One Pattern, Two Bodies (Plus a Pregnancy Hack and FBA!): Chalk & Notch Fringe Dress – Lindsie’s Take

It’s always super fun to see how one pattern sews up for people with very different body types, so I’m excited to show you another collaboration between me and Camilla (she_sew_fabulous on Insta)!

Just like last time, when we made the Love Notions Sunday Romper, Camilla and I chose one pattern — one that comes with a two bust options — and each made it up to see how it works on our bodies! This time, we chose the Chalk & Notch Fringe Dress. This pattern comes with both a B cup and a D cup draft. (Remember that garment sewing cups are not the same as bra cups! Check out this post to learn more!)

(See Camilla’s take here!)

I was excited to try this pattern because I’ve heard it works great on pregnant bodies, but will also work postpartum, including while nursing thanks to the button front!

I currently describe my body type as HUGE boobs, big pregnancy belly, and medium-size hips. (My current measurements are high bust: 35″; full bust: 46″; underbust: 32″; waist (lol preggo belly!): 39″; hips: 40″.) Camilla, on the other hand, describes herself as “a Mediterranean gal with big hips and small boobs.”

Camilla talks about how she chose her size over on her post, so go check it out!

For me, I chose to make view A, which has the nursing-friendly button front — while Camilla made a view B. I used a fun cotton poplin from Mood.

I started with a size 10 with the D cup draft, going based on my high bust. The size 10D accounts for a 39″ bust, with 3″ of positive ease for a finished bust measurement of 42″. I was obviously going to need a full bust adjustment.

The full bust adjustment

Based on measurements, a 7″ FBA would keep the ease consistent. I thought about reducing the positive ease at the bust and doing a smaller FBA, but ultimately ruled out that plan when I thought about the fact that my milk hasn’t come in, and I’d like to wear this dress for nursing. So a BIG HUGE SEVEN INCH full bust adjustment it was (3.5″ or 8.9 cm on each side).

I’m not going to do a full FBA tutorial here, because it really was just a straight forward woven FBA with a dart split, but I’ll include the instagram stories I did on this FBA just to give you a peek at my process:

If you look closely, you’ll see that I also moved the bust point down by about 1″ while doing the FBA. Note that the FBA actually lowered the bust point by about 1.5″ and to the side by about 1.25″, but, when I held the tissue to myself, I could see that my bust point was in line with the original bust point, just about 1″ lower. When I reoriented the darts, I just oriented them toward my bust point. There’s a more technically correct way of doing this, which involves cutting the darts and moving them up, but because of how wide my darts are and how close they were to the armscye, I decided to “cheat” a little.

(If you notice in these pictures that the darts look a smidge high, that’s because I’m wearing a different bra than the one I altered in … c’est la vie!)

I had to split both my bust and waist darts, because they were looking GIANT.

Also of note is that my FBA added 3-3/8″ length to the bodice at center front. This is important for my belly alteration:

Hacking for pregnancy

My next alteration was to tweak the pattern for my current shape. That is, I didn’t want the waist hitting at my belly, but instead at my underbust. I measured from shoulder point to underbust on my body and on the pattern, and found that I needed to shorten the pattern about 1.75″ from it’s new, post-FBA length for it to hit at the empire waist.

So I chopped it at the lengthen/shorten line. Because you can always take away, but not add, I decided to only shorten by 1.5″.

Now, I had added 3.375″ with the FBA then removed 1.5″, so I needed to lengthen my button placket and front facing by 1-7/8″ (the difference between 3.375-1.5).

I also shortened my back by 1.5″ along the lengthen/shorten line.

Solving other giant boob-related problems

If you follow me, you probably know I’m usually #teamnotoile, meaning I rarely make muslins. Most of the time, I’ll use my bodice sloper to make flat pattern alterations, and I’m frankly not obsessed with perfect fit when I can more easily obtain good enough fit with less work.

Buuuuut, in this case, since I had added a honkin’ 7″ to the bust and chopped 1.5″ off the full bodice, I decided I needed to make a muslin of the bodice. It was a good thing.

