January 18, 2013

Over-Estimation and Frustration

After at least 3 hours yesterday working on my Tiramisu, I have nothing to show.

I suppose I could post a photo of my abandoned muslins, but you can imagine a small pile of green fabric topped with some pieces of white-and-red stripe, both with lots of loose threads, right?

It'll have to do, since I don't have the guts to post pictures of myself in ill-fitting muslins.

Man, this has been frustrating. I've long thought of myself as a fairly solid intermediate when it comes to sewing. I've now come to the realization that drawstring bags, phone cozies, tangle pockets, and piles of quilts are not clothes. Shirts for Ian and clothes for Caitlyn are not wearable by me.

See, I've made a rubbed-off shirt for myself. It has no shaping beyond what the knit fabric provides. I've made several long, full skirts; two are elastic/drawstring at the waist and, one, if I'm going to be honest with myself, could stand to be taken in quite a bit. Beyond these, I haven't sewn clothes for me since, what, middle school? Certainly nothing that has curves.

Starting my Wardrobe Improvement Project with the Tiramisu may have been biting off a bit much. Bias cut, knit, semi-fitted in effect if not in actuality.

Don't get me wrong. I don't think the problem here is the pattern. And StephC has been more than generous with her time and knowledge over at the sewalong. This is all about me assuming that I knew more than I did, both about sewing clothes and about what fits me.

In case anyone is interested in the details:
For the green muslin, I started with size 35B for the bodice. As I mentioned earlier, I think that "B" was my first mistake. I moved the center so the overlap in the bodice was tighter, took inches off the sides, moved the midriff up, and raised (lowered?) the shoulder seams. After taking off so much, I cut a new bodice with size 35A. I'm pretty sure this is where I should have started, if I'd understood the guidelines for choosing A's vs. B's correctly.

The new size was better, but not right yet. The midriff seam was too low. So I pulled out the basting stitches, trimmed a half-inch off the bottom of the bodice and re-sewed the seam. It still seemed too big, with the shoulder seams slipping just a bit toward the back. So now I'm trying the 30D and crossing my fingers that there's enough ease in the pattern and my fabric that this will work, despite the finished bust measurement (according to the pattern piece) being two inches smaller than I am. Of course, I'm working with bits and pieces of fabric from my "knits" drawer, and what I'm using now is a slightly different weight than the green I started with or the burgundy I hope to finish with.

The good news here is that I'm learning things. Like the importance of having muslin-able fabric on hand. That I shouldn't start muslining thinking that I'll end up with a "bonus" wearable muslin. And that fit is trickier than I thought. With any luck, though, when I'm done, I'll know how to make all the Tiramisus I might want without any fuss, and I'll have some making-things-fit ideas I can translate to other patterns/projects.

Right now, though, I'm just frustrated.


  1. Oh Christina, I can feel with you. That's exactly the reason I never started to sew any clothes for me. I definitely have not a "standard" body and would be forced to make many alterations. However, if I ever were to attempt such a project, I would consult Lier's great drafting and alteration tutorials (see the links in the left collum) of http://www.ikatbag.com/ .
    Maybe you can find some help there.
    I send some postive chocolate energy to you!

    1. Jenny, thanks for the positive chocolate energy! I'm sure I'll need all you can spare. And thanks for the link to Lier's site. Good stuff, there!

  2. I feel the same! And I'm so slow! But if you are shy to post your muslin photo, maybe you could ask StephC if you could email it to her! I'm sure she will be able to help you ; she is used to teach to people brand new to sewing and you already have more knowledge than that! You could beat it! :D

    1. Thanks for the nudge to email StephC. I was thinking that since the sewalong was done and I didn't keep up, I'd missed my opportunity. It's good to be reminded that it doesn't hurt to ask. I'm going to cross my fingers that now that I might have a "safety net", so to speak, I won't need it!

  3. Fiona M12:15 AM

    Ah, Christina, I feel your pain, I really do. I cut out a 40D bodice according to my measurements. By rights it should have neen a bit on the snug side, but in reality, it came out a mile too big! I think next time I will start with a smaller size, probably a 40A or B.
    I do plan to finish the dress today and post a photo, although I don't think I will ever be completely happy with the fit of this first version.

    1. It's a relief to hear that it's not just me cutting out sizes that should fit according to the measurements and finding that they don't! In my case, maybe it's because I'm so close to the threshold between sizes... I rounded up to start and it looks like I should have rounded down. I think I've made some progress, but the measurements on the pattern pieces I'm using shouldn't fit me at all.