Friday, April 6, 2012

The Tailored Suit: People, I'm on Muslin 7.

I can't not talk about this. Trust me, I considered it, but the story is too good.

A while back, one of this blog's readers - a sewist - contacted me to suggest that we meet for coffee. Let's call her S. S recently moved to Toronto. She has been reading for a while (but isn't a blogger). She's a delightful person who makes lovely clothing and she's passionate about fit!

At any rate, she must have felt my blood pressure through the internet and she (incredibly kindly) offered to come and help me with the jacket today.

Man, what a gift! I cannot tell you what an awesome and instructional experience it has been.

We worked for about 5 hours - which flew by - and at the end of it I have another muslin. It's not a perfect muslin. There are still more kinks to work out, believe it or not.

Let's just say, at this point, I might as well have drafted this jacket myself.

Some fascinating things I learned:
  • My upper bust tapers to the size 4 in this pattern. My full bust probably correlates with a size 10 - but only very briefly. We actually ended up doing an SBA (small bust adjustment) on my TBA (targeted bust adjustment) above the full part of my bust. Hilarious! (Fortunately S is all too familiar with that adjustment.) It was nice to learn that someone else concurs that my boobs are very hard to fit. The size differential between them and everything else - is really challenging. I know, cry for me.
  • The side front pattern piece is marked erroneously. Either that, or it's badly drafted. My previously determined, one inch tapering of that piece is non-negotiable - no matter how I put things together. S noted that almost immediately. And I made her look at all of my cut lines to ensure I hadn't made a mistake. The error is not mine this time.
  • Nonetheless, I may not need to redraft the armscye - the problem is only in one spot on the side front - and the length added to the armscye by the alteration is supported already by the original length of the front sleeve cap. It remains to be seen if it will be required, but I'm committed to that alteration too, if it comes to it.
  • The back is looking good - but with room still for sleeve insertion. Tomorrow I'll fit the sleeves in again and determine what's next.

Note: We did work with shoulder pads.

I'm sort of in an altered state at this point. I can no longer manage to work up the will for a quick conclusion. I just want to get it as right as possible before I make the real jacket. I'm sorry to keep on about this but, undoubtedly, this is the most challenging sewing experience I've had to date. I don't want to deal with anything harder until I forget this - and I'm wearing a suit jacket of such fantasticness that people stop me on the street to ask where I bought it.

Let's just say I only hope I can return this favour with as much skill and patience as has been shown to me.

28 comments:

  1. I don't think I'm alone in that I find this fascinating. Glad you got the experienced help that you needed. It's inspirational to me, so please carry on...

    Ruth

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  2. That truly was an amazing gift! I'm so glad it's starting to come together for you!

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  3. Wow! The power of blogging, no?! What a gift, and how cool that you were able to work together so that you could validate your intuition that the pattern is a huge part of the problem.
    I cannot believe your ability to persevere. I would have slid of this learning curve soooo long ago! I do hope you ended the day with a rewarding glass of wine. . .

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    1. I've been hanging by my fingertips, seriously. We actually drank while we worked. Trust me, it was necessary.

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  4. What a kind lady and unbelievable that she appeared at this point like a sewing fairy godmother! I think she's given you a bit more confidence going forward.

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    1. She was like a sewing fairy godmother!

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  5. Wow, this has been quite the arduous experience but great news you got a fresh pair of eyes and extra help with the fit. You will be beyond proud with your beautifully fitting jacket.

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  6. I am so glad you had a good friend to help you! Fitting is always easier with some helping hands and another set of eyes. When you do get the muslin right, all your work will be worth it. One word of caution before you start all the hours of work that will go into your tailored suit. Please have your wool fabric steamed by a dry cleaner to get out any shrinkage before cutting your pattern pieces. And by all means, preshrink your interfacings!!!! In my tailoring class at school, I also spent hours making a suit that fit me perfectly. After I finished it, I wore it once and then took it to the dry cleaners. I had not preshrunk my interfacing and, you guessed it...horrors. The lapels, collar and front opening edges of my jacket were bubbled and beyond repair because the interfacing shrank. I was heartbroken!

