advice altering shoulder/contour darts

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hello,
i need some advice on ...

DW wants me to alter the shoulder/contour darts on a RTW dress to be worn to
a nephew's wedding. The dress was chosen from a batch of various sisters's
dresses. The reccomended alteration was suggested and  marked with 2 safety
pins by a gaggle of relatives during a dress trial/fitting session. The
alteration was suggested to improve the bust/waistline appearance.

Dress is full length (%100) silk with slit to knee over one leg  and fully
lined with (%100) acetate (as the labels say) and zipperd down center back.
Neck line is squared and there is some pintucking decoration on the front
and it has very short sleeves... slevelets :)

Dress is light-medium  Pink.

There are two pre-existing shoulder/contour darts (one over each shoulder)
starting at the shoulder seam and extend down back to the  waist. The
reccomended alteration is two "half-inch" pinch/folds at each of the 2 darts
marked at about 3 inches below shoulder  blades.

So, my plan is to taper the darts starting at the safety pin marked depth
and finish at top shoulder point and same to bottom dart point.

I think my problems are...
(1) what to do to lining ? do i make the same alteration ?
(2) do i need to rip old dart seams after i finish fitting  then cut and
press flat or can i just leave them alone ?
(3) can i use any old matching color cotton thread or do i need to use silk
thread ?
(4) will alteration on the silk be easy to undo without marring the fabric ?
that is only if the alteration does not seem to work, otherwise it will be
considered permanent.

any advice on this greatly appreciated,
Rob







Re: advice altering shoulder/contour darts
Dear Rob,

It sounds as though this will be a temporary fix, just for the
wedding, and the dress must be returned to its former self after?  If
that's so, the alteration will be done differently than if it is a
permanent change.  Also, make sure your wife wears the undergarment
she intends to wear under the dress, so that the alteration will be
done perfectly.

If this is a temporary fix, sew through both outside and lining,
following the original darts, and tapering to nothing at the ends.  If
it is to be a permanent fix, undo the original darts in both lining
and outside, repair each separately, and sew the layers back
together.  Make sure the outside is really silk before pressing; poly
or acetate both will be permanently creased if pressed.

I'm glad I don't have to do it--I hate alterations!!

Teri


Re: advice altering shoulder/contour darts
hello,
thanks for the encouraging advice.
originally we thought permanent but since DW shape is changing (nursing)
then i will probably go temporary route.

do you think a  chainstitch is ok for this type of alteration or should i
jst use a straight stitch
thanks again.
robb

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Re: advice altering shoulder/contour darts
robb wrote:
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Well, speaking from my experience of nursing a baby, the only way your
bust size goes is downwards - until you stop feeding the baby.

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Straight stitch. And if you cut your fabric, don't forget to finish the
edges with a zig zag or overlock stitch.

HTH

Sarah

Re: advice altering shoulder/contour darts
On Tue, 22 May 2007 23:16:21 +0100, Sarah Dale

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Or turn them under and straight-stitch, or apply hong-kong binding,
or . . .

Joy Beeson
--
joy beeson at comcast dot net
http://roughsewing.home.comcast.net/ -- sewing
We've slightly trimmed the long signature. Click to see the full one.
Re: advice altering shoulder/contour darts
robb wrote:

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Sounds like a good plan.


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Yep. If you don't, the lining won't lay right under the fashion fabric
layer.  

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Are they cut open now?  A lot of times they aren't cut and pressed open.
They are left solid and pressed toward the center of the garment.  Whatever
they are now is what you want to do with the new ones.  I will tell you if
you sew completely over the old darts, you will want to remove them
totally. They won't press out well otherwise (you'll have a hump in there.
not attractive.)  If you blend the new dart into the old one, you can
sometimes leave the old ones there.  Pressing will tell you what you need
to do.  Hump = remove old.  Flat & even = don't mess with it.

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You can use whatever thread matches.  It'll be fine.  You do want to use a
fairly fine machine needle.  A #70 sharp ought to work.

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Should be.  Just remember to be gentle pulling any stitches out that you
need to.  Don't just grab the bobbin thread and yank the whole thing
out.  ;)  Unpick stitches one at a time and you'll be fine.  Needle holes
will usually steam closed easily on silk.  Steam from the wrong side and
scratch lightly with your fingernail.  That almost always closes up needle
holes on natural fiber fabrics.  Needle holes might be permanent in the
lining fabric though. (but then, who will see???)  Never could figure out
why they line silk with acetate or polyester, but it's done all the time.  


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Don't be scared of it just because it's silk. Silk does take a little extra
care that some fabrics don't need, but not that much.  Main thing to
remember about alterations is you don't want anyone to look at the dress
and know it was altered.  The only change you should see is an improvement
in fit.  The rest of the dress should stay the same.  That's always my goal
when I alter either for myself or for a client.  No one should ever see
immediately that I did anything to the garment.  (kind of makes one feel
like Batman or something huh??  lol)

Good luck, and holler if you need more help.

