First I drew lines across the printed pattern front pieces to mark the two sections which I needed to remove to shorten them.
|Bodice right front with the four shortening lines marked|
Then I traced off the top section to line one, moved the tracing down the grain line to line two, traced off the darts and the middle section to line three, moved the tracing down again to line four, and finally traced off the bottom section. Once I’d done this for both fronts I smoothed the lines where I had joined the sections, making sure that the curves on the centre front matched.
With hindsight, I think that I made things harder for myself by avoiding shortening the area of the pattern with the darts in, especially because they are quite large darts. It would have been easier to omit the darts, shorten each piece, and add the darts afterwards. Oh well, you live and learn.
The back piece was shortened in line with the fronts. This was much more straightforward. I have finally given up up fighting my swayback* however, and instead curved the centre back seam out to accommodate it.
(* - Well,I like to think that it's a swayback, but it might just be a large derriere!
I made a toile of the altered bodice from an old sheet, as I felt that the frost fleece would be too stiff to gather properly. I must admit that I was very pleased with the result, as the waist and bust markings lie in exactly the right places on me, and in the side view the redrafted back lies smoothly. (I've discovered the hard way that I need to use a tripod when photographing myself, as otherwise the degree of camera shake makes the images unusable!)
|The bodice toile. With a few alterations, this would make a nice pattern for a top.|
|Perfect fitting at the back - at last|
Unfortunately I had a ‘moment’ when constructing the toile, and sewed the darts on the wrong side. Duh! I then had to then sew them flat onto the bodice, as having them sticking out like fins was far too distracting.
|Darts on the wrong side are so last season - honestly!|
Fortunately the fabric I’m going to use has a clear right and wrong side.
|The fabric - I won't make the same mistake again|
The dress has a side opening and a small back opening at the neckline. The side can be fastened with either a zip, or with snaps on a placket for a period finish (the pattern dates from 1948). The back opening can be a zip, or buttons with thread loops. I’m going for a compromise of side zip and back buttons. For the toile however I just pinned it together.
Although the bodice length is perfect, there are still a couple of fitting considerations. Several reviews of the pattern mention that it has a very high neckline, and they are not joking. When I first put the toile on, it felt uncomfortably tight, and I did consider redrafting the neckline. It does seem to lie more comfortably after a few minutes’ wear though. Also, I have only made up the bodice; hopefully the weight of the skirt will pull it down a bit more.
|The neckline is very high indeed|
There is also the matter of the looseness, or otherwise, of the fit. The pattern is described as, “loose-fitting through bust and hip, semi-fitted at waist”. From the definitions in Vogue Sewing, this should give an ease of 13 - 20.5 cm or 5⅛ - 8” at the bust and hip, and an ease of 10.4 - 12.5cm or 4⅛ - 5” at the waist. However neither the envelope illustration nor the photographs on the Vogue patterns website show a dress that loose.
|Nope, that doesn't look like "semi-fitted" ease to me|
I’m tempted to take the bodice in a bit at the waist, but leave the bust and hip unchanged. I’m using an (entirely period-inauthentic) invisible zip though, so I’ll have to make that decision quite early on.