The Journey to Good Fit Begins

Someone once said that, “Time is a cruel thief to rob us of our former selves.”  When I use to sew my own clothes I was tall and slender so all I needed to do was to lengthen the pattern an inch or so and off I could go sewing to my heart’s content.  Not anymore.  Fast-forward 40+ years.  I now have my grandmother’s figure, which is not so slender and has lots of jiggly parts.  The pattern sizes are now nowhere near my measurements and the thought of performing the tedious task of fitting and all those adjustments was just too overwhelming.  I no longer felt excited to sew for me.  I felt robbed of my former self.  And that is just wrong!

I was determined to change all that and found myself on a quest to learn the art of fitting.  Altering a flat pattern to fit a body with all its various curves, lumps, and bumps was not going to be easy.  Slashing and spreading, balancing darts, lowering darts, finding a new place on the pattern to place the apex, finding my waistline…. Whew!  Wouldn’t it be easier to have plastic surgery to match the pattern then to do all that work?

I realized that our bodies change probably from month to month due to elements both within and out of our control so there are always new fitting issues that seem to appear out of nowhere.  And without any warning whatsoever I might add.  I knew that other people must have this same problem and stopped sewing their own clothes for the same reason.  Having a group of people get together to help each other with their fitting difficulties just made perfect sense, right?

When I announced the formation of a new fitting group, ladies from my sewing guild began contacting me eager to join.  Some lived an hour or more away which tells me that this is a much larger problem than I had originally thought.  Suddenly, I felt like Moses leading the people to the Promised Land.  They had that look of hope in their eyes.

I decided to document our trials and tribulations in hot pursuit of good fitting clothes (that we sew ourselves!) and to share our discoveries.  Our homework for our first project was to make a pant sloper out of muslin and we would do all the adjustments at our meeting.  My friend and I decided to get together before our meeting to work on the sloper.

So what did I do?  I didn’t read my own directions and in my delusional state of mind, I ran out and purchased a fitting shell pattern not in my actual size, but in the size I wanted to be.  What was I thinking?  I wasted about 4 hours just figuring out how much to add here and there to increase the pattern to the correct size, then marked and cut out the muslin.  Later that night I pin basted the sloper and tried it on.  Good thing, because it was so tight that I looked like a sausage bursting out of its skin.

After spending more hours tweaking my sloper I finally gave up.  I’m sorry to say I couldn’t “make it work” as Tim Gunn always says.   I sent my friend an email telling her of my dilemma hoping she would have all the answers to fix my problem.  Instead, she did something that was totally unexpected.  She told me the truth.  She said that I should have started with the right size pattern, not a Vikki sized one.  (Vikki is her daughter who probably wears a size 0).  So I swallowed my pride and neatly tucked my little Vikki pattern back into it’s Vikki envelope and stored it in my Vikki file for when I get back to my Vikki-sized self (not quite, but I’m determined to lose 15 lbs).  And since all my other patterns are Vikki patterns I had to trot myself back to JoAnn Fabrics to buy a larger sized pattern to start over from square one.

Lessons learned:  Read directions, start with the right pattern size, and have a friend handy in case you need an intervention.   To be continued…….

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