Saturday, June 8, 2013

A Fitting Lecture Part 1

It's been a week since my first lecture at HandMade, and I've finally caught up with all the work that got behind the week before (mammoth haberdashery order placed today, it read like a telephone book!) so I can start putting some posts together.
It turns out, one can communicate an impressive amount of information in an hour. I was really surprised. I thought I would run out of time, especially as I tend to go off on tangents, but it was all fine.

So, here is a rundown on the first part.

 Normal vs Average

Almost noone fits patterns out of the envelope. If you do, I am genuinely thrilled for you. But it is rare. When I run an average on the daily take divided by the number of sales, the figure I get is rarely the same as a single individual sale. It's the same for patterns. They try to be average. This is NOT the same as normal. Normal implies that if you don't fit the pattern, you are not normal. But, it just means that you are not average. That has to be a good thing, surely!?!
So, your rounded shoulders or sway back or long waist are normal, because normal people have these things; or some combination of the many figure variations comprising a human body.
Are you with me so far? Good. So, step one - STOP JUDGING YOUR BODY. Because, while you are beating up on your big bust or curvy thighs or narrow shoulders, you are unable to learn anything useful about how to dress them. FACT.
Get to know the body you have, the way it is and the way it isn't. You don't have to love it or loathe it, just accept it and learn it and you will be just fine. And if it changes, learn the changes.
So, that establishes Fitting Ground Zero for me.

Zen and the limitations of language

Language is an interesting thing. I learned to fit by drawing on my dolls when I was a child, learning how the sections I made could be rendered in fabric. Eventually I started experimenting with my own clothes, and by 15 I had extended this to costumes. Noone ever asked what I was doing or how or why so I never needed any words. Until about four years ago, I was never called on to explain much at all about what I was doing. Then I discovered sewing blogs, and a world where people talked about and wrote about sewing. Wow, all these new terms! FBA, SBA, so many adjustment terms for patterns I had never heard of. Yes, I knew how to cut a muslin or tweak a pattern to fit a woman with minimal measurements, but I couldn't explain how or why I knew it. I've been working to wrap words around what I do, and the lecture was a part of that journey, but even now I often resort to those 'technical terms' like " thingamewhatsit" all too often!

After a time feeling like a fool for not knowing even the simplest terms, it dawned on me that what I knew was more than valid. On Project Runway, the designers applied tape to their dressforms like I drew on my dolls, to understand how the construction lines are rendered into fabric pieces. I was a draper, and I didn't even know it. But having said that, there is a bunch of technical stuff around draping that I may or may not know, but what I do know is I know quite enough to more than get by, and so can you.
I want you to forget everything you have learned from tutorials about doing FBAs or any other technical pattern adjustment, and roll with me for a bit. Because, a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing, and my observation of pattern adjustments such as FBAs is that they can fry your brain, cause excessive chocolate consumption, and there is no substitute for learning by getting hands on with your good self.

source Just how long do you think a Shaolin monk spends on the internet trying to learn how to do that stuff?

I know, you're thinking, well MrsC as you call yourself, that's all very well for you to say with your doll drawing and 35 years mucking about with fitting, but I am just trying to find out what to do, all right? And would you pleas stop ranting and putting up random pictures you googled and get to the freaking point???
To which I say, because I can, that I am going to leave you in suspense until the next post. Partly because I have drunk a glass of wine and it may all go Bad, partly because MrC watching the France/NZ rugby test in the same room is causing me to want to go to bed (sorry, I loathe televised sport, it makes as much sense to me as porn - i.e. doing it yourself is one thing, but watching other people do it is just weird) but mostly because my presentation is in my office and I need it to get to the actual point.
So, until tomorrow when I will return with, hopefully, some actual content! MWAH MWAH!
Best  MWAH MWAH pic of me ever!



23 comments:

  1. Hi Mrs. C, I am looking so forward to your next post.. This is fantastic, thank you so much.. I would love to learn to fit.. It is very difficult.

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    1. Maw my love, it is not difficult once you know where to look at how to explore it. I sure hope I can at least get you powered up to give it a go!

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  2. Very interesting - love the MWAH pic!

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    1. Thank you Ma'am. We were off out to a showing of the Rocky Horror Show. My goodness, that was only three years ago but it was an eternity in other ways!

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  3. Ha! Once again, you show hoe fabulous you are. I think that is the first time I've heard a test be compared to watching porn. ;-)

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    1. It's a view I feel most people have, they've just never realised it hehehe.

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  4. Don't worry, I loved the random images you googled for. lol, got a chuckle out of me!

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  5. I'm hooked, your evil plan is working......

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    1. I really must restyle my sewing room as an International Secret Lair. But no cat, sorry, there are limits! ;-)

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    2. I always thought that's what it was. Only a sewing room you say?

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    3. Oh all right. I guess it being on the top storey was a clue as to how the roof rolls back so as to launch my flying evil genius transportation device. ;-)

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    4. Well, guess who's driving the next time we go out together.

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    5. So, not so much Two Fat Ladies as Two Fat International Evil Food Geniuses, huh? I like it!

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  6. So should I buy a manikin? The frustrating part when I make clothing for myself is that it never fits. Its either to tight or to loose which is discouraging. I agree, the patterns never fit and most of the time I'm sewing the smallest size seams for a 14 as the recommended seam allowance will make the garment to small. I'm usually 12-14.

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    1. I am not a fan of mannequins. Keep reading, I will post part 2 soon! ;-)

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  7. Dearest Maryanne,

    I loved reading part one, particularly the bits about the difference between being normal and being average. So true, and so well put. It all makes me feel nearly brave enough to approach my sewing machine. Then I remember what I'd need to get out of the way first. Hmmmmm.

    I have been contemplating. Again. As a result of which I realise I have failed to thank you/hold you responsible for my own blogging efforts. You are the only person I know who blogs, you have consistently encouraged my efforts to do something in the creative realm and, perhaps most importantly, you recently (well, in the last 18 months anyway) said something in an email that stuck about the important thing being just to do something. See, I even listen, sometimes.

    Yours,
    Nellie

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    1. Oh my, thank you!! I am so enjoying reading your lucid, informative and heart warming blog, Clearly I have Excellent Taste in Friends. xoxoxxoxo

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  8. brilliant post - and love what you say. Hey i'm not normal... and proud. and as for you bit about sport on tv , made me laugh and sooooo true!!! looking forward to your next post as i shall say (because my kids hate me saying it and its fun to annoy them) you rock!xx

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    1. Verity you ARE normal, you are just not average! :) xo I love that you like to say things your kids hate too. It's sooo tempting isn't it ;-)

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  9. Yes please. Wine and fitting. In one post. Kinda ;) A good start.

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    1. Right now it's red wine and no fitting! :(

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  10. I know what you mean about all the technical jargon. Today with my newly me-made dress form I decide to tissue fit usng a well known fitting book for reference. *look of utter confusion* I didn't understand what I needed to alter for (I seemed to need every modification????)and I was going round in circles.
    It ended up rather like when I tried to cut my dolls hair as a kid...kept trying to level it out till the poor doll was bald.
    In the end dicarded the book back in the pile and just did my usual trial and error method (based on how little changes I can make, to make it fit)

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