Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Fit? I don't even know what that means...

I've been sewing most my life.  In fact, I don't remember learning to sew.  My mom used to sew a lot of my clothes (and hers) so I grew up around a sewing machine.  As soon as I was able to hold a pair of scissors I was cutting up fabric and making clothes for my dolls.

As I got older the time for sewing was never there and I would pull out the machine and throw something together for special holidays like Halloween.  Trying to find costumes of quality, and then that would fit my 'girls' was an exercise in frustration - so I would sew.

However, the older I've gotten the more frustrated I've gotten with the fit of clothing.  I have one garment (my wedding dress) that was made especially for me and everytime I put it on I'm left thinking - everything I wear should feel this good.  Although - look at this thing!  Can you blame me for loving it? (This was designed and sewn by the amazing ladies at Dark Garden here in San Francisco)

Add to that the fact that as I've delved into the world of costuming more and more (Edwardian Ball, Labyrinth of Jareth, Steamstock, Dicken's Faire) I've become more and more interesting in figuring out not only how to build a great looking costume, but building one that well and truly FIT me.

So, I've been buying books and wading through blogs and sites on the internet learning all I could about going beyond my skill of being able to cut out a pattern and follow the instructions to put a garment together and truly SEW. 

That brings me to today, having just finished one of the most challenging sewing projects of my life and ready to kick off a new chapter of my sewing life - I'm terrified and excited all at the same time.

Last night, I worked more on my bow blouse from Simplicity 2154.  Of course I'm taking my leap into fitting in the total wrong way.  I'm going for the fit as I sew method.  Or - in typical Shawn style - read all  you can about how to fit things the 'right' way, then do it your own way and screw it up.  

Surprisingly this is going rather well.  I cut all the pieces in a size 22 and started fitting last night.  I started with a 22 because I have broad shoulders, and wide back and since I was fitting while sewing I would need this to fit in my widest areas and I could dart out the rest.I started by wearing a skin tight t-shirt and pinning 1/2 the bodice at the center line, shoulder and side seam.  (don't have a dress form so I'm fitting and pinning right on my body -- tricky to say the least).  This allowed me to figure out the side darts. They moved in and lower and were wider then the pattern showed because not only am I 'endowed' but I am very very long from my shoulder to my 'apex'.  It's something my seamstress at Dark Garden mentioned and I'm well aware of from buying off the rack clothing.   Once the side darts were done I sewed the center seam, pinned the entire front to my body at shoulders and side seams and then started working on the front seams.  these ended up being shorter, deeper and moving closer together then the original pattern.  Again, pointing to my rather unique body shape.  Wide shoulders, broad chest, boobs but small (by comparison) ribs. 

For the back I sewed it together on the center seam and then pinned the darts as they were drawn into the fabric.  I was surprised to see they actually seemed to be spot on - hitting at the right spot on my shoulder blades and taking enough in off the waste, so I sewed them in for real.

Now for the moment of truth.  I basted the back and front together at the shoulders and one side - then basted in a scrap zipper to one side (since I don't have the zipper that will go in the finished product.) and tried the top on.  I swear, that when I did I nearly cried because -- wonder of wonders it fit!  Now, don't get me wrong... it still needs work.  I'm going to put a little ease back into the waste and I need add another side dart to get rid of a bump at the top of the chest, but it works.  And honestly, at this point, it fits better then any non-stretch cotton shirt I've owned since I was 16 and discovered I could not wear the cute 'oxford' style shirts that were in style at the time!  I'm so excited to see this pull together!  There's hope for me - both in the sewing department and in the style department.

Think about it.  As a oddly shaped busty girl I haven't been able to wear a top that was 'fitted' unless it was of some stretchy (and thus more casual) material for my entire adult life.  If I got something that fit at the bust and shoulders it would be so baggy around the rib cage that I could either look 10 lbs heavier then I was and leave it untucked - our I could tuck and have all this extra fabric billowing around my waste band that eventually made me look as thought I was 10 lbs heavier then I was.    

This top is going to be perfect for what I wanted it for which is, tucked into skirts and/or slacks, displayed under a sweater or jacket or under a cute pair of overalls!

Oh!  and best of all, it's of a super cute green print that even my opinionated husband liked!

I love all the shades of green and how the pattern looks almost embroidered.

I hope to have it finished tonight - then it's onto more complicated things that I will have to make muslin's for.  Maybe a dress - eep!

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