Fitting the Nicola dress

I've been steadily making progress with my Nicola dress from Victory Patterns. I say steadily as I have to make three toiles of the bodice to make sure it fit. Wrap dresses are notorious for not fitting well due to the cross over of fabric and I anticipated making some changes but not three test runs!

After reading up on the pattern I definitely knew that I would have to make some changes. The cross over of the wrap and the height of the armhols seem to be common issues. I also anticipated making changes to the front of the pattern where I generally need a little extra fabric. I started by cutting a 10 at the bust, graded up to a 12 at the waist and then back down to a 10 at the hips, which gave me this:

Fitting Victory Patterns Nicola dress 2.jpg
Fitting Victory Patterns Nicola dress.jpg

The good parts: 

  • The bodice and skirt length are perfect and the sleeves didn't need any alterations.
  • The armholes are a tad higher than normal but it isn't annoying and therefore I didn't bother to make any alterations here. 

Changes needed: 

  • The dress didn't fit around my waist properly. It closed about 2-2.5cm away from where it should. The dress should close where the final pleat is and it clearly isn't in the top photo - only just reaching the second.
  • The cross over is indecently low - totally revealing low! I also had drag lines on the back of the bodice meaning a full bust adjustment (FBA) was needed. I later found out that Victory draft for a B cup and I'm quite a few cups bigger. 

Second fitting

Fitting Victory Patterns Nicola dress 3.jpg
Fitting Victory Patterns Nicola dress 4.jpg

Changes made:

  • A 2.5cm FBA. It took a while to figure out how to do this on a bodice that contains three pleats at the bottom and no side dart. In the end I followed the normal process for a FBA, creating the side dart. I then rotated the side dart to the bottom ensuring that it was evenly divided between the three pleats. Does that make sense? I'm happy to share how I did it if that would be helpful. 


  • Perfect fit around the waist -  the dress closed at the third pleat. 
  • The neckline isn't so revealing although still a little low.
  • Large amount of gaping in the neckline as the unintended but not expected consequence of the FBA. 

Third fitting

Apologies for the state of my hair in this photo - this is how it looks when I let it fall naturally!

Fitting Victory Patterns Nicola dress 5.jpg

Changes made:

  • Neckline raised by 1cm in the middle, tapering to nothing at the shoulders and waist, as I only needed the extra cover across my bust. 
  • Pinched out about 2.5-3cm from the neckline, tapering to nothing inside the bodice, to solve the gaping. It isn't perfect but adding some twill tape to stabilise the neckline should help it lay flat in my finished version. 

Now I just hope it all translates properly to my fabric which has been waiting patiently to be transformed...