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Message Board > Fitting Woes > Hitting the Wall ( Moderated by CarolynGM, Deepika)

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Hitting the Wall
Flummoxed again. Would love to get a different outcome.
Sewandwrite  Friend of PR
Advanced Beginner
Member since 5/16/08
Posts: 815
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Date: 5/30/13 10:35 PM

Once again I've hit the wall on a sewing project.

I want a dress to wear to a wedding this summer instead of the standard RTW skirt suits I wear. Like many of us here on PR, getting a dress that fits me means I have to make it because RTW won't work.

That's actually a fun challenge. I believe have the technical skills to sew a dress that looks good. And I haven't worn a dress in 20 years!

But fitting has again waylaid my projects -- and again for reasons I struggle to understand.

I've been at this sewing/fitting business long enough that I feel that basic fitting should not be such a roadblock issue. I can measure well. I have a good sense of what changes are needed to make a pattern fit my body. And I know that fitting can be done since so many of you here on PR do fitting with such grace and ease. (OK, and some frustration.)

But I end up feeling such horrible inadequacy, frustration, and shame when I fit tissue or a muslin on myself. I feel like I'm doing a math problem (and I like math problems!) but I wasn't taught a necessary step in how to solve it -- yet I should know what that step is.

I don't know what this unknown deficit is.

I have, however, poured a lot of time and energy into trying to get help. I've barked up a lot of trees -- sewing shops, MeetUp, my ASG neighbor (a quilter). Studio classes at places in my region don't seem to provide one-on-one fitting time. I've looked for a fitting buddy for more than a year. And I've posted pix here on PR (yay!).

My dear sister, who lives on the opposite coast, came here for a family funeral last month. She pinned the seams on a skirt for me in 10 minutes. It fits great! I wore it to work today.

I need that kind of hands-on help for this project and willing to pay for it. But am not sure where to look for this service near where I work or live.

Given this recent thread, , I'm disabusing myself of the notion that a DTD would be a breakthrough item to invest in.

I welcome feedback. I want to make this dress this but I am s-t-u-c-k.

Michelle L
Michelle L  Friend of PR
Member since 1/20/08
Posts: 1299
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Date: 5/30/13 10:42 PM

I have read in other posts where people have had a tailor professionally fit a fitting shell or a pants pattern that can then be used as the basis for fitting other patterns.

Perhaps you could do that.


tourist  Friend of PR
Member since 7/23/07
Posts: 6100
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In reply to Sewandwrite <<

Date: 5/30/13 11:48 PM

Sewandwrite - you may not want to invest in a pricey dress form, but a DTD made of duct tape or paper tape has made fitting EVER so much easier for me. I would have had to buy an expensive model to fit me and padding it out sounds harder than making a DTD. I highly recommend it.

------ to follow the progress on my next ballgown.

plumfan  Friend of PR
Advanced Beginner
Member since 1/8/13
Posts: 158
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In reply to Sewandwrite <<

Date: 5/31/13 0:31 AM

I love my paper tape double. She is currently wearing a practice top I made. It currently looks better on her than me.

I've never had a DTD, but I do love the hard shell that the paper tape makes. I can't pin into it, but it won't sag or stretch like I've heard DTD do over time.

I did have to have my husband help make it as I don't have a sewing buddy either. He was really nice about it and it took him about 45 min. to wrap me. after I felt I was dry enough (about 20 min.) he came back and cut me out.
-- Edited on 5/31/13 0:34 AM --

Stash in as of Feb. 1, 2014 - 43
2014 Items finished for me - 10
2014 Items for others - 9
Approximate yardage used - 37

Irina Grace
Irina Grace
Member since 7/18/11
Posts: 123
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In reply to Sewandwrite <<
thumbsup 1 member likes this.

Date: 5/31/13 0:44 AM

A professional pinable dress form would be a big help if it is an exact copy of you or at least has very-very close measurements...Especially if you need "hugging" fit with a minimum ease.I never got a dress form because I could not fund one with close measurements. My waist is too small compare with hips, I have a short back, D cup. I realized that "pin and fit on a dress form" way of fitting a muslin will not work for me...but it might work for you.

