Monday, February 25, 2008


I bet you all have been thinking I have dropped the fitting challenge. NO WAY! I have been at it since the last time I posted. I have taken photos, made more muslin's, sat and stared at my photos and......obsessively compulsively been working away at it. I have now tried something new, but I am not going to report on it yet just in case this doesn't work either.....but I am feeling hopeful.

So today I thought I would share with you some recent fabric purchases. I went to the Astratex's (formerly know as Artextile) 50% off summer sale. And these are my goodies....

A lovely pink pinstripe Pierre Cardin wool and my first ever silk jersey. Nice match huh? I was thinking skirt for the wool when I purchased it but maybe a nice jacket? A skirt is perhaps too predictable.

The left fabric is a nice linen blend, the next is a wool skirt length and the piece on the right is a Versace mixed blend I got for $10 a metre. They only had 1.6 left and now it is mine. Apparently there is a small fault, but nothing that can't be worked around. I'm thinking some nice pants!
I have also received my Amazon order which included this book that Carolyn recommended.

And I love it!! (Thanks Carolyn!) So you see I am very keen on getting fitting slopers so I can start playing around. My plan is to use this as a text book and work my way through it. What fun!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Fitting - part 4 - muslin

I still was not sure if the sloper was fitting correctly. I feel there are issues around the upper chest and armhole - have I raised the armhole too much?

There seems to be pulling across the front in the upper chest. And scrunching of fabric under the arm.

The back has slight folds suggesting the pattern is too wide. Also some bunching of fabric above the waist (and below).

As the general feedback has been good I thought that maybe I am over analysing. So I decided to make up a muslin today. I chose a very basic Burda WOF blouse. I made my length adjustments as follows:
Take out 3cms in the back above the waist
Take out 1cm in the front below bust and add the extra 2 cms to the bust dart.
Raise the armhole 2 cms and take same amount out of the sleeve cap.
Shorten below the waist by 3cms.

The problems that were in the sloper now are in the muslin. See the horizontal line across the upper chest. Do you think this could be because the chest is too wide and is pulling into my arm?

I think the shoulder point looks too far down. Actually I have no idea what any of the pulls etc mean...I think I had better go back and re-read Fit For Real People!

Ok, I am going to sleep on it and hope the fitting fairies come and visit overnight!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Fitting - part 3 - sloper (part e)

I have got to the stage of putting it all together. I raised my armhole by 2cms and adjusted my sleeves accordingly. I have set the sleeves and inserted the front zip. From here I now need to adjust for my body curves and shapes which are unique to me - so say Vogue.

Many of you have commented to try the sloper in muslin. I will eventually do that, however again according to Vogue....."Unlike muslin or gingham, the non-woven fabric will wrinkle or pull which will immediately identify the area that needs an alteration." The "fabric" is not paper and is more like Vilene. And let me tell you it is pulling and wrinkling!!

Here are some photos taken with the self not so good. The first thing that concerns me is the the bust point looks too high and I DO NOT WANT to undo and redo. There is also all sorts of things happening in the upper chest and around the armhole. (Oh, and please excuse the bra - I need to keep wearing the same one for these fittings)

So that is it for now as I am leaving to go visit mum in Shepparton this afternoon and won't be back until late tomorrow. I will then get my photographers (who are at school at the moment) to take closer photos and then we can start to analyse.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Fitting - part 3 - sloper (part d)

Do you think I need to raise the underarm? According to fitting books a fitted armhole is about 1/2" from your actual underarm with your arm down and 1 1/2" with your arm out to the side. But where do you measure that from? The highest arch?

And do you think the front is too wide? It goes a bit into my arm. And as for that elusive shoulder point..........

Now this is supposed to be fitted with miminal ease so I want to get the upper chest area correct. I am thinking that looking at the first photo I need to take side seam in too at the top only. So maybe the alteration is to cut out the armhole and raise it say 2cms and move it over about 1cm and then redraw the shoulder point back to original place?

