May 31, 2012

A Joyful (Duct tape) Form

Since you may have read in the last post that Rebecca wrapped herself in duct tape to make her dress form, I thought you might be interested in reading my friend's (Joy - from Joyful Expressions) post about her duct tape-dress-form-making-experience. I'm sure many of you have wondered what this is all about. I've never done it (I'm sure I'd be squished totally flat and I don't need any help in the Flat Department), but Joy's post...well, I just had a really good laugh!

Joyful Expressions My Christmas Present -- Michelina/Tina

A lot of my pictures of Michelina/Tina are on my other computer, so I can't let you laugh at those right now.  I have wanted a dress form for years, and I even purchased one a few months ago from Hancock's.  I bought the Medium size so I could unscrew it to be as fat as me.  I unscrewed all the knobs, but no way on earth could I get that thing to look like me.  It doesn't take into account shoulder slope, boob slope, high hip, sway back, high waist, prominent shoulder blades, round back, etc.  I decided to research the "do it yourself" dress form on you tube.  You make it by wrapping duct tape all around your body until you nearly suffocate, and then you cut it off -- well, your helper cuts it off.  My husband had heard my friend, Phylly, and I talk about it -- although I had no idea he was actually listening.

One day a few weeks ago, my husband came into my sewing/quilting studio and walked up to me and took my hands in his hands.  HOW SWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEET! 
He said he didn't know what to get me for Christmas.  He said he had been researching dress forms on the internet and you tube and told me he wanted to make me one for Christmas.  I tried not to drop over in a dead faint that he actually had not only heard me talk about a dress form but had RESEARCHED it!  Awesome!  I told him that was a GREAT idea. 

He went to the local hardware store and purchased 8 rolls of duct/duck tape.  He also decided that he was going to try his own system, so he purchased about 12 cans of insulation foam in the squirt cans.  You spray it into a hole/space/cavity and it expands.  He had determined that he would use the foam to make my boobs stay put because some of the makers on you tube had difficulty with the boobs staying stuffed with polyfill.

Sooooooooooo....last weekend, after church, Jerry came up to my studio with the tape and the spray in hand.  I decided I better find something to wear UNDER the tape.  Most wear a big tee shirt.  I didn't want to wear a big tee shirt because I'm already big enough!  I chose a Cudl Duds long sleeve top with a crew neck for my top and a tight leotard short for my bottom.  I wanted the upper part of my legs to be wrapped so I could use Tina for pants fitting also.  I'll let you know why that was a bad idea later. 

About the name:  Michelina/Tina.  When Jerry got me all wrapped up in the tape, and I looked in the mirror, my first thought was, "OMG, I look like the Michelin Tire Man!"  I decided to call her Michelina.  Later, when I showed the picture to my friend, Phylly, she said I looked like the Tin Man and should call her Tina.

-----------I'm back and it is several days later.  Life got busy all of a sudden.  Back to the duck tape dress form.  Below are pictures of the dress form AFTER it was cut up the back and removed from my body -- then thrown in the car for a trip to our other house 150 miles away -- then brought in out of the car and stuffing attempts begun.

Jerry had brought the insulation foam boobs and decided he would put them into the dress form first.  Only problem was, the dress form was all squished and funny looking.  Remember, Jerry decided to make the boobs out of insulation foam by filling my bra up with it.  Seemed logical.

The foam kept squirting out for hours.  I couldn't imagine that my body actually resembled these oddities.  Jerry opened Tina up and tried to put the boob blobs into Tina.  But, NO!  The cavities in the dress form and these foam boobs did not match at all.  The form was way too small.  We then decided that we should put the dress form back on my body and stretch it out.  Sounds simple, huh?  Check out the dress form..

May 29, 2012

Bodice Fits Like A Second Skin

I have completed my redrawing and cutting out out my new personal blueprint bodice pattern.  I am very excited about the fit.  I had some alterations to make and was unsure about how to go about making them.  But this weekend my husband and I wrapped me in duck tape and we made a personalized dress form which I have hung from a wooden hanger in my doorway.
I slipped my bodice on the form and it was easy to see the tune-ups that I need to make.  I pinned my changes on the form and then tried on the pinned bodice and it fit absolutely perfect - almost like a second skin.

My question is..........NOW WHAT DO I DO???  How do I translate my changes onto my personal pattern so I don't have to keep making these changes.

For example, I have made a correction at the top of the shoulder seam to correct for my sloping shoulders.  So now I have my bodice test pinned at the correction, but how to I translate that correction to my personal bodice pattern?

Rebecca, Fun (I hope) that you did a duct tape form. Sometimes, it's just easier to see the exact changes necessary when you are standing back objectively - as long as the form is EXACTLY your shape. 

First, it's best if I know the tune-ups/changes you needed to make.  but basically, as an example - if you had one shoulder sloping more than the other - and let's say you pinched out 1/2" at the shoulder point on the low side - then you would take off 1/2" at the shoulder point on the pattern.  But if you have an asymmetrical body - then that change would only be done on the low side of the pattern - meaning, you'd need to draw off both a right and left side bodice pattern.  This is just an example.  It would help me to know what changes you need to make to guide you as how to translate them onto the pattern.

