Swing dress sew-along – cutting and fitting the paper pattern

12 Feb

GGGGRRRRRRRrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr <—— very loud, very frustrated growl.

1) What is with the 1/2 inch seam allowances? Every other pattern (well, in my experience anyway) apart from the occasional lingerie one, has 1.5 cm seams interchangeable with 5/8th inch seams. What on earth is a half an inch in metric anyway?
And I like having 1.5cm seams to play with, it makes vagaries of fitting different drapes of fabric so much easier to manage.

2) The pattern totally lacks any markings such as waist, hips, bust point. It lacks nape-waist markings or measurements.
These two factors, combined with this piece of information in the pattern notes have me totally frustrated:

The bodice is designed to accommodate long-waisted ladies – those with a nape-to-waist measurement of 17″ to 18″. If your nape-to-waist measurement is less than this, you will most definitely need to shorten the bodice pieces.

Huh? What? When your nape-waist is 14″ a variation of 1″ is waaay too much. NOT IMPRESSED. I might as well go buy an RTW dress. With no pattern markings telling me where the waist is, let alone the nape, how on earth am I supposed to work out how much to shorten the bodice by? The whole thing is made even more impossible by the fact the shoulder seam does not sit on the shoulder, nor is there a shoulder point mark.

On a related subject, how much am I supposed to shorten the skirt by too, when there is no waist, hip – or heck, even the nape – markings?

I know I know. “Make a muslin” BUT, I have always found muslins work best when it is a bit of a tweak here or there, not practically re-drafting the entire garment to fit. After all, isn’t the point of a paper pattern so that you don’t have to do that?

Not impressed.


I don’t remember having this issue with the Regency gown. Mind you I did buy the Simplicity print of the Sense and Sensibility pattern, not the pattern direct from Sense and Sensibility. I just did my usual height adjustments, and straight back adjustments and it is fine.

I did consider the possibility of simply cutting it out as it was, and fitting the length on the muslin as best I could. But I find it almost impossible to adjust a muslin for my straight back, which needs a longer upper front than upper back, while still making the side seams match up. That really needs adjusting at the flat pattern stage, and needs the same reference points as to adjust the nape-waist length.
So I figured I would give it my best shot at getting the length and straight-back fitting issues resolved by tissue-fitting the pattern a la Palmers Fit for Real People. This isn’t really my favourite method of fitting as without a helper it is very hard to make sure everything is sitting on the body the way the finished garment would have fallen. And something like this dress is so involved, my Fitting Consultat aka mum won’t do it. (And I didn’t have the energy to bribe her with doing a bit of sewing for her in exchange!)
It is also not exactly easy to gather the printer paper up, and two seams needed it for this method for this dress. O_o
So I just tissue-fitted as best I could. I will cut out the seam allowances at 1.5 cm so I have that bit of playing room with the muslin.
I still have to adjust the skirt – the lack of waist marking is making that a bit hit-and-miss as well. But thankfully the muslin can sort that out easily.
Next up – muslin.

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