The biggest challenges I faced making the Gertie Bombshell Dress proved to be emotional and psychological. I really, really struggled to come to terms with the zero ease required for the bodice.
What’s zero ease? Usually an item will have a certain amount of ease in it. A skirt has ease so that you can sit down. A top has ease so that you can lift your arms. Patterns may tell you how much ease an item should have. But in the case of the Bombshell Dress, Gertie told us that the bodice needed to have zero ease so that this bustier corseted dress would stay upright on our bodies without gaping.
I had to make two toiles of my bodice to get the fitting right. Just a few millimetres can make all the difference between perfect, snug, too tight or too loose. I also found it difficult to judge how one layer of calico in the toile would translate into the fitting on a final item that would include lining, underlining and batting in the cups. Wouldn’t, you know, things be different?
Finally, I started cutting into the fashion fabric and making the dress. All the way along, my heart would flutter with anxiety, my head screaming, It’s going to be too small! It’s going to be too small!
How ironic that the bodice DID end up being too small, but that was mainly because I’d decided to give my dress a generously lapped zipper (because Gertie had) and I thought my fitting could magically accommodate a similair generous lapped zipper. (Because I subconsciously want to BE Gertie, I suspect. But sewing crushes are a whole other blog post. We all have them, right?)
My panic came from the fact that I’ve spent most of my life trying to hide my body beneath loose layers. When clothes shopping, I’d automatically grade up a size. I need a size 12? Let’s buy it in a 14, then. Just to be on the safe side. (I had to really train myself out of that habit and it can still be an issue in my sewing.) Never, ever have I owned a dress with boning or one that has built in cups. I mean, it’s just not me!
It’s come as quite a surprise that this dress looks kind of flattering. It’s not perfect, but it’s been a labour of love. However, I could be the person cowering in a corner, arms crossed over my body, on our Bombshell Meet Up. Humour me. Once I’ve had a cocktail or two, I may take off my coat and open the door to body confidence!
Waiting To Be Opened
Have you had similair emotional or psychological issues with fitting? Or have you fitted clothes to others, struggling to interpret issues that your client doesn’t even know how to vocalise? I’d love to hear.