As you can see, the fit looks a lot different in fabric than it did in paper.
So......I took a backward step, scratched my head and tried to work out where I went wrong. Then I remembered what I had been told at the start of the first online workshop I did. "Forget everything you know and start fresh". Okey dokey. Let's do that! At the rate I was going, I wouldn't be able to easily sew for Anna if she was here, certainly not from long distance. So, off we go again!
The first thing I am going to do is use light-weight vilene as my pattern 'paper' instead of the newsprint paper that is pretty stiff. I did find it was much easier to fit around the neck/armhole areas without having the seam allowances added, so I will stick to that. As I am using the vilene this time, it won't be as easy to tape the pattern pieces together, so I will add seam allowances to shoulder and side seams so I can pin the pattern together for fitting. My thoughts are that the vilene will more closely replicate fabric by moulding to the body, so should be a better indicator of the fit.
The hardest area to fit, for both Anna and myself, is around the chest area. We both have large boobs but a narrow chest above the boobs. Armhole 'gaposis' is a problem. In my first effort I decided to dart the armhole to get rid of this, but now I am going to try to ignore this and take care of it later with a sewing technique (ala Sandra Betzina in her book Power Sewing).
When I draft my patterns I always add 4cm to my hip measurement, before starting, to give me extra ease around the tummy area. When I used my true measurement, I found that the patterns (no matter which one I used) drafted out to my exact hip measurement, there was absolutely no ease in there. This has worked really well for me, so I will do the same for Anna this time. I wonder if the original pattern may have been too snug around her hips so didn't sit low enough and that may have been the cause of all the extra length between armhole and shoulder? This would also explain why the armhole appeared to be too high for her. I will also check her shoulder measurement, but will do that at the tissue-fitting stage.
Back soon, with better results I hope!