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Having To Adjust For The Bust By Leila Breton

3 Oct

This guest post is from the lovely Leila Breton, a lady who I have come to know and adore via Twitter. Leila is a fellow busty beauty and has taken matters into her own hands with regards to finding garments that fit. Check out her amazing blog here.

I’m excited to be guest blogging here, as Georgina’s blog has helped me gain confidence in undergarmenting (what? that’s not a word?) and not giving up until I get the right fit. It only makes sense that I’d be attracted to her blog and her urgency for fit because I’m on the same quest, but from a sewing point of view.

I started sewing with my mom when I was a kid but only since 2000 did I really start to sew with an urgency I haven’t felt in a long time. I don’t need to add that I sew a lot. I used to knit a lot but that became frustrating because I couldn’t a good fit in a sweater with my then US size 10 body and 34DD or so bust. Back then, I must have worn a bra that was the wrong size but didn’t know it. There’s no way I was a DD, unless you’re talking about high school. I was already a B cup in the 8th grade.

Back to sewing. When I say I sew, I really should edit to say I spend most of my time fitting. The sewing part doesn’t take nearly as long as it does to fit what I’m making. With all the potential fitting in mind, I choose relatively simple patterns since I know I’ll be spending a lot of time altering the tissue.

In a couple of posts, I’m going to share my process with one dress. From fitting the pattern to the final product. I should add that I spend my days with my kids so the process takes longer than if I were at home with no distractions. That said, I wouldn’t change it for anything.

First, here’s the pattern I’m starting with:

I took the bodice pieces and performed minor surgery, creating room for the ladies, as I now know I’m a US 34H. If you sew, you may already know that most pattern companies assume a B cup when drafting the patterns. So, when you go to a pattern and you’re bigger than that, you have to make some kind of alteration. If you go with a pattern size that matches your bust, you’ll get a baggy final garment. You don’t want that.

Over the last week, I’ve spent it fiddling with the bodice pattern, until 8 test bodices later, I’ve got the fit I want. I’ll still have to make a couple of minor alterations but at this point, I’m not making another tester, aka muslin.

First, let me show you the first two fittings:

The first muslin was too tight across the back. Once I added width to the back, I found that the adjustments I made to the front had to be taken in. After these first muslins of the bodice, I kept going back to fiddling with the already altered bodice pattern. I won’t bore you with muslins #3-7. They were frustrating and after each fitting, I swore I’d throw the whole thing away. The sleeves have been a big issue.

At a certain point, I had to accept my time loss and start calling all the work on the mangled pattern “learning”. I went back to the original pattern pieces, went up two sizes and did a small Full Bust Adjustment. That gave me the nearly final muslin.

Here’s muslin #8

The arrows point out the small alterations I still need to make: Add ease for the sleeve, add to the armhole, lengthen the bodice which will relax the V-neck and won’t require a plunge bra.

Here’s the back. I’m so glad it finally fits.

Fitting is so tricky when you sew in a bubble like I do. Maybe it’s just me. I need to make myself an updated duct tape dress form. At some point I’d also like to try a plaster cast home made dress form. When my husband helped me make the one from last year, I didn’t yet have the best fit bra in the world. Now that I have it, I’m ready to clone myself once more. Fitting is so much easier on a dress form.

Next time you see me here, I’ll be sharing with you the next chapter in my McCalls 6433 making saga. After 8 muslins, it really does feel like I should make this into a movie!

Thank you so much for sharing your amazing talent and passion with us Leila! Does anyone make or adjust garments or have you been inspired to do so having heard from the lovely Leila? Why not leave a comment 🙂

An Ode To The Belt…

14 Aug

As any regular reader of my blog will know I do love a good belting! They suck me in, break up an outfit and give me a great shape! However, today I took my belt obsession one step further by using two unused belts to…customise a dress!

So a few weeks ago it was my beautiful big sister’s wedding – and what an amazing day it was! She had been so stressed and worn out but everything came together so perfectly and gorgeously, the weather was amazing, everything went as planned and everyone looked fabulous!

Myself and the other bridesmaid wore gorgeous halterneck dresses in a ‘grape’ colour. My sister had wanted them to be strapless but I explained how this could be virtually impossible for me, especially as it wouldn’t be a boob friendly dress, so we settled on halterneck. When I went for my fitting it was decided that the best course of action would be to sew my strapless deco into the dress to make sure nothing was on show and that it stayed in place.

It worked very well and I remained in place all day as the wine flowed and the dancing started and the two made me wind up with a permanent booze stain down my dress! However, next to the svelte chief bridesmaid I couldn’t help but feel frumpy and shapeless in my dress. The empire line ribbon sat just on the lower bit of my boob and halternecks and huge wide shoulders like mine are never pretty.

So I set about thinking of ways to alter it (after receiving the Bride’s blessing!)
As I am fond of bright colours I decided to use a dark pink ribbon and pearl and flower detailing to make straps, offset the newly sewn sweetheart neckline and sew around the waist. It sounded amazing and I was so fired up to make this work of art that kept me up til 5am one night. However, the finished product was pretty poor and it eas decided by some honest friends that it wasn’t the best look. You could see all of my stitching and the pearls looked tacky and threatened to fall off! Plus I had a tad too much boob on show. Below shows the dress before and after:

So I decided to try again, this time with a more simplistic approach. I was hunting through my unwanted clothes for possible pieces to help me alter it and I stumbled across my unused belt from my Pepperberry ballerina dress.

I thought of maybe using it as a belt on the altered dress and removing the pink one but then noticed that the ribbons that I had added as straps had not dealt with the pressure of containing my boobs during the few times I had tried the dress on and were practically coming off. So I then decided that I would use the belt as straps! I then found the black belt from my other ballerina dress and used that as a belt on the dress. I removed the naff pearls from the neckline, made the cleavage more modest and hey presto! The belts save the day again! Never give up on an unflattering dress if you love it enough, there are always ways to make it perfect for your shape 🙂

Do It Momma!

28 Jul

So this weekend it is my big sister’s Big Day!!! She and her fiance of course have a gift list, including the usual house appliances, especially needed as they just got an offer accepted on a house – which they have decided to name ‘Frogwell Cottage’. She and Ric got engaged in Dubai in October after meeting a few years previous due to both being in the Navy.

But I wanted to get them something truly unique and something that encompassed their relationship and journey and represent them both. And luckily I knew just the woman for the job…

Miss Star In A Bra 2011, Do It Momma Lizzie Haines!
She took all of my information and made it into the most gorgeous amazing gift – my sister will adore it! I could not have asked for a more beautiful perfect piece – Lizzie is so talented and I urge you to go ‘like’ and check out her Facebook page and you never know, she could be just who you need to make that perfect unique gift ❤

A Stitch In Time And The Dress Is Still Mine!

26 Jul

Quite a cryptic title I know, but it will all soon make sense!

So recently I had a massive clear out of all my unworn clothes to put on eBay. I came across some of my Scene Dead dresses. Due to the fact that they are halterneck I never really got much wear out of them. I decided that the Cherry Print dress was probably not going to be worn much again, but I couldn’t bear to part with my Polka Dot number. Having seen a friend adjust her dress into a strappy dress I decided to give it a go….and it worked! My stitching is not the neatest but I feel like it was a success. It is rather high at the front, however, any lower and the side of my bra was shown. I also removed the netting from the bottom of the dress – it is now perfect! Below shows me in the Cherry Print version wearing it as a halterneck, the back of my altered dress and how it now looks. It does sit over my bra, excuse my photo faux pas.

Gok Wan would be proud of me

Stitch Up!!!

27 May