Wednesday, 22 January 2014

FITTING: By Hand London 'Anna' muslin/toile with shoulder & erect/short back adjustments (part 3).

Good morning, happy hump day!

Last night I made a bunch of adjustments to Anna muslin number three (muslin number 2 was a complete fail, I stuffed up the shoulder adjustment - inadvertently added 3cm to CB when I was adjusting the shoulder, lets not talk about it).

Reading through all the tweets and comments on my last two posts (part 1part two), everyone pointed out that I had erect shoulders/posture, a short back, forward shoulders.

CheekyChaCha kindly emailed me info on forward shoulder fitting problems - THANK YOU, THANK YOU THANK YOU, I need to get a copy of that fitting book that you own!! 

I've ticked the problems I am definitely experiencing, the rest of them I am unsure...
  • shoulders seams lie behind the shoulder tip 
  • loose wrinkles form along front armhole
  • tighter stress wrinkles form between the back armhole and shoulder blade
  • sleeve cap is tight around front of shoulder 
  • sleeve cap is loose, puffy, over the back of shoulder
  • shoulder seam needs to be moved forward 
  • bodice front needs less fabric width at armhole
  • bodice back needs more width at armhole
  • front sleeve cap needs to be more rounded
  • back sleeve cap needs to be flatter

It was evident from the photos I posted online that my shoulder seams were sitting about 3cms back from centre of my shoulder. Yet to determine if the forward shoulders is causing the waist seam to dip backwards.

My first adjustment was redistributing 3cm from the front shoulder to the back shoulder so the shoulder seam will sit on the centre of my shoulder.

  • I drew a line at the seam allowance (SA) of FRONT shoulder, slashed it and removed 3cms. 
  • I drew a line at the seam allowance (SA) of BACK shoulder, slashed it and added 3cms. 

Removed 3cms from front bodice shoulder.
Before and after.
Redistributed the 3cms taken from front bodice to back bodice shoulder.

It worked! The should seam now sits centered on my shoulder (blade??). Looks and feels way better than before!

Forward shoulder problem fixed *pops champagne* shoulder seam sitting comfortably, woo hoo!! 
Now for my erect back/posture/short back issue.

I'm not sure if erect shoulders, erect posture, short back are three difference issues; or if they are the same issue with different descriptions.

A lot of people suggested my erect back/posture was the cause of my waist seam dipping back, because my overly erect posture made my centre back length (CBL) decrease between the neck and mid-back... or something. I still don't get this one!!

CheekyChaCha also sent info on erect back fitting problems, again I've ticked the problems I am experiencing, the rest of them I am unsure...

  • excess fabric sags into loose horizontal wrinkles across upper back
  • flatter contour of the back needs less dart shaping
  • bodice back needs less length   
  • bodice back needs narrower darts 

My next adjustment was to take a wedge out of the centre back (CB) following this tutorial for erect back adjustment.

The waist seam was dipping about 3cm towards the back, so I took a wedge of 3cms out of the centre back. 

I'm not really sure if this was the right fix for me, as I didn't notice much of the fabric riding up my neck to begin with (as per tutorial, fabric riding up is one of the fitting problems). I gave the adjustment a shot anyway.
  • I drew a line perpendicular to the grainline, in the upper back
  • I cut into the back bodice piece from centre back, stopping before the seam allowance (cut along the line I drew)
  • I pivoted the top piece of pattern down to "remove" 3cms from the centre back
  • I straightened up the CB and grainline 

Before and after shoulder seam and erect back adjustment.
Here is the result...

Front and back waist seam still not level.
Waist is dipping back/front rising up.

I will do the 'elastic test' tonight as suggested by some ladies on Twitter, however I do prefer my waist seam sitting just above my natural waist.

Should I need to take another wedge out of the lower back at the waist, and then lengthen the front bodice so that the seam will be level?

Bust/neck looks a little gapey in this photo taken last night...  but in the photo below taken this morning, it looks fine.
No more gaping...? I will do the 'bending over test' tonight.
Photo taken last night: I noticed wrinkles in the back, but this morning they disappeared! 
Photo taken this morning, no wrinkles..?
Is the back meant to be this low? Should I make the back neckline higher?

This dress has been on my mind 24/7 since last Thursday, I'm exhausted but I really want to get the fit perfect. Even though I'm super frustrated that I haven't cut into my beautiful fabric yet, I'm enjoying the challenge. 

Thank you guys soooooooo sooooo much for helping me with the shoulder seams. I'm so happy that I've at least knocked out one fitting problem.

Now I need your helpful suggestions on the next lot of fitting problems:
  • how do level the waist seam?
  • should be concerned about those wrinkles on the back bodice that come and go?
  • shoulder I make the back neckline higher?
Please comment below, tweet me @sewmelove or email me :)

Thanking you in advance!!

PS. After posting this, I found this document on the internet which I found helpful.
It describes my problem - "Too much fabric at the back waist causing a puff at the centre back, 
wrinkles under the waistband, pants seat is stretched, side seams swing forward and hemlines are longer in the back" - their diagnosis is "swayback or down sloping waistline".

My side seams definitely swing forward! Down sloping waistline, that's a new one! Thoughts?


  1. Congratulations for taking the effort to get the right fit - too often I don't. I was curious when your CB adjustment was so high - my first thought was that it would lower your back neckline. Can the CB adjustment be made lower (ie towards the waistline) and redraw the darts legs? Can't wait to hear everyone's thoughts!!

    1. I think that erect back adjustment helped get rid of some of the upper back wrinkles, but I don't know if the adjustment was completely necessary. I added 2cm back into the neckline so it's a little higher now. I tried a sway back adjustment last night... almost there!

  2. Looks much better. It's hard to tell re waistline in first pic as you are kind of twisted around - assume you are holding the camera. A swayback adjustment (altho not sure if you have a swayback would probably work. You'll prob want to attach the skirt (if you didn't want to muslin the skirt and you were happy with the fit you could cut the skirt out of final fabric and nasty it as waistline). The skirt will weight it down at the waist and if you are adjusting in this area you want to know how much. Tie elastic where you want waist to be and pull back of skirt up to that level and mark where new seam line should be.

    1. I did a 2.5cm swayback adjustment last night on the bodice only, it levelled the waist, but side seams still pulling towards the front, so more adjustments to follow :/

  3. I am SERIOUSLY impressed by your resolve to work this one out!

    1. Thanks Tash! My quest for perfection is slowly killing me haha


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