Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Some Thoughts...

I realized the other day that I don't like to sew casual clothing because it's to easy to buy RTW...probably some of my malaise in actually sewing for my vacation.  I much prefer the challenge of making well fitted, fashionable work attire, which brings me to my disasterous version of McCalls 6559.

 I know that the pictures don't look bad but I manipulated those pics by putting on some heels, having a nice hairstyle and make-up on.  What I don't like besides the side view (which will never be photographed for public consumption!) is the mass of fabric on my plus size body.  It wouldn't have mattered if I'd used a bolder print, or if I'd edged the armholes and neckline in binding...ultimately there was just too much fabric covering my body without any details to break it up.  This is not the right style for my body and even though I'm an experienced sewist, I, too, can be swept away by the prevailing tides of a popular pattern thinking "I can make it work!"

Actually, I think normally I'm pretty sensible in my sewing choices, knowing which styles will and won't work for my body type and knowing when I step outside my comfort zone, not to step to far.  The other reason for showing the dress was to acknowledge the fact that I too have wadders.  Not as many as I did when I first learned to sew, but yes, every now and then I do make a bad pattern or fabric choice!  And for those who want to know, this dress is in the garbage.  There is nothing I want to salvage from it and I have ALOT more fabric to play with so I'm not distressed that it's been trashed. Sometimes, you just need to throw something out to move on.  

Since I'd pulled all of those knits out, I did cut out another V1250 which is almost finished because I just didn't feel like rushing.  Enjoying the process and watching some TV was just what I needed to end the weekend since it was kinda hectic with the grandkids over.  Gawd, you forget how much noise those little people make when they aren't around so often!  *LOL*  So the V1250 dress and the McCalls dress will probably be my last pieces before vacation.

I have a "Wearability Update."  I finally wore the Trendy Lace TNT dress to work yesterday...a month after completing it...and it wore well but I had to be careful because it seemed as if everything wanted to catch on the lace especially since the lace is so open.  I'm also glad that I added the bias bindings instead of doing a normal lining for the armholes and neckline.  Having the bias bindings on the garment really helped avoid a lot of wear and tear at the underarms.  It is not a dress that I will wear often, it's too special and a little fragile.  I would hate to ruin it after all of the hard work that I put into it.  Oh and it garnered alot of compliments not just from the people I work with but also from a few strangers on the street! - Sorry I moved this sentence from the McCalls 6559 paragraph because it should have gone here...sorry for the poor proofreading!


  Also, so you know I don't Facebook, Pinterest (though thanks to Shams, I can check to see what's pinned from my blog) or any of the other social media thingies...I just think the computer is already enough of a time suck that when would I sew if I spent time on those sites?!  But I did set up an Instagram account because I kinda like being able to take a pic and post it...or maybe because it's just not that time-consuming. *LOL*  Anyway, I'm DiaryofaSewingFanatic on Instagram if you want to follow me.  I've posted a pic of the Trendy Lace Dress IRL as one of my first pictures along with the shoes I wore.

Now I have a few questions for you.  If I were to teach a class to plus size sewists, what would you like to learn from me?  A technique?  How to recognize a trend and make it work for you?  How to measure your body and interpret it in a sewing pattern?  How to use prints effectively?  Or something else?  Now before you start leaving a whole lot of questions about when/where/how I'm going to teach, please don't.  This is something I'm thinking about...NOT something I've got concrete plans to do. So tell me what you think, I'd appreciate it!

...as always more later!


37 comments:

  1. I'd want to know how to adapt patterns to suit the complexity of the plus size shape. Also how to grade patterns up (how far can you go before the line of the garment degrades).

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  2. Thanks for the post on the wadder - it is helpful to see that it is not only the inexperienced who end up throwing items out.

    You know what would be really cool is a video of you constructing a tried and true including lining and binding.

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  3. HI Carolyn! I love your blog. I know I don't leave comments very often but you are a sewing inspiration to me.
    I would like to know "How to recognize a trend and make it work for you?" and ideas on how to choose patterns that suit the plus size body. And guidelines for when to add prints, piping or whatever and when to just wear some jewellery to draw attention to the face. It is especially difficult as very few (even the plus ones ) are shown on a model less than 6 feet tall or more than size 14. You always look great in your photos so I am sure you would have ideas to help the rest of us!!
    And.. I would pay to do an online course with you!!

