A Moment of Silence

I’ve been trying for the last few weeks to find a way to talk about the death of an old friend from college. Every time I’ve sat down to write about him or the stroke which took his life after an agonizing 10 days in ICU, I’ve come up short. I think it’s a thing that happens to us when we grieve – the hurt and the memories take up so much space in our heads that our language centers become unavailable for a time. We say “words fail me,” but what we really mean is “I fail words” – the words to describe what we are going through exist, but we are unable to grasp them. Like a sound repeated too many times, they lose their genuine meanings, and we fall back on cliche and platitudes.

A little time has passed, and I’m ready now to talk about the regret I have of letting go of C, his wife E, and the loving family of friends we shared in college. I had seen him last on the 4th of July, at one of the two annual gatherings that R and I usually manage to make it to. In recent years I’ve felt necessarily outside the group. It’s that thing that happens so easily in our business – you work nights and weekends when most of your non-theater friends work a regular 9-5. Over the years, you turn down invitations to Saturday afternoon movies and Friday night poker games. People start to forget about you when they make plans, or they don’t forget but assume you’re not available – which is usually true. And you, because you don’t see them often, forget to include them in your activities on the rare nights that you ARE free. Suddenly, you wake up one morning to discover that your friend is in the hospital – someone you used to know well – and you haven’t seen him in six months. You spend every spare thought hoping and praying that he’ll wake up so you can tell him you’re so, so sorry, that you will do better, that you have learned. And then he doesn’t, and you’re stuck trying to put words together with a brain that can’t comprehend them anymore.

I write this in the quiet aftermath of a mass killing in Connecticut, where at last count 20 children and seven adults are dead. My Facebook feed has exploded with expressions of sadness, anger, horror. Many of my friends are like-minded and so the calls for stricter gun control laws and better mental health services are loud and clear. Each new shooting incident rips open the old wounds of the survivors of previous ones, and so the pain for people in Minneapolis and Red Lake must feel fresh and raw all over again. Someone today observed that there are no wrong expressions of grief; that each of us must do what we feel we must do to make sense of these things. Silence and screaming are both appropriate.

I guess my answer to the shock of the many is to mourn the one. Death isn’t fair, no matter how it comes, when the person it takes is so young. C was the first among us to go; E is the first to survive and feel what it is to have to live on after the loss of the person you love. I do not have a child of my own and cannot imagine what the parents of those children are feeling tonight, but I know how it feels to grieve. I miss C, and so I will feel that ache as my way to relate to the more general pain. I will let my regret for things unsaid and unshared shape my empathy for those who are feeling those regrets for their loved ones today. As time passes and we regain our ability to speak, I hope we can take these feelings and voice them in a way that produces change. For myself, the loss of C has taught me to say yes, to love deeply, to throw myself into the lives of others. As a nation, I hope we can learn similar lessons that lead to fundamental changes in the way we do things. Now, however, it is time to acknowledge that words are inadequate, and observe a moment of silence.


Trick or Treat

Yesterday was election day here in the States, and in Minnesota we had some important ballot measures to deal with.

Election day is like Christmas and Halloween rolled into one for me. I grew up deeply politically aware because of my Dad’s work, and Northern Virginia is home to a lot of the people who make the federal government function. I went to school with the kids of lawyers, civil servants, teachers, FBI and CIA types, career military folks, and even a couple of congresspeople. People from the DC area (“inside the beltway”) eat, breathe, and sleep politics even when they’re not directly involved. We forget that things are very, very different outside the beltway, where the average citizen doesn’t understand the intricacies of the Game the way we do. I remember door-knocking for Dukakis as a nine-year-old, and kids at my school telling jokes like “I know how to spell Sununu, I just don’t know when to stop.”

These days, I’ve been gone from VA for almost as long as I was there, and my political feelings have matured (although they still lean pretty far to the left). I understand where the disgust for politics comes from, and the frustration people have with the system. I know what it’s like just to want the campaigning to STOP already. But when election day rolls around, I still get giddy. I can’t help myself. Every two years (and sometimes more often), we as a nation go to the polls to decide how we want to be governed. There are problems, sure – we still live largely under the tyranny of the majority, and we have a tendency to want to vote on things that aren’t any of our damned business. But WE GET TO MAKE IT HAPPEN! Every two years, we get a chance to change our minds, to decide that we don’t like what’s going on – or to say that we love it, we’re satisfied, we want to see more of the same. We get to tell our lawmakers what we think of what they’re doing.