I was absolutely chuffed at the fit. Loved it. Needed a skirt to weigh it down, but goodness the darts were pretty perfect!

Until I realized something. I had to put it on like a button-down shirt, one arm and then the other. If I pinned it together at the waist, I couldn’t get it on. Not over my bust, nor over my belly.

You see, this pattern is intended to be pulled on. The finished waist at a size 10D is 35″ — just enough to eek over the 39″ bust it was drafted for. But I had added 7″ to that, and a 35″ waist wasn’t going to eek over my 46″ of bust.

So I had to pivot. I ended up removing the waist darts on both front and back (trust me, I’m mourning this too! love those darts!), and decided to elasticate the waist instead.

The pattern & fit

This was my first Chalk & Notch pattern, and I WILL BE BACK. The pattern went together SO BEAUTIFULLY. I often have problems with facings not quite matching, and that wasn’t an issue here at all. The whole thing was just so well drafted, and I think it would have been an easier sew if I had opted for view B, which has simpler sleeves and no buttons.

Honestly, I’m excited to sew this up again with the waist darts (what can I say?! I just love darts!) once either my boobs have settled back to pre-pregnancy size, when I would have needed just a 1.5″ FBA, or when I have the energy to add a zipper.

I love the button front on this pattern, and that there’s no gaping! I also love that this will allow me to nurse in this dress when the time comes.

Also, the sleeves. I wasn’t actually sure I was going to love the sleeves, but they’ve really grown on me. I used vintage buttons throughout, and I just love the little pop of pearlescent that they give my shoudlers.

The best thing about this dress, though? THE POCKETS, obviously.

As you can see, I did add a waist tie for just a bit more waist definition, because the elastic wasn’t quite defining my waist as much as I’d like. Again, can’t wait to make this again with darts. But here it is without the waist tie, for those wondering:

One Pattern, Two Bodies: Chalk & Notch Fringe Dress – Camilla’s Take

Hello! It’s Camilla here (also known as @she_sew_fabulous). If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know how much I love making dresses. I don’t make them as often anymore as I now have hundreds of them, so I was delighted for the opportunity to make one for the purpose of this blog. It’s always a delight to work with Lindsie, so I approached this project with a big smile on my face and was eager to get started.

(See Lindsie’s take here!)

When Lindsie and I discussed what pattern to make, we wanted to ensure it was a pattern that would work for both of our body shapes, so we opted for the Chalk and Notch ‘Fringe Dress’.

My body measurements are bust 38 inches, waist 33 inches and hip 40 inches, so I decided to make a size 14 as I hate it when dresses are tight. I love a bit of wiggle room and the option to accessorise with a belt if I want a dress to be more cinched, or billowy if it’s hot and I want to keep cool, so I have both here. 

This is the first Chalk and Notch pattern I’ve made and I must say that I really enjoyed doing it : the instructions are really clear and the final product lovely : check out that asymmetric hemline – love!! I opted to make the button free version as I had just finished the quite complex Eden raincoat by Tilly and the Buttons and couldn’t deal with the added stress of buttonholes – I wanted something simple! And can I just take a moment to gag over this fabric : I picked it up from a destash page on Instagram and it’s so lovely, it just makes the pattern wonderfully summery and reminds me of the dresses I used to buy from Oasis when I was in my twenties that always made me feel chic and fabulous. 

Last time that Lindsie and I made a ‘one pattern on two bodies’ garment, it was the Love Notions Sunday Romper, and at that time I was going through a bit of a downer about my size. I’ve put on weight over the last two years, like many of us and I was feeling a bit rubbish about it last summer. Fast forward to this year and I’m actually really happy with my size. Yes, I still have the extra roll here and there that I could do without, but it doesn’t detract from the way I feel about myself. One thing I love about the sewing community is the constant exposure to different body shapes, which has, over time, made me far more accepting about my shape. When I wear a dress like this, I feel gorgeous : it’s light and summery and dare I say it, looks like it cost a lot of money to buy ready made; so all those things considered, I’m not worried about the extra lumps and bumps here and there because I feel great. 

