The dreaded full bust alteration

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Andrea L
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The dreaded full bust alteration

Postby Andrea L » Sat Sep 13, 2014 2:05 am

So I was recently putting on one of my Victorian dresses and realized that, with a combination of gaining weight and the dress being cotton (more the former than the latter), it's difficult to button the front of my bodice in the bust area. Now, the best solution would be to lose weight, but that won't happen in a day (and I'm lazy, so...), so what would be the best way to alter the front? Keep in mind in this particular example that it's the EB polonaise, I have some fabric but not enough to cut out the front again, and I have buttonholes along the center front. I don't think I would need a lot of extra room, but I would probably need more than the front/side seam will give, though I will try that first. I would just like to hear your thoughts.

For reference, if you go on my blog, it's the gold Leo dress.

This might be my incentive to add extra seam allowance and use hook and eyes from now on...
Bookwyrm
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Re: The dreaded full bust alteration

Postby Bookwyrm » Sat Sep 13, 2014 2:43 pm

False vest front?

That's a period solution - I just saw it in Frances Grimble's Natural Form books a few days ago.
Andrea L
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Re: The dreaded full bust alteration

Postby Andrea L » Sat Sep 13, 2014 3:19 pm

I originally thought that...but the problem is there's still buttonholes there. Unless I cut that part off and redo the front with a vest portion (or see if I can pattern match the fabric I have left). That's an idea.

Any others? I guess we could use this as a general "how to alter a bodice that's too small for you" topic.
Heather
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Re: The dreaded full bust alteration

Postby Heather » Sat Sep 13, 2014 10:14 pm

I second the vest addition. I have done this in the past, but was able the alteration before the buttons went in. If it doesn't make the vest too wide, you can just cut off the button holes.

There is another idea, but it would be harder to implement in the polonaise... Add a panel under the arms at the side seams. Usually, if you gain weight the armholes will get tight, so adding a side panel will solve that problem as well. But the polonaise has a dart at the side, rather than a full seam, so adding a bit might work or might not, depending on how much you need to add and where.
Andrea L
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Re: The dreaded full bust alteration

Postby Andrea L » Sun Sep 14, 2014 9:47 am

I was actually thinking about messing with the font/side area on the polonaise to avoid having to put all those buttonholes back on (or if I'm smart, hook and eyes, but that doesn't sound like fun either). Would putting in a piece function like adding a gore to something? Come to think of it, I may have to alter my red and black dress (made the mistake of putting that one in the dryer...and now I never put any of my cotton dresses in the dryer). That dress I used the ED vested bodice. Luckily I believe I have enough fabric to redo the front(s) if necessary, but would the side seam technique work? I don't think any of these would require a lot of extra room--I was able to get into the polonaise, but it took a bit of tugging to utilize the natural give of the fabric before I could button it. And my newest dress I had to cut a size bigger in the front, so whatever size difference it is between a D front and an E front.
smt22
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Re: The dreaded full bust alteration

Postby smt22 » Sun Sep 14, 2014 11:11 am

The false vest works! I have done it - I can't seem to post the picture here but you can see it in my Truly Victorian Gallery under Susan T (the blue polonaise).

http://trulyvictorian.com/gallery2/main ... 5.jpg.html

I had the 1875 vest front bodice pattern so I used that to trace the vest pieces (I extended them a bit at the centre front to give me some room for fitting adjustment). Then I laid the bodice front pattern over my polonaise front and used it as a guide to cut away the centre front of the polonaise (remembering to put the markers on so I would know where to attach the vest). It should match up with the corner of the neckline, and I followed the new cutting line right down to the bottom of the polonaise front.

I flatlined the vest pieces and turned down the top and bottom edges before attaching. Then once they were on I tried it on, pinned it up and marked the new centre front, then just turned in the front edges of the vest and added hooks and bars, and voila!

I love how it turned out, even more than the original polonaise I had cut! Ironically I have lost my extra weight now so I've had to turn back the centre fronts again and move all the hooks and bars, but I have left the excess there just in case! :wink:
Susan T
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Bookwyrm
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Re: The dreaded full bust alteration

Postby Bookwyrm » Mon Sep 15, 2014 10:39 am

Super cute!

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