Testing the fit of Vogue 8904, Marcy Tilton’s “Shingle” Dress (and fitting q’s more generally)

Yes, the sewing machine and stash of patterns and fabric are boxed, waiting for the move.  It’s been two weeks since I’ve sewn, and three more before I’ll be set up again.  Sigh, I miss it.  But I did stitch something right before the pack up.

I fell prey to the posts raving about Vogue 8904.

V8904I found a fabric I thought I would try (a navy stripe), which is still available at Gorgeous Fabrics.  I was tired the night I ordered the fabric, and didn’t order enough.  Which is fine, because when I prepped the pattern pieces, I began to get concerned about fit issues.  I’m tall – 5’9″ – and long waisted.  I often have to add length to the mid section on everything.  This pattern did not have adjustment lines… fine, I could do that without, but how would it distort the “shingles”?

So, I decided to cut and make the tank under dress, without adjusting for the long waist. Also, I wasn’t sure how to work with negative ease, having never really done that before. (Still, flat pattern measuring revealed positive ease through the waist). I did make some adjustments for fit.  I cut a size 12, which I normally do, but because of weight gain, sewed half inch seams from slightly above the waist down.  I usually do this for skirts, and it works well.  I have small shoulders and had to take them up another half inch off the 12. And, because I didn’t order enough fabric, I shortened it to bottom of the knee.  I’m not sure how to feel about it.  It looks better in the mirror, but I don’t think the stripe is for me, and the fit is off. (I’m leaning to one side in the photo, my shoulders are level, and no, I didn’t match the stripes well on the sleeve binding).  On the other hand, the fabric is super-comfy and easy to sew and I highly recommend it.

IMG_0714[1]In my head, I have a long diatribe blog post about body image and fit and sewing and ready to wear.  But not today, or at least, not fully.  Suffice it to say that over time, I’ve been both comfortable and uncomfortable about my body.  When I was a avid distance runner I was long and lean.  I like it when I’m fit and strong, even when it means more muscular legs than “fashion” would dictate.  I also like the fact that I’m long waisted – even though most style guides tell me I should hide this “figure flaw”!

Enough.  Back to the dress (under dress). And fitting issues.  First, these two photos:


Now, part of the reason that the neck is not laying flat is that I didn’t do a great job of stretching. But I have this problem on woven necklines with facing, too.  Susan Khalje’s website has an interesting video on choosing the right pattern size. I’ve consistently had trouble fitting the shoulders in outfits, and I’ve always chosen size 12, based on my bust measurement.  But, I know from having had several professional bra fittings, that my frame is smaller – I have to buy bras with a 32 inch band or they ride up.  Between that and her video, I really think I should be cutting a 10 through the shoulders and bust, grading to a 12 at the waist.  Thoughts anyone?

I have also noticed this problem when making dresses of late:

ImageNot really liking the fit through the small of the back.  Now, I’ve contemplated that this is a sway back adjustment.  But it also occurred to me that I’m not in top running form (haven’t run regularly since DS was born three years ago, and my eating habits have deteriorated) and that my hips and legs are wider than they used to be.  I could be that I need to let out the skirt a bit more, that what’s happening is that the dress rides up a bit when I move around.  My neighbor thought so as well, since she didn’t notice it until after I walked some.

So, I leave it to the blogosphere.  Thoughts?  I’m still not sure the style, or stripes are for me, but the fitting issues are part of what vexes me.