#4016 Bodice- the Rubber Ducky! 4

Today I am working on the #4016 muslin, starting with bodice fitting. I am using my daughter’s “rubber ducky” technique for resolving a mystery in computer programming- explain what you’re trying to do to a rubber ducky and sometimes solutions to your problems will become obvious!

4016 bodice front spread

Straight of Grain
This is the first question. I needed to slash and spread both the back and the front to get an adequate bust and waist enlargement.  This made the shoulder stand up a good 1/2″ that would need accommodation.

I cut the muslin with the front (I thought) on grain, and the back off grain, where the fold is supposed to be. The alteration seemed to throw this off anyway.

4016 bodice back spread

You can see the shoulder tuck that appeared. I knew I’d need for this to be slashed with an insertion, since my shoulders are already more sloped than the norm. It looked like I should let out an inch, for a dart length of ~3″.

4016 shoulder slash

Here’s what the shoulder section looks like when the first few seams were sewn and I could see what it naturally spread to on the dress form. I’m concerned about the natural fall of the neckline here, too. It looks like I may need to enlarge it. I thought the slash was more even on the shoulder, looks like the insert would go almost entirely onto the front. I am starting to think of slashing the bodice on the center sleeve, inserting a seam, and placing the center front and back pieces on the straight of grain.

4016 bodice back

Bodice Back
You can see the grain lines clearly with the muslin stand-in here. It is pretty spectacularly off grain, where the fold is supposed to be. I started to worry about bias stretching and noticed again the wrinkles on the underarm section of the sleeve, in the pattern image. Also, it is Way Too short for me in the back, even though that doesn’t seem true in the front. It could be needed for wearing ease that doesn’t show.

4016 bodice gusset slash

I wanted to take a look at how well the gusset slash would work, may want to alter the length of the slash, size of the gusset needed.

Front Placket
I have to think about the front placket, how it affects fitting, how the folded pleat will work, and how I want to deal with getting in & out of this dress, open and close it! The buttons on the pattern image have to be decorative, at least some of them. I looked in a Threads file and found a reference to an easy hidden button placket, April/May 2004, p.  35. I am concerned with how the fold buckled a bit when I pinned the bodice to the front insert. This is a focus and convinces me that I want to put this on straight of grain, considering my sewing skills. 🙂 It could be reinforced with some kind of stabilizer, but I think I prefer trying a grain shift with the sleeve sea insertion.

4016, off-grain front pulling

I want to keep an eye on the heavy gathering at the base of the bodice. This seems to fit the period “pigeon-chest”, but the pattern drawing looks smooth. Maybe this is what happens when you alter the pattern to accommodate a bust, underscoring somebody’s guess that this is meant to be for a younger woman, even a girl.

So, the front has been lowered to match the extension needed for the back. It looks way too long, sorta what I expected since it didn’t look like it needed any change.  I can cut generously, then alter the final waist seam as needed. The back length was lowered, 2 1/2″ for me, and I’m not tall! I even like high waists, but still too short for me. I widened all around. Next I’ll work on gussets, seam allowance refining, any facings needed for closure reinforcement and how to insert the collar, especially dress neck facing, so the collar can be detachable.

4016 altered back

The altered back may need tiny pinches or darts, pin-pleated in the photo.

The sleeve section grain lines are a huge contrast! I wonder how this will play out?

The final front is the top photo, grain lines straightened, bust and waist girth expanded, waist line lowered. Back to work, watch this space! I’ll be done with this by Friday morning, leaving by car for the Saturday Parade- cross fingers for me! please…



  1. I think you and I are envisioning the dress differently. I haven’t started it yet but when I look at the pattern I see an empire semi princess fit, not a natural waistline. Also junior clothes or young miss have always been shorter waisted than misses (or missy if prefer), that is why adolescent girls have that leggy look. I think you can send me an email directly from this post on word press.

    • Theresa,
      Holy Smokes! I think you are right!! I love empire waists- why didn’t I realize this?! Wow, teamwork to the rescue again! I’d answer off-line, to your email, but think this could be helpful to share. Thank you!!

  2. You are right about this being an important point to keep with the post.. I looked really hard at the illustration and where the belt is in relationship to the arm. Also if you are adding width across the front I’d add it in the center by making it deeper and keeping the sides the same length. The bust will take that up and make it straight. You can either add darts or just gently ease it, depending on the amount of FBA. After seeing where the natural waist is what does that make the waist meaurement?

    I love the rubber ducky analogy. Mine is pretend that you are explaining to a 3 year old. The email thing was regarding the wardrobe comment on my blog. I can’t send direct emails with blogger and I think we are both in the same boat re: age and styles.

  3. Pingback: 1912 Dress #4016 Summary! « domesticnews

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