Why I Should Go Ahead and Do My Bodice Block Already: Reason #27

We have entered the Time of the Muslin.

With just three (I know, I know–what do I mean just three???) dresses left on my Fall-No-Wait-I-Mean-Fall-and-Winter sewing plan, with my New Look 6078 finally complete, and with my Beignet as far as I can get it at this point (it’s a long story. Oh, you really, really want to know? Well, when I borrowed the machine I’m using, I foolishly declined to bring along the buttonhole foot because I knew mine would fit. And mine does fit. But for some reason, none of the buttonholes I’ve practiced with would turn out. The first side would be perfectly fine, but the second would just be a skinny little squiggle and then the needle would get stuck doing a reinforcement stitch over and over at the top. So now I have to wait until I get my machine back–maybe sometime next week!! I hope I hope I hope!!). . . wait, what were we talking about??

Bad Buttonhole

Oh, right.

So anyways, my fingers are itching for a new project. I decided to jump in and start my muslin for Simplicity 2444. I have made this dress before, but it was so long ago and I was in such a state of Not Knowing What I Was Doing that I thought it would be good to start from scratch. I tried on my first version and realized that the shoulders were too short. When I, with my mother’s help, measured the distance from the seam to where the seam should fall, I discovered that they were a full inch too short.

Which is craziness!

So, I read up on altering shoulders in The Perfect Fit and added (just to be on the safe side) 3/4″ to each shoulder and used a French curve to blend the seams on the armscye and felt awfully accomplished. And then I sewed up the muslin.

The Perfect Fit Shoulder Adjustment

Guess how much too long the shoulders were. Just guess.

I also noticed that I was unable to move my arms very freely. I’m doing the 3/4 length sleeves and thought it was a good idea to include at least one in the muslin. When I raised my arms straight in front of me, the sleeves were way too tight on my upper arms and were pulling up on the bodice at the side seams. At rest, the sleeves have plenty of room for my arms, which are fairly skinny. Is the armscye too low? The Perfect Fit offered no wisdom on this point. 

“Perfect” indeed, hmph!

I would share a picture of that first muslin, but I literally had to cut myself out of it. It was a tad smallish in the waist. And I sewed up the zipper seam. I don’t know what I was thinking. Oh, wait. I know. It was, “I really don’t want to fool with a zipper right now.”

For muslin #2, which is in progress, I removed all the extra I added to the shoulders and graded up just a tad around the waist. I also lowered the front bodice darts and added armscye darts as per usual.

I’m beginning to realize that this particular pattern is riddled with issues, i.e. front and back seams not matching and such. And I noticed this last time of tracing, that the center back bodice seam doesn’t run parallel with the grainline. Is that something that is commonly done and I just don’t know about it? I’m wondering because I noticed some extra fullness in the upper back. I was able to pinch about 1 3/4″ at the top. I’d already made my short waist and swayback adjustment. Is there such thing as having a short upper back? Is it possible that this is also causing the gaping at the front neckline?

Here, I have my (favorite new) ruler lined up with the grainline. You can see how the CB seam veers off to the left.

Here, I have my (favorite new) ruler lined up with the grainline. You can see how the CB seam veers off to the left.

I had the same issue with this dress and ended up redrawing the top of the back bodice and it worked perfectly. I’m just wondering if doing the same thing when I have sleeves is going to make the back too tight.

So many questions!!

When I went down to cut out my S2444 muslin, I went ahead and cut out muslins for Simplicity 1913 and Burda 7739. And now I’m going to sit here and watch Frasier and mark them all so that tomorrow morning when I’m ready to Accomplish Great Things, I’ll be able to dive right in.

Hmmm. . . such a dry post, sorry! But, it helps me to write everything down and attempt to think logically about what my next step should be.

Good luck with your weekend endeavors! What are you working on?

(And any wisdom you have to share about CB seams or tight sleeves would be muchly appreciated!)

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14 thoughts on “Why I Should Go Ahead and Do My Bodice Block Already: Reason #27

  1. It takes awhile I know…but sometimes, if it doesn’t seem to be working out, it is time for another project 🙂 just for a little while.

    • Well, I’m not quite ready to give up on it yet. Though if this next muslin doesn’t solve some of the problems, I’ll probably switch my focus to one of the other dresses I’m muslining this weekend. It’s always good to have options–they help clear the head!

  2. Well, this weekend I am shoveling snow. A LOT of it. Whooo, fun times, crack open the wine, lol. But, besides that, I have a question. Do you think the CB seam on a curve, (i.e., not following the straight grain) is on purpose, or just the result of shoddy pattern mark making? I am really getting into making my own patterns (although I’m a complete beginner, but madly in love with all of my rulers that I have acquired) and when I go to learn from ready-made patterns, there seem to be things like that where I can’t figure out, is it just a low-quailty product, or is it part of the design ease?

    • I really don’t know! It could be intentional, maybe to ease over the curve of the upper back. But it also has darts in the back which I thought are meant to accomplish the same thing. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the pattern was drafted wrong. This pattern has several other little quirks that I can’t quite figure out.
      Enjoy the snow! 😉 I haven’t seen a single flake where I am 😦

  3. I wish I had words of wisdom. I just completed my Sassy Librarian blouse and, though I ADORE the fit around my middle, the whole shoulder/upper bust/sleeve area is just not up to par. So I clearly haven’t got the answers yet but I’ll commiserate with you in the meantime, as I make a muslin for my next SL blouse.

    At least here in the Midwest, I have no snow to shovel!

    • Well, you’re far ahead of me in that area as I haven’t even BEGUN my SL blouse–though I finished watching the classes months ago. Fitting shoulders and arms is awfully tricky, it seems. I wish I understood the relationship of all the pieces and how each effects each other.
      Let’s just keep muslining, and I’m certain we’ll figure it out 🙂

  4. i thnk the curved CB seam is intended– i’ve used a bunch of patterns that have that. i normally have to pinch out when it’s a straight CB seam, so i always take the curve out. maybe the curved ones are based off of a slightly rounded back? like the wolf dress forms that go a bit humpy at the top?

    by the way, i have no idea if taking the curve out might affect other areas of the pattern. hey!! maybe it affects the armsyce???

    • That makes sense. I imagine it would affect the armscye if taking out the curve makes it too tight. It would also affect the neckline. . .
      Oh well–there’s nothing for it but to experiment!

  5. Hmmm, it looks like the method you used to add length to the shoulder changes the shape of the armscye pretty drastically. I wonder if it would work better to just draw in the extra length that you need and sort of immediately taper it to nothing. You wouldn’t disturb as much of the armscye that way. But. I’m also wondering if the adjustments you made to the shoulder require alterations to the sleeve. I’m going to dig around in my sewing books and see if I can find anything about this.

    • The method I used was the drastic version for adding more than 3/8″. Of course, now I know that I measured wrong and at most, I need to add 1/4″ which means the method you suggest is exactly what I need to do!
      I was wondering about adjusting the sleeves, too. If the armscye is too low, does that cause the sleeve to pull when you move your arms? It seemed like when I raised my arm, that’s where the tension was coming from. Does that make sense?

      • I had that exact same problem recently and the armscyes were a little too low and the shoulder seam was too long. If the shoulder seam is too long, that will keep you from being able to move freely, too.

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