This year, the nation has felt more polarized and extreme than ever. I actually stopped listening to the pundits and reading the blogs about a month ago because I couldn’t take the negativity anymore. Politics is and always will be personal, and the tone of the debate has largely moved away from civil and productive discourse to fear-mongering and thinly-veiled hate speech. We still live in a country deeply entrenched in a sense of entitlement, racism, and homophobia. Even those among us striving for equal rights for everyone have to constantly check our own assumptions and privileges. I admit that a lot of the rhetoric this season has been discouraging if not downright scary.

But this, folks? This gives me hope. Most of my friends and family are liberals, and we all breathed a deep sigh of relief late last night when it became clear that this man was going to get four more years to try to bring us a little further along, and to leave us better off than we were when he took office. I know that for the Romney supporters out there, this loss is devastating. We all care so much about this country and we only want what’s best for her. I know we don’t always agree on how to get there, or who has the best plan. I know we sometimes have different ideas of what “best” looks like. But I hope that having this election over with can bring some of the squabbling to heel, and we can finally get some stuff done.

Trick or treat? Definitely a treat day here for me.

During the show, I have a lot of time to kill. Most of the time, I knit. There are some days, however, where I’m falling asleep behind the board and I turn to the internets to keep me entertained and awake. I’m not a member of Reddit, but when I run out of blogs to read and Pins to pin, I sometimes turn to the site for cute videos of funny animals.

Today, a particular thread caught my eye. The question was “Lots of people talk about not being part of the ‘popular kids’ in high school. I think it’s time we heard the popular kids’ side of the story. So, if you were popular in school, what was that like and how has that experience affected the rest of your life?” Find the original thread here.

So I thought I’d answer it. Again, not a member of Reddit, so I don’t have posting privileges. But I have this space, and it seemed like an interesting jumping-off point.

I was desperately, painfully unpopular in Elementary and Junior High school. I got picked on mercilessly by the girls in my class from grades K-6, and the boys started to notice and joined in about then and helped through grade 8. In a class of GT (gifted and talented) nerds, I was one of the nerdiest. I got mocked for my second-hand clothes, for my know-it-all-ness, for my glasses and braces and red hair and crooked teeth. I was not pretty, and I was excruciatingly shy. Add to this a tendency always to have my nose in a book, and you have a recipe for Dweeb.

Things began to change in high school. I still wasn’t cool, and I was still too shy, but I managed to make a few friends that shared my interests and taught me some new things. I got involved in clubs and Drama and spent lots of time with people who loved the same things I did and cared as passionately about getting good grades and going to college as I did. I was always aware of being an outsider, but it began to matter less because I’d found somewhere else I could feel “inside.” It was around this time that I started to molt out of my Ugly Duckling phase as well, and I started having boyfriends. That’ll do wonders for a girl’s self-esteem, even if it’s not the healthiest. I began to figure out who I was, and having my own personality made it harder for other people to define me. So I wasn’t one of the “Cool Kids,” but I was popular enough – people liked me and I liked people, and I didn’t have to worry so much anymore about what might make me cool.

How has this affected the rest of my life? I learned not to worry so much about having the right friends, and concentrated on having friends in general. I learned that there is a difference between being liked and being popular, and it mostly has to do with things that don’t matter. And I learned that finding a space I was comfortable in did a lot to eliminate my anxiety over other people’s negative image of me. I was able to make a choice about what I cared about and what I thought was important, and then do my best to live up to those standards. If someone else thought that taking calculus was nerdy, or that it was lame that I didn’t want to skip class and go to the mall, that was fine with me. It was a club I didn’t want to belong to. That’s served me well as I’ve made decisions as an adult. I took a job I wanted to do, even though it was different. I married a man who I love and who loves me, even though he’s not a doctor or a lawyer or a supermodel. I have dear friends who were also not cool kids, and who have tremendous compassion as a result of that experience. And you’ll be glad to know that all that studying paid off – I got into a good college, and from there I did all the things that have evolved into a life I love and am proud of.

Depression glass and silk flowers.