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  4. I would like to tap into your knowledge and experience in sewing plus size clothes. I have difficulty looking at a 6 foot tall, slim model and wondering if it would work on my body. That's why I really like your blog and seeing the clothes on you, a "real" person.

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  5. De-lurking to comment. Thank you for posting on the maxi dress. It is really helpful to know what doesn't work for your figure as much as what does.

    I would like to learn about grading patterns for plus sizes. I find many tiny patterns at thrift stores. Cute lines, but too small for me...

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  6. Love your blog, not sure I have commented before. As an older person with a less than perfect shape, I finally made myself 2 sheath like dresses to skim my less than perfect middle age body. And mainly because of you. I see how marvelous you look. And for both of my dresses, I used tricot lining and just interlined the dresses (like you did once) instead of making linings and they look and hang lovely. I did try doing bias bindings for the neck but guessed on how wide the binding was and must have guessed much too wide since it didn't work. I ended up ripping the neck binding out and putting in regular facings. I would like to know how wide you cut your bias and would like to try bias bindings instead of regular neck facings. I've studied books like "Staging Your Comeback" by Christopher Hopkins and another book "How to Never Look Fat Again" by Charla Krupp for ideas on how to dress for my age, shape, and style. It is always a challenge to "make it work", but I like to look pulled together and have my clothes fit. I've noticed I'm constantly wearing the shirts I've made just for that reason. Thanks again Carolyn for your blog, it is so inspiring!

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  7. Oh, I thought it looked good, and I could see why you received compliments. But I do agree that tossing a hated thing directly in the bin can be very very satisfying!
    I don't have any suggestions :) but I'm looking forward to seeing what you will share of your styling and sewing experience.

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  8. I too would be more than happy to pay for an online course from you. My wish list would include how to measure self and how to apply this to a purchased pattern, your wonderful techniques re linings and neck finishes, and my No.1 problem: what to do with the plus size arms!!
    PS love the blog, and you inspire me to keep on trying :)

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  9. A video class where I can watch how you adjust a pattern to fit your body.

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  10. I thought that it looked okay as well! But I understand only too well that if you don't feel good in it, you need to toss it. And you've made me re-think this pattern - I haven't bought it or made it yet, but was planning to. I think that I need to follow your suggestion and break it all up somehow - I might try the striped version on the pattern envelope. Fabric choice could be quite significant for me in this dress!

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  11. If you were to teach a class, no matter what size the person, I would start with a fitting the pattern class--how to measure and determine where you need to make adjustments, how to make them, being honest with your measurements to insure a good fit.
    I wish when I began sewing many, many years ago that I had been taught more about fitting. My 2 cents worth.

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  12. I would love to know how to grade up a pattern to a size I can use. I see designs in like, but they are not in the plus size range. it would be nice if I could grade them up and use them anyway.

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  13. Hello Carolyn, therre have been some fantastic suggestions above, they all sound excellent. I'm in!

    I was wondering, what do you do with your wadders? Looking at your dress, that screams summer skirt (elasticated waist) and top to me. Then you still have an outfit that will no doubt work well with your current wardrobe. And of course, you get to keep your lovely fabric :o)

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  14. Funny thing about wadders. In my experience, the longer you keep them, the more indelibly impressed they become in your mind. Move them on, quickly, maybe to the Goodwill box.

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  15. Long time lurker! I agree about the social networking stuff being too much of a timesuck... but Instagram is a different beast all together. It's a little harder to get sucked down the wormhole (though maybe I haven't tried hard enough).

    Re: class. I've never sewn any clothes for myself but it's on my list of things to do (once I have this baby). I'd be most interested in how to measure my body and interpret that within a pattern. Secondary would be how to use prints effectively.

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  16. I like your statement about tossing things in the trash. What a good way to just shut something out of your mind and move on!
    I just found that if I hide a wadder for more than a year I can come back to it with fresh eyes and make something of it (actually two things!), but in some cases, that's a waste of time and storage space. You did right.

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  17. I think you excel in identifying a trend and making it work for you. That would be the most interesting to me.

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  18. I love the idea of measuring myself and then taking those measurements and knowing what will work for my body and shape. I would also like to know how you take your TNT and interpret the seasonal designs.

