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gaping neckline
McCall's 6518 gaping scoop neckline and back arms
zoe
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zoe
Intermediate
CANADA
Member since 9/14/03
Posts: 13
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Date: 1/30/12 9:53 PM

Hello everyone. Hope someone can help. I am becoming hopelessly confused after two days of muslin fitting and reading books on fitting. I am working on trying to fit a dress (McCall's 6518 ) . It has a scoop neck, princess seams in the bodice, and a 'midriff' waistline. I have done a muslin. The wide scoop neckline gapes ( lots of excess at mid front necline), the back of the armholes gape slightly too (at midpoint in the back armhole). I am not sure what the fit issue is. Reading my books. I've tried 'pinning' out the excess in the front tapering to nothing at the waistline midriff area, but the back armhole area still has a slight gape.
SO, I then undid that, and instead raised the shoulder seams ( I simply cut off the excess at the top shoulder seam lines equally front and back). I then took out some at the bottom of the armpit areas to compensate, and added, in compensation for raising, to the bottom of the bodice where it will join with the midriff band. This seems to address the issues quite reasonably, and the muslin looks pretty good now, BUT, am I doing this wrong? Will simply cutting the excess off and raising the bodice in this way distort something else? It seems to lay across my bust well ( I'm an A cup). Should I have cut in the neck and shoulder areas a size smaller instead? Is the problem a forward shoulder? I'm sure don't have a hollow chest. My head is spinning from two days of trying to work this out, and I would love to know what caused the gaping excess at the scoop neck, the slight gape in the back arm area, and what is the proper thing to do. I'm sorry, I don't have a picture of it, and no one to take one right now. Please help if you can. I would be grateful for your thoughts. Zoe
-- Edited on 1/30/12 10:05 PM --
-- Edited on 1/31/12 0:03 AM --

AtiyaAfi
AtiyaAfi
NY USA
Member since 5/23/10
Posts: 169
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Date: 1/30/12 10:42 PM

This is a time I think a dress form or help from an extra pair of hands for fitting might be best - I'm presuming from your description you did the alterations flat and not on a form or yourself. Did you make a 'clean' muslin from your pattern fittings and "try on the new muslin" to see how it fits since you said it 'seemed' pretty good'? I'm a draper by nature and fitting on the form or live body has always been proven best for tweeking things like gaps as you're dealing with as each body is different in how a commercial pattern, or even a muslin, will look on a body once made into fabric. Keep in mind that fashion houses refine the fit of a muslin several times before the final pattern is cut onto fabric for production.

zoe
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zoe
Intermediate
CANADA
Member since 9/14/03
Posts: 13
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In reply to AtiyaAfi


Date: 1/30/12 11:19 PM

Thank you for your input. Sure wish I had a dress form! I did do the alterations flat, but only after pinning myself on the muslin. I then took apart the muslin, and changed the pattern to match, then I resewed the muslin and tried it on again. I did this first when I pinned out the bodice front; was not happy with that solution, then did the muslin again when I did the shoulder seams changes. Wow- a dress form would make it all so much easier. Pinning myself is very hard!

AtiyaAfi
AtiyaAfi
NY USA
Member since 5/23/10
Posts: 169
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In reply to zoe


Date: 1/30/12 11:53 PM

My best advice - Get another pair of hands to help with the fittng, you'll get better results. You can almost never get a good fit with self-fitting especially with the issue you're presenting. I hope there's a sewing buddy near you.

NhiHuynh
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NhiHuynh
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Date: 1/31/12 2:00 AM

I'll be working on this dress for the red dress contest. I probably won't start until this weekend. In the meantime, the best way for us to help you is to take a picture. A picture of your reflection in the mirror is sufficient.

I'd hate to give advice without seeing the problem. There a several things that can cause a gaping neckline or armhole. The fix that you're describing doesn't make sense to me. Trimming off at the shoulder only moves the neckline up and down. It shouldn't effect the gaping unless you changed the shoulder slope in the process or had too much length in the first place.

Since it sounds like it's fitting, I don't see a problem with what you did for this dress. If there was a collar or a sleeve on this pattern that would be a different story.