I am getting the feeling that it is too big from chest upwards as the fabric is puffing out from my body. Feedback please.............

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Fitting - part 3 - sloper (part c)

I wish I had some good news to report. I have spent 2 days on this and I am no closer. If fact I am so p*ss$d off I am leaving it for a few days.

My measurements keep changing. The more I take them the more variances I get.

I have raised the bust and taken out the changes to the front bodice. My latest measurements agree with the sloper.

I also picked up an error in the bodice. Remember it did not reach around me at waist level? Well I measured the sloper bodice at the waist and it was only 65cm. The standard measurement for size 10 is 64 and add the 2.5 ease (they say there is) and the 4cm I added = 70.5. But it only measures 65! I double checked my sewing and it is accurate. The skirt waist measures 71 (as it should). So I gave myself more room in the bodice and reattached the skirt. AND IT IS STILL TIGHT!!

I also tried putting in the sleeve and I could not get my arm into it. My arm is 28 and the sloper has 31 across the bicep - I should be able to get my arm in?

I also raised the armhole in one side by 2cms so as to compare the raised and non raised. I was all ready to have the photo taken to ask your opinion, but the battery is dead. I think that is telling me enough is enough. I am putting this down until Wednesday (my next day off).

Designdreamer asked if the "material" came with the kit - yes the kit comes with the pieces all marked, a tapemeasure, dots, and a curve. It also has C & D cup pieces. You just need to cut out the pieces.

This project is taking way longer than I thought it would. Every change means unpicking and reworking.

Ok, I am cranky and I am going to bed. Thanks everyone for the support and advice.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Fitting - part 3 - sloper (part b)

I had better luck today with the Vogue Patterns Professional Fitting Program.

First you take your measurements. Some of these are different from normal pattern measurements. Look at measurement 8 - from the back of the neck, around the shoulder and down to bust point. And measurement 9 - from bust point to centre of your waist.

Next you compare your measurements to the standard Vogue measurements. My variances were not surprising. I needed to marginally increase (.5cm) length above bust and then .8 out below the bust. In the back I took out .4 just under the arms and then a whole 2cms lower in the back.

The best fun (not) was the bust dart. As my upper chest is 82cms and my full bust is 83 cms according to Vogue I was an A cup. In my bras I am a C cup due to only being 71 cms under the bust. But who am I to argue with Vogue? So I did the small bust adjustment. And then centre front did not join and the side seams of the bodice had no hope of matching. Remember I took out .3 in the front but 2.4 in the back, and I reduced my dart for A cup. So the front side seam was way longer than the back side seam.

So all that work had to be undone. I adjusted the bodice back to a B cup. I then measured the extra front side length I had compared to the back and it was 2.1cm as you would expect (the back adjustment of 2.4 less the front of .3). So I increased the side dart by 2cms to make the sides agree. The kit does have C and D cup adjustment pieces but I thought I would just go with what my gut instinct told me to do. I should have listened to that earlier!

The blue lines are my adjustments

For the skirt, I needed to take out 3cm from the area between my waist and my hips. Then for the the hem to reach mid knee I added back 3cm to the length. I also needed to add 1cm to each side seam as my waist and hips are 4cms bigger than the size 10.

So the results so far? Bust, waist, hip and kneecap all hitting at the correct places. A slight problem about the waist circumference, but I will check that tomorrow.

See, it doesn't quite meet...oops! Oh and please excuse the bra!

I have to look at my shoulder point too tomorrow. I need to see which seam line is best. And to determine if I need a forward shoulder adjustment. It looks pretty good in this photo - what do you think? Move it forward a tad or leave as is?

And I am pleased to see the back neck comes up to the necklace and no round back adjustment is needed! Mmmm, but bust point looks a bit low side on - see the top dark line? I have a round flat bust rather than pointy so maybe I need the line to be higher? Check this and then the front on photo and feedback would be appreciated. Of course then I would need a bigger dart - so much for A cup!!

