To SBA or not to SBA

All y’all* are a bunch of enablers, you know.

So against my better judgment (and to my hubby’s dismay) I spent the latter part of yesterday evening whipping up a very quick muslin of the Colette Ceylon pattern rather than snuggling on the couch with him watching the last of Mrs. Doubtfire.

Altered bodice pattern pieces

The nice thing about the Ceylon Β bodice is that the pieces are all itty-bitty, so you can squeeze them out of pretty small scraps. I really didn’t think I’d get anything else out of the last few bits of that blue flannel duvet, but I got it all, quite handily. Well, not the sleeves, yet.

Oh, dear. I’m going to have to show you fitting pictures again. Darn it.

Yes, I know this one really provides no fitting information at all. Be patient.

Now, I started slow, with just the midriff-band pieces. I initially traced them in a size 2, grading up to a size 4 at the waist. (According to the Colette size charts, my waist is a size 6 while the rest of my measurements suggest a size 0. However, even with the astounding amount of waist-innish-ness on these pieces, going from a 0 to a 6 would’ve given me a convex, rather than concave waistline. 2 to 4 seemed like a reasonable compromise). I also added a CB seam and did a pre-emptive swayback alteration. The resulting piece turned out just right in the lower back, a little loose above the waist, and a bit big across the front. So I gleefully graded the front down by 1/4″, and the back similarly above the waist. I guess that means my front waist piece grades from size 0 at the top and bottom to size 2 at the waist, while the back goes 0-4-2 top-waist-bottom. Plus whatever distortion the swayback throws in there.

It’s well-known that Colette drafts for a generous C cup, while I am more in the “small

Ceylon muslin 1, front view

end of B but loudly refusing to consider myself an A” territory. Obviously an SBA was going to be in order. Previous experience suggests that some shortening in the upper bodice would be appropriate, as well.

So I started with a horizontal tuck around the bust and mid-back pieces of the bodice, taking out about 2cm of height. This may have been a bit much in the front, but anyway. I played around with a second, angled vertical tuck in the front bust piece, pinned the pieces on my duct-tape double and decided to give it a whirl.

Ceylon, muslin 1, side view

On aesthetic rather than fitting grounds, I also messed with the curve of the front yoke (which seems to stick out a little high on the smaller sizes at least). I cut the upper pieces a size 0 before alteration, by the way.

As you can see, the SBA was a bit, ah, enthusiastic. It still fits, but there’s a certain blousiness to the back that seems to be missing from the front, and I’m pretty sure when buttoned it would end up gapey. Assuming ambition does not desert me, I’ll try a version tonight with the vertical tuck removed, and see where that leaves me.

I like the new shape of the front yoke pieces. I still think the neckline (those gaping, angled pieces of the bodice) needs to come down 1/2″ or so. Some of the gapeyness doubtless comes from carelessly stretching on the bias, but I will have to watch for that in the final construction. Having adequate bust space should help with it, too, I would think.

I’m torn on the horizontal tuck. The front length seems good to perhaps a wee bit

Ceylon muslin 1, back view, slack.

short, the back length still looks a little long. And there are still a few wrinkles in the back midriff piece that I’m not sure what to do about. I’m reluctant to increase the swayback alteration, as it’s already at Sherry’s recommended maximum before you should start looking for other fitting causes (like, oh, a short upper body). Would shortening the upper back pull the midriff pieces higher and let them fit my waist a bit better?

There is a lot of blousiness at the back, some of which is necessary, but it seems a bit excessive. Again, I’m wondering if there isn’t too much length in this section; the width seems good, as it goes comfortably taut when I move my arms forward.

So that’s where I am. I think tonight I’ll re-cut my front bust pieces and mess with the length of the back piece. But now, I must get back to work on the wondrous intricacies of phylogenetic analysis…

*Lest I besmirch the reputation of my fellow Canucks, I would like to point out that I learnt that lovely bit of English in Texas a couple of years ago. We don’t really talk like that up here, eh.



Filed under Sewing

16 responses to “To SBA or not to SBA

  1. I’d take some of that extra out of the back, above the midriff piece. It’s a little too bunchy where it’s not part of the style. I think you’re right on the horizontal tuck!
    Looking forward to seeing your Ceylon. You look fabulous in retro, feminine styles – no chance of looking too ‘little-girl’ with your awesome haircut!
    have a good weekend! πŸ™‚

  2. I don’t have this pattern, but if the skirt fits at the natural waist it will eliminate most of your back midriff wrinkles. They look to be caused by the inning-and-outing of your waist and the fabric not wanting to follow along. Center back looks a little long, like you said.