Just remember, whatever you did on the muslin test, do exactly the same thing on the paper pattern. And then, once the changes are translated, then you use THAT body blueprint for all subsequent design changes.
P.S.  If your sloper (SFD body blueprint) really is fitting like a second skin, you may have reduced too much ease and created a moulage. See my post - 4/9/12 - What's a Sloper, Moulage or Body Blueprint?

P.P.S.S. - Rebecca has since sent photos.  First she over-measure (thinking she needed to) and it was obviously too big. And then to compensate, she under-measured.  As a result, the bodice did fit like a 'second skin' and is too tight.  There is no ease remaining for comfort and wearing room.  Please remember - accurate measuring is the first key to good fit.

May 23, 2012

Notches vs. Darts

Notches are not darts.  Boy did I ever get confused!  A customer emailed in for help.  In the process of our back and forth emails, she was describing to me her rounded back, the things she had done to her pattern, and that she thought it (the pattern) was too big in the back.  The front fit just fine and she liked the amount of ease it gave her.

She asked, ‘I’m 13 ½” in the back at the armscye dart.  How much ease should the pattern have in that area?’

I wrote back, ‘I’m confused.  The back bodice doesn’t have an armscye dart!’

She wrote back, ‘You know, I’m talking about the double dart on the back armscye.’

I was writing back that there was no double dart on the back armscye.  As I was proceeding with my response, and even more confused, all of a sudden the light came on.  You know how sometimes your brain goes into overdrive trying to figure something out?  I think she meant the double matching notches.  These double matching notches are always on the back armscye.  The front armscye has the single notch.  This has been an industry standard ever since I can remember.

Whew…I’m glad that one’s solved!  Using consistent terminology obviously really is important when communicating.  She was doing her best…I was trying to help.  I think we finally got it figured out.

Notches are for matching one seam to another.  Darts are triangular folds in the fabric designed to shape the fabric to the hills and valleys of your body shape.

Here’s a video on how to establish matching notches when drawing your armholes and sleeve pattern.

May 14, 2012

Dress Kit Bodice Tune-up

Neckline gaps and slight sag lines on upper chest above the bust.
Vertical sag lines forming a pleat material fold at each side of the bust.
Upper back above the back darts forms a soft slightly billowing pillow.
Under arm seam gaps from underarm to bottom of bust dart.

Proposed Fixes:
Raise front shoulder seam 1 meter same seam line
Raise back shoulder seam 1 meter same seam line
Take in side seam from underarm hole to 7" below underarm hole in a curve front and back
When I pinned this shoulder seams fit perfectly, neckline lays even and flat and side vertical pleat disappears and back pillow poof is gone.

What do you think of these changes...especially the underarm side seam instead of a straight line it becomes a curve??

Rebecca, With the issues you're describing, it almost sounds like the entire bodice is slightly too big.  You haven't told me what your bust circumference measurement is - but would it make sense to bring the entire measurement down 1/2 dot or one entire dot?  That would make the neck line smaller and likely get rid of the vertical drag lines on either side of bust and upper chest and reduce ease on that underarm seam from underarm pt 2 to top of bust dart.

I'm not sure what you mean by raising the front and back shoulder 1 METER same seam line.  What is a METER?  Do you mean 1 dot?  But whatever it means, if the bodice now fits perfectly and eliminates the issues you've listed - then by all means - do it.

What shape of side seam curve - in or out?  I would imagine an inward curve - thus removing ease and the fullness above the back dart would disappear.  And sure, if you need to curve the side seam for the best fit, then by all means you can do this.  It may affect some future design changes - it would likely depend on the style you want.

May 11, 2012

Flattering French Darts

Joy shares with us another Dress Kit blouse variation.  She's designed a scooped neckline, 3/4 sleeves with a turned up hem.  She comments, 'I really like this style.  I made it twice.  The darts have been moved to French darts down into the slower side seam.  Any time there are darts, you know it is from the Sure-Fit Dress Kit.'

This is a perfect time to share with you a recent video on Perfecting the Cutting Line for a Dart once you've moved/transferred it to a new location.

May 8, 2012

My Test of the Dress Kit Bodice

When I put my bodice test muslin on, I noticed there was a vertical sagging fold from the side of my bust to my armhole and a little too much fabric sitting on my chest above my bust. I proposed to fix these issues by dropping the shoulder seam 1/4"  and taking in the side seam by about an 1". But when I communicated this to Glenda, she commented that it sounded like I need to step down 1 or 2 dots (measurements) in my personal pattern.  This was very helpful because when I measured the change in the shoulder seam it would take me down from a 49" dot to a 48" dot, which would account for the vertical fold of excess fabric.  And when I measured my change on the side seam it would take me from my mistaken 50" dot to a 47" dot.

What I like about this is that I didn't have to just make an alteration on a garment that I sewed from a traditional pattern, but I am easily able to perfect my personal blueprint pattern by accurately drawing my tune-up right on my pattern and simply erase my mistakes.

What I love about this is that......yes once again I made a silly marking mistake due to measuring myself with too large of a measurement and the Sure-Fit Design system always holds up as the true fit.  Whatever you measure is what it gives you.  Lesson learned - be pretty darn careful in your measuring!

Thank you Glenda for your patience...a real friend is one who when you've made a silly error, doesn't make you feel like it's permanent.