Sunday, 22 May 2011

Dressmaking...The Final Frontier



I'm not quite sure where to start with this post so I'll just 'plunge' straight in.


I've got big boobs!


This is no boast my friends quite the opposite, without getting deeply embroiled in a moaning monologue, they make clothes shopping very depressing if not almost impossible.



I don't own any blouses or shirts, I have 2 dresses. The first was bought about 3 years ago for a wedding (floaty and far too dressy for everyday wear) and the second was bought in desperation from a charity shop last year whilst away on holiday when there was an unexpected heatwave and I'd only packed jeans and jumpers!(this one being rather Monroe-esque and far too clingy for my ample figure). My entire wardrobe seems to be made up of dark trousers and stretchy t shirts.



Now I'm really quite a girly girl and occasionally I'd like to dress as such, nothing fancy just a simple dress and pretty flipflops when its warm, you know the kind of thing.




As you may have noticed I'm quite handy with a sewing machine. I can stitch up a fabric cupcake or a pretty bunny rabbit without too many problems so I thought, why not have a go at making your own dress Fiona.

Excellent idea!


Now I have dabbled with dress making once or twice before. At the age of 12 I made a hidious brown polyester A line skirt at junior school. At about 16 I made a pair of floral baggy elasticated shorts and in my 20's I managed quite a nice v neck fitted dress, so I know my way around a pattern, notches, seam allowance, tailors tacks etc., shouldn't be too much of a problem...


With the help of my mum I carefully chose my pattern, multi sized, flattering crossover v neck, simple straps and back. I'd even thought about how to customise it myself to give extra bossom room. How difficult could it be?



THIS DIFFICULT!


Here are my THREE calico attempts at getting the bodice to fit! You can see the last one has notes written on it to help if I'm ever desperate enough to pick it up and have another try!


I altered the armholes, I added more fabric under the bust, I even made darts where there weren't any... all in vain. I tried it on, I pinned, I took it off, I snipped, I stitched, I tried it on, I pinned I took it off. On and on until I chucked it on the floor and pouted like a child.


Now I don't like to be beaten. I had set out to make a dress and a dress I was going to have. After a quick rummage in my fabric stash I pulled out a length of navy jersey type fabric that was about 14 years old. I remember buying it from a Laura Ashley remnants basket with the intention of making child #2 some leggings when she was a toddler (she's now 16 and wouldn't be seen dead in Laura Ashley). I grabbed a stretchy crossover top from my wardrobe and plonked it on the fabric and drew around it. Without any measuring or messing around I quickly cut it out and started stitching. What I haven't told you is that it was now 4pm and we were going out with friends for a meal a 7pm.


I snipped and stitched like a woman possessed, not bothering to measure, tack or mess around making sure my seam allowances and turnings were correct.


two and a half hours later...


TA-DAA!
Home made maxi dress with tie belt.


And yes I wore out to our dinner date even though I'd not had time to turn the hem up, (nobody noticed) and I felt wonderful in it. It's sooooo comfortable and girly, I can't wait to wear it again.



Don't laugh! I know it looks... well ... odd, but it was the only thing I could think to do, to make my lovely slender maniquin (Ethel Maud) more my shape. Necessity, the mother of invention and all that. This is attempt #3.


My own design again but with a stable fabric.(I told you I don't like to be beaten.)


It's NOT going well.


I'll keep you informed...


love Fi x


Edited to add...


For all of you girls out there with plenty of 'boobage' (I love that term Bibbitybob and if I could, I'd give you some) Bravissimo do a range of clothes for big boobed women called Pepperberry. A little out of my everyday price range but much better than the stuff they used to do.


59 comments:

GerryART said...

Your look wonderfully great in your new dress.
Can't wait to see what you turn out next.
btw, Good Luck ! ! ! :*)
hugs
Gerry

Miss Holly said...

Oh my gosh....we could be twins....all I can say is " I know exactly how you feel!!! ". I did the exact same thing to my dress form....I just wish I could have an exact copy of my body so I could design as I go..well..I think your creation is fantastic.. That is a very flattering style top..I would never have thought so but last year I got a bathing suit with that style and I have to say it looks sort of well...not terrible on me!!! Well...I love what you have done and I wish we lived a little closer so we could help each other out!!!!!

Allyson said...

Your dress look great on you! Well done :)

Jude said...

Blimey, you don't like to be beaten , do you?
The dress is wonderful, and the head and shoulder pic is lovely..Well done you!!!
Take care
Jude

Sandi said...

