We didn't natter on as much about sewing as I expected. We were both taking a quick break from work and the conversation flowed between Berkeley (which both of us attended), working in tech, raising our daughters and fitting exceptional figures.
What is an exceptional figure? Chances are very good that you have one.
Suppose something is engineered to work for 90% of circumstances, from between the 5th and 95th percentile in some metric. That seems reasonable and your product will work for 90% of the market, right?
Not so fast. Think multi-dimensionally.
(0.9)6 = 0.53In six independent dimensions, nearly half of the potential market will fall outside your engineering specs in at least one dimension.
Ready-to-wear (RTW) clothing manufacturers can't fit everyone. They have to make decisions about who their market is. Consumers have to take RTW items to tailors. Even people who can't sew can become virtual dressmakers by hiring custom clothiers. (I haven't sewn for others for money since my undergrad days, but I do swap favors with friends. Eric's wife gets clothes and I get a place to stay when in their town.)
Look back at the picture at the top of this post. Who is easier to fit?
That's a trick question. Shams' hips are an inch smaller than mine. We are both 5'5" tall, but our torso to leg proportions vary. She has to add inches to bust darts and I have to take them out.
In college, I had a 14" drop between my hip and waist measurements, 39" to 25" . In mid-life, that has decreased to 9-10"; my hips are still 39" but my waist is ~29-30". I can sometimes find RTW pants that fit, but it is still not easy. It was nearly impossible 20 years ago.
We both agreed that we are not fitting experts. But we are experts in fitting our own unique bodies. And we like to think that we fit our own unique personalities, too. ;-)
We had such a good time in our short meeting, I invited Shams to visit me in LA. She's never shopped the LA garment district. That needs to be rectified.
Shams posted her account of our meeting. Go there to see another photo.