Here is a sewing trick I learned from local pattern-maker Brenda Wenger.
If you sew your own dresses (particularly cape dresses) and are not 100% happy with how they are turning out, cut yourself a practice bodice from an old sheet or piece of scrap fabric.
(Yes. Unfortunately my patterns truly are cut from old newspaper.)
Sew it up—just the bodice—and try it on. Minus a cape and a skirt, it’s so much easier to notice areas of misfit and adjust your pattern accordingly. I jot notes on the fabric with ink, so I won’t forget.
You can move seams forward or backward, add darts, trim excess, extend lengths…
It’s always good to tweak a pattern now and then.