From Wikipedia: “Depression glass is clear or colored translucent glassware that was distributed free, or at low cost, in the United States and Canada around the time of the Great Depression. The Quaker Oats Company, and other food manufacturers and distributors, put a piece of glassware in boxes of food, as an incentive to purchase. Movie theaters and businesses would hand out a piece simply for coming in the door.”

You know how something always goes wrong at a wedding? Well, we lucked out because our little disaster was very minor and happened a week before the big day. One of my co-workers was building us beautiful centerpieces based on Art Nouveau lamps. Unfortunately, her dog ate one of the molds, and then the other two melted together in her car while she was bringing them into work to show me. Re-making them just wasn’t an option.

Time to scramble! I already had some glass pieces dating from the 1930s-60s, and we were going for an art deco theme, so I ran with it. I spent several afternoons scouring the Cities’  malls and thrift stores, and collected about $700 worth of glass and silver. Three days before the wedding, my college roommate and I sat down in my living room and started throwing pieces together until we had 14 centerpieces and several small decorative pieces.

Setting up a table.

Extra pieces to decorate the other tables.

I realize that $700 on decorations isn’t exactly cheap, but these are pieces that I’m glad to keep now that the wedding is over. I’m planning to arrange many of them in the new bookshelves that R and I are planning for the living room, and much of the silver service we will keep and use for holidays and other fancy occasions. The glass is highly collectible, and so if we ever decide we want to get rid of it, we’ll be able to E-Bay it and come close to breaking even.

The world of antique glass is both deep and wide, and it can be a little daunting to get started. For me, I adhered to a few clear rules that helped me limit my palette a little and put together a cohesive look. Here are my tips for creating a stunning visual display with depression glass:

1: Do your research! Spend some time Googling and on E-Bay, Etsy, and other vintage retailers. Knowing what’s out there will help you make some preliminary decisions and give you a good idea of what you can expect things to cost. You’ll learn the proper names of the pieces you like, so you can ask the folks staffing the antique stores for help finding things.

2: Limit your color palette. Depression glass comes in a few common colors: blue, red, green, pale pink, yellow, purple, and clear. There is a lot of variation within these palettes, depending on date, manufacturer, and pattern. For our wedding, I used ruby red, clear, and black/black amethyst. There were a few exceptions – Indiana Cranberry Flash (which comes in a combination of  a magenta accent on clear glass) and a couple of amberine pieces (an ombre fading from yellow to dark red).  I knew ahead of time from my research that I wanted to look for some of these variations, and when I found them I used them separately from the other reds because I knew they wouldn’t match.

3: Add some bling. In this case, I chose silver accessories to reflect and offset the colors of the glass. Buying metal can be a lot of work – both because it tends to be pricy and also because it requires a lot of elbow grease to get it clean and shining again. A little can go a long way, if you’re thoughtful about where you use it.

4: Create levels. For centerpieces, I picked out one large vase or dish per table, and then chose smaller pieces to group around the big ones. You can either use a variety of shapes, sizes, and patterns like I did, or if you have the time and patience, you can try to find matching pieces. There’s a lot of this glass on the market, and some things are more common than others.

5: What else is going on here? Think about what you want to have in your dishes. I knew that I didn’t want to have real flowers because I didn’t want to deal with real water. We were making a fast transition from the ceremony to dinner in the venue, and having anything on the table that could spill would. I used silk and dried flowers, again in that narrow color palette, to liven up all the empty vases, glasses, and bowls. I also incorporated a few different vase fillers and table scatters for visual interest. Lastly, I added some lights. Because we got married in a theater, we weren’t allowed to have live flame (also a good idea to avoid fire because of the fake flowers). I bought battery operated tealights to tuck into votive holders and among the flowers.

Centerpiece in action!

Here are a few things to keep in mind while you’re shopping – E-Bay and Etsy have a lot of great stuff, but you’ll pay a mint in shipping. Most sellers won’t ship glass items together because they’re more likely to break, so each piece has to be shipped separately. It’s much better to hit up your local retailers for this kind of material. Go to thrift stores first! You’d be surprised at what there might be. I bought most of the silver trays and two tea sets at Goodwill, for half the price they would have been at an antique mall. At the antique stores, don’t be afraid to ask questions or have the attendants open up the locked cases for you. Ask if they have a table or a spot where you can set all your pieces out and look at the whole group, to make sure that there’s a visual flow amongst all the things you’ve chosen. Don’t be afraid to axe anything that doesn’t work.

