Monday, April 5, 2010

...and some more lessons about pattern sizing...

I have been sewing since 2003, so I tell myself that I should know better, and yet, I've been making a serious mistake for many years: buying the wrong size in patterns.

After carefully selecting my items seen in the previous post, I was inspired to look through all the patterns I have accumulated and marvel in their wonder.  Unfortunately, it turned into something like a bloodbath as I found myself throwing most of the patterns into a pile of  "Cannot Be Used."  Thankfully, I have a brilliant friend who is also a seamstress and can use patterns in the 10-12 range. 

I still find myself rather sad about buying patterns that I cannot use.  Some were actually very recent purchases, which makes it all the more frustrating.  I am turning this whole depressing situation into a learning experience.  I am being remarkably honest with myself.  Why did I need so many patterns for gypsy costumes?  Did I really plan on making that and heading out on the town?  Or why would I buy patterns for pencil skirts?  I know they are completely unflattering on me.  And how many Jane Austen dress patterns does a girl need before she actually makes one?  Yes, it is a good thing to have to examine what I own and part with them.  It did make me realize what I did want to re buy (when JoAnn's/Hancock has a $1 pattern sale again).  I would like to make myself some jackets - but not necessarily with ruffles.  I would like professional looking skirts and blouses, and I would like these to have a vintage feel.  I can buy patterns that reflect these wants and come in my size range.

I know that my pattern errors came from being too impatient and always wanting it now now now without pausing to see what I am actually getting.  Sometimes I feel this way about sewing.  I want to wear it now without putting a ton of work into it, and this is something that is slowly changing.  My PD was actually very time consuming, and I followed the pattern faithfully.  Unfortunately, the cut was not flattering on me, but the craftsmanship was really well done (if I do say so myself).  If I want to have quality, I need to put in the time.  I also need to take my time in choosing my projects. 

Overall lesson learned: Haste makes waste and a large scrap pile.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Pattern Purchasing...and some lessons about sizing


I love pattern sales.  Butterick, McCall, and Vogue all on sale for under $5??? Heaven!

So I bought some patterns I had been eyeing for awhile, and I realized I had to be frank with myself about sizing.  As much as I would like to think I am a 14 in pattern sizes, my measurements fall more towards the 16 sizing.  To me, I am not a size 16.  I wear a size 10 regularly.  Am I wrong to think that maybe these pattern sizes are a bit off and maybe need some rethinking???

Back to my purchases:

Vogue pattern 8489.  After my last mishap with the "pregnancy dress" (which I will explain shortly), I realized I needed to be more careful with my pattern choices.  While this one does not have a sneaky empire waist like P.D., it does have a higher waist than what I should wear.  I am thinking that a fitted bodice with a neck and midriff band might solve the pregnancy problem.

McCalls 5809.  It reminded me of the top of the P.D., but without the pleating and with some equally awesome sleeves. 

McCalls 5717.  I love coats with personality.  I live in Chicago - coats are necessary, I understand this.  I do not, however, want to go out to dinner in my large down LL Bean coat.  Sometimes I want to be classy.  I'm thinking black and white wool blend with orange satin lining.  Why be subtle?

Butterick 6582.  Love love love the vintage!  I have the most beautiful blue fabric and this dress (shown in yellow) is perfect.  Oh yes, it shall be mine!


I have been looking for a halter dress for I don't know how long.  I finally realized that halters are flattering on me, and perhaps I should be using my sewing skills in that area.
I have been looking into making more tops to go with jeans, particularly because you can never tell what the weather is going to be here and pants are a safe bet most days.  I love the plaid they used, and the ruffles appealed to my girly side. 
Butterick 4443.  Something about this dress said "Spring!" to me, and it was finally warm here, and the sun was shining, so I bought it.  I think I like the strapless versions best, maybe in a fun Hawaiian print, for summer.  Maybe even for a cruise?

Vogue 8280.  My goodness - what don't I love about this dress?  I have been admiring this pattern FOREVER and when I saw it was only $3.99, I was sold.  I love the vintage feel and would love love love to make it in some kind of pinstripe.  I like the long sleeves, but also love the cap sleeves with sweetheart neckline.  I can only hope this comes out as well as I dream it will.

And those are my purchases.  I am excited and more than ready for the package to arrive.  I need to work on something that will fit better than the PD.

Pregnancy Dress (aka PD) was my first excursion into dressmaking.  I worked incredibly hard on this dress, had several panic attacks, and before I put in the zipper, I tried it on.  My heart just broke.  Somehow, this dress that appeared to be super flattering on the pattern package was awful in reality.  The pleating in the front of the dress allowed for the fabric to stick out.  It stuck out enough that I appeared 6 months pregnant.  I was terribly sad, and really have not sewn since that depressing mirror moment.  I've also been hiding from my blog, as I was hoping to crow about my dressmaking achievement and instead wanted to cry.

There is a silver lining to this.  I will (this weekend hopefully) put in the zipper and finish the PD.  The bodice of the dress looks great (and took forever!) so I am going to cut off the skirt and make it into a lovely top.  And not look pregnant. 

I'll post pictures of that adventure soon!  Love to my ladies!