Have you ever sewn something fitted for someone whose body you did not have access to for fitting purposes?
That's where I find myself at the moment, about to cut into a precious small amount of irreplaceable (if hideous) fabric for that bridesmaid dress my sister needs.
To remind you, this is the pattern I've modified to suit her dimensions:
Here's the thing, I got ever conceivable measurement from my sister. Nipple to nipple span, check. Height of bust apex, check. Side seam to nipple, check. Width and length of everything, check.
But as we know, in sewing, the end is not merely the sum of mathy parts.
I haven't yet cracked the code to make a woven princess bodice for myself. It seems grandiose to imagine I'll be able to do it for someone else, in another country, even if that someone else has a bust measurement in the realm of the original pattern dimensions (concurrent with her upper bust size).
The thing about princess seams is that they have to fall in the right spot. If you're fairly straight, you won't diverge much from the pattern-drafter's original schematic. But when you have curves - and my sister, while not outrageously bust-curvy has an interesting array of shape considerations in the bodice due to a proportionately wide back - then you're best served by trying and altering (as many times as it takes). Guess who doesn't have that luxury?
Look, no point in having cut paralysis. This dress has to get made and go back to America asap. If it doesn't fit well, too bad. Allison already made the choice to trust my version* of this dress over the one she received from an Etsy dressmaker who made a dress style other than the one my sister ordered, with inappropriate lines (in light of the measurements the dressmaker had originally requested). Those measurements weren't suitable for an empire-waisted, gathered skirt, high v neck made of freakin' quilting cotton. And not even the good kind. You can only imagine how horrid that end result was, if I'm willing to a) sew for someone other than me who b) isn't on hand to fit and c) to use a fabric that offends my every sensibility. Note: I like quilting cotton just fine - for baby dresses and, um, quilts.
I'm not naive. Good will does not a fitted garment make. Even the kind of good will supported by numerous measurements reflected (sewing goddess willing, accurately) in an altered paper pattern. If this does not succeed, it will not be for lack of effort on my part. I've spent hours debating the numbers, purchased a pattern, modified the pattern, resuscitated half of the pre-existing dress by painstakingly picking out seams. I haven't even started making the thing, which as we know, with my pace, is bound to take the full weekend. Mind you, if it doesn't succeed, effort won't matter. It'll still be a half-assed looking dress. And let's face it, it's not starting on a high note.
So, I'm hoping for a bit of providence. I would be so grateful for a gentle breeze of sewing kismet.
As my classic rock partners in craft so often remind me: You can't always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need.
*This is sister-lingo for: she begged me relentlessly until I couldn't possibly say no without being the worst human being on the planet.