Bodice Fail

April 17, 2014


Because I think it's as important to talk about our failures as it is our successes, I share with you today my most recent fail. As you know if you read my blog regularly, I have been slowly but steadily losing weight this year. I'm down 13 pounds (yay!) and many inches around my body. While this is awesome, it also means that I am sewing for a completely new and different body than I've known for years.

I have been waiting to sew anything for my upcoming trip to Paris so that my body would be as close as possible to the way it will be when we leave, but at a certain point you just gotta pull the trigger and start making things again! Enter the gorgeous Flora Dress from By Hand London.


First, let me start by saying that their pattern is perfect and lovely, and that nothing said from this point forward is a reflection on their patternmaking skills. I loathe reading posts about patterns where the sewer thinks that poor fit is due to poor pattern making. Sure, sometimes that's true, but more often the case is that there is denial about how much work it actually takes to fit something to each unique body correctly, and typically muslin making and pattern changes were skipped. So this post is not a reflection of the Flora pattern, and you should all go and buy it! Rather, this is about how I have no idea what my body is shaped like anymore!

You might already know the gorgeous Flora pattern, available in two different bodice and skirt styles, both equally lovely. I labored over my bodice choice for a while because I really like both equally. In the end I decided to try the faux wrap version, as it is a style I rarely wear or make for myself, and I thought that it would look lovely under a cardigan with the wrap part still showing at the center. I already knew that I wasn't going to make either of the skirt choices, mainly because I wanted to make this more of an everyday dress, so I had decided to make a not-too-full knife pleated dirndl.

I've lost about 3" around my bust, and have nearly given up wearing my own bras because lord, you could take a big giant dart in those suckers right about now! Sorry, that's probably TMI, but hey, let's talk about how much smaller and less fatty my butt is! Okay, let's not. Moving on…


I saw the photos of the full-busted model looking amazing in the dress, and I'm not sure why I didn't think to myself, girlfriend, you don't have those boobs! You probably need a small bust adjustment! But I didn't think this.


Anyway, I made a muslin for the bodice, had my pal Haley help fit me in it and mark where it should be changed, made all those pattern changes, and then cut into my fabric with glee. I sewed up all the darts, sewed up the shoulders, and I even made the lining front curve an 1" smaller so I could ease the outer layer to the inner layer to help prevent any gaping. I understitched the front edges to keep the lining in place, then forged ahead and basted up the side seams, knowing that if I needed to change it slightly at that point, I still could. With much anticipation, I pinned up the back at 5/8", then slipped the bodice on and wrapped it around the front and pinned it in place.

(Enter sad trombone sound here)

So what did it look like? Why am I not showing you this photo? Because clearly I no longer have the bosom to fill this bodice. Like, not even close people! So now, I'm not gonna lie, I really don't know what to do with this lovely and gorgeous bodice. For it to fit me will mean serious hacking and it will no longer even look like the real pattern anymore. I don't have any more of this pretty chambray, but that's okay, I have a stash that looks like a fabric store, so I'm not going to loose sleep over that, and besides, it's a very replaceable fabric. (I might even have other chambray cuts in my stash!)

Where do I go from here? Some of you might suggest I make the SBA and try again, but I think I'll make a SBA and try the other bodice. I really went back and forth on which one to make for the longest time, and I went for the wrap as a bit of a risk from the get go, as something very different for me. So I think I'll give it another try and make a muslin of the other view, which honestly, is more "me" anyway.

So there's my little reality check of the day! How are all of you doing with your Flora dresses? Any recent fails you want to share? Or if you have brilliant ideas of how I can fix this without destroying its original look, bring it on!

LA Workshops Reminder!

April 15, 2014


Hi all! Just a reminder that I'm teaching the lovely Deer & Doe Datura Tank starting tomorrow at Sew L.A. and there are a few spots left! So if you're interested, give the shop a shout today and sign yourself up! It's a perfect summer tank full of loads of skills like darts, buttons, curved bias bound hem, and more!


I also have one spot left in the Coco Top (or Dress) class. You all must know the pattern by Tilly & the Buttons by now, as it's everywhere on the web! And for good reason - it's a really great introduction to knits for the beginner. We'll make our Cocos on a regular home machine and I'll pass on tips on how to get around not owning a serger for knit sewing. That class starts on Saturday, May 3.


That same day I'm teaching the easiest class at Sew L.A., Throw Pillow Covers, so if you're an absolute newbie to sewing, this is the class for you! And yes, when we're done, you'll have a pair of throw pillows for your home. Pretty satisfying!

Find all the details at the links and sign up today! Spaces are limited.
Thanks and see you all in class!!!