Sharon

--
Never try to teach a pig to sing.  It's a waste of time and just annoys the
pig.


Re: advice altering shoulder/contour darts
hello,
thanks, the alt.sewing-ers are great group.
and thanks for all the extra advice sharon , it seemed like i was not
considering some issues.

I thought it was a shoulder to waist dart but it is actually a full length
seam i suppose what i am doing is adding a dart on top of the seam around
the waist or maybe techniclly the seam is a dart.

anyways my plan is the same i will taper my addition into the existing seam
to just above waist and to the top of shoulder.

these  dart/seams are cut, edge finished and pressed flat.

thanks again for helpful advice,
robb

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Whatever
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Re: advice altering shoulder/contour darts
robb wrote:
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Princess seams!  :)  Easiest sort to alter: put your new stitch line in,
unpick the old, press flat!  :)
--
Kate  XXXXXX  R.C.T.Q Madame Chef des Trolls
Lady Catherine, Wardrobe Mistress of the Chocolate Buttons
We've slightly trimmed the long signature. Click to see the full one.
Re: advice altering shoulder/contour darts
Kate XXXXXX wrote:

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You're very welcome, Robb.
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I agree with Kate and Teri.  Sounds like princess seams to me.  Lucky lucky
you!  So easy to alter.

Start your new seam on the existing one where it fits. Then taper in as much
as you need.  Then, and here's the sneaky part, since this may need to be
altered again in the future, Do Not Cut anything out.  Remove the original
stitches.  Press the seam open gently.  Repeat on lining.  Call it a
day.  ;)  As long as you don't remove that seam allowance, you can go back
out with the dress if you need to later on.  And you don't have to worry
about finishing the edges.  Just be careful Not to unpick the serged
stitches (the stitches that wrap around the cut edges.)  


Just to be sure we are all telling you the right thing, look at this
pattern:

http://store.sewingtoday.com/cgi-bin/voguepatterns/shop.cgi?s.item.V8107=x&TI=20009&page=4

(that should be Vogue V8107)  Scroll down to the line drawings of the dress.
Look at the seam lines on the bodice.  Is that close to what you have to
work with on your wife's dress?  Those are princess seams.  Princess seams
can be a little curvier than that pattern, but that's a pretty good example
of a simple dress with princess seams.  Are we on the right track?  

We're always happy to help, so don't be shy at all about asking more
questions.  It sounds to me like you're on the right track with your plan.
She will look marvelous when you get everything fitted for her.  ;)

Sharon
---
Never try to teach a pig to sing.  It's a waste of time and just annoys the
pig.

Re: advice altering shoulder/contour darts
snipped-for-privacy@cox.net wrote:

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http://store.sewingtoday.com/cgi-bin/voguepatterns/shop.cgi?s.item.V8107=x&TI=20009&page=4
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Sharon, you may be right, but I had the distinct impression
that the princess seams in this case were the kind which
continued straight-up-to-the-shoulder-seam rather then the
curve-over-to-the-armseye kind.  More like:
http://store.sewingtoday.com/cgi-bin/voguepatterns/shop.cgi?s.item.V2953=x&TI=20005&page=2
or
http://store.sewingtoday.com/cgi-bin/voguepatterns/shop.cgi?s.item.V2938=x&TI=20005&page=2

Which are a jackets, but it shows the "other" kind of
princess seam.  And IMHO that would be much easier to alter.

And, here's one which has both kinds in the same garment:

http://store.sewingtoday.com/cgi-bin/voguepatterns/shop.cgi?s.item.V8183=x&TI=20009&page=3

Beautiful, if a bit of overkill.  ;-)

Beverly




Re: advice altering shoulder/contour darts

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http://store.sewingtoday.com/cgi-bin/voguepatterns/shop.cgi?s.item.V8107=x&TI=20009&page=4
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http://store.sewingtoday.com/cgi-bin/voguepatterns/shop.cgi?s.item.V8183=x&TI=20009&page=3
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yes  your correct,  it is a shoulder seam and this dress link above  has
very similar look as the dress i am working on (less the extra seams)

the bad thing about looking at these patterns (for me) is i start
thinking/wishing that we just made DW a dress maybe next time she
needs/wants a dress.

thanks for all your  time and help,
robb





Re: advice altering shoulder/contour darts
robb wrote:

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What a good idea!  My father in law made loads of stuff for my darling
(but sadly departed) mother in law, and they always fitted and she
looked so smart!  Making from scratch is often a lot easier than altering...
--
Kate  XXXXXX  R.C.T.Q Madame Chef des Trolls
Lady Catherine, Wardrobe Mistress of the Chocolate Buttons
We've slightly trimmed the long signature. Click to see the full one.
Re: advice altering shoulder/contour darts
robb wrote:
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Always an excellent choice and, as you are suspecting, generally easier
than altering something that is already made.