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    1. Excellent advice. I have already done all of this - but it bears repeating. Thank you for this advice!

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  7. What a bloody lovely woman.
    I always enjoy reading your blog, especially the in-depth posts about the sewing issues and how you tackle them, plus you normally make me laugh! Your tenacity is something I could only dream of ever achieving, it's very inspirational...plus I reckon the jacket is bound to end up looking pretty fucking great after all this!

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    1. She totally is! And thank you for your lovely comment. I often wonder if my in-depth posts are totally unintelligible :-)

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  8. Having a 'fit buddy' makes a world of difference, doesn't it? I'm very sorry to hear that the pattern has a drafting problem. That is incredibly frustrating. Do let the pattern's drafter know about it. I'm sure she would want to fix it.

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    1. I hear you - and I will definitely send an email once I get this thing together - I need to see the full project completed but I am keeping notes.

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  9. I've been following your journey and feel your frustration. I am also of the tribe of big-busted women--shoulders about a 4, bust about a 16. Cheers to you for soldiering on, and bless you friend for helping you. Can't wait to see the final result!

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    1. Thanks so much! I think I may be closer to the 12 at the full bust. Man, that's a lot of curve to ease :-)

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  10. What an amazing fit friend! I'm so glad you feel like you're on the right track with this. It's going to be staggeringly fabulous when you finish it!!! And this gives me a boost to really buckle down and keep working on my own jacket until it is perfect!

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    1. I know! Clio, it's a very dark place to be when working on these challenging fit issues. I don't know what to say except keep on. We can do it! (It's our collective responsibility (as home sewist bloggers) to keep the art of fitting alive. Or so I tell myself when I need a shot in the arm.

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  11. Your extreme patience and perserverance can only lead to a fantastic end product. I am in awe of your persistence with this, I would have been a puddle of tears by now I think.

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    1. Sera: I have been a puddle of tears frequently during this fitting. Really.

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  12. Wow, so lucky to have some help :) You are doing what I'm doing at the moment, but times everything by 10, haha. I feel like I have no right to complain when I see what you're doing! You'll be there soon :)

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    1. J: All of the fitting challenges - on so many projects - take time and (developing) skill to resolve. This project just pulls out every fitting problem I can imagine all at once. :-) I wish I could enjoy what I'm learning in any one area without having to consider it's impact on every other area (which also needs adjusting). I think that's what makes it so intense. But we're all just making one alteration at a time. You're learning so many new things all at once and applying your new skills incredibly well. Can't wait to see how your Miette comes together. You couldn't have a better teacher and helper than Gail.

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  13. Crikey...you have the patience of a saint! I would have thrown in the towel and resorted to more than one drink by now. What a blessing an extra pair of experienced hands can be.
    I do think this will be worth it in the long run. Not only have you (and us readers) learned from this process, but your jacket will be absolutely amazing!
    Hang in there!

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    1. It's amazing how far you can go with help. I hope that this jacket will turn out well...

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  14. Wow, good for you! I think I would have handed that jacket muslin over to my rats to shred into nesting material long since! Bless your "fitting friend"-having a "sewing buddy" to help you fit makes ALL THE DIFFERENCE between "fit" and "fits!" (as in "having them")

    Do you have a personal sloper? That is to say, a pattern made up to your exact measurements with NO ease at all? (It's like your body "in the flat" (as opposed to 'in the round")I'd say, if you got the services of a "fitting buddy" like you do, this would be a GOOD TIME to have her help you make one up; she obviously knows how to take measurements properly (a VERY crucial skill for this) Vogue used to have a sloper pattern available commercially. Having a personal bodice sloper would probably save you a LOT of sewing headaches if you are "hard to fit".

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  15. OK, if I had rats, I would have done that!

    I have a sloper for a couple of things - basic pants crotch curve, A line skirt - but not the full set sloper I need. I do have one of those Big 4 fitting patterns that I should work on. Maybe I'll ask S if that appeals to her! We can do fitting slopers.

    BTW, I'm starting to think everyone is hard to fit! :-)

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