In the end, I loved the solution of the vintage glass. It added an elegant feel to the room, shone beautifully in the light, and everyone commented on how pretty they were! They made a unique look for our wedding, and now get to be a valuable souvenir for us of the best day of our lives.

FART-ing Around

It’s been a busy week here at the FART. We’re playing host to a large software conference for three days this week on top of our regular slate of shows. This makes for 16-hour work days for many of us, and a whole pile of sleepy for me.

We seem to be booking more and more of these outside gigs. I’m glad that the theater’s making money somewhere, because frankly the shows are struggling right now. I have my own opinions about some of the season choices that management made this year, but in the interest of keeping my job, I’ll keep them to myself. Times are still tough in the arts industry, and I’m not sure they’re ever going to recover completely. There’s been a sea change in how our audience thinks about their entertainment dollar, and I think that cultural institutions have to figure out what that is and adapt to it, or die.

It’s hard for me to think about what theater I would want to attend, since I’m so deeply wedged into the community that it’s difficult for me to discern between stuff I want to see and people I want to see. I feel like I can apply this thought to something that I love but attend much less frequently – the visual arts.

We have several large art museums in the Twin Cities, and quite a few smaller galleries and studio communities. Being a very busy person, I don’t go out to see much art anymore. To me, that time feels like a luxury that I don’t often have, so I treat art like an indulgence. It’s a treat that I save for birthdays, or when it’s the dead of winter and I need a pick-me-up. Because it’s seldom, when I go I want a sure bet most of the time – something that I know I’m going to like. This tends to be a big name touring show – I hit up a Rembrandt exhibit for my birthday, or the Frieda Kahlo I saw with my folks when they were visiting. These kinds of exhibits sell tickets and cost money to get into – maybe $10-$15 each. That’s not a lot of money, but it’s definitely a consideration for why I don’t go more often.

That’s the kind of art-going that I do most frequently – to something with a lot of heavy promotion, something that generates a lot of buzz and everyone has heard of. My art choices are the Christmas Carol and Hamlet of the art world. But sometimes, I’m looking for a little adventure. This is usually a less-planned, more spontaneous type of art-going. I’ll hear about a show from a friend, or I’ll know one of the artists having an opening somewhere. Maybe I’ll see a postcard at the coffee shop or something in the local Alt Weekly will catch my eye and look interesting. I’m pickier about these offerings – it’s either gotta look REALLY cool, or it’s gotta be free. I’m usually willing to take a risk with my time or my money, but not both. These sorts of shows are usually the smaller ones, and I can visit them in an hour or two, rather than giving up a huge chunk of my day.
So what does this teach me about the kind of theater that people want to see? I’m guessing that since I’m not an “art world insider,” my art consumption habits are pretty similar to the average theater-goer’s. I’m mostly looking for something I know I’m going to like, or something I think I should see because it’s Important. My Warhol and Rodin are someone else’s Shakespeare and Shaw. If I’m looking for something a little out of the ordinary, then I’m willing to risk a little, but not a lot. I’ll be looking for a gallery that I feel like I can trust because they’ve shown work that’s consistently appealed to me before. I may jump on a show because the subject or the medium appeals to me. Or maybe I’ll go because I heard a story on the radio or read it in the paper, and I learned about something new and want to see it for myself. Or my favorite – I’ll go to a festival or fair. Maybe 90% of it’ll be blah, but those one or two awesome gems will make it feel worth it.

So what do we learn from this?

1: Some shows will sell themselves. Well-known (but not overdone) pieces will draw an audience from name recognition. An a-list star will do the same. For those shows, all you have to do is make sure that people know about them, set the ticket price, and get the hell out of the way. The only corollary to this point is that if your show is bad, word will get out fast.

2: If you have something less well known or a little weird, education and word of mouth are key. Sometimes that means that the fact that your playwright won an Oscar should get top billing, even if you feel like a whore doing it. Sometimes that means getting the news media interested in the story of your show, or in some aspect of the production. Theaters set their seasons months ahead of time, and they can use that time to educate their audience and raise some excitement. There are lots of ways to do this. Some are obvious and everyone does them – fliers, mailings, emails with info about the production. Some require time and money, but could have a huge payoff. Stage a reading a year ahead of time, to get people interested in the script. Host a lecture on the topic. Run a book club or a meet-up to discuss shows before they start. Use social media to present facts, or detail the rehearsal process, or make a trailer like a movie.

