Sunday, March 27, 2011

That’s Why They Call it a Theory

Fact: I always have to shorten my patterns two inches. Always! No matter what pattern I choose. If I make up a pattern without shortening. on donning the finished garment, I will resemble a chubby 4 year old clattering around in her mother’s heels.

Fact: I am short-waisted; very, very short-waisted. The distance between the bottom of my bust and the top of my belt is best viewed with a microscope. When they invent the belt-bra, I will be the first in line at the cash register.

Fact, unaltered V-neck patterns, expose things best left hidden forever.

Fact: Linda, Kubrik, designer of Elements, the new pattern-line Bullard Designs* is carrying, is one tall drink of water. She’s tall and slim and the distance from her belt to bust is wide, very wide, grand canyon wide.

Fact: Because independent pattern designers can relate best to their own body-types, their patterns are usually designed for bodies similar to their own. Therefore, if you know a designer’s build, you can project which body type her patterns will flatter. Apple shaped designers design garments with loose waists and exposed arms. Fashion model shaped designers should be designing garments with long waists.

Proposition: In theory, when making up one of the Linda’s patterns, Elements’ Vest 103, where the waistline is an important design element, I should shorten the upper body by a minimum of two inches.

But as I have made up patterns without testing the fit with a muslin and lived to rue the day I chose to take the extra step of making a muslin. Turns out, that was a wise choice.

So, after deciding the fabric/embroidery design combination for my next project, the Element’s Vest 103 pattern I began with a muslin.


Before starting the muslin, I did take a pre-emptive strike and shortened the bodice. The pattern has a wonderfully interesting X shaped back which made shortening a challenging task. Taking out one inch above and one inch below the middle of the back required reshaping and re-angling all of the back pieces; making sure each matched the one next to it and had the appropriate seam allowances. The front was a much simpler task, a breeze after the back.


So I made up the test muslin. Yikes! The vest was hiked up under my breasts. I was Erkel sans suspenders. My top looked shorter than usual. Is that even possible?

I experienced something I’ve never experienced before, a too short top. Two inches too short! I can’t believe it.

My original plan was to whip up the vest and post a picture of it when I posted this blog. As is the norm for my projects, the original plan has had some major additions. The vest is taking way longer than expected so its not yet ready for prime time. Here’s a picture of the back, so far.  I feel another blog in the making.


* In case you didn’t know it, Bullard Designs is my company. We specialize in embroidery designs but also sell sewing patterns from a variety of sources.

2 comments: said...

Why oh why is good fit a moving target?? Love the colors on this one-looking forward to the next post on your progress.

Gracecat said...

You give such good advice. I'd never thought about considering the designer's own shape as a factor in the pattern outcome. But it does make sense. Thanks, and good luck on the finished vest. I'm eagerly awaiting the pics!