#012 The Elizabethan Bodice: FITTING YOUR MOCKUP

Posted by Margo Anderson on

Welcome back to The Elizabethan Bodice Sew Along!  Today we will be taking the mockup you created in the last blog post, and fit it to your body.
Pattern #012 is very versatile, and can be worn with or without a corset.  As such, we are going to show the fitting process for both, and how they might look on each person.
The first thing you do is lace the bodice on the body being fitted.  Pull the shoulder strap over the upper chest, and pin it to the shoulder strap stub on the back bodice.  Do this for both sides. 
FITTING OVER A CORSET.  Your bodice may look like this:

Front view, over corset.



Side view, with corset.

Back view, with corset.
There are some slight issues with Arte's bodice, but otherwise she has a very good fit, due to good measurements, and following the directions in the manual. 
 

Taking up some extra length in the shoulder straps.
The first thing we checked was the bodice length for Arte.  We needed to take the shoulder straps up a bit, and more so on the side of her sloping shoulder.

Finding the true waist line.
Arte is 4'11, and we discovered that despite taking some length out of her pattern, we were about 1 inch too long.  This was obvious on Arte's mockup by the bunching at the bottom, and some pulling at the sides.  
Clipping the bottom of the mockup.
To release the tension and discover the true waist line, make small clips into the waistline.  As Margo states in the manual, "you will feel the 'give' of the fabric as the tension releases."  You should only clip enough to relieve the tension.  
The ends of the clips will be your new seamline.  Connect the clips, true them, and recut.  We did not recut at this time, as we decided to wait to do that when we were cutting out our fashion fabric.
Checking the armpit comfort.
The armpit edge of the mockup should sit 1 inch away from the armpit for comfort.  This measurement was true for Arte.  She also had no excess fabric in her armpit.  This can happen due to using a corset, and having the fabric smooth over the corset, or due to additional flesh in the armpit area.

Checking the back fit.
This is where not cutting the back on a seam came back to bite me.  I realized that Arte needed a small amount removed from the back, but I had no seam.  I was just barely able to see the fold line, and pinned using that.  She required 1/2 inch pinned out in the back in order to have the mockup sit smoothly across her back.  

We also did this before clipping the bottom, and you can see the horizontal lines near the bottom that signify that the bodice is too long.  Once we cut the clips in the bottom, the back released, and became very smooth.
Checking the shoulder straps again.
Another check of the shoulder straps showed us that we needed to take up a bit more length.  Adjusting the bottom of the mockup and the back had shifted things.  
Once we adjusted that, we found that we didn't need any additional adjustments.  The bodice fit beautifully, and Arte was thrilled.  As someone with unusual proportions (narrow shoulders, long torso, wide back, and wide biceps), she could not believe this fit as easily as it did on the first try.
The final fitted mockup looked like this:
Back of the fitted mockup.

Side of the fitted mockup.
Front of the fitted mockup, and a happy Arte.
I like to draw in the crease where the pins are with a pen, to mark the amount that needs to be taken in.  This way you still know where you need to make adjustments, if your pins happen to become loose before you get a chance to make the changes.
Arte's mockup has been fitted, and now she is ready to make the adjustments to her mockup, transfer those markings to her pattern, and start cutting her fabric!
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FITTING WITHOUT A CORSET.  Without a corset to offer support underneath, Gilah's mockup had a different look to Arte's mockup.  If you are fitting without a corset, your mockup may look like this:
Gilah's mockup from the front.
Gilah's mockup from the side.
Gilah's mockup from the back.
Gilah had several of the same issues as Arte.  Despite taking out 3 inches in length, Gilah's bodice was still too long.  We started by taking the straps up.
Adjustments made to shoulder straps, and to accommodate Gilah's very sloped shoulders.
This made an immediate difference in the support she was receiving in her chest.
Gilah's bodice after raising the straps.
Raising the straps shifted her chest upward, and removed some of the creases sitting directly under her chest.  It also helped to define her waist.
Pinching a dart out in the armpit.
Unlike Arte, Gilah had extra fabric in her armsyce, and we pinched this into a dart, and pinned it.  We did the same thing on the other side.  This additional fabric will be removed during the "cinching" of the armsyce during the construction of the bodice.
Adjusting the length on the mockup.
Although we had already removed 3 inches in length from the pattern during our alterations, we discovered that we needed to remove an additional 2 inches in length in the back and sides on the mockup.  We followed the same instructions as on Arte's mockup, and clipped to the natural waist, and let the fabric release as we went.  It made an immediate difference to the look of the bodice.
The nice fit on the back of Gilah's mockup.
Unlike Arte, Gilah required no adjustment to her back seam.  After clipping the bodice, the back sat flat.  One small crease was visible in the back, and it runs directly from the crease under her bust in front.  With added boning to the back, it will end up being completely smooth.
Gilah in her fitted mockup.
Other than the ones mentioned above, Gilah required no additional adjustments.  She said this was amazing considering she is "one of the hardest people EVER to fit, because of my very weird proportions."  She would like you to know that she gave us permission to share that!  
 
A happy ending to our fitting.
Having used this pattern for many years on many different sizes of people, I have found that as long as you measure carefully, and follow the instructions in the manual for altering the pattern, you will be successful every time.  When I went off of the measurement chart only, and did not draft each section of the pattern separately (back, bust, waist), I did not have nearly as good a fit in the bodices I made.  
Your fitted mockup is now ready for your fashion fabric!  
Next week's blog posts include:
1.  Cutting out your flatlining and fashion fabric
2.  Constructing your flatlining
3.  Stacking your layers and cinching your armsyce
4.  Choosing your embellishments and their placement

See you Monday!  
This article, and the rest of the Elizabethan Bodice Sew Along posts, was written by Laura Ulak.

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