Pouching neckline on princess top
I’m making bridesmaids dresses out of Butterick B4452 view A top. One of the girls has a large pouch in the front that extends to amost the top of the bust (I have a photo if that will help). I have to alter the top (made in similar test fabric – fully lined with boning for exact fit).
The girl lives in Florida, I live in Ohio. We are conversing via photos on email and phone. Her mom pinned out about a 1 inch section of fabric right in the center front to show me that when they pull that out (dart fasion) the top closes and lays against her chest without pouching.
Mom states the center section of the top is too wide. When she pulls the extra fabric out, it causes the side front seams to lose their original lines and also cant toward the center just a bit.
Is the correct solution to take the excess out of the center (before cutting) or should I be taking the excess from the sides – but only about the top 3 inches or the bust will be too tight? Help! I sew a lot but this one has me puzzled. Thanks for your help. Jackie
PS I tried to upload the photo but was not successful. I can try again after work tonight.
Edited 11/19/2007 1:22 pm ET by Knitnut
this looks like it has princess lines, if taking the one inch out of the center front off sets the princess lines, take 1/4 inch off of each seam line - that will take 1/2 inch off the center front width and 1/2 inch off the side front pieces (1/4 inch from each side front) and yes, you can taper it down about 3 inches if that is waht is needed. Just re-draw the top 3 inches of the center front and side front seam lines
Thank you for your reply. I tried to respond last night and tried to upload the photo again, but it tied up my PC and I didn't have the patience to mess with it so late at night. this does have princess lines and is very fitted, with boning in the front and back.
i hope this correction will allow the neckline to lay flat against the chest and not mess up the curves of the princess seams, but it sounds like a much better option than trying to take the "pouch" out of the center front before I cut the material.
Do you think I could be making a wrong assumption that the top is too big around the neckline and maybe not big enough in the cup size? The top fits well at the widest part of the bust and all through the back and waist - just that center front pouch is gaping. I thought I might add my newest "worry" to the situation and see if you can calm my fears or if you have had any experience with something similar.
In sewing, I've discovered the correct fix is the opposite of what I think the problem is!
I really apprecaite your help.
You are making the right assumption that the neckline is too big (too long), It sounds like the girl may have whats called a "hollow chest" ie. no real cleavage to fill out a neckline (like me!) The cup size is OK, just trim out 1/4 inch off each seam line, it won't alter the shape of the princess lines.You are very brave to do this long distance.
Thanks for your response. If JG are your initials, they are also mine!
I know - the long distance thing bothers me, but all the girls except one are out of town. They are all on budgets - aren't we all, but the Bride has selected a style that costs $210 from the shops and this pattern matches it exactly (darn). The materials will cost about 1/2 that and of course - my time is a labor of love and donation to the cause - otherwise - it would be a different story.
The Bride (my youngest daughter) KNOWS I can do this, so I can't beg off by saying "I don't know how. . " - but doesn't think the fitting issues are as big as they are.
Worst case, I'll make the top and skirt and send it to them, with extra fabric and let a tailor fix it. That's about all we can do if the Bride is hell-bent on mom making all the gowns!
I wonder if the girl could go to a seamstress/tailor in her area and have just that aspect of the pattern corrected for her and a muslin made of the top part only?
What an excellent idea! I'll suggest that! Thanks very much. such a simple solution, but it never occurred to me.
I suppose, likewise I could offer that same service in my area? I wonder what the charge would be to do that for her? Thanks again.
I don't know the price, but it would probably be less than having someone alter it later and working with the formal fabric. Less worry for you too.
Decades ago, I was a seamstress at a dry cleaners in Va. and we did this type of thing. The lady I worked with spoke very limited English, but we worked very well together. She could do anything that was brought in, especially bridal items. It's a shame I didn't have more time to learn from her as I left that job to work at a bank, of all things. I didn't realise the value of working for low pay in exchange for knowledge in those days. We become so much wiser through time. Mary
You were very fortunate. I'll kill to have someone to study under or watch. I'm self taught from the 60's, watching my grandmother (who made EVERYTHING and used to sew furs) but it got to be too un-cool to sew. Then, it got to be too expensive to sew when I wanted nicer fabrics, better patterns, and then i made mistakes and ended up with no clothes, a pile of 1/2 cut fabric or an ill fitting item.
When my body was shaped like the pattern girls . .. I sewed lots of things needing no fitting. so I never learned how to alter or fit.
