Fit: An A-Ha! Moment

I’ve been trying to sew more for myself. It seems like such a shame to not truly reap the benefits of my favorite hobby (sewing), although I often find it a frustrating practice. Tracing patterns, checking measurements, making muslins. It’s infinitely easier to just crank out something for Miss L!

I run into the same problems sewing for myself that I do when I shop for ready-to-wear clothing: Poor fit. Pants fit in the hips but not the waist. Shirts are too short. Tops are snug in the chest and loose everywhere else.

It. Wears. Me. Out.

I am determined to overcome these challenges, however. I’ve been taking risks and actually trying to adjust patterns to compensate for my figure. Making muslins as I go to check for issues with fit. Tweak. Unsew. Try again. Of course, the biggest issue really has been one that caught me completely by surprise.

When I teach classes, I tell my students to ignore the size and just look at the measurements to choose which lines to follow on a pattern. I think I’m pretty good about doing that myself. Unfortunately, I have never really looked at my own measurements and considered what they mean.

Over the weekend, I went to a specialty shop to be fitted for a pretty vital foundation garment. I’ve been thinking about going for some time and finally did it because I could find nothing to fit me in the past year — and, really, it’s probably been more like five years. I was a little nervous because it involves a total stranger seeing me half nekkid. Plus I knew without setting foot in the door that these were going to be some pricey pieces of fabric, elastic and underwire and I’m really pretty cheap when it comes to spending money on me.

I could have saved myself a lot of money and frustration by making the trip years earlier! I was so far off in the size I’d been buying, it’s not funny. While I’m not about to tell you the size, I will say that I was two sizes two big in the band and two too small in the cup. (I did tell a couple of my friends, prefacing the size with the phrase, “I’m, like, Jessica Rabbit or something.”) Now, when you consider that the typical commercial sewing pattern is made for a B, it clarifies for me why any full bust adjustment I’ve ever done has failed: I wasn’t compensating nearly enough.

Armed with my new knowledge, I think I’m better prepared to sew for myself going forward. I have a lot to learn about FBAs for my “new” figure, but at least I know all the right numbers. Although it sure would be easier if sack dresses would come into fashion.

9 Replies to “Fit: An A-Ha! Moment”

  1. Can’t wait to see how your pattern adjustments work out as I’ve got a similar problem. I went to such store a few years ago, too, and found my current garments were badly sized, too. Happy sewing!

  2. Mary, I could have written this myself, except for the part about actually spending the money on new bras. I desperately need to do what you did!
    But I am glad you are sewing for yourself now. I have made an effort in the last year to sew more for myself and I am so glad I did. We have a right to wear pretty fabric too.
    I can’t wait to see what lovelies you sew for yourself.

  3. Ditto all of the above! Seriously need to get a proper fitting, but it is hard justifying the expense for myself. I spent many years trying to hide my bosom, but that’s getting harder and harder to do, so perhaps it is time to embrace the bust!
    .-= Fiona´s last blog ..The artist and her model =-.

  4. Oh man! I FBA everything. If I don’t – the pattern will either be too small around or I’ll make the bigger size and have it look like a tent (or sack dress). I’m still waiting for those to come into fashion as well 🙂
    .-= Tawny´s last blog ..How To- Fabric Strawberry =-.

  5. Lordie. I just went in for foundations myself, and the brands are so different that when I did go to buy I question the logic that I’m actually walking and standing without falling over…things have gotten so very “different” in that area.
    .-= sadira´s last blog ..Mostly Wordless Wednesday =-.

  6. These are my fit issues to a T!! I hope you continue exploring this and blog about it. I’m kinda lost and afraid when it comes to sewing for myself, but would love to feel empowered. I’m gonna try a FBA.

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