Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Week 3: Understanding Fit from the Waist Down

This week I'm going to try to shed some light on how to fit the bottom half of our dress, and that does include the bottom.

EXPLANATION: Our Fantasia skirt pattern shown. On the right is the center front, on the left is the center back. The seam allowances have been folded back to reveal the pattern shaping, which are essentially darts. The back skirt is a princess seam, which makes shaping to fit the backside a breeze. The front is a single dart. Any place you have darts and seam, these are opportunities to add or subtract fabric as needed and remove, add, or change dart space to create personal shaping. Let me reference another post I did on darts that may or may not help explain further:
BODY TYPES: This illustration attempts to point out a few different figure types and how the dart shaping and seam location might be affected. On the left is a "standard" slim figure with no tummy or derriere, which needs only enough darting to shape to the waist. The side seam is also down the center of the leg and the front and back are split equally. This is how your pattern generally comes. The vertical plumb line for skirts is the center front, center back, and the side seam which stays centered on the leg. The horizontal plumb line is the hip. This should always be parallel to the floor. Why? Because it marks the cross grain and we want that level for the skirt to hang properly.

As the body shape changes, so does the type and amount of dart space, and even the front to back skirt ratio can change in order to keep the side seam running down the side of the leg and the hip running parallel. Those are the things we will be looking for as I do my tissue fit for my skirt.

Previous to now, I've already performed all the necessary steps (size transitions, etc) to get a great initial fit from the directions I gave on week 2:
So now I'm at the tissue fitting stage and I'm looking to see how this pattern fits my dress form and if there are any last minute changes I need to do before cutting from my final fabric. This step takes the place of time consuming muslin mock ups.
EVALUATION: The first thing I notice is that the hip line is not parallel.  It rises in the back. The second thing I notice is that my front dart is too long. My dressform has a high tummy on her, and my dart should not extend beyond that fullness of my figure.

You'll notice that my marked hip line doesn't match up with the true figure hip and that's okay this time for me, but you should mark your true hip. It will be too difficult to eyeball while wearing if its not on the hip, but it reality, it's the grain that we care about, and second to that is the shaping of the pattern. This red line is for your clarity and the green tape is the actual hip line of my dress form.

MAKE FIT CHANGES: I'm going to shorten that dart to only reach to the fullest part of my tummy. Center that new end point and mark new dart legs.
Next I'm going to lower that waistline on the dress form until the hip line is parallel and then mark the distance to the waist on my pattern. I also notice that as I lower that hip, the shaping of the pattern seems to fit the figure better as well. It's another sign that this is the correct alteration to make. Now I will take the pattern off and make the change.
I've marked the center back piece with a cut line to spread, and the side back will be marked at an angle to the corner so I can pivot and spread the side back seam without adding to the side seam as well. Add paper, measuring and taping just like you would if you were lengthening a pattern.
This is what my side back looks like once I've cut it. See the clip to the corner leaving a hinge of paper there?

 Add paper, measure and tape it down. True. This pivot method can be used at side seams as well. It's a better way to add width that trying to draw free hand.
Trim away the extra paper, fold seam allowances and pin your pattern back together for a second tissue fit. This is what that extra adding paper looks like. Final photos below.
Looks much better all the way around! Don't you think?

Your tissue fit is going to look much different from mine. If you've chosen the right size to begin with, the only thing left to do is to refine the fit. Here is what you are looking for:
1. Make sure your front and back are true north and south on your figure.
2 Check that your darts are the right length, width, and shape for your figure.
3. Keep your cross grain level at the hip
4. Center your side seam on the leg.

Ready? Set? Sew! How is your pattern fit coming along?

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