Now, with my 50+ body, lots of curves and challengs, I'm just starting back to sewing and struggling.
New terminology, new techniques, new equipment - man I'm out of the loop.
I'm in insurance and can't wait for more time with sewing and less time dealing with deductibles, rate increases and Rx that can't get filled at the pharmacy.
I'm 55, same story but am a retired (early due to health issues) RN. I can pretty much imagine what the insurance industry is like to work for. What with mail order prescriptions only policies and people needed them filled "now" at a pharmacy, brand names not available in generic yet, medicare/medicaid confusion, out of towners....the list must seem endless. I sympathise. I've worked in hospitals and did home health care on the side...trying to coordinate medical and prescription care was the most difficult aspect of it all. I remember many hours on the phone when there were more "important" things to be doing.
I hope to resolve my difficult fitting issues this year. I'm 4'11 1/2", tiny boned, and well, you know, the "mature figure" issues. I hope to make slopers and then tackle some of the many patterns I have. I always loved making and wearing unique clothing. My imagination goes full throttle with design and embellishment ideas, then the fitting stops me cold. I cannot find ready to wear that I like or that fits well. I've been everywhere trying to find a leather jacket and button front blouses. Ha! That's what I get for wishing for bigger boobs!
I have been doing small projects and learned to quilt as a sort of sabbatical from garment headaches. It helped me to refresh my outlook. I also do machine embroidery, most of all I love my serger and all the fun things I do with it.
It's nice to hear from another kindered spirit. There are many of us at the same crossroads. Thank goodness, many also with lots of knowledge and experience to help us muddle through. I'm thankful for everyone here at Gatherings!! Happy Thanksgiving! Mary
How interesting - we are so similar! I'm 5'1 and used to be a slim 112 lbs. Getting married (again) 8 yrs ago to a great cook and wonderful guy plus menopause added 30 lbs. Yugh!
I mostly wear suits to work, but love artsy styles with interesting piping, buttons, cuts, etc. I am lucky to be able to find petite patterns, but my problem is my own head - I still see myself as a slim size 6 petite that fit off the rack for 20+ years - I can't even tuck my shirts in any more - and my thighs are bigger than my hips - ugh.
Weight watchers and now Nutrisystem - - we'll see. I even had a "double" me made as a dress form - and it's spooky. I just can't "see" my own body as it is these days and still look at (and buy) patterns that are in the old "me" style.
I need help - - - I suppose a life lesson here is for me to overcome vanity . . .ah.
It is wonderful talking to you and wonderful having found this place. Happy thanksgiving.
Hi girls! I can sympathize with your fitting issues. I'm also a shortie, I nearly made it to 5'2" before age started taking my height down again. And of course the 'mature figure' issues are a real learning opportunity... ;-P
Making a muslin is your best bet. Don't use "good" fabric for muslins. Get sheets from the thrift store, or other large inexpensive fabric, as long as the weight is similar to your fashion fabric.
Ask at sign shops for the 'ends' of the paper rolls they use to design sign layouts-- great for patterns!
As for posting photos, maybe your picture file size was too large. This is a common problem. Try to resize it down to around 400 to 600 pixels wide on the longest side, and in .jpg format. If you don't understand what I just said, ask around and find out, or email me and I'll help you.
How would you like this for a fitting challenge-- a pattern in a book taken from an actual Victorian dress, to be enlarged and re-fitted to a modern torso? Muslins are great!!
Good luck with your princess-line fittings, the muslin made to fit the gal in the far-away town should be a great help!
Edited 11/22/2007 9:32 pm by Tangent
The suggestions to take in just a little on the top part of each princess seam sounds totally right to me, too. This preserves the right lines and shape, but eliminates the "pouching".
Another possible reason for the "pouching" is that the bridesmaid might be round-shouldered. If she is fairly tall, that's a common posture fault. My step-daughter is 6 ft tall (YES!) and definitely round-shouldered. Unfortunately, I forgot about that when I made a jumper for her, and there is some "pouching" in the center front. Miraculously, it goes away when she stands up straight with her shoulders back! The next time, I'll take a small wedge out of the pattern CF before cutting it out!
Good luck! Please post pictures when you can.....
Thanks for posting. Every comment helps. I'll try to post the photo tomorrow. I've tried this top on 2 other girls with 36 A busts and it fits one perfectly with no pouching, one with a little pouching - only about an inch.
