07 June 2011

Fitting McCall's 5847 (sleeveless version)

For the first two weeks of June, I'll be working on McCall's 5847 for Faye's summer dress challenge. Since the start of the sew-along, I've made a lot of progress on fitting.

Size & Flat Pattern Measurements
I started with a size 14 based on my high bust measurement. Normally, I would select a myriad of sizes. But because I began cutting out the pattern over a year ago, I decided to follow through with a straight 14 and work from there. I marked all of the seamlines and took flat pattern measurements of all the major pieces, taking into account the following areas:
  1. bust point or bust fullness
  2. total bust circumference (front and back)
  3. full bust circumference (front)
  4. full bust circumference (back)
  5. back-waist length (from neck to waist)
  6. upper back width (across the shoulder blades area)
  7. middle back width (armhole area; shoulder dots on the pattern)
  8. shoulder length
I decided to focus on just a few areas of adjustment despite the number of differences I found between my and the pattern's measurements.

Bust Fullness & FBA
The bust fullness seemed really high on this pattern so I lowered it 2". To raise or lower the bust fullness, draw a box around the fullness with lines perpendicular and parallel to the grainline. The notches can be kept intact by drawing the lines an inch above and below each notch.

Cut the box on these lines and lower/raise the desired amount.

Fill in the open area with paper, true the seamlines, and add back the seam allowance. Repeat the same process on the front.

I neglected to take a picture of the pieces before doing the 1.5"FBA. Here are pictures of the completely altered side front and center front.

I removed 3" of length from the bottom of the dress. I didn't take all 3 inches out at the same place because I wanted to preserve some of the flair. I measured up 4 inches from the hem and took out 1.5 inches. From this line, I measured up 2 inches and removed another 1.5".


The Good:
  • After hemming, the overall length will be just where I want it.
  • The back doesn't look too bad and fits nicely. Ignore the wrinkles; they exist only because I am twisting my body to snap a picture of the back.
  • Belts will be my best friend with this dress. Un-belted, this is not flattering.
The Bad:
  • Hmf. There is quite a lot of pulling at the bustline despite making the FBA.
  • The shoulder seam is actually a little short. I may have to take smaller seam allowances.
  • The waist and hip area is quite large. The finished waist and hip measurements were 35 and 46 inches, respectively. The FBA added an extra 3 inches to these numbers.
The Solution:

I was going to make this in a stretch denim (4% Lycra), but I don't have enough fabric. Instead, I will use a lightweight non-stretch and use 1" seam allowances. Hopefully, this will give the extra room I need to prevent the pulling. I say 'hopefully' because I already cut this out of the fashion fabric!

As for the extra waist and hip width, I removed 3/4" from the front side seam and reshaped it. I think I'll be safe.

Up Next
I'm not sure where to go with buttons and topstitching. I have an idea in mind, but having perused some images of denim shirt dresses, I'm not so sure anymore.

  • tone-on-tone topstitching with flat, light-coloured (ivory, ecru, etc.) buttons
  • tone-on-tone topstitching with gold, metal shank buttons
  • light gold topstitching with gold, metal shank buttons
  • light gold topstitching with flat, light-coloured (ivory, ecru, etc.) buttons
It looks like a trip to the craft or fabric store is in order.

Until then, be well!


1 comment:

  1. You've done quite a bit of work there. I think it puts you in the "professional dressmaker" category. I love that dress and the pattern has been pinned to my inspiration board for quite a few weeks now. I've even purchased and pretreated a light weight red denim for the project so seeing your dress certainly inspires. Your dress is quite similar to the one I'm making except mine has more flair from waist to hem.


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