Thursday, July 17, 2008

Taking a step back

I'm sick of fitting. I've said it.

It took me 3.5 muslins (including one wearable muslin...that wasn't supposed to be a muslin because I loved the fabric) to get a passable version of the Emily blouse. I'm still not thrilled with this one. In the photo, it looks like it's pulling across the bust, but I think it's the way that I'm standing because I don't see the pulling when I'm standing in front of a mirror. I guess it's okay, but I'm pretty "meh" about this, especially after all of the work that went into this. Obviously, this is a lot better looking than that first muslin that I posted a picture of, but I can't say that I'm particularly excited about it.

And with that thinking in mind, I decided about a month ago that I'd stick to sewing princess seamed tops/dresses for a while. I know that I have a higher chance of success with princess seams than darts (especially with having to cut chunks out of bust darts and rotate them elsewhere and all of that other fun stuff). part of my contribution to stash reduction, I recently sewed up New Look 6457. This was the opposite of frustrating. For pretty much the first time ever, I was able to simply follow the fitting instructions in FFRP and lower the bust fullness, do an FBA, and I wound up with a really cute sundress.

I LOVE how this turned out. It fits me like a glove, and I don't think the picture does justice to how waist-defining and flattering this dress is. As soon as I tried on the finished version, I decided that I wanted to make up several more of these. It's the perfect dress to throw on after work when the condo is still friggin' warm or to wear around town on the weekend. It's ridiculously comfortable, and I don't feel like a shlump in it.

Still riding the high of NL 6457, I decided to tackle the very similar (from the picture) New Look 6805. It's got a similar princess seamed bodice and a pleated skirt...and without all of the piping, it should go even faster, and therefore be a recipe for success, right?

Wrong. Of course, this couldn't actually be easy for me. Given the similarities of the bodices, I used NL 6547 as a sloper, thinking that I could just transfer the changes. Well, I transfered the changes, but apparently not the fit. And because I'm a masochist and enjoy suffering, I didn't make a muslin of this one because I was so sure that it would fit. Ugh. Bad idea.

Really bad idea.

At least the skirt in NL 6805 turned out cute, but the bodice is wonky in a ridiculous number of ways. I futzed and futzed and couldn't get the straps to lay at the same angle (I suppose this is because these are true "straps", whereas NL 6457 was more of a tank style.) The back on this thing gaped initially, and I had to add a center back seam to fix that. The princess seams themselves needed to be taken in on this (I guess it runs large in the bust and my transferred FBA from NL 6457 was overkill), and I'm still not happy with how those look.

So, in the past two months, I've had one raging success, one meh (after way too much work and fitting work), and one I-can-wear-it-around-the-house result. I really feel like I need to take a break from fitting for a while. My confidence is shot. I recently got engaged and had hopes of sewing my own dress, but I'm really not feeling that at the moment. Granted, I have just over a year until our wedding (during which time I'm going to try to lose weight, also, but that's another story), but I really don't think I could pull off the dress that I want at this point.

I've decided that I'm going to take a step back and just concentrate on things that I know that I'll enjoy SEWING for a while...things that don't require much fitting work. Next up in the queue is a pair of Simplicity drawstring cargo shorts for my fiance. After that, I'll work on a few more cotton versions of NL 6457.

If I'm feeling up to it, after that, I've got a few versions of Simplicity 2930 that I'd like to make. I'm thinking that this will be a good one for me because it has both princess seams and separate pattern pieces for different cup sizes. I should be able to get away with using a 16-D-cup, doing a narrow shoulder alteration, and a normal-sized FBA (instead of a huge one) and should be able to get a couple of nice, flattering tops out of this. Famous last words, right?


  1. I know how you feel. It took me a year of trying to do fba's and get a fit I was happy with before I threw up my hands in disgust and decided to stick to knits which have a bit of wiggle room so to speak. I now work on the principle of, "well this one may not be perfect but if it's better than RTW I'll be happy". Saves a lot of stress. :)
    I like the shirt and first dress. The second dress looks like it's too big in the top - almost too wide? Perhaps go down a size for the shoulders.

  2. Michelle, ((((HUGS!)))) I feel your pain. I agree that the red/black dress is a fabulous look for you. You need to stop reinventing the wheel. You have a princess seam pattern that fits already, keep frankenpatterning that one.

  3. keely, I think you're right about the second dress being a size too large in the back/shoulders, although I hadn't thought of that, since I started with my usual size. It would explain the gapping in back and me needing to add a CB seam.

    I'm with you on the knits--I tend to have a higher success rate with them than wovens, but have really been wanting some new summer dresses/tops...hence the cotton binge as of late. ;)

  4. sherril, thanks for the kind words--you've really been an inspiration to me, as far as showing what is possible with fitting. I've been reading your blog, too, so I know that you've been struggling a little lately, too...which is also reassuring to hear that it's not just me. :P

    Lesson learned on this one. I've got two gorgeous cottons from Gorgeous Fabrics waiting in the wings for the next versions of the red/black dress.

  5. I'm with you girl, I have the same problem! Out of frustration I've taken a break from fitting for awhile. Because of this, my summer wardrobe has consisted of a ton of easy yoked tops, that require little to no FBA, and skirts. Sometimes you have to just take a break from the evil bust dart.

    The cherry sundress is fabulous, it fits perfectly. Great job!!

  6. Michelle, the red and black dress is so cute. Nice job! Do you have anything like PMB? I made a dress for my niece using that. I morphed another pattern with it, but it fit perfectly two weeks before the wedding(she dropped 3 inches in two weeks so I had to alter) but the initial fit was good. I can use that as a sloper.
    Don't give'll figure it out. You are a very talented seamstress and I love reading your comments on PR.