What a gorgeous photo and you don't even look stressed having been at your sewing machine for hours. I am the opposite in size and still couldn't get things to fit, I was a wizz sewing for the kids tho'.
x Sandi

marigold jam said...

What a beautiful lady you are and so clever too! Your dress looks great. Some ladies would die for a figure like yours I'm sure!

Heather said...

Love you blog....was looking at the net for soething to help me with machine embroidery and yours came up on a search...Love your dress! Off to have a read of your blog now! Heather x

wendz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
wendz said...

Sorry I deleted the first comment because something went wrong and there were deleted words.....so to try again.

You did good there.

I made myself a skirt last week - admittedly much easier than a dress - and it took me more than 2 and a half hours of measuring, pinning, fitting and repinning. I know too well the frustrations of sewing for one's self.

Keep going though - I bet with persistence you will learn a lot and succeed in the end.

I want to make more of my own clothes simply because I like sewing, and I like wearing unique items.

Riddlers cottage flowers said...

You look great what a fab dress and a one off. Me I am as flat as a pancake. I love the fact that you never gave up so like me!I think you will have every big boob girl knocking your door down for you to make them one or two.Love Lesley x

bibbitybob said...

That maxi dress is gorgeous, it looks amazing on you! Can I have one too please (and I'll take any spare boobage whilst you're there too!) ;) x

mlh79 said...

The dress looks great, especially since it was a bit of a rush-job in the end! I think it must be amazing to be able to make your own clothes - I'm completely in awe of anyone who can!

Good luck with the next one!

Jane said...

That dress is super, well done! I can recommend Design-It-Yourself Clothes by Cal Patch, really good value as you save on patterns.

Jules said...

Made me laugh! I think when you get more mature your shape changes beyond recognition - at least beyond the recognition of clothes designers and I have been toying with the same idea. I made a top last year along the lines of a very expensive White Stuff top I own and am now going to have a go at a dress after your success story. Fab cupcakes btw - the only sort I can have if I am every going to fit into shop bought clothes! x

Sally said...

Wow the dress looks amazing, very jealous of the dress and the figure! I've not done much dressmaking myself apart from simple a-line dresses for my daughter, would love to have a go, maybe soon!

ShabbyChicShaz said...

Love your dress and I loved reading this post. Great dedication and passion, love the pout, I've had the same one whilst throwing my uncooperative knitting on the floor, lol. You look amazing in your dress, go girl go x

moonstruckcreations said...

The new dress looks fabulous, well worth all the trials and tribulations!

Helenxx

dosierosie said...

The blue dress looks great and I can't believe you made it so quickly. I've had one cut out for months that I can't face going back to.
Gillx

Jak said...

Your dress looks fab, I admire your tenacity. I share your frustration with clothes shopping, being short waisted, but long limbed, nothing sits where it is supposed to! Your bra-clad mannequin made be laugh!
Jak x

Kandi said...

Oh wow, you did a fab job of that dress! I have tried dressmaking with patterns numerous times and come up short due to my boobage too! I find the best way to find something that fits (charity shop, boot sale) and carefully unpick it and keep that as your pattern.
Well done for sticking in and finishing it a lesser mortal would have stasjed it away in the bottom of the wardrobe *looks guilty*.
Kandi x

Anneli said...

All I can say is I sooo know how you feel, I also own 2 trusty dresses that fit only because of serious heavy-duty modern corset-type bras. Isn't it an outrage that clothes aren't designed for those with more of a bust?! Clothes shopping is so depressing sometimes! Lol!
You did a great job with your dress though, good luck with the next one! :)

Aunty Bee said...

The dress looks great, I feel your pain when trying to find a dress for ample sized ladies, but finding a bra at a reasonable price is virtually impossible too.

Claire said...

Hey Fi, great effort, looks wonderful and brings out the blue in your eyes.

I can understand your frustration.....my sister once had a Vogue blouse pattern and was having soooo much trouble with it. She asked my eldest sister to give her a hand with it. Anyway, after some frustration my eldest sister picked up the scissors and cut the half finished blouse in half............
Keep going you'll get there,

Claire :}

Catherine said...

Oh you did give me a giggle! Seriously though, you did a great job with the dress! It looks great on you! Your persistence certainly paid off! Cx

"Petunia Pill" said...

