Quest for the Perfect Bodice

Alas, over the years my body has changed.  Many hours spent at the sewing machine (and computer) have contributed to slightly rounded shoulders, making a good fitting bodice a wee bit more difficult.  All you sewing enthusiasts know how hard it is to fit yourself and when the fitting problems are in the back it becomes even more difficult.  Sooooo… the eternal quest for the perfect bodice sloper has led me to this post.

Some months ago I purchased a Craftsy online class called Pattern Making Basics:  The Bodice Sloper.  Before you roll your eyes and say “been there, done that” read on.  I’ve tried a few other such classes – very ho-hum – but this one was different.  The instructor is a fabulous teacher by the name of Suzy Furrer.  She takes you through the steps of measuring, creating a moulage (a VERY tight version of the sloper, with no wearing ease) and then the creation of your sloper.  It’s a process that is not for the impatient as lots of measuring, checking, careful calculating, etc. is required.  However, definitely worth the effort.

Ta da!!!  After a weekend in the sewing room, hunched over my cutting table and sewing machine, here it is.

Perhaps still a bit of tweaking required(see those slight wrinkles), but I’m very happy with the result so far.  I’ve just purchased Suzy’s book Building Patterns:  The Architecture of Women’s Clothing (go to her website at  Suzy also has other online classes available at Craftsy but purchasing the book gives you all the classes in one reference book.

Of course, I have to acknowledge the assistance of my Australian Sewing Guild buddies who helped with measuring and fitting.  What would I do without my Guild friends?!


Before and After

Two months since my last post – shame on me! This post needs to be pretty special to make up for the lack of activity. I should clarify that statement – I HAVE been active, both in and out of the sewing room. I just have not had time to indulge in a little sewing for the all important ME.  When I got an email from my Sewing Guild Group Coordinator telling me that our July meeting was about re-fashioning garments I needed to come up with something in a hurry.

Before - coat



Voila! The deep, dark recesses of my closet revealed this overcoat purchased 20 years ago when living in Sydney and still working. I’m usually pretty good at regularly weeding out my wardrobe but this coat seems to have escaped every pruning. It was a favourite for lots of reasons – I loved the colour, the fabric and  details like the collar and pocket flaps. However, since moving to Queensland 12 years ago I have worn it exactly twice. Time for a makeover.


Vogue 8876001


Marcy Tilton is one of my favourite designers and her patterns frequently lend themselves to this type of project because she uses interesting shapes and lines in her designs.  Lots of smaller pattern pieces make it easier to re-fashion an existing garment.  It’s a bit hard to see the detail in this photo but take a look at the line art below and you will see the design lines more clearly.


Vogue 8876002






After dismantling the coat (at my Guild meeting) it became clear I would need another piece of fabric so off to the garage when I got home to rummage through my stash.  Of course, with all those pieces to choose from, the perfect one was waiting for me – a piece of cream and brown border print (cotton) picked up for $5.00 from a remnant basket.  Some careful planning, juggling of pattern pieces and a thoroughly delightful day in my sewing room resulted in this masterpiece.  It’s a bit chilly to wear  just now but winter never lasts very long in Queensland.

Remember the collar and pocket flaps I so loved?  They have reappeared, intact, on the dress.  A slight variation on the original design which is still very pleasing to the eye and had the added benefit of reducing sewing time.  I also salvaged the tabs from the sleeve cuffs and added them at the back of the dress.  The buttons are also from the original garment.  End result – a quirky little number costing me a grand total of $7.80 (I had to buy a spool of thread)!

Front view

Front view

Back view

Back view

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