Fabric induced paralysis

Here’s my muslin of Vogue 8667. And this is the pattern envelope:

The muslin is made from cheap and cheerful glazed cotton I bought off the market as it’s practically impossible to get calico round here. The shiny effect is unintentional. I was intending to use the dull side of the fabric as the right side but I got it wrong on the first seam and figured as I might as well carry on. And hey, it’s a muslin. The shiny is only going to help with seeing wrinkles and fitting problems.

The front isn’t bad, I think. No pictures of it on me I’m afraid; I tried but the results were not pretty. Watermelon coloured fabric + purple walls + my dyed red hair was not a good combination, and that’s before you factor in my attempts to take pictures in the mirror.

The back has got a pretty big problem that you can see on the dressform:

See the gapping at the back armhole and the way the neckline stands away? The back is much too big in both width and length. I tried quite a few things.

  • Lifting the back at the outside edge of the shoulder seam. This helped but didn’t cure the gapping, and put the shoulder seam line in a very strange place.
  • Lifting the whole back evenly across the shoulder seam. Again didn’t quite cure the gapping and put the seam well behind my shoulder bones.
  • Lifting the front and the back at the shoulder seam. Not entirely sure now why I ever thought this would help. It didn’t.
  • Pinning out a tuck from the armhole to the neckline on both sides. This fixed the fit but completely messed up the back neckline.

Here’s the back with the tucks pinned out

I couldn’t work out what to do with the neckline. Eventually I took the pattern piece, folded the tuck into it, and laid it down on top of the original pattern tissue. The tuck reduces both width and length as it runs diagonally. And it turns out that the line for the smallest size on the tissue pretty much matches the size of the folded pattern piece but of course doesn’t have the neckline problem, so I traced that and fudged the other pattern pieces to match it. The piece I adjusted (the centre back) is the same width at the waist for every size so I didn’t have to worry about reducing the waist measurement, which made it all a lot easier.

I really, really ought to do another muslin now but I don’t have any fabric I want to sacrifice and I’m not sure I have the patience anyway. At the same time I daren’t cut my red wool out with my altered pattern pieces. in case I’ve made some stupid mistake. Tissue fitting is tricky when your pattern is cut out of greaseproof paper. I should really check out Swedish tracing paper. So I think I’m going to buy some lining fabric and make a muslin out of that. If it works it can be the lining for the actual dress and if it doesn’t at least I’ve not cut into the wool!