Jenny La Fleur
one step at a time - Jenny La Fleur
adventures in costuming
one step at a time
I finally got off my lazy butt and worked on the robe anglaise a bit tonight. I enlarged the side section, (too much as it turned out), and moved the side seam back ½”. The fitting went okay, although it was way too big, particularly above the waist. Opps. :>

As I had much fabric to work with, I spent a bit of time playing around with the toile, trying to find the best way of fitting it. I smoothed one side out by taking the extra fullness in at the side seam and the other side by smoothing the side and pushing all the fullness to the front. The fullness to the front definitely didn't work. I want to try it again, only pushing *some* (1-2") of the fullness in front and removing the rest from the sides. I should have done it tonight while I was all laced up but it was getting late and I was tiring of messing with it. Tomorrow is another day. I spaced out and forgot to take pics of the toile all pinned but I'll do it when I try it on again…

In addition to using a pattern this time around, I’ve also altered my “method” by doing *all* the fittings on me and not Narcissa. Normally I would do the original fitting on Narcissa then tweak it on myself. However, I think one of my problems has been that I’m not accurately approximating my 18th century shape on the dress form, despite my measurements and padding. :>

Trying to tweak a toile while it’s on me is a challenge but so far so good. My arms are still a bit numb from holding and pinning behind and to the side so frequently. I definitely have a better appreciation for my lovely Narcissa now. *wink*


4 comments | comment?
koshka_the_cat From: koshka_the_cat Date: March 29th, 2005 08:58 pm (UTC) (link)
Good luck!

If it's any help, I do all my fittings on me. I have a dressform and would be lost without it. But only for skirt things and display :) I don't think dressforms are easy to get close enough to you to work for such a fitted thing as the average period dress...

I'm always running into people who say it's impossible to fit yourself. It's not! You'll get it. Isn't it fun though? Twisting and pulling, etc. One thing I've found is that you (or I do, at least) normally need to take things in a little more in back than you've pinned. Just a hair, maybe an 1/8" or so. Once I started doing that I seemed to get a little faster at things. So, once you do this a bit, you'll learn any quirks you have in self fitting :)

Glad it's going well!
jennylafleur From: jennylafleur Date: March 30th, 2005 06:14 am (UTC) (link)
Thanks for the tip! It's good to know someone is actually successful doing it this way too. Thanks. :>

I'm learning that my dressform is good for some things and not for others. Narcissa worked beautifully for LOTR and teens frocks but not for 18th century or regency corsets. :> Ah, yes the twisting and pulling... *great* fun. :> I need to remember to do some stretching exercises before my next fitting! *hee hee*
h_wimsey From: h_wimsey Date: March 30th, 2005 01:39 pm (UTC) (link)
This brings back memories of padding out the dress forms in the costume shop at my college. So much work and so hard to be accurate.

BTW, I'm in the market for a dress form. Can you recommend a good place to look for one or a particular kind to get?
jennylafleur From: jennylafleur Date: March 30th, 2005 08:49 pm (UTC) (link)
Dress forms… I guess it depends on what you want to use the dressform for and how you go about constructing things.

I'm happy with my Dritz TwinFit, Narcissa. The TwinFit was the one most recommended to me when I was shopping for my form, although I can’t remember now why it was better than the Dritz My Double...

There are some things she is not good for but I'm learning the differences between us and make appropriate adjustments. :> My biggest complaint is that her neck to waist measurement is not adjustable and she is a little short for my sister and I at times. I purchased her from and was happy with the transaction. I waited for a sale on the site, so I got her for a good price too.

I know Hunnisett recommends not using the telescoping kind (like Narcissa), as when draping you invariably need to pin where there is a blank space. Eventually I'd love to have a professional French form but they are very expensive and my weight fluctuates so much it may never be practical for me. As I've lost weight and watched my figure change over the past few years, buying the adjustable form has been a good thing.

Good luck!
4 comments | comment?