Thursday, 29 July 2010


Macaron madness. No, seriously. Madness.

I diligently worked on my Macaron bodice muslin last night. I'm not so hot at making 'muslins'. The closest I can come is to use fabric I don't OMG love but won't mind losing from my stash if it's a wadder. But I'm always thinking 'This one's going to work out so I should use normal fabric!' You know, because someone sedated me when I wasn't paying attention and performed extensive plastic surgery so my body is likely to fit into anything without a bajillion adjustments.

So here's the muslin sewn up exactly as I was told to do.

You know what? This picture doesn't actually make it look too bad. The reality is, if I was to say it made me look like a brick sh*thouse, that'd be unfair to brick sh*thouses. A huge pool of excess fabric under the bust, major arm gappage and a waistband that didn't hit at the smallest point. I went to bed (though not to sleep), in a major funk.

I wondered this morning if I could use any of the insight from Fit For Real People to try to salvage the bodice. First, I tried to address the arm gap. My doppelganger is wearing my bra, so I could feel that the curvy spotty piece was falling well below my cup line. This doesn't surprise me because I have a freakishly short torso and my breasts pretty much start at my collar-bones. By making a horizontal half inch tuck all the way across the upper chest, I lifted not only the spotty bit, but also the waistband, and it addressed some of the gap at the armhole. But not all of it, I also had to shave the side seam of just the front bodice at the armpit so that it pulled some of the excess taut.

And then the extra pooling under bust. There were fairly substantial underbust darts already, so I didn't want to increase their size (lest it get too pointy), and neither did I want to mess with the darts in the side seam. So I pinned a slightly shorter dart adjacent to each existing dart (placement closer to CF) and the excess under bust was much improved. To fit the slightly smaller underbust width of the bodice, I also had to tuck the waistband to fit.

After these adjustments were made, I didn't like the way the waistband was hanging (dipping down) so I tucked up the bodice at centre front so it sat more horizontally. I'm not sure if this is one change too much (or even two or three!)? Please tell me if you think so...

Spin doppelganger around and this is what's going on at the back:

Pure horror really, but actually not that hard to fix. I did the same half inch horizontal tuck across the width and it sits much better. Good thing I have puny pencil arms so I don't have to make the armholes bigger elsewhere.

So there you go then. An ambitious non-muslin that is now very much a muslin because it'll need to be completely re-cut and re-worked.

I have to say, I'm finding the process of sewing for myself very hard. If anything, it's actually hurting my body image. If I try something on in the shop and it doesn't fit, I don't buy it. But using my materials (therefore money) and my time to make something that doesn't fit is pretty soul destroying and it's making me dislike my pesky body shape even more. So, my sewing friends, does it get easier? If I keep calm and carry on will I start to know my body so well I can make adjustments before it even gets to muslin stage? Also, tales of how much it's worth it would be appreciated...


  1. You'll definitely get the hang of fitting yourself with time and practice. I too have a freakishly short upper body and take tucks out of the backs of just about everything I've ever made. Every so often I make a pre-tucked bodice without an FBA and the waist curve I can practically draw in my sleep and find I don't need one of those adjustments, but it's rare, and oddly pleasing.

    I know it seems depressing at first to realise exactly how many bits of you are non-standard but getting the hang of fitting around them is 100% worth it. Having clothes that really fit you and flatter your body (which is cracking and unique, young lady, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise) is such an ego boost. I've pretty much given up buying RTW in anything other than stretch fabric as my awareness of fit issues just makes shop clothes feel awful.

    As for muslins, get some genuine muslin or very cheap cotton. It's less depressing to have to make a few attempts if you're using fabric you'd never ever wear that cost £1.50 a metre. Ikea sell it by the bolt, I'm told.

  2. fabricland sell really cheap plain white cotton. I keep meaning to get some as I'm going to have to make major changes to anything I sew for me. Which is why I haven't done any major sewing for me yet.

    But I think I see it slightly differently - I *know* I'm going to have to make changes, regular clothes don't fit very well at all and I need stuff to wear which is why I want to sew my own clothing. If I'm going to invest time and money in making my own clothing, it's got to fit better than stuff I can buy ready made otherwise there's no point.

    My reward for all the alteration (large bust, sway back, crooked shoulder and whatever damage my dodgy hip has done to my figure) is going to be clothes that fit beautifully and that are much better made than ready made for the same financial cost. That will last for years and still look good at the end.

  3. I so relate to what you say about 'sewing yourself'. I'm doing an outfit to wear at a wedding too and it's the most depressing experience - I'm beginning to feel more than usually miserable about my shape. I am hoping the end point of having a dress that actually fits me, will be worth all the effort.

  4. The first real garment I made for myself was a corset, a real honest-to-goodness victorian corset. Zero ease. Yeah, you get to know the particular quirks of your body shape super fast.

    Having always been petite, short-waisted, and ridiculously curvy, I'm fairly used to absolutely nothing on the planet fitting me right off the rack. You just have to keep telling yourself that RTW clothing and by extension, sewing patterns, are based on an average - not an ideal. It's a starting point, and from there you make the adjustments to get something perfect for you.

    I agree with the other commenters that you need to get your hands on some cheap-o cotton for muslins. I couldn't work with a print muslin because personally, I would find it distracting. Not only that, but working with a basic cotton when fitting makes me feel more like I'm creating a unique, custom garment, and less like I'm altering an existing item to fit my freakish, hobbit-esque frame.

    Good luck! The adjustments you've made so far look really good.

  5. Everyone said it already. It's a lot of work, but once you get there, and figure out your "usual" alterations, it is much easier and TOTALLY worth it.

    If you weren't such a hot mama, you wouldn't have all these problems, you know. "Boobs start at my collarbones" Pah. I don't think my boobs and my collarbones have ever even met.