When I first started sewing, I just cut pattern pieces and fabric out without even really looking at them. I would look at the size chart on the back of the pattern (not the finished garment measurements, as I know now to do) find one that covered my size range in an approximate way, cut up the pattern and then cut out my fabric. I did not know about tracing patterns, or any kind of adjustment or fitting, or pattern ease. The result of this is that back in February or March sometime I cut out a Burda 7137 in a size 28 (!), sewed the bust darts (badly), then panicked that I didn’t understand the instructions, folded up the fabric, put it in a box, and didn’t look at it again for a good six months. In that six months I learnt quite a lot, and decided I was ready to take on my UFO again. I took it out of the box, sewed it together really quite easily, tried it on, and screamed. God god the fit was terrible. It was a good three or four sizes two big on the shoulders, two sizes two big everywhere else. The bust darts were really pointy and in the wrong place. The armholes were enormous. I wasn’t entirely sure how to fix this, so basically just added some long tucks to remove some excess fabric in the back, took in the vertical darts at the front and sewed the armholes again with a ginormous seam allowance.
This is what is looks like now.
The boob darts are still pointy and I have the most incredible shoulder puff.
I could fix this a bit more properly I think now (I made these ‘alterations’ a few months ago), but I’m too excited by sewing all the new things to waste time on this. There are things I really like about this dress: it’s a fundamentally stylish and flattering shape (fit issues and poor fabric choices aside) and I am very pleased with how it looks with the contrast Peter Pan collar and cuffs. I also learnt how to do back vents and did a pretty reasonable invisible zip.
I don’t think there is much point in going back to spend time fiddling around with a dress made in £2.99 a metre polycotton, though if I am going to wear it out the house I am going to have to sort out those bust darts. I love the style though so I will however definitely TRACE a smaller size with bust and shoulder adjustments and make another one in a better quality fabric ( I also didn’t read the fabric recommendations: it said use wool, linen or heavy crepe, not the cheapest polycotton you can find plus a random fat quarter of fancy V&A cotton) and I will line it.
I will have the chance to do this very soon (but not for me, alack) as I am making this very dress for a crafty friend who is going to wear it to a Christmas wedding that she has done all the decorations for. The fabric she has chosen is both gorgeous and much better quality.
My friend is roughly the same size as me except shorter, and thankfully my cutting of the pattern pieces does not mean that I can’t trace a smaller size to make the alterations. I’m cutting the lining to use for a fitting this weekend: I can’t wait to see how this dress turns out with my newfound knowledge of how to avoid creating Madonna tits.