It’s Steph’s fault.

I should be making up another long-sleeve knit top, or at most cutting out another pair of jeans. But she left the sweetest little invitation to join in the Vintage Sewalong 2011 in her comment on my last post. So of course I had to go check it out.

Simplicity 5728, on the right

And the next thing I know, it’s 10:00 pm (we’re staying up late these days with the kids out of school and my hubby not starting work until 9:30 in the morning) and I’m pulling out the pieces of Simplicity 5728, doing a bit of tissue fitting on my duct-tape me (I suppose I should dignify her with a name…), and finally decided to make my first muslin as-is. I did trace out the bodice pieces first, however, since I was anticipating fairly extensive lengthening alterations. This is, after all, a pattern drafted for someone a good half a foot shorter than me. (I have, however mentioned that most of my height is in my legs. The pattern’s back neck-to-waist measure is 15″, which is the same as mine.) So I pulled out my trusty blue flannel ex-duvet (what will I do when it runs out?) and cut out the pieces. Then, bright ‘n early (okay, not early—you saw the bit about tracing this out at 10pm last night—and not bright as it’s snowing once again) this morning I popped out of bed and threw the thing together.

Oh, god. This means I need to show you…

fitting pictures.


Simplicity 5728, Muslin 1: front

Well, it is a little bit short, at least in the front. The empire seam in the front could come down about 1/2″. The bottom of the front is almost exactly at my waist (and of course it needs to be about 5/8″ lower).

Simplicity 5728, back

The back is… well, practically perfect, length-wise. There are a couple of drag lines under the arms (if someone can enlighten me as to what they mean I’d be super-delighted… is is that the armscye is too high? it is high, although not uncomfortably so…), but they pretty much disappear if I cross my arms so I suspect I should just leave them (?).

Simplicity 5728, back, with arms crossed

The back hem could probably come up at bit at the CB, which I guess would be a swayback alteration? I’ve never done a swayback alteration where I had a waist seam to play with, so I’m not quite sure what the procedure is—I’ve heard some people rail that the hem must be kept on grain, and others say that you can just take a bit off it. I will have to do some research 🙂

Simplicity 5728, side view

There’s some tweaking to be done around the shoulders/back neck where I removed the collar—it won’t be a problem. The armscye is high but I think will be comfortable—I have pretty scrawny arms. The side-seams seem to be in the right place.

So… any suggestions on lengthening the front but not the back? Maybe I could just increase the curve at the gathered part to build that extra length in there, without having to mess with any of the other seams at all? Or add the 1/2″ to the CF neckline and curve that out. On the other hand I don’t really have the bust to fill in too much more gathering in that area, though I can always wear the bullet-proof bra, I suppose.

I eagerly await your thoughts and suggestions!



Filed under Sewing

14 responses to “Whimsy

  1. Oh what fun. Try adding about 1/2″ to the bottom of the back seam edge, tapering to nothing at the waist. I think that may help the wrinkles.

    To lengthen the front, give it 5/8″ (for your seam, right?) in the cf, tapering to nothing at the side seams. You could do the same in reverse to shorten the back- take up a little bit in the CB and taper to nothing at the side seams.

    Sherry did an amazing, extensive exploration of “sway back” issues.

    • Yeah, I’ve read Sherry’s post (two or three times now 😉 ), and I will check it again, although I don’t remember her talking much about waist seams (since the goal of her alteration was a pattern with neither waist nor CB seam). In this case I have both to play with so it should be easy, right? ;). Do you mean add 1/2″ to the CB seam to let out those wrinkles? That’s worth a try (what a pain with the zipper in the way, though!) Thanks!

  2. Your muslin looks pretty good! For the front I’d add the required length to the bottom of the bust cups. You can dart out additional fullness in the tissue pattern before cutting. Maybe this is the quick and dirty way but it’s worked for me. (small busters unite!)

    I agree that the armscye looks high–it’s pulling the side seams up. If you’ll be putting in sleeves I’d recommend muslining them before adjusting the armscye. With your arms crossed the amount of back ease seems perfect, though.

    The swayback adjustment you mention sounds good. I’ve had success pinning narrow elastic around at my natural waist, parallel to the ground, then marking that line on the fabric. Any length adjustments can be made from this line.

    • Yeah, I think a second iteration with a bit more bust length and a sleeve muslin is in order. Honestly I was not expecting this to fit nearly so well at this stage, or I might’ve tried the sleeves right off the bat. Thanks for the reminder of the elastic-at-the-waist technique.

      I definitely will need to add to the sleeve length. 😉

  3. Carlotta

    No suggestions here, as a nearly-beginner I was so glad to see you planned to sew 5728, by far one of my favorite vintage patterns (I’m pretty sure it could look very very Burda_the original, not Burdastyle).