Irina Grace
English is my Second Language

rosehatten  Friend of PR
Member since 9/15/05
Posts: 158
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Date: 5/31/13 0:49 AM

Where are you in Maryland? There are some very talented ASG members in our state who are garment sewers. You might be able to connect with one via your ASG group.

Or look in the Regional Communities discussion topic here on PR. There's a DC/noVA/MD thread. You might ask there if someone lives close enough to give you a hand.

And the ASG convention is in Arlington in August. There'll be tons of great garment sewers there.

Hope this helps.

Sew Confused
Sew Confused  Friend of PR
Member since 7/13/07
Posts: 2542
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thumbsup 3 members like this.
Date: 5/31/13 1:39 AM

I don't mean to make light of your situation, because your frustration is obvious, but I wonder if the puzzle piece you are missing is the confidence to proceed with what you know.


"In Seattle you haven't had enough coffee until you can thread a sewing machine while it's running."
- Jeff Bezos, founder

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Member since 7/20/08
Posts: 2586
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Date: 5/31/13 6:26 AM

I have an engineering degree and tend to approach fitting problems with math (and my fit issue is the FBA).

It just hasn't worked well for me. Garments are made from cloth which isn't consistent. Then they are fitted on me who doesn't even wear the same bra every day.

What has been working:
* Choosing patterns from companies that seem to fit my body better (Burda, Style Arc)
* Making simpler clothes
* Sewing with knits (but DH is helping me drape a fitted bodice which I hope will help with wovens)
* developing a set of TNT patterns (I think I'll be able to pull these out and compare them with new patterns I'm considering)
* accepting that cloth isn't steel; I need to make fitting adjustments conservatively since cloth tends to give and even stretch at times

If I had to have a nice dress to wear to an important event this summer, I'd buy RTW or have it made. I'm just not there yet.


Baja Susana
Baja Susana  Friend of PR
Member since 7/13/08
Posts: 681
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In reply to Sewandwrite <<

Date: 5/31/13 8:42 AM

Your thread has hit home for me. I have been sewing for well over 50 years.
There was a time when I made everything that my daughter and I wore. For a time I gave up on garment sewing. My weight gain, the inability to buy patterns and fabric here in la Paz and the lack of time.
Then last year I joined the mini- wardrobe contest. After a 20 year hiatus with Lutterloh, I started back up and made cuffed shirts, capris with a shaped hem, a princess line jacket and two knit tops. They fit me well and I wore them often. Then I decided to buy the Sure-Fit Designs system. I made a wonderful,pair of metallic stretch denim pants with exposed zipper.
Then I broke my ankle and was laid up for 5 weeks in a cast and another 6 weeks when I could not stand long enough to cut out a garment.
Now I am 99% healed. Still have pain and occasional swelling, but I can stand up to draft a pattern and cut it out
In that time I have had nothing but disaster. It is as if I have never sewn before. Nothing fits, ANd I have used up yards of good linen. Yesterday I totally lost it and broke down and cried.
I cannot figure out what I am doing wrong. I know how frustrated and disappointed you are.
In desperation in early May I ordered some clothing from Chico's, they transposed two numbers in my zip code and the package was lost. So I re ordered more items, but they will not arrive until AFTER my daughter leaves. She is coming on Monday for ten days
All this is to say I unnderstanf your frustration. Don't lose heart.
Maybe find a dressmaker or a PR member near you that can work with you side by side on a dress.
I am taking the Sure Fit Designs class in Oregon in July. It is six eight-hour - hour days of working on a basic patternfor ME. only five women in the class ! There is a live Luterloh class in Dallas where my daughter lives, I am thinking of going there for that as well
I have no idea why I suddenly cannot make a garment that fits. It is dishearte ing and confidence crushing.
Please let me know how things progress for you. I will do the same.
I am having my weekly massage, and I will let all my frustration fade away.
Take care and don't give up!

Baja Susana
Sewing on the beach, what could be better?

RMJ  Friend of PR
Member since 12/14/06
Posts: 519
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Date: 5/31/13 8:59 AM

I love my DTD. I tissue fit on her. I don't worry about what alterations are called, or how anyone else says to do them. I just start at the top and adjust the pattern until it fits smoothly. I usually have to then do some very minor adjustments in the real fabric. Some of my adjustments are completely different from anything I've seen described but they work for me. The DTD was not expensive. You do need someone else to tape you up. Good luck.

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