Male Pattern Boldness is proud to be the world's most popular men's sewing blog!



Jul 3, 2015

Another Fitting with Susan: Wrap Skirt + Altered Bodice!



Susan had a fitting yesterday at that little French café that doesn't seem to mind us using their bathroom or seating area.  (We do usually eat there too of course!)

I had made a new muslin for Susan to try on -- a wrap skirt drafted according to the specifications found in Dorothy Moore's pattern drafting book.  I made sure to add horizontal (as well as vertical) balance lines as per Sarah Veblen's recommendations, which helped a lot.  The primary problem with the wrap skirt is that it doesn't extend far enough across the front, which has nothing to do with Susan's measurements, but rather with the design of the skirt itself.



Here you can see that the horizontal and vertical balance lines look pretty good.  But both the under and over (lapped) layer need to extend farther beyond the center front line, both for the look of the skirt and to make sure the opening doesn't reveal more of Susan than she wishes to share.



The back pleats could be a little shorter; there are no front pleats at all.





You can see (below) that the skirt needs to extend another 3" or so.



Next Susan tried on the bodice.  I'd inserted a 1-1/2" shoulder dart, which narrowed the front shoulder dramatically, and I trimmed the width of the back shoulder to match it.  I inserted a thin shoulder pad on Susan's lower (right) shoulder to correct a slight imbalance there.

To my eye, the shoulder seams sit where they should be.





I pinned out a little in back; perhaps a shoulder dart, similar to the one in front, would be helpful (and I wouldn't need to trim the outer edge of the back shoulder to match the front).

Some of the poofing under the armhole is due to my badly pinned left side seam.

Here's some live footage of Susan wearing bodice and pencil skirt so you can see her move in it.  (Michael just told me I should have held my phone horizontal so apologies for the big black spaces.)



I think I'm ready to make a fresh muslin and take it from there.  (Sarah Veblen recommends addressing just one alteration at a time.)  Susan called my attention to the moderate tenting of the stiff muslin in the horizontal hollow between her breasts but I think that's inevitable with stiff fabric like this, don't you?   I tried cutting a slightly lower neckline, which alleviated this issue somewhat.





I do think this is an improvement over the last fitting but I still think there's work to be done.  A princess-seamed bodice might be more flattering, frankly.

If you have any insights/ideas, I welcome them.

Have a great day, everybody!

28 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting the excellent photos of the process, Peter. Yo are so talented to tackle custom garments.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It's really looking good, Peter, but it appears to me that the darts are not all pointing to the same bust apex. Is this so, or am I misreading the pictures?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you're right; they're a little off.

      Delete
  3. Very interesting to follow the progress with the fitting, Peter! I like the slight v-neckline; I think it suits Susan better than the round neckline. Cheers, Anne-Marie

    ReplyDelete
  4. I like your matching back shoulder dart idea.

    Susan, on the other hand, I love! She is such a good sport about "public" fittings.

    There's something simpatico, bordering on star-crossed, about you two.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Looking good! Watch out for over-fitting the back of the armscye-- it's easy to pin what looks like excess when you haven't attached the sleeve yet, only to find that you NEEDED THAT DANG IT :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Your hard work is coming on lovely, it is difficult to fit someone who is completely different to what you are used to which probably explains why few people are proficient in both women's and men's wear.

    In your toile, it seems like it is a little close across Susan's belly, but this may be alleviated when you extend the crossover of the skirt.
    You could make other toile in a cheap fabric of a similar hand to the real fabric to alleviate her concerns about the bust.
    Agree with the person who said the neckline is good.
    Happy days!!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Top tip - fit your muslins inside out. It is much easier to pinch and change and slide seams around. YES, this is a princess seam situation for sure. SO much more elegant than darts are. And the design lines are more fluid and interesting too. I think the tenting in the middle is caused by the change of grainline made by the shoulder dart - once corrected I think it will be easier to see what to do next.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But if he fits the bodice inside out, left and right sides will be reversed. Most women are not 100% symmetrical left-to-right and Peter did note that his client needs a shoulder pad on one side but not the other. Unless you mean that he should keep the garment pieces with the right sides facing out, but sew and pin the seams with the seam allowances on the right side of the garment?

      Delete
    2. The point is to have the seam allowances to the outside. I have sewn for hundreds, possibly thousands of women and this has been a big factor in getting a great fit, because the control is so much better. Yes, if the fit needs to be assymetrical then keeping track of which side is which is an issue. I've only ever found it necessary or desirous to do an assymetrical fit once however, for a woman whose rib cage was twisted 45 degrees. :)

      Delete
  8. I agree on princess seams too. For fitted tops, they definitely give me the closest, and most flattering fit. With those darts, you are so close to a princess seam anyway. My eyes just want to join them up.

