Community Blog | No Gape Roseclair with Karey

This post documents the lessons I applied from ‘Cross your heart woes’ to fitting the Cashmerette Roseclair peplum blouse.

Cashmerette Size Calculator recommends that I “start with a size 6 G/H with a 1″/2.5 cm full bust adjustment, size 10/12 waist and size 8 hip.”

What I did to start with was print sizes 6, 8, 10 and 12, and tissue fit my tracing of the pattern. I followed the Palmer/Pletsch Complete Guide to Fitting (PP) process to double check the size calculator recommendations and identify any other fitting issues.

I expected to have to do an FBA, and I usually need wide round back adjustment. PP shows how to use gap between pattern and body centre front (CF) to measure size of FBA required, and gap between pattern and body centre back (CB) to identify width of wide back adjustment needed. Placing the pattern on my dummy suggested I needed to raise dart, but my dummy has perkier bust than me. My shoulders are wider than pattern shoulder width, but looking at armscye height on pattern, and gathering at top of sleeve, I left that for muslin fit, as it looked like sleeve sat over shoulder.

Figure 1: tissue fit on dummy – green thread marks pattern seams, pink thread marks my seam locations (I got my colour code mixed up between dummy & body fit 🙂
Figure 2: tissue fit me – green thread marks seam locations, pink thread marks pattern seams

Once I had made these adjustments on the traced pattern I made up a muslin, to check fit and see whether the FBA had created gaping in the bodice front.

Figure 3: Muslin to check FBA, wide back adjustment, and sleeve fit
Figure 4: A little too much cleavage shows

Figure 4 shows the extra length over the center front created by the FBA did create gaping.

In the previous ‘Cross your heart woes’ blog post, I controlled the gaping by taking a wedge out from the apex to the cross over point on the CF:

Figure 5: high CF wedge
Figure 6: 1 – high CF wedge; 2 – mid CF wedge; 3 – low CF wedge
. These correspond to the dart lines 1,2, & 3 drawn on Figure 7

What I discovered was that the high (1) and mid (2) CF wedges took length out of the vertical CF measurement as well as shortening the cross over length as required to reduce gaping. The low wedge, however, did not affect the vertical CF length, and did not go to the apex, so did not have to be rotated to other darts, simplifying the fitting of all the darts.

Figure 7: locations of wedges 1, 2, & 3
Figure 8: CF height and cross over length on B cup & large boobs

Figure 7 shows that the location of wedges 1 and 2 cuts through center front, so shortens center front as well as shortening cross over length. In order to remove them, these darts have to be rotated into another dart. Wedge 3, on the other hand, gets folded out through the waist line, so does not remove length from the CF but does remove length from the cross over.

Figure 8 shows that in order to fit around large boobs, the cross over needs to go lower before turning around bust and turn more sharply. The red tie drawn on Figure 7 shows where the tie end of the bodice was after the FBA adjustment as compared with the original black line. After wedge 3 was removed, the tie end moved up to where it is marked in blue on Figure 7, wrapping the tie better around the large boob, like in Figure 8.

Figure 9: final front
Figure 10: final side
Figure 11: final back

Once I was happy with fit, sewing up this top was one of the quickest and easiest I’ve made. I love how it feels and looks. See Figures 9, 10 and 11.

I left off the ties and replaced them with hat elastic button loops and buttons. Figures 12 and 13 show the outside and inside buttons. Figure 14 shows the elastic loop in place on what will be the outside of the binding; Figure 15 shows the bias folded with the button loop inside, and stitched through; and, figure 16 shows the button loop completed.

Figure 12: outside button
Figure 13: inside button
Figure 14: Inserting hat elastic loop
Figure 15: bias band folded out and stitched through button loop
Figure 16: button loop attached

The ¾” FBA I did on top of the Cashmerette G/H cup gave me a dart that measured 5” (12.5cm) along the side seam. This means that while the fold of the dart is almost on the straight of grain and, once the dart is stitched and folded up, the straight of grain fold of the dart lies under the bias of the outer layer. This means the outer fabric can stretch along the grain, but the dart edge cannot. If the leg of the dart is sewn to the side seam it will pull on the outer layer when you move. To stop this happening I trim dart leg to 5/8”. In this fine rayon I finish the dart edge as a faux French seam. With non-fraying fabrics I would just cut the edge.

Figure 17: Watch video to see how and why large dart pulls on outer layer, and how to fix it.