Re: advice altering shoulder/contour darts
On Tue, 22 May 2007 22:54:41 -0700, "BEI Design"

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http://store.sewingtoday.com/cgi-bin/voguepatterns/shop.cgi?s.item.V8183=x&TI=20009&page=3
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Double princess seams would be a good place to hide the excessive dart
control needed by the overly-endowed, and I love the paired godets.  

I wonder whether the distance between the two seams is uniform, or
whether it varies subtly to give the *illusion* of being uniform --
like the entasis on greek columns.  

Neck is too low for those who need bras -- how would it look with a
mandarin collar; I look really *great* in mandarin collars.  It would
be cool with contrast fabric between the princess seams, but that
messes up the godets.  Match godet and stripe?   Third color? Omit
godets?  Cut off at top of godets and wear over slacks?  

An inspiring pattern indeed -- but that back zipper has got to go!  

(Of course, if you change to a high neck, it has to go back in again.
Though I've been known to put a zipper in a shoulder seam.)

Joy Beeson
--
joy beeson at comcast dot net
http://roughsewing.home.comcast.net/ -- sewing
We've slightly trimmed the long signature. Click to see the full one.
Re: advice altering shoulder/contour darts
Joy Beeson wrote:
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Hmmm, the description does say it has "neckline variations"
and one illustration shows it with more of a "boat" neck,
than scooped.

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I was fascinated by: "A: sleeveless with raw edges at lower
edge and applied hem band with raw edges."

I may just have to get that pattern to investigate further.

Beverly



Re: advice altering shoulder/contour darts
On Thu, 24 May 2007 00:08:06 -0700, "BEI Design"

http://store.sewingtoday.com/cgi-bin/voguepatterns/shop.cgi?s.item.V8183=x&TI=20009&page=3

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Me too.  If I recall correctly, that view called for lace -- perhaps
the instructions call for using the scalloped selvage and the blurb
writer misunderstood?  I don't see any sign of a "hem band" in any of
the pictures.  

Joy Beeson
--
joy beeson at comcast dot net
http://roughsewing.home.comcast.net/ -- sewing
We've slightly trimmed the long signature. Click to see the full one.
Re: advice altering shoulder/contour darts


Joy Beeson wrote:
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http://store.sewingtoday.com/cgi-bin/voguepatterns/shop.cgi?s.item.V8183=x&TI=20009&page=3
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Nor did I, you may be right, I will see if the pattern is
available next time I'm in TSWLTH.

Beverly



Re: advice altering shoulder/contour darts


<trimmed>
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lucky
much
http://store.sewingtoday.com/cgi-bin/voguepatterns/shop.cgi?s.item.V8107=x&TI=20009&page=4
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yes, that is close to the idea.... only the seam starts midway along the top
of shoulder seam

 i am glad this will be an easier than you thought project as my deadline
quickly approaches and DW is not fond of my slow fittings , to be fair
though it seems like we only have time to fit when she is ready to  go to
sleep.

i just re-pinned the seams tonight... the original were hastily placed and
to low and accenting things DW did not want accented. the needed pinning was
obvious once i removed the suggested alterations.

the back of dress was baggy, floppy and saggy around shoulder blades, and
waist. and this seemed to cause the front to buckle and scoop ???

anyways some 1/4 " - 1/2" pinches around shoulder blades and tapered along
the princess seams (about a 10" section) made a noticeable difference

thanks again for the help
robb




Re: advice altering shoulder/contour darts
Dear Robb,

The seams you describe are princess seams.  Is she going to keep the
dress after the wedding?  If so, Sharon's instructions are
appropriate.  Nursing may require another change down the road, but if
the dress is now hers, both changes should be considered permanent.

I did costuming for a university, and many times we had to make
temporary changes that could be reversed.  They looked OK on stage,
but would have made Kate's eyes roll if she saw them up close.  A one-
time wear to a wedding might get by with a temporary fix, but I prefer
taking apart the seam and re-doing it.  The best way to do this is to
put the dress on RIGHT SIDE OUT, and pin the alteration in place along
the seam.  Remove the dress, then chalk on the wrong side on top of
the creases made by the pins.  Then follow Sharon's directions for
taking apart and re-doing the seams.  The chalk with give you exact
lines to follow when you sew.

Teri


Re: advice altering shoulder/contour darts

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thank you Teri for your time and helpful advice.

I have pinned the dress and chalked as you advised, chalking the wrong side
after pinning the right side and using the chalk as guide was much easier
(for amateur me) than trying to re-pin the wrong side while  trying to
follow the right side pinning , as my seam kept going  un-even

anyways the line was a good guide

thanks,
robb




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