artphoto by splunge
artphoto by TheophileEscargot
artphoto by Kronos_to_Earth
artphoto by ethylene





Mecha Wiki

Metachat Eye


IRC Channels



Comment Feed:


14 February 2009

Making-your-own-clothes-chat: argh, patterns! [More:]

I embarked on my first pattern project yesterday. Well, I made an apron in grade 9 Home Ec. class. But this is a dress.

I tend to wing it when I sew, working without a pattern and just kind of guesstimating stuff. It's gone okay for me so far, but I am trying to get into patterns because obviously my technique has limitations.

So I spent hours yesterday working on this dress, which was supposed to be "very easy" and a "one-hour sew". Yikes! I managed it, but I had to Google a few definitions and kind of fumble my way through, because the diagrams weren't always so obvious. I followed the instructions diligently.

Once I got down to just needing to hem the bottom and the sleeves, I tried it on and.....................

It looks like a yurt.

It's huge, tent-like.


So now I'm re-working it. There are parts I *don't* want to do again, so I've selectively ripped out and cut back side seams and I'm now re-sewing them. I have no idea if this thing is going to work.

How frustrating!

I don't know if it's cognitive dissonance somewhere between my body image and my 'real' size, or I messed something up. All I know is that I took my measurements and I thought I picked the right size to cut to.

Anyway, anyone got any sewing-mishap stories?

I enjoy the process and I love the idea of finally learning to make my own clothes, and I've also discovered that thrift stores are a treasure trove of $0.50 authentic vintage patterns. (I love vintage clothes but they don't really ever seem to come in my size, and I hate threadbare, stinky polyester, so making stuff in modern fabrics with old patterns is appealing!)

But holy hell, it can be frustrating.
The very easy, and one-hour type patterns tend to be simple. If you haven't completely torn apart your yurt-dress, you can try some well placed darts to give it more shape. Pretty easy to do. I've been known to wear a yurt-style dress/shirt inside out, and using safety-pins pin where I want to pull the thing in a bit.
posted by typewriter 14 February | 13:47
And also, now I want to pull out my sewing machine and start sewing again!
posted by typewriter 14 February | 13:47
Yeah, the thing has pockets in the side seams, so I pulled out the pockets, cut back the side seams, re-set the pockets, and re-sewed the side seams.

Now it's more fitting (maybe slightly more than I had planned, but it's fine), but I have a new problem. I think I need a couple of darts. I guess I didn't think about it but this style is not so flattering for me -- it's a flat front, and I have some boobies.

So yeah, the front is poufing and I need to put in a couple of darts. Is it really that easy? Just mark where it's going astray and sewing? Is it okay if a dart ends in the armhole? Because that's where it's poufing.

AND........ I just realized I re-set the pockets inside out, so the pretty pattern is inside out and thus not visible.

Debating whether or not to bother fixing that.
posted by loiseau 14 February | 14:23
I can suspect what your problems are: you are most likely over a B cup, and measured your "waist" where clothes sit.
Patterns are drafted for a B cup. So, if you're any bigger, you should actually buy for a bust measurement SMALLER than your measurement and draft the chest bigger.
Like, say your bust measurement is 36". it assumes you're a b cup, but you're a D. You buy a pattern for a 36" bust and you have a dress for someone who is larger than you by several sizes, with smaller breasts. Shoulders too wide, back too wide, ribs too wide.

and, your waist in terms of pattern measurement, is most likely three inches higher than where your clothes fall. that throws a lot of people off.

There is no rule about where darts can and can't be. I say put it on inside out, grab a small stapler, and go to town until you like how it looks, then just sew where you stapled.

Don't feel bad about the one hour thing, either. It's designed to be one hour for someone who knows how to sew and does on a regular basis. They're no way designed to be one hour by someone who hasn't sewn in years and has never made a complete garment.
posted by kellydamnit 14 February | 14:34
I don't have any sewing advice, but the couturière for whom I am building a workshop told me that I'll be welcome to take pictures of the place when it's all finished and ready for work, and I'll be sure to share them here, because the stuff she has is just to die for (and I'm not even all that big on fancy fabrics and cocktail dresses). I was moving a trunk the other day and she said, "Careful, there's about $100,000 worth of fabric designs in there." Of course, nobody's making the kind of fabrics she designed anymore, and of course, since they were all just sheets of paper in a trunk there wasn't much I could do to be more careful with them, but they're still treasures.

I'm excited to see how it all turns out. Good luck with your project, loiseau.
posted by Hugh Janus 14 February | 14:47
I've had loads of sewing mishaps. I learned a lot because of them. I like the stapling advice. You can also use jumbo binder clips.

There are a lot of cool pattern companies out there that reproduce vintage patterns. One that comes to mind is Decades of Style.
posted by LoriFLA 14 February | 15:42
Binder clips! That's brilliant! What a great tip!
posted by typewriter 14 February | 16:54
Oh, binder clips! Is there anything you aren't good at???

I can suspect what your problems are: you are most likely over a B cup, and measured your "waist" where clothes sit.

Yeah. Well, I sorta knew about the waist thing -- it's supposed to be the narrowest part of you, right? But then I got thinking I didn't want to end up with something that was tight around the belly.

But yeah, I wear a 34FF, so I basically assume when buying dresses that I gotta start at XL and go down if I'm pleasantly surprised. I'll take your advice next time. It makes a lot of sense.

I gave the dress a good thorough pressing, and it does look better. I think I'm going to wash it -- part of the problem is the stiffness of the fabric, I suspect -- and see where it stands after that.

I think this is the beginning of a time-consuming, frustrating and expensive habit...
posted by loiseau 14 February | 17:26
Make yourself a tailors dummy?
posted by ninazer0 14 February | 19:07
I made dresses last summer and the pattern sizing destroyed what positive body image I had left. It was my first clothing construction in years and seemed like the patterns had less detailed instructions than the 1980's, when I made lots of clothes. No planned darts and the ones I winged turned out weird.

I'm so going to make a duct tape dummy.
posted by auntbunny 15 February | 00:05
I wrote this article for ehow ages ago on how to tweak a pattern if you're above a B cup, it may help next time
posted by kellydamnit 15 February | 22:56
Hope me with my chocolate chip replacement surgery? || Is it "free rein," or "free reign"?