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A Fitting End

So how did I do in Me Made May 2018? I didn't get to do quite as much sewing as I'd hoped but I finished two dresses: a summer dress and a linen one. A 50% success rate, that's not half bad, right? (Ba-dum-tssss.) In my defense, all May was unseasonably warm so I wasn't in the mood for wearing, let alone sewing, warm sweater knits.

Fit & flare dress with border print

What I'd plan to use for the summer dress and what I ended up using are completely different fabrics. Last summer I found this interesting lavender border print in a clearance bin with no idea what to make with it. It's very lightweight, somewhat flowy, feels cotton-y but it could also be viscose (rayon challis) or a cotton/viscose blend.

I found a great pattern with multiple style options for the neckline, sleeves, and hem but all had one thing in common: a fitted bodice with a big skirt — the perfect fit-and-flare dress. Now may come the shock-and-horror part of this story: I didn't make a muslin. I never make muslins. This is my muslin.

Room for improvement

The bodice fit sort of OK but there was definitely some room for improvement around the armscye area. There was way too much fabric underarm (1), the shoulder slope was wrong (2), and gaping at the armholes above the bust (3).

Making fit adjustments to the bodice pattern

All these were quite easy to fix: I took off 1 cm at the side seams and tapered it to the original stitching line, lowered the shoulder seam at the shoulder head by 5 mm, and added an armscye dart.

Fit adjustments done

See? Much better.

The tricky part was that all these adjustments affected the armscye circumference. You can fit a large peg into a small hole so I had to make adjustments to the sleeve pattern, too. Technically, I should've taken out an equal amount from the sleeve and re-drawn the entire sleeve cap. Instead, I just kind of eyeballed it and eased in the difference while sewing.

Making fit adjustments to the sleeve pattern

The fabric was printed so that the border prints were running at both of the selvage edges. I wanted the border to hit the hem and sleeve edges so I cut the hem from one end of the fabric and the sleeves from the other. Luckily the rest of the pattern was not directional so it didn't make a difference the sleeves were cut upside down.

Border print hem

The skirt in the pattern was made of four A-lined panels with pleats at the fronts. I didn't have enough fabric for that so I just took all the width I had and gathered it at the waist.

Fit & flare dress with border print

To get into the dress there's an invisible zipper at the back. There's neck facing at the round neckline but the sleeves and hems are just turned. And since they were cut on the selvage edge, I didn't even have to finish the raw edges. Neat!

Invisible zipper at the back

All in all I'm quite pleased with my wearable muslin. Now that I have my adjustments I'm definitely going to sew this pattern again... plus I've come up with an easier way to sew the bodice. I have this gorgeous cream-colored rayon with a big flower print that's destined to become Version 2.

Did you make something in Me Made May? Let me know in the comments!


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A Fitting End

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Susanna Winter is a knitwear designer, creating timeless and elegant pieces with clean lines. She has been knitting for over 20 years, knit blogging since 2007, and designing knitting patterns professionally since 2016.

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