Sunday, 8 April 2012

Fitting, I'll conquer you yet!

Welcome to "Even More Fitting" AKA "This sewing malarkey is trying to crush my iron will"

Seriously, this stupid toile/muslin is getting to be an albatross around my neck!

Okay, so on the last episode of "what does that wrinkle mean?", I was unsuccessfully trying to fix my back with a sway back alteration.  (Okay, enough quotation marks).

Nothing I pinned seemed to look right, and they all pulled up the hem at the back (which I've heard sway back adjustments aren't meant to do).  So, after I made myself a dressform, I finally had the freedom to pin it on the dressform instead of pinning, then trying on, then photographing (tedium).
Surely this would solve all my problems?   If only...

I couldn't see the "horizontal wrinkles" that a sway back was mean to cause.  I umm-ed and ahh-ed, pushed the fabric and prodded and poked my dress form, full of confusion.  Isn't the fabric supposed to tell you what to do?  So... I just grabbed it and put some pins in it where they wanted to go.

Umm... don't know what those wrinkles in front are doing...just... ignore them for now.  They were there before I pinned the back anyway.

Hang on a minute, this seems to have helped!  More confusion as I had pinned out practically the opposite of a swayback- instead of horizontal, I'd pinned vertical...  Hmm.  I started to wonder again if I was able to do fitting.

So, I've been stewing on this for days now.  I will even admit to tossing and turning in my sleep over it.  I'm thinking- maybe I never had a sway back?  Maybe I simply have some kind of small/narrow back, and a big caboose?  And, if I am to take out vertical excess, I can't simply add it to the existing darts right?  (I don't know, there's something in my brain saying you can't make a dart super wide for some reason.  Too much pointness?)  The only thing I can think of is maybe creating two darts?  Hmmmm.  So many questions.  So very many questions.

I've been thinking about maybe getting out some library books on fitting, but I'm a little scared they'll add to the brain stew, and I could end up with a steamed brain!  lol.

I also realised that on the first dress I made, and on a recent bodice toile, I had back issues too!
Please excuse these awful pictures.
Before and After.  Saggy back made me look pregnant.  I took the back waistband in by 6cm I believe
And here, please do excuse the dodgy looking photo.
Then I also realised I took some out of the back of my nightie too.

So basically I seem to have a strange back.  It looks like it might be extra thin back there or something.  I don't even know if that's a thing.  Gosh, my brain is a mess right now!  I've been going over and over this in my head, and looking for answers- it's enough to drive you bonkers!

Any feedback or help is so appreciated!
I'll look back on this one day and laugh right?


  1. Hi Johanna! I am about to write some posts on standard bodice adjustment, maybe you'll find it useful. And regarding big darts at the back - I have 4.5 cm darts at the back and I pin 2 cm horizontally AND I add width at the hips at the back to combat the horizontal wrinkles, so don't despair. It CAN be done! :)

  2. I'm slowly reading my way through the 2 fitting books I have, and although it was really confusing at first, now I'm finding that as I'm in the process of making (or wearing) something and I have an issue, I often think: "Didn't I read about that in the book?" Then I'm able to look it up. So I think you should get one!

    One of the things I read was that smaller busts need narrower bust darts, and larger busts need wider ones. At first it didn't make sense to me, but then I folded some paper and sure enough! The wider the "dart", the fuller the shape I ended up with!

    1. That's so true-- I tried to take in a bodice by increasing the bust darts, but I ended up with a pointy mess! Eek!

  3. Oh, there's a think back adjustment - I'm sure! :-) It appears there's one for everything. My brain is too fried to look at this interesting challenge (so sorry) but I'm sure you're going to get some great advice. I really recommend Fit for Real People and the Singer tailoring book I posted about a few days ago.

    What I would say is, don't make the book your gospel - your eyes have the answers. You know what you're looking at. Just keep manipulating the fabric until you find your fix. Of course, books are very important. But they're not addressing the minutiae of your body.

  4. You may indeed have a narrow back but maybe swayback too? You look very S-shaped in the blue dress.

    I know I've read some people just make a smaller size back bodice if they are using multi-sized patterns. You might consider this.

    And maybe get someone to measure your back width and back waist width for you? The more numers you have the better, sometimes...Good luck! (Also, Lena Merrin, get her feed/newsletter!!!)

  5. It looks like you would like to have this top quite fitted and to be quite honest, darts are meant for more subtle shaping. (Seam lines work best for addressing dramatic curves.) In my experience, for the type of back darts you are working with, a dart volume of about 3/4" (2cm) is the maximum you can take in for each dart. If you increase the dart volume, you will need to make the dart longer in order to fit smoothly. I am sure if you continued pinning the dart above and below the waist line, you will get what I mean. Be careful about over fitting-you still need enough ease for movement and breathing. :)

    Gail is spot on with her discovery about darts! The more dramatic the curve the more shaping you need.

  6. I think you're onto something-- taking a vertical tuck seems to be helping the problem. It looks like the back waistband (on the purple dress) just appeared to hang lower because it was too wide (rather than too long). My swayback issues actually cause the hem to hang lower in the back. Happy fitting!

  7. You have done well. This is what am scared off as a beginner lol. Toile is the UK equiv of muslin. I prefer the word muslin though despite being from the UK hehe.


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