…And disaster struck.

These photos won’t tell you anything about the problem but I’m not up to demonstrating the issue. So here are the photos and below them is where I get overly dramatic.

This is McCall’s 6891 in progress. The bodice looks innocent enough, doesn’t it?

I muslined this bodice. I was pretty determined, in fact, to finally figure out my size above the waist in Big Four patterns. I thought I had arrived at something workable with that muslin — it seemed like two sizes down from the recommended size, with some grading for the waist, would finally work. (By the way, that went along with all that advice about picking the size based on your high bust measurement, and with that trick suggested by Susan Khalje.)

The muslin fit fine. I moved around in it, it moved with me. But my bad for being too lazy to muslin the sleeves and believing I could eyeball the seamlines.

Because once I basted in the sleeves, I wasn’t able to move my arms at all. Ironically, I made up the muslin in a very similar fabric to the dress. So much for that…

It seems like I have an adorable combination of narrow shoulders and a broad back. Or that’s at least what I arrived at after obsessively studying Fit for Real People and Sarah Veblen’s The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting for the past two days.

That’s never come up for me before. Not with the indie patterns I’ve tried. I ended up trying on most of my tops and dresses, but no, I didn’t just dream that they fit. They actually do fit, and I am able to move in them.

From the perspective of how the Big Four patterns are drafted, I feel like some mythical beast patched together from different animals. No damn clue what else I could do at this point to figure out the fit.

Back to the drawing board.


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I write about sewing, knitting, and may sometimes be tempted to talk about books.

10 thoughts on “gah!”

    1. I could try making it sleeveless. I think I have enough fabric to cut a new back, too. Which option would you go with?

      Really, the problem is how obsessed I get with issues like these: I try to resolve them, like a hacker in a very bad movie, trying to crack a password.

      Thank you for the advice. I really appreciate it 😊


        1. Yeah, my out-of-focus hanger shots won’t really tell anyone anything. I’m mulling over the solutions. Yours is probably the best, honestly, because it’s logical and straightforward.

          The other possibility would be to attach the sleeves to the muslin, flap my wings in it, cut into it, flap my wings again, and with the help of some muslin scraps and unsuspecting husband try to figure out how much additional width I need in order to move my arms in this like a normal person.

          My penchant for overcomplicating should probably take a back seat for the sake of my sanity. But, dammit, what’s happening on my back?!

          Liked by 2 people

  1. I sympathize with the narrow shoulders issue. My triangle shape of narrow shoulders combined with big hips is what drove me to sewing my own clothes. Not that I’ve exactly figured out the adjustment, but my me-mades at least do fit better than RTW.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi! Thanks so much for chiming in on this. These photos don’t show the issue at all, sorry. The tightness is on the upper back only, above the darts, so I think the solution will lie in attaching the sleeves to the muslin and slashing the muslin to see how much extra room will give me a decent range of movement. So it’s either cutting a new back with more width on the upper back, or, like Liza Mae suggested above, doing the saner thing and going sleeveless for this version. I’m taking a break from this project for now.

      Liked by 1 person

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