Construction of my wedding dress is underway and I have completed my first muslin! The pattern is the Victory Patterns Ava and I am very happy with how the fitting is going so far.
Fitting the Muslin-
Based on the finished measurements for this pattern, I started by tracing a size 8 at the shoulders. Then, starting at the armpits, I graded the pattern from a size 8 to a size 10, so that from the waist down the pattern was traced as a size 10. I’m a bit pear-shaped, so this is typically what I do.
The instructions tell you to try on the dress after you attach the lower bodice to the skirt and before you install the zipper, which is also before you sew on the upper bodice. I found it very hard to decipher how the dress fit at that point, since there was nothing to hold the lower bodice up. It looked like it was going to be way too big and like I had completely cut out the wrong size and maybe even graded it backwards. I trudged on though, and am glad I did, because I was pleasantly surprised by how well everything fit once I attached the upper bodice.
In fact, it is rare that a pattern fits me this well right away. I usually have to mess around a lot more with the placement of the bust darts, do pivot adjustments for width and sometimes the back poofs out and I have to adjust for that. Maybe this pattern designer is pear-shaped too!
Adjusting the Fit and Altering the Pattern-
I think the pattern is designed to be an empire waist, but that has never been a good look on me. I lengthened the bodice 3 inches, so that it will fall at my natural waist. The dress is a little big just under the armpit, so I needed to take it in about 3/4 right under the armpit. Since both the front and back bodice pieces are cut on the fold, I took 6/16 of an inch (half of 3/4) off of the front and back bodice pattern pieces. There are no side bust darts on this pattern (just at the waist), so that was an easy adjustment to make, as it didn’t involve any pivoting or moving bust darts. I just measured in 6/8″ at the armpit and graded it down to the normal waist. I then redrew the line and moved the markings.
Usually if I have to make a lot of adjustments to the pattern, I will pick apart the muslin and make a second one to test the alterations. Since the adjustments seem so minimal, I am going to jump right to the wearable muslin. This is great, because I had expected to spend way more time on fitting. I may have just bought myself more time so I can focus on couture finishes like linings and french seams!
My rough plan for the final dress, is to underline it with silk organza and then line the bodice with cotton batiste. I’ll be heading back to the Pacific Fabrics at Northgate to get their opinion on it, since they were so helpful last time, so this could all change. I underlined my Crepe dress, so I know how long it can take, but I think it will be totally worth it if it makes the silk easier to work with. Plus it should add a nice weight to it and make it feel more finished. I just need to make sure I pick the right kind of fabric for the linings. That said, do any of you have any suggestions for good fabrics for lining and underlining silk shantung? Or any advice for working with silk in general? I would greatly appreciate it, as I am in plan-formulating mode right now. It will help me feel more confident about what to do when the time comes!