It's all in the Fabric....

Have you ever made a pattern straight out the gate and realized as you were coming to the end that something just wasn't quite right? Not that anything was wrong with the garment, but that it just didn't seem to fit like the pictures on the various models showed it to fit?

Sometimes, this is a result of just needing to make tweaks to the pattern itself for your unique body. But what about those times you have made those tweaks and you've made yourself a version that fits perfectly, but now all of a sudden, your latest version fits... differently.

I once read an article by a jeans pattern drafter about the hardest thing she encountered when pattern making. Can you guess what it is?

Leaving the fabric choice up to the maker.

When I read that line, I was 100% up out of my chair going around saying "Yes- this right here!"

The thing is that as a pattern maker, we create garments from specific fabrics and we tweak those garments to those specific fabrics. However, at the same exact time, it's always in the back of our minds (or at least mine) that inevitably someone, somewhere won't be making their garment out of this very specific fabric. Even if a range of fabrics is suggested, I know that not all fabrics are created equally, and something that has the same stretch or drape or weight won't behave exactly the same across all garments, or all bodies.

I witnessed the same thing when I was interning at Lilly Pulitzer in college. They actually hired three fit models all with the exact same measurements. Why?

Because even with 100% the exact same measurements, one garment rarely worked perfectly for all three people, because each person was unique and so was their body.

So it makes total sense that even if we are both working with the same weight or stretch or type of fabric, the end result might not be 100% the same. Let me show you an example using the new Nathalie bodysuit.

Each bodysuit was cut out at a size C with no modifications made, other than the tweaking of the Armscye and cap ease which happened throughout the testing process. Yet each one fits drastically different on my body, especially from the waist down.

Red Bodysuit:

This version of the bodysuit was created with a Tencel Organic Cotton Spandex Jersey.

It has 40% Stretch from left to right and 40% stretch from top to bottom.

For me, this bodysuit pretty much was perfect, in fit & feel on my body. I don't feel restricted, and I also don't feel worried that I am going to fall out anyplace while doing even the craziest of moves! My bra straps and closure stay well hidden and never have a chance to peek out and I don't feel the bottoms riding up throughout a day of wear, which is always a plus!

Floral Bodysuit-turned-swimsuit:

This version of the bodysuit was created with a large scale floral blue swim material.

It has 30% Stretch from left to right and 20%-25% stretch from top to bottom.

This version is definitely the cheekiest of all my versions, probably because of the nature of swim fabric. When I am standing still, I can get the suit to sit in the correct place, but when I start moving around, things get cheekier. The entire bottom half of the swim suit rides up and hugs into my lower half. It's not uncomfortable feeling because of the stretch, but it does show a bit more than I personally feel comfortable sporting around.

The ruffle also is much fuller than in my red bodysuit, which is fun for this print!

If I were to remake this bodysuit, I would add an additional 1/2" - 1" in the total rise from my waist to crotch, and possibly consider cutting out the size D, at least from my waist down, to ensure total booty coverage.

Black Parisian Bodysuit:

This version of the bodysuit was created using the same material (I believe) as the red bodysuit. I have a lot of black knit fabric lying around and I can't be 100% certain

It has 30%-35% Stretch from left to right and 35% stretch from top to bottom.

This version also fits me incredibly well. It is a tiny bit cheekier than the red version, but I believe I may have inserted the elastic in a different way to cause that change. Either way, it fits beautifully, doesn't ride up, and I always feel as if I am ready to take a dance class!


Velvet Upcycled Bodysuit:

This was my very first version of the bodysuit. It's the suit I used after drafting the entire pattern, and it was created using a thrifted velvet dress. You know, like the ones pretty popular in the 80's & 90's. 

It has 40% Stretch from left to right and 25-30% stretch from top to bottom.

The main thing I notice with this version is that when I wear it, there is a little excess fabric near the curve of my back, and the bodysuit does tend to ride up when I am out and about. It's not the worst, but I definitely find myself readjusting throughout the day.

If I were to remake this bodysuit, I would most likely either add a CB seam to follow the curve of my back, or see how lengthening the rise from the waist down might help correct the riding up/ excess fabric issue.


Rust Colored Bodysuit:

This is definitely the comfiest and coziest of all of my bodysuits, probably because of the sheer amount of stretch in it!

It has 85% Stretch from left to right and 45% stretch from top to bottom.

This bodysuit makes me feel like I am literally wearing nothing! It is 100% like wearing a second skin and I love it. I feel like I can really move and breathe and dance and run all around in this version.

The ruffle lays really nicely on my back, as well. It's flat but looks nicely gathered and feminine. The only thing I notice while wearing this version is that (probably because of the stretch) my bra tends to peek out more often. And because of how "second-skin-like" this feels, I definitely don;t feel super comfortable going without my bra. 

Sooooo, if I were to redo this bodysuit version, I would look at raising the back neckline a bit. OR I would see how having an exposed neckband (like that of the final pattern) worked in hiding my bra straps. This particular version, I ran out of matching materials for the neckband and opted for a hidden neckline.

Charcoal Grey Top:

Of all the Nathalie's I made, I can tell this one will be getting a lot of use! I opted to test a version of the pattern in a less-stretchy material, just to see how it worked and if it would work. Answer: it totally does, but it needs a few modifications.

It has 30% Stretch from left to right and 20% stretch from top to bottom.

I love how this top fits across my shoulders and arms. It feels fitted but not tight or suffocating (like I feel in most fitted tees). I also love how it skims along my body while still allowing for movement.

The only thing I don't love (and something you can't see in the photos) is how short this top came on me. I am able to pull the top down to the proper place, hitting just below my high hip, but because of the lack of stretch in both directions, it doesn't stay there. Instead, it slowly creeps up throughout the day and I find myself checking to make sure it is tucked in.

This is not a shirt I could wear with anything less than a high rise silhouette. So, if I were to make this over again, I would definitely be adding some length to it, just to ensure it sits in the right spot and stays there, haha!

There you have it! This is a total look at nearly all of the Nathalie's I created and how their different fabric make ups changed the fit of each. I always find it really intriguing how even a slight change in fabric can have an effect on the overall fit of a garment. It keeps things interesting with sewing and myself on the never-ending quest of learning!

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