    But I happen to own another simplicity pattern (9779) from the same year in two versions: the junior and the misses’, and the bust part of the junior version (12 years-old, and if I remember properly yours is 11 years-old) is way shorter than the misses’ one… I guess if I were at your place I would try to shorten the midriff and lengthen the bust, but a beginer’s advice is not the one I would follow!

    Good luck with it (and apologies for any mispelling), I hope your version will give me the courage to tackle my own 5728!

    • Mine is a size 11 junior petite—I don’t know that that means it’s intended for 11-year-olds, although I suppose there probably are 11-year-olds who are five feet tall with a 34″ bust (I have a niece who would’ve been about that size at 12, I guess). Since Misses are drafted for someone 5′ 5″, it makes sense that the main difference would be the length.

      If the overall front length was good, and all I needed to do was drop the empire seam, I would definitely add it to the bust piece and subtract from the midriff, but since I need to increase the front length a bit, I think I will add to the bust without subtracting. Hopefully this will work out ;)… I’m pretty new at fitting, too.

      You should definitely tackle your pattern! (But then, I’m a big fan of jumping in with both feet 😉 )

      • Carlotta

        You know what? you just made me realize that what I had thought to be young girls teenager’s sizes for YEARS (given account that we believe northern americans to be much bigger than us) is actually thought for short-sized ladies… Silly me.
        I think one of my 2011 resolutions will be to tackle more of my lovely simplicity 1973 ( an excellent year for fashion) patterns!

  4. Glad you’re doing the sewalong!
    I quite often need to scoop out a bit from the lower back armscye, because my back is quite narrow/straight and my arms seem to hang towards the back more than the front, and I can see you are similar. That could explain the diagonal wrinkles, but make sure you can still drive a car and brush your hair etc…!
    Maybe also try it on without the zip – sometimes I find they make the CB seam rigid and disguise the real origin of mysterious wrinkles.
    You might only need to adjust the skirt part for your swayback – Hetty’s comment on my post will be helpful.

  5. CGCouture

    Gah! I would kill to have your fabulous tummy! I wish I knew what to tell you on the swayback thing, but I haven’t the first clue. Sorry! It looks like it’s going to be really cute on you, though. 🙂 BTW, do you plan to leave the collar off of the finished product too, or just didn’t want to mess with muslining it? I think it would be cute with just a bound neckline–perhaps in a contrast binding (depending on what your fabric choices were going to be).

    • Yeah, the “inspiration dress”—one which is still hanging in a closet at my grandma’s—has no collar, so I think I’ll go with that at least for this version. I was thinking binding, too, if only because facings annoy me. 😉

      … and thank you for the compliment on the tummy! (blush) … I tend to focus on what it used to be, rather than appreciating it for what it is…

  6. Hm, the problem with judging the armscye in the muslin, is seam allowance. At least, I’m guessing there is seam allowance there now. In which case the real armscye is probably OK. The only way you can be sure is to muslin at least one sleeve as well.
    As for the drag lines at the back: this dress is going to have sleeves, so you are going to need ease at the back to be able to move your arms. So don’t take out back width! Ease is good.

    • I did try clipping the armscye SA at the bottom curve, but it didn’t affect the wrinkles. It doesn’t Feel tight, but what do I know? 😉

      I guess it’s time to go lengthen the sleeve!

  7. Corinne

    I don’t think I have ever “known” a sewist with such amazing passion for her projects. I admire you so much for that. To be able to look at something, imagine it, work it out without formal instruction and have such lovely and stylish finished projects is so inspiring to me. Your dedication to each project and ability to translate that is not just a great finished project but such wonderful inspiration for your daughters….my applause! Okay, that said, a little history. The “junior” designation was a specific sizing for young women who had not developed womanly curves. Narrow shoulders, small bust, narrow hips with only small waistline curves. These patterns were great for the pre-teen through teen style bodies of the time. Very few alterations were necessary from the shoulder to waist areas. The armscye was a bit higher on patterns of that era. These were given size designations in odd numbers. 7, 9, 11, 13…I don’t recall a 15 but that doesn’t mean anything:) There were no multi-size patterns. I would not worry about those little wrinkles on the back armscye area. After fitting the sleeve, see how they work out. Check your natural bust point (with bra on) and measure that against the pattern adjust the upper length of the bust section if needed. I think Steph is correct for the back and front waistline adjustments. This muslin looks pretty good for a first try!

    • Aww—thank you. (blush)

      And thank you for the history—I had a feeling the junior size range would be better for my “boyish figure” but the petite was a little worrying. Though narrow shoulders—not so much. The largest size listed on my envelope is the 11jp 🙂

      Weird to think of 1973 as having “bodies of the time.” it doesn’t seem that long ago, but I guess it is.

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