The armhole pooching should be fixed when the sleeve is fitted. I may need to raise the armhole too ( I am predicting that!).

Looking forward to hearing all your thoughts. And thankyou to everyone who has commented so far.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Fitting - part 3 - sloper (part a)

I worked on making a sloper all day and this is what I got:

Not a good result:

Front neckline too high
Back neckline does not reach necklace - but only in the middle
Armhole too low..way too low
Whole bodice too long - see how it bunches up because it is hitting my outward curve from the waist?
Armholes are all wrong.
Forward shoulder adjustment - 3 cms - I have never had that!

I used this book to draft a sloper based on standard measurements and my measurements.

I am not confident that the sloper calcs are correct. I had trouble drafting the back armhole as the points as plotted just did not join together with any curve shape?? I played around with it for a while but decided that I just was not confident that I was working with an anatomically correct starting point.

I then tossed around the idea of draping a sloper as per Threads and also mentioned in FFRP. But the girls were not jumping for joy when I mentioned this! You see I would need alot of help!

Then I pulled out a Vogue fitting pattern that I bought way back in the 70's (or maybe 80's) but had never used.

It is a size 10 and I had been using a size 6 as a starting point for my sewing. Many years ago I went to a Palmer Pletsch fitting instructor and she had me as a six 6 based on my high bust measurement of about 75cms. Well 30 years later and 20 of those working out at the gym has added an extra 7cm to that measurement. (Yes I do carry more body fat too - but really there is muscle where there was none before). My full bust is still about the same (I remeasured today and came up with only 83cms...sob). So now it would appear that this fitting tool may just be the thing I need. So it was back to the drawing board for some more measurements - DH came to the rescue.

So I will get back to it on Friday (I have to work tomorrow) and hopefully will have some better news to report.

Now some thanks:

To Belinda (Sew 4 Fun) and Ann from Stitches Guild who both confirmed for me that the difference between back and front lengths is accomodated with adjusting the bust dart.

Thanks to Anonymous for teaching me how to turn a print screen into a jpg - will try that when I update my measurements!

Ann from Annsfashiostudio asked if my shoulder slope measurements were the same on each side -yes they are but my right side doesn't slope as quick as my left - it appears to have more muscle near the neck. Better adjust the training routine!!

And thanks to all who are following on. It will certainly make me keep going until I get there!!

Young Ellen continues to be a celebrity - Optus one of the sponsors of the competition she won has had a publicist on the case - so far she has been in a magazine article, on community TV, ABC radio and now has made it to the local paper and their website. So as a very proud mother I just have to link.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Fitting - part 2 - measurements

I have taken all my measurements and have compared them to the Burda standard measurements. Going by them I am pretty much somewhere between a 36 and 38. However if I follow FFRP's guideline of using upper chest as a guide I would be a 34.

One major thing to notice is that my back waist length is short (as expected) at 39 cm's. In the past I have not adjusted for this other than by way of a sway back adjustment. And I have not been happy with that result. Here is a lovely side on shot of me - doesn't look like a sway back nor a straight back to me. What do you think?

Another thing to notice is that I do swing out quickly from waist to hip.
I may need to shorten here as well so that the high hip is higher.

Now, I have posted this very unflattering photo as it shows something interesting. My shoulder slope and the place where the necklace sits. From the back (prior photo), the slope looks much more than the 4.5cm we measured. Maybe we only measured from where the necklace is falling - is that correct? From the front the slope does not look so steep - hmmm.
And finally, I think my bust is low eventhough my bust depth measurement is as per sloper. Maybe I need to shorten the upper chest and then lower the bust? Oh so many questions, and to find the answers, I think I need to get a muslining!

I had a bit of a play around on the photocopier today and came up with this:

I don't think the proportions are completely accurate (maybe the angle my photo was taken at)but it gives a nice summary.