    Your muslin is looking great!

  3. I’m a bit like you where there are a lot of alterations to be made to the back, and I get such a sore neck trying to look at my back in the mirror!
    I think shorten the upper back too, but maybe via those diagonal wrinkles that run from the side seam to the yoke gathers, tapering to nothing at the yoke? And then scoop any extra out of the lower edge to shorten it like you do for a sway back. I don’t think shortening the upper back will smooth those midriff pieces, you might need to take a horizontal tuck through the waistline of the side back panel, and alter the edges of the side front and CB panel to match.
    I know you’ll get there – with great results!

    • Sherry, I like your idea of shortening the CB of the mid-back piece a la swayback, but I’m a little confused what you mean about shortening it via the diagonal wrinkles, tapering to nothing at the yoke. What seam are you suggesting I alter here? (Sorry, brain broken by a day of reading theoretical papers)

      • I would pin out the diagonal wrinkles like a wedge (the photo looks like about 1.5cm total at the side seam, to zero at the yoke) and then do the same thing to your pattern. So the yoke edge will curve a bit more, and the side seam will shorten and change angle. I still think you’ll need to scoop some out of the lower CB, and realign the side seams.
        Hope this helps – you can always email me if you need a diagram, which makes it a lot easier to explain!

        • Ok, I *think* I got it this time… a wedge with the short edge on the side seam and the acute point at the yoke, following the line of those wrinkles. I will definitely keep that in mind since this seems to be a recurring problem (I wonder what “fit problem” that is?)

  4. Thaa tawk lak thaaat in Teexaaas? Sounds more like New England! πŸ˜‰ At least to me, eh…
    Rhonda in Montreal (PR), who needs a full C-cup FBA… You’re a size 6 waist and size 0 everywhereelse? Oh, those WERE the dazs… Enjoy!!

    • Well, I’ve never been to New England, so I couldn’t say πŸ˜‰ (The biggest disappointment with my one trip to New York City was not meeting anyone with an authentic NYC accent. Mind you, I think I only met two people while I was there who spoke English as a first language anyway… πŸ˜‰ )

  5. dawn s

    The yall is perfectly normal to me but, of course, I ‘m from Texas. It is useful to have a second person plural pronoun.

    • Yeah, it’s a little silly that English doesn’t have a proper one (except the cumbersome “you all” or “all of you”). Y’all I was expecting, it being Texas ;). It was the “all y’all” that surprised me πŸ™‚ (And of course my one 10-day stint in Texas is not at all adequate to judge if this is typical or representative of Texans or merely a quirk of the particular elderly ranchers we were pestering…)

      • dawn

        “All yall” and “all of yall” are really common to emphasize that you really mean “each and every one of you”. I saw your other post about being a non-knitter with a yarn stash. I love it because I am convinced that, as a knitter, I have two distinct hobbies. One is knitting and one is yarn collecting! I am surprised at a Canadian that can’t knit because I had been lead to believe they teach “all of yall” that in school.

  6. You know, the way I FBA for those underbust seams is usually little more than adding to the bottom of the top piece (like my burda bardot top..) so I should think all you’d need is to shorten the top piece and see what happens….

  7. Why on earth would “y’all” besmirch you reputation? It only strengthens it in my book πŸ™‚ I thought you had it starred in the first line because you were going to name specific enablers. I was wondering if someone was going to bring up “all y’all”. Now I’ve got to think of a title on my blog that includes “eh.”
    I’ve always admired this pattern. I’m inexperienced when it comes to fitting but it seems that the horizontal tuck might do the trick. It’s going to look fab on you.

  8. Ok, wait my comment doesn’t make much sense. Apologies, I didn’t read through all the comments and you did use “all y’all”! Maybe that would besmirch your reputation πŸ˜‰

  9. Hey, those diagonal drag lines from the sleeve to the shoulder look to mean that you need a rounded shoulder adjustment. At least that’s what the nice ladies at The Great Vintage Sew-a-Long told me.

    I’m not sure but maybe a rounded shoulder adjustment + width taken from the center back?

  10. I’m sorry, not width, but length… If this makes sense, a bit of a rounded shoulder adjustment and then length taken from the bottom of the center back piece. That’s what it looks like to me.

    Also, we here in Georgia say ya’ll a lot.

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