This article embarks on a three-part series, showing how I approached the fitting process for the BF Oxford Shirt.
I’ll start by saying I’m not a fitting expert. So some of this narrative will seem like a “two steps forward, one step back” sort of process (or even “one step forward, two steps back” in my case!).
As I understand it, that can even be the case for professionals who work their way through fitting a client. Fitting is a problem solving exercise, and sometimes experimentation is in order to find the best solution to a problem.
But what I will do is try to share some of the principles I’ve learned, and how I applied them in this process. And in fact, while going back over my notes to write these articles, I’ve made some further realizations about the fitting adjustments I made and their effect on the garment.
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Please rest assured, this hasn’t (permanently) turned into a women’s sewing blog. I have a shirtmaking project in the works that I plan a big blog series about – if you want to see the sneak preview I’ve been posting pictures on my Instagram feed, @lineofselvage.
In the meantime, here’s an update on my progress in the Fashion Draping course I’m taking at City College of San Francisco. Since the midterm, we’ve done projects including draping flared skirts, dartless torsos, fitted torsos, and draping with knits. But two projects stand out.
A bustier is a strapless bodice top that fits very closely to the body (though you can add a strap to it once draped). It is different from a corset in that the bustier sits right on the body, while a corset is actually smaller than the body.
Ideally, the shaping in a bustier is accomplished by seams. Each seam provides a place where the fabric can be sculpted and shaped over the body. One requirement is that a seam of some sort crosses the bust point, or the apex of the bust. This allows for shaping of the bust area.
We use draping tape to mark the style lines of the design. Each line becomes a seam in the bustier, and is also part of the design. Everyone was encouraged to make their own original design; mine had many style lines and curves.
This is a men’s sewing blog – even the tagline claims “by men, for men”, but I have to stop and tell you all about the first dress I made in my Fashion Draping course!
Doesn’t my dress form look sensational in her cotton broadcloth dress? She’s ready to wheel down the runway.
Between personal life, the holidays, and other hobbies, work on my Shacket project has progressed at a rather stately pace. But I have made a new muslin that represents some real forward progress on the project.
With Muslin B, I wanted to check and validate the fitting changes from the first shacket draft, this time with linings and interlinings in place so I can take into accout the volume they add to the finished garment. But this muslin was equally useful to practice lining insertion, and to help make style decisions.
I am using fuschia bull denim for the outer fabric, black polyester fleece for interlining, and yellow polyester charmeuese for the lining as described in my previous article in the series. To me, the colors look garish, but others at the sewing studio commented the fuschia denim and yellow lining actually went together. Who knew!
In the first installment of this series, I drafted a pattern block for the shacket based upon a dress-shirt pattern I had fit to myself. I enlarged the garment and drafted a new sleeve based on a draft from a textbook.
I stitched up a trial garment from actual muslin fabric and posed for these high-fashion fitting photos. The grainlines are marked by vertical lines, and cross-grain lines (used to evaluate horizontal balance) are also marked. I got this technique from Sarah Veblen’s fitting courses, but it’s also basically the same thing that Don McCunn’s pattern-drafting book does with gingham fabric for his trial muslins. It gives you visual cues so you can see how the grainline of the fabric hangs on the body.