This was supposed to work. Seriously people, this was supposed to be my dress - my first successful, flattering, vintage pattern dress. Just look at it, its got tucks at the shoulders and waist to accommodate the bust! Its got a flattering paneled skirt for fullness with seams for visual length! And best yet, the pattern is in my size! The stars aligned, and this dress was supposed to be THE dress. But somehow it is not. At least not yet.
But before I show you the depressing results, let me share with you the process. For this tissue fitting, I worked with my local Palmer/Pletsch fit instructor. Marylin and I have worked together twice before, first on a basic fitting shell, and also on the Mail Order 9213 shirt dress. I should probably admit that neither garment has yet made it into full existence. The fitting shell is no fun to sew, so I skipped it, and the shirt dress is stalled in the fabric muslin phase because of awkward fit. So perhaps I should have known better than to visit Marylin again. But my optimism trumped logic. So a few weeks ago Marylin and I when through the Fit for Real People tissue fitting process. Below you will see my tissue fitting. Let me tell you what we did.
The Bodice Back: It seemed to fit darn well in the tissue, needing only a 1/2 inch high round back adjustment. Then I added 1 inch length to both the front and the back of the pattern for good measure.
The Bodice Front: We estimated the need for a 2 inch Full Bust Adjustment (FBA). You can see the two steps of the process above. First, I did a traditional 2 inch FBA which added a side dart under the arm. However, to preserve the blousey style of the pattern, we wanted to avoid a side dart. So we moved the side dart into the waist tucks by slashing the wait tucks open, and then sliding the side dart closed. This resulted in the addition of 2 1/4 inches to each waist tuck. Marylin did suggest that in a heavier fabric these two darts would be fine, but in a softly draping fabric I should consider moving to three, slightly deeper darts. As a side note, weirdly enough, the armhole shape got all wonky in this FBA process, although it did retain its drafted length without change. I am not sure if that is supposed to happen.
To accommodate my wide waist, which needed about 4 inches in extra width to reach center front, we just redrew the original tucks and allowed the excess width moved from the side dart transfer to accommodate the waist. (Spoiler alert: This MAY be the alteration that resulted in muslin ruin)
To accommodate my hollow chest, we lengthened the should tucks by 1/2 to 3/4 inches, which helped gather up some of the excess material I often find in the armpit/shoulder area of my other projects.
Finally, we deepened the neckline by 2 inches to open up the chest, and avoid a matronly look. It might even stand for a deeper neckline in future editions, since I might as well show off my youthful bosom while it is young and pert.
Back Skirt: No change. Sew as drafted.
Front Skirt: We measured the front skirt as needing an additional 4 1/2 inches to reach center front. Rather than slashing and spreading or adding to one of the panels, we cleverly opted to cut two an extra panel of piece #8, the center side front panel. Only instead of cutting two and sewing a center front seem, we decided I should cut #8 on the fold to use as an extra center panel. The decision at the time seemed brilliant, as it saved slashing and spreading existing pieces, and also left me with hope that the waist seams would line up with the bodice tucks.
So, here is the tissue fitting which gave me such optimism. Observe the seemingly good fit.
The back after a high round and a little extra length:
The side view, after all adjustments and moved darts and all:
The front bodice after FBA, wide waist adjustment, and darts moved:
In summery, I left this tissue fitting session $80 lighter and FILLED with optimism at the future of my perfect dress. That afternoon I cut out a lovely floral sheet for my muslin, transferred all the markings, and began to sew. Several tucks, seems, and worried expressions later, I can tell you that my optimism has faded to straight up frustration and disappointment. Stay tuned for "4875 Tissue Fitting and Muslin: Part II" later this week for images and analysis. Oh yes, and please offer your fitting and sewing advice if you see where I went wrong.
P.S. You may have noticed this post is one in a short stream of failures that are yet reconciled - including the Collar Confection Blouse, and Mail Order 9213 (which you didn't even know is a failure yet, but I do, so now you know too) - and I wanted to tell you that I have not given up. I am working on several projects simultaneously, all of them frustrating, but I am committed to resolving them. Send you well wishes my way please.