    Thank you for sharing your wader and knowing what it was that made you unhappy about it and sharing that. Because even though it looked good and garnered comments, doesn't mean you feel comfortable wearing it. g

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  19. I think that it's a great idea.

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  20. I too would love to learn how to take a pattern and adjust it for my body. I have huge hips and thighs which usually make me go for the largest size of a pattern, then I end up with a waist the size of Texas!

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  21. "How to measure your body and interpret a sewing pattern for it" would be the most useful to me, were I ever to be so lucky as to meet you and ask those questions. I think that many of us have no idea of what our actual measurements are, on any given day.( I remember what mine were at age 20, which is 34 years ago, and not so much useful to me anymore.) Interesting topic.

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  22. How to measure your body and interpret it in a sewing pattern? How to use prints effectively? These are two of the questions I would like to ask. Please advise. I am a bbw - big beautiful woman. :)

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  23. Talk about a hard question to answer! I would love to learn all of what you have listed. From how you make and apply your piping and seam binding to your use of prints and making every pattern work for you so flawlessly. I would also love to pick your brain about the way you marry the perfect fabric with your pattern. I have made more than my fair share of items that once I wear them I start wishing I had selected a different fabric.

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  24. I'm really glad you posted that project, even if it was not your favorite. I love your blog and I love it more for your honest posts (even if not all sewing projects work out.)

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  25. I like all your ideas, learning about scale and proportion is so important to we of the bountifulness!

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  26. So proud you enjoyed your weekend with the grandkids..
    If you should decide to teach a class, I too, would love to learn how to fit a pattern, grade it. A lesson on lining correctly also.. Happy sewing.

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  27. I do think it is a shame your dress went in the bin because someone else might have loved it at the thrift shop. It did look like nice fabric and I am sure it would be have better constructed than most other items there.

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  28. For a hard-working, brain-straining lesson, I agree that I'd want lessons on fitting to the plus sized body.

    For a fun, group reaction, inspiration, pay-for-a-glass-and-wine-and-a-presentation lesson, I'd love to see a detailed presentation of pattern and fabric choice. I find myself imagining, for several patterns, aided with a slide show:

    - The pattern sketch and the pattern book photo, and a discussion of the pattern.
    - Photos of the plus-sized garments made from that pattern.
    - Photos of fabrics, plus maybe pass-around swatches of a number of the fabrics when you need to make a point about texture and drape.

    This second class would still be a ton of work for you, but it would be much less brain-strain investment for the attendees, and you could probably support far more attendees than with a hands-on class. I'd really enjoy attending a class like this.

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  29. So Not fair!!

    Only the plus sized can learn from you??

    :(

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  30. Good Morning. I think all of the ideas you posted would be great. The fact that you use a TNT pattern for many of your designs would be a great class also. I love that you talked about your wader but it was great that you did go outside your zone and tried something new. Sometimes it works sometimes not. You have brought me back to garment sewing and I love it. Thank you so much from a plus sewer Bernice

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  31. Carolyn, sorry the dress wasn't to your liking. The pictures really highlight the nice fabric and you look so pretty in it. If you're not comfortable in it, you won't wear it and that's the bottom line. Maybe you can incorperate pieces of the fabric into another dress. No matter what though, it's always nice to see your pretty smile and read your prose.

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  32. I agree the dress is very pretty on you, but you have to be comfortable in it too! That's so nice of you to offer your assistance to others!

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  33. I'd most like to learn how to take a trend and make it work for me!

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  34. I have to add my own wish to learn how to grade a pattern UP! i have so many vintage patterns with beautiful day dresses I'd love to make for myself - but the bust is a size 30 and mine is 48. Can you even up-grade a pattern that much? If not, how can we take those lovely vintage details and add them to our own TNT patterns? Loaded question with many caveats I realize, but it's what I want to learn :) Karen

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  35. I have to echo the grading up thing a lot of women have said. What I'd really like to know is, for instance and without revealing your own measurements, how much ease you have incorporated into the bust, belly and hips of your TNT pattern for dresses. It's so hard to know looking at the finished measurements of a pattern if it's really going to fit.

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  36. Taking measurements and interpreting pattern sizing and appropriate fit. I would take that class in a heartbeat!

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