Monday, February 27, 2012

February Sunday Sewing Bee or Finessing the Fitting - L&R

Lisa and I have scheduled a sewing day once a month for this year.  So far, we are sticking to it because we have so many projects going and so much fitting to do. Normally, we have two machines going, but I'm taking Lisa's in to the shop (the dealer is closer to me) and my other machine was set up for embroidery, so we made do with one. We turned the dining room into a factory and set to.

 First up, we worked on our Titanic Tea Dress muslins.  The pattern is from Sense and Sensibility and looks easy on the surface, but fitting the bodice is NOT easy. The front and back are all of a piece so adjustments often come with some unexpected side effects elsewhere. For mine, I tried to increase bust and lengthen it, but the way I did it gave me too much material under the kimono sleeve. We ended up using the original muslin with no FBA and adding length to the bottom, the easiest solution for me.

Lisa, in attempting to have enough material for her full bust, cut a size too large for her shoulders, but had a great fit for the FBA.  Instead of recutting, we glued fabric on to the muslin to get a shoulder line that wouldn't fall off her VERY small shoulders.  This is the beginning of the Franken-bodice.
My problem was that I had to add a lot of room for bust coverage plus length in the torso.  I ended up adding too much in the bust area so after angling the bust line and not having success, I removed a chunk of length and added it UNDER the bust.  You can see the glue lines and the vast difference this fitting made.  
Now we are ready to cut in to the fashion materiel - but not today.  Today is for fitting.
Actually we had cutting the fabric on our list of 'to do' but we just didn't have time.  We don't need each other's help to cut.  But we do solve problems together much better than alone.  L.

Material and pattern pieces adorned every surface. We had bolts of muslin and scraps, our Titanic fabrics, the Frock Coat Lisa is making for her S.O., a 1940's muslin, a Ren Corset and Lisa's 1912 lace-insertion slip (needed button holes and my machine is the resident button hole master.
Rob plays with fabric.

I made 12 buttonholes, sewed on 12 buttons.  I sewed together enough of the frock coat to be able to fit the shoulders and back-side seams.  I fit my Titanic bodice (about 6 times with cutting and gluing between each fitting) and then cut a final version.  And I did a first 'look' at a renaissance corset (see below). L.
Ugh!  I cut this out according to the measurements listed on the envelope and this muslin is just... big. Lisa keeps reminding me that envelope information is only a suggestion.

I love the intricacies of the draping but the only place to alter is on the sides and in the back.  Lisa gave me deeper back darts and took the sides in about 4 inches total. We wondered why it looked so dumpy and Lisa was considering even fitting alterations when we had an epiphany - We hadn't accounted for shoulder pads!!! Argghhh!

Now, I have pretty "strait across' shoulders, but this design, without shoulder pads, makes me look slope-shouldered. Below you'll see a shot of the pattern envelope and the solution.
Notice how the fit changes on the left (to viewer) side once the
wadded-up T-shirt stands in for a shoulder pad? It gave the shoulders
much needed form.  I'm still not the same shape as the fashion
rendering, but it makes the dress less dumpy on me. Hopefully,
the polka dots of the fashion fabric will fool the eye around the tummy area even more than the draping!

We also fit a muslin for Lisa's Renaissance corset and decided that she needed to cut a size 6 back and try to mate it to the existing size 20 front - those dang narrow shoulders actually are part of a very narrow back!  We redrew the offending back pieces.  Once Lisa gets the muslin pieces somewhere in the correct size territory, she'll cut out a new muslin of canvass or something that won't stretch to test the final fit before using fashion fabric.  In the meantime, I've decided to make "fitting lacings" where you have lacing grommets on a twill tape that can be stitched to whatever corset you are trying to fit.  I think we can both use this and it beats the heck out of trying to guess where it'll end up.
I'm just going to take a second to whine.  I really have the oddest shape.  It is really hard to fit.  Even when I was very thin, I couldn't find clothes that fit.  Now that I'm heavy, it's insane.  My weight is not evenly distributed.  But to end on a positive note, I am forced to learn a lot about modifying patterns.

All in all, a most productive day after which we were, again, both exhausted.