The Florida girl is probably between a B & C cup and VERY modest. I noticed she pulled the straps about 1 inch higher than the other two girls because she is so modest, she doesn't want any cleveage to show. The others are so small that no cleveage shows at all. This could be part of my problem as well - with her pulling the top up higher.
After fitting the other two girls this weekend, my confidence is up - slightly. But I'm really liking the suggestion about having someone in Florida make her a muslin for the top.
Anyone in Florida willing? Ohhh - I supose I need her city too? :)
If this girl is pulling up on the top, she may be hiking the fullest part above her bustline so that the extra fullness lands at her chest rather than at her bust, or she may have a lower bustline than the princess seaming allows for on the pattern, which would also leave too much fabric in the chest area. Generally, fitting a princess seamed top involves changing the shape of the side panels, not the center panel, so the overall style line is preserved.One way to fit a princess seamed top is to mail her a basted muslin of it, then have her try it on inside out so that her mother can pin the seams to fit the lines of her torso (wearing the bra she will wear with the finished garment, of course!) and then mail it back to you. Fitting an on-site model is hard, but long-distance is even tougher--good luck!
Thank you for your comments. The top I sent was totally finished with boning, lining etc.
I did have one muslin made in a smaller size without the boning, but it fit differently after boning was put in. The boning is stitched to the lining, not to the top front.
Do you think if I sent a top without the lining and without boning that it could be fitted better?
I'll try to post the photo again later. I got another suggestion about how to post the photo.
I ordered the fabric yesterday - so I'm in it up to my neck now! I wonder if I need to make the neckline higher to help with her modesty issue, but then the cut would be noticably different than the others. Oh my . . .
Let's try posting this photo
From the picture you posted, I might be tempted to take the 1/4 inch off of each side of the side front piece and leave the center front alone. take 1/4 inch of the side seam and the side front seam.
Yea! Ya Hoo! That is my first option that seems most desirable.
Did you see the post about making another muslin? Do you think I could just make the front top (without lining and boning) and make the adjustment and send it down to them for re-fitting?
I'm so concerned that the boning and lining changes the fit too much. Do you have any experience with that?
As was mentioned earlier, "the top fit differently without the boning"... the muslin would need to have boning to give a true fitting.
From what I can see, the bodice fits ok from the point of the bust and downward. The shoulder straps are ok where they are, so leave the side seams alone. You want the top of the front seams to be fairly vertical, so the adjustment would be taken out of the side/front panel. Take a tapered 1/2 inch off, and adjust the top edges of the front and side/fronts as needed. Would it change the 'look' of the bodice too much if the neckline was raised by 1/2 inch in the center panel?
Tangent - I cannot thank you enough for the graphic work on the photo! It is beyond helpful.
I'm good at sewing, not at visualizing and this is perfect. Just what I needed. In looking at the photo, I don't think that it will change the look for this one girl to raise the center front. In fact, I think it will make her more comfortable. We've decided to put beading around the top instead of embroidery and I don't think one person will realize her top is cut any differently; it would be so gradual. In fact, it will then look more like the other 3 who are very small on top.
I will try a new muslin, but will go with making the lining and putting in the boning. You have been so helpful.
I only wish I could take the week off work to start this!
I am happy to have been of help. As for the graphics, I do more of that than sewing these days! I also find it easier to grasp an idea when I can see it, in fact I usually draw detailed plans when I make something, and work out the construction on paper. Makes the project easier!
You would think that I'd have come to that logical conclusion! I can explain the most difficult employee benefits and complex insurance plans, and write great technical business explanations, but when it comes to sewing - if its not in the patter - I freeze up and go blank.
When I was posting here, I thought I could hear the collective smack of a hundred hands on foreheads as the rest of you all said "duh!"
Thanks again. Jackie
Thanks for brightening my day! I was just reading a posting in a different thread, and having trouble mentally picturing the proceedure.... and it is something I do know how to do!! I love illustrations/photos!! I'm not illiterate, just have problems with constructing mock-ups in my head! Too much other stuff in there!!!
you are most welcome - I'm on my lunch break with January enrollment meetings out of town next week and all I want to do is sew . . . .and talk about sewing - this forum has been a refreshing change for me.
I'll post again once I have time to actually do some sewing instead of theorizing!
What software did you use to model the alteration of the dress
Adding my 2 cents in late but here I go. Divide the amount that is pinned closed in half. Subtract that amount evenly between the 2 princess seams at the neckline only. Tapering to nothing at the bust point. Like taking in a dart on the seamline. It will upset the embroidery on the neckline but hopefully not by much since it's small. You might have to shorten the boning by as much as a half an inch at the neckline.
