The answer: I need more instruction. I need help with fitting.
And now, a sequence of events has begun that will take me where I want to go. I had my first lesson with Susan Khalje last month and we covered a LOT of ground in the afternoon we spent together. I used the muslin from that lesson to sew a dress already and this weekend I sewed another muslin that will go to Englewood, New Jersey for my dress form.
This time, I took darts out of the sleeve cap to get a smooth fit.
This makes me a little breathless: I am getting a custom-made dress form from Wolf Forms. You can see a video here about how these dress forms are made. I considered getting a My Twin dress form, geography played a big role in the decision. New Jersey is close and California is far.
I want to discuss this just a little bit - a custom made dress form is certainly not necessary for most people. In fact, Susan showed me an example of a Roxy dress form that she recommends to her students. It is a much less expensive option. In the draping class taught by Susan and Julien Cristofoli, they spend the first day padding out the forms to match the students' measurements.
But I have a little experience with this. I already own a Fabulous Fit Dress Form and it works about the same way as the Roxy. I had a really great experience when I bought this dress form back in 2003. I called and spoke with someone about my measurements and she helped me decide on a rather small form in order to accomodate my shoulders. When I got it, I padded it out with the foam pads and some quilt batting and it has served me pretty well. Not great, just pretty well. The problem I have with a standard size dress form is that ... well ... you can see it here:
I could not resist including the cute guy who hangs out in my sewing room with me :)
OK, where was I ... the dress form. The dress form's bosom starts higher than the bosom on yours truly. Unless I get out the electric turkey carving knife, there is not much I can do. And of course, the back and shoulders are not at all like my back and shoulders.
So, this is just a short version of how I came to this decision. It is a big decision. I went up to Wolf in June and got measured. I came home and fretted quite a bit that I my measurements seemed too big. (Had I gained weight? Was it a fluctuation? Somehow my waist was up by 4 inches- yikes!)
It wasn't purely a vanity issue - it was a practical issue. This dress form will be my fitting buddy for a long time. It is OK if I go up in size because I can always pad it out. But if my size goes down - well that's not as good. So I called them back and said, "Don't start my dress form yet!" The company was closing for a few weeks in July for vacation, so we agreed I would come back after then to be re-measured. Tomorrow is the day I call to re-schedule. (yippeeee!!)
[And I did drop those extra inches very quickly by keeping an eye on food portions and increasing the exercise. I feel better, too!]
I discussed this with Susan during my lesson. It was really helpful to get her opinion and she agreed that the Roxy wasn't going to work well for me; if I'm willing to spring for the Wolf- then that is really the best option.
Now, I feel I have only written a summary, so feel free to ask if you are curious about anything. When I go back, I intend to take my camera and take pictures. When we were there last, it was a very enjoyable visit. We got a tour of the work areas and met the people who craft the dress forms. They are a very friendly company and they take pride in their product.
OH, and YES, I did try to make a duct tape dummy. LOL. That did not work.
OK, it is time to eat. One more thing- look at the new front garden! A camelliia bush, daphnes and lariapes.