I highly recommend this pattern to any level of sewist as it’s really simple and comes together quite quickly. Furthermore, it’s really versatile : you can make it casual, you can make it fancy, you can dress it up, you can dress it down. It’s great for any occasion and I foresee myself getting a lot of wear out of this one. 

Thanks for the opportunity to make this lovely pattern Lindsie, I really enjoyed this project and I foresee many more Fringe Dresses (probably with some hacks included) making their way into my wardrobe in the future!

Amelie Sew Along Week F | Finishing, Buttons & Hem

For August and September at Sew Busty, we’re doing a button challenge! Post a make that features buttons on instagram with #sewbustychallenge by September 30 for a chance to win a prize!

As part of that challenge, we’re doing a sew along for the Untitled Thoughts Amelie Dress – a cute little number that features buttons down the back of the skirt, as well as an open (but bra-friendly!) back. (Check out the picture of the dress on today’s post, as I accidentally earlier shared a picture of the non-bra friendly! For the full sew along, including bonus content, click here!

I love this dress.

Let’s get this done, shall we?

Your dress should be nearly done! All we need to do this week is sew buttonholes, add buttons, and hem this baby.

Buttonholes

For the buttonholes, I would absolutely highly recommend you use a piece of scrap fabric to sew a tester buttonhole. Here’s my tester:

Make sure to test your tester buttonhole to make sure your chosen button goes through it with relative ease!

Different machines do buttonholes differently, so it’s tough to show a sew-along of how to do buttonholes. On my machine, I have a one-step buttonhole foot. I load the button into the foot, lower a lever, set my stitch to the buttonhole stitch, and voila! A perfect buttonhole.

Here’s my buttonhole foot, loaded with one of the vintage buttons I selected for my Amelie:

One thing I noticed while sewing the buttonholes: While the buttonhole markings on the Amelie pattern are horizontal, the buttons along the skirt should be vertical. If you put your buttonholes on horizontally, you’ll have your buttons pulling more.

At the bodice, though, a horizontal buttonhole is probably okay, as there’s more ease at the bust. Here’s my bodice buttonhole:

And my buttonholes along my skirt. I did the two waistband buttonholes horizontal, which is okay because of how close they are together. But then I switched to vertical buttonholes.

To open up your buttonholes, I like to use my seam ripper. I stick it in at one end and gently tear through the fabric to the other end of the buttonhole.

Buttons

If you’re a lucky duck and chose flat buttons and have a machine that will sew on buttons, you can do this step on your machine!

I, unfortunately, chose shank buttons, which means I had to hand-sew them.

Get your buttons lined up with your buttonholes by laying your buttonhole placket on top of your button placket and poking a marking tool through the middle of each buttonhole. This will show you where to sew your buttons!

Hem

Hang your dress for at least 24 hours before trying to hem!!!

If you recall, we let our dresses hang for 24 hours with the Roseclair sew along, and we’re doing the same here. This pivotal step prevents wobbly hems because it allows your skirt to stretch with gravity before you hem it instead of after.

Once you’ve hung your dress for at least a day, use a measuring tape to ensure it’s even all the way around:

Once you’ve done this, you’ll fold your hem up by about 1/4″ (0.6 cm) once, press, then fold up by another 1/2″ (1.3 cm) and press again. Sew, ensuring you capture both layers of folds under your stitch.

That’s it! Let’s talk fit and bra coverage.

This is my wearable muslin. I’m not a huge muslin-er when it comes to making clothing, so this dress does not fit 100% perfectly the first time, and that’s okay! My philosophy on making clothing is that, even without making a muslin, it’s going to fit better than ready-to-wear clothing would, so I’m alright with slight imperfections.

Things I need to change for next time include:

I need to shorten the back bodice. While the front bodice lays magnificently on me, the back bodice is a bit long, which you can see in how it wrinkles. (It might look tight, but I promise it’s not tight at the bust at all. The wrinkles disappear if I give a tug downward, which tells me it’s too long.)

I need to move where the back overlap is. I’m wearing a tank top in these pictures, so you can’t see it, but my bra does unfortunately show underneath the bra-friendly back. I wasn’t surprised by this, as bra bands land in different places on different people. Thankfully, Brittani from Untitled Thoughts has a brilliant tutorial on fixing this issue, and I’ll be sure to follow her instructions for next time.