3: The flip side of educating your standard audience on a new topic – find people who love the topic and tell them about the show. Offer amenities (beyond group ticket prices) for hobby clubs. Doing a show about the civil war? Contact re-enactment groups and history departments. Is your main character Galileo? Reach out to astronomy societies and advertise at the local planetarium. If you can get THEM excited about the show, they will help you sell it to others.

4: This is the one that always hurts the worst – be willing to be flexible about ticket prices. If your ticket costs $60, you have to work really hard to make your potential audience $60 worth of enthusiastic. Now, for some shows that will be easy – see point #1. But #2 and 3 will be a harder sell. A non-traditional audience will look at that and balk. They might be more amenable to $40. There’s a tricky cost-benefit analysis to do here, and it’ll take a little bit of strict experimentation to get a good feeling for what the market will bear. This is complicated by two things. The first is that if 15 people are willing to pay $60 in the first week and love the show, they may go out and convince 30 others to go. But if twenty people see it for $40, they could convince 40, 50, or 60 others who wouldn’t consider it at $60 but can do $40. The second is the demoralizing effect that empty seats have on both the actors and the audience. People don’t like to see plays in empty houses, and the actors perform better with big, responsive audiences. It’s a better show for everyone once a certain percentage of the house is filled.

I guess this advice is mostly for the large theaters like the FART. Most of the little companies I deal with already do many of these things. There are so many of them, and they have to work hard to get the butts in the seats and the bills paid. The big theaters are accustomed to a subscription model that guarantees them an audience, and I think that our generation of theater-goers is moving away from making that kind of expensive and long-term commitment. As an institution we have to make them trust us to do good work consistently, and if we can’t deliver on that promise they lose faith, and start being picky about what they’re going to see. It’s time to woo them back – with the quality of the work, the integrity of the theater, thorough and creative educational support, and competitive  pricing. It’s the only way we will survive.

The Big Day

Ok, yeah, I know. I’ve been gone a long time. A REALLY long time. Like, 6 months long.

In my defense, I did throw a wedding. A really lovely wedding. And I worked 60 hours a week all summer long, right up until a week before said wedding. And then we went on a really well-deserved vacation.

And then I came back home and teched another show. I’m just now beginning to resurface.


There’s been so much happening this year that it’s been hard to have time to do it and write about it. I realize that not writing will never make me a Famous Blogger, and it’s not going to get me invited to fancy parties or to give motivational speeches. I’m hoping to get my groove back in the coming weeks. The husband (still getting used to that!) is a great inspiration – he’s now running a blog of his own. It’s a cool project based on a box of postcards we found in an antique shop in New Orleans – Postcards to Joe. R spends a lot of time wandering down the “Wikipedia hole,” exploring all kinds of topics and getting to know this Joe guy in the process.

Mostly what I’ve been doing is feeling completely overwhelmed. The house is a mess, the Halloween costumes are barely begun, I’m staring at another 60 hour week this coming week, my car needs work, and the repetitive motion injury in my hand has been acting up lately, leaving me in various amounts of pain. I dream of having a week off just to stay home and try to get my head around it all. I don’t know how people with kids do it – I can barely keep up with the messes my cats make.  (This morning, it was discovering that the wee gray one had knocked over a water glass and ruined an entire stack of knitting magazines. There is mold growing on my desk. Ugh.)

I spend more time than is strictly good for me surfing Pinterest during shows, and it seems like all the pictures link back to “Happy Housewife” blogs, where pretty women with very white teeth explain how you can clean your oven for three cents using baking soda and a toothbrush, all while home-schooling your five kids and cooking wholesome organic meals from the veggies you grew and canned yourself. Whilst I realized that this is a form of masochistic torture, I can’t look away. It’s captivating. It’s all Martha Stewart-y. Thank God for the Yarn Harlot, who adds a little much-needed perspective. It’s nice to know that there are other women on the internet who accidentally wear their underwear inside out and consider the dining room clean if at least one person can eat at the table. Of course, she’s a jet-setting Famous Blogger, but a girl can dream, can’t she?


