9 September 2019

Fitting the Indigo top and dress

Fitting the Indigo smock top and dress

Making the Indigo smock and want some tips on how to get a great fit? The good news is that Indigo is relatively easy to fit thanks to the loose-fitting smock style. It does have a fitted bodice though, so you may want to make some tweaks to the pattern to create a bespoke-fitting garment especially for you.

It's Nikki here, Product Manager at Tilly and the Buttons. In the next few blog posts, I'm going to talk you through some of the most common pattern adjustments you may want to make for your Indigo. You'll also be able to use these techniques for lots of other sewing patterns in the future, so make sure you bookmark these posts to help you on your future sewing escapades.

In this post we're going to cover:
  • Making a toile
  • Choosing your size

The posts coming over the next weeks will cover:
Ready? Ok, on with the show.

Making a toile

A toile - or a "muslin"- is a initial mock up of your garment in fabric you don't mind using for testing purposes. Making a toile is a great opportunity to test the fit of a sewing pattern on sacrificial fabric before you cut into the fabric you have intended for your project. If you can't summon the patience to make a separate toile, you may want to make a "wearable toile", which is a full version of the garment in fabric that you don't mind ditching if it doesn't fit straight out of the packet.

Tilly has written a brilliant blog post explaining what a toile is, and why and how you might make one, which I thoroughly recommend you check out.

If you do decide to make a toile, you don't have to make the whole garment - just the pieces you need to fit. As the Indigo smock has a fitted bodice and loose skirt, you can just tack (baste) together the bodice and at least one sleeve. There's no need to add the skirt as it has plenty of ease and a lot more leeway when it comes to fitting - just note whether you want to lengthen or shorten the bodice first. Instead of sewing the facings, mark the seam allowance straight onto the fabric in pen so you can see where the neckline will sit.

Once you've made your toile, have a good look at how it's fitting. Raise your arms, sit down, take a deep breath in, bust out some dance moves in your kitchen, pretend to play the drums... you get my point. As much as we want our clothes to look pretty, we want to be able to move in them too! Once you've done all this, have a think about how the toile feels. Is it feeling too tight or pulling anywhere? Do you feel comfortable? Make a note of anything you'd like to change - we'll come to that bit over the next few posts!

One last thing on toiles - as Indigo has a darted bodice with a skirt attached, bear in mind that the weight of the gathered skirt may pull down the bodice and therefore the dart, so the dart position may be slightly lower once you've attached the skirt. So you might want to err on the side of having the dart ever so slightly higher than the fullest part of your bust.

Fitting the Indigo smock top and dress

Choosing your size

Using a flexible tape measure, find the circumference of your:

- bust - take the measurement at the fullest point i.e. around your nipples
- waist - where you bend at the side

Check the tape measure is sitting level with the floor - it can help to turn to the side and look in a mirror to check.

Fitting the Indigo smock top and dress

Circle your measurements on the ‘Body Measurements’ chart in the pattern instructions. If your measurement falls between a size (for example, if your bust is 41in rather than 40in or 42in), it’s usually better to choose the larger size as you can take it in more easily than you can let it out.

As Indigo has a fitted bodice, the most important measurement here is your bust, as the waist and hip have lots of ease. If there's only one or two sizes difference between your bust and waist, choose your bust size and refer to the key on the pattern sheets that shows the solid or dashed line for your size – that’s the one to follow when you cut out your pattern.

If your bust and waist measurements fall across more than three different sizes, you might want to combine your sizes at the side seams. If this applies to you, we're going to hit publish on a blog post that covers this shortly, so watch this space!

Now, a quick note on bust sizing. If you have a particularly large or small bust, choosing a size based solely on your bust measurement can mean that you'll end up with a top or dress that is either too large or too small. If you know your bust is on the larger or smaller side, check out our bust adjustment fitting post that is coming out very soon.

That's everything for today :) We've got lots more fitting posts coming over the next few weeks so keep an eye out! Here at Tilly Towers we love nothing more than seeing your progress shots and finished makes. Please share with us on Instagram @TillyButtons with the hashtag #SewingIndigo :)

Photographer: Jane Looker
Model: Paige Joanna
Lilac fabric: The Fabric Room