Wednesday, June 4, 2014

On Top of the Top?

OK, I'm getting somewhere with the Rosie Top. I almost qualified that. I'm the kind of girl who likes qualifiers. But I decided to go confidently. I mean, if nothing else, 6 muslins should buy one a little confidence, no?

I spent a couple of hours on the weekend (all the time in the universe I seem to have these days) making another muslin. A real muslin. Like the kind that only includes the bodice. The kind where you accidentally sew on seam inside out but it doesn't matter cuz you're just going for fit and you're going to rip out that seam anyway. I didn't want to take this route, but I knew in my gut it was the smart way to proceed. In the final analysis, I'm really glad I listened to my intuitive (if irritating) self, cuz the fit wasn't there.

Mind you, it was close.

The only thing I had to fix this go around was an excess length of fabric at the under bust. There was a section of about 3 vertical inches that was way too large. I think I shaved an inch of width off the under bust seam, in total, evenly from both sides of the "princess" seam. I know I just wrote about the need for me to remove fabric from the front piece only, but I've have altered this many times and added and removed fabric as many times as there are muslins. Furthermore, this seam is an inverse princess seam. My goal, in the end, was to keep the seam aligned with the bust. My fix does that.

The crazy thing about this pattern, as evidenced by photo (below), is that - given my short waist and proportionately projected bust - there are only about 2 inches of vertical ground between bust apex and the high-natural waist seam aka the base of the top (where the peplum begins):

The centre top piece is the side front bodice. The little bump out is the bust apex. Is that not the weirdest thing?
 Look, I'm fine with being short-waisted, but that's just crazy, even by my standards. It would appear that, because of the way the seams run on the front of the top, you can pretty well throw out all of the images you have in your mind about where things should, theoretically, stop and start.

Weird fact: This 5-piece, cut-on sleeve top is surprisingly tricky to alter.

But let's get back to confidence. The Hepworth Dress, which mysteriously taught me how to alter a standard-issue armscye princess seam to fit my body well, has (perhaps less mysteriously) also taught me lots about how I need to view bust fitting on all closely fitted woven garments.

OK, I'm not going for hubris here. I have much to learn about the fitted woven bodice as it pertains to my specific body, but I have made many strides of late.

Here's my point - and I'm talking to my future self here: Keep on. Even when you meet seemingly-endless disaster, keep on. Even when your fingers hurt from picking out stitches (and you still have to throw the thing in the bin), keep on. When you're motivated by the gorgeous end product of someone else, use the impulse and keep on. When you go through 6 yards of muslin fabric and you have to wait till more arrives (be grateful for the reprieve and) keep on.

Right this minute, there's likely some element of sewing that completely eludes you. I empathize. But I am absolutely certain that, in the absence of utter tenacity, non of us will prevail.

(And feel free to remind me of this if my next version doesn't work.*)

*Should that occur, this thing is totally pyre fodder.


  1. OMG. I would have given up after muslin 4!

  2. The biggest thing I've learned about fitting a woven bodice is not to be scared to distort the original shape of the pieces. Because if I'm going for truly fitted, I'm not going to get there without changing that. My body simply doesn't fit a mold.

    And it is surprisingly tricky to change things about patterns, it seems like something you feel should be a straightforward change screws up something completely unrelated in a way that makes your (or at least *my*) head hurt. That said, I think there's a reason why there are so many different ways to fit the bust for those of us who are "well endowed". Glad it sounds like you are getting somewhere, hopefully, it comes together this time. :-)

    1. That is such a smart observation B. I'm going to meditate on that. Because I do feel nervous about making something that looks SO different from the original.

  3. Your patience for fitting and perfecting a pattern truly boggles me. Well, it impresses me as I just can't be bothered! This is of course helped by the fact that these days, I like my clothing with a lot of ease!

    1. I am truly stubborn in this respect :-) And I should embrace a bit more ease...

  4. Catching up on blog reading. Want to know, so badly, how you made out with this!!

    1. Well, it's not there yet. But we'll talk.