Thursday, December 2, 2010

My body is freakishly deformed

OK, so I'm exaggerating - a lot.  But after having taken Kenneth King's Moulage workshop the first weekend of November, I had some major "OMG" moments.  And I got to hang out with a bunch of great women, too, like EleanorSews from (and, yes, red really *is* her color!). AND, I got to sleep in that extra hour when Daylight Saving Time ended. What more could you ask for?

The lovely EleanorSews, hard at work drafting her moulage
The most interesting thing I took away from the workshop was the realization that even though I had surgery to correct my spinal curvature when I was 16, I'm still pretty crooked. Which helps explain the numerous wadders and countless hours of frustration I've had when sewing for myself.

A little background:  My lower spinal curve (the more significant one) was so extreme prior to my operation that I could drop a plumb line from my waist down my left leg without any bulging out at the hip.  My right side had an extremely high, jutting hip bone, which made pants fitting (with my then-teenage fitting skills) pretty much impossible. I also had a curvature in my upper spine, but it was not severe enough to require surgery (or maybe it wasn't back then, I'll give my doctor the benefit of the doubt). After I had the surgery, in which seven vertebrae were fused together, I found myself with matching hip curves.  (Well, not exactly *right* after the surgery...there was that pesky seven months I spent in a body cast - but I digress...)

Fast forward to the moulage workshop in November 2010.  I already knew what my "problem" areas were going into the workshop:  lower right shoulder, long arms and thick waist/high hip curve. (And let's not forget The Girls.) 

Photo taken just before Kenneth started fitting me. I wish I'd thought to
take one afterward so you could see how much better it fit, but I
couldn't wait to take it off.  He's a very funny guy, and a really great teacher.

Remember that upper spinal curve that didn't get straightened out? Turns out my entire upper body is tilted to the right, like a living Leaning Tower of Pisa.  Not so much that anyone would notice unless I pointed it out (my head seems to be level atop my neck), but my center front angles slightly off to the right side (as if I'm leaning over slightly sideways) *above* the waist, while my CF is nearly perpendicular to the floor from the waist down. It was completely obvious during the fitting process, when Kenneth pinned out wedge-shaped darts across the front and back of the moulage at the waist and above my bust.

For years, I've been taking up extra fabric (about 5/8") on my right shoulder seam, and tapering to nothing at the neckline.  It wasn't great, but was better than nothing at all, or so I thought.  (Silly, silly woman.)  Here's another place I've been screwing up when fitting myself all these years:  when I pinned out excess fabric in a muslin, I would adjust things so I removed the same amount of fabric on both the right and left side, even though (in hindsight) I was pinning out wedges that tapered to nothing on the left side of my body.  I just assumed I needed to take the same amount out on each side, and that I must have done something wrong while pinning out the excess fabric.  Like I said, silly woman.

I felt badly for my partner, Loreen, because my moulage looked not-so-hot before Kenneth started pinning and marking it up. ("It's my *body* that's the problem, not your measuring skills!").  Actually I felt badly for her, having me as her partner - I was nervous, and went too fast, rather significantly mismeasuring her back shoulder width, which caused things to be off quite a bit during the drafting process.  (Sorry 'bout that!)  Fortunately, everything was tidied up during the fitting process.

Kenneth King fitting my moulage.

Once I got out of the moulage (and was able to breathe again!), I set to work transferring the markings to the flat pattern. Because of my asymmetry, I had to draft a full front (left and right sides on one piece, rather than one half laid out on the fold) as well as separate left and right back pattern pieces. It didn't take long before I was *completely* overwhelmed by the task, but Kenneth came over and went to work. He is *insanely* quick, and accurate as all get out. Nevertheless, he had to spend a great deal of time on mine.  (I definitely got my money's worth from this workshop!) 

Kenneth demonstrating how to draft the moulage. 

This newfound insight about my body does not bode well for any future sewing involving stripes or plaids, although Kenneth did make a point of telling me how to deal with it:  Use the higher side shoulder line and the lower side armhole depth on *both* sides, and pad the lower shoulder to fill it out to match the higher one.  This way the stripes or plaid patterns will look the same on both sides, and I will appear to be balanced and symmetrical.

Since I had to make separate right and left sides for the front and back, I wasn't able to finish drafting all the slopers before the end of the workshop (we were shown how to add wearing ease to the moulage to draft slopers for a blouse/dress, a jacket and a coat).  Since I got home, I've been able to transfer my moulage to oaktag, and I've drafted the blouse/dress sloper.  I'm hoping to get some time to sew a dress before Christmas (I am dying to make a sheath dress that FINALLY FITS!), but if not, I'll be taking my sewing machine along on our trip to Sugarloaf at the end of the month (my husband and daughter are the skiers in the family; me, not so much).  I'm also going to sew up my moulage using some heavy denim to make a dress form.  Woot!

1 comment:

  1. Oh wow, what an instructive weekend!! You surely did get your money's worth. Will you be posting some items made from your new patterns?


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