------
I finally have a blog. www.detectivehoundstooth.com :)

Julia Bobbin
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Julia Bobbin  Friend of PR
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AUSTRALIA
Member since 11/20/10
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In reply to zoe


Date: 1/31/12 2:19 AM

Hi Zoe,

From the description of your problem it looks like you have perhaps a shorter torso and are smaller on top and around the shoulders. Why do I say this? Because I have the same problems. I am not small busted, but I am more of a pear shape and my adjustments are typically the same; removing excess fabric from the bodice around the arms and upper bodice.

As other reviewers have commented it's difficult to give exact advice without seeing photos of what you're experiencing.
However ...
If you are experiencing extra fabric around the mid of the back armhole, you can remove it by creating a dart in your pattern piece with the apex blending into the centre back (CB). Here's an example of a similar adjustment that I have made on one of my pattern pieces:
Arm hole adjustment

As for the front gaping.
Once again I'm giving blind advice here because I can't see it, but if it's gaping just at the centre front (CF) and not at the sides, you can eliminate the excess by shearing off a dart at the CF - this is if the fabric is cut on the centre fold. This will change the shape of the neck line ever so slightly.

My photo example is of a completely different bodice front than the one you're making, but it is cut on the centre fold and I also had a problem with gaping. I sliced off about 1.5 cm's from the Centre fold. You can see the clipping on the left of the piece where the centre fold is (ignore the other adjustments). The shaved down line is now your new centre front fold line.

Centre front piece

I also posted in the form a good book that gives basic pattern alteration instructions.
The best thing to do here as others have said is get a sewing friend in who can help with the fitting, or post up some photos!

All the best with your project!

Julia

-- Edited on 1/31/12 2:22 AM --

zoe
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zoe
Intermediate
CANADA
Member since 9/14/03
Posts: 13
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Date: 1/31/12 10:46 AM

Thank you to everyone who answered my plea for help.
Julia; I am very grateful for your careful explanatios and the pictues! I think this is exactly what I needed to do. I am going to try to find that book on Amazon. I've checked out your blog. Very fun, informative, and interesting! I love your 'mad men' stylish vibe, and your sense of fun in sewing. I'll be checking on your blog regularly. Again, I'm most grateful for your help.

Julia Bobbin
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Julia Bobbin  Friend of PR
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AUSTRALIA
Member since 11/20/10
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In reply to zoe


Date: 1/31/12 3:32 PM

Zoe you are most welcome.

Hope it helps, and thanks for reading my blog! xx

stirwatersblue
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stirwatersblue
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KS USA
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Date: 1/31/12 4:21 PM

Don't worry, Zoe--LOTS of seamstresses here work totally alone and have to figure out how to fit things on themselves. It's tough, but not impossible. Flexibility is a bonus. ;)

Along the lines of Julia's suggestions, for tiny gaps around armholes, etc, I've found that pinching out the fullness into a little dart--and then drafting that dart out of the pattern--will eliminate smallish gaps without a big fussy alteration. (Pinch out the fullness, pin the dart in place, lay the muslin over the pattern, and trace a new version of the armscye, pretending that the dart does not exist.) It will change the shape of the armhole or neckline slightly--so this probably isn't a great fix for your neckline gaping here, but I bet it would work well for your armholes.

Before you do it, though, make sure you're working with a muslin where the seam/hem allowances have been eliminated (trimmed off or folded back). Things can change slightly once those are out of the way, and you don't want to make adjustments you might not end up needing!

I just took a glance at the pattern--that is a *big* scoop! I'm wondering if a small bust adjustment might be in order for you. That, alas, is not an alteration I am familiar with, so others with more experience should weigh in.

Good luck!

------
~Gem in the prairie

zoe
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zoe
Intermediate
CANADA
Member since 9/14/03
Posts: 13
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Date: 2/2/12 11:20 AM

Thank you so much for your suggestions. I've tried Julia's suggestions, and it really helped; now I will do as you suggest and retrace the pattern pieces. They are a bit of a mess at the moment. The big scoop seems to be sitting fine now, smoothly over the bust, and not gaping. The scoop turns out to be somewhat less than the picture on the pattern would seem to suggest ( that's before alterations too). I always find it very odd when the actual pattern seems in some way different than the pictures ( What are THEY sewing these from then?). I'm almost ready to start the dress. Yahoo! I have a navy handkerchief linen that I will line in cotton batiste. For the midriff, I purchased antique black, 2 " grosgrain ribbon ( very lovely); for the saddlestiching I bought a spool of pure silk buttonhole twist in steel grey;( the spool is from 1920's ). Now for the fun stuff! Thanks again!

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