The Bombshell Dress – At Last, a Muslin that Fits!

16 Apr

I’m putting a temporary hold on the majority of my projects so I can concentrate on sewing up my birthday dress – I have a little over a month, so time should not be an issue here. I don’t even have plans for my birthday yet (it’s on a Monday lol) but I like to have a dress anyway!

I’m sewing up the Bombshell Dress, following the Craftsy course. I have this lovely floral cotton that I plan to make it up in… well, assuming I have enough fabric (don’t worry, I have a back-up plan!) :) I have stressed WAY too much about the fit of this pattern, but after countless muslins, I have the fit down & I’m ready to start constructing the actual dress. Yay!

A little word about working with this pattern – the cups of this bustier top are drafted for a B cup. Not only that, they are made to be a little on the revealing side. They are small. If you are anything larger than a B, you are going to want to redraft the cups – and it is going to be a giant pain in the ass, sry2say. But it’s totally doable and it’s totally worth it, promise.

For my pattern, I initially cut out the second smallest size (I think it’s a 6?), based on the waist measurement. For the record, I wear a 32DD so I have a fairly small ribcage in comparison to a rather prominent bust. I knew I was going to have to make some adjustments but I had no idea there were going to be so many!

Here are the size 6 pattern pieces, thread-traced all lovely:
Bombshell Muslin

And here are my pieces after I made a million adjustments:
Bombshell Muslin

I also had to adjust the rest of the bodice pieces:
Bombshell Muslin
My adjustments are the black marker lines – basically, completely different pattern pieces! ARGH.

I do have some fit tips for those large-bust-with-small-ribcage ladies, however!
First of all… if you have access to a dressform, make use of it! To get those proportions, you need to put on a well-fitting bra & pad it out. Use your favorite bra – you can always take it back when you’re finished fitting.

Style lines

Style lines are EXTREMELY helpful with fitting – they give you a nice roadmap for where your pieces need to hit & where your seamlines should be. I know they make tape for this purpose, but I didn’t have any on hand… I used some (neon yellow)twill tape I had in my stash, and just pinned it into place. I can’t even tell you how much easier it made fitting that muslin (this was muslin #3 at this point – first one was pinned to my body – a disaster -, second was pinned on the form without the style lines – also a disaster).

Bombshell Muslin
The twill tape pulled down a little on the left cup, but you get the idea.

My other major tip for fitting this muslin is to cut GIANT seam allowances. Depending on how much room you need to add to those lil cups, you are going to want a minimum of 2″ SA to play with (preferably closer to 3″ or even 4″ though). This will save you the effort of cutting out a zillion little bodice pieces (and thread tracing all of them, argh) when you realize you don’t have enough seam allowance to cover the bust.

I ended up making several muslins – I think 4 complete (bust & midriff), and 2 more of just the bust cups. And yes… all of them were thread-traced and had the grainlines marked and everything lol. Took forever! In addition to all the size changes, I raised the top of the pieces by about 5/8″ to get all the seam lines to match up. I think this is something that most larger-busted gals are going to have to do, so just a word of warning.

I don’t want to frighten anyone away from trying this pattern, however! I really learned a LOT fitting the bodice, and I feel really confident with the finished muslin. I absolutely recommend this course if this kind of fitting is something you want to explore more in-depth. I think the fitting sections alone are worth the price of the course :)

Ok, with all that blab… let’s see the finished muslin, yes?

Bombshell Muslin

Bombshell Muslin

Bombshell Muslin

I don’t plan on wearing this dress with a bra – and it fits great without, but I didn’t want to take bra-less pictures to post on the internet! I don’t think we’re that close, yet ;)

As a side note, my sweater is almost finished – I blocked it over the weekend!
Agatha - blocking!
Just need to stabilize the button bands & sew on the buttons :)

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34 Responses to “The Bombshell Dress – At Last, a Muslin that Fits!”

  1. sophie April 16, 2012 at 10:38 am #

    congratulations! I’m not sure I’d go through 4+ muslins :) Thanks for sharing these tips anyway and I’m looking forward to seeing the completed birthday dress!

  2. sallie April 16, 2012 at 10:39 am #

    Congratulations on completing your bombshell muslin!! Its a beast! But you’ll be very happy that it fits you so perfectly (its gonna look so HOT!)

    Can’t wait to see the finished dress – and the finished sweater!! So exciting!

