I decided several weeks ago to make my 'mother of the groom' dress. Like many women my age, I'm not really happy with my weight, shape or size, and purchasing a ready-made dress is always a challenge. I generally take a petite, but it is hard to find something that fits my body the way I'd like it to. Sewing it myself seems like a good option.
One of the frustrations of sewing from a commercial pattern is that you take your measurements, find the correct size on the pattern envelope, cut out a dress (or pants or a top) and sew it up, only to try it on and find that it just doesn't fit you right! I don't claim to be an expert by any means, but it usually means that there is too much or too little wearing ease, and you are not the same height as a model!
It's nearly impossible to 'fit' a pattern or muslin to yourself -- you really need a sewing friend who can do it for you while the pattern or muslin is hanging on your body.
I was in Missouri ten days ago, and was lucky to accompany my sister to a 'sewing weekend' that her neighborhood group of the American Sewing Guild had planned. (For more information about the American Sewing Guild, go to www.asg.org. This organization 'advances sewing as an art and life skill.' There are chapters around the country, with local neighborhood groups that typically meet once a month to share ideas and inspiration.) One of the other ladies in attendance is a home economics teacher, and was the perfect resource for fitting assistance!
I had selected two patterns...Simplicity 1754 - a Project Runway design, and Simplicity 2247 - from the Amazing Fit collection. Both have princess seaming, which is easier to adjust.
To get the best fit, I made up the first dress in muslin, and tried it on 'inside out' so we could access the seam allowances. What Janice found is that I have no waist! Letting a seam out here, and taking a little tuck there, and then transferring those adjustments to the pattern led to a better fitting garment. It hung properly, with the seams hanging straight and no puckers or pulling across my stomach or tush. I was able to fix the 'gap' that occurs across my upper chest, and adjusted the depth of the armholes, so I don't feel like I'm wearing a dress that's too long for me.
|Janice helps me transfer my alterations to the pattern pieces.|
Changes are transferred to the pattern pieces.
The next step is to sew up two dresses using the newly altered patterns. Then I'll get the input from my d.h. and my daughter as to which one I should make for the wedding. I haven't decided on a color yet, but I'm leaning toward a shade of blue.
Check back in a couple of weeks to see my progress! Until then, keep sewing!