I took the plunge! I had been toying with the idea of a bustform, and saw someone selling a “Petite” bustform secondhand in Stockholm fairly cheap. Perfect! (since I have a really narrow ribcage) Though the logistics of getting there would be a bit difficult. Well anyway it sold pretty fast, but by that point I had already been fantasising about what it would like to own one.
A few weeks later, someone was selling a “small” bustform in my town – a little less than ideal given the size, but I figured it was good enough. Besides, I can always resell it if it really didn’t work out. Anyway, by the time I took her home, I was in love 😀
I honestly never thought I could get so much happiness from an object, but there is something reassuring about it. She’s (nearly) my body twin, and somehow I feel more happy about my body.
To better understand how the lines of my body match up with the bustform, I started working with a Palmer Pletsch fitting sheath pattern (McCall’s 7279) which I had in my stash. I hadn’t had a lot of motivation to sew a sheath, since it’s a bit on the formal side for my office.
I worked through the bodice using old ripped bedsheets. I learned so much about my body
flaws unique quirks:
- narrow back and shoulder
- short/erect upper back
- hollow chest
- high bust apex
- forward shoulder
- (no front waist dart – round belly)
The number of adjustments is probably also due to working with a size 10 (if I had started with the size 8, probably would not have needed so many adjustments).
I’m absolutely astounded to find out that my upper back is so flat and short compared to the “standard” size. I tried on a RTW sheath dress that I (believed) fit me like a glove and have received many compliments on, and sure enough, there is a huge bubble of fabric floating above my upper back. Now that I’m starting to learn about fitting issues, I can’t unseen them! I also finally understood why RTW button up shirts (particularly Zara) are always too low cut on me.
I bought a really cheap clearance fabric while on vacation in northern Sweden, from a store known for being “the best” in Sweden according to some. Well, when we arrived there, they were experiencing a blackout, but I was determined to buy something. What I didn’t realise was that the 5m end of roll bargain fabric I bought was full of flaws. I thought I could still eke out a wearable muslin, envisioning something like this:
But the fabric started to look pretty awful, resembling a uniform/pinafore from the 1970s. So I abandoned it and cut my losses. Perhaps if I get inspired by a fabric I might start this again, but I mostly wanted to start on a looming Ralph Pink dress project in the queue.
I’m really interested in improving the fit of my clothes, and the Palmer pletsch method really intrigues me, although their courses are expensive. (I own the Fit for Real People book) When I found out that they produced teaching patterns, I thought it was worth a try to try to learn it on my own!
I had a lot of trouble selecting a size – the envelope suggested 12, I made a size 10, but with all the adjustments I made, if I made the 8 it would have made my life much easier
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
I didn’t finish the project.
Were the instructions easy to follow?
Generally yes. Since it is a fitting pattern, there are many, many steps! I really needed to refer to the book Fit for Real People several times during the process, so the pattern itself is not all encompassing, though it may get you a better fit than if you had not tried at all.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I liked the lines on the pattern, they helped reinforce the knowledge and principles which I had been struggling with.
The entire process was quite draining and tedious as a beginner, and very difficult to fit on my own. However, I came away with a lot of new knowledge about the types of adjustments I might need (particularly in the bodice)! I felt like tissue fitting the skirt was not very helpful, or maybe my lower body dimensions are already quite typical, at least in a skirt. While working on this project, I purchased a secondhand bustform, which was a great help.
Changes to the pattern?
I drafted a portrait neckline, which I think will be more flattering, though I didn’t carry out the project to the end.
I made several muslins out of an old cotton bedsheet. The green fabric I got on super cheap clearance, but realised when cutting out, it was cheap because the fabric was full of flaws. By the time I started sewing it together, I decided to abandon the project since the fabric quality really didn’t look as good as I imagined it would – it started to look like a uniform from the 1970s
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Now that I have my basic bodice and the idea for the end result, I will probably sew it in a nicer fabric, though I need a break from the project.
I would recommend this together with the Fit for Real People book.
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