My first project was akgnome, who needed a new pattern for a doublet. That was easy. In fact, we went so fast that I amazed even myself. As drafting and fitting a new pattern, I believe I broke my own record.
Then it was psalite. That went even faster, since it was just a matter of pinning a modern sun dress, the kind where you purchase the ruched fabric and all you need is to sew in the back.
Take number 3 was the fabulous Cassie, who has dropped so much weight that her old Florentine gown does not fit her anymore. Needless to say, not only she needed a new pattern, but she wanted something in a more 1480's cut. I have fitted those over and over on various people with no problem. However, my fitting fu was off yesterday. Or maybe I needed more coffee. Who knows?
My first mistake was not to ask her to bring the bodice pattern that I had fitted for her back in December. Okay, so that was for a Tudor gown, but the proportions would have helped. Instead, I started with a much too big mockup and took it from there. Adding to the fu was the fact that the weave of the linen she brought for said mockup was a bit too loose, and the fabric kept moving on me. And although I was able to manage a reasonably supportive bodice, the front opening kept getting crooked and no amount of adjusting would help.
For those who are not familiar with the 1480's Florentine style, also called a gamurra it looks like this. If you notice, it is open in the front, which makes getting in and out of it a lot easier, as opposed to back laced bodices where you need a second person helping you get dressed. (Florentine garments were incredibly practical.) It is also most likely unboned, and the support comes from the bodice itself, which needs to be fitted correctly to the person's body in order to support the breast. Much was written in period about tailors fitting ladies for these sorts of garments, since some manhandling of the girls is necessary in order to keep them in place.
One must always remember that bras were not invented until the turn of the 20th Century. But the fact that the bra was not invented yet didn't mean that ladies went out commando and flopped their goods around. My approach to costuming is that women's dilemma across the centuries was always what to do about the boobs. We all have them, and they must be taken care of. This was true when we were living in caves, and it's true today.
As a result, boobs have been wrapped, bound, corseted, and generally whipped into submission by a variety of methods. This is what gives you a particular silhouette depending on the era. And this is the difference between a bad costume and a good reproduction. And why Hollywood gets it wrong most of the time. A boob in a bra is a boob in a bra, no matter how "period" your garment wants to look like. If you don't have the right kind of curve (or lack of thereof), your garment looks like a 21st Century garment trying to look like what it's not.
But I digress.
After an hour or two of pinning, adjusting, and general cursing, I arrived to the conclusion that the Cass would not be leaving my house with an ill fitting pattern. Therefore, I announced then and there that I was scrapping the whole project and starting all over. And this time, I was using my own pattern, which was now slightly large on me, and a different fabric. Preferably one that would not move on me. As for the fabric, I dug out a much forgotten piece of cotton trigger in a camouflage pattern, a remnant of a time in which I had decided that making rapier armor in such a material would be incredibly hilarious. (I have learned since that a) cotton trigger wants to kill you, especially on the rapier field; and b) attempting to wear such a garment at the Pennsic rapier woods battle is not only idiotic for the reason stated before, but also because the marshallate does not find it funny at all.)
At any rate, although the cammo trigger was less than ideal, especially taking into account that one should always make these mockups in a material similar to that you are going to use in your final garment, I was so fed up with moving fabrics that I just went for it. I must say, it worked like a charm. Not only it didn't move, but it provided the structure I needed and in no time we had a perfectly fitting, supportive mockup. No crooked lines or anything.
Heck, we will have another fitting at a later date, this time cut in a better fabric. But at least, now we have a shape we can work with.
Man, I am sooooo, getting my Laurel card yanked after this one.
But the pattern fits.
And that's what counts.
I feel better now.