Monday, June 2, 2014

Emery Dress: Fit

Yesterday evening we had a date for dinner with an old friend, so I put on my new dress and snapped a few pictures before we headed out the door.  It looked like rain though, so at the last minute I changed out of these shoes and into a less precious pair.  So here I'm wearing my dress with the Cameo cardigan I made last summer, my pink leather clutch (Boden) and my old Frye Wanda T-Straps.  Plus my (prescription) sunglasses - these are Ray-Ban Retro Wayfarer.  I don't think they make this style any more.


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.

Waist
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.

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 :-)


My Alterations
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.

Style Changes:
*  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!

pockets!


52 comments:

  1. I'm so happy to see this finished, it looks great on you (and with those shoes!). I'd like to try a sleeveless version too. The Emery bodice has basically become my block and I'm trying to find that Goldilocks sweet spot like you were with the waist--not too big, not too tight. Of course, I thought I had it recently, then used the same bodice again and it was a full inch tighter than the last version. Not even sure how that's possible. lol Anyway, looks adorable on you and that print is so perfect for summer! Can't wait to see future versions. :)

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    1. Thank you! I have to admit it took me a while to decide which shoes to go with, as I have shoes in every color in this print :-)

      I totally agree with you about this being a block, and I don't think I've hit my sweet spot quite yet. But I'm pretty close, and I was impressed with how well it fit unadjusted.

      I have two more versions lined up, and one of them will be done in voile which I'll underline. I'm very curious to see how using that lighter-weight fabric will change the fit!

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  2. This is SO CUTE. I love this print and the colors are so pretty on you! What a gorgeous dress!

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  3. So gorgeous, and totally worth all the adjusting! And I imagine it'll be a totally useful TNT for making variations in the future...

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    1. Thank you! And the adjustments really weren't bad - I guess I'm used to it now!

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  4. I like your retro look! It's so fresh and spring-like. And I'm with you on the fit - I want to throw a fit when I'm wearing a tight woven dress!

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    1. Thanks, Morgan! Although it seems I kind of missed spring and we're in summer already!

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  5. Your dress turned out great, Gail.

    Love this detailed post on the changes you made - what you do to alter your patterns.

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    1. Thanks, Liz! I'm glad there's some interest in the details. This is the kind of information I always look for when I'm working up a new pattern, so I always feel like I want to do my part in contributing to the knowledge base.

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  6. That dress looks absolutely fabulous on you! I have to admit that when I first saw your fabric, it was pretty to me but I couldn't envision it in a dress (that I would love ;-)) but that fabric is just perfect for the dress and you. So pretty. And I LOVE those shoes!!

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    1. Thank you! I will admit that I wasn't 100% sure it would work as a dress until I actually had the dress made up! But I figured it was worth a try, as I had plenty of fabric, and it only cost me $5 a yard :-) And the shoes are pretty great, aren't they? Love my Fryes :-)

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  7. so cute! looks like a great summer dress. i agree, it's really hard to find that sweet spot of fitted without being too tight. throw in weight fluxuations and it's like a quest for the holy grail! this is one pattern that has tempted me to buy (cuz i'm trying to stop buying the same bodice in different patterns and fitting every single time...). your notes on it are super helpful, as always!

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    1. Thanks! Yes - and my weight has been fluctuating a LOT lately, so it's not a bad thing for me to have a bit of extra room :-)

      I've been thinking a lot about why this bodice worked for me and the Colette Peony didn't. Aside from the fact that I've actually learned how to fit myself (which I didn't know how to do when I tried out the Peony a few years ago), my impression is that this block is more in line with my shape: broader back, lower armholes. I've found many of the Colette patterns to be too narrow across the back and upper chest for me, and the armholes too high. It seems like they're also drafted for a more rectangular figure than mine. I'm also a sucker for a simple bodice like this, and have a ton of patterns that are basically the same thing (this). I was really hoping that this one would be a good starting point for me, i.e. I wouldn't have to make too many drastic changes, and I'm happy to say it worked out that way.

