I’ve seen alot of fitting issues in the sewing community and I wanted to throw my two cents in of the fitting issues I have of my own. This is labeled as part I because I’m sure there will be a part II and III and IV and however many. Let’s just say this is going to be a journey for me and if you have the same fitting issues I do then your in luck, and if you don’t well, these types of adjustments can be made to other areas of a sewing pattern as well and I’ll mention those as I go along. Let’s talk about my biggest fitting issue, because well this is about me and I enjoy telling you all about myself. I’m a pretty average girl, a little on the small side. And I like to sew. And I like to sew with sewing patterns. And this is my story of where it goes wrong:
Biggest fitting problem – Shoulder Blade. Yeah. I know. Weird. I have a fairly broad shoulder for someone my size. Even funnier, I’m a small chested lass, barely filling out an A Cup. It’s been hard to know what to do for this. A year ago, I couldn’t even tell you, but I was sure that if I added inches to the back of the bodice I just knew it would work. Which I did and found that for some reason the back was baggy especially at the waist area when I would do this. Silly me. I was adding to the wrong area. I was finally enlightened by Adele Margolis’ book How to Make Clothes That Fit and Flatter. It’s an inspiring read and makes you feel, normal and not like a malformed mutant. It’s out of print at the moment, but can be found through some online used book sites. Ok, back to me. Here’s the lowdown. I like to have movement in my clothes, meaning that I can actually move in them. Normally I don’t have a problem with this, except when it comes to the arms. Garments that have sleeves are the pits. It makes me want to wear sleeveless tops forever and pack up and move to Hawaii, which I want to do anyway by the way. I knew I had broad shoulders, I just didn’t really know what to do about it. Then I found out and it’s changed my life forever. So here it is.
Do you have the problem of sewing a top in which you are not able to move your arms forward to say, grip the steering wheel of your car, or type on a keyboard, or hand write a letter to a friend? This is the adjustment for you. This is what your final adjustment will look like. You’re adding a little more allowance to the sleeve and the armsyce at the back. (Just in case you didn’t know, you can tell the sleeve back by the notches. Typically there are 2 notches – you know, those triangle things – in the back as opposed to the 1 notch in the front)
Now how do you find out how much to add? I have to test this always, on a toile. I mock up the top or bodice with both sleeves in muslin. Then, I try it on. If I can’t comfortably move my arms forward I need an adjustment. To see how much I need, I slice open the shoulder on each side and then try it on again and move my arms forward and have a good look in the mirror. This part, you’ll have to eyeball. I typically need approximately 1 inch added to each side. Take that measurement and divide it in half because your going to be adding this to two adjoining pieces. In my case, I would add 1/2 inch to the sleeve and armsyce of each side.
I begin by taping my pattern piece to a piece of paper. I take my trusty old ruler and mark 1/2 inch from the seam allowance. Then, I use a french curve to blend out the top and bottom. You see, I don’t need the entire sleeve and armsyce to be adjusted, just the back, so that I can bring my ding dang dern arms forward. And I only need that little section from the top of the shoulder blade down the back of my shoulder to the underarm to be wider. Does that make sense? If it’s pulling too much, you’ll need to take the adjustment down a little further. Meaning that you’ll need to add a little seam allowance to the “underarm” as well, but typically only on the back piece.
So how do you know if you need this adjustment? Well the obvious answer is if you can’t “comfortably” bring your arms out in front of you. Sometimes this little adjustment is a little sneaky though. You can see it when your arms are straight down at your sides and there is still a little bulging or I prefer to call it “riding” at the sleeve right in the front. It’s riding up, because it’s pulling wrong. Clear as mud?
Hopefully this is a tip and trick you’ll find useful.
PS ~ Thank you for so bravely seeing past this exotic flesh colored fabric I’ve muslined in, in these last two posts. I’m seeing color and fun in the future. Promise.
Hip Hip Hooray! We have two lucky Spring Egg Winners! The random number generator picked 4 and 7. Angela and Lynne, I’ll send you out an email requesting your address and I’ll get those Spring Egg Kits shipped out for you to have (hopefully) by Easter!