    ReplyDelete
  9. To get the grain lines perfectly horizontal, I draw lines at certain levels with a pen or marker on the muslin before trying on, then the lines tell you what is in need of tweaking. She looks so happy to have her own personal designer...great job!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'm a fan of French darts over regular darts for vintage, but princess seams are good for modern looks. Looks like you're getting there, but I agree you shouldn't over-fit in the armscye. When there's a sleeve you need more swingin' room up there. Can you draft a couple of sleeves and try them on Susan?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was just thinking that Kenneth King is NYC based, and he's a fitting guru. I think he's big on supporting men who sew. If you get in touch with him via his website, he may be willing to help you out.

      Delete
  11. I think that if you attached the skirt to the bodice, you'd get a better view of the fit as a unit rather than separate pieces.

    When it comes to making a toile, I like to baste stitch the curved areas (necklines and armholes) to prevent stretching the fabric in the fitting process.

    Also, the right shoulder on the bodice that has the shoulder pad seems too high up. Was that intentional?

    Anyway, good progress! :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. On most women the apex will be about 4 inches from center front. Bust darts should not reach all the way to the nipple but anywhere within a 3 inch radius of the apex works. Vertical darts should also be about 4 inches from center front and the same for skirts. The skirt center back darts should taper to nothing at the hip line or even slightly above the hip line. The center back darts should be a little bit longer than the darts closer to the side. A princess line to the shoulder would be much easier to fit and generally looks more slimming (not that your client need that).

    ReplyDelete
  13. For the wrap skirt I would recommend the technique called "off graining" to the front opening which will help it hang straighter when worn. Check out Roberta Carr's wonderful book "Couture: The Art of Fine Sewing" for detail. Great job so far, Peter!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I own that one -- I'll check it out!

      Delete
    2. I found the section in Carr's book, Anna, and it makes perfect sense. Thanks so much for referring me to it!

      Delete
  14. I'm amazed. You started with some flat white cloth covering Susan, and little by little you are fashioning a wonderful statement about Susan. It gonna look gud.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I'm loving this process Peter! Susan is very lucky to have a very talented personal tailor. Good luck :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. Recently to get a better shape for my own armholes I did the following:
    1. Took a thick cord and tied it around the armhole.
    2. Cut tied end long enough to hang a washer from to use gravity to get it hanging straight down.
    3. Took a yard stick and balanced it on the top of my shoulder and marked this point. I now had two markings on my arm hole that where directing in line with each other thanks to gravity.
    4. I put a 18 inch ruler under my arm in the armpit perpendicular to my string hanging below. I held my arms at 45 degrees and marked where the ruler came out and touched the cord.
    5. I removed the cord and laid it on my cutting mat which has grid lines and lined up my gravity lines directly one above the other and my ruler under the arm lines on the same grid line as the other.

    This showed me how much I needed in front versus back and also helped with shaping. I also moved my arms forward and back and took note of how much the cord moved to know how much ease to add. I adjusted my sleeve and came out with a very comfortable armhole and sleeve.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I think the skirt looks too tight across the stomach. Just my 2 cents worth. I personally don't like to see my own tummy bulge.

    ReplyDelete
  18. To my eye, Susan's left shoulder seam is too far to the back by maybe 1/2" at the neck and 5/8" at the shoulder. I would undo the dart, release the left shoulder seam and smooth the left back up to a new, more forward shoulder seam line. I'm betting this would take care of that gaposis in the left back armscye.

    (I'm following Susan and Zach's story with great interest. Almost all of my sewing these days is the development of slopers so I can sew for various friends and family. My hat is off to you because I know how challenging this is...especially when the person isn't right there in your home, ready and available for try-ons. I guess this is why haute couture and costumer shops have body doubles made up!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think what I'm likely to do is turn this into princess seams.

      Delete
  19. Your fitting efforts are impressive! I have to agree with mkhughes though: That skirt block could use just a bit more ease across the stomach (although it doesn't shIow anywhere near as much in the wrap skirt, so I guess you could get away with it by picking suitable skirt designs).
    As for the bodice, I have to repeat my earlier comment: Unless you only plan on making sleeveless tops for Susan, make a muslin with sleeves. Some of the excess width around the armhole will be needed when there are sleeves. Pinning it all out now means a lot of work which will only make your life much more difficult once you start trying to add a sleeve. In all pattern making methods I know, a standard bodice is supposed to be used with a set-in sleeve. For a sleeveless design, that block is adapted by a slight raising of the underarm point, equally slight shortening of the shoulder line and gape darts.

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts with Thumbnails