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A Model, a Direction, and the Upcoming Flood

After years and years of showing the entire internet how to draft patterns to my measurements-du-jour, I’ve decided to start working with a model.  There’s a couple reasons…  Firstly, I already have more costumes than I possibly know what to do with.  I have so many that I’m trying to come up with ways to get rid of them, without actually taking the huge, ego-wrenching risk of putting things on ebay and finding out that my treasured work is not worth a 25$ bid.  (I mean, really, I just don’t think I could take that…. Could you?)  Secondly, it takes a lot less fabric to cover a model than to cover an average sized girl.  Judging by just how picked over the selection of jeans in my size usually is, I’m pretty much average.  In this particular case, it’s going to take waaaay less fabric to cover the model, because she’s a doll.

Meet the new model...
Meet my new model. She eats slightly less than the professional ones....

Ain’t she the hawtness?  I feel like I should make a disclaimer statement at this point: I’ve not gone totally out of my mind.  I did, for the longest, toy with the idea of switching all of my patterning over to a 1/4 scale fashion form, which, as every fashion student knows, is basically how you do rapid development of pattern ideas.  The problem is that that is just so … boring.  I mean, clinical, almost.  And they don’t have arms.  Dolls have arms, and legs (albeit disproportionally long ones), and heads!  They can wear hats!  I can pose them and take more interesting pictures, and I might just have to make me some dolly sized furniture for that.  Tee.  The silly thing is, I hated dolls when I was a kid.  I thought they were stupid and pointless, and I wanted my Erector Set (coolest toy ever built) which was constantly being taken away and replaced with stupid dolls because a) people thought I should learn to act like a girl maybe just a little and b) I had a bad habit of leaving the little screws in the middle of the hallway, and my father had an equally bad habit of stepping on them, barefoot, in the middle of the night.  Fast-forward 30 years, and you have my mother telling me I have to stop playing with dolls and fix the plumbing.  The circle is complete.

Anyhooo…. The doll is technically a licensed Brenda Starr by Robert Tonner.  (I haven’t come up with anything more creative to call her.)  She’s pretty darned posable, which is great, and I have two of her.  I also have a Tyler Wentworth, so you can look forward to group photo-shoots in period costumes.  ;)  And yes, I did actually make her a little lace-trimmed dolly-push-up, which is possibly the most superfluous thing I’ve ever done given that her boobies are made of molded plastic and don’t require any form of support.  It just seemed lewd to put naked doll pics all over the site.

I took almost all of my old pattern drafting information down when migrated over to WordPress.  That was because most of it was many years old.  Most of them were written before I really started working with clients, and everything outside of hats happened before I went back to school and got the fashion design degree.  I read them, I don’t do things that way anymore, and I decided they needed to be done over.  So, with the help of a pint-sized model, that’s what I’ll be doing.  (She’s going to have some special considerations when it comes to corsetry, obviously, but I’ve got some thoughts on how to get around that.)

Now, about that flood….  The first thing I want to do is map out exactly how I take measurements.  Over the years, I’ve gotten questions from people about patterns that didn’t work even though they followed all the drafting directions.  I’ve also been in rooms full of fashion design students, and watched women try to locate their actual, anatomical waistline – and watched most of them point directly to the waistband on their jeans.  It’s tragic, how fashion has confused us so….  I actually had a client tell me her skirts didn’t fit – the waist was too tight and the skirt was too long – even though we’d done a full fitting and everything went together perfectly.  Can you guess the punchline?  She was trying to wear them “at my real waist – you know, where I wear all my skirts!”  I’d love to tell you this was an isolated incident of one person not paying attention, but truly, it’s not.  I’ve had the chance to watch a lot of actresses try to sort out how to put on a period-looking costume.  I’ve also seen a lot of beautifully detailed, lovingly made costumes wandering around ren faires with improbably low-rise skirts.  I mean, sure, the bodice met them and all, but the line is just not so flattering….

So I thought that the first place to start this project would be at the very beginning, because I here that’s the place to start.  When you want fit, that’s your measurements.  I’m going to be making them as individual posts, so I can link them into directions later.  So, if you’re getting the blow-by-blow through the RSS thinger, I do apologize.  This could get messy….


  1. Larue
    Larue March 23, 2010

    Hello dear! Why don’t you put your costumes up here on this site for sale, and as they sell remove the listing? That way you can put down what you think they are worth and hopefully get it. Otherwise would any costume shops be interested in them?

    I am looking forward to your fitting info! I don’t even ask about waist anymore when fitting someone. I just instruct them on where it is. Also, the single most important measuring bit I have learned is to make sure people are looking straight ahead. If they look down suddenly their garment is 2 inches shorter when they look up. Learned that one the hard way. Yikes.

  2. missa
    missa March 24, 2010

    Great point on the fittings there…. I’ll make sure I mention that in specifically on any of the length measurements, although it’s true anywhere. We’re constantly telling people to look up when we’re taking measurements in the theater. :)
    As for putting the costumes up here, that’s not a bad idea. I kinda forgot I installed a shopping cart that works for physical things and not just digital downloads.

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