  3. frk.bustad April 16, 2012 at 10:42 am #

    Wow… I must say it’s a little demotivating for my bombshell-plans. I think I probably would need to do something similar to what you did, and the idea of just start is well, beyond my brain capacity at the moment. Nice to see though, how you did this adjustment, and thanks for sharing! Really looking forth to see the final dress!

    • Anonymous April 16, 2012 at 11:16 am #

      I am right there with you…I feel like, if Lauren had trouble, what hope does a beginning sewer with a D cup have?

    • LLADYBIRD April 16, 2012 at 12:40 pm #

      Oh no, I don’t want you to feel demotivated! Have you watched the bust-fitting videos in the course yet? It’s actually really easy & intuitive… the part that gave me the most problems was getting the cups to line up with the rest of the bodice. Eventually I solved it by raising the height of the midriff all the way ‘around. Gets the cups to the correct size was the easy part :)

  4. Hannah Jean April 16, 2012 at 10:44 am #

    The bustier part looks greaton you, wow. I’ve thought about making that style before, but I have a large bust, too and I was never sure just how far the indentation should go between the cups. Now I know what looks right on a pattern over a B cup ! :)

  5. Mikhaela April 16, 2012 at 11:00 am #

    oh my goodness, I am SO excited to see this… it looks awesome and your tips are super-helpful! I put a halt on my bombshell at the moment because my size has been fluctuating all over the place (nursing-related) BUT I seem to have settled at 32E and also have the small ribcage/large bust thing going on, so you have me totally inspired. Except I currently have only one or two bras that fit, and am reluctant to lend them to my crappy dress form, since she really doesn’t approximate my size that well.

    Sweater is looking awesome, too.

    • LLADYBIRD April 16, 2012 at 12:42 pm #

      Hahaha I feel ya… I only have 4 bras that really fit the way I like, and giving one of them up to the dressform made me feel pretty apprehensive. But you can always pull it off & take back what’s yours! I just used the dressform for the bust fitting; her waist isn’t quite the same size as mine so that fitting happened straight on my body.

  6. gingermakes April 16, 2012 at 11:13 am #

    This looks great! I’m glad you went through the work of fitting this so carefully— you’re going to look hot as hell on your birthday!

  7. Michelle April 16, 2012 at 11:14 am #

    The effort paid off – that is a perfect fit. You’ve inspired me to sew up my own birthday dress for my day next month. (I’ll stay away from the Bombshell. My cup size is AA so it would be impossible to hold it up.) ;)

    • LLADYBIRD April 16, 2012 at 12:44 pm #

      You don’t need a bust to hold up the Bombshell – all the support is around the waist. I actually think this dress would look awesome on a smaller bust!

  8. Debi April 16, 2012 at 11:22 am #

    looks great! Well done for sticking with it!!! I’m planning to make a Bombshell for a ball in June….I’ll be sure to leave plenty of time!!

  9. Forrest April 16, 2012 at 11:31 am #

    Good for you in getting through this! I made this dress about a month ago. I’m a B-cup and the muslin fit me pretty well right out of the box, but it’s super revealing now that it’s made up! I’m planning on using this same pattern for the bodice of my wedding dress so I’m going to have to do some significant re-drafting so it’s appropriate to wear in front of a church and my grandmother! The style line tip will be really helpful. Thanks!

  10. Heather Lou April 16, 2012 at 11:46 am #

    I really want to make tisi damn dress one of these days. I think fall/winter is going to be my bombshell dress/trousers/tailored jacket time. Can’t wait to see the final product! And that sweater looks rad – I’m always super impressed when people make these intricate knit garments – I only want to knit with chunky wool and size 14 needles. Lazy.

  11. sarah April 16, 2012 at 11:48 am #

    i feel like when i read your posts i learn about something new every time! i’m sure your birthday dress will be gorgeous! what kind of fabric are you using for the actual dress?

    • LLADYBIRD April 16, 2012 at 12:45 pm #

      It’s getting sewn up in this floral cotton… I just hope I have enough lol. I also have turquoise silk shantung as my back-up.

  12. Ngoc April 16, 2012 at 11:52 am #

    Hey, you did an awesome job! I’ve made this dress and luckily I didn’t have this type of fitting issues. Can’t wait to see your finished dress.

