Not so Ease-y for Me

*Sigh* Do you remember my excited post about my fabric purchase from Croft Mill? Well, I'm still eagerly awaiting its arrival. I placed the order on Saturday the 6th and had hoped it would have arrived by the following weekend so I could get started. I received an email on Thursday the 10th to say it had been dispatched. I had hoped it would have been sent a bit quicker but still thought it might arrive in time for Saturday. No luck, sadly. Today I emailed Croft Mill to let them know and found out that the package had been returned to them for some reason and they were sending it to me again today. Perhaps I'll get it for this weekend! Anyway, it's been a bit unfortunate for my first experience of fabric shopping online.

Instead I decided to make a toile of one of my 50's dresses, the Advance 7968 - I decided to go for View 1 with the 3/4 sleeves and half button front.

This was the first time I had used a real vintage pattern. It was uncut and factory folded, so I diligently copied all the bodice pieces onto pattern paper and got stuck in. As I feared, the instructions were a bit tricky compared to the Colette Patterns ones. There were a few bits I didn't quite get, although the notches were numbered which helped in matching up. I was so glad I made a toile, as it meant my mistakes weren't so important, as well as allowing me to check the size.

I did have an issue with the ease stitch that was required at the shoulder seams. This is the pattern piece from the top of the bodice back showing the marking where the ease is to be taken in at the shoulder seam; 

This is the bodice front on top of the back to show the difference in width for the ease - it seemed like A LOT to me!

 And this is the bodice front and back stitched together at the shoulder seam;

Hmmm, it does not look good but I don't know what I did wrongly! Anyone have any tips? 

This is the bodice seen from the front;

In this photo I've already taken it in an inch at each side seam but it still looks a bit baggy, though this might change with the skirt attached. It has tucks instead of darts under the bust so I wonder if I should elongate those. You can also see that one of the shoulder pleats (on my right) is facing the wrong way, and should look smoother, like on my left. Again, the value of a toile in allowing you to make mistakes!
And from the back;
Perhaps a little baggy here too, across the upper back.

I am also planning to add an inch of length to the bodice. I pretty much always add this to patterns as standard due to being tall and it seems to be about right.

I'm really keen to get a better grip on fit this year, so any comments on my toile efforts would be welcomed! I'm planning another trip to Mandors this week too to get some fabric for this dress. I know they've got some new spring fabrics in, so am keeping my fingers crossed that they have just the right thing...

K x


  1. Depends on how loose you like your dresses, but you could always take some out of the back on the center seam, or fold. Then you don't have to adjust anything else. Eh, I am no expert in fit! :)

  2. My Mum had that very pattern! An ease stitch is just a rather loose gather I think, it needs to be even just to give it a bit of give when you move. Bear in mind they were probably wearing heavy duty bras or girdles or all-in-ones under it!

  3. Thanks Molly - I'm definitely no expert either, but that seems like a good way to make it work.

    Liz, that makes me feel a better about my ease efforts. It felt like an impossibility to get the larger side to look smooth. I look forward to showing you the dress when I get it finished!

  4. Hi, I would definitely increase the length of the tucks, this may give it a more structured look under the bust. I always have trouble with the back width too - I took some width from the back fold on the dress I'm making and it's completely changed the fit (for the better). Can't wait to see the finished dress. x

  5. Hi Jane, thanks for your comment - I think I'll give those adjustments a try and see how it looks.

  6. Hi, looking at the pattern envelope drawing, there appears to be a pleat/tuck at the outer edge of the shoulder, where the sleeve joins the bodice, and I wonder if the ease should somehow or other be made into a tuck or pleat there? I'm not sure how easy this would be to achieve. Jane

  7. Hi Jane, thanks for your comment! Yes, there is a pleat at the shoulder edge on the bodice front. I will have a look at the pattern and see if there is a way to do as you suggest, otherwise I'll just go with what I've got and wear a cardigan :)


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