Thursday, December 16, 2010

Crepe Sewalong: Muslin I

Crepe Dress Muslin I complete and ready for critique. It's not perfect, it's not abysmal, and my general consensus is that just like Palmber/Pletsch suggests, it is important to fit the back first. Notes on each area below. Comments welcome and encouraged.

Note: I made one change to the pattern before the fabric muslin by completing a 1 inch Full Bust Adjustment, which also meant redrafting the waist darts. I retained the waist dart's original size, which also gave me a 1 inch wide waist adjustment, adding some width around my middle.

Original Muslin I - No Changes (yet): A glaring issue with the back surfaced right away, so rather than critique the fit before my first round of necessary alterations to the back, I waited to critique the front, side, and back fit until after fixing the glaring issue. Read on for the "post-tuck" summary for further fit analysis.

Fabric Muslin Front - no changes (yet)

Notice how the shoulders are falling out and away (exposing my bra!), and leaving the neckline too wide? This is because the back is too big. See below for images of the too big back, the tucks, and the front neckline after the back excess is tucked out. Things improve. Remember, fit the back and you often also succeed in fitting the front!

Fabric Muslin Side - no changes (yet)
Fabric Muslin Side - no changes (yet)
Fabric Muslin Back - no changes (yet)
Fabric Muslin Back - no changes (yet)
The back obviously needs some work, so I choose to adjust the excess at the shoulder blades before worrying about the front fit. After all, fixing the back will change the shoulder fit, which will ultimately change the chest and front fit. Remember, fix the back first, make a new muslin, and then once the back is well fit, look to changes in the front.

Post-back tucks:

Back with Tucks (two different types of tucks)
I took two tuck styles. The diagonal tuck I describe below is on your left (my left too, since this is the back). The horizontal tuck I describe below is on your right (my right too!). My husband helped me pin out the excess on the back, and his instinct was to tuck out excess in a diagonal, as on the left. My instinct was to take a horizontal tuck out of the shoulder blade, as on the right. Both tucks are drafted to taper to nothing in the sleeve/arm area, much like a swayback adjustment. So, which type of tuck is better?

I should also note that the waist darts in the back are oddly placed on me. They are waaaaay too far toward the side seem. I should either eliminate them (the choice I am leaning towards), or move them under my shoulder blade, about 3 inches closer to center.

I also need a bit more length on the wrap, so I may just add about 2 inches to the edge where the wraps attache and true up the back angle. I will wait to release the darts and see what I need in added length.

Diagonal Tuck
This diagonal tuck actually retained the seam line of the back (it looks off, because the upper seam allowance above the tuck is folded in, while below the tuck the seam allowance is out. In reality, the stitching line matches perfectly.). I am not sure yet how this shape/angle of tuck affects the grain line of the pattern layout. However, it seems to be superior in wrangling in fabric around the armpit area.

Horizontal Tuck
The horizontal tuck is closer to a Palmer/Pletsch alteration style, and I think that might be because this type of tuck retains the grain line of the fabric better. However, the horizontal tuck does seem to leave odd bunching and excess both above the tuck near the armpit, and below the tuck along the back. I see a swayback adjustment in the future. My instinct in leaning toward the diagonal tuck on the other shoulder. What do you think?

Front with Tucks
This is a font image with the back excesses tucked out. (Also remember, the is the fabric muslin includes a 1 inch Full Bust adjustment). The front fit through the shoulders and chest was instantaneously corrected by decreasing the size of the back with the tucks. Both sets of darts are still to high, although the Full Bust Adjustment did lower the dart by about an inch and a half, making it much closer to my apex than before (you can see this clearly in the side views, below). The bust dart still needs lowered by about 1/2 inch. The waist darts are both too far center, and too long. There is a little bit of pulling in the center between the two darts and towards my fuller right side. I may need to let out the waist dart slightly to accommodate this.

Side with Tucks
You can see how the bust dart is slightly higher than my apex here. It should be an easy fix. The front of the bodice is shorter than the back. I believe I need to add some length to the center front, tapering to nothing at the side seem. this is surely because I have a full waist, hence more fabric is needed to cover it. Easy fix. I am also a bit concerned about the armpit area, as it seems to pull and gape forward a bit. I expect redrafting that armpit curve by making it more shallow will work wonders.

Any other thoughts? Please share.


angie.a said...

I bought the pattern but haven't started the muslin process yet!

Would it be easier to just trace a smaller pattern size in the back? And then adjust for width? I will probably start there, since I've seen your muslin. I appreciate your hard work first! :D

I'm concerned about that armhole too. I hate redrafting armholes. Ugh. It's possible you need a bit more of a FBA. That might relax the armhole back into place.

I know that Colette patterns are drafted for a 'curvier' figure, but ever one I've made thus far has had the front darts way too far to the center. I believe the darts are drafted for the smallest size and then never moved (to adjust for wider middles!) I always have to move them an inch or two to fix the wonky proportions.

Kate said...

Hi Angie. First, LOVE your blog and sewing and style!

Second, I think you will like the pattern. I am actually very optimistic about the fit and sizing... this fitting process is going better than most for me. Also, the waist darts are graded for each size, and move farther toward the side seam line as the sizing goes up. I had to move the darts as part of the FBA and I redrew them under what I thought was my apex, but it might have been too far center.

By curvier figure, I think she is drafting for a significant hourglass. The bust is definitely fuller, but the waist seems smaller. Since I don't have a nipped in waist (much to my dismay) this means more alterations at the waist. But there are less at the bust, so maybe its a fair trade. :)

I hope you do sew up the pattern soon. Your work is always informative and interesting for me to read. Stay in touch.

Jen said...

I like the diagonal tuck the best in terms of how flat everything else is laying on your back. I have not made this pattern, but I did buy it. I have an hourglass figure, so my alterations will be different. And I love the fabric you chose!

Ash said...

Glad I searched and found you. I just started my Crepe fitting. I had the bra strap showing problem. I would have never thought to adjust the Back width to fix that problem. I will follow your lead and start sharing my Crepe experience in the Forum at Patricia, the site owner, is helping me fit a pant pattern. I hope you get a chance to visit one day. ---Ashford

Kate said...

Ash - I agree that it is always a good idea to fit the back first, as a well fitting back often improves the front fit with no additional changes. Also, I am finding that I am very "short chested" (sort of like short waisted, but over the bust). I had to shorten the bodice front and back OVER the bust by several inches. I do believe it is documented in later Crepe posts. Making this fix also helped keep the shoulders from sliding out. You may not need this, but keep it in mind as you fit. Good luck, and keep me posted. Watching other people fit is inspiring and educational! - Kate