Monday, April 8, 2013

Wedding Dress Post-Mortem

Well, the wedding is over!  Now it is time to look at the game films and determine what can be improved for next time!    :-)
First, let me say, this dress performed brilliantly!  It made a great impression, was comfortable to wear, and allowed freedom of motion.  Plus, it looked cool when I twirled!

But the fit wasn't perfect.  I knew as soon as I put the sleeves in that I had made the shoulders too wide.  Rats!

I didn't put sleeves into the trial muslin...and in the back of my mind, I could hear that little voice telling me to do so.  But I was in a rush (as always) to get this done.  So I confidently skipped that step.  After all, these are tiny little cap sleeves.  I knew that *if* they weren't 'right' they would still be 'good enough' in, they wouldn't restrict arm movement because they were so I proceeded with abandon! 

Well, not quite 'abandon'...I did have to rip out the first sleeve I set in, as I mentioned in my last post.

As soon as I got these sleeves in and tried the dress on, I could feel them.  Not painful...just an awareness.  I could feel the tightness of the sleeve's needed to be a wider sleeve.  The armhole was VERY close to my body!

If you look at the BACK armhole and sleeve, you can kinda see a fold of excess fabric at the ah seam.

And if you look at the FRONT armhole, you can imagine that that ah seam is right up next to my arm in room for moving the arm forward.

Don't get me wrong...I COULD move my arm forward (and did...I danced all night!)...but I could feel the armhole at first.  After a while, I noticed was comfortable.  But it wasn't 'right'.

I know from these pictures it would appear that I carried a glass of wine the entire time, but, truely, that was NOT the case!

I put it down every now and then...
While it looks like I am scolding someone, in reality I was not.  I was challenging my SIL to dance!  ...silly...

But see how the back of the sleeve has that fold?  If that armhole seam was just a little farther up on the body, the sleeve would have been wider (so, the hem wider = less constricting) and the fold would disappear (I think).

I used a Back Shoulder Width of 17" body actually measures 16.75" between the arm creases WHEN MY HANDS ARE CLASPED IN FRONT...see Helping Measurements if you don't remember.

But if I measure across the TOP of the shoulders, it is not that wide.  I have always struggled with getting the shoulder widths (and thus, the armholes) 'just right'.

I DID use the ARMHOLE SHAPE TOOL to lower the placement of the notch on the back armhole so that the segment ABOVE the notch matched my body's armhole measurement...that is, from my Shoulder Point to the top of the crease where arm meets body.  My body measures 5" I lower the ah notch until that upper segment also measures 5". This way, the armhole begins to curve where it should for MY body. That was explained in the last post.

As I said, I DID not lower the FRONT ah notch to force the upper segment of the front ah to match my body's measurements...I felt like that made the armhole much too scooped.  I am now rethinking that choice. 

Next time, I WILL lower the front armhole notch until the upper segment is 4.25"...just like my body.  I think this matters!

As you can see here, there are lots of wrinkles intoduced when the arms are extended. The bodice is forced to move up off the arms and onto the the arm can move.

Of course, no one but ME noticed these things...everyone kept telling me how good it looked and how perfectly it fit.  I just kept my mouth shut and DID NOT point out every little flaw!
(Can you believe that, Marilyn?)    :-)

Guess what?  Those dreaded diagonal wrinkles that I ALWAYS have in back are there again!  Sigh!  I must reduce that Back Shoulder Slope measurement AGAIN!!! 

For next time, in addition to making the shoulders (front and back) more narrow, I will reduce the BSS by .25" *AND* I will also lower the armhole by an additional 0.25".  Hopefully, that will pull those wrinkles up and out.

I know this is a dark picture...I take what I am given! 
I am just thankful to HAVE some images where I CAN do this post-mortem!

I am dancing in this image, so my body is twisted...but you CAN see the wrinkles a little.  You can also see how the armhole seam is right there ON the back arm crease...although the reason I wanted sleeves in my dress in the first place is to HIDE that back arm crease, which I find is one of my less-attractive body parts!

Ok, now that we have established that the shoulders, front and back, are too wide (and the back shoulder slope too long), there is one more thing to notice:  the neck width.  You might need to scroll back up to that first image to see this.

I used a NECK WIDTH setting of 0.5"...which means this neckline should be .5" away from my neck.  Since I am wearing a necklace, you can see that the dress neckline is WAY farther away from my necklace chain than 0.5"! 

That is a BIG DEAL.

And it explains alot.

The length of the shoulder seam on this dress is 'right' for me. 
The problem is, this shoulder starts too far from center!

PMB version 5 removed the Shoulder Length measurement, which, in earlier versions, could be used (in combination with the Front Shoulder Width measurement) to determine the width of the neck opening on the front pattern. 

In earlier versions, the front neck opening could be a different width than the back neck opening (which was determined by the NECK CIRCUMFERENCE measurement). 

But in V5, front and back neck openings draft equally...and the NECK CIRCUMFERENCE measurement controls this width.

I pulled out an old pattern...actually, it was the pattern for the wrap-top I wore to the rehearsal dinner!
I'll show you: 

This top was made back in 2008...using Version 3.  The neck width used on this one was also 0.5"...but as you can see, it is much closer to MY neck!

Ok, yes, there is wine in this picture also...but REALLY, I don't have a problem!   :-)

But back to the clothing...

This top isn't perfect...the bust darts are too low for one thing!...but like most of the things I make, it is wearable and looks pretty good.  So, when I compared the pattern for this top with the one used to make the wedding dress, I kept that in mind.