I credit my Mom with teaching me to sew. I remember in elementary school learning how to thread her old steel Singer from the 60s; how to raise and lower the foot and wind a bobbin. As I got older, I got lessons in grain lines and hemming, and how to put in a zipper. We made my prom dress together; she did the lined and underlined bodice, and I put up the miles and miles of hem by hand. I dove into fiber arts of all sorts in college, and when I graduated the only thing I asked for was my own sewing machine. My little plastic Kenmore from Sears isn’t fancy, but it’s been a workhorse.

Of course, my real lessons in fit, alterations, and the proper way to cut and stitch a pattern came under the tutelage of the incredible Rich Hamson at the Chanhassen Dinner Theater. Four years in the costume shop taught me all the niceties of lining up plaids, pad stitching, how to flat-line like a pro, and most of all: quality. The trick to making a costume that will last for 8 performances a week for six months at a time without needing a ton of repair or adjustment comes from making it right the first time.

The most important part of making clothes is know what size to make. This is true no matter how you’re doing it: sewing, knitting, pop tabs, whatever. Taking your own measurements can be tricky, so get a buddy to help you if you need one.

Edit: I’ve had this post finished for weeks, but I haven’t put it up due to my complete lack of time to take photos. I’ve finally decided to stop waiting for the light to be right or the time to be available, and I’m just going to steal from the best of the internet. I’ll include the sources of everything I post and links back, but if I’ve used your photo and you want me to take it down, please just ask. I hate doing this – I believe in using my own content, and not grabbing someone else’s – but time’s not been on my side lately.

Bust/Chest: The main bust measurement you need is around the fullest part of the bust. Run the tape measure around your back and over your breasts or pecs at the largest point. Wear the undergarments that you’ll be wearing with the finished piece (or none, if that’s the way you’ll wear it)! It does no good to take a measurement wearing a bra if you’re going to go au natural, or in a whole Spanx getup.

There are two other kinds of bust measurements that might be called for. For overbust, wrap the tape measure around your back and above your breasts. For underbust, wrap the tape measure around yourself under the breasts, where you bra band usually goes.

Waist: This refers to your natural waist, not where you wear your trousers. Look at yourself in the mirror and wrap the tape around the narrowest part – usually just below the rib cage. This measurement is essential for dresses that need to curve with the body, and may be where you want a pant or skirt waistband to go. For a lower rise garment, you can measure up from the crotch seam to where the waistband will fall, and then measure around yourself at that point.

Hips: This is the fullest part of the hips and bottom, usually between 7″-9″ below the waist. Sometimes a pattern will call for a high hip measurement, especially corset patterns or things with a waist yoke. Take this measurement at the level of the upper curve of the hip socket.

Image from: http://www.bambersew.com/blog/index.php/taking-measurements/. Line 3 shows the true hip line, and line 4 is for the high hip.

These three are the essential measurements you have to have before you can make anything (well, ok, you don’t really need a hip measurement to make a shirt, but you know what I mean.)

Others that might come in handy:

Neck – Use a piece of string or yarn to make a loop around the base of your neck, then measure it. Tape measures are usually too stiff to do this one accurately.

Front Waist – Measure from the base of the neck down the front and over the bust to the waist.

Back Waist – From the base of the neck to the waist down the center of the back.

Inseam – I generally start this measurement about two fingers’ width from the crotchal area and measure to the ankle bone. The real trick to this one is just to cut everything too long and hem it on the body.

Rise – To find your true rise, start your tape measure at the natural waist in the back and run it between your legs and up to your natural waist in the front. Low rise pants will describe themselves as a certain number of inches below the waist, or a certain number of inches up from the crotch join. Having a true rise measurement will give you a better idea of how something will fit your particular body.

Once you have the proper measurements, you’re ready to begin. Now you need to think about ease. Ease is what lets you wear the clothes and not the other way around. A spandex racing suit has negative ease; that means it’s smaller off of you than on you. A caftan, on the other hand, has positive ease. If you’re working from a commercial pattern, the jacket will usually list the body measurements for a particular size, and then the measurements of the finished garment; subtract body from garment and you’ll get the number for how much ease you want. Check this for all three measurements – the number might not be the same for each. (A blouson top might have six inches of positive ease at the bust, but only one and the waist.)

If you’re making something up from scratch and you’re not sure how much ease you should leave, grab something out of your closet that fits like you want it to and measure it. Now, subtract your body size from those measurements, and you’ll know what you should be aiming for.

Next time: How to make the paper pattern look like you.