As all parents know, the holy grail of big family events is to make or wear something that is not "too embarrassing" to one's offspring. This simple sheath in a slightly stretchy, slightly shiny cotton fit the bill for my daughter's college graduation. SunnyGal Beth helped me fit Butterick 5602 during my day with her in April.
I learned two important things while making this dress: (1) I don't always need a full-bust adjustment -- sometimes I just need to lower the bust darts. (2) Beth has a trick for altering vertical darts to accommodate a tummy.
During my day at her studio, Beth shared her method of altering fish-eye vertical darts: she marks the vertical quarters of the dart, and moves the fullest part of the dart from the half-way mark to the upper quarter mark. This simple shape shift creates more room for the waist and what I call the "under waist." My belly is fullest at the "under waist" mark. I have yet to learn how to demonstrate things on the computer, so here are my hand-drawn instructions:
Yesterday I had the pleasure of spending the entire day with Beth of Sunny Gal Studio. I have been looking at her beautiful clothes for a couple of years, and I was excited to see she teaches in her home. She lives 15 minutes from my Dad, so visiting him was a perfect excuse to learn more about sewing and fitting. I wanted help making a dress for my daughter Charlotte's college graduation in May. My original idea was to make the Truffle dress from the Colette Handbook. I took the liberty of doing a full-bust-adjustment on the tissue before making a muslin to bring to Beth's studio. Beth and I fiddled with the muslin and the pattern for a few hours before giving up. I'm not sure if my FBA messed up the pattern, or if the pattern just didn't work for me. After a delicious lunch, Beth pulled out a Butterick 5602 from her stash of patterns. It is a simple sheath dress with great lines and optional pockets. We traced it onto tissue paper and made a muslin. The most surprising thing I learned was that I don't need a full bust adjustment. My full bust is only 1.5 inches bigger than my high bust. We lowered the bust dart and made a muslin. The neckline gaped a bit, and the upper back was pooling a bit, so Beth made some tucks in the fabric, which we transferred to the tissue. Now I'm ready to make a great fitting sheath dress. If you live in the Bay Area and want to give yourself a wonderful gift, spend the day with Beth.