Oh dear...I was grabbed by your post the minute I read the part about not owning many shirts...I "resemble" that remark! I only wish I sewed! My mom was an amazing seamstress and I could never measure up...so gave up on it all very early in life. And I don't just have "boobage", I have unequal boobage! I had a breast cancer diagnosis at age 36 (back in 1994). I elected a lumpectomy...which was lovely...but it removed a good half of what I used to call my breast. So now I'm quite lopsided! I have enough on the smaller side to be considered quite bodacious - so it's not like I've nothing left. But it makes it impossible to wear shirts without looking ridiculous! Heavens, you don't even know me and I've just put it all out there for you! Ahhhh, the anonymity of the internet! But thanks for listening...it was a lovely momentary catharsis! Back to your post...I LOVE that dress! It's so soft and flowy and feminine...and you must have FELT dynamite in it! You LOOK dynamite in it! Such an enjoyable read...thank you for the post...and sorry for my novella here! x&o, Annette

Susan said...

Looks fabby. Well done.

I was going to suggest bravissimo, but they are costly.

Wonderful bras though.

missdipton said...

You never fail, well done. In my job I meet hundreds of women with booby problems so i know how you feel. x

Maggie said...

Hurrah for big boobed women with curves and cuddlesome bits everywhere, down with stick insects with flat chests and nothing to grab hold of....
Love your photos, what an attractive lady you are. My problem is getting bras which give me plenty of support, whilst not liking wires due to scar tissue which extends from .... well, 'down there' to my waist. I am short-waisted, short period, and like you, find getting clothes that hang right, look and feel nice, almost impossible. I also have a dowagers hump due to scrunched vertebrae at the top of my spine.... not quite Quasimodo I hasten to add, but all adding to the problem of looking and feeling good.
By the way, I did my blanket after being inspired by your green one, photos over on my blog a couple of posts ago. Also made a bag with leftovers!

Twiglet said...

I am chuckling here cos I think you and I must have come from the same mould! I am roughly a size 14/16 BUT I have a narrow back and big boobs so buying dresses is a pain. Yes, I used to make all my own stuff when I was much younger but now I can't seem to get the fit right or age appropriate! I def. need an Ethel Maud. I think your dress is fab and you look amazing in it. Maybe stretch fabric is the best way to go.

Kim said...

OMG this made me laugh - and all the way through I was nodding my head in agreement. I, too, am considerably blessed in the booboid department and they are the absolute bane of my life!! If I could afford a reduction then I'd have one tomorrow!! I simply can't wear dresses or anything pretty or with a pattern as I feel like an overstuffed mobile sofa. So not a good look! Your dress looked fabulous though and bloomin well done to you for persevering! Brilliant post!! xx

Rubyred said...

Hey I have boobage too! I know exactly how you feel! There just isn't enough fabric in the bosom department on shirts and dresses!
I only own 1 dress that fits and It's quite a stretchy one!
Even when I lost weight at weightwatchers and got down to size '11'(never made it to a size 10) my boobage still got in the way and I still had to wear 12 tops!
I would love to wear a girly dress without looking a bit, well, steamy!!
Your dress looks AMAZING! Well done for your perseverence!
Rachel x

Camilla said...

Love the dress, I have plenty of Boobage too and I'm not tall either. So I have one dress, ended up with a size 20 to get it to fit :( I have only ever quilted, we never did dressmaking at school...maybe I should have a go sometime too.

Kate said...

Wow! Your dress looks fab and made so quickly too! Have never even attempted dressmaking....way too hard for me xx

Alchamillamolly said...

Fi - that dress is lovely there is nothing like a date to make you do something!! I can remember dying a sheet one Saturday afternoon when I was 15 to make a maxi skirt - it looked great once we had cut it and my friend sewed me into it!! I think that top part of you will be much admired!!
Thank you for your comment and Yes you know which direction we want to go but losing my salary is a hard decision especially with Alan losing his as well, its a bit much all at once. I just dont want a job I dont want to do so I will have to lie low and hope I get forgotten about!! The pic of you is lovely you remind me of Kate Bush only much prettier!

moleymakes said...

Your dress looked fab, well don you!! I hope this gives you the confidence to make some more girly tops and dresses for yourself.

Must admit your improvisation to the mannequin did make me giggle ;)

Cheryl said...

You look gorgeous in your new dress. Funny thing is that I think I have the same fabric remnant from Laura Ashley. I keep looking at it and wondering what to make it in to. Who knows. Maybe a dress.

Kimbles said...

Well done to you - just goes to show that perservence wins through in the end! The dress looks great and now you have finished one - I am sure others will follow!

lemonade kitty said...

Big boobs or not you look lovely in that dress the colour suits you, hope you had a lovely night out, Lucey.x (will be in touch soon)

Carole said...

