Sunday, November 10, 2013

Diary of a Fit Fanatic, Sew Serendipity Dress

After going to the trouble of making my own sloper, I promised myself to not let anything into my wardrobe that didn't fit.  I am tired of tugging and pulling on my shirts and dresses to get them arranged correctly on my body all day long.  Easy promise to say, but hard to implement.  

This is Sew Serendipity's Dress from Kay Whitt's book, Sew Serendipity.  I did have a head start on this dress, I had made it before.  It fit well, but I had some shoulder and back issues with it.  (I have sloping, uneven, and forward rotated shoulders.)  The first dress ended up having about 1 1/2" of elastic gathering the whole sleeve at the neckline and a gapping front at the bottom of the bodice gathers.

Sew Serendipity Dress

Amy Butler "Love" fabric

Back view
1st Sew Serendipity dress

So, I started with the original pattern and added a full bust adjustment and adjusted the shoulder point forward in the sleeve.  

1st Muslin

Second muslin, took out some of the fullness in the bodice.

2nd Muslin

Third muslin, Took out fullness in the shoulder area and back.

3rd Muslin

3rd Muslin

Fourth muslin, took a dart in the armseye and and added length to the sleeve cap.

4th Muslin

Fifth muslin, seemed pretty good!  Bust points are in the correct location, shoulder points match and all the grain lines were straight.

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Sew Serendipity dress from the book, Sew Serendipity. 
(Great pattern, don't be scared by my need for perfection.)

Amy Butler "Love" print from my favorite "fabric eye candy" stash.  I kept thinking something would turn up to add as an additional print for this dress to break up the print, but could not find anything that looked good with the plum.  So, I used the print by itself.  It looks a little plain, but a string of pearls added a little distraction.

After five muslins, I could sew this dress in my sleep.

I was excited after the fifth muslin, I had a good fit.  I cut out the dress and sewed it up to the point I could try it on and IT WAS WAY TOO BIG in the bodice and skirt.  So, I debated and sulked and then took out the front bodice (mind you there is a side zipper.)  Cut a new front bodice (Number 6, if you are counting).  Put it back together.  STILL TOO BIG.  So then I added a bust dart to the arms eye and called it done.  In the end, I think it was the fabric that kept stretching as it was sewn.  (Lessons learned.)

I wore the dress today and I never once tugged or pulled on it.  It fits well and never moves out of place.  SUCCESS!

I have a better feel for what a raglan sleeve pattern piece looks like for a person with sloping, uneven, and forward rotated shoulders.

I have returned to Joann's to buy another bolt of muslin.  

One might say I am patient or stubborn depending on how much you appreciate this fitting exercise.

I changed the pattern pieces dramatically.  You can see the changes below:

My pattern back compared to the real pattern.

My pattern front compared to the original.  It has been redone so many times the tissue is totally reinforced by tape.

My sleeve compared to the real pattern piece.


  1. Your dress is really pretty on you! But I have to admire you for all those muslins, I don't think I have it in me to work that hard:)

  2. That is great! I don't loving making muslins but appreciate the results when I do. This is such a great example of why they are worth the effort.

  3. This is a great post! I have found what helps is to just dive in and not be afraid of making changes to a pattern.

  4. Wow! What a lot of work! Looks like the end result was worth it. And you learned so much.

  5. Stretchy fabric would make me crazy! I haven't thought about that being a possibility, though. There have been a few projects that I've wondered what my problem is and maybe that was part of it. Hmmm...

    I highly recommend Sew Serendipity's Bebe pattern. You'll have to make your adjustments to it for the bust and shoulders, I'm sure, but it really goes together well and is super cute! I made it for my teenager daughter and she has gotten so many complements on it. I haven't gotten brave enough to try it on my curves yet.