Ok, here is the basic torso pattern I used to create the MOG dress...highlighted in RED.   The yellow/greenish pattern is the one used to create the Teal Satin Wrap top (in 2008).

If you look at the NECK WIDTHS, you will see they are pretty much the same.

But look at the difference in SHOULDER WIDTHS on these two patterns! 

....and the TEAL one fits just fine across the back...

Just look!

While I am not 'posing' for the picture, you can see that I have plenty of mobility...there is no stress across the back. 

This Teal Top was drafted with a Back Shoulder Width of 15.5"...not the 17" that I used on the MOG.

There was no back shoulder dart to sew...a tiny bit of ease only. that time, so that I would NOT have a big dart, I manually rotated this pattern's back armhole outward (pivot point = SHOULDER POINT) give more ease at the level of the lower armhole area. 

OK, so now...look at the comparison of the FRONT patterns. 

The RED is the block I used to create the MOG dress.

The BLUE is the 2008 Teal Wrap top pattern.

Compare the front neck widths.

With center fronts aligned, the MOG pattern has a wider neck opening than the Teal Wrap pattern....measure straight across from neck point to CF (if it were extended upward).

Now, this front neckline on the Teal top drafted narrower than the back neckline on the Teal top...because I could draft that way using V3.

I used a NECK CIRCUMFERENCE measurement of 14" for the Teal V3.

For the MOG dress, I used a NECK CIRCUMFERENCE measurement of 13.5" V5.

Even with the smaller NECK measurement, the FRONT neck in V5 drafts wider than the neck of the V3 one!

But remember, in my last post, I said I had to WIDEN the back neck so that it would be wider than the front neck?  I can now see that the back neck was the one that was the right width!  It was the FRONT NECK that was too wide...the back wasn't too narrow!

But since I was using that very wide BACK SHOULDER WIDTH measurement (17") and getting a large back shoulder dart, I saw widening the back neck as an opportunity to reduce that didn't even occur to me that the front neck width was actually the problem!

So, FOR NEXT TIME...I will reduce the NECK MEASUREMENT from 13.5 to 12".
This will draft a neck that matches the FRONT of my old patterns.

I will use a FRONT SHOULDER WIDTH of 15 (instead of the 15.5" used this time).
I will use a BACK SHOULDER WIDTH of 16 (instead of the 17" used this time).
This is a 0.5" reduction in FRONT shoulder width, but a 1" reduction in BACK shoulder width.  This will result in a smaller back shoulder dart.

At right, you can see the original MOG pattern in RED.  The Blue/green patterns are the 'NEXT TIME' choices.

The front neck opening is narrower...but the length of the shoulder seam is the same as if the shoulder was just 'shifted' medially. 

The front armhole is moved inward .25" and allowed to scoop lower (this is the questionable part!).  But the upper ah segment matches my body's 4.25" measurement!

I lowered the overall armhole DEPTH another 0.25"...for an ah depth setting of 0.5".

ON THE BACK, you see that the new back neck (green) is narrower than before.  But, remember? I said it was the back neck width that was actually correct before I widened it!  So, again, I will manually widen it to eliminate some of the back shoulder dart width...I will restore the back neck to the width it was before...on the original MOG! 

So, basically, I am using a smaller-than-real neck circumference measurement to draft the desired width of the FRONT NECK, then I will widen the back neck using some of the shoulder dart.

The back shoulders will be narrower across the top of the pattern.
The lower armhole will move inward 0.25", as well as downward 0.25".
The back shoulder is more sloped on this new if the back armhole was 'shifted' downward on the pattern by 0.25".  I am hoping this is enough to eliminate those diagonal pulls!

Ok, so here is how the NEW (next time) RED...compares with the pattern for the TEAL top.  With center fronts aligned, the new neck width is almost the same as on the old one...close enough.

The Front armhole is very different...we'll see how this works out.  Might be wonderful!

Note--The waist is higher on ALL these newer patterns (including the original MOG) than it was on the TEAL top.

On the BACK, the NEW (next time) RED pattern has a narrower neck width...but this is ok, because there is still a back shoulder dart to steal from!  I will manually widen this neck.

The new pattern has a slightly more sloped back shoulder than the TEAL one...this is desireable.

Since the TEAL one's back armhole was manually rotated outward, this new back armhole compares favorably, with no rotation needed.

And on both front and back, you may notice the difference in width at sideseams...
...the TEAL top used a 41.5" bust measurement with 3" of ease. 
...the MOG (and this new version) used a 42" bust with ZERO ease!

Gosh, I was gonna show how I widen the neck, but perhaps that needs to be a separate post! 
Thanks for reading!


Dale said...

Trish you look absolutely gorgeous in both outfits.
I love the jewel tones you chose :-)
I'm glad you enjoyed yourself, congrats to the newlyweds :-D

Marilyn League said...

Ditto Dale's comment. After reading all this I need a glass of wine. Of course everyone said you looked fabulous, because you do.

pamelac858 said...

You look great, Trish! Both the rehearsal dinner top and the dress are spectacular! Of COURSE there were wrinkles, fabric does that when we move.
Don't worry about the wine, it goes with celebrations. :) May the newlyweds have a long and happy life together.

Trish said...

Thanks, y'all!
The dress was very wearable and I am learning a bit from it, too! Yep, fabric does move...
Thanks for the well-wishes!

Anonymous said...

Trish, I ditto all the comments..
Your georgeous in your outfits!

Thanks for sharing

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