Sunday, 8 July 2012

Fitting the lady lumps - for real

My new book, Fit For Real People, arrived last week. Up until now, I've been fudging my pattern adjustments or stealing ideas from other people's blogs (with mixed results).

I have to say, I love the way this book is written. Loads of diagrams, and really simple instructions - without being condescending. I also really like the real-life examples, showing fit adjustments for a wide variety of different shapes. This book was definitely a good read!

But does it work? Well, today I decided to trace off a Burda pattern. I need a dress to wear to my uncle's wedding, and I have a beautiful border-print silk to sew. Because the fabric is so amazing, I don't want to stuff this up. And while I think the pattern style will suit me, it is very apparent that the pattern doesn't leave enough 'boob space'.

Following the instructions, I traced off the pattern size that would fit my 'high bust' (i.e. measuring around my underarms). This put me at about a size 42, but with an additional 3" or so of boob to squeeze in!

There were a few differences between my pattern and the 'standard' sloper that they adjust in the book. My bodice ends at the waist, with a separate piece for the waistband. And it comes with a small dart at the bottom, not the usual side dart.

I decided to ignore the dart altogether for now. I pretended that the bodice piece was full length, and snipped away! I did the Y-shaped FBA. This was recommended for larger adjustments - I'm going for about 1.5" on each side, so I thought this might work.



The red shows where I have added width and length. Feel free to giggle at the tiny original dart (in blue). I know I did! My boobs would have smiled if they could. That dart was never going to work.

Then I started playing around with darts. The horizontal red triangle is now a dart, though slightly shorter. It's about 3/4" in width. The vertical dart worked pretty much in the same position. You can see the 3D view below! BTW, this is part of the instructions. Basically, the whole book is about tissue-fitting (which I greatly prefer to sewing muslins, for financial reasons).


But even then, it wasn't quite right. Even with the extra inch or so of length in the middle, the bodice still stops quite a bit short of covering my boobs. So, I added an inch evenly along the bottom - this meant lengthening the darts accordingly.


The final step was to add corresponding width to the waistband which joins the bottom of this piece. I've darted out the extra side length, so it should all match up to the back piece.

All that remains now is to sew up a muslin (yes, I'm doing one anyway) and see how it goes. I've got faith in this!

11 comments:

  1. That looks wonderfully complicated yet completely awesome. How fantastic to have clothes that will fit you so perfectly! I'm looking forward to seeing the finished product.

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    1. I'm looking forward to it as well!

      It is a bit of stuffing around - but as you say, to have a perfectly fitting item of clothing is a real joy :-)

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  2. For some reason, the photos just show a giant black rectangle with a white circle in the middle. The circle has a minus sign in it??? I'd love to see your alterations.

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    1. Sorry Dawn, I've been playing with the settings! Fixed now.

      Please let me know if there is anything you want me to elaborate on :-)

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  3. Wow. I am highly impressed and ever so slightly envious of your skills and understanding of patterns/fitting. Not that I should be, because you've put the effort in and I haven't even really tried! Looking forward to seeing the final product :)

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    1. Thanks Ness! The thing is, it's not too hard. You just have to follow the process. And ideally have a 3D picture in your mind of how things will go together.

      I'm looking forward to the final product, too - maybe I should have made one as per the original pattern for hilarious comparison??

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    2. That would actually be a really interesting experiment - get a range of "real women" of various shapes but all of whom are the same dress size, and try them in the standard pattern, and then in a custom-fit of the same one. I imagine it would serve to highlight that there is no such thing as a standard size!

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  4. Oo this is interesting. I wish I needed to do and FBA!

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    1. Really? I wish I didn't have to do any alterations at all ;-)

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  5. You're so patient. I try and find short cuts everywhere, and then I wonder what went wrong! Argh. I can't wait to see the fabric, it sounds glamorous!

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    Replies
    1. Turns out, I'm glad I had a first attempt on less beautiful fabric...

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