I liked this outfit - I felt very retro :-)
Now let's talk about the fit. Here are some pictures from the front and back:
I realize the fit might be a little hard to see - the overall tone of the dress is pretty close to my skin color!
My fit is close, but not too close. I wish I were one of those girls who can wear skin-tight dresses and be comfortable, but alas, I am not. I need plenty of room to breathe and move, especially across the back. So while I could stand to take the bodice in probably an inch and a half in total, I just wouldn't be comfortable in it. I think I've made a pretty good compromise on this first run - it looks trim but not fitted. I might take it in just an 1/8" on the side seams next time, which will be a total reduction of 1/2" in circumference.
Having said all that, I adjusted the pattern so that I actually have less ease at the waist than the pattern calls for. For my bodice, I used a size 4 at the bust and 6 at the waist. However, my body measurement would have put me in a size 8 at the waist. So that's a good thing to know for those of you who are thinking of making this pattern - there is a fair bit of ease given, and more at the waist than at the bust.
Another good thing to know is this - although I couldn't find any reference to it, I do believe this bodice was probably drafted for a C-cup. I say that because I made my muslins to the size that matches my bust size (size 4), and fit them to my most padded bra, which brings me up to a C. If I had wanted to fit the bodice to any of my other bras, I would have had to do a small bust adjustment. I tried the muslins and dress on with those bras, and there was a lot of excess fabric there :-)
So here's a list of the alterations I typically do, and how they applied to this bodice:
* Blending from a smaller size at the bust to a bigger size at the waist - Yes: size 4 at bust and size 6 at waist. Bust and back neck darts used the size 4 markings; front and back waist darts used the size 6 markings, and the length of the bodice is the size 6 length.
* Forward shoulder adjustment of 3/8 - 5/8" - Yes: here I did a forward shoulder adjustment of 1/2", and transferred that to the sleeve piece as well for future.
* Broad back adjustment - No! This really surprised me! There's plenty of room here for my broad back, which makes me think that those of you who have narrower backs might need to size down, or do a narrow back adjustment.
* Swayback adjustment - Yes: I took in 3/8" on either side of my horizontal line, for a total intake of 3/4" - not too bad for me!
* Rounded upper back/prominent shoulder blades - Yes: I made each leg of the neck darts 1/8" wider, for a total extra intake of 1/4" on each dart.
* Not exactly a style change, but I used the size 6 skirt pattern, to correspond to the size 6 waist. Because of the gathers though, it really doesn't matter what size skirt you use - I just wanted to see how the skirt looked as written.
* To make the dress sleeveless, I extended the side seams up 1/2" to make the armhole shallower. Because I knew I'd be wanting to make this dress in both sleeved and sleeveless versions, I made separate pattern pieces for each so they'll be on hand.
* Lengthened the skirt by 2". One thing that really surprised me is that the skirt is the same length for all the sizes. In addition, there is no lengthen/shorten line on the skirt. For me, a 22" skirt is too short - my preferred length for a dress like this is just below the knee. I could have made it that length if I sacrificed a wide hem, but I didn't want to do that. So I drew myself a lengthen/shorten line 13" down from the waist, added 2" and then blended the side seam. When I was ready to hem, I first turned my hem back 1/2" and pressed. Then I tried on the dress and pinned it to the length I wanted - I ended up turning the hem back 1 5/8". So my total hem turnback is 2 1/4" - just 1/4" more than the pattern recommends. So be aware: this skirt is a bit on the short side! I'm on the short side too, at only 5'4" - so it's something to keep in mind for you taller ladies if you prefer your skirts a little longer.
In her sew-along, Christine Haynes has a post about making this dress sleeveless. She talks about differences in drafting between sleeved and sleeveless dresses, and changes that might have to be made to the neckline, shoulders and upper bust. I didn't make any of these changes - I really like how the armhole extends over to my arm. It covers up those lumpy underarm bits that drive me crazy!
Well, I think I've said everything I wanted to say about this dress. I hope these notes will be helpful to some of you! I really loved making this pattern, and I'm looking forward to making many more versions. This is my favorite type of dress - very simple, darted bodice and gathered skirt. Comfortable to wear, easy to sew, and lots of room for creativity!