Here I am, sneaking around in the wearable muslin that has resulted from my Elisalex party dress journey, so far! I'll admit to having lost a bit of momentum when my sewing no longer had a deadline, since I skipped my company party to fly across the country and meet my new nephew! #soworthit. Now, spring is basically here and my mind is drifting off to summery sundresses and skirts, so, I've resigned myself to a slow, intermittent march on the sparkly party dress front.
That's good, because I'm not quite ready to slice into my real deal fabric just yet -- the sleeves came out weird and I'll need your help!
First, let's review. I tried to replicate the short sleeved view shown on the pattern illustration & photography, though the sleeve pattern piece was not actually made for that shorter sleeve length (BHL is fixing this). I took off a few inches from the half-sleeve length provided. I also perfected my princess seam construction technique -- not hard, but different than the weak approach I'd been trying on previous projects. I sewed the size that corresponded to my waist measurement, and did a full bust adjustment to get the chest to fit right. For the skirt, I took about 1/2" out of each side seam of the dramatic, curved hip shape, and shortened the skirt several inches (lost count), though I think it's still a bit too long. I finished the neckline, sleeve hems, and skirt hem with satin bias tape facings, and skipped adding a lining. I don't love invisible zippers, so I used a vintage regular zip in the center back.
I really like parts of this dress, but others I'm not so sure about. I love the fabric, and the front and back necklines -- actually the whole bodice (apart from the sleeves/shoulders). I like the idea of the skirt, but I'm now finding I'm just not sold on this exact shape. I'd initially been drawn to it, and I can't quite seem to come up with a better shape, so, perhaps an even more reduced hip curve would do the trick. I'm thinking that if I underline the skirt with organza, like SewHopeful did, the dramatic shape will sit more nicely and appear intentional instead of the weird vibe I'm getting now.
Here's where I need your help! as you can see in the photos, the armscye is weird. Wearing the dress, the armholes feel surprisingly tight, and the neckline slips off towards the edge of my shoulders, like the dress is trying to eject me at the shoulders. It feels too small and yet also like there's an excess of fabric all at the same time. My first idea is to make the armholes a bit bigger by adding a little to the side seams of the bodice/armhole pieces as well as the sleeves, to give me more room around the armpit and help the sleeve hang better -- but what about the shoulder? It feels sort of like I need to move the shoulder/sleeve cap seam back up onto my shoulder (somehow?!) and then, what? Would that end up moving excess fabric across the upper bodice toward the center back, and cause the back neckline to gape?
I've seen similar-looking sleeve/armpit fabric bunching in other versions of the sleeved Elisalex out in the SBC, and some bloggers note they've done a forward shoulder adjustment, and then also taken a chunk out of the back neckline. How do you know if you need a forward shoulder adjustment?
I suppose I could try this and just see what happens, but I'm skeptical! It just doesn't seem like this armhole shape wants sleeves. In the far right photo below, it looks like the sleeve cap is too voluminous for the armhole? Is that a totally separate issue? Oy!
I'm not quite sure, at this point. What do you guys think? I'm happy to wear this test version as is, but I'd hate to cut into my nicer, sparkly fabric before figuring this out. Perhaps giving it some more time and a revisit at a later date will help. Any comments, tips, or ideas you can offer are much appreciated!