Jun 18, 2014

The Hunchback of Butterick 4029

Did women used to have far broader backs? In this modern era are we so weakened by our easy lives that our upper body muscles are practically atrophied in comparison to our 1960s sisters?   

I just don't know what to make of vintage Butterick 4029, which in its semi-finished state, fits me like this:


Seriously? I could stow a second set of boobs on my back in this thing.

I do remember from my patternmaking classes at FIT that the older dressforms had broad backs, and anything I made for class fit me poorly. Still, Butterick 4029 seems to have been drafted for a hunchback. Or maybe I need to start working out my trapezius muscles?

My five-year-old took these photos for me, hence the lack of focus, framing, and all the rest. The dress fits pretty well elsewhere:


Lying flat, it looks normal, I suppose.


I posted a pic of this dressmaking disaster on my Instagram account and got some very helpful suggestions (you, my sewing pals, are truly the best). Plenty of you have had the same issue with other patterns. My immediate thought was to add darts to the back neckline, which Diary of a Sewing Fanatic so nicely described:


I think, however, I may go with Lisa G.'s suggestion:


A deep V or a scoop would eliminate the excess and make this dress a little sexier. But I would have to draft a whole new facing and I only have scraps of fabric left. A V back seems more authentically '60s, to me (hey ladies who have had babies: does calling it a "V back" make you laugh too?). I'm also guessing double-scoops can be tricky; the whole thing could slide off my shoulders, right? (Note to self: work out deltoids too). I may need to do some engineering to make this work. Ugh. Want to see it again?

What in the??

Anyone else have this problem? How did you fix it?

43 comments:

  1. Not so dramatic but did have significant back gapage with my colette peony dress. I'm pretty sure I took darts out and rotated them into the waist darts at a muslin stage. But neck darts would save this in a pinch. I like the idea of the back V though..... Is it a drama if the facing doesn't match the main fabric?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good point. Facings in a different fabric would be no big deal. As long as it's the same weight, I bet it would be fine.

      Delete
  2. i saw this yesterday and scoured the comments! yeah, i go biblical and cut off the offending area. works like a charm. but i do really want to try carolyn's suggestion, it sound so clean & simple.

    i wonder if the vintage patterns/reissues were taking the bra shape of the day into account??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Could be. Or maybe 1960s shape-wear pushed all their fat up into a nice tidy hump on their back?

      Delete
    2. I just snorted....that is funny

      Delete
  3. I think the lesson here is that pattern drafting issues are not a recent phenomenon.

    Wouldn't a Vee back with a hot pink facing really add to the vavavoom factor of this dress?

    ReplyDelete
  4. All for the aforementioned Vee (Tee Hee) Back with the hot pink facing, and if it falls off your shoulders, a strap across the upper back - also very 60s but not fussy.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I would stick some groceries back there and call it a day. Seriously, that is strange. Sounds like you have some good options so don't throw in the towel just yet!

    ReplyDelete
  6. It's a beautiful dress, except for the obvious, and it looks good on across your bust and bum. Never give up, never surrender.

    ReplyDelete
  7. very cute dress, and that seems to be a change I frequently have to make. I would remove the zipper from the waist up to the top and remove the excess at the center back which is just where it is.
    I made a Vogue dress last year with that adjustment, here is the link and scroll down to the middle, there is a photo of the center back seam and zipper.
    Hope you can fix it because it is such a cute summer dress.
    http://sunnygalstudio.blogspot.com/2013/07/vogue-1353-dress-yeahno.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes but if you take it out of the center back, won't that put the fabric off grain? A dart would be better because it would keep the integrity of the grain line.

      Delete
    2. You are correct, Jen. You've got to make darts instead.

      Delete
  8. that is just crazy amounts of gape! hope removing fabric does the trick!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I have this problem a lot with 50s and 60s patterns. I think it is because women were normally wearing some seriously strong girdles. So a bigger woman, with broader shoulders naturally, might really have fit into that dress because of her underpinnings.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ahhhh! Interesting. That makes a lot of sense.

      Delete
  10. I think that with girdles and whatnot it's not a matter of pushing the fat up so much as it is that it changed their posture and they stood with their shoulders farther back. We tend to have more rounded shoulders these days, imho. I say do the darts, because that preserves the grain line at the center back and I think that's really important for fit and for keeping the print from looking 'off' at the center back.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I have this problem to a lesser extent with everything I sew. It IS convenient for storage I guess. Who needs a backpack? I would go for the darts. And incidentally I think it is awesome that you have an HBC point blanket headboard and a Cowichan-sweater-pillow. I can already feel myself at the cottage (camp?) on a lake. With no black flies.....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My bedroom decor is Canadiana-chic! I made the headboard. It's wrapped in painter's dropcloth, painted with HBC-inspired stripes. I made the pillow too.

      Delete
  12. I've had this problem with every by hand london dress I've made... and I'm super slack and just take it in at the zipper. Because I rarely make the same dress multiple times and I'm all for easy fix solutions! Just pin baste and cut. So simple!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I second Clio's suggestion, with an intentionally contrasting facing on a "v" scoop... And if you're worried about the straps staying up, lingerie loops might do the trick. The dress looks like a great fit everywhere else, and it's a great fabric, so I hope you can make it work!

    ReplyDelete
  14. I think Diary of a Sewing Fanatic gave you excellent advice! Darts aren't really so hard to sew, and are a very convenient way for removing excess from an area of a garment.

    ReplyDelete

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