Shirt Dress: Fail


I’ve calmed down now. It’s alright. Promise. I’ve got over the rage and disappointment of my first ‘wadder’. And if I’d only thought about it a bit more at the pattern alteration stage, this wouldn’t have happened. Or if I’d toiled more than the bodice… But ‘Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda are the last words of a fool’. This isn’t a lesson I’ll forget in a hurry though:

My shirt dress is a fail. The bodice came together really well in the end. I was all set to attach the skirt when I realised that I’d just cut the skirt based on my waist size and not graded from the bodice size.

Why’s this an issue? Well, let me tell you – it is all my boobs fault. Lucky ol’ me has a generous bust which makes a FBA (Full Bust Adjustment) necessary. This means that the back of the pattern stays the same but the front increases in width to accommodate said bust.

So, when I just cut the skirt size according to my waist, this threw all the placement off. I was trying to get the CB (Centre Back) seam of the bodice at one size, to meet the CB seam of a skirt that was a size (ahem, or two) bigger. Not gonna happen. Too much skirt, not enough bodice.

The same, but in reverse was true at the front! Too much bodice and not enough skirt. All in though, the two seams are the same length, it’s just that the CB, CF and side seams would never match. I considered leaving it but that only flew for about five seconds. I knew, and still know, that those skirt seams being in the wrong place would bug me and I wouldn’t wear the dress.

What I should have done is have two skirt pattern pieces: One for the back and one for the front. The back would have been cut to the bodice pattern size. The front would have been graded to fit the front. I know this now.

Unfortunately I have no fabric spare – I had to piece the underlining for the collar, that’s how tight it got. So, I futzed it – I added some pleats to the front of the bodice and some more to the back of the skirt. Voila, all seams in the right place. I had a feeling though that I’d now thrown the fit as I’d taken between 5 & 6″ out of the waistline.

Thinking I’d chance it, I attached the bodice to the skirt and then tried the whole thing on. Yup, too small now. Not by a huge amount – I could make the seam lines on the open side seam reach but there was zero and I mean ZERO ease.

So the dress is now in my wardrobe, with the zipper on the hanger with the buttons (and I’ll add the thread in a minute…) As I’m still slowly loosing weight, I hope come late autumn I’ll have reduced in circumference sufficiently to make inserting the zipper and finishing this up a worthwhile exercise.

So there we have it. My first ‘wadder’. At least it has the potential for redemption! Onwards and upwards I guess. I’m going to have a crack at the wrap version next and you can bet that I’ll be taking care with the skirt pattern!


18 thoughts on “Shirt Dress: Fail

  1. Vicki, I think I have an idea for you! If the skirt is an a-line, and you can afford to lose some length, try trimming the skirt portion of the waist so it is the same width as the bodice. Then take the back in at the sides until it matches too. I’m not sure how long/short your skirt is, but this method has saved me in the past šŸ™‚

  2. Oh my bodice is holding on for dear life! I had some issues with the bosom and a fabric that was shready. But I loved the new skills I gained, so not too much of a loss,right?

    1. Exactly! Even if it ain’t there yet, I learnt a lot – particularly with the collar, button placement, franken-patterning etc so it was still worthwhile. I hope you manage to get yours to work…

  3. OH NO!!! I’m so very sorry! I don’t suppose there’s any chance that you can pick up more fabric to re-cut the skirt? Ugh! I totally would have made that mistake– I didn’t realize that seamlines change when you make a bodice alteration!

    1. Unfortunately all the fabric was a rare eBay find and I only had just enough! It’s one of those things and it will fit, just not yet. But it’s a lesson I’ll never forget so in someways it was worth it! The annoying thing is that normally I’d check the paper pattern pieces against each other, but didn’t this time. Live and learn!

  4. Oh no, what a shame! I had a similar issue when I first made the macaron dress, mz bum being 2 sizes nigger than my top and at the time I had no knoweldge of grading patterns or adjusting them, But once I fixed that issue I put the waistband in upside down and it all ripped when I wore it … so it is now a skirt! šŸ˜€

    But maybe you get to wear yours soon anyway as you said!

  5. I understand you so well! I also typically only make muslin for the bodice – if I make muslin at all… and I make changes as I go. So sometimes it works, and other times it doesn’t – but if a piece is not what I intended it to be, I won’t wear it, even if the errors are not visible to other people. Since I sew myself I pay much more attention to finishing and fit than I used to with bought clothes.

    Anyway, in cases like that I always conclude that it was a learning experience and next time will be better!

  6. Oh man that SUCKS! I haven’t run into this problem yet, but I definitely have forgotten to adjust facing pieces to match my FBA, so I feel your pain at that facepalm moment! Do let it sit in the Closet of Wonder for awhile; I’m sure it’s not a total wadder, and that fabric is too cute to chuck! šŸ™‚

  7. Sorry to hear that but you could try gathering the excess and backing it with elastic (then removing the gathering thread). That way the side seams’ll match and you’ll still be able to get into it. Gathered waists always remind me of ye olde patterns XD

    1. That’s a genius idea! Question is can I face unpicking the waist seam… If I ever get stuck like this again I will remember this brilliant solution, thank you!

      1. Unpick it while watching mindless television. Seriously-it’ll get done so fast you won’t notice. XD I recommend Being Human or Last man standing. Wait no, scratch that second one-the hot guys doing sporty stuff is quite distracting..

  8. My bust is large as well hence why I have taken an interest in sewing my own clothes, I go to stores see a great button up dress on the hanger and I try it on and nope not even with a tank or T-shirt inside it will not fit or look good!

    Well, the original reason for my post is I was looking for broderie fabric so many dresses, skirts are made of it. Is broderie fabric hard to find like at big chain fabric stores, like Yardage Town, I don’t know if your familiar with it. I also scanned eBay myself and could only find broderie boarders like ruffled lace ends!

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