remove the ease because it's easier to sew without it, IMO. Do you have another perspective I should know about??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, good question! I forgot to address that! I wanted to have gathers at the top. I think a zero-ease sleeve wouldn't have been as fluttery in this design, especially with my biggish shoulders and upper arms.

      Delete
    2. That makes perfect sense. Thanks!

      Delete
  6. Thanks for sharing the details! I think I have some of the same fit issues as you -- not sure, still figuring it out. I do have to put darts in (or expand them, if they were already there) for pretty much every dress pattern on Earth. And pinch extra out of the front neckline, usually a lot extra! The forward shoulder I have not tried, but am thinking maybe I should.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I forgot to note that although I usually have to do a swayback adjustment, I didn't need it with this pattern!

      Delete
  7. I just realized I'm having a fluffy day today, lol! That sounds so much nicer than how I really feel :). Great post. All the time you've taken to perfect the fit really shows in the final dress!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hehehe! I'm so happy with my new dress - I can't stop looking at it! Also, I found the fabric for #2!

      Delete
  8. i really need to try some victory patterns, they just don't pop up as much as some of the other "darlings of the blogosphere." great job fitting this, i never regret taking the time to do it right!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, and I always wonder why. I love the aesthetic, and the instructions are always great. I'm hoping to start on the Roxanne top after I finish up my Robson coat (so, in a few weeks!).

      Delete
  9. Replies
    1. :-)

      (I wish I knew how to make cool emoticons, like you!!)

      Delete
  10. Your construction details are so thorough. They will definitely help someone in need of help. I appreciate it so much when people write about their fitting woes and fixes. Fitting might be my favorite part of garment sewing. Is that weird? It's great to solve a puzzle.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OK - gotta tell you: yes, that's weird! LOL!

      No, actually, I get that. It can cause a lot of frustration, but once it starts coming together it is so satisfying. Even if you had to pay someone to tell you what your fitting issues are, like me!

      Delete