Sunday, January 13, 2019

A New Bodice on a Snowy Day

My list of "planned projects" is long. Like really long. Long enough I probably wont get it all done in my life time, let alone this year, long.

And I really don't think that last sentence is really an over statement. Yet, I want to get at least all the projects I already have materials for done this year! I know I won't, but I still want to!!

All this to say, it's very rewarding to finally get around to doing a project you've had planned for some time. Such as the 19th century wrapper I blogged about just a couple days ago. Or the dress I made for Designin' December. Or this dress I just finished yesterday.

Ok, I know what you're thinking. "Umm, Alyssa? Haven't we seen that dress before?"

Yes, yes you have, mostly. This is the dress I made while testing the Admiraal Dress pattern, by the Eli Monster, back in the spring - with a new bodice.

While on the World Race in 2017, I gained a bit of weight. This was caused by not being as active on the Race as I am at home and then eating whenever I missed home. Yeah, not a great combination. However, once I got home, the weight just started to fall off. I was back to my old life, wrangling children and chasing goats, and that was enough to make all the extra weight disappear with in a few months with no real effort on my part. (So just in case you're wondering what my weight-loss regime was, that's it - kids and goats. They're a real work out.)

Clearly, going back to my pre-race weight and size was (is) a good thing. I like it. All my clothes from before the World Race fit me again. There's only one minor downside. The cute clothes I made for myself in the months after the race, quickly became too big. My pretty blue cotton plaid Admiraal Dress, fell into that category of garments.

I made it for myself in the spring, and by early summer (when the remaining weight fell off - something about keeping up with three kids all day, every day, rather than just after school), it was decidedly too big. At this point it entered my mind I could "fix" the dress by making a new bodice for it. I had just enough blue plaid left to do so. Thus "A new bodice for my Admiraal Dress" went on my projects list.

Since then, the new bodice has been on my planned projects list, and it's only taken me about 7 months to get around to it!

At the beginning of this week (last week, since it's now Sunday?) I decided I was, most definitely, going to somehow, find/make the time somewhere in the week to put a new bodice on my Admiraal Dress. I needed some more winter dress clothes (as I've been wearing this outfit and this dress on repeat to church and every other "dress up" event for weeks now), so I decided it made more sense to fix an existing garment to fit me now, and get a project off my list, than it did to make a completely new dress.

The weather obliged my bodice making plans by sending a massive snow storm resulting in well over a foot of snow, and an unexpected day off work to tackle the project.

I began by assembling the new bodice pattern, a size smaller than I used for the original dress. I've had this pattern printed off for months now, so all I had to do was tape it together, and make a couple alterations.

I did both a broad back and a full bust adjustment, lengthened the bodice by over an inch (as my original dress bodice was a bit too short for me), and raised the armscye slightly. Then I made a bodice mock-up from an old cotton sateen sheet.

I adjusted the darts until they fit me right, made a couple small changes to the back of the bodice, then I was ready to cut the new bodice out of my remaining blue plaid fabric.

There was just barely enough fabric to squeeze the new bodice out of. There was not quite enough to cut the back as one solid piece, however, so I added a back yoke.

Once the new bodice was cut out, I set about disassembling the original dress.

I would be re-using the original skirt (already constructed with pockets!), sleeves, cuffs, collar, buttons, and zipper. Literally the only thing I would be replacing was the bodice.

Once all the pieces were removed from the old bodice, new bodice construction began. I cut down the tops of the sleeves a bit, lowering the sleeve cap for a better range of motion in the completed garment.

When I put the zipper back in, I did it as a pretty lapped zipper, rather than the ugly, hastily done, exposed zipper insertion from the first rendition of the dress.

When I made the buttonholes this time, I only sewed 4 sets, rather than 5, like the dress originally had. So, the new bodice, only has 8 buttons, not 10. This was not done on purpose, but it works just fine.

The finished dress with the new bodice fits me!

It's not quite perfect, somehow, even with the broad back adjustment, I wound up making the back shoulders a bit too narrow, unfortunately. However, thanks to raising the armscye and lowering the sleeve cap, I still have a decent range of motion despite the narrow shoulders. (Though I'm still scratching my head wondering how they came out too narrow, as they fit right on the mock-up I thought!)

Also, the darts coming in from the side seams could be lowered by at least half an inch for a better fit - but this is not something I'm willing to take the bodice apart to fix! 

It looks decent enough to wear, even with the too high darts, and too narrow shoulders. It fits perfectly through the bust and the waist!

I am thrilled to have this dress wearable again, and something completed off my never-ending list!

What I'm less thrilled about, is all the snow. It began snowing Friday afternoon, and now, Sunday morning, it's still snowing.

Don't get me wrong, I like snow generally - it's pretty! This foot and a half of snow however is very heavy, and wet, and breaking things, like trees.

One very large limb fell on an old, no longer in use, chicken pen on Friday night.
Our yards are full of downed tree limbs, and the snow has even taken out 3 complete trees already!

Two of those trees happen to be right next to our outdoor wood furnace, so at least we won't have far to carry the firewood when this is all over! 

Sadly, the big shade tree over our driveway sustained a ton of damage, and eventually my dad and brother had to cut down over half of it to keep it from falling on the house.

The dog thinks it's heaven - big sticks falling from the sky, just for her!!

The goats aren't huge fans.

Our yard is going to look very different once this snow storm is over!


  1. Would you like to see my lists for 2018? I just scratched the first item off this week ; P
    My goal for 2019 is simply to use up chunks of fabric (my hoard is pushing its limits) and I may or maynot have come home with 8+ yards to add to all that.....

    I sympathise with your changing scenery up there! We don't get snow like that, but we had a hurricane years ago that took most of our large yard trees : (

    Your remake looks great! After being plagued with inconsistencies myself, I have decided sewing just does not always make logical, mathematical sense ; P
    I love how the fabric, facings and pattern all compliment each other so well!

    1. Using up chunks of fabric sounds like a great goal! I really should put myself on a fabric buying freeze - but I seem to have no self control there - because my stash is becoming scary!
      It's rather disheartening to see our poor trees coming down all at once! Never in my lifetime have we had enough snow to destroy trees like this!
      Thank you!