Progress = Thumbs up! I am so close to finalizing this Crepe bodice that I can almost, just almost, see the finished project in my mind. This yellow gingham version is my fourth muslin. It features the shortened side and waist darts, deeper and reshaped armpit seams, and a lowered and widened neckline. As you will see, it still requires some additional tweaks. However, all in all, I am getting close.
Observe below for more photos and analysis. And PLEASE chime in with advice and fit tips. In this home stretch, I don't want to leave anything unaltered that might need to be.
This version IV features significantly shortened vertical darts that have been curved to nip in fullness under the bust. But I am not sure they are exactly correct. They are so short that they end before my bust starts, and therefore are no longer fitting the bust area. Rather, they are releasing into a significant "poof" of fuller fabric around the low bust. I made some changes to try and correct this, see Muslin IV.5 below.
Another issue is the bodice hemline, it's all wacky and slanted, due to my over-zealous alterations. I had been attempting to lengthen the front bodice without altering the side seams at all (as I think the back length is correct). So I opened a horizontal dart/wedge from the lower side seam to the center front, adding a gradual 3 inches of length to the center front (you can see the pattern alteration here). However, what I have ended up with is a bodice pattern that is about 3 inches or more longer at the center front than at the side seam. Go figure!? You can really see this on the profile picture below. I still do think I need extra length on the front to pull down over my roundish belly, so I wonder if I could create a long, swooping "U" shape to the curve of the lower bodice, to allow more length. Because I have taken length out the shoulders it makes sense I might need to add it back to the front and back.
The armhole fits much better now that i have lowered everything and adjusted the shoulder seam. The bust dart is still too high, it just keeps getting moved up as I play with the shoulders. I may move it down another inch or so to put it back at the apex, but i don't think its the worst thing in the world here either.
I am getting drag lines from the apex to the side seams, not sure exactly why but I am certain it has to do with having a very full bust. The interesting thing is that the bodice does not feel too tight. I don't feel binding or pulling. I just see it. I am not sure the best way to correct this, and may just leave it as is and call it a consequence of my bust size. But if you have a good idea for correcting, let me know.
The back is looking pretty darn good, except for two main issues:
1) The back darts are too center-back for my aesthetics. They are running parallel to my spinal column, just a few inches outside each side of my spine. If you remember in the earlier muslin stages, I had removed the back darts to accommodate my wide waist. However, I put them back in to gather up some of the extra fabric I found in the back. So these darts were pinched out of the back to pull up the fabric exactly where the fabric wanted to be gathered. Therefore I worry about moving them. Any advice?
2) There remains excess and bunching over the shoulder blade. It's not terrible, but also not great. When I asked my husband if he could help me pinch it out and pin it so that I could try to figure out the necessary alteration, he got sort of finicky and told me the bodices looked really good and to stop being a perfectionist. However, I have already made FOUR muslins, and I am not about to quit when something is not quite right. So what do you think?
Below is my current solution to the back shoulder blade bunching AND the issue with the darts. I appreciate any feedback you can offer.
Muslin IV.5 (basically, Muslin IV with new darts and the back pinched up):
So, this is the muslin with the front waist darts altered back to a standard inverted "V" shaped dart (as opposed to the shorter curved darts of version IV). I tried one lower (my left, your right), and one higher (my right, your left). I like the look of the higher dart that is nearly at my apex. Other than adjusting the darts and the hem length, I am feeling good about this fit.
I do still need to work on the back a bit more. The excess over the excess at the upper shoulder and upper arm bugs me. It's just not perfect yet. (Also, I want you all to know that I admit upon reviewing these pictures that I had the ties pulled a bit to tightly. There is a lot of pulling around the darts and waistline. Although the bodice did not feel too tight, it surely looks it. I think a bit more ease in the ties will help this.)
To try and figure out the needed adjustment, I pinned out a tuck across the entire back shoulder blade about an inch deep, perpendicular to the grain line. On my body, you can see the tuck curve down near my outer arm, although the actual alteration was straight across. This seems to have lessened the excess in the back without restricting movement or binging mobility.
Finally, I believe the bodice front and back both need lengthened by an inch or two, to accommodate both for these tucks in the upper chest/back and the straightening of the shoulder seam. Also, I want to give the dress room for the length that will come up when the skirt is attached.
I plan to work on these alterations a bit more this weekend and hopefully trace a final pattern noting all the alterations on Sunday. In this home stretch, any advice is appreciated. Let me know your fit thoughts and advice. Thanks!