Thursday, July 01, 2010

It’s Fitting

Interestingly, current discussions around the blogs and forums about how clothing fits are much more detailed than I’ve heard in the past. Back when I learned to sew (in the dark ages of the mid-to-late 1960’s) fit was fairly close but not as highly tailored as it was in the earlier decades. Little sheath dresses, mini-skirts, simple pantsuits and vests were what I was making at the time. Of course, that was when I was a young skinny-minnie! In the 1970’s I was creating baby onesies and little girl dresses for my kids and ethnic smocks and long dresses for myself. The fit was more relaxed and it got even more so during the ’80’s and ’90’s when I was sewing long loose shirts, mid-calf-length dresses and the like. This is one from that era (1984) that I actually still wear:


It’s a pattern size 10 and by rights should be way too small. But it was so loose then that now it isn’t. Heh. A teensy bit tattered but then it’s over 26 years old! Soft blue cotton twill that barely needs ironing after laundering. So comfy. No wonder it’s still in the wardrobe.

And this TNT (Tried ‘N’ True) one from 1986 has seen at least 3 incarnations:


I have to finish sewing the last one but wear the first two often. The size Small still fits me loosely so you can guess how much ease is in this pattern. I like the rolled sleeves and longer back hem. There’s a pleat in the back providing more room. And no, I never made the one that ties in front.

Ah! Here’s one where you could fit 2 of me in the coat I made from it!


The pattern is from 1987 but the coat I made is circa 1996 and used recycled and hand-stamped fabrics and carved bone buttons, each one different. Love it though I might have to take it in somewhat if I want to wear it again. I made the t-shirt but it never fit properly (wrong proportions for me) but the pants with some waist alterations were the best fit I ever found and I made a number of pairs over the years. They have a flat fly-front but elastic back which is one reason why they worked so well. I must have a “Vogue butt”! (Apparently different pattern company’s pants fit certain bodies better.) A bit tight on me now though and I’m hoping to come up with an even better fitting pants pattern eventually.

Loose to very-loose fit means that it doesn’t matter where the armhole falls because the shoulders are wide and dropped. Some are kimono style with the sleeve cut onto the body. The body is also loose and often has tucks or gathers - darts and zippers are rare to nonexistent. Also rare are fitting issues when you are enveloped in a tent! As long as the neckline isn’t choking and the sleeves aren’t dragging on the ground, you’re good to go. Unfortunately these extreme styles are usually not particularly flattering on any body type. Sells fabric though.

Fit is a much bigger issue when clothes are supposed to fit tighter to the body than we’ve become used to. If it fits closer then it needs to fit better and how one’s body shape differs from “standard” becomes a much more important issue. This current blouse (which I haven’t made yet) is an example:


Not sure what it will look like when I’ve “damselflied” it so we’ll see. And I think the retro-1950’s look is really cute. At least with the younger crowd who can get away with it. Unfortunately I can’t wear a tight bodice with a gathered skirt on this body. I’m certainly not going to wear a tight girdle like they did in the ‘50’s! Ugh. Yes, girls, underwear was Serious Stuff in those days. You young’uns have no idea.

But are fashions heading towards larger-scale and loose again? This one is less closely fitted:


I like that line (but not the ruffled-sleeved one – they look like wings) and it would be great in something linen-like or even hand-woven. Could also be a longer tunic or dress version.

Anyway as I’ve mentioned before, I personally prefer clothes that are neither too tight nor too loose. I’m all about the comfort or I won’t wear it. I’ve been really lazy over the last while and just bought baggy-stretchy things but I’m trying to turn over a new leaf. So that means to get what I really want, I’ll have to make it myself.

Meanwhile, I struggle with my basic slopers. At least I have many decades of sewing experience and I’m learning a lot of new things while I’m playing around. And of course when I get tired of bending my brain around my anatomy, I knit. Coming up the front of Stargazer’s new sweater now.

So it’s off to play itajime (clamp-resist dyeing) with my Spectrum Study Group today. I’ve made a salad of lightly steamed snow and snap peas from my garden in a ginger dressing for the potluck lunch. Never a dull moment, eh?

Happy Canada Day! And Sad Tax Day in BC. (HST sucks! What where they thinking?)

1 comment:

Sharon in Surrey said...

OMG - I have that Butterick pattern!! I made those big shirts in rayon or indian cottons for years as summer tops over leggings or knee length shorts!! It remains one of my favorite patterns!