Peony Fitting Issues

First Goal of the New Year:  The Colette Peony!

I saw this pattern when Colette first released it with it's fall patterns, and to be honest, I wasn't super impressed...  and then I saw it made up in some patterned fabrics and fell in LOVE!  I had bought some Amy Butler fabric on a whim, and just happened to have enough, because when I started thinking about making the Peony, I realized I already had the perfect fabric in my stash!  But I am determined to make this dress well, and be happy with the fit when I'm done! 

I've discovered that I am fairly picky with bodices.  And, I really don't think I've made one yet that I like.  It is time for this to change.  So, I'm working on the fit, and I don't know how I feel about it.

I made a muslin of the bodice ( I haven't yet attached the sleeves, I wanted to get a fit for the bust part first.)  I was horrified at first because the neck was sooo high!  I felt like I was choking, but when I turned it down such as it would be with the facing attached, it felt better.  I also felt like there was way too much fabric across the back shoulders, but when I put in the zipper, it felt a little better.

I talked my love into taking a few pictures for me so that I could analyze the fit better and hopefully get some suggestions from you! 

One of the biggest things that I have found is that I feel like the front, underneath the bust is way off.  After looking closely, I think the verticle darts need to be moved outward about an inch, they are not pointing towards the bust point, they could also be shortened about a 1/2 in. I think.  I'm not sure if this will help with the bagginess or not though...  Will it be different with a skirts weight to pull down on the front?  Is there a way to shape the darts differently so that I don't have quite so much fabric there?

Based on feel, I thought the back was going to need some major adjustments, but based on the picutres, I was actually quite pleased.  Maybe a slight swayback adjustment is in order, but I am not sure.  Confession:  I have never actually done a swayback adjustment, and only fairly recently (within the last 3 months or so) figured out what the heck a swayback adjustment meant!  (If you are new like me, here is a post by Gertie that gives you an idea of what a swayback adjustment is...) But after checking with my Fit for Real People, I realize it would be a fairly easy adjustment, and I'm hoping it should take the few little wrinkles out in the middle there.

What do you think?!  I am relying on you my friends!  I don't have anyone else to help me, so please by all means, shout out any ideas!  I appreciate any feedback! 

I'm super excited to just get to making this dress, but I also don't want to waste my time to end up with a mediocre product, so I'm really trying to pace myself.

Side note:  This is also the first time that I have traced a pattern!  I used freezer paper, as suggested in the Colette Sewing Handbook!  It worked wonderfully!

Looking forward to your ideas and comments!  Thanks so much for stopping by!


  1. It looks to me like the bodice is too long on you. I am short-waisted and tend to shorten the bodice on dresses by an inch. It looks, especially in that first photo, like your waist is higher than the pattern's waist seam.

    Also I agree that the vertical bust darts need to be moved outward but I was going to say they also need to be lengthened.... usually the point of the bust dart is *at* the bust point and these look short.

  2. Carrie, thank-you!

    You are right, the bodice does look too long, doesn't it. I have shortened bodices before, and I was kind of on the line with this one, so I will have to try that.

    As for the darts, I'm interested to hear they are supposed to be at the bust point. I thought they were supposed to be 1/2 to an inch below the bust point. I'm curious, how do you get your darts to not look *ahem* "nipply" when they end right at the point? Because I have definitely had that problem and it is so frustrating! I never wear the dress I made that ended up like that.

    Thank-you, thank-you for stopping by, and for your feedback! I appreciate the help so much!

  3. I am no dart expert, so I could very well be wrong! I haven't done darts like that since the Crepe sew-along.... which I never finished because I moved in the middle of it. :D

    Now that I think about it.... *searches flickr history*
    Here a post on Gertie's blog from that sewalong, about reshaping bust darts.... maybe this will give you the info you need: http://www.blogforbettersewing.com/2010/12/crepe-sew-along-5-pattern-alterations.html
    And you are right about where the darts should end, I learned something today!

  4. Thank-you for sharing Gertie's post. I had read that, but had forgotten about it! I went back and looked in Fit for Real People as well, and when talking about darts it says

    "darts should point to the bust but stop about 1" from the point on most figures. The fuller busted you are, the further from the bust point your dart should be. If you are very small busted a dart may come to within 1/2" of your bust point. If you are full-busted it can stop 1"-3" from the apex."

    So, it sounds like it can definitely vary, but I'm pretty sure that I need at least an inch.

    Thanks for stopping by again! It's nice to have comments. I looked at your own blog, a very fun read! I'll have to stop by regularly.

  5. i agree with carrie about the bodice, i think you might be short waisted... i was doing sway back adjustments for a while, then i read sherry's excellent post at pattern scissors cloth:
    now i do a short waist adjustment, usually shortening the bodice by 2 inches, and it's all good!
    my darts always need some extra love near the bust on colette patterns-- i wonder if it's because she designs for a C cup (i think)? i'd just pin out the excess. the skirt won't weigh it down enough. unless you're making the skirt out of metal. that would be COOL.

  6. Oona, thank-you! I'm not going to lie, I may have screeched a little when I saw that YOU had posted on MY blog! Thank you for your advice. After Carrie mentioned that I may need to raise the waist, it made quite a bit of sense. Also, the post you linked was great, thanks! Alas, the skirt I havr planned is not metal. Lame. Guess i will just have to pun it out ;)
    Thanks for stopping by!