Tuesday, December 27, 2011

FBA Continued...

Today has been an interesting day. I was derailed by all the things I meant to do by lots of things I imagined I might do someday - namely the construction of a croquis.

This sketch of oneself is becoming quite popular, all of a sudden, it would seem. In the last couple of weeks I've read no fewer than 5 accounts of how to, and why and what. In truth, my husband has been doing the heavy lifting on the project. He's already spent a few hours trying to create a vector diagram from a photo of me, using Inkscape. The reason our aim is to do this, rather than hand sketching a close-cropped picture, is that the end result will be scalable. (Also, it's kind of cool to create an image the likes of which one sees assembled on high-tech computers in action films; you know, like when they're trying to create a composite of the bad guy.)

Why spend the time and effort? Really, why not? At the end, I'll have a customized me-shaped sketch onto which I can draw fun designs that will suit my particular shape. Why should I consider my next outfit in relation to a figure that's 5'8", long-waisted and boob-free? I hope that this will be the next step on my journey of self-taught fashion design.

If the dress form fiasco hadn't already cured me of vanity, lord knows, this little project would achieve that objective in a flash. I have become so comfortable with body as an object, it's bizarre. More and more, I am pointedly aware of my every asymmetry, of convexity and concavity as it applies to me. Now I just find it all technically interesting. Sort of like doing an FBA...

Apropos of that, I've completed the Sherry-prescribed version of the Ruby Slip FBA and compared it to the one I attempted last week. Both versions add 1.5 inches to the original pattern bust dimensions. The one I "developed", for whatever reason, feels like the right one to cut first. (Fortunately I have enough fabric to try both versions, if required.)

Both FBA-altered paper pattern pieces are very similar in the side back piece. However, my version of the front piece is, intriguingly, wider all over, and specifically by 1 inch at the under bust vs. Sherry's. I didn't realize that till I compared the two of them today. So glad that Sherry reminds sew-alongers to increase the under bust dimensions an equivalent amount to any increase in bust width.

As such, I added 1 inch to either side of the front skirt and tapered to the waist notches. (I didn't defray the total 2-inch amount over the entire size of the skirt i.e. front and back, because I really do want the increase at the front.) The front bust piece is longer in Sherry's FBA version, and overall it is quite a bit slimmer. I have a full upper bust so I sense I need more width at the top of the piece. It just doesn't look like the Sherry-version, as it stands currently, is going to provide the volume I need, despite the addition of width at the side of the front piece where it meets the side back piece.

Man, if you don't sew - hell, if you don't adjust for a full bust - that paragraph must have been totally painful.

I really have no idea of how this is all going to play out. That's the fun and anxiety of sewing. This may be the best thing I've ever figured out on my own, or it might be a mere stepping stone to the next version. Potentially a frustrating one.

Nonetheless, I will keep on.

Today I've also cut the Ginger skirt, version 2 and pulled out the pattern and fabric to make another pair of Clovers. I'm so tempted to alter them into culottes, I just don't know if I'll be able to stop myself.

Any thoughts on croquis? Have you done one? Has anyone done an FBA on the Ruby Slip yet? Thoughts about Clovers or Gingers you haven't had a chance to chat about yet? Please let's talk!


  1. I'm fascinated and will follow the process, but I have absolutely no interest in ever doing this for myself, even were I to get back into sewing. I see unquestionable value here for a serious sewer, but I know I just don't have the necessary attributes -- perfectionist tendencies, patience. . .

  2. I did the croquis thing, but I'm not sure how it will work for me, since I have no idea how to use Inkscape or any of those things. You've probably seen my attempts at drawing using the mouse (scary), and I haven't posted about the ones I've tried to draw by hand (not much better). However, here in the next month, I should have a little tablet computer to do the drawing on. Assuming they ever get back in stock, of course. ;-)

    I will be interested to see how your FBA compares to hers. I'm still learning how to do it, especially the part about how much to add.

