Ashland Final Fitting Issues

So I have almost finished the Ashland Dress and I think it’s looking pretty good.  I forgot to add the half inch to the bodice as I was concentrating on trying to fit the pattern pieces on a piece of fabric that was only just going to work (that’s what you get for changing your mind about which fabric to use right at the last minute!).  Also, I should have remembered that this fabric shrinks a little when it’s ironed (probably my fault for treating it like cotton when it has some poly in it), it did the same when I was making my bag but matters more with a dress, it’s a little tighter than I had wanted it to be but it will be fine and the next one I make (yep, there will be more of these!) will be perfect I’m sure.

So, there are two fitting issues that I need some help and ideas about.  I’m not much of a fitter as you’ll know if you read my blog with any regularity.  I am a ‘flying by the seat of my pants’ sewer who does it for relaxation, to me math and fiddling about with things isn’t relaxing.  I generally am lucky with the way things fit and if it’s not quite right I fiddle with it until it is, but as I want to use this pattern over and over I need to figure out these issues.

First up is the back neckline.  For some reason it’s really high on me and stands out in an odd way.

It’s very difficult to photograph it on myself!  This doesn’t happen on my dressform and it doesn’t look high on the models for the pattern so it must be something to do with my body shape.

See, nice and flat and not too high.  I’m thinking that I can lower it by folding over the facing again and tapering it to the shoulder seams.  I put my zip in a bit low so there’s a hook and eye I can remove and room to fold it over without having to remove the zip.  I’m not sure that will completely fix it, I may need to put a couple of small darts in.  Anyone got any other ideas?  For future dresses I am actually thinking of removing the zip entirely as I can get this on over my head without too much effort.  That would also mean that I can taper the top of the back seam to fit me and I will do something to the pattern piece to lower the back slightly too.

The second problem is under the arms where I’d noted on my muslin that there seemed to be a lot of fabric there.

When I lift my arm the whole bodice moves and also the upper sleeve feels too tight.  My thinking would be to unpick the side seam (it’s basted to check for fitting and to see how wide I needed it to be) and then to re-sew the sleeve using a larger seam allowance.  What I’m unclear on is whether I need to do the seam allowance larger on just the sleeve or on the bodice too and whether I need to do it all the way around or if I should start halfway down the shoulder and just do the bits that are really annoying me?  The cuffs will be folded in half and stitched down at the end just for information!

Any help is greatly appreciated, I know little to nothing about fitting.  I’m going to go and have a look in the books I have but I don’t have one specifically about fitting so I may not find the information I need anyway so I’d love to hear your comments!  Thanks!

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2 thoughts on “Ashland Final Fitting Issues

  1. The back neck issue: I reckon your little darts would fix it. Patterns from the 1950’s and 60’s often have back-of-shoulder darts. If you make it again, you could pinch the same shape out of your paper pattern before you cut the fabric.
    Sleeves: not sure – could it be too tight across the back? Maybe add more ease to the back seam? Try doing “chest expander” type exercise movements – does it wrinkle and strain across the back or the front? Or just stand very still while you wear it! 😀

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