Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Tailored Suit: Muslin Sizing Update - Subject to Change

OK, I did some more pattern measuring. This time the areas were:
  • Shoulder seams
  • Upper chest (again, approximated on the basis of where I presume the full bust on the pattern falls - I measured up 4 inches from there...)

I won't bore you with the numerous factors I considered this time. Point is, I really don't know if I'm measuring these things the right way and, sewing goddess help me, if I don't factor in the right number of seam allowances (it's surprisingly easy to forget a few) or measure from the right spot.

I even compared the measurements I recorded in this exercise against similar measurements on a blazer that fits me perfectly (although weirdly, it seems to have princess seams in the back only, and darts in the front). The feedback is totally not aligning. I mean, even if I cut the 8 in the suit jacket, the measurement comparisons don't come close.

Gertie responded to my Craftsy comment query about upper bust sizing for a size 6 and a size 8 (remember that I wasn't even considering a 4 at that point) with this response: "What about using a smaller size with a full bust adjustment".

Interesting side note: I've had the pleasure of meeting Gertie so she knows what my real life body looks like (not that she would remember it or answer my question with that in mind, but still, I like to think she was endorsing the 6 :-)) Equally interesting, I know what her real life body looks like. Given that she's designed this pattern to fit herself perfectly, as she says, and given that she's a size 8, I'm really betting I'm a 6 with a full bust adjustment. She has broader shoulders and a slightly larger frame than me, but also smaller bust.

So here's what I'm going to do - unless I change my mind:

  • Cut the paper pattern in a size 6.
  • Muslin it without making any adjustments.
  • Pay attention to the likelihood that I'll need to revise the pattern to add (given that I'm going to keep the seam allowances at 5/8", ok, Taran? :-)), a 2" - 2.5" FBA. Making the unaltered size 6 will allow me to know how much I actually have to FBA. In the past I've always overdone it - and I've never done a larger FBA than 1.5". In truth, I may have neglected to consider that the increase has to be averaged over a certain number of seams which impact both sides of the body. I might have made my 1.5" FBA a 3" FBA by mistake. Hmmm. Food for thought.
  • If the shoulders are too large, I can always cut the size 6 paper pattern down to a 4, before I do the anticipated FBA.
  • Note that it will be very strange if I don't have to remove at least an inch of length in the waist because my waist is short.
  • I guess there's a chance in hell it will fit me right off the bat. I mean, it happened to Erika.

To those of you who think I'm an over-analytical, wheel-spinning nut-case: I concur.


  1. Well, seeing as I just massively over-analyzed a loose-fitting knit top, I am not going to critique!

    ... also, I'm very relieved you're going to keep your seam lines. Feel free to trim down the pattern so you have 1cm seam allowances---I like them better, too (except in very thick coating). I dunno, usually I'm pretty cool with winging and fudging, but messing with seam-lines scares me.

    I suspect starting with a 6 for the muslin is a pretty good idea. And I've been over-thinking right along with you :)

  2. We're in very good company, yes?

  3. You have a friend in the over-analyzing department. I manage to keep a lot of it to myself but if only one saw all the notes I take on just about everything I do. (I'm the person who who spent about 40 hours learning php code, just because.)

    As someone who frequently needs an sba I find picking sizes hard, too. So many patterns don't include upper bust or chest size. Very interesting that this pattern started with her shaping. It helps to see the real body! Then I'd know how to radiate out from there. I've often wondered who is the person being fitted for the first pattern before grading. (Like, it'd be helpful to see Colette's fit model so I could get a clue about why their tops don't fit me.)

    1. I love me the overthinkers! You should show us those notes :-) It occurred to me as I've been planning this - for the first time, I might add - that an SBA must be as annoying to do as an FBA, and just as non-negotiable to ensure good fit. For some reason, we hard-done-by girls with boobs feel that y'all with the more modest endowment have all the luck when it comes to fitting and wearing clothes. I say, if you're going to make something to fit your body perfectly, the likelihood that lots of "body shape challenges" will apply.

      I think Sarai is the fit model, to be truthful. She's not slight, and her patterns fit for an ample back and breasts. Given the proportions they design for, I don't need to do an FBA. I can imagine, slender, small breasted women have a bitch of a time fitting those patterns. Not that they aren't worth the effort :-)