When making my Colette Patterns Parfait, I learned that a muslin is most helpful as my upper body is a little different than Colette Patterns Block, that's their base set of measurements and pattern or model body used. Typically, I am:
- smaller at the shoulders
- smaller at the high bust
- smaller at the mid back/back waist
- smaller between bust points
- wider at the hips
This post has been a long time coming. I've thought a lot about the fit of my Parfait, though I don't fuss with the dress while wearing it (this makes it a winner with or without the bust dart). I've also enjoyed watching many other sewing bloggers write and share their draglines, plus before & after fitting muslin photos. It's nice that I now have fitting images to share with you.
Let us begin on the Front of the bodice. There's a curved yolk like neckline, the gathered bust piece and the front midriff. Typically, I need to take a dart at the bust, usually from armscye (or armpit) to ~ 2" from the bust point. Take a look at my finished parfait below. Notice the extra fabric that sits away from my body at the high bust at the side near the armscye?
On the Left, I have not darted the the muslin. Notice the poof and bulkiness of the fabric and how it too sits away from my dress form. This is a dress form of me from June 2013. My measurements are quite close to this still, and using it gives me ~ 1-2" ease if I fit to it snugly.
On the right, you'll see that I've added a dart. The dart is ~ 2" at it's widest and around 5-6" long. I didn't measure when fitting, I just kept taking out ease until the fit began to look more like the Colette Patterns model or like the effect I desired which is fitted and has the gathers nicely skimming the bust. Amazing how much difference that dart makes, isn't it?
Below right you can see how much excess I have at the center front. I get the sides and bust to fit, but I am narrow between the bust points. That's nearly 4-6" of ease to remove at center front. Not on the midriff mind, because my upper belly and ribcage protrude a little, but there's a large valley between the mountains here. Even Jan Bones commented, when wrapping me in her class for my dress form, on how wide a space I have compared to other women. Now that's why I can't get that cleavage line going!! It's rather odd... I have a large space or valley between bust points, AND they are narrower than most patterns and bodies. Interesting and opposing phenomenon, wouldn't you agree?
Typically, in seeing how much is removed at the center front during this fitting, I might tend to think that the fabric is needed to achieve the draping and gathers over the bust, a design feature of the Chantilly dress. However, if I remove it at center front for a better fit, then I can later slash and spread across the properly fitting bust to add in more gathers. Though looking at the fit after removing CF excess and adding the bust dart, I'm not sure that I need more gathers. What do you think?
On the right below where the red arrow points, is what the back of Chantilly looked like when sewn up straight out of the envelope. There's a diagonal dragline at the upper right shoulder blade from the neckline to the armscye. Interesting, it's rather similar to a princess seam line that would run along that same avenue. There are also a few curved draglines from the midback neck to the waist. Oh those need to go away.
The waist fits quite nicely and I haven't *any* fabric to take away there. But, there is a fair amount of fabric in the midback on up to the shoulder. I am cheating a little, because on my Parfait, I took rather large darts (nearly made it princess seams in the back they were so long) in the back midriff. The most fabric was taken away at the top of the midriff and the darts pointed toward the floor. Quite opposite of what the pattern darts do. But I followed my instincts then, and I am doing so again.
Starting at the back waist dart, I pinched, pined, and lifted up toward the shoulder until I saw the curved draglines disappearing and the fit taking place. Interestingly, the more I pinched and lifted at the shoulder, the smaller and smaller the large curved draglines disappeared. WOO HOO! So it looks like I will need to create princess seams on the Chantilly back.
- The front of Chantilly has a midriff piece; The back does not.
- The front is gathered; the back is not.
I am typically at ease when there is symmetry. When things are askew, off kilter, or unbalanced I feel uneasy. In RTW, when I see a top or dress that has a design or style on the front but a back that is plain and dissimilar, I won't purchase it. I feel odd wearing something that looks different in the front and back. I feel like I've cheated or the person making it cheated and was cheap, not taking the time to "finish" the back and just calling it done at front only. I feel a bit like the front is a sandwich board sign, the back a blank slate. When I wear something I want it to feel complete from front to back. I want it to feel whole. I want to feel like I spent the money to make the one quality piece rather than buying 3 that only have fronts.
I felt the uneasy about Chantilly when I looked at the envelope. Looking at it in a muslin, I still feel a teensy bit uneasy, but it's very, very mild. Now is the time if I'm going to make any changes. And it's pretty easy to add in the midriff that I fitted from Parfait as the Chantilly Front Midriff to Parfait Back Midriff pattern pieces match perfectly at the side seams. So, here are the options.
- Add in Parfait back midriff and shorten the existing Chantilly back (nearly eliminating the darts)
- Slash and add gathers across the entire back of Chantilly as is
- Combine options 2 & 3.
Cast your votes, Designers!
I'll leave you with a side view of the final fitted muslin: bust dart & back princess seams. I'm curious - what do you think of the bust gathers at the side view? I wish the lines carried across the side bust. I'm not sure how to achieve that, other than slashing and spreading.
You may notice the front is longer than the back. This is because I added 2" to the front so I could straighten the waistline and forgot to add it to the back. I'm glad I did, because I see the back is perfectly at my waist. I'll add a teensy triangle bit to the back piece at the waist (widest at the side seam, narrowing to nothing at the existing back waist dart) and straighten the waist.