Fitting a pattern can be a tough process. I made a few muslins of the princess seam bodice. Size 16 was too big all over.
Size 14 was better, but I’m still not satisfied with the placement of the princess seam. I thought they were supposed to curve over the the apex, the fullest part of the bust. An internet search confirmed that the seam should be over the apex or 1/4 inch to the side.
I think the center panel should be narrower and the side pieces bigger and more curved. Would a size 12 center work with a size 16 side? Too many of my clothes are tight at the bust, and I want to avoid the fabric straining and the bust flattening effect. I did look at princess seam pattern adjustments on the web but found them complicated and confusing.
Then I looked it up in a book I actually own, “The Perfect Fit”, by the editors of Creative Publishing International.
It shows to add 1/4 inch to the fullest part of the curvy side panel for each bra cup size larger than B, and blend the line from the increase mark to points 4 inch above and below the apex. Then you cut and lengthen the center front piece by the same amount at the corresponding place at the fullest bust level. Finally something simple and easy to understand!
I didn’t know whether you are supposed to pin fit the muslin, or baste in a zipper, so I cut and sewed it like a pullover and put it on over my head. I haven’t looked too much at the fit in the back, but I usually have a horizontal fold of material above the waist which I learned calls for the swayback adjustment.
So what is a good fit? What do you think about the fit of the second muslin? Should I keep on experimenting? I think I will try adding to the curve on the side piece and cut it with a bigger seam allowance on the side seam for fitting.
Hi Lisa! I too am a baby boomer and didn’t learn to sew until I hit 40! Your blog is very nice and I appreciate the information you are sharing.
A word about princess seams- even on a muslin they should be pressed flat, then pressed open using steam over a ham. Princess seams are notched so a lining for the bodice would be best for the finished dress.
For your muslin, I would either have someone help you pin the back, or baste a zipper in place. Once you pull this over your head, your muslin fabric gets distorted in ways you may not be able to see.
I like the reference book you mention here and will look into getting a copy. Maybe before you make this adjustment you try redrawing the princess seam so it starts off in better relationship to the apex.
Recently I signed up for a new fitting class on Craftsy.com with Joi Mahon called Fast Track Fitting. I reallly want to sew more clothes for myself and struggle with my own issues on fit.
Thank you again for sharing and if you don’t mind, I would like to follow you and improve my learning too!
All the best,
Hi Mary. Thank you for the information! I really appreciate you taking the time to share your knowledge with me and your suggestions. There are so many decisions to make and it gets intimidating for a beginner. I learn so much from other sewing blogs, and I do like to have books for reference as well. The instructions for the pattern didn’t mention a lining so I’ll have to look up how to attach it. I signed up for the Craftsy course “Sew the Perfect Fit” with Lynda Maynard but I haven’t watched it yet. Even though the course is designed around a different pattern I’m sure I could learn things that would help me.
Again, thank you for all your valuable feedback and for following along as I’m trying to figure it all out. I look forward to watching what you’re making too!