January 4, 2012

the Quest for a Perfect Fit

I have a thing with getting just the right fit in a garment. It's one of the plethora of reasons why I sew now instead of buying RTW - though I do still purchase clothing here and there. I had long avoided making anything that required a perfect fitting bodice with sleeve. But then I decided that I really wanted a perfectly fitted shirtdress. That one dress that brings out everything I love about my body and gives me a little Oooomph in the upper body. Now, you may ask, "Why? Why, Sunni, have you avoided a making a piece with a perfectly fitted bodice?" I'll give it to you straight. Two words ~ armscye and sleeve. Enter my Christmas Break project. Come on now, don't be shy...

This is the shirtdress folks. The bodice anyway. Originally it started its life as McCall's 4769, but there is so little left of the original pattern that I'm terribly tempted to say it's mine. Fine, I'll just say it. It's mine with a collar and button down placket from McCall's 4769. And this thing fits like a glove.

Let's get back to my piece on the armscye and sleeve, shall we? Yes, let's, because I'm quite sure that you are all dying to know what my big problem with this thing is. Well, let me tell you. Not only do I have a very forward thrusting shoulder (this means that my actual shoulder, actually thrusts forward more than what is considered the norm)(it also means that it thrusts forward a good whole inch more than a traditional commercial pattern) but I also have a very broad upper back (this means that only the upper back is broad not my entire back - and it also means that its quite broad by about 1.5" beyond traditional commercial patterns). What it all comes down to folks is that when I make a bodice on anything - shirt, dress, jumper, jacket, etc. - I can't put my arms comfortably out in front of me. Daily activities like driving, eating, opening a door feels restrictive and quite frankly, by the end of the day it starts hurting because the fabric has rubbed my skin raw in the front shoulder/upper arm area. In fact, I stopped buying woven shirts altogether because of this very issue.

So, now I'm sure you're wondering what this all has to do with McCall's 4769. For starters, I made about 7 or 8 (maybe more, there were so many that my memory is a bit shaky) of that particular bodice. It's really just a basic sloper bodice - two darts in front and one in back - and I put sleeves in each and every one and in not a single one could I put my arms comfortably in front of me. Finally after exhaustive thinking and doing, sewing and cutting, slashing and spreading, I had a serious epiphany and reached for Simplicity 2724, something I had completely forgotten I had made with much success (this is the Naughty Secretary Dress btw). This is the one bodice with sleeve dress that has worked like a charm. And it is now my sloper/fitting shell, etc for the top portion of my body. Granted I had to lengthen it, put the darts back in and take the puffiness out of the sleeve, but in the end, I think I've got something that is nothing short of a revelation for me. I intend to start using it to see what I need to change on a pattern before I go directly into creating a muslin. I'm rather excited about it to say the least.

What's that one item you are afraid of making? Do you fear/dread the awful adjustment of trying to fit it just right? When you fit something, are there things you are willing to live with and things you just won't? Arms being able to drive my vehicle ranks rather high for me. And now, I can! Yay!

I have a few things to finish up on this dress (as you can see) before I give you all the big reveal, but don't worry. You will be jealous. Guaranteed. Indeed, I do believe that you should be after 7 or 8 (possibly 10-ish) muslins.

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