Hi! I’m Rachel and I have a recently-rediscovered passion for sewing.
My experiences with Anna v1 inspired me to undertake a bodice fitting journey which started with understanding my bodice and continued through the making of Simplicity 8523 E and Belladone. Anna v2 is a culmination of all of those experiences.
Today I will be providing you with a little more detail on fitting the Anna bodice. Having made quite a mess of the bodice for my Anna v1, I had a wealth of experience to drawn upon by the time it came to Anna v2.
As a general disclaimer, if you thought I talked too much about my assets in Sunday’s post you may want to skip this one!
General Sizing Notes
Anna v1 was cut to a size 12 all over without taking into consideration to curves of my body shape. The resulting bodice was too small at the lower back, struggling to meet at the zip and gaping at the neckline. To overcome the majority of these fitting issues I let out the side seam allowance, removed the back darts and reduced the size of the front pleats. These amendments reclaimed the fabric and allowed me to fit the bodice around my torso.
The below photo shows my attempt at inserting a zip on Anna v1, despite my recovery job it did get very tight at the join with the skirt!
I overcame these issues with Anna v2 by cutting the shoulders and neckline to a size 10 corresponding to my bust size. I recalled from Anna v1 that the seam allowance was quite tight across the bust despite the additional room provided by a size 12. This was likely to be a consequence of my slightly larger than average cup size. To avoid this fitting issue second time around I followed a trick I had attempted with my Myrtle top in bringing the sizing of the dress up to size 14 through the arm holes, thus allowing for extra give around the bust and centre back.
As a quick note the v neckline was also a much better fit for the bustier lady, I do find that the fabric on the straight neck is more likely to ripple when worn.
I decided not to lengthen the bodice for both Anna v1 and v2 as I liked the point where the bodice and skirt met. Choosing not to lengthen the bodice did leave me with some issues with the front pleats. Anna’s front pleats are intended to “open like a flower” at the bust, however on both occasions the pleats were too long and somewhat squished my assets like so:
Utilising an incredibly sophisticated method of visual assessment, i.e. looking and measuring with fingers, I decided to reduce the height of the pleats by one inch. This reduction in height would allow the tip of the pleat to sit just beneath the bust and allow the pleats to open as required.
You can see those reduced pleats and their effect just here:
Admittedly these aren’t great photos but hopefully you can see my point!
I wasn’t able to completely avoid the gaping neckline second time around but I did save myself from the masses of excess fabric found in v1. To amend this and ensure the right fit for me I followed exactly the same steps I tried first time around.
Firstly I assessed the amount of excess fabric like so:
Using this excess and some strategically placed pins as a guide I moved the left side of the invisible zip over to right to create a larger seam allowance at the top of the dress. This is allowed me to effectively fit the dress to my body using only the zip.
Due to the volume of excess fabric with Anna v1 I trimmed the seam allowance but do not do this second time around.
Cast your mind back to my recent completed make the Anna dress. As you may remember, my Anna was quite a test and I had a few hiccups with the bodice, squishing my assets in the process!
I managed to rescue my Anna after some frantic rework and was very pleased with the result, but now having completed my make I’m ready to work out how to avoid this in future. As such my next project Simplicity 8523 E is all about establishing fit and understanding my body shape.
Simplicity 8523 E is designed to be slightly loose fitting so why pick E you may ask?
I’ve chosen E as I believe looser fitting clothing can often be more difficult to get right than a fitted piece. As someone with a fairly curvy figure, a baggy fit can can often result in an unflattering outfit which hits all the largest parts of my body and only makes them seem bigger. My aim with E is to make a loose fitting top which still accentuates my figure and feels very feminine.
To first establish fit I measured my bust, waist, neck and back and found the following:
Bust = 34″ or UK Size 12 or European Size 38
Waist = 30″ or UK Size 16 or European Size 42
Hip = 38″ or UK Size 14 or European Size 40
Back (neck to waist) = 18″, no corresponding size as 0.5″ longer than the longest option!
Having purchased a pattern in UK sizes 8, 10 and 12 I was getting a little worried here but having looked at the finished garment measurements I chose to cut to a UK Size 12 which resulted in garment measurement of 38.5″.
As suspected in my Anna post, I do have a longer back length than average and so having established that the final garment length would be 23.75″ I decided to add an additional 1″ to length to ensure fit.
Slightly off topic here, but apologies for the can of custard in this image, I haven’t gotten around to purchasing proper pattern weights!
My main concern with cutting to a size 12 all over was the potential for a gaping neckline. My back does curve in towards the neck and I don’t have particularly broad shoulders. I have regularly had difficulties in finding clothing which fits in this area.
I heeded my own advice from my previous post and made a muslin of the front and back pieces of the top checking for both length and neckline fit. As suspected I found the top gaped ever so slightly at the neckline. Using a set of pins I marked the size of the gape and went back to my muslin, inserting two long, thin darts at the neckline. These darts made a huge difference to fit in this area, the muslin fabric curving to meet my neck.
Alterations complete, I set out to to cut my fabric. Come back soon to see the finished article!