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Anna Worden Bauersmith
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« on: August 22, 2010, 09:32:12 AM »

At yesterday's workshop we had a woman with uneven shoulders. We draped her bodice to each side of her body accounting for the differences in shoulder height which also created difference in waist length. She said it would be okay if I asked here for any fabric or trim suggestions for her asymetrical figure. She is a petite woman. She is a retired teacher age wise.
I figured plaid and horizontal geometrics wouldn't be her best idea because of the horizontal lines. She wasn't fond of the asymetrical dresses in the books we had available. I don't think the fashionable ones would be right for her either. I was trying to visualize different trim placements on her bodice. I really wish I had some painter's tape as Carolann suggested in the yoke bodice thread.
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Anna Worden Bauersmith
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Beth Chamberlain
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« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2010, 03:15:18 PM »

How uneven are her shoulders? Unless it's somewhat extreme you might be over thinking it. Most people will not stand and stare at the trim on someone's dress to see how even it is. And, we're in motion much of the time people are looking at us so all small evenness is blurred. Last Fall I made a plaid dress for someone with one lower/more narrow shoulder and used a bias strip for trim. Over the shoulders I kept the distance even  from the shoulder not the neck since the trim sits closer to the shoulder. If I stared at it the unevenness of the placement on the plaid drove me a bit batty but on her it looks just fine.

If the difference really is striking I would suggest sticking to trims which hug the neck or skipping trims and working with really pretty collars and bows (which seem underrepresented). After several surgeries left one of my mother's shoulders almost 2" lower than the other I concentrated on making things sit right so as to not draw attention to the sag and detail to draw the eye in towards the center.

Beth
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Men are made in the image of God. Gentlemen are manufactured by tailors,  barbers, and bootblacks. Woman is the last and most perfect work of God. Ladies are the productions of silk-worms, milliners
Elizabeth
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« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2010, 07:38:00 PM »

I've done a square neckline on a woman with a 3" shoulder height difference (well, 3" on paper--one shoulder was both higher and thicker front to back than the other.) It worked, but only if we did the placements visually, and then trusted those lines once the bodice was off her body. If I tried to adjust the trim or neckline shape to make it look "right", it was grossly lop-sided when on her body. If I trusted the placement lines, and ignored my inner symmetry alerts, the finished bodice aided the illusion of a symmetrical body. It made my brain bleed just a little, but it worked.

So, I'd suggest that she needs a dress dummy that's been fitted over her period corset, so she can do all trim placements right on a figure duplicate, high shoulder and all. Vertical linear motifs should be fine, bias plaid will work, even straight-grain plaid will work if she keeps the vertical and horizontal bust on the same portion of the plaid. Trim placement may not need any change at all, actually--so long as it's placed while on that 3-D version of herself, because it will *not* work at all trying to place it on the flat bodice.
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Elizabeth
Anna Worden Bauersmith
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« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2010, 01:47:26 PM »

Thank you.
I'll make the suggestions of focusing on center such as the nice collar and bow and the suggestion of using the custom dress dummy. I'll also share what you said about fabrics.
She does have about a 2.5 to 3" difference in shoulder height and thus waist length difference as well.  Draping the front was easier then the back because I was trying to get her shoulder seams to look balanced and get the back pieces to look as symetrical as possible. I think she was happy in the end.
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Anna Worden Bauersmith
http://annaworden.wordpress.com/
Quilted Hood Pattern - Available on Etsy
Fanciful Utility: Victorian Sewing Cases and Needle-books
From Field to Fashion: The Straw Bonnet
NanciG
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« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2010, 02:46:30 PM »

Anna,

As another suggestion, if the woman's rig cage is torqued, like mine is because of my scoliosis (one side of my back is "thicker" than the other), an option may be to add some strategic padding on the narrower side.  I have seen this on a few originals and it could help to visually balance out a fabric with very strong horizontal lines. 

Nanci Gasiel
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Anna Worden Bauersmith
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« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2010, 04:12:17 PM »

We did talk about some padding through the shoulder. But decided between the heat here and that her whole shoulder is just lower it would make her arm placement look off instead.
For yours, did you just pad a little?
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Anna Worden Bauersmith
http://annaworden.wordpress.com/
Quilted Hood Pattern - Available on Etsy
Fanciful Utility: Victorian Sewing Cases and Needle-books
From Field to Fashion: The Straw Bonnet
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« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2010, 07:03:37 AM »

I haven't used pads to even out the back of my dresses yet.  Mostly for the same reason, fear of it being too hot.  For some dresses I am sure that it will be necessary, but for the moment I'm ignoring the problem. 

Nanci
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Carolann Schmitt
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« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2010, 08:13:18 AM »

I have a student who had rotator cuff surgery. The shoulder that had been operated on is higher, deeper and longer than the other shoulder. There is a 4" difference (on paper) in shoulder height and a 1.75" difference in length. My student wears plaids and patterns with bold horizontal and/or vertical lines and dresses with square necklines in varying widths and heights and never looks unbalanced or asymmetrical.   

How?  The difference in body shape and measurements occurs as the fabric crosses over the top of the shoulder.  The only difference on my student's bodice back pattern is the length of the shoulder seam.  There is a substantial difference in the shoulder height on the two bodice front pieces as well as the difference in shoulder length, however all of the difference occurs between the base of the neckline at the center front and the shoulder seam.  The differences will not be noticeable as long as any predominant horizontal line - neckline, trim, stripe in the fabric - stays below the point on the body/pattern where the changes begin. On my student, we're fine as long as we keep any horizontal features approximately two inches below the base of the neckline at the CF.  The dropped armsyce camouflages the difference in shoulder length.  The only time you can really see the difference in her shoulders is when you look directly down on the top of her shoulders from above.

It also helps to keep any trimming symmetrical from the most obvious reference point. Beth's post on how she trimmed her friend's dress is a good example. The reference point may change from garment to garment depending on style, fabric and type of trimming.

I've also had several students with scoliosis - including one with a variation of 5" from center. I've not had to pad any of their garments to date, but that is an option that can be used.

As Liz mentioned, there are times when your 'eye' is more important than the measuring tape.  Smiley

Regards,
Carolann


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Carolann Schmitt - Only a historian understands how much you need to know in order to recognize how much you don't know. - Elizabeth Ann Coleman
cschmitt@genteelarts.com
www.genteelarts.com
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