Trial and error: the fitting project (and more)

Hello folks and welcome to a new working week. Unfortunately I didn’t have the best day at work, but hey, I have another four days to forget all about it. Last time I told you about my two weeks off and my intention to finish two garments during that time. I was playing around with the Knipmode pattern I used for the dress I blogged about in my last post. I thought I needed a narrow shoulder adjustment. People on the Curvy Sewing Collective forum suggested a smaller size for the bodice with an FBA. By that time, I had already traced the pattern and cut and taped an NSA, I decided to use some cheap fabric to whip up a blouse. I learnt a few things:

  1. Doing a narrow shoulder adjustment was the wrong choice.
  2. Cheap plastic fabric is annoying.
  3. When turning this blouse pattern into a blouse (because seriously, the original length is somewhere in between a blouse and a dress) I need to shorten the button placket.
  4. Sewing in sleeves and then taking them out because the fit is all wrong, not bothering to use a seam ripper, but instead cutting them off to use as the binding, does not a pretty armscye finish make.
  5. I can still wear the sleeveless blouse with a cardigan and get a compliment from a colleague about it. Hurrah!

Anyway, this blouse remains unphotographed but I’m having a me-made-May-day as we speak.

So, on to version 3 of the same pattern. I decided to not bother with the FBA, because the blue dress bodice is really quite roomy. I used a white and pink floral fabric that had been lying in my mother-in-law’s cabinet for at least fifteen years, so she decided to give it to me. I washed it and it didn’t fall apart completely, so I figured it was perfect for another trial version that was going to fail, obviously. I figured it was fabric that was nice enough for a wearable muslin, but that I wouldn’t be sad about if I ended up never wearing the blouse. I learnt a few things:

  1. The pattern came with very concise instructions. Therefore I hadn’t understood there was gathering involved in setting in the sleeves. Ahhh, so that’s why they were way too big for number two…
  2. There is something I really don’t understand about this pattern. You see. The front pattern piece comes with a gap, because it has a pleat below the henley placket. The thing is however, that the pleat is smaller than the gap for the placket. The pattern doesn’t have seam allowances included. For number two I added the 1.5 cms, which closed up the gap, but then my collar was too small. For number three I didn’t add the seam allowance, but instead just closed the gap by making a larger pleat and then my collar was too big. It really doesn’t make sense.
  3. Florals of 30 cms diameter in pink do not look good on me at all.
  4. I really should have done that FBA. I will listen to you next time DeniseM and michelleinsea. I promise!

Anyway, this blouse remains unphotographed and unworn, unless it miraculously fits my mum and I will have instantly unlocked the achievement “sewing for others” (blinking stars appear).

The other day I read Tasha’s post on By Gum By Golly on why she isn’t participating in me-made-May and I realised that the person she describes is me. I have sewn about a dozen garments now and there are only a couple I think are good enough to wear. I guess that comes with learning to sew though. Each item you sew will be better than the last (usually) so you end up being really critical of the items you made before that. I am like that anyway. (So in fact I was really proud today when that colleague complimented me on my blouse and I didn’t straightaway start mentioning all its flaws.) I really need to learn more about fit and how to alter patterns so I will end up with wearable clothes instead of “Oh, I guess this was just another project to practise my techniques.”

However, I am not giving up and in fact in the last few weeks I visited two fabric markets and bought some neat stuff! I pre-washed a selection and took some photos while it was drying outside (ohh the wrinkles!).

fabric collage

Two of them, as you can see, are actually border panels, or gradients, or whatever that is called (I am expanding my vocabulary as it is, please give me a break). I love them so much I will probably not use them for a long time. I need to learn to sew first… I bought much more than this, a laundry basket full to be precise, but I am really happy with these finds in particular.

I will leave you with my first home deco project! Or garden deco really. Cushions for our picknick table. Fabric courtesy of IKEA. Pretty straightforward. Found a tutorial online, made cushions. The third one actually worked out better than the fourth so I just proved my own theory wrong. 

Till next time!

cushions collage

DSC_0463

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6 thoughts on “Trial and error: the fitting project (and more)

  1. Do you have a photo of your blue dress from the side? I think I am having a similar problem in my M6696 but I’m just not sure how to fix it. But I DO think I maybe need an NSA, because there is extra fabric there.

    Sewing is HARD! 😛

    I like sewing the same thing over and over because I do find that thing where the fourth one might be worse than the third – because I relax and forget all the lessons I’ve learnt! So by the fifth or sixth one, those lessons are actually starting to sink in and I don’t have to think about them all the time, I can just use them. But there’s always something new to learn, some new thing I’ve realised needs work. I think progress comes slowly and then suddenly all at once. It does for me, anyway.

    That is some gorgeous fabric! Very good haul. And also a gorgeous big dog!

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    • I have this one, but you’d really have to zoom in: https://flic.kr/p/sqt7Tu. There are a couple more on there. I really do think the bodice is too big, because with the smaller size the back fits better too.

      I actually made a few M6696s. The first two weren’t very pretty so I didn’t blog about them. I made one in a really stretchy denim and because of that I made the bodice a size smaller than the one in black and white florals (https://makethinkgo.wordpress.com/2014/10/12/the-shirtdress-and-the-catastrophe/). I have the same problem with that dress, I can’t wear anything over it, and I think the denim dress bodice fits better around the armscyes , but is too snug for my bust. Complicated!

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  2. Hi Marije! If you want to learn more about fitting, let go of the wearable muslin concept. There’s often a compromise going on that’s keeping you from experimenting. On a true muslin you can write, cut, draw horizontal lines for waist, bust and hip and check if they’re in the right spot (and stay horizontal in the garment). Buying a bolt of muslin fabric from Textielstad (free delivery) is well worth the investment!

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    • Hi Marianne,

      Of course you’re absolutely right, but I don’t have a dress form, and will probably not buy one because even the adjustable dress forms will never look anything like me. So fitting and making adjustments is quite difficult. I tend to just make the garment and see how it turns out. I usually use roll ends and stuff, not just cheap polyesters.

      Maybe I will sign up for some classes though, because so far everything I know I learnt from YouTube, tutorials and sewalongs…

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      • I don’t have a dress form either and sadly no fitting buddies around. It helps me tremendously to mark muslins in order to analyse what’s wrong and then start fitting from the shoulder downwards. I also learned a lot from fitting classes at Craftsy. Lynda Maynards class is very useful, except for the fact that you absolutely need a fitting buddy for her method. Boo! Joi Mahon’s class is really nice and her methods work well when you’re on your own!

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