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July 14, 2011


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I think some of it is sizing issues. For that sleeve to not crease as much, I think you need a closer fit in the bodice (tighten the waist up) and you may also need to slim the sleeves, especially towards the bottoms.

Tightening up the bodice will also help keep it more on your shoulders, I think. This basically is going to sit the same place as a boatneck would, as far as your shoulders are concerned and I'm noticing some gapping in the back near the top of the zipper. Make that a little tighter and I bet it holds the dress on your shoulders more.

Vintage patterns of that era are weird like that because they're essentially made to be worn with a very tightly fitted bodice (because it was understood you'd be wearing some mega shapewear underneath) so it can be weird fitting a vintage pattern to a body wearing modern, less restrictive britches.

I think you're off to a good start though - obviously, there's nothing lacking in the construction basics. A little fitting tweaking and I think you'll be good!


I agree with Kate. It's a bit too big through the bodice. Try taking up the shoulder seam (front and back) 1'4" and probably more like 1/2" tapering to nothing about mid bicep. That will fix a number of fitting problems that I see. The loose shoulder fit that you mention plus to me the front waist looks a bit low, the darts look a bit low also. Taking in the shoulders will help raise everything up and tighten the neckline so it doesn't fall off your shoulders.

The folds on the sleeves are just a fact with cut on sleeves and that one seems to be cut deeply. The only way to really remove that is to deepen the seam into the underarm and the sleeve. Even then you'll get some folds. Notice the model sketches have their arms out!


Just for giggles, try pinching about an inch out of the center front and center back (tapering to nothing at the waist) and see if that helps your shoulder/bust/under arm fit. I've had similar problems with that type of bodice before.


It looks to me like the dress is too big all around, like there is too much ease. I agree with the comments above about altering the bodice. Pinch and pull the fabric up from the shoulders to see if it improves the fit. You may need to add length to the bottom of the bodice if you remove it from the top to get the neckline to fit. That is a common alteration for someone who has a long torso.

It also looks like you could take in inches off the sides and back seam of the skirt. Beware of the illustrations, they could be deceptive. If you look at the technical drawing, the skirt is straight. However, it is stylized as a "wiggle" in the picture, which is not straight, but angles into the knee. You have to decide how much you want to go to the wiggle end...Fuss away with your muslin until you get what you like. Don't give up, it's going to be gorgeous!

It might also help to find a reference book that will illustrate how to fix the fit. I have used "The Perfect Fit" from Singer Sewing Reference Library (.25 on Amazon) and The Vogue Sewing Book from 1975 with a lot of success.

Gorgeous Things

With that type of sleeve, folds are going to be a fact of life. I noticed that the pattern illustration shows the models with their arms akimbo, so I think the folks at Butterick knew that too. I agree that the bodice is too big, and taking it up at the shoulder will mitigate, but not entirely eliminate, the fold when you have your arms down at your side.


I agree with the others. First thing to try is pulling up the bodice at the shoulders and taking out some fabric through that seam that goes down the top of the arm. The whole shoulder/neck area is too big and that will help. Once you get that basted, then see how it fits around your torso through the bust and waist and take out through the center front and center back or side seam. The skirt looks good - slimming, but not tight. Don't forget that if you change the circumference of the bodice, you'll have to adjust the pleats or darts or whatevers on the skirt so that the bodice and skirt fit together.


agreeing w/ Gorgeous Things, those sleeves always cause weird folds in the armpit. The fabric you're using affects that a lot, in a drapier fabric they're not as bad.

Also, you're making the view D neckline, right? It looks like it is right on her shoulders -- on you it looks like you've pulled the shoulders up much further than they're actually supposed to be; and that could be causing some of the problem too. try fastening the neckline to your bra straps and letting it sit right on the shoulder like it's supposed to and see if that helps the bodice as well. I'm thinking the pattern calls for you to put those little safety straps that snap over your bra straps? That's probably what you need there.

Kelly Tygert

There is an order to fitting. Start with the shoulder first. Then move to the next length adjustment which is probably the pleat forming in photo 6. I would pleat that out. You may need to add length in the bodice to make your waist fall in the right spot. Do this by cutting the muslin and adding a piece of fabric be hind the slit and pin in place to fill gap. After your lengths are matched to there landmarks. Work on the width.

Denise Calhoun

Everyone, thank you for your advice. I spent the weekend with my best friend, visiting from the east, so no sewing was done. But tomorrow I shall put the advice into action!

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