Chris - better late than never. Your idea echos those of others and gives me security that other sewers would take this action as well.
Thank you for taking the time to post.
You're welcome. And here's something to make you feel even more confident: my job is bridal alterations. Just remember to round the bust curve; you don't want it to end up pointy. You might have to take in a small amount at the bust curve so it will curve nicely.
I lOVE it! Thanks for sharing your occupation with us! I've been wanting to learn how to do this forever. My youngest just had a floor sample gown fitted to her and I was very surprised at the way it was done at the sides. It is a halter style top, fully beaded and needed to be taken in at the sides.
What resulted at the under arm was a step-effect instead of a smooth curve. I suppose it was because they could not re-cut the dress and just took it in about an inch on each side seam. I was very surprised that they did NOT remove the beading and re-bead it, they just stitched straight through the design. Not like anyone will really notice, but just different than I expected from a the high end shop in town.
It is what it is now - so we just move on. Chris - where did you train or study?
Apprenticing and mentoring. Most of my work history has been sewing related. I started out working in an alterations shop 30 years ago. The owner taught me how to do general alterations. I've learned how to do custom draperies from 2 draperies businesses. I've learned RTW production sewing from a square dance clothing business. I've been doing bridal alterations for 10 years now. I learned from the owner of the shop--a Chinese woman who's been doing custom bridal for over 20 years. Most of the time, we do take the appliques and beadwork off before altering the gown. Then sew them back on by hand. That's part of the reason by bridal alterations are so much more expensive than general alterations. There is a lot more handwork involved. And I do smooth the underarm curve if possible. Sometimes, it's not possible because of the style of the bodice or smoothing the line will make the armpit too low in front of the arm. Every gown is different even if it's the same style because every bride has a different body.
I am guessing it is too late to start this process at 54?
OH well.. . in my next life
Thanks for the comments on the gown. I'm seeing that there is much more to it than I imagined and that solutions have to be creative - I guess that the reason I'm not in that line of business because the solution they had would not have been obvious to me but made sense to you!
Thanks for posting.
I was 45 when I started bridal alterations. I'm now 55 and my boss is just starting to talk seriously about retiring at age 76. Really, the main criteria for alterations is the ability to deconstruct a gown, both visually and physically. And then to put it back so that it looks like it was never touched. You don't happen to live in San Diego county, do you? We are looking for another seamstress to take over my job when I take over my boss's position.
Chris - you are breaking my heart! I'm going to buy a lottery ticket and see what happens! If I win, I'll be calling you.
No, I live in Toledo OH. The commute would be . . . difficult :)
Perhaps I should start looking into this more seriously in my area. If you started that late, maybe there is hope for me.
I recently heard that 50 is the new 30's! (tell that to my hot flashes).
Ah, well, it was just a thought. We are having a hard time finding another seamstress. Part of the problem is that I'm way underpaid for what I do. But I do have great flexability, great co-workers and boss, and a short commute. An even trade, I think.
I didn't expect it to be very profitable, especially in my town, and that is a shame. As the consumer, I need affordable alterations, but as a seamstress (and hand knitter) I know that the pay amount per hour is ridiculous. Because of the time it takes to do the task, you can NEVER increase production to the amount it takes to make a lot of money - all you can do is charge more.
Ah look - I'm preaching to the choir and I'm not even in your business! What a cheerleader I am!
That photo makes it MUCH easier to see what the problem is: she has a full bust but a flat upper chest. (Fitting books address this issue.) Also, the front panel gets wider on the her right side at the top edge, while the seam on the other side curves in at the top. Curving both seams more near the top edge will help a lot.Taking the excess out of the the top two inches of the side panels will work well for this style; the wide side panels are little distracting from the lovely shoulder straps, and those straps are more likely to stay on her shoulders if the front attachment point is closer to the princess seam.
Thank you for your idea and posting! Yes the photo helps - once I figured out how to do it.
My apologies - I can't post the photo. It was sent to me in bmp file (bitmap) and I cannot convert it. Thus it is unacceptable to this site to post.
I even tried to put it into a Word doc and it still registers as a bmp. Arrrghhh. I"ll just start sewing and let you all know how it comes out! Thanks for your help.
you should be able to open it in paint and then "save as" a jpeg file
Hi: I just read a discussion on boning and I think it was connected to your princess bridesmaid dress. However, now that I have looked for it again I can't seem to find it. Anyway, I was also scooting around in other areas of Threads and came across the following site http://www.taunton.com/threads/pages/t00165.asp
It is a whole article on boning and using it in places I had not thought to use it. I vaguely remember reading this article in the Threads Mag at the time. I thought it might be useful to you if you are not past the boning stage ... if indeed it was you.
