Friday, November 23, 2012

The Path Of Least Adjustment

One of my neighbours is a print maker. Yesterday we toured the co-operative studio she shares with a group of women. It was neat, well organized, fully functioning, and truly a co-operative which is something that's very hard to come by. I was so excited for her. We came back here after and explored my studio before comparing art forms over chocolate cake and coffee - a delightful visit.

Virtually no-one fits into an exact pattern size, especially as we age, which means that almost everyone is making some pattern adjustments. I enjoy sewing muslins. The fabric isn't precious, the sewing is quick, and I can pin, cut, slash, write on, and do whatever it takes to learn what I want to learn and then take that learning forward. My goal is to fit a flattering garment while determining the path of least adjustment. That often means challenging what you think is true.

One size up didn't solve any issues and - in fact - made them worse especially the drag lines around the armhole. Consulting the fitting books, these seemed to indicate a narrow shoulder adjustment which led to pondering which would be better - choosing a size for my upper bust and adjusting for narrow shoulders... OR... choosing a size for my narrow shoulders and making a full bust adjustment. Most fitting books recommend the first choice however in this case the last one would be easier because of the multisized pattern including cup sizing. I can go down a dress size and up a cup size no problem. I measured the difference between sizes and pinned the armhole up 1/2" and the shoulder point in 1/4". The fit appears to be much smoother so this morning I'll sew another muslin cutting a size smaller through the shoulder and armhole and then out to my regular underarm and waist sizes and if that works, it's time for real fabric and if it doesn't I'll be back to exploring ideas ! ! !  

The bodice is frankenpatterned using the back from Vogue 1312, the front from Vogue 8743 and the sleeve from Simplicity 2217, a combination that provides the best fit and a sleeve with a higher cap that sits nicely on the shoulder point. The Vogue 1312 sleeve has a flat cap that pulls down at the shoulder and has a more limited range of motion for me.

Years ago, I took a workshop with a pattern drafter who layered the pieces of a simple shirt from each of the major pattern companies and illustrated how they were all developed from the same basic block. It opened my eyes to the possibilities of frankenpatterning. If a garment has a similar fit, it's very easy to interchange the parts with only minor fine-tuning.

I sew muslins from whatever fabric and thread bits are left over. You can see that the bodice above has an extra center front seam to fit two scraps together. It's sewn in an assortment of thread colors from nearly empty spools and bobbins although it's surprising how much thread is actually left on a spool when you think it's almost finished.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - theories to try and to learn from

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