True me up, please!

I’m working on the first of my SWAP pieces, Vogue 1324, out of a lovely suit-weight wine coloured wool.  I’ll review it properly later with decent pics, but I just wanted to post about something that’s been bothering the back of my mind for a couple of years now.IMG_4386

I am not symmetrical.  I mean, no one is, and I know that in my head, but it’s never been at the forefront of my thinking, particularly as it relates to sewing.  I have recently become aware that my jeans and trousers shift left throughout the day as I’m wearing them.  If you were to take a rear photo at any given moment, you’d see that the CB seams were pulling left.  The first time I became aware of this I thought to myself, “I bet I measure more on the left side, CB to CF, than I do on the right side.  Perhaps I should find out and adjust patterns accordingly.”  And I’ve left it at that until now.  But it’s bothering me, mostly because I saw my physiotherapist last week and she mentioned that I have a bit of scoliosis in my lower back. *!?!?!*  Light bulb moment.  And, of course, now that I’ve cut a couple of SWAP garments, I’m obsessing about it and dissatisfied with my otherwise just-fine-thank-you sewing results.

This picture below looks like I’m bending slightly at the knees, getting ready to sit down.  IMG_4387I assure you that I am standing up as straight as I normally do on a daily basis.  This is just another issue I’ve become aware of lately:  my front waistbands want to sit about 1 inch lower than my back waistbands.  They fall forward, although they are sitting at my waist level properly.  Which means my waist does not sit level in a carpenter’s level sense of the word.  See?


These photos were taken while my camera was sitting, hip level, on my ironing board, so the angle is dead straight.  And the hem is longer in the front, too.  It’s worse on the left side.IMG_4388

In a nutshell, what needs to happen?  This is BOTHERING ME because a garment should hang straight, damn it, and this skirt is not hanging straight.  Don’t worry – I love this skirt, I have no plans to unpick rows and rows of edge stitching and topstitching, and I’ll be happy to wear it because I’m sure it’s not going to be noticeable to anyone who sees it walking around on me.  But I’m just thinking about future projects and my type A perfectionist streak is throwing tantrums looking at these pictures, demanding that my sewing meet something close to the custom-fit-couture “level & straight” standards, y’know?

My first thoughts:  I need to take a wedge about 1″ deep from the CF, tapering to nothing at the sides.  Not fun on a multi-pieced skirt like this one.  That would eliminate the excess fabric at the crotch level that makes it look like I’m just going to sit down, and straighten up the grain which would straighten up the hemline by default.

The other thing I think I need to do is make a high-hip adjustment on the left side of my patterns by adding about 1/2″ to the side seam depth.  Or, conversely, to fold that amount out through the hip line on the right side and taper it out to the CF and CB.

What do you think?  Do picky little things like this bother you, too?  And let’s not get started thinking about proportion, because that would send me over the edge at this point.

10 thoughts on “True me up, please!

  1. Oh wow that is interesting and I know that it will bug you. I hope you find a way to sort it out, though from the comments there’s bound to be something there that’ll be useful. I’ll watch with interest as I am noticing odd bits a pieces about my shape as I get older and am less happy with fit.

  2. I’ve recently begun noticing similar things with my own body. In particular, one of my hips seems to be quite a bit higher than the other. I’d notice it before as I’d have to continuously hitch my pants up on one side, but it did t really start *bothering* me until I began sewing for myself. It’s actually a bit frustrating for me, because I don’t feel I’m experienced enough to know how to correct for it – or even to correctly identify what the real issue is!

    I love the color of that skirt, btw, and am glad you aren’t going to unpick it 🙂 I think it’s lovely!

  3. I think I am extremely picky too when it comes to my own clothes and how they fit me, but I rarely see any problems when others point out their own!! So I guess we are often too hard on ourselves. I think your skirt looks fantastic, and I wouldn’t have noticed anything amiss at all 🙂

  4. I also added me to the long list of people asymmetric pants I have to set up the hem of my right leg 1.5 cm for my pants look the same on both sides … this is not a problem if you already recognize this little anomaly and altered patterns within that, before cutting the fabric. Cheer up!

  5. Asymmetries? Yep me too. I add 5/8″ length to the high hip side, otherwise the hem on that side will not be level. Very few women have level waistlines. Mine goes up in front and I adjust for that too. It is important to me that side seams be vertical and hems level. Some days, the thought of all these adjustments make me look only at patterns with non vertical/horizontal seams and asymetrical hemlines.

  6. I know I’m asymmetrical, and I know it manifests itself in my clothing but to be honest? I haven’t yet tackled the fitting process necessary to fix these things yet because I’m still learning the big ones. I’m a perfectionist but I’m still a fitting newbie, and I know if I try to tackle all my fitting issues at once I’ll go mental! LOL.

    I’ve conquered the FBA and waist adjustment, as well as some minor ones regarding sleeve length but I still get back neck gape on some patterns and am trying to figure that one out; then once that’s done I’ll tackle my forward shoulders, and perhaps one day my asymmetry LOL.

  7. I actually think the skirt pattern is to blame for much of the pooching at the front. I adjusted the front of mine to take some of the length out, and reduce the size of the darts. However I’ve also recently found that things fit better if I take some length out of the front of a dress too, so maybe we are both somewhat stooped-over?

  8. I think a lower waist in the front is normal. A lot of high end jeans have waist bands to accommodate this. As for uneven hips- me too! I first noticed this in my mid 20s when I was having made to measure clothes made for me in Africa. The seamstress seemed unsurprised. I think the situation is getting worse as I get older. I don’t know what the solution is. If I had the guts/energy to tackle, I would probably adjust for my hips on the side seams.

    1. Oh my that is my fitting problem exactly. Well, my jeans shift to the right, not the left. I thought my waist tilted was unique to me, because I could not find anything in the fitting books that addressed it. Am so glad I found your blog and thanks Suzy for the tutorial link.


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