You may have noticed that I often prefer a looser, more relaxed fit. That being the case, I don’t generally bother with an extensive fitting process. A few inches shorter here, a grade-between-sizes there - it’s usually quite good enough for me. However this fabric was calling to me to make a really nice fit-and-flare dress, and I decided it was finally time to draft my own bodice sloper. 
I’m never sure how many of you are beginners, but just in case, I shall give a quick and dirty explanation of what I mean by a sloper. A sloper is a basic fitting block for my individual use, from which I can make fitting adjustments to existing patterns, or draft my own designs. In the fashion industry, a block is designed to fit a reasonable number of people reasonably well. A sloper is designed to fit one person perfectly. Namely, me. 
So, I’ve been meaning to draft a sloper for some time. Not because I’m particularly ambitious in terms of drafting my own patterns (I love sewing other people’s awesome design work!), but because I think it will save me a lot of time fitting in the future. Some fabrics really lend themselves to a more fitted style, and I think a crisp cotton lawn is one of them. 
How about this Lady McElroy cotton lawn? It’s light, and airy, and crisp as a new dollar bill: in other words, it’s exactly what you want in a cotton lawn. I love the print. I cannot resist a large scale botanical, and these big fluffy hydrangeas on a dark background are just gorgeous, and not at all your typical twee spring floral. 
I knew I wanted big volume in the skirt, and I loved the tiered skirt I had made a few months ago for my spotty Patio dress. It’s different in the lawn, it holds the vintage shape better, if that’s what you’re after, and feels slightly dressier to me. So, skirt sorted. No problem. But I wanted to try a simpler bodice, that fit really, really well.
I started with the basic bodice pattern from Gertie’s Ultimate Dress book, which is a great basic starting point for a sloper. I shortened the waist, did a proper small bust adjustment as well as shortened the bust dart, and did a slight narrow shoulder adjustment. I made two muslins before moving on to my beautiful fabric, and even then that version was destined to be the lining. Time-consuming? Yes. Worth it? Absolutely. 
Not only do I have a valuable fitting tool, but I have a gorgeous dress that fits me perfectly! It has a few other unseen details. For one thing, the bodice is fully lined, which I prefer for this sort of dress: more scope to go braless and I feel like it supports the weight of the skirt better. It’s hand-finished, which I always think works beautifully for vintage styles. I also opted for an invisible zip in the side seam rather than a lapped zip in the back seam. That isn’t vintage at all, it’s just a personal preference. Clean, simple - a non-feature. 
Thanks, as always, for reading! I really love this one. 
Jo xx