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Oh My Goodness…Crummy fitting dress…help!!!

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mercystreet | Posted in Fitting on

I appreciate any and all advice/tips from the wise “sewing sages” on this site! I keep running in to ill-fitting clothing every where I turn! Like many of you, my measurements can fall somewhere between 2-3 different sizes. I agree that mult-sizes are a Godsend, but having said that, I still get screwed up with these things. Let me explain, I recently cut out and basted pieces for Butterick# B4443-View F.

I’ve got a GORGEOUS ikat print I’m working with and cut it out according to grain, etc. This dress has nice lines; however, the front-side and back-side panels, teemed together with a “variety” of bodice options that include strapless, round-necked, and v-necked, set the stage for the potential buggar-up by a novice like moi, hehe. I say this because I put the bodice on and found the arm holes HUUUUGE and the aforementioned side panels seem to cause some trouble being huge as well.  I don’t get it! How can I rectify this problem. I really want to finish this darn thing and wear it before the snow flies…LOL!!! Should I put it back on and pin it, then alter at the panel seems since they are part of the sleeve/underarm??

Thanks!!!!!! Robin


  1. marymary | | #1

    Robin, what you have is a princess seam.  This takes the place of darts, but they are actually darts that have been changed to the seam that runs over the bust and the seam that runs up the back.  You want that seam to be in the right place which is over the bust point.  What view you choose should not make any difference, the fit should be the same on all.  You probably started with the wrong size which is why the armholes are too large.  Make a muslin of the top, but measure the pattern pieces first to figure out the correct size you need.  Then you can recut your fashion fabric and it will fit.  Use a fabric similar to your fashion fabric for the muslin to get the best fit.

    Finding the correct size can be really difficult, but not impossible.  Do you need help with that?

    1. User avater
      mercystreet | | #2

      Oh My Goodness...MaryMary, you are too cool!

      I am such a bonehead...I didn't realize this was a princess seam..duh. The problem I have is that I have a wide back, large rib cage, and size D cup bra...EEK...I'm a 12 up top and a 10 bottom; being that sizes are what they are in patterns, I go by the 18 bust, 16 waist, 14 hips. Sheesh. Wonder I don't completely buggar it up!! I don't mind a somewhat comfortably loose fit, the darn arms were ridiculous!!!

      Thanks for all your help!!!


      1. marymary | | #3

        Robin, just because you are a D cup does not mean that you should be using a size 18.  Most patterns are designed for a B cup, but some are made specifically for larger cup sizes.  They will state that they are.  What you need to learn to do is a FBA (Full Bust Adjustment).  This will help with the armholes being too large.  You find the right size by measuring what some call the upper bust and others use the term chest.  This is the area above your bust, but under your arms.  Use that measurement to select the correct size by using that measurement as the bust measurement and then do a bust alteration/adjustment.  Search using "full bust adjustment" and you will find a number of sites that will help you.  There are a number of books that have the information also.  There are different methods.  Try several until you find the one that you like best.  If I haven't explained this well enough, just say so. 

        I am a little comfused by your statement that you are a 12 on top and 10 on bottom, but use the 18 bust, 16 waist and 14 hips.  If you are talking about RTW and pattern sizes, there is no comparison.  You have to forget about RTW sizing when looking at patterns.

        1. User avater
          mercystreet | | #4

 right on the RTW v. Pattern Sizes, etc...
          ...always a discrepancy with sizes in the pattern world. I was "typing off the cuff" when I was listing my sizing issues. I was relating the sizes in RTW to patterns in sort of providing a point of reference for the reader i.e. "...this is what I wear in the stores...and this is what I chose with a pattern". Glad you asked, however! :o)

          I read about the FBA after I posted my reponse to your's. I have so much to learn! After I read about it...gosh, it makes such sense!!! I've always thought, "Does Pamela Anderson have a seamstress for EVERYTHING?" She's quite the top-heavy gal with a teeny-tiny frame!! What a challenge!!

          Thanks for all your input, Mary-Mary!!!!


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