Figure 18: 5”dart
Figure 19: trimmed, edges folded in
Figure 20: pinned
Figure 21: top-stitched

Finally, no gape Roseclair:

Karey Harrison is a feminist philosopher of science and linguistics, environmentalist, retired academic, home baker, sewist, gardener. Karey also wrote the guest blogpost: #AllButtsWelcome: Unmentionables: Crotch Variation in Pantie Fitting. You can catch Karey on instagram @kareylea and see Karey’s academic profile here.

Images: unless otherwise noted, images are by Karey Harrison (CC BY-SA 4.0).

Roseclair Sew Along Week C: Sewing the Bodice & Sleeves (Beginners’ Sewing Series Part 10)

Brand new to sewing? Start here, with posts on gathering your toolstaking your measurements, and figuring out your garment sewing cup size. The Sew Busty Beginners’ Sewing Series will be your step-by-step guide to learning garment sewing. Each installment will build upon the last, getting progressively more advanced in skills and techniques. Catch up with the whole series here.

As part of the Beginners’ Sewing Series, we’re doing a sew along of the Cashmerette Roseclair Wrap Dress. Check out the full sew along here.

Per last week’s post, over the past week, you should have:

  • Marked and sewn your darts
  • Sewn and finished your shoulder seams
  • Sewn and finished your sleeve seam
  • Sewn your waist ties
  • Sewn and finished your side seams

Today, we’re going to sew up the skirt, attach it to the bodice, and do all the finishing touches!

Lindsie wears her yellow Roseclair wrap dress in the woods. Lindsie is a white woman with large boobs, and she has paired her mustard yellow wrap dress with a pair of brown sandals. She stands on a bark trail with trees in the background.

Sewing the Skirt

Your first step today is going to be to sew the skirt! To start off, you need to sew up your center back seam. Matching your two center back pieces, right sides together at the notches along the center back seam, pin.

I actually cut my center back along the fold. If I had done this correctly, by cutting it so it was 1/2″ (12 mm) inward at the center back, I wouldn’t have had to sew at all! But I forgot to trim the seam allowance when I cut on the fold, so I still needed to shave off that extra 1/2″ (12 mm) by sewing, or my skirt would have been a full inch too big!

Sew this seam at a 1/2″ (12 mm) seam allowance. Then, finish your seam by either pinking, serging, or zigzagging, as we discussed last week.

A skirt is pinned along the center back seam, right sides together

You’re going to do the exact same thing to attach the side skirt pieces to the back skirt: Pin the back skirt to the side skirts, right sides together, matching the notches. Sew at a 1/2″ (12 mm) seam allowance, then finish your seam:

Lindsie holds two notched pieces of fabric together so that their notches align
Lindsie shows a seam with a zigzag finish

Attaching Your Skirt to Your Bodice

You should now have a finished skirt! The next step is to attach it to the bodice.

With right sides of the bodice and skirt facing each other and matching the skirt’s center back seam with the bodice’s center back (which is a fold), pin. Then, pin at each of the notches. Fill in the rest of the seam with pins.

Now, you’re going to sew this seam at a 1/2″ (12 mm) seam allowance. When you do so, have your bodice on bottom. This is for similar reasons we discussed last week – your bodice is more curvy and will curve around the bottom of your sewing machine, while the skirt would try to bunch up if it were on bottom.

You now should have something that very nearly looks like a finished dress!

But you aren’t done 🙂

Finishing the Vertical Edge

You now need to finish all those pesky raw edges. We’ll tackle the vertical edge first.

First, fold that vertical edge in by 1/4″ (6 mm) and press. Now, fold it in by another 1/4″ (6 mm) and press. Do this on both sides.

Next, you need to sew this folded edge. I’m going to set my machine on a straight stitch, but with my needle 2 mm to the left. Then, I’m going to align my fabric so the folded edge is 1/4″ (6 mm) to the right of center, meaning that my stitching will be 8 mm inward from the folded edge:

You’ll end up with an edge that looks like this:

Creating Bias Tape

I thought a lot about whether to have y’all buy bias tape (a shortcut I often take) or, per the pattern instructions, make bias tape. Ultimately, I decided making bias tape isn’t all that hard, and it’s an important skill. Sometimes, you just can’t find pre-made bias tape that perfectly matches your fabric!

