Oliver + S

Help with Fairy Tale Sizing and Muslin Fitting!

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    Profile photo of purlknitpurlpurlknitpurl @purlknitpurl

    Hi again, I’m finally ready to embark on the Fairy Tale Dress, View A (after flirting with trying a hybrid of View A and B). I have a skinny minny 7.5 year old — but average height. Does someone mind checking my understanding of the fittings involved with sizing for this dress?

    If I were making any other Oliver and S dress I would just make her size 8 so it would last into summer and fall. BUT, for this dress, if I want it to fit, I know I need to do a combination of sizings. HEre are her measurements:

    Chest: 22 3/8

    Waist: 21.5

    Hip: 23.5

    Can I get away with just doing size 6 for bodice and armhole binding, size 7 for skirt and waist — she doesn’t like her clothing very tight. Furthermore,I could also do size 7 for skirt and waist, but then I could add the size 8 extra length, if I need the length? Am I understanding the logic of figuring out fitting for this dress?

    Finally, should I bother to make a size 6 muslin for bodice or am I safe because of my measurements … ?

    Thanks everyone in advance for your wisdom!!! I couldn’t improve on my sewing without all this tech support! Purl

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    Profile photo of melelizameleliza @meleliza

    Those measurements put her in a size 4, so I wouldn’t do a size 6 for her. Assuming you have only the larger size pattern, I would probably go with the size 5 bodice, lengthening as much as you need. She’ll be absolutely swimming in a 7 or 8 and in my experience, children that age grow much more in length than girth. This dress includes a very deep hem that you can easily let out in the future. A 5 should still give her plenty room to grow. I made one of these for a little girl in 2012 and she just brought it back to me to let out the hem because it still fits her, so there’s still room. I would go as close to her actual measurements as you can.

    You can skip the muslin if you want, it’s up to you of course. I find it useful for a dress like this or for a special occasion, but I never make one for play clothes. If you really want a perfect fit, it is the best way to achieve that. If not, don’t worry about it. You might consider basting your lining pieces together to check the fit. If she has a belly or a sway back, it will affect the fit in this particular dress.

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    Profile photo of purlknitpurlpurlknitpurl @purlknitpurl

    Hi there, Thank you so much! This is very, very helpful. I think I get the gist of this– don’t get hung up about the size, focus on the numbers for the fit. That said, do you mind letting me know if this plan makes sense?

    Given that my daughter doesn’t like anything snug, and given her above measurements, does this sound like a good plan?:

    Modifications:

    **Size 6 for bodice, front and back, and sleeve. I will lengthen (according to Liesl tutorial) to a size 7 for the bodice front and back. The sleeve I would leave/ not modify, and do size 6? (Or , do I do size 7 for sleeve too?– confusing!)

    **Size 7 for Back and front skirt (I might lengthen slightly) and therefore have to do size 7 for waist?

    I’m hesitant to do too much modifying as I am very new at this. .. Now I am completely confused about the sleeve…arrggghhh!

    Thanks! Still a bit dazed and confused, Purl

    ** waist

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    Profile photo of melelizameleliza @meleliza

    First, keep in mind that the skirt is nothing more than a rectangle. It will be roughly 60″ wide and however long you want the finished length to be, plus 1/2″ for the waist seam allowance and 4″ for the hem seam allowance. If you have a wide fabric, you could cut one piece selvedge to selvedge as long as you want it to be and save seaming the sides. So, the skirt is just a simple rectangle gathered up to fit whatever you want the waist to be.

    I still lean toward the size 5. It will not be snug because she is really a size 4, but this is a fitted pattern and if you cut it big, it may not look very nice. If she really like loose, roomy clothes – like a peasant blouse for example – then another pattern might be a better option. There are others designed to fit loosely, like Ice Cream or Music Box.

    So I suggest size 5 bodice with 7 or 8 for length. Just cut the size 7 or 8 skirt, whichever best matches her height. You didn’t say how tall she is. Don’t worry about the skirt waist, it doesn’t matter since you will simply gather it to fit the bodice. It may sound strange, but I cut pjs for my 8 year old son in a size 8 for the chest and a size 12 for length because he’s really that tall. Plus, since he’s a boy and has no hips or waist, I end up cutting the hip area more like a 7. It sounds weird, but that’s the beauty of custom made. You can have whatever fits.

