Liberty and the Dummy

So in a past post I ragged on how badly the Liberty shirt fit and hung away from the body unless the fabric was really drapey and the model had a flat chest. Some of you wrote privately to ask/throw down the gauntlet what I would do if I was making it for myself. Always up for a challenge, I marched myself and said pattern into my “annex” (second sewing room with cutting tables and duct tape dummy) and did a “tissue fit”. You will see pink lines pointing to the real issues in the paper pattern:

The pattern is making this so easy…the folds of paper are shouting…”Look here”. How about the back view? Try this:

At the top end of the pink line is the issue…a rounded back from 40 years of sewing for clients. There is a whole lot of ugly there…what to do first?

I like to slash the pattern back first and then work forward. OK…let’s do it:

Wow…a little 1/2 inch spread on top and a 1 inch tuck at the waist and voila’ the paper pattern hangs straight…let’s move along:

So what have I done? Pinned out the excess to remove bulk which will all be consolidated into one dart later. Now the center front hangs perpendicular to the floor… well almost. One thing is left…let’s slash across the bust and drop it to come back towards the waist.

Ahhhh that feels so much better doesn’t it? Now let’s pin the pieces together and see what we’ve got.

There is still the issue of what the heck to do with the side seam flap contraption but hey it is a “designer feature” that some women just love…the uneven hem.

We are getting closer to a better fit and to me straight grain lines, no drag lines and flat fronts and backs are worth every minute of time.

Now the paper pattern is spread flat on the cutting table to move darts, and examine the final product before cutting a muslin:

A small neck dart is added to keep the center back fold straight and make the rounded back fit well. Only one side front dart is needed. Can you see the difference in the back piece from the front piece? Holy Moley! Now that is some swing out, Sister!

Another view:

You can see what had to be done to get the paper to cover a real woman’s body. One question is left…the front armhole has been reduced and it will be re-shaped along with the sleeve that attaches there but just getting the 2 main pieces to lay flat and curve properly is Step One…now the question is: can you do this? Heck yes…it is only paper and a muslin will run about $3 to make so before I go cutting into some real lovely fabric I’m doing a test.

If you know your body or have a duct tape dummy you can fine tune and whack away until that latest/not necessarily flattering fashion pattern will fit well, hang straight and COMPLIMENT what is going on underneath it. The goal is not always to wear a bag over the top and call it “good”.

I have a client who is large but she has the most dainty thin arms that were being hidden in all the excess of fabrics with dolman sleeves, dropped shoulder affairs etc until I told her we should try a Coni Crawford blouse to show off her real nice arms under a thinner fitted sleeve and make a blouse with a princess seam instead of just more mounds of fabric hanging there…instant weight loss!

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9 Responses to Liberty and the Dummy

  1. Alethia says:

    That is a whole lotta work…how long did it take you to do that, and would your client be willing to put that kind of money into your labor?
    These are the things that the client doesn’t picture when “all you have to do is….” :)

  2. mrsmole says:

    You know that clients will not pay for pattern adjustments…they think we pull patterns out of an envelope and like magic..they fit! If I can squeeze in one extra hour of billing that would be a bonus. For me and my dummy, it takes about one hour since the alterations are very standard.

  3. theresa says:

    An inspiring series of alterations. I think it’s time for me to get out the blank pattern tissue and do some additional pattern pieces to play with. Oh god, an hour. it would take me almost that long for one simple dart! :)

  4. prttynpnk says:

    Thanks for this you made that all so clear for me.

  5. bench jacken says:

    bench jacke damen rusty
    I basically knew about virtually all of this, but with that said, I still assumed it had been practical. Nice post!

    • mrsmole says:

      Thank you, the more we see FBA and rounded back alterations the quicker we can recognize and make them for ourselves and others. Under each paper pattern piece in the last 2 photos is another sheet of paper which will be removed and become the master pattern. You can see pins along the sides of the front dart holding the cut edges to the new paper below. This is easier than tracing over that whole mess of tape and pins and folded out lumps and bumps!

  6. Pingback: Boxing, Lace and Liberty | fit for a queen

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