That’s right, I said it. Whack-a-mole. Still working away on Butterick 5333. I got the ease worked out in the midriff area (although I’m liking the silouette a little more when it was a little smaller!) but now there’s something wonky going on with the upper bodice. Like, way, WAY too much fabric!! Here are the comparison shots starting from the beginning to present sad state (also, muslin #3 pictures were taken at night in my bedroom… horrible lighting!)

Again, not a lot of visible difference! You can see, a little, from the photo how much better the bust fits – you can also see a little how the shoulders are wider and more floppy… which brings me to the first (well, on this round) unfortunate adjustment I made to the pattern and to what is probably the basis for all the badness going on…
Tucking the front neckline to remove gaping
OK, I’m including what I did here, even though this was an epic fail. But, in the interest of full disclosure and offering up my mistakes so that others may learn (I’m feeling a bit old testament here!) I’ll show what I did.
The issue addressed with this adjustment is the gaping at the front neckline. In a very lazy and ill-advised move, I cut out a size 20 for this pattern when I should have cut a size 18 according to my high bust measurement. I was thinking I needed the larger size and could deal with the extra width at the shoulders since it was sleeveless. So I had some gaping issues. So I needed to pinch some excess out of the neckline.
Step one – I outlined the entire upper part of the bodice so that  once I started messing around with the neckline I could retain the original line of the sleeves.
step 1
Step two – I drew in a dart (shown below in pink) about .5″ wide.


step 2
Step 3 – I folded the dart and smoothed the pattern down. After everything was taped down I cut out the pattern, following the outlines I had drawn in step one.
step 3

Theoretically, I now have a shorter neckline, with the arms in the original position. This should be a good thing, but the muslin clearly had problems in part because the entire neckline is too wide, making the sleeves sort of feel like they are about to fall off my shoulders. On to the next adjustment…

Raising the bustline/moving a horizontal dart
After trying on muslin 2, I realized that the bust point was WAY too low – the horizontal bust point needed to be raised by about 1″. Normally, I have to lower my bust point a lot and I kept that in mind with this pattern. I think when I added length to the upper bodice in my first round of adjustments, that lowered the bust point significantly. So everything need raising up!

Step 1 – draw a box around the horizontal dart – shown in pink.

step 1
Step 2 – cut the horizontal dart out along the lines drawn in step 1.
step 2
Step 3 – fill in the empty box with wax paper. Measure and draw a line 1″ above the lower edge of the box cut out in step 2.
step 3
Steps 4 and 5 – slide the cut out dart straight up so that the bottom edge lines up with the line drawn in step 3. When the piece is moved up, it will not line up/fit perfectly. Slide straight up the pink line on the right and tape everything down. Trim outside edge so the pattern is smooth.
I’ve shown below, circled in green, how I cut a very small wedge of the original outer edge away from the pattern in order to make everything look tidy.
steps 4 and 5
Moving up the dart point on the vertical dart
I also had to move up the point of the vertical dart – which is MUCH easier, although probably hard to see because of all my sharpie-scratch-outs on the pattern! Based on my measurements on muslin #2, I wanted to move the dart point up about 2.5″. The new dart point is shown in the yellow box below and the dart point from muslin #2 is shown in the pink box. I redrew the dart legs to meet up at the new dart point.
Moving the vertical dart point
Adding ease to the bodice
Now that I’ve made the changes to the neckline and bust area, I am moving on to adding a bit more ease (or width) to the entire shirt. I start out with the front bodice, adding a wedge that starts below the horizontal dart and swings out to .5″ from the bottom of the bodice piece.
It’s a little hard to see, but the picture below shows that when I add in this manner, I want the new line to be exactly the same on the front and back pieces (in this case, bodice pieces). I made the change on the front bodice piece, then laid the back bodice piece directly on top, lining up the original edges of the pattern pieces and tracing the new wedge shape onto the wax paper taped to the back bodice piece. This way, the seam will flare out in the same place, hopefully avoiding unsightly lumps and wrinkles (other than the ones provided by my own flesh!) The new wedge is circled in yellow below.
adding ease to the front and back bodice pieces
Add ease to midriff and skirt
Since I added .5″ to the top bodice piece, I need to also add that to the midriff and skirt pieces, otherwise they will not attach cleanly, with no gathering. I added .5″ to both the midriff and skirt pieces in the same way, pictured below on the midriff pieces. I simply made a vertical cut on the pattern pieces and spread .5″ apart, filling the space with tissue – circled in yellow below.
adding ease to the midriff pattern pieces
I also added another .5″ to the very bottom of the skirt (not pictured anywhere!) by adding a wedge to the front and back skirt pieces in the same way I added the wedge to the bodice pieces, starting near the top of the seam to add width evenly from the top to the bottom.
Taking a look at muslin #3!
Adjustments complete, I sewed the whole thing together. As I said at the beginning of the post, I’m not as thrilled with this version. I think, in general, I liked the look of the more TIGHT version #2! But I’m thinking that in the final version, with the midriff piece interfaced and, you know, not being made of bedsheets, this version may end up looking better. There’s something I’m not liking about the way the skirt of the shirt flares out on the sides, so I will be very careful to avoid curving those seams on later versions (the 18 more muslins I will undoubtedly make as well as the final version which I’ll probably end up never wearing due to the painful memories associated with making it…)
The big problem with this muslin is in the front neckline and armscye area. There is just way too much fabric! At first I thought I could deal with it, but it really could be very sloppy looking in the final. I’m aware that I’m suffering from a bit of obsessive overfitting (that’s a real disease, right?), but this is just crazy.
The picture on the left shows the bodice completely unpinned. I’ve circled the areas of concern in yellow – the big fold of fabric under the arm and right in the center of the chest.
In the picture on the right I’ve shown how I’ve pinned these areas up. The neckline gaping I removed by pinching out 1″ of fabric on the left and right side of the chest. When I did this, it also brought the arms in, making them feel less like they were going to slide off my shoulders. I think when I make this adjustment for muslin #4, I will not move the arms back out like I did above for the neckline adjustment I did for this muslin.
I’ve pinched a full 2″ out of the area under the arm. that’s a lot of extra fabric! I was worried that I was taking too much out of the front bodice piece, but once pinned and viewed from the side, the side seam is still straight up and down, not leaning towards the front towards the armscye! So I guess all this extra fabric really IS in the front bodice!
Up next – probably pictures of me, wild eyed and haired, slashing old bedsheets into little tiny strips of fabric, tears streaming down my face…
patty brower

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