So tomorrow the plan is to draft up a sloper for the bodice and compare to the Burda sizes and see what I come up with. Wish me luck....

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Fitting - part 1 - body map

One of my sewing goals for this year is to perfect my jacket making. In order to do this I am going back to the basics and working on my fitting.

In the past I have been doing a sway back adjustment in the back to fit the bodice to my back waist. I am 39 cms and patterns are about 41. My front waist is 43 and patterns are about 44. Just adjusting the back seemed to work fine but lately I have noticed that the sway back adjustment is making the bottom of my jackets fit oddly. So maybe I need to take out more in the bodice but then add length to the middle front?

So where to begin? I decided to re read Fit for Real People by Palmer Pletsch. First port of call is to do a body map. Here is the FFRP version:

and here is mine:
Oops, I forgot to label the underarm dots - they are the ones below the shoulder ones, just in a bit.

I am sorry it is so hard to see but if you click on it it will be a bit clearer. The horizontal lines in a very faint green are my equal eights. The red dots are my points - shoulders, waist, hip etc,

The bottom line is
a) I am 164 cm tall, patterns are for 168cm
b) I am 77cm in the top half of my body (head to hips) and 87cm from hips to feet. Nice long legs but short in the body. The ideal proportions are 50/50.
d) I am evenly long in upper and lower legs. Both are exactly 43.5cms
e) My shortness seems to be mainly from waist to hip as my waist is exactly on a green line (where is should be)
f) there may be more shortness in shoulder to underarm (the numbers are about the same but my neck is long. Also as I am shorter that the sloper lady I am 1.5cm shorter from head to waist eventhough I am in proportion for my height in this area.
g) I don't have narrow shoulders (and I always thought I did!) - 12cm as per ideal
h)Shoulder slope is ok - 4.5cm compared to ideal 4.25
i) Crotch depth looks short, but I will worry about that when fitting for pants! Not today's problem!
j) I am a triangle/hourglass as Shoulder width is 35cm, waist 23cm, fullest hip 39cm - this is measured across the body map (not around me). See the red dotted rectangle in the middle of the body map? But I think only just a triangle - 4cm is not much.....and waist is quite defined.
Measurements are as follow:

sorry, I don't know how to imbed a spreadsheet so I took a photo!

All comments and feedback are more than welcome.:) Next post I will compare my measurements against Burda....and some lovely body shots...ick!

And in finishing up I would like to thank Ellen and Sofie for helping me with this and not fighting too much over who was doing it right, blah, blah,

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Fabric musings and another skirt!

I have realised that I have the habit of buying fabric that will match with the clothes that I have on while shopping. I wander through the store and a fabric will catch my eye and I think to myself "this will go really well with the top/skirt/whatever that I am currently wearing!". I suppose that is a good thing as I will always have something in my wardrobe to match my new piece.

Last week I purchased a chocolate brown viscose/poly/lycra blend jacket weight fabric that will go lovely with the cream Burda skirt I made. I had been snoop shopping just prior to the fabric shop and there was a lovely cream and cholocate brown dress that I was admiring. Mmmm, nice!

Last year I was also browsing through Spotlight and I was wearing a pink camisole and a green cardigan (with jeans I think) and I came across this cotton eyelet fabric:

So this morning (and some of yesterday) I sewed up this skirt using my altered Ottobre skirt pattern and look I have tops to match already!

For something a bit different I added 4 godets into the skirt.

I used these books for instructions on inserting godets:

I had read in Roberta Carr's book about adding godets, but when I came to follow the instructions, I found them to be very sparse and for the life of me could not follow. So to the sewing library (and this is why we NEED all these books) I found a two page spread in Claire Shaeffer's book.

Great instructions and a perfect godet:

I have taken a few more photos which you can see here if you would like.

Hopefully it won't take me a year to make up that cholocate brown jacket fabric......