As you know, I have been working with several Truly Victorian patterns over the last month in order to write several pattern reviews for my collaborative blog, The Emerald Parlor. I decided that in order to give a fair assessment of the patterns, I'd follow the instructions just as they were written and construct the garments just as they were drafted. I have had good results on the petticoats, underskirts, and overskirts. It's with the bodices (Truly Victorian uses the same block design for several of their bodice patterns) that I have discovered an issue of contention: the shoulder width and shape, and the armscye shape. Allow me to demonstrate:
1). Here, the sleeves are clearly too short, even for the average 5'6" woman (these sleeves are meant to be full-length - they are 4 inches too short on me from the wrist and I'm 5'9"). Also, there is this rounding of the shoulders that is not correct in late Victorian costume where the bodice is tightly fitted (the issue with the vest front of the bodice - it's too short - is my blunder and not a Truly Victorian pattern defect; I got a little happy with the scissors).
2. Notice the deprivation in the sleeve length and width - I added 4-1/2 inches to the length (1/2 inch for seam allowances) and trimmed the overall width of the sleeve by 2 inches to give a snugger, more accurate fit to the arm. Further, the sleeve top was too wide, creating an oddly placed pleat in the armscye - I removed about 3 inches from the sleeve top to alleviate the need for a pleat.
3. I detached the sleeves from the bodice to better illustrate the issues regarding the shape and width of the shoulder and the shape of the armscyes - they have more of an early Victorian (Antebellum/Civil War) era construction. The wide and rounded shoulders created a "funneling" or tapering effect of the armscyes (noted with green arrows) - with the sleeves attached, the shoulders at the armscyes looked awful.
4). Here are the images of the corrected bodice - note the apparent changes in the sleeve length and width, the shortening of the shoulder width, and the crisp, smooth shape of the armscye. This is how a late Victorian fitted bodice should structurally look.
Now that the shape and construction of the bodice has been corrected, I can finish the aesthetic details of the gown! :)