“I need to know how to help MYSELF when I don’t have someone around who can pin me and let me out of my muslin time and again. I’d like to be able to drape a bodice… and actually get it to fit ME! I am so frustrated about making skirts that fit spot on, and I cannot seem to get a bodice even close, [without] 14 different mock-ups. It TOTALLY takes the joy out of sewing for me. I am thiiiiiis close to just giving up and just buying something out of a thrift store and to heck with fit. Any pearls of wisdom for us lone seamstresses?” ~L.V.
The first point you must take to heart is Don’t Give Up!! Truly! That means you are close to a break-through. Those that press on are the ones who survive the creative whirlwind and come out shining on the other side.
I am a lone seamstress too and completely feel your pain. The grand costuming ideas rumble through my head, searching for the outlet. I step into my sewing room and sigh when my new striped cotton catches my eye… the recently received pattern sitting on the table ready to become reality….
Then the second sigh comes and I woefully walk away. The thought of all that work and those many hours ahead is sometimes too much. So my decision at the time seems the best… or easiest….
Well, really it’s the worst. Not doing ANYTHING, even reviewing pattern notes, is a sure sign I’m failing at the project. Taking action is the only way to relieve the lack of joy when facing *another* mockup.
Even when I know I’ll have to twist myself to pin the dang mockup closed – sometimes with the few occasional pinning helps from my husband. But as time goes on, I end up doing it all myself as he really can’t pin closed a center back properly.
Dear me… being alone in my sewing room over the years has taught me many tricks. My favorite fitting tips have been developed from one too many sessions where I get everything pinned but don’t have a chance to come back to the project for a couple weeks. Taking notes is the only way I remember!
And I don’t re-invent the wheel either. Why bother? Once I have a bodice fitted well, I’ll use it again for the next one. Tweak some more then use again. Over and over and over.
Why make sewing so difficult and start a new project with another pattern? By fine tuning one pattern block you’ll slowly start to learn the tweaks specific to your body shape (hump back, short waist, low bust, etc., etc.). You’ll get there, but it always takes time.
But honestly, the best wisdom I’ve been taught is to not expect perfection. It simply doesn’t exist.
I’ll spend time fitting (read: hours pattern drafting) a bodice to look like my inspiration photo. I’ll sew a mockup and tweak. Then I move on. Because I usually start with an already fitted bodice, I’ll only do one mockup… two if I’ve really changed things or it’s a new pattern.
But I know that the bodice won’t turn out exactly like my dream, the vision in my head. And you know what? I don’t get caught up in it either.
My goal is to create. To produce delightful visions of the past. And who’s going to notice if my sleeve head is too wide? I know it is… and I’m going to fix it with the next dress.
If I spend too much time trying to make the dress a “perfect” fit, my motivation stalls in moving forward. I don’t want to spend days or weeks making eight mockups for one bodice. In that time I could have made two completely finished bodices and be wearing them to events.
Besides… the next project is always the current favorite. 🙂