You know the saying, “She thought she could, so she did”? Well, sometimes SHE thought she could…but didn’t think it through all the way, so she ended up making some mistakes. She DID, because hard work and problem-solving.
Margot Peplum —> Dress
Last week I decided to make the Margot Peplum by Love Notions. I wanted to lengthen the peplum to a skirt and add pockets. I didn’t have time to muslin the bodice, and I didn’t have fabric that would have been appropriate to muslin…so I decided to cut out my pretty fabric. **Cue ominous music! Da-da-daaaa**
The pretty fabric was a lovely bamboo/cotton french terry from The Fabric Fairy. This fabric actually has 4 way stretch…a little less on the lengthwise grain, but still. I decided to use it for the Margot pattern even though that one calls for 2 way stretch (and only 20% horizontal). I cut out an XS, according to my measurements…and let me tell you, it was a BIG mistake.
Mistake #1 – The fabric had 35% horizontal stretch, so the XS ended up being huge on me
Mistake #2 – the fabric had a bit of lengthwise stretch, so it wasn’t appropriate for this pattern and caused a gaping armhole. It might have been okay if I had not been lengthening the peplum to a skirt – that created a lot of WEIGHT, which pulled the bodice down.
I fixed the first problem by taking in the side seams on the bodice and skirt. I moved the side front and side back panels UP, imagining how these pieces would fit together if I had cut out a size smaller (which didn’t exist because I had cut out the smallest size). This made the armhole a bit smaller. I also brought in the bodice side seams and the shoulder seams, basically all things a smaller size would have accomplished.
Fixing the Gaping Armhole
I don’t have a pic of what it looked like before this point, but here’s how it looked after I adjusted the bodice:
As you can see, still a gaping armhole! Not having enough fabric to recut the bodice, I decided to make a little “moon” pattern piece to fit at the bottom of the armhole.
Luckily my mother-in-law happened to be home and was able to help fit this piece. I put on the dress and she placed a scrap of quilter’s cotton underneath my arm. She pinned the cotton and the armhole together along the bottom half of the armhole. Then, she drew a line to mark the edge of the armhole. She made some lighter lines trying to decide where the new armhole should end. She settled on the upper black marker line as the new armhole edge.
Finally, she marked notches along the edge: at the the front princess seam, the bodice side seam, and the back princess seam. I would be able to use these notches later to match up my moon pattern piece.
I took that scrap of cotton and made a pattern piece from it, making sure to mark my notches. With a 1/4″ seam allowance in mind, I marked the seam line to the outside, and the cutting line outside of that. I cut out 2 mirror images and got to work.
This is what the moon piece looked like set into the armhole. I still had some tweaking to do (I ended up lowering the armhole slightly) but it was much better!
I could have sized down the Margot sleeve pattern piece, but what I really needed was a sleeve designed for 4 way stretch. I grabbed a sleeve from my pattern stash that had already been muslined. I compared the circumference of the 4 way stretch armhole to my dress and tweaked my armhole to fit. Then, I cut out my 4 way stretch sleeves and set them into the armholes.
It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty close to the fit I wanted and that is good enough for me!
Other changes I made:
I drafted POCKETS to this skirt and made sure they are big enough to put keys and cellphones and bags of almonds for when I get hungry!
I modified the neckline (brought it up) and added a neck binding. (That is calculated at 87% of the neck-hole circumference + seam allowances.)
I added clear elastic to the waistline…which should always be done for knit garments. It helps define the waist and prevents the fabric from stretching out.
Although I’ve got some interesting looking tacos under my arms…I’m pretty pleased with how this project turned out. I really don’t think anyone will notice (seamstresses excluded) the tacos. This fabric is so so comfortable! And it’s a twirly dress!