Thursday, July 1, 2010

4875 Tissue Fitting and Muslin: Part II

So let me lay it out there for you fine readers. In June I spent $80+ working with a "fit specialist" on this pattern. I spent an entire morning trying on tissue paper pattern, making additions here, tucking out subtractions there, and when I left I was assured this pattern had the changes necessary to fit. You can see images and construction details here. But somehow in fabric that pattern is now vastly too large. So what gives?

I know, I know. The fitting process is not a magic trick. Tweaks and adjustments continue with the fabric muslin and into the final garment, so I can't be too hard on the imperfections of my first draft. But then again, look on. This fabric version is so far from functional. Essentially, I need to go back to the original bodice design and start again. And that doesn't seem like something I should have to do after I pay a trained professional to help me. Am I out of line in my frustration?

Please take a look and tell me what you think. If you open the images in a new window or tab you can see them larger. Share your insights and advice, and if you see fit issues that you know a solution to, by all means share.

This is the bodice. Notice how it hangs far, far away from my body? It reminds me of a tent-like mu-mu that I sometimes see older women wearing in the grocery store without bras. That is not the look I am going for. On a positive note, isn't my sheet fabric pretty? I like the flowers.

Here's a profile. You can see how much excess is across the entire front, even when the side seem stays where it should.
Yeah, a lot of bust room. I do believe it is way too much.
This is the bodice if I manually gather up all of the excess at the side seams. This is closer to the look I want to achieve. It should be fitted, but not like a sausage casing. In other positive thinking, have you noticed by awesome belt buckle? I got it at the Renegade Craft Fair in Austin earlier this summer and it is one-of-a-kind made of a cross-processed photograph. I love it.
Here is the skirt with the addition of a center front panel (see here for description of alteration used to achieve this). It's weird when the skirt is so big it makes me look skinny in comparison. I am not used to that.
From the side.
Here is the back (with the front gathered to help it fit as it should), which went unchanged. I think the original back fits well.
Here is the front with a manual gather. This gather pulls up nearly the entirety of the center panel we added for width, meaning I am almost back to the original pattern. What gives?
And a profile with the center front panel gathered out.
The moral of the story is that I am sure I wasted my time and money on this tissue fitting. I am not sure I will find the sewing help I need in my fair city of San Antonio. Maybe in New York, maybe in L.A., maybe in Portland where the sewing scene is thriving...? Heck, maybe in the small towns of the Midwest where women have been sewing for decades and have knowledge that comes with practice. But I feel like I am slowly exhausting my resources and my funds and my sanity one by one here in San Antonio.

I want so much to sew attractive clothing. I am not asking to sew something that makes me look like a supermodel, but I am asking for something that fits comparably, if not better, than ready to where. Is that possible? Will the fates give me success someday?


Myra said...

I have no idea, you're working with a half size pattern that should have more generous b-w-h ratios in a size closer to your size. Take the side seams of the bodice out, since the back fits, move the front side seams to where it fits closer to what you think it should be, baste and try on. For the front skirt, you may have to take deeper front and side seams to make things match, but do the bodice first. I am no expert, but this is my best suggestion. Fitted or semi fitted bodices are hard on larger sizes and those of us with fitting issues. My best suggestion is to find one bodice that works and stick with it. Even with my wrap dress, I take that bodice and overlay it on the next one to use the measurements of the one I know that fits, ignoring the wrapping sections, just using the sides to center.

Myra said...

Oh also check out
She does alot of vintage for larger sizes.

Kate said...

Great suggestions Myra. I will give this dress some more attention and see what I can come up with. I have not yet lost ALL hope! :) And I love the New Vintage Lady ( She is so talented and fits her figure so well. Perhaps an email to her would be helpful...? I wish I could collect all of my helpful internet sewers in one place for a big fit session!

Cynthia said...

I can offer you no suggestions, just cheering from the sidelines. I've just found your blog & think you and I have almost exactly the same figure. Go, Kate, go!

Anonymous said...

Are you sure the bodice is cut accurately? It seems utterly impossible for a well fitted pattern to be so far off. Maybe it's the sheet fabric you used. I have had much better luck with regular fabric, even cheap stuff, than with sheets. I think I would recut at least part of it on something else and compare the cut sizes before I gave up completely.

Kate said...

Anonymous - You bring up a good point. It is important to consider the fabric in relation to fit. The thing I like about using a sheet is that 1) it is cheap for a test run, and 2) it has a very tight weave with little give in any direction, so I am confident that the fabric is not giving me extra ease.

I was diligent in retracing the bodice pattern from the pieces we modified during the fit session, but it is always good to double check. My concern however is that all elements of the dress are too big. If only the bodice front was too large, that might indicate a pattern transfer error. But what about the skirt too? Odd are, that is not an error of transfer, but an error between the tissue fitting assessment and the in practice pattern.

I wonder if Marilyn was shifting where my center side was between matching the front and the back...? Thus the back was fit closer to my front, and the front was fit closer to my back, and the resulting excess is where the fitting "overlapped" (if that makes sense).

I do appreciate ALL of the feedback. After some busy traveling I am back at home and expect to make progress on this in the next few weeks. Stay tuned!