So, using the neckline tape pattern piece, you first need to place your two pieces perpendicular to each other, with right sides together and matching at a corner, like this:

Stick a pin through that, then sew from corner to corner, as shown here:

You’re now going to trim off that extra corner:

Now, at your ironing board, open this fold and press the little bit of seam allowance you left flat. You’ll be left with a long strip of fabric, all of which is on the bias!

Fold this long strip of fabric in half, with wrong sides together, and press.

Next, unfold your strip of fabric. Then, fold each raw end inwards, with wrong sides together, so it meets the center fold line and press. I like to do this one at a time, as I find it difficult to wrangle both raw edges at once:

If your bias tape is anything like mine, your center fold line has disappeared from the pressing of the other folds 😦 So we need to fold this in half and press again. You’ll then unfold the whole thing, revealing three fold lines:

You’ve made bias tape! We now need to finish each end of our bias tape. At each end, fold it back up, but fold the center line backward so that right sides are together:

Sew this at the very end to secure, trim the seam allowance, then flip this in on itself, so the short raw edge is inside all the folds:

Finishing the Neckline

We’re now going to use your me-made bias tape to finish the neckline!

With your bias tape unfolded, match the seam where you brought together your two pieces of neckline binding fabric with your center back fold at the neckline. Pin these two points together with right sides together. Working from this center point out, continue to pin your bias tape to your neckline, matching raw edges, until the entire neckline is covered. You will have extra bias tape on both sides.

Now, bring this to your sewing machine. Position your fabric so that your bias tape is on top. You should center your foot and your needle over the fold line closest to the edge of the fabric:

You do not need to finish this seam. Instead, you’re going trim the seam allowance a bit:

Then, double fold the bias tape up and press so that the seam allowance is on the same side of the seam as the bias tape. Head back to your sewing machine, and stitch about 2.5 mm inward from the fold along the entire bias tape – including the free-floating parts at the end of your neckline:

Your neckline and floating bias tape should now look like this – no raw edges to be seen:

You’re now going to flip that sewn edge under once more, and again sew at about 2.5 mm inward:

Finishing the Sleeves

Now, to finish the sleeves, which we left raw last week! You can either finish these sleeves in the way I describe here, or check out the pattern instructions to learn how to make them puffed!

At your ironing board, fold the edge of the sleeves inward, to the wrong side, 1/4″ (6 mm) and press. Fold inward another 1/4″ (6 mm) and press again.

Now, sew this. Again, I like to set my machine so my needle is 2.5 mm to the left, then align the fold with the center of my presser foot.

Almost Finished … Now, the Waiting Period

Okay, your dress is so close to being done. All you need to do is the hem. But here’s the thing: You need to hang that baby up and wait 24 hours (or at least overnight).

Why? Because you need to wait for the hem to drop. With woven fabric, gravity will pull different parts of the hem down unevenly. If you hem it now, before letting gravity do its work, you’re going to end up with an uneven hem. But if you wait 24 hours, or at least overnight, for gravity to do its thing before you hem, you can account for any unevenness in your hem by trimming it while it’s hanging (or better yet, having a friend or spouse trim it while you’re wearing it) so it will be even with wear.

Hemming Your Dress

Now, to hem! This is really subjective, as it sort of depends on the look you’re going for. Sometimes, I love to do really wide hems. Other times, I like something more narrow. This time, I went for in between.

The basic steps are the same regardless of how wide a hem you’re after: You need to fold your fabric to the inside twice, and you need to stitch it so both folds get captured in the seam.

I opted to fold my hem up 1/4″ (6 mm) for my first fold, then 1″ (about 2.5 cm) for my second:

Then, I stitched this with a 5/8″ (1.5 cm) seam allowance, so that my stitching would catch both layers of fabric.

All Done!

Now, try it on, snap a pic, and post with #sewbusty so I can see! I can’t wait to see your gorgeous Roseclairs!

Your Homework:

  • Sew your skirt together by sewing and finishing the center back seam and side seams
  • Attach your skirt to your bodice and finish that seam
  • Finish the vertical edges of your skirt
  • Make and attach bias tape to your neckline
  • Finish your sleeve edges
  • Hem your skirt
  • Take a picture and share with the community on instagram using #sewbustycommunity, or share on the Sew Busty Facebook group or subreddit!

Questions about this week’s steps for the Roseclair dress? Drop a comment below, or ask on the Sew Busty Facebook group or subreddit.