How cute are those eggs! My favorite holiday crafting was making something for Mother’s Day… whether we made pasta noodle necklaces, frames, soap, or flowers.”
Great ideas ladies and thank you to those who participated. I hope you have a wonderful Easter holiday!
Speaking of Easter and well, my birthday, I’m sure you’re wondering about my Perfect Spring Dress and how its coming along. I have the bodice almost finished and I really hope the skirt comes together easy. Fingers are definitely crossed. In the meantime, I thought I would show you my fitting muslins for the bodice, that way we both learn about good fit and what to do about it. I am, by no means, a master of fit. Still working on this art. However, hopefully I can share some of my tips with you and get tips from you as well. Here we go:
One of the first questions about fitting that comes to mind is, “What is good fit?” and “Does this vary from person to person?” What I’m driving at is this, is fitting a point of view or is there a basis of “good fit” that everyone should follow? I can’t say for sure and there are many times when I mock up a muslin for a garment and I don’t know what I’m looking for. It’s one of the reasons that it takes me so long to start and finish a sewing project. Sometimes, the fitting problems aren’t wildly apparent, sometimes they are just minor adjustments. And this usually takes me a few days to ruminate on and then a few more days to think of a solution. I feel, I have strange fitting issues because when I look up ways to fix a fitting problem, the issue is usually addressed for the opposite problem that I have. For example, I have a small bust. It’s weird to me that there are many tutorials and articles on large bust adjustment, but not small ones. So I end up reading these articles and doing the opposite of what it says. Anyone else feel this way?
Let’s get back to the Perfect Spring Dress, shall we? Hopefully, some of you have these same issues. With this pattern there is an initial problem that isn’t magnified until you actually test it. The shoulder straps are way too far apart. And I’m a broad shouldered gal (because I always have to adjust for this, on top of a small bust adjustment AACCKK!). These straps kept falling down. I think you would have to be extremely broad shouldered for them not to. The bodice itself was a little baggy and needed a little nip and tuck here and there. So, what we have are:
the shoulder straps are too far apart
the bodice is baggy
I went back to look at my Anthropologie inspiration again and concentrated on the details here. If you take a close look at the photo, the princess seams originate from the armscye. On my pattern, the princess seams are a little more straight up and down. If you think of a princess seam as a seam that has a dart at the top and bottom, then you can move the darts wherever you want, which is what I did. Take a look at this tutorial. This made it so that I could move the shoulder straps closer together without throwing off the princess seam. By the way, I couldn’t find a tutorial for the adjustment of bringing the shoulder straps closer together. But I read an article about proper bra fittings and how if the shoulder straps continually fall down, the straps need to be moved closer together. I took a chance on pinching out 1 inch in the front and back at the middle and then adding 1/2 inch to the seam adjoining the side bodice. That brought the straps closer together and left the princess seams correctly over the bust.
After moving all of the darts around, I took in the back a little at the top and cut out a new muslin. It fit much better and the shoulder straps were more under control. It didn’t solve all the problems though, the bust was little baggy, so I pinched that out and marked my pattern. The back has a bit of a wrinkle at the waist, but I think the weight of the skirt will take care of this issue.
So what do you think? What do you think about proper fitting? How do you go about knowing what is and is not a good fit?
Thanks to all who participated! This giveaway is officially closed!
Yup, that’s right Cupcakes! I haven’t had one of these for quite awhile. It’s almost Easter and guess what’s on that very same day? None other than the birthday of yours very truly. Oh yes. This is the second time I can recall that they have celebrated Easter on my birthday. How could they not? It’s a very special day. I mean, I was born! Ahem….
What I have here for two very lucky people is a Spring Egg Kit, or my version of a panoramic easter egg kit. I love a good holiday craft and this is one of the best, especially to do with kids. I made up these kits last year, inspired by one of my favorite childhood memories. Two lucky ducks are going to enjoy making these sweet eggs for Easter!