    I bet it’s hard to find rtw clothes that fit your daughter nicely, so it’s great to be able to do this.

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    Profile photo of cybele727cybele727 @cybele727

    Because you have so many questions about the fit, I would recommend making a muslin of the bodice. I know it is LOTS of extra work but this dress requires a proper fit. I had to make three bodices before I got it right (my daughter has a really long torso and a serious buddha belly).

    If yours is just a question of size and not shape (mine was shape), then make the size 6 in a muslin and see how it lays. If it is too baggy, pin it, draw new lines and use the muslin as a a pattern to cut to that size (but don’t forget to add the seam allowance back in from your pin marks or your lines!!) (i.e. cut 1/2 out from the pins/lines).

    This dress has many steps, and while not too difficult, it is time consuming. I know I hate to see it when I spend all that time and a crucial fit point destroys its look.

    And mel is right. The skirt is a big rectangle. If you want a full skirt with lots of gathers, then you cut longer rectangles or cut more of them and sew them together. The crucial point for the skirt is how LONG you need.

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    Profile photo of purlknitpurlpurlknitpurl @purlknitpurl

    Thank you everyone for sharing your wisdom! This will be my most challenging pattern to date, but I think I will learn a lot…One more thing. . I think I will go for the size 5 cut to size 8 length… What do you think I should do about the sleeves? Should I do size 5 because bodice will be 5? Or is this a case of not mattering because I will gather the sleeves?

    Thank you so much! I should probably just plunge in, but I work better if I can make sense of what I am doing and have a plan! Best, Purl

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    Profile photo of melelizameleliza @meleliza

    Re skirt, it also doesn’t matter too much if the rectangle is a little wider or a little narrower, like you’re running out of fabric and want to squeeze it in. Also, the muslin really isn’t all that much work. For one thing, you’re only basting the seams and you don’t need to finish anything at all. Also, it gives you some practice with the pattern so that the actual dress goes faster. I like to put a zipper in my muslins, but just a quick and dirty centered one and cut the skirt to finished length and no hem allowance. the muslin skirt really doesn’t need to be as full as the pattern because it’s just a place holder.

    For sleeve, you must cut it the same as the bodice armhole or it won’t fit well. Here, the gathering and easing is more crucial.

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    Profile photo of NicoleNicole @motherof5

    Sorry to hi-jack but I want to pick Melanie’s brains.

    I want to make this for Tildy but with a plain, long sleeve. Something with easing not really gathered. You are the guru of little girls dresses and I wondered if you had some tips for me?

    Thank you!

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    Profile photo of melelizameleliza @meleliza

    Well, I’m not really a drafting expert but I have made this with a short sleeve. I cut the petal sleeve at the underarm and added seam allowances. Then I overlapped the petal pieces at the center and got the sleeve cap from there. I looked at the flat sleeve pieces of other patterns to figure out what I wanted to do with the hem.

    So I guess I’d suggest looking at some reliable blogs like Gertie or Sunni or something for sleeve drafting advice. Then, I’d suggest starting with a long sleeve from another pattern that you like and using the lower part of that sleeve with the sleeve cap from the re-drafted fairy tale. Then to reduce the fullness at the sleeve cap, I had success following the blog we discussed over on the Lisette forums, which just flattened the cap out a little. I think if you measure the armscye and the sleeve cap, you should be able to decide how much ease you want it to have.

    Now I want a long sleeved version too….

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    Profile photo of NicoleNicole @motherof5

    Ohhh, thank you Melanie. I want to ‘compliment’ i.e. completely rip of MC’s Fairy Take dress http://www.flickr.com/photos/35277885@N06/11844937636/in/faves-motherof5/ but our Hol’s are in winter so we will need sleeves.

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    Profile photo of purlknitpurlpurlknitpurl @purlknitpurl

    I just want to thank those that replied and Liesl for upping my game, so to speak. I finally attacked the dreaded muslin using Liesl’s tutorial (and Meliza’s suggestions). Not hard at all! I evened lengthened my pattern — piece o’ cake!

    I have out of town guests that have taken over my sewing and guest room, so I will have to wait a week to start the dress proper, but I am very excited. And now as I proceed I know that it will fit! I’ll post pictures when done. My daughter and I had so much fun picking fabric out and I was very happy I liked what she did!

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