A Chair???  What does that have to do with sewing?

A little background first.  I used to just find a pattern I liked, work out what size I was, make it, and it fitted.  I tended to only use Vogue patterns and I just knew that they would always fit me if I made the same size all the time.

Fast forward a few quite a few years and I’m not the same shape I used to be 🙁

Ok, I'm not that bad!

Ok, I’m not that bad!

I have some absolutely funky fabric and a really nice pattern to make up a dress.  I thought I’d just be able to knock it up pretty quickly (you’ve got to be quick to catch the British summer as you never know when it will arrive or how long it will last!).  I got out the fabric, drooled over it a bit more and then settled down with the pattern and a tape measure.  Straight away things started to go wrong – according to my bust measurement I’m a size 14, but according to my waist measurement I’m a size 20 and my hips are a size 18!  WTF?!?  If I buy clothes from a shop, I vary between a size 12 and 14.  Something is not right in the woods today . . .

Hmmm . . . what to do?  Well, it was obvious that I need to make some adjustments to the pattern otherwise it will not fit and will look awful and I really want this dress to look nice, I mean this fabric is just the bomb!  (Don’t worry, we are getting closer to the “chair” explanation!)

Sew the perfect fitA few months ago I signed up for a Craftsy class on fitting a ready made pattern to your body.  It’s called Sew The Perfect Fit by Lynda Maynard.  Well of course that was exactly what I needed now!  Yayyy!  A way forward 🙂

(p.s. Craftsy is totally brilliant and if you haven’t checked it out already, then do!  It’s not just about sewing, there’s cake decorating, weaving, photography, jewelry making and so much more.)

Vogue 8766

Vogue pattern 8766

The only slight snag is that the course comes with a free Vogue dress pattern, number 8766, which is a very fitted, normal shaped, dress.  I can’t wait to do the course using the pattern that came with it, then use what I learnt to adapt my dress pattern, so I decided to just jump right in and do the course using the pattern I want to make.

Ok, so I needed to make a muslin (US term for a toile, which is a test garment made from calico fabric.  But in the US calico is called muslin, hence their term for the test garment.  However, since I can’t pronounce the word toile, I decided to go with the US terminology instead!)  Therefore I needed to buy some muslin/calico fabric.  This is where I decided to do my own thing . . . unfortunately!  I looked at the fabrics in the local fabric shop and I found some sheeting which I thought would do quite well, but then, I found some even cheaper fabric – chair banqueting fabric!  (You know, the stuff they use to decorate chairs at weddings with big bows on the back of the chairs, etc.)  It was pretty wide and very cheap and felt nicer than the calico, so I bought a big chunk of it.  So instead of making a “muslin”, I’m making a “chair”!  Because it’s made out of chair fabric – See!  (I told you I’d get there eventually, probably not worth the wait, but I enjoyed my little game!)

Now, why was my choice of fabric unfortunate?  Well, it frays quite badly and it’s a bit heavier weight than it should be.  Oh well, never mind, I’m using it now, but next time maybe I will just buy what everyone else agrees is the best fabric to use!  Lesson learnt!

Here’s a couple of pictures of my “chair” – a little bit of fitting is required as you can see!

Front of the bodice.  Already made a little adjustment to the neck which is now pinned in place, but the midriff and waist areas still don't fit right.

Front of the bodice. Already made a little adjustment to the neck which is now pinned in place, but the midriff and waist areas still don’t fit right.

Maybe I need a little more fabric round my waist!  Also the neck band is overlapping at the centre back and it's supposed to meet.  It's also gaping, so a re-shape of the back neck band is going to be attempted!

Maybe I need a little more fabric round my waist! Also the neck band is overlapping at the centre back and it’s supposed to meet. It’s also gaping, so a re-shape of the back neck band is going to be attempted!

And here is a picture of the pattern I’m making, it’s New Look 6799

Dress pattern New Look 6799

Dress pattern New Look 6799

However, you’ll have to wait a little longer to see the fabric I’m going to make it up in!  I’m going to make the fuller skirt option, with contrast neck and waist bands.  I really can’t wait to wear it! 😀