Sunday, April 3, 2016

In Progress: Supportive Chemise - Nearing the End

Note: If you know me personally and/or may be adversely affected by the direct and open way I need to address the topic of my breasts and their shape in this project, I suggest you turn back now. I'll post a similar notice when I believe the project has progressed enough that it might not be as awkward. 

During the last fitting, I identified that I needed to significantly reduce the underbust, while at the same time keeping the front panels wide enough to overlap properly at the center lacing, and not gap at the wide point of my bust. I also didn't want the belly circumference to be reduced and facilitate riding up.

The image above shows the side seam. Front panel on the left, back on the right. The BLUE line is the changes I just described (sorry, no photos of that try-on.) Note that I removed the underbust width in the back panel, not the front. That was 1.5" taken out on each of the back panel side seams.

I experimented with just making that a point, rather than a band, to allow my belly to have room. It worked, but it was uncomfortable, since the tightness wasn't spread up and down from there.

This worked pretty well, except that I ended up with uniboob once again. I pulled an tugged around a bit to see what changes I could make to that, and found that pulling the front into the side at a particular point just above my bust's widest point (short horizontal black pen mark on the front panel) forced my boobs outward, removing the uniboob.

At this point, I'm got a workable pattern. I can get the lace closed and I can't get the pattern on/off without unlacing. In terms of end goals, I've made it. So now, I'm working on fit and shape. I don't want to walk around with a uniboob simply because I actually got the pattern to function the way I needed it to.

So here's the point in the process where intuition and experimentation sort of have to meet.

In the photo above, you can see a purple line on each side. At the underbust on the back panel (right) you can see that I'm extending the underbust band downward a bit to ease the tension at that tight point, while still not taking a huge chunk out of the belly's room. 

In the bust, however, I have two options. I need to take something away here to pull the front a bit flatter and force the breast tissue outward so that it doesn't collect in the middle. I can take it from the front, but notice how flat that purple line starts to become. Also remember that my front panel is already as wide as I need it for the lacing to close properly. So while I could make the adjustment here, that's not actually going to solve the issue without creating another one.

Now note the purple line on the back side. And note the the difference between the blue and purple lines there are roughly equal to the difference between the purple and blue on the front side. They are just in different places. Notice that it also brings back the straight line I originally had on the back side, for the front bust curve to ease into. So, instead of messing with the front to make that change, I'm better off changing the back.

Notice that I also totally ripped the seam on that front panel.

I dug around in my stash and located a fabric to transfer the pattern to. Then spent about 20 minutes re-fitting the pattern to compensate for the stretch in the new fabric.After a bit, I realized that I needed to take a good chunk out of the front panels.

So, in other words, I ended right back up at square one, only this time with a better overall fit. I also reintroduced a curve at the top of the bust on the center seam. And here's where that got me:

The photo doesn't show it, but I was still getting uniboob here. I also got this on without a lacing in place (though it wasn't the most comfortable thing I've done.) The uniboob was taking advantage of the bias in the neckline from the shoulder point down to the front center. I was also getting a weird wrinkle pocket it the center front from the fabric riding up:

I adjusted the front panel shoulder seams outward, and eased out the belly in the center front. I also pinched the back center seam in slightly at the small of my back, and brought the side seam underbust in about 1" on both sides (1/2" on each panel).

I'm a little droopy on one side due to sliding into it and not quite getting in the right place, but this is fitting VERY well.

I'm getting a very nice, rounded profile without any weird flat, squished bits.

I'm not spilling out of the top. Always a plus. I do go a little uniboob as I lean forward, but I think that's acceptable.

The shoulder seam is very narrow. A lot more so than I've ever accomplished in the past. But that makes sense when you consider how narrow my shoulders are to begin with. I tucked the extra under for this photo to show it "finished".

There's a gap in my stitching right at the base of my bust. I believe that the final change I will make (in addition to shifting the shoulder seams backwards a bit) is to add negative ease at that point. I'm fairly certain that with that in place, I will no longer be able to slide the garment on and off.

As it is, I could make a successful garment out of this pattern right now. I have a nice shape that I am very pleased with. I'm going to resist that, though, and keep making these additional "fine-tuning" adjustments to arrive at a pattern than fulfills all of my goals. As long as I can slide it off without lacing, I still can't call it a success.


  1. You are an *amazing* designer & seamstress! How I wish I was both as capable & as willing. Huzzah!

  2. Reading your post makes me feel better that nothing comes out a perfect fit on the first try. Thanks.