The final Peony?

And so to muslin 4. I promised myself that after this one I'd be cutting some pretty fabric out, or it wasn't going to proceed any further.....

A little adjustment at the neckline took care of the front gapage - this was transferred into the side bust dart.

The lower bust darts looked a lot better curved - the points were not quite sharp enough and created a little of that faux nipple effect, but I don't think I can get them any better:

I think on a printed fabric it wont be as obvious.

A fairly massive sway back adjustment helped a lot with excess fabric at the back BUT it was still not enough.....

 It looks worse on the RHS because that seam is pinned, but clearly the bodice is still too long - there's still too much fabric there! Way back when I cut version 1 I thought it was too short, added in 1.5 inches, and progressively have been removing 1/2 inch with each version. It looks like with all the other adjustments I have made that the original length would have been fine dammit! Anyway, easily fixed. I also experimented and made the left back dart a bit longer which I think has helped a bit too.

Just to be sure I did end up tucking up a big chunk the whole way around the bodice to see if shortening it will solve most of the excess back fabric issues:

Which it does. Are you over it? I am SO over it! I really help these posts help someone else with their fit issues! As you can probably tell by now I am a bit of an anal perfectionist, but my lovely fabric is too pretty and too expensive to condemn it to a crappy fitting dress.

At this point, it was sleeve time. Lo and behold, a crapola fitting sleeve:

Way too tight at the front and heaps of loose fabric at the back. Its way worse than these photos - ill fitting and uncomfortable. It pulls across my very carefully fitted and calibrated bodice and is generally devastatingly disappointing.

I had a break. I regrouped. I went to a boxing class and punched someone for 40 minutes. I started googling how to adjust sleeve fit, and measured a shirt with a nice sleeve fit I already had. Then I gave up. At this point I just don't have the knowledge or, quite frankly, the will to now deal with sleeve issues.  Because I know I'd have to start faffing with the bodice again and I JUST CAN'T ANYMORE.  Just out of sheer interest I grabbed my New Look 6000 pattern, quickly traced its sleeve and whacked it in - a much better more even fit in terms of fabric distribution, but still not right:

Apparently its quite common for patterns to have an armscye that is too big compared to RTW clothing - paradoxically the bigger the armscye, the tighter the sleeve and the smaller range of motion. If the seam is tucked up higher under the armpit it is actually more comfortable, which makes sense to me.

I reckon I've spent 15-20 hours on this pattern. I'm reasonably happy with the bodice fit. I've learned an awful lot but there's not a chance in hell I'm making a sleeved Peony. I'm willing to make a sleeveless version (because I adore LLadybird's gingham version) to see how my pattern alterations finally turn out (hopefully something I'm not too embarrassed to wear) but I think if I want something sleeved for this wedding I'm going to have to turn to New Look 6000. Maybe the bodice of NL 6000 with the skirt of the Peony would work......


  1. Your dress is really lovely! I've had a lot of the same issues with this pattern - the darts were messed up, the back neck gaped like crazy, and I also took out a massive swayback (I think 2 inches...). I haven't gotten around to blogging my fixes yet. It's a tough one to fix, and you've done an awesome job!


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