It should also be noted that the RTW sizing of this pattern (35/25/36) would most likely be achieved with the aid of a girdle, long-line bra, and perhaps even a corset. Since the body is already molded into shape with some serious undergarments, generous amounts of ease are unnecessary. In fact, having no ease at the waistline would further help to achieve an hourglass figure by pulling everything in. Hello, waist-stay!
Sunday, February 2, 2014
Bodice Muslins & Measurements
When I received this pattern, I did not have a suitable fabric in hand, but I wanted to get started just the same.
First up, the muslin. These days I often start out with a practice run, mostly for fit. In this particular case, I would highly recommend one because of the complicated construction. This is my kind of pattern – it takes more than a simple scan of the pieces and directions to figure out how everything fits together. Also, there was a bit of grading to do, and I wanted to make sure everything was going to fit together properly.
As I have mentioned, this dress is a vintage size 12/35” bust. My first surprise was the finished measurements: bust 35”, waist 25” – that means that no ease is included. I initially thought that I had made an error. But after checking and re-checking, the numbers were not changing.
I recall learning in a class that seam allowances on historical fashions were often tiny (as small as ¼”) to save precious fabric. I struck me as odd that women did not bust seams wide open, until I thought about their foundation garments. Throw a corset on and your ribcage and waistline is not able to expand very much, making those tiny little seam allowances safe from tearing open after a deep breath.
I am not familiar, however, with a sleeved dress that is lacking an amount of ease through the bustline.
It is not completely clear from the illustration, but this design sits quite wide at the neckline (as I found out once I put the muslin on my dress form). It therefore makes sense that the piece would be drafted similar to a strapless gown. This design has a draped bodice that lays over a fitted shell or “lining.” That lining needs to fit snug to the body to create the proper draping and keep the bodice from falling down. Another brilliant design feature from Ceil Chapman!
First mystery solved!