Oct 4, 2012

It's All In The Seams, Baby

I raised the waist on Vogue 8771 and sewed a second version of this Dolman-sleeved top, this time in a rayon jersey from Metro Textiles on 37th Street in NYC's Garment District. This is my favorite color, and the drape of this fabric is to die for. It was only $6/yard and if I had the budget for it, I would go back and buy the whole damn bolt. I'd love dresses in this soft and stretchy green-verging-on-chartreuse fabric:

Raising the waist made a big difference. Now the shoulder seams sit on my actual shoulders, and there's little fabric pooling over my derriere:

While my photographer was at home, I got him to snap a couple pics of me in the first version I made, which I used tape and sponge painting to create a cool chevron design:

I love this pattern for one simple reason: the seam lines that slice the bust into a traditional princess shape before curving into the waistline at the side seam. It's a tiny thing, but as anyone who sews knows: seams make all the difference — not just from a visual perspective, in that they can trick the eye into creating flattering shapes atop the body, but they are also the key to shaping a garment so it fits our curves.

Princess seams are one of the first things you will learn to draft when studying pattern making. And for good reason: these seam lines allow you to forgo darts and pleats while still shaping the bust for a perfect fit. Also, they're so flattering to a woman's figure:

Like the above dress (from Modcloth.com; pretty, isn't it?), traditional princess seams curve into the armscye. But it looks just as good to send the seam up to the shoulder, like this dress below:

Other variations on the Princess seam, I'm not so sure about:

I was very interested in the princess seams on this Tracey Reese dress Michelle Obama wore during her speech at the Democratic National Convention last month:

Rather than curve through the "apex" of the bust (that's the fullest point of your bust, which is essentially at your nipple), the princess seams are placed at least an inch closer to center front, maybe more. It's a small thing, but consider how sporty this dress looks with this seaming. The neckline verges on halter, which adds to that, for sure. Plus, those arms. Those incredible arms....

BTW, I was watching this speech on Youtube with my four-year-old and had to run to the bathroom at one point. When I cam back, I asked Lucy what I missed. "Oh nothing," she said. "She was just talking about a pickle guy raising eggs."

"Like, a guy who makes pickles, but also raises eggs?"

"No, mom. A guy MADE of pickles."

If anyone saw the full speech and has the full details on this pickle guy, I would really appreciate it. Google has turned up nothing on the matter.

Anyway, do you have a favorite pattern or dress that features princess seams? Post links for further prinsperation!


  1. I think you're right that princess seams are flattering. I haven't made anything with them yet, but you have me thinking about this Vogue pattern.

  2. i like these tops. they look super comfy and definitely more stylish than a plain tee!

    1. oh yeah... and the pickle guy thing totally cracked me up! kids are so funny.

  3. Love this top! It's super flattering and such a great color (not to mention that I'm sure it's something you'll wear all the time)! I'm a recent convert to princess seams-- I always thought the traditional princess seam look was too feminine, but once I sewed a dress with princess seams, I was hooked! They're so easy to fit and really look great!

  4. It looks really graceful, not to mention comfy :)
    I also enjoyed your look at princess seams. You're right, those ones on Michelle Obama are quite interesting... never seen those before!



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