The Spring Egg Kit includes:
Instructions for how to make and assemble your Spring Egg
1 reusable plastic egg mold
a small round of fondant
1 jar paste food coloring
2 plastic piping bags
a collection of miniature figurines for the inside of your egg
Here’s how to enter:
Please leave a comment on this post telling me about a favorite holiday (any holiday) craft you enjoyed making as a kid!
And that’s it! I’ll be back Monday to announce the winners, to be picked at random, and will quickly mail off the prizes to two lucky winners who will (hopefully) have these sweetie-pies just in time for Easter!
PS ~ I’ve added 3 more kits to my Etsy shop. These, plus the ones I’m giving away are the last ones I have this year, so if you are interested jump over and check them out! Sold Out!
Speaking of quilting…one of my favorite films of all time is How To Make An American Quilt. Read the book too. The ideas in the film and novel speak to my sensibilities of sewing and how I feel about the legacy my grandma has given me. This is my quilt. My wedding quilt. My grandma appliqued, pieced and hand quilted every single stitch on it. It’s called The Lovebirds.
My grandma entered this beauty in her local county fair before bestowing this grand gift on me. She won the Sweepstakes. And that’s that.
Thinking about all this quilting stuff and reading over past entries I’ve written relating to this subject, I didn’t want you to get the wrong idea of what I really think about quilting. In talking about sewing with people who don’t sew anymore, many of you brought up this topic of not sewing for yourself but sewing and quilting for your children and grandchildren. I still consider this to be a sewing art. Not only that, it’s a feat. This quilt took my grandmother 2 years (approximately) to complete. And my grandmother sews nearly everyday.
I don’t even know that I feel this beautiful gift falls into the “quilty” category. I just consider it beautiful, handmade and a work of art. I, myself, don’t quilt. I’ve made a duvet cover that was pieced, but I didn’t quilt it per se. But I love this beautiful piece of artwork my grandma has given me. Everytime I take it out, it almost brings me to tears just thinking about it.
What do you think about quilting? If you don’t do it now, do you think you ever will try it someday?
I have a thing with printed cotton fabric. More specifically I have a thing with printed cotton fabric that’s typically used for quilting. The quilting fabric industry has gone crazy over the past few years. They’ve even got “designers” for some of these gorgeous fabrics that would rival any Hollywood actor or actress today. Or so it seems. These people make some gorgeous prints. They really do. And I love cotton, because it’s one of those natural fibers that is inexpensive compared to others. It’s wearable, washable and easy to sew. But there still remains this question of whether or not some of these prints border on being nutty when turned into a garment.
I recently received my Spring copy of the Lilly Pulitzer catalog. Personally, I find it so fun, colorful, vibrant, feel-good and well, Springy. I’ll admit, I do think that some of the prints here are crazy, but isn’t that what’s so fun about it? This is like, crazy gone good. And yes, I would wear it. I wear crazy stuff. I like color against my skin since my coloring is such that I blend all together if I don’t wear color. But hey, that’s me. What do you think? Would you wear this colorful stuff? Or, isn’t it too printy or dare I say, quilty for you?
This quilty thing brings up a good point. I’ve seen quilty gone bad. And it’s real bad. I’m not saying that quilting is bad or that it’s not good for a quilt to look quilty. Quilting is a beautiful art, and when done tastefully is simply stunning. I’m talking about making garments from quilting fabric. Or should I say, printed cotton? Either way, I’ve seen it go bad. It’s kind of a nutty look. It’s that look that makes someone want to ask you, “So, you do alot of quilting?” because you are wearing it. So where is this fine line? When does one cross the threshold of being cute in a print, to being a walking quilt?
I think it’s a combination of the style of a garment coupled with what print you use. The Lilly P fabrics are loud and crazy and oh so 60′s and the style of the garments are funky, fun and fitted. They complement each other. What’s a style that wouldn’t look good with these fabrics?
What do you think? What passes the non-quilty test?