The One with ALL the Toiles



Hey everyone, in my last post I was telling you about my fitting woes. Well you’ll be pleased to hear I persevered and finally made something that fits me pretty nicely.

I signed up to test the latest Friday Pattern Company Pattern, the Hughes Dress. Well, I signed up to just test for them as they have a few patterns coming out, however, as soon as Chelsea sent the Hughes pattern over I knew I HAD to try it. It is just like a RTW dress I bought in a vintage store in Berlin a few years ago and that I love. Just the right amount of 90’s for me :). My RTW dress is actually a little big for me so I saw this pattern as the perfect opportunity to make lots of my own that fit me perfectly.

You can’t really see it, but here I am wearing my RTW dress, I swear, it’s similar:

As I’ve mentioned before my sewing resolution this year was to get better at fitting. I’m officially in the petit category, being 5ft 2″ and my shortness being in my upper body, so no patterns fit me straight out of the envelope.

I’d been getting into solving my fit issues but they were always on simple bodice blocks. This was princess seamed – eek! I talked about my first 4 (yup 4!) toiles in my post “The One with the Fitting Woes” 

In it I detail how I started with a small, then moved to an extra small and how I tried shortening the bodice and scooping out the arm hole but nothing seemed to work. I kept ending up either not being able to move my arm when the sleeve was attached and/or a ton of extra fabric between my chest and shoulder/armpit.

I took the weekend away from the Hughes dress, part of me thinking I’d never get it to work for me but also the other part knowing “Greens don’t quit!” Chelsea then sent out the final updated pattern on the Monday.  This was before the release that was due on the Friday (ooo it just occurred to me that they are the Friday Patter company so of course they launched on a Friday!!) and I took that as a personal challenge.  I knew I just couldn’t let it rest as I really felt if I could get it to work for me then it would be a go to pattern. The shape is just ALL THE HEART EYE EMOJIS.

I looked at the updated measurements, went by the final garment measurements and cut a small again. I tried it straight up (toile no. 5!) and although it seemed better it still had issues for me (my body, not the pattern.)

One thing I hadn’t tried was a narrow shoulder and forward shoulder adjustment. These are two things I had done on my Girve top and it helped so I figured why not. I took the toile apart, made the changes, sewed it back together and it really seemed to have helped – I could actually move my arm!  There was still too much fabric above my chest though. So thenI pinned out 1/2 an inch on all the bodice pieces, this time being more conscious of where I took it, ensuring I didn’t cause too many changes to the shapes of the pieces. I scooped out the arm holes the same amount and I also shortened the sleeve cap.

I sewed it all back up and…..ermm…it fit!! I was dubious whether I’d really done it so just to be sure I traced off the pattern again, made all the those same changes on my pattern pieces, and made…yup…you guessed it: toile no.6! HA!

But guys, it seemed to actually fit me! WOOOHOO.

I was so excited, even though it was 11pm I needed to cut my fabric out for the final version.

You’d thing I’d been test enough right? WRONG! The fabric I’d chosen was out of my stash (resolution no. 2) and it had a directional print, so I didn’t have enough – bleurgh! I stayed calm and realised I could get the main pieces out of it and I could go and get some contrast fabric (breaking resoultion no. 2 oops!) to use for the facings and the ties. Which is exactly what I did, picking out a colour that was found in the print. I ended up being really happy with the way they worked together.

Having worked so hard to get it right I even went so far as making bias tape from the scraps to use to finish the facing – I NEVER do that (always cop out and buy the tape or just surge the edges.)

I even managed to find buttons that perfectly matched my facing colour!

Okay, so I’ll admit, by the time I finished the dress – the Thursday afternoon before the launch – when I put it on I was’nt instantly in love. I think all the hard work had left a sour taste in my mouth. That night I’d had a Facetime date with my good friend Nellie, who told me to put it to one side for a little while and see if that helped.

The first try on:

I hung it up in my wardrobe and tried to forget about it. Unfortunately, I couldn’t leave it for too long as I need to photograph it. Joe and I went for lunch on the Friday afternoon and the plan was to wear the dress so I could stop at a cute little local garden to take some pictures on our way home. This couldn’t have worked out better; in the 2 hours we were out, I got 5 compliments on how great the dress was from people simply walking past me! Talk about a confidence boost.

Then we took the pictures and seeing myself in it really helped – it’s official – I’m in love and I am SO glad I kept at it. I have some beautiful rayon blend in the perfect forest green that I already have earmarked for my Hughes Christmas dress!

Oh and I really love the back!

For those #shortsewists out there my measurements are as follows:

5ft 2″

Shoulder to neck measurement: 6.5″

Waist: 27″

Hips: 37″

Bust: 34

The adjustments I made were:

Shortened the bodice between chest and shoulder: 1/2 inch

Narrowed the shoulder by: 1 cm

Forward shoulder adjustment: 1cm

Dropped the waist: 1.5 ”

(Sorry the back and forth between metric and imperial: I’m a European living in the USA – it gets confusing 😉

Oh, and the updated pattern comes with patch pockets but I went for inseam. Maybe I’ll use patch on the next version 😉

If anyone wants any more pointers/images of my final pattern pieces or has ideas of different ways I could’ve adjusted it feel free to reach out.

Now I’m off to make something easy, like a cushion 😉


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