Thursday, 20 February 2014

FITTING: Reducing neckline gaping - hollow/shallow chest adjustment.

Diagnosing a hollow/shallow chest: On my bodice I noticed there was excess fabric on my front bodice between my 'apex' (nipple?!??!!) and the neckline. It looked like the top half of my bodice was "collapsing" on to my chest, because my chest was too shallow to hold up the bodice. Make sense? 

This year I have become obsessed with achieving the perfect fit. I've spent way too many hours and dollars on making up dresses that don't fit well. 

I'm no expert when it comes to pattern adjustments or fitting but these are techniques that have worked for me. 

I basically make up the bodice muslin/toile, try it on, pinch and pin out the excess fabric.

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The example above is my 'Anna' dress. I didn't do an SBA for my Anna (I did every other adjustment under the sun for it though, haha). The bodice fit well, but the neck line was wrinkly and gaping. 

This is how it looked before I pinched out a 4cm wedge on each side of the bodice. 

Anna bodice neck gaping

I transferred the 4cm wedge on to the pattern piece, like below (drawings not to scale). Once the 'wedge' is taken out, the neck line will need to be smoothed out. 

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The next example is my 'Georgia' dress. The small bust adjustment (SBA) solved the fitting issue in the 'cup' area of my bust, but the top half of my bust (nipple and above) didn't fit well into my bodice. 

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The (centre front) neck line was not sitting against my chest. I pinched out a 3cm wedge on each side of the (front centre) bodice. I transferred the 3cm wedge on to the pattern piece, like below (drawings are not to scale). Once the 'wedge' is taken out, the neck line will need to be smoothed out. 

NOTE: Ignore the "SA 15"" on the drawing - I meant 15mm - not inches for the seam allowance!! 

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Call it neck darts, call it wedges, call it a shallow/hollow/caramello chest adjustment, whatever!! 

At the end of the day, if there is excess fabric on the bodice, pinch it, pin it, then take that wedge out of the pattern piece. 

I used to be caught up in 'defining' every adjustment that needed to be made, thinking that if it didn't have a 'name' or appear on Google search then the adjustment wasn't legit or correct, but ultimately, if there's excess fabric and if it's bugging you, get rid of it. 

On both the Anna and Georgia, I have made a dart all the way to the seam allowance (SA) but every body will be different, so just transfer the adjustments to your pattern piece as per amount of fabric pinched out from your muslin/toile.

I hope this helps you if you are experiencing bodice fitting issues. 
My advice is always make a muslin/toile and keep persisting, the end result will be worth it :)


23 comments:

  1. Thank you, Neeno!
    I’ll have to try on my Anna toile again (which I tossed aside in frustration months ago), but if I remember correctly, my main issue looked similar to this and your adjustment might solve it!
    Seeing your stunning Annas made me really want to try again. (If only I could focus on any one thing…)

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    1. Hi Jana, I hope this will fix your issue! I had so many adjustments to make on my Anna, it was very frustrating, and confusing because on wrinkle on the dress could mean 5 different issues. Be patient though, it will work out :)

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    2. Here is a photo of the front Anna bodice BEFORE the adjustment, hope it helps with you diagnosis!!

      http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7328/12075136664_2c326942e7_z.jpg

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    3. Thank you for that additional photo! I made the other neckline variation, but yes, except for that, this looks pretty familiar.
      I’ll get back to it eventually!

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    4. Good luck Jana, looking forward to seeing it, be sure to share :)

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  2. I love this tip! I did this in a couple places with my Georgia dress as I wanted the fit to be quite form-fitting and snug. Lord knows what the adjustments are called or if they're "proper", but they worked like a dream, so I'm calling it a win. :)

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    1. Your dress was definitely a WIN!!! high five to getting in the round up post, *pats on back*

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  3. Ah, yes! I often have this gaping neckline issue as well as a need for an SBA. I've bookmarked this for my next bodice/dress make.

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  4. This is the adjustment that I seem to be making - but it took me a while to realise ! I seem to have done the same as you ( although have not ventured into SBA yet ) thanks for showing it and making it seem more legit than it felt when I was doing it!!

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    1. Whatever works hey!! The tricky part for me is redrawing the grainlines... something I'm fudging around with right now, not sure of correct technique!!

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  5. Oh god I hate when I have to do adjustments! I adore your fabric, it's beautiful! XxxX
    http://thesecondhandrose.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. It's so worth it though!! Give yourself a lot of time so you don't rush and get frustrated :)

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  6. It's so helpful and reassuring to read your new attitude to pinch-pin-alter because this is the approach I always get the guilts/worries about but actually if it works and solves more problems than it causes then why not?!

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    1. I'm so glad that everyone feels the same way as me, I was worried the sewing police would come around and wave their fingers at me for not doing legit adjustments hehe.

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  7. I am having a gaping neck problem right now with a Vogue pattern. It needs a lot of adjustment, gaping armholes, gaping neck. For the neck though I think just redrawing the neckline smaller will work. The armhole adjustment will turn into a side dart. I will keep making the muslin until I get it right. Thanks for sharing your experience and for the vote of confidence on your Mom sewing for you. I love to sew for my granddaughter and hope she will sew too someday.

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    1. Hope it works out well for you!! Keep at it, the result will be totally worth it :)

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  8. Thanks! I do this too, and I definitely don't need an SBA. I had one dress made up that looked like I could have carried kittens around in my shirt...

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    1. Can you throw a couple of kittens my way? ;)

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  9. There are issues with the sleeves, however, which lead me to believe that the pattern is too large for you. I would try a smaller size and simply take in the bodice a bit, much simpler alteration.

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    1. Hi Bunny! The size I cut was already the smallest size :( Damn small/tiny bust!!

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  10. This is a pretty silly question...but in the picture of you holding the Anna neckline wedge closed, the mini-pattern piece doesn't lay totally flat. When you transfer this adjustment to your actual flat pattern piece, how does this sort out?

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    1. Hi Sara, not a silly question at all!!
      When I did the same "adjustment" on the soft tracing paper, it sat flatter than in the pic (where I have used 80gsm printer paper).
      On my actual pattern piece, I smoothed it out and blended the neckline in where required.
      hope this helps :)

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