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  8. So lovely. It's always great to hear about your adjustments (especially as they're so similar to mine!) I too like a bit of extra give in the waist. And you know what? If I make that inch closer-fitting, pretty much no-one will notice or care, except me.... who'll be thinking about waist-pinchies all day! I noticed the sample looked very roomy in the waist, so I'm not surprised you took it in.
    And thanks for the interesting link about sleevelessness :)

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    1. Thank you! Exactly - if I'm uncomfortable and feeling pinched, I'm going to be grouchy and unpleasant and ugly, no matter how pretty the dress is!

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  9. Very nice indeed and very summery!

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  10. This dress looks so excellent on you! I love that fabric choice mean you can dress this up or down, and with longer sleeves make cool-weather versions too. You are making me want to ramp up my fitting so I can make one of these too!

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    1. Thank you! You can do it - I saw your recent Madeleine skirt, and this isn't any more difficult that that! Well, OK - maybe just a teeny bit more difficult :-) But not much!

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  11. Gorgeous dress! Congratulations on the wonderful result!

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  12. Excellent dress! You're a very smart seamstress!

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  13. You look so pretty in this dress! It fits you just right. And the cardi goes well with this dress too.

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    1. Thanks, Erin! I love this cardi - looking forward to wearing it this summer!

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  14. I really like the details you give us on the adjustments! oh and the dress is super cute on you.

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    1. Thanks, Kirsty! I'm trying to format my notes a little differently so that the information is more user-friendly :-) Not sure I'm quite there yet, but I'm working on it!

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  15. This is gorgeous! It has a lovely vintage look, and the fabric is fab.

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  16. Really lovely dress! And that fabric is incredible too :)

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    1. Thank you! Isn't it great? I was so happy when I found it!

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  17. Always so impressed with your sewing - it's so amazing! This fits like a glove!

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  18. Great fit and cute cute dress. Thank you for all the gritty details - so helpful. They say that super close-fitted armholes actually give more comfort and ability for movement when you have sleeves, which I tend to agree with. But sleeveless is a different can of worms - you got the ease without the dreaded gaping. Nice work.
    Frye is one of those rare American companies that turn out quality products year after year. Just sent them a pair of lace-up boots to have re-heeled and new laces. Seriously, who does that? Love those yellow tee-straps.
    Pretty new reader here - you got me to get out my machine and start sewing again. There goes my guest room, but was half full of yarn already so what the heck !

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    1. Thank you so much! I feel honored that you got encouraged to sew again because of some of my makes! What a fantastic compliment!

      I was really glad I didn't have any armhole gape on this dress, because I'm not so great at adjusting for that, LOL!

      You're not the first person I've heard say that they've sent things back to Frye. I'm pretty easy on my shoes, but it's really good to know for future!

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  19. Such a pretty dress Gail! I'm with you on the fit at the waist: don;t want it too tight, but not too big either. I usually wear a small belt at the waist so I can nip in my dresses a bit but make more room when needed, like after lunch at work :)

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    1. Thanks, Inge! Yes, I definitely need a bit more room after meals, LOL!

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  20. This looks lovely on you Gail, as I knew it would.

    I love your posts when you detail the fitting alterations you've made. I know the adjustments needed are different for everyone, but I find it really interesting to see what other people do.

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    1. Thanks, Sam! This is my favorite style of dress, I think.

      Funny - I usually don't like to read about other people's fitting adjustments! Unless they're ones I would need. And when I work up a new-to-me pattern, I scour the internet for those. So I figure these things are bound to be helpful to someone!

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  21. Lovely to see this on you! And the shoes are perfect!!

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  22. An adorable outfit! Must look up that sweater! I hear you on the positive ease for the bodice and I think you did strike a balance between wearability/comfort and flattering fit.

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    1. Thanks, Sara! I LOVE this sweater - of course it's a Kim Hargreaves design!

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  23. I soooooo love your outfit! The dress and the colors just look amazing on you. And thanks for your detailed fitting post. I might make this dress at some point as well and as I have similar fitting problems, your tips might come in very handy :)

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    1. Thank you, Daniela! I'm glad the information might be useful to you!

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  24. Another winner, Gail. Thanks so much for all the construction notes. I will have to watch for the back being to wide on me. Also, I did not realize that the pattern did not come in a sleeveless option - good to know.

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    1. Thank you! Yes, I was surprised that I didn't have to adjust the back!

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