Thursday, 8 January 2015

Fitting issues

I am puzzling out my fitting issues right now.  It was very frustrating that I would use the bodice block drawn to my own measurements, make relevant adjustments, and still not end up with a bodice that fits well!

I was beginning to doubt either my sanity or my ability to translate the fitting issues into adjustments that solve them.

I always have to take a wedge out at the top of the side seams, under the arms.  A wedge of a good centimetre across and over a length of about 7cm – from both front and back piece (as far as the width is concerned).  So I took out almost an inch from the armhole edge.  It seems a lot and I didn’t understand at all why I had to do that.

I recently realised why.  This is not an issue to do with sleeveless  versus with sleeves as such (sleeveless may need a tighter armhole than a top with sleeves does: you want to be able to move your arms when there are sleeves) – it has to do with my being low-busted.  That’s the opposite of the perky, petite shape of young women – the high and small busts that are very suited to the empire line dresses of Regency England.  My cup size is much bigger than that but most of all the bust point is at a completely different height: much lower down.

I kept noticing a pronounced bagginess of bought clothes at the front, right next to the vertical armhole seam, below the shoulder.  It took me a while to realise that if I take that excess and smooth it over to the armhole, I end up taking this out of the side seam – and guess by how much?  Oh yeah exactly: by that same wedge I describe above.  Oh!

Well that explains it then, doesn't it?
I did figure out that I often need to make the bust dart deeper, because of diagonal lines radiating out from the bust point.  I have done FBAs but was perhaps underestimating the width of the bust dart.  I need to check this out again.  I was really worried about the measure of the armhole though.  Wouldn’t a deeper bust dart make the  armhole too small?

I thought this over and just decided that this doesn't have to be a problem: why don’t I measure how much my armhole should be for dresses to be comfortable?  I can experiment with whether a sleeveless top is still comfortable with a smaller armhole, and whether a sleeved dress needs a bigger armhole.  I can also experiment with the shape.

That’s another fitting issue:  I would like to make a top that is looser in the sleeves and from there towards the centre of the body.  I won't be able to just make it very loose across the bust – surely I don’t want excessive amounts of material there?  That would make a top too baggy.  But below the bust:  I should be able to go for a blouse top that gets baggy and loose from the bust area down to past the waist (ending near the hip).  I just don’t want kimono sleeves (I already have a pattern that I made so often that I now desperately need a sewing challenge. It just doesn't fit nor look well enough).  I want set-in sleeves.

Which makes me worried about the shape of the armhole which should influence the shape of the sleevehead?  But how?

I am thinking that I’ll need to do quite a few variations of sleeves and armholes to figure that out in practice.  If I only do one and then evaluate, then try and start a second version, etc... that won't take me far and I’ll be too discouraged, - I’ll think that I won’t be able to solve this.  But if I do several at the same time so I can also compare them easily and equally (as opposed to serially) then it should be easier to make a judgment about what works.  I think.  When you make a series of versions you are inclined to try and see the later versions as better, but if they don't feel better it just leads to huge disappointment and energy-sapping discouragement.  I want to get away from that.

I also need to look into swayback adjustments and decide who they work for me and whether I need to lengthen the front piece a bit to account for my big tummy measurement.

That should do it for the major adjustments to achieve a better fit.

It did feel quite overwhelming but I think I can tackle these issues one by one.  There is no point in going squint-eyed over all the different issues when you can get mull over the one issue at hand, as long as I manage to focus.

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