That's me! I hate fitting but I love to sew! What a contradiction, right?
This installment is all about working with a new pattern. I mean I really should use some of the "new" patterns I have purchased? I shouldn't just use the TNT patterns over and over again, right? I should be adventurous and take the journey or nightmare trip (whoops excuse me, I really only have enthusiasm for what I sew! *lol*) explore new territory, learn a new technique, pull some different tissue paper out of new pattern envelopes!
Anyway.......I have started working on my new jacket from Butterick 3978 which the pattern envelope describes as a semi-fitted, unlined jacket has collar, shoulder pads, princess seams and long sleeves. I am using an 18, 20, 22 pattern and of course, my pattern pieces now look nothing like the pieces that came out of the envelope.
First, the finished back length of the jacket is 23 1/4 inches. Well, that's a no-no! Not if I don't want the jacket to end right in the middle of my butt ~ not a pretty sight! So I lengthen all the jacket pieces three inches. Then since I haven't worked with this pattern before, I add an additional one inch to all the side seam allowances.
Next shoulder seams ~ 5 inches as a finished shoulder seam fits me best. So I cut down the shoulder seam by using Cynthia Guffey's method of slicing down the middle of the shoulder pattern and then overlapping the pieces and taping it closed. I remember to overlap the pieces so that the shoulder seam measures six inches unfinished! Because believe me I have cut it down to five inches before and wondered what the heck was going on!
Okay, those were the easy adjustments. Next up is the bicep adjustment to the sleeve. I hate the fact that almost all patterns made in larger sizes unless they are women's sizes have small biceps! What's that about! Come on people admit it! We plus size women have fat in some unusual places. Mine happens to be in my arms! Can the pattern companies work with me here so that I don't have to totally redraft a sleeve pattern?! I usually like a slash and cut method that I learned from Cynthia Guffey but I have to admit that I have been influenced by the patternreview women and the Palmer & Pletsch book, Fit for Real People, has been residing on my bedside nightstand. So after reviewing the P&P way and checking out CG's method in her booklet, Precision Measuring & Pattern Alterations, I use a little from both! Hey, I am an equal opportunity fitter!
This is one of those times where a fitting challenge turned into a design opportunity. As I was working with the fabric ~ it's kinda plain ~ I knew I would need some detailing or embellishment that would make the pieces sing. I didn't really want to do a distinctive embellishment because then the pieces would lose their functionality or mix and match ability. So I was thinking of a subtle embellishment. I have decided to use a topstitching stitch that I have used before that gives a garment distinction but still makes it able to mix and match well. I will use stitch pattern number117 on my Janome 8000 for the topstitching. But I digress...this was about the sleeves.
I did add two inches to my bicep measurement by using CG's method but then after reading about adding a seam to the sleeve to add even more width without enlarging the wrist measurement ~ a lightbulb moment occurred! Or what Oprah refers to as "Aha moments!" I decided to add the seam and then add a topstitching detail to the sleeve. Wow, a fitting challenge that has become a successful design opportunity! That's what I love about sewing! That's when I feel that I am accomplishing something different, making the garment mine! Yeah, that's the thrill!
So I now take my totally disfigured pattern pieces and lay them onto my fabric and cut! Yeap, cut that sucker out. No wearable muslin. No muslin at all. Just cut out my good fabric with the 1" side seams. Did I hear a gasp? Did someone go, "ohmygosh!" And did someone even think, boy did she mess that one up! Well, maybe I did and maybe I didn't. I do have two additional yards of this fabric ~ after cutting out my TNT pants and skirt patterns. So I do have the ability to mess up and recut. But what is the fun of sewing if you just muslin? And how do you know how your fabric is going to react if you only muslin? And here is the $100,000 question, why are you afraid to cut your more expensive fabric? I mean its only fabric! Granted, I only paid $12.99 p/yd for this (which by the way is a lot for me!) But how will I ever learn if I don't just do it!
So, here is the question of the wee hours of the morn....Are you afraid to cut into your "real" or "expensive" fabric? Why? Are you afraid of losing "the investment"? But how much is it really worth if it just sits on your shelves, in your totes, or in your fabric closets unmade? Can you learn to be fearless in your sewing? Are you willing to engage in the adventure and learn something new, make a mistake, or end up with a great new garment? You know the opposite of a wadder is a wonderful, wearable garment!
Let's make a pledge together, right now, this very minute!
Let's learn to enjoy the sewing journey!
Let's lead new sewing adventures and remember, that there is more fabric where that original piece came from!
Anybody with me?