Monday, February 4, 2013

Pimp My Pencil Skirt: The Squish Factor

The Craft Lounge is still being used as a guest bedroom (6 weeks and counting, folks). I didn't realize what a luxury it is to have a dedicated sewing space before now! But family is family, and so I'm trying to content myself with small or easy projects that I can do at the dining room table and then pack away in the evening.

But I'm definitely feeling the call of a "Big" project. So, even though I have a bunch of easy and fun projects in the works, I've begun drafting my pimped pencil skirt.

Step one was to get Phin to take some measurements.

A bit more "me" with purple hair colored in, don't you think?

Now, here's a few questions for you: How often do you measure yourself? What measurements to you take? Do your measurements fluctuate? If yes, do only some fluctuate and do you have an idea why?

I take a few basic measurements (full/high/underbust, waist, hips) almost every time I start a new project or buy fabric for a project. Given that 16 months ago I was training for a half marathon and then 8 months ago I had to take steroids for an injury, I'm used to a small amount of variation.

But that aside, I've also noticed that my measurements regularly fluctuate within about an inch depending on the time of the month (full bust), what I've eaten (waist) or how active I've been (hips/thighs). My high- and underbust seem to stay pretty static. It's the, um, squishy parts that change.

When Phin helped me take the above set of measurements, I noticed they were slightly larger than is normal for me. It was right after the holidays. "Too much egg nog," I said to myself and moved on. But a few days further removed from the holidays and travel I decided to confirm the measurements, and they were back to "normal" - about an inch smaller at the waist and half an inch elsewhere.

I'm wondering if you have a similar experience. Do you feel like there is a little bit of a Squish Factor at play? And do you/how do you account for it in your sewing? I tend to use the "smaller normal" numbers because I'd rather that my clothing be a bit snug a few days a month than too loose the rest of the time.

On another note, one of the things I'm most excited for is sewing along with Marina. In fact, I went to a Couture Hand Sewing meet up she organized about two weeks ago and learned how to fell stitch and hand overcast.

Sample stitches

So, I feel like an upping of my game is immanent, and that my pencil skirt is going to be a couture affair. Hopefully, I'll have my muslin in good working order by this time next week. 

Anyways, later this week I have another fun, shiny garment that is done done done to post, as long as I can get a few pictures.


House of Pinheiro said...

My measurements vary daily. I check them every project. If variations it's small I don't tinker my block but since I lost almost 9 pounds since Christmas I find I may have to alter my block. My main variations are on the bust and waist. I rarely change size on my hips.. I think water retaintion play a part.

I'm very jealous of your couture meet up/ class

T. Sedai said...

Looking forward to your skirt! And, yes, having dedicated sewing space is a luxury that really helps with production time. And with big projects.

Oh, and I also notice fluctuations in measurements depending on the time of month, diet, etc. I feel like an inch variation is probably normal, when it is more than that then it probably needs to be accounted for in sizing a pattern.

I don't measure myself that often, once every few months, or if a pattern sizing doesn't work out the way I expect.

Neeno- Sew Me Love said...

yep my waist measurements always change! sometimes up to 5cms a day after a big feed!

Ginger said...

My waist measurements are all over the place-- if I lose or gain an ounce, it's always right at the waist line. The couture sewing meetup must have been fun! Your samples look really cool!

Maggie Smith said...

Same here, my waist and thighs seem to fluctuate. Unfortunately, bust never ;) I agree, the couture meet-up sounds like so much fun!

LinB said...

I have someone help me take a whole plethora of measurements, using a guidesheet used in a college theatrical costume shop. There are even esoteric things such as closed fist measurement (to be sure you can shove your hand through a sleeve cuff), shoe size, and various head measurements (for wigs and hats -- for these you might need to know distance between ears on either front or back of head). My sheet at age 21 is decidedly different than my sheet at age 54. I've shrunk a bit in height. Bust is bigger around, but hangs far lower, and the point-to-point is wider. Waist back is about the same, waist front is much larger; etc. etc. The more measurements you have, the better, especially when drafting from scratch. "How would you like your chicken dressed?" is a question that haunted our pattern-drafting class. It turns out that what was needed was a costume to make a human look like a chicken, not something for a production of Romeovum and Juliegg by residents of the local poultry farm.

Clio said...

I think they're going to do it again - go to Meet Up and search for NYC Couture Dress Making.

Clio said...

When there is more than that I need to account for it in my brownie allotment... LOL

Clio said...

Trust me when I say that the bust fluctuations are very not fun (ie: usually PMS oriented).

Clio said...

LOL - My chicken prefers formal attire.

Clio said...

LOL - Same!

mimi jackson said...

There is almost always fluctuation. Athletes, and thin people (nothing to squish) have the least variance in their measurements. As a professional dressmaker, though, I can tell you, that pretty much every body changes in some way over the course of a few weeks, or even days!

poppykettle said...

Yeah, i go with the smaller normal numbers too. I can handle the squish factor for those few days in every month! I also take my measurements most every project too... but only because I seem unable to commit them to memory!

LinB said...

So did the owner of the gas station who commissioned the chicken suit!