I have a very lovely friend whom I’ll call “Jamie.”
I have known Jamie for almost 20 years (YIKES!!) and she has always been petite and wispy. Just don’t piss her off because you will rue the day! Anyway, last year Jamie moved 1800 miles across the country from me. We email each other long novellas once or twice a month in order to catch up on what’s going on with the other. In one of these long missives Jamie was lamenting the fact that the one clothing brand that actually makes some garments that fit her no longer makes those designs. Just like the rest of us she has a hard time finding things that fit correctly. As you can imagine, she is NOT a sweat pants and t-shirt kind of girl. So, what did I say? “Hey! I’ve been wanting to try my hand at garment sewing, but I’m not sure that Omar is still in business for me to buy material for my own clothes. How about if I try to make some clothes that actually fit you?”
I’m not sure if I’m a glutton for punishment or if I just like a challenge. Maybe a little of both based on my huge project list. Anyway, I requested a list of things from her and we both became excited at the idea of Project Custom Clothes. Since she lives 1800 miles from me I knew that the initial fittings were going to be tricky and I didn’t want to spend a small fortune on postage. So I did the next best thing… I ordered a dress form.
The day that it arrived Jay was home before me, so he decided to see how long he could hide it in plain sight.
I literally sat here for 30-45 minutes before I realized it was there. To be fair, the chair wasn’t facing that way. All I had to do was turn my head and I would have seen it. Jay thought that it was hilarious, which is fine. Turnabout is fair play and there have been MANY times that I’ve hidden stuff on Jay in plain sight.
Jay loves opening boxes so I usually let him open all of my boxes, including this one.
He knew vaguely what was in there, but wanted me to take a picture when he finally pulled the form out of the box.
He then proceeded to take the stand out, assemble it, and place the form on top.
I chose this model of dress form in case I ever had to make pants for Jamie I would actually be able to fit them to her waist, hips and backside.
In case you were wondering, this is NOT Little Orphan Addie. Her name is Addie Poppins and she’s practically perfect in every way.
There was one person who was VERY concerned, though, when he first met her.
Gary wouldn’t let Penny look at Addie at first. He had a flashback to his days in the Imperial Army where they used to leave some of their victims looking like this. Once I explained to him that Addie is a dress form and is suppose to look that way, he relaxed.
Now, Addie does not have all of Jamie’s exact measurements. I had some preliminary measurements from Jamie that I used to order Addie, then once she arrived I asked for even more measurements. The closer we can get this to having Jamie’s shape, the less hassle it will be to make clothes that fit Jamie on the first shipment.
In order to get Addie into shape I had a pile of things at hand.
You can pad the dress form out, but you can’t take away.
Jamie had told me that some of her measurements were a bit odd, but I didn’t realize just how right she was until I started trying to match Addie to her shape.
Here is a picture when I was trying to match the length from the collar to the natural waist:
I placed a piece of washi tape at the top where I estimated the collar bone to sit and then I placed another piece of washi tape at the measurement to her natural waist that Jamie gave me. Do you see that tape going around Addie’s waist? That’s where her factory natural waist sits. What this means is that my dear friend has a long torso. I double checked the measurement in the back.
At this point I checked out the manufacturer’s website to see how they suggest you “move” the natural waist. Their suggestion was to pad out the rear and hips further down so that you essentially lower them to make room for the extra length in the torso. I had a problem, though. If I moved it down the two inches that I needed then none of Jamie’s measurements would work. The waist would have been around four inches bigger than what she gave me. Obviously, that wouldn’t work.
I’ll be honest. I almost gave up at this point. It was too hard and impossible. I even swapped out tape measures to make sure that the one I was using hadn’t been stretched.
Bob checked it and he said it looked fine. He was even offering to hold the end for me. He’s such a big help!
So I sat and thought… and checked out the other measurements. If I can’t move the hips, waist, and butt down the only other way to lengthen the torso is to move the boobs and shoulders up. I figured it might be easier padding those out anyway because Jamie is not lacking in that area. So this is what I ended up with:
Bob figured that I had things under control at this point so he opted to curl up by the window on the couch and take a nap. He was spent!
I added shoulders to Addie. She kind of looks like she could be a linebacker for any of the professional football teams (and could probably score more points than any member of the current Dolphins’ team even without any arms or legs). I know that shoulder slope is important to how a garment falls on the body, but luckily most of the garments I’ll be making should be made of knits and they are usually more forgiving. Based upon the measurements I was given, Addie is almost right on for all of them. She’s slightly hippier, but not enough that it will make fitting difficult. I just have to remember that if it’s snug on her it should fit Jamie about perfect.
So we’ll see how Addie works out. Again, if she gives me the big parts of fitting so that all I might have to do is tweak the garments a little then it will be okay. Once I’ve made a few things and can see how they fit Jamie I’ll be able to tweak Addie’s measurements a little more and get her even closer to perfect.
I will post pictures of Project Custom Clothes as they make their appearance.