Hi Fi,
I think your dress is fab, you are so clever and patient.
love Carole from Rossendale xx

liz said...

Oh, well done. Your dress looks lovely. I understand the frustration sewing clothes can somethimes bring on. Liz :)

Holly said...

You're amazing! And again, inspiring. The dress is beautiful and looks great on you. I recently thought of making a clothing item, but retreated. Now... giving it a go is appealing.

Roxanne said...

That's one terrific dress! Commercially made clothes and patterns never never seem to fit. I'm tired of jeans and tee shirts too. I used to make my own clothes and perhaps I'll try again. You're quite an inspiration.

danemi1 said...

your dress looks fab hun - I know what you mean about shopping being a pain when you are ample bossomed - except I cant sew anything like your lovely dress - am only making bags and throws at the mo and its best not to look too close at them!!!!

... Bimbi said...

What a lovely dress! Looks great.

I don't have the boob problem, but I know all about trying to find a pattern. I bought a lovely cord months ago with a clear idea of what type of jacket I wanted to make with it, but could I find a pattern? It's still not made up, but I think I might do exactly what you did and copy it off another jacket.

Love your blog, just joined
Bimbi

Miss Holly said...

Thanks so much for the dress form address!! I will check that out!!

4 Lil' Girls said...

Your dress turned out fab & you look amazing in it.Hope the dress with the stable fabric works out just as well.
Here's a little tip that may help with the non stretch fabic on the bodice, try cutting the pattern on the bias, will give it a more fluid & drapey effect, Good luck
Karen :)

Sigrun said...

Wow .. you look fab .. in your home made dress.

Kris said...

Fiona the dress is beautiful. It looks so flattering on you as well. I sew too, but have only done a wee bit of dress making. I am a quilter and have done a lot of sewing for the home, but not much in the way of garments for myself. Like you, back in school, the required shirred poly top, or a line skirt...but not too fancy. You have inspired me!!! Have a lovely day...and I so enjoy your blog! PS I am new to chicken farming and having a ball!!

Serenata said...

Dress looks great Fiona, isn't it funny how sometimes the more 'slap dash' (meant in a nice way) something is made the better it turns out!

I have the opposite problem with dresses...

Sandy aka Doris the Great said...

Thank you for the advice. I too am "too boobalicious" for my own good. I have a terrible time finding dresses. I'm fortunate to own 2!!!

potterjotter said...

Loved reading about all this - am not a small person myself so will bear it all in mind!

Heather said...

Hello: Lurker coming out to tell you that if you google FBA (full bust adjustment) you may find some tutorials that will work for you.
"Fit for Real People" good book for
fitting all shapes and sizes. Also some pattern lines have patterns now for b,c and d bust sizes. Good Luck. Looks like you did pretty well on your own. Also, patternreview.com is a good resource. Heather

Linda said...

Well done you, dress looks fab! I know where you are coming from - the problem of big boobs is a headache and also being 5ft 11 means Pepperberry clothes might fit around but the darts are never in the right place! Ho Hum xx

Carolyn said...

Good Luck! Your look wonderfully great in your new dress.

San Diego Mobile Notary

Julia said...

Ahhhhhhhhh I am also heartily blessed with regards to boobage (hilarious word and one I intend to steal and use myself *gigglesnort*)and so yes, I empathise with you as regards shopping and clothes too. But your dress is amazing - it's a very flattering design and looks wonderful on you!
Look forward to seeing what else you make, and thanks for the link at the end, will check it out.

Have a lovely weekend.
Love Julia x

Betty said...

Hello, I've been a bit of a lurker for a while but had to pop in and say well done, you are very clever and inspiring and this latest - a dress only a few hours before dinner that looks so fabulous... perseverance paid off and just think of all the money you will save on patterns (you obviously don't need them)! Bettyx

Campfire said...

Pretty dress! I too am a booby girl, although with a size 12 bottom and 32FF (was G) am probably more difficult to fit.

I haven't made anything like a dress for years, but then I wasn't quite so boobilishous then, so had no problem.

A few months ago I found a practically new bra from a charity shop for £1. It is a Fantasie and wow, 32F. I was chuffed because it is now a little large, woo hoo! I might now make that summer dress out of a linen Laura Ashley skirt that wouldn't fit me around the waist.

Carol said...

Beautiful frock and you looked stunning in it.

Romi and Bob said...

Your dress is really good and you have a great figure. It looks gorgeous. Iam short and quite a small build but have a big chest. I sometimes wear those mepire line type dresses and belt them at the waist. Maybe that would work for you as well.
Tracy x