  3. The croquis concept sounds interesting but haven't thought of doing one…yet! FBAs are alient to me so that paragraph was not painfull but sounded complicated.

    I made my seconf pair of clovers this last weekend and have only to hem them. Unfortunatelly the fabric let me down. It was the only animal print strecth I could find suitable for pants but I bought online so no chance to analyse beforehand. The stretch doesn't return to shape very well. Wearable though :) I think culotte clovers would rock ;)

  4. I don't do a FBA but I found the paragraph interesting, from a technical standpoint, since I DO do other alterations. The principles are relatively similar, and I think everybody does slightly different adjustments depending on where they carry their particular curves.

    I am considering doing a croquis, not so much for the trying on of styles but for matching pieces. I have trouble matching tops to bottoms -- no idea what should go together or why. However, I think photographing myself wearing clothes I already have in my wardrobe would work just as well. Maybe better?

  5. Hmmm. I haven't really thought about using a croquis. I guess, at this point, it's one of those things that is on the list of things to do when I dwell in that fantasy land where I have unlimited sewing time. Right now, it would be one more thing keeping me from actually sewing. And I do pretty well with picking patterns that flatter my figure, which I think is the point, yes?

  6. I made a croquis when i was heavier and may do a new one. I've been intrigued by Inkscape but haven't had time to master it enough to attempt what you are doing.

    Although I can pick patterns that fit my figure I found the croquis most useful in helping to visualize how to adapt silhouettes from fashion to real- life me.

    I enjoy reading about the process and the thought process. I wonder if it was reading that just before bed that had me dreaming about clothing design, style,sewing and knitting all night as well as dressing different people. I won't be able to sew for at least another month or two but something is waking up.

  7. F: Having spent a whack of time on it already, I have to say it's only for those who really care. I wanted to hurl my computer across the room yesterday. Of course, doesn't help that I am completely unfamiliar vector drawing software of all kinds.

    CGC: Can't wait to hear about your new computer when it arrives! I saw your croquis(es?). Def, the one I'm labouring over is more "computery" but I can't say it's going much more smoothly at this point :-) I have no working knowledge of the software, fyi. I'm just making it up - and not particularly well, at that.

    Suzy: I hate it when the fabric doesn't cooperate. Although, I'm sure they'll look great on you as everything does! I am really tempted to do the culottes but I'm also making a ginger skirt (have you done one of those?) so wouldn't that be a bit on the skirt-end of things - esp. in dead of winter?

    LSCG: OK, I have to agree that just matching up clothes sounds like a very good solution. :-) But c'mon, it doesn't take 30 hours on a computer program you don't know! I really hope the croquis will be like tech-y paper dolls.

    Clio: Very good point, which is why I haven't made one till now. But I have a week off and I'm crazy. So I'm doing the croquis in my off time and sewing the rest of the time.

    Mardel: That's just what I'm hoping from it too. I know nice clothing (IMO), I know what colour palette I want. I understand drape and hand. But how will that trend look on my shape?

  8. I have been toying with the idea of a true croquis as opposed to the ones available out there. Especially if I can use it on my iPad. This 50 something body is what is stopping my- that and my vanity!

  9. I've tried to make a croquis one and I will try again now that I know a little more about photography and lighting. I really this a croquis will help me figure out what looks best on my body. I really hate trying on clothing and this is a really good alternative.

  10. Fascinating to think a croquis might help "test" the fit and drape of a design. I sort of had that in mind in creating those sketches of myself on my blog, but ultimately didn't find it helpful as a guide for testing ideas in 2D, but it was useful as further evidence of what is going on with my shape.

  11. Connie: Vanity really is an amazing thing. And I know a thing or 2 about it :-) I think you can use your iPad. I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to do this. My husband has an electronic tablet which, I hope will be compatible with my other computer stuff.

    Carla: Oh yeah, if you hate trying stuff on, this is a great solution. But I kind of think we need a 3D one to get the most value out of it :-)

    Susan: You were the pioneer with this! I have to go back and reread those posts.