  13. Abby April 16, 2012 at 12:00 pm #

    I’m so glad you’re making this before me! I have the same large-bust-small-rib cage thing going on, and your tips will definitely be useful when I do my bombshell. Mine might be a New Year’s Eve dress, though, because I already have my birthday dress planned out. :)

  14. kcsews April 16, 2012 at 12:35 pm #

    I love your blog and your talk of fit because we have the very similar measurements, even down to the bra size. I’m shorter, tho … It just means I get to use less fabric! I never thought to cut the shoulders of a pattern to a smaller size, but it makes so much sense. Thanks!

  15. Rochelle New April 16, 2012 at 1:31 pm #

    That is going to be one killer dress when you’re done!! I’ve really been looking into taking that class in the coming months. You say it’s worth it? Well, I’m sure it’s worth it, and I’d love to support Gertie. It’s just an extra bonus if I really learn something new! So yeah you learned something? I feel like I should buy a dress form before I take the class though. Especially if I’ll be needing to make some little rib cage, not so little bust area adjustments lol.
    Can’t wait to see the finished dress!

    • LLADYBIRD April 16, 2012 at 3:19 pm #

      I do think the class is worth it! Even if you don’t sew up the pattern itself, the fitting tips are pretty invaluable. I can’t wait to dive into the actual construction – I’ve been watching the videos (because I am a nerd) and it’s making me so excited haha

  16. symondezyn April 16, 2012 at 4:02 pm #

    Oh dear, I’m gonna have a doozy of a time doing this one LOL – I’m just starting to learn about fitting and I have this class purchased and tentatively scheduled for myself to do in June – ACK!! LOL Are you gonna do the halter straps or just leave it strapless?

    • LLADYBIRD April 16, 2012 at 4:03 pm #

      It’s really not that hard! Watch the fitting videos a couple of times before you start, it’ll get you pumped :) My dress will definitely have the halter straps – I don’t like the way I look in strapless stuff lol

      • symondezyn April 16, 2012 at 4:12 pm #

        Me too, and I love me a nice halter top!! So flattering! :) Ok I’m not worried then, as long as the videos cover the fitting part – I’m a sucker for a challenge, and super excited to learn some new stuff! :)

  17. Crystal April 16, 2012 at 4:08 pm #

    I can tell by your bodice, its going to look amazing. Thanks for all the fitting information. If I were to sew this up, I would want to be well-covered up top.

  18. Sarah W. April 16, 2012 at 9:04 pm #

    Yay, sweater! Are you excited about wearing it when it gets cool?

  19. Candice April 17, 2012 at 2:24 am #

    I’m a new follower, however a long time fan of your work.. I also signed up for the course last year and have only recently purchased the fabric last night.. I am not too excited about getting the bodice to fit lol… But great work!

  20. neeno April 17, 2012 at 2:48 am #

    That looks awesome!!! can’t wait to see your bday dress, u are gonna look so hot!

  21. sorbetsurprise April 18, 2012 at 6:49 am #

    I quite fancy the course too but also know I will have the bust problems. I am no where near a B and I’m not sure I want to go through the fitting yet but it is still in the back of my mind.

  22. Paloverde April 18, 2012 at 1:57 pm #

    Hey, I’m going through the same fitting adjustments right now. I’m a 36DDD and the change in the shape of the pieces is very similar to yours. One thing I may do (and currently have drafted into the latest version) is put a vertical dart into the upper bust cup in order to get the piece to curve properly. I’ve set the dart so it extends the line of the lower cups’ seam and I think it looks pretty good. I’m itching to get going on the project.

  23. grenouille78 April 18, 2012 at 2:09 pm #

    Whew, you are one determined girl! I think it paid off, though; it looks like that muslin fits you like a second skin! Way to go!

  24. Scruffybadger April 20, 2012 at 12:25 pm #

    I somehow missed this when it came out in the week- soz!
    But it will be such a useful post – you are offering the sewing community such a service you know! However, the side effect for me is that you have instilled in me more fear. My first muslin cups have been gathering dust, are not attached to the bodice yet (how on earth I managed to get distracted is beyond me, but hey ho) & I am now worrying about that whole bigger bust/ small ribcage thang. Gulp. I *will* go back to it this year, and at least know that I can revisit your advice. Thank you :-)

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Tuesdays with Gertie: Final Touches « Sew Well - April 24, 2012

    [...] fitting this kind of bodice on a dress form that’s been padded out with a well-fitting bra, like Lladybird did.  One thing that did help was understitching the lining to the bodice.  I don’t remember [...]

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