I’d like maybe an inch more ease at the waist. This is probably because I drank too much wine on vacation, after I had cut and started sewing this dress 😂 Note to self: don’t start a garment before vacation … or if you do, add a bit of extra ease.

Overall, I’m super happy with this dress! I love the center front darts. They feel almost regal and very retro, and I’m here for it.

Busty Pattern Review + One Pattern, Two Bodies | Love Notions Sunday Romper

Today, I’m pretty damn thrilled to collaborate with Camilla, the gorgeous qween behind She/We Sew Fabulous!

It’s no secret that Camilla and I look different. I’m an hourglass, with an emphasis on the top — giant boobs, small waist, pretty big hips. Camilla describes herself as “a Mediterranean gal with big hips and small boobs.” So we thought it would be fun to try making the same pattern and see how it looks on our very different body types!

Here are Camilla’s super fun versions!

Doesn’t Camilla look great?! Most importantly, she loves the romper! So much, she made it twice. And I agree with her assessment that it looks amazing on her!

I’ve had this pattern forever, so I was excited to use it! I grabbed some Girl Charlee pineapple print cotton spandex from my stash — originally slated to be a Charm Barbie bodysuit, but then I fell out of love with that pattern and with Charm — and I was off!

The Sunday romper comes with two bust options — a regular front and a full bust front. Camilla used the regular front, while I used the full bust one.

Time for some honesty: I don’t hate mine, but I can’t say I love it either.

The photos I chose for this blog are the most flattering photos I could get, but here’s how I feel in it:

Basically, I feel a little like … shapeless? I prefer garments that clearly define my waist, and this particular garment has too much fabric at the top to do that well. It feels like it goes out at my bust and, despite the elasticated waist, doesn’t really come back in until my hips. So I get a square shape that I don’t prefer.

If I were to make it again, I would shorten the bodice substantially, since getting rid of some of that extra fabric would help me love it a lot more. (When I tuck in the top a bit, I get a shape I actually quite like!)

The original pattern also had the shorts going much longer, as you can see in Camilla’s pictures. But I felt very frumpy with longer shorts, and honestly was on my way to totally hating this romper, so I chopped them to the tiniest inseam. Here’s what my romper looked like before I chopped the shorts:

If you ask me, shaving off the shorts saved this romper for me. It went from 🥴 to 🤔 in my book! I won’t reach for 🤔 regularly, but I’ll definitely wear it sometimes. I’d have probably donated 🥴.

There are a few things I love about this romper though. Namely, it’s suuuuuper comfy and it has pockets! And I honestly think it’s perfect for a day on the beach, as a swimsuit cover or just for lounging.

Camilla LOVES hers, though, and I agree that it’s super flattering on her body. As she puts it, she loved it so much she made it twice! Just goes to show that fit is one thing — both of our rompers technically fit — but some patterns are just going to work better on some bodies. (Though, I want to say, this is a matter of preference! Any body can wear any garment! It’s really a question of whether the wearer enjoys wearing it!)

Sewing the Sunday Romper was pretty straight forward. Camilla opted for her serger and coverstitch, but y’all know I hate serging, and I don’t have a coverstitch. So I used my Pfaff Ambition 620 on a narrow zigzag for most of this garment. (I prefer the narrow zigzag over a lightning stitch or a stretch straight stitch.) The neck band was the trickiest part for me, but it wasn’t too bad!

This was such a fun experiment, and I’m glad Camilla and I teamed up to do this! I hope we do it again! I got to try a new pattern and ended up with a garment I’ll definitely wear to the beach, as well as any time I need a comfy frock.

I want to note one more time: “flattering” is a social construct, and we all have different ways of defining it. For me, this romper isn’t the most flattering on my body because it doesn’t fit my preferences and because I don’t feel super confident in it. But I don’t buy into the idea that only certain bodies can wear certain styles. That’s rubbish! This romper could totally work on another busty body, and other people might even prefer the way this hugs the body!