PS If you can tell me where the boning discussion is I would like to know. It was a great discussion with some really knowledgeable suggestions.
Thanks for the link to the boning article, it was very interesting. I hope someone answers your question, I'd like to read that too.
Was it "Boning - What's the Difference?" If it was a recent discussion you can't find, this might be the one, the question being asked by Knitnut, with a great description of the different types of boning, and ways to insert. (Since Knitnut is the lead poster on this same thread, it probably did have to do with the princess-line dress she's working on) You can look for the discussion using the Advanced Search function at the top of the topics column which runs down the left side of the page.
Josefly, Yes, thanks for finding it for me. Scrubble4
Try this link http://forums.taunton.com/tp-gatherings/messages?msg=7649.17&redirCnt=1
This message was to me in the Equipment thread. I wonder if it is what you were looking for?
I thank you so much for the link the Threads back issue on boning. I found it most helpful along with the info I got from the board.
Whenever I have a good idea (boning would make a great article for Threads) I find it has already been done. . . .perhaps I'm a reverse psychic!
Thanks to everyone not just for your specific responses to my request and suggestion, but just for being there. I love reading the chatter not only about sewing but about you my sister sewers (and brothers if you are out there). I am sitting here reading these early on Saturday morning listening to a lovely Harry Belafonte Christmas CD .... I marvel at the rich softness of his amazing voice. I wonder what others do as they sew. Do you listen to classics, jazz, folk, rap, rock, do you have the TV on, do you have a beautiful scene outside your window or are you in a basement corner immersed in your craft after the kids go to bed at night. I can't say how lovely it is to have this connection. Almost everyone I know seem to say to me when they find out I love sewing, "Oh I can't sew, or I envy you, or I don't like it." I so rarely connect with someone else who shares the joys and challenges of this wonderful craft. Thanks Scrubble4
Knitnut: Maybe rather than reverse psychic you illustrate how these challenges keep revolving through our sewing experiences. Maybe Threads could come out with a CD that is just an index to their magazine since its beginning. That would be so helpful for me. I have almost all the issues, but sitting down to go through them to find the article I vaguely remember is so time consuming. It is always a lovely journey, but I rarely have the time to take that trip. It would be great if the index could reference not only the specific title, authour etc but also critical tips etc. in the article.
Amber recently said they are beginning a DVD on fitting. I look forward to that.
Thanks for your answer. Scrubble4
I'm wondering if the Magazine Index on this site isn't exactly what you are looking for?
It just occured to me to look there for some items. But I don't have all the back issues; I have most of them starting around the 100 number, with a few random issues in the 80's.
In fact, I'd be willing to PAY - or subscribe to an online subscription to back issues. I always think that I'll flag or copy certain items of interest but I'm not that organized. My issues are not even stored in numerical order! But they are in boxes on a shelf.
I'm getting spoiled by computers - wanting instance access to items, yet . . I have to print every thing of importance because it doesn't sink in when reading instructions from a computer! I'm stuck in a time warp!
Knitnut: You are a saint. That is wonderful and somehow I just didn't see it. I have already used it. I know over the years I have lent (lost my mind I think) a few issues and they never seem to return. I no longer lend them, but I pack them back and forth between home and the motorhome like security blankets. So I have undoubtedly lost a few in the process. This is a round about way to say, boy do I ever agree with the idea of subscribing to lost and or never owned previous issues on line. That is a brilliant idea. I also agree that I have become pretty digitalized and want what I want now. Being able to search online in the Magazine index, pull it up and print out what you need is a fabulous idea. I know Amber reads these chats regularly, (neat job) and she will probably see and respond to your suggestion. Thanks Lois
Ahhh, your kind words flatter me :) Makes me want to keep posting - I don't think my name and "brilliant" has ever shown up in the same sentence!
So - who's Amber? I'll bet my brilliance is dimming with this question. . .
Amber is the editor of Threads magazine.
oh my. . . I should look at that part more closely! I was a freelance writer for many years and I always read the masthead page searching for my name before I read any articles! you'd think I'd know. Looks like I've got my head in the clouds. Thank you.
Thanks for highlighting that article on boning. I've added it to my Bookmarks.
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