Sunday, April 17, 2016

In Progress: Supportive Chemise - Fitting Comparisons

Note: If you've been waiting for this series to get less awkward, that time has come.

Last time I checked in, I was very nearly to the end of this pattern fitting. All that was left to do was to readjust the underbust to create a supportive band that would be impossible for me to remove without an opening.

In the process of doing that, I felt like I was fighting my lacing more than the pattern. I believe the biggest issue was that the holes in my tried-and-true lacing strips are too far apart for the needs of this garment. This resulted in a gap at the underbust with EVERY adjustment. I knew that the pattern fit with the seams sewn shut, so I poked around in my stash and located a zipper. I know several other costumers who have also used zippers, so I figured it was worth a try.

I also decided that I wanted to try that zipper on the side, rather than the front. I really liked the smoothness that the front had with that seam sewn shut, and since I only need to have the area of the underbust band open in order to get it on and off, I can place a laced section on the side for that, and it would be infinitely better than trying to do that on the front seam.

Now. Getting that zipper to close and open was not easy, and I feel very sorry for my husband's poor fingers. But It does close, and when it does, everything fits. It was so comfortable that I threw a shirt over it and wore it for a long while. Part of that might have been that I didn't want to bother my husband to undo the zipper, but really, it was cozy and supportive, and felt good.

I did take some photos of the final pattern on, but they don't at all do it justice. So I decided to do a side-by-side comparison for this post instead.

Remember my old linen day dress? It was created to layer directly over my old supportive chemise "short cotte" in summer, in the days before I forced myself to get used to wearing multiple layers year-round. It's non-supportive on its own. It's also in rough shape. I started to wear it when I was doing more heavy labor, and it's got some well-earned stains on it now. But for my purposes this morning, it was the right dress choice, since I can show the effect of the support layer underneath without the outer dress making it's own changes to my shape.

First, I put on my garb bra (a bright green number that has seen better days) and my short cotte. In other words, what I've been doing. Tossed the day dress over it and stepped outside for some photos. Then, I took that combo off and replace the supportive layers with my new pattern. Tossed the day dress back on, and had my husband direct me to recreate the same group of poses.

In the photo pairs below, the bra/short cotte combo is on the left. The new pattern on the right. (Note: if you are on a phone, you can tap on a photo, and rotate your screen to enlarge to get a better look. Then, rotate back and use your browser's back button to return to the post.)

So what I'm most surprised about is my ability to make almost the exact same face on demand.

But, seriously, some of the angles don't seem to be that different, but then others are quite different. In particular note image pair #5. When I did that pose the second time, I was able to drop it so that my left arm actually sat under my bust. I wasn't able to do that the first time. Also the comparison in #3 shows that the shape of my boobs has changed completely. Spend some time looking at each pair, and you'll see the differences.

I had planned to do the actual chemise with some 5.3 oz linen, but now that I know how much strain is involved, I think it would be wise to go with something sturdier. Which will delay the gratification of getting the chemise sewn for a bit.

But today, I am feeling quite good about this.


  1. Wow- that looks wonderful- amazing work!

  2. That is fantastic. I'm looking forward to seeing the finished chemise.

  3. I am in awe, you really nailed it. At first the difference seems minor, then I started to notice how much more supportive the new chemise is. It really lifts and gives shape to your bust. Good work!