Monday, 9 January 2012

Muslin Fitting #2

Finally managed to pin Anna down, in between moving trailer loads of stuff to her new home.
I used light-weight sew-in vilene to draft the pattern. I cut off a piece of my normal paper and pinned the vilene to the paper to add stability and it worked a treat. The paper also stopped all the texta dots from transposing to my table. I added standard seam allowances to the pattern at the shoulder and side seams so I could pin the pattern together for fitting. I forgot to take photos of this stage, but the only things I changed was to remove 1cm from the shoulder width and removed 14cm from the front waist darts so they didn't sit so high. The extra width around the hip did allow the vest to sit lower and, I think, much improved the fit. Okay far, so good!
Now on to the muslin, duly made with the above alterations.

 Pretty good, right? I have pinched out 4cm from the left armhole, but instead of making a dart here I am going to have a go at removing this with a sewing technique. Just removing this excess makes the armhole look a whole lot better than the right side.
Here's the back. As you can see she needs that extra width around her hips, but there is too much fullness up higher, so.........

I will increase the width of the back waist darts to give the back a little more shape. I have only placed one pin in each dart at this stage, to let me know her waist point and how much to take the dart in. I will smooth them out when I sew them in. Another option is to add a little belt with a buckle, at the pin placement, which will allow Anna to take it in further if she wants to. The belt could actually be placed inside the dart.
So I am now quite pleased with this result, as is Anna (very important). She's not fond of the width of the top of the vest, but as it is a pattern design issue, we have decided not to worry about that.
I am now going to put this aside for the moment and will work on a shirt for her. It is now only 6 days until final moving day so I am running out of time. I am not convinced this is the best garment to use as the first test run for fit. Surely a fitted sheath dress with a standard set-in sleeve would be better? If I can get the shirt muslin ready as well, I will make the two garments and post them to her. She can then take photos, send them to me and I will report back here. It's getting exciting now......
Back soon with the next project.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Progress on the vest.......or lack thereof!

Well my first effort is a wadder. I was madly altering the pattern, taking in here, letting out there, overcompensating all over the place. When I made the muslin it was obvious, for every problem I solved, I made another.

As you can see, the fit looks a lot different in fabric than it did in paper.

So......I took a backward step, scratched my head and tried to work out where I went wrong. Then I remembered what I had been told at the start of the first online workshop I did. "Forget everything you know and start fresh". Okey dokey. Let's do that! At the rate I was going, I wouldn't be able to easily sew for Anna if she was here, certainly not from long distance. So, off we go again!

The first thing I am going to do is use light-weight vilene as my pattern 'paper' instead of the newsprint paper that is pretty stiff. I did find it was much easier to fit around the neck/armhole areas without having the seam allowances added, so I will stick to that. As I am using the vilene this time, it won't be as easy to tape the pattern pieces together, so I will add seam allowances to shoulder and side seams so I can pin the pattern together for fitting. My thoughts are that the vilene will more closely replicate fabric by moulding to the body, so should be a better indicator of the fit.

The hardest area to fit, for both Anna and myself, is around the chest area. We both have large boobs but a narrow chest above the boobs. Armhole 'gaposis' is a problem. In my first effort I decided to dart the armhole to get rid of this, but now I am going to try to ignore this and take care of it later with a sewing technique (ala Sandra Betzina in her book Power Sewing).

When I draft my patterns I always add 4cm to my hip measurement, before starting, to give me extra ease around the tummy area. When I used my true measurement, I found that the patterns (no matter which one I used) drafted out to my exact hip measurement, there was absolutely no ease in there. This has worked really well for me, so I will do the same for Anna this time. I wonder if the original pattern may have been too snug around her hips so didn't sit low enough and that may have been the cause of all the extra length between armhole and shoulder? This would also explain why the armhole appeared to be too high for her. I will also check her shoulder measurement, but will do that at the tissue-fitting stage.

Back soon, with better results I hope!