It all began one day many years ago when I tried on a sheath dress in a Marshall's thinking it would never work on me. I had never put on a close-fitting, straight-up-and-down dress in my life. On a whim, maybe because is was a nice wool fabric with a lining, I took it to the dressing room and tried it on. I felt like I was in heaven. It felt great and looked great. And yet I did not buy that dress. Later I would kick myself. Why why why did I not buy that dress? Once I started sewing again, it hit me that I could make that dress!
I got several patterns. Made a few muslins. None seemed right. I couldn't seem to adjust anything without it looking disastrous. It went on and on. I decided to find someone to teach me some fitting skills. I found Heidi at a place called Stitch Cleveland, her shop. (It is since gone.)
We looked at my candidate patterns and decided quickly on New Look 6909--it conformed most closely to my measurements. We made a couple small adjustments--we took off about 5/8" from the top shoulder seam, lowering the bottom of the armscye by the same, to accommodate my shorter-than-the-pattern torso. She took in the back darts when we fitted the muslin, lengthening them, and I think elevating them a bit. I can't remember now how we fit my hips. Surely I did not fit the pattern out of the envelope from shoulders to hips. C'est impossible. My hips are two sizes larger. But I just don't remember making any adjustments there. We also put in a full lining instead of the facings (yuck!).
The fabric is some polyester woven from Joann's. I had to find it quickly since I had an appointment with Heidi and could not find the wool gabardine I had bought months before when I started the quest. (I did find it later, like a year later, in the coat closet hanging on a hanger.)
When I finished the dress, I was very pleased. The quality of the construction was high (thanks, Heidi!). It fit me like a glove. Actually, I was 10 pounds lighter then, so I am stretching this garment's limitations right now. However, I did not like the fabric. I did not like the width of the shoulders--they fell off my arms sometimes and I have to wear a thin-strapped brazziere or else it will show. But one day I pulled it out and wore it to work and I've been wearing it regularly since. It's funny how something can fit so closely to one's figure and yet be comfortable to wear.
I fancied I looked pretty good with my form-fitting sheath dress. That is, until I took a picture of myself and saw the figure that was being fitted. Yikes I am quite askew. One angle looks like a fertility goddess and another looks like Quasimodo.