Re-Fit ALL the Things!

The Met, 1774-93 – Evidence of a gown let out to accommodate wide shoulders.

As you all know, in our sewing journeys, no matter the years that have passed, things change.  Our skills increase, our tastes alter, our knowledge grows, and our bodies change.

My body recently underwent one of these changes, and rather quickly too. It’s like my 30th birthday came, and the body gods laughed and sent me an extra two inches for my waist. THANKS!

This means that just about all of my costumes no longer fit, so when I pulled out the gowns I planned to take to Colonial Williamsburg in March, it’s a good thing I tried them on, because all of them needed changes.

Photo is by Dogfish Briggins, pirate extraordinaire. You can see that the shoulders are very wide, and that the bodice has stress wrinkles where I coerced it to close. The neckline is also quite high and gapped over the top of my stays unattractively.

One dress, the red Revolution Dress from way back, needed quite a bit of work. After wearing it to an event the other night (above), and seeing a photo of myself practically popping out of it, I decided to re-work the shoulders in addition to cutting the neckline down quite a bit. Some of these flaws were leftovers from when I first made the dress, and didn’t understand well-fitted shoulders, or that necklines should be lower, so it’s not all to do with my body getting bigger.

On the left side here is the new neckline and the shoulder strap set more onto the shoulder (not so visible in the photo, but quite a significant change). The right side is the “before.” I often cut my necklines lower than the top of my corsets/stays now, and will fill the area with a ruffle or neckerchief. I find this more flattering on my form.

I also moved the buttons closer to the CF a little, to allow more room without opening seams. Similar changes were made on the Parisian gown – I let the side seams out a smidge, moved the hooks/bars, and lowered the neckline.

This is a good lesson to myself in leaving adjustability in a gown – let those seam allowance stay unclipped! – just in case things needs to be changed a bit in the future. 🙂


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