These were the challenges I focused on while preparing for our first meeting. The depth of the issues appeared when I took her measurements, but only became clear to me as we started to work with fitting muslins.
I anticipated a curved upper back, and the necessity of using a center-back seam on the shirt to accomodate that. I also knew the pants would need to come further up at the back waist for coverage when standing. The things that took my by surprise and challenged me in making fitting corrections had to do with the twisted torso and neck that is a result of the way Claire's right shoulder tilts downward bringing her left shoulder up, while her left hip swings toward the front. Leaving 1 inch seam allowances in the first muslin didn't cut it - I needed to pin in strips of muslin and draw the side seam where it needed to go, but later refused to believe that I truly had to add a good 2 inches to the back at the left side seam. The first muslin fit her neck beautifully on her right side, yet needed a new neckline drawn in on the left and the excess cut away, to fit the additional length up to the higher shoulder.
And how in the world should I handle a full bustline that rests just above the waist? No one is going to tell this lady that she needs to wear a bra that will hold her up higher - she's comfortable in her jersey camisole.
|Kwik Sew 3660, from their website|
Darts or not? I think not, as they'd have to be horizontal at the midriff or waist, or pointing downward. So that fullness was rotated into the shoulder as gathers, allowing me to make the lower front of the shirt wide enough to comfortably "button" (close with velcro) all the way down, while keeping the shoulders and neck smaller for Claire's petite build. But could I incorporate a back yoke with a forward shoulder seam, to mimic the shirt style these clients really like?
The real difficulty with fitting this garment was working around her walker - having to be prepared for very short stints of standing time, and the changes that inevitably needed to be made when seated. This photo shows her usual stance, while walking and relaxed.
But her lovely smile tells me this was worth it - and one of the most rewarding projects I've ever worked on.
Next time - the saga continues: corduroy pants!