Friday, March 28, 2014

Deer & Doe Plaintain Top Experiment

I don't purchase the new indie patterns.  There are several reasons for that. 

1.  Most of them don't grade up to plus size ranges thus eliminating my size group. Many times I just don't feel like spending the money to size up a pattern.

2.  Most of them are for a more casual lifestyle - I sew for my work life which is considerably more conservative and tailored than these styles.


3.  I've been sewing a long time so many times I already own a pattern that's similar to one of these styles.  Finally...

4.  I really don't believe that I'm their target audience. 

But I was intrigued about this Deer & Doe Plaintain t-shirt because a new to me plus size blogger, u & mii, that I've been following (stalking) made several very pretty versions of them, that got me thinking. I printed the pattern out at work and left it on my desk. One of my co-workers saw it and wondered if it would be hard for me to make it for her...so I got this idea...make the pattern changes for her, myself and my boss. We are all different shapes and sizes and I thought it would be a really interesting exercise to see how it fits three different body types.

However, I have to tell you that after taping the pattern together it's going to be so much easier to make this top for my co-workers than for myself. I would have to totally hack this pattern apart to make it work for me...*sigh*...and I realized yet again why I don't use indie patterns.

Here are the pattern pieces taped together...



A full shot of the pattern pieces on my sewing table to show just how small these pieces are.  See all that stuff on the side?  It takes up a quarter of the table.  My pattern pieces usually take up the entire table...



Here are my co-workers who will benefit from this exercise because I've decided that there is just too much work involved in sizing this pattern up for me.




I now have even more admiration for T! I love her versions but I have absolutely no patience or time to mess with this pattern for me.  So I will make up two samples this weekend for my co-workers to try and then I'll work on the pink wool crepe dress for myself.

I'm disappointed but not very surprised that this pattern won't work for me. Whenever I see one of my plus size sistahs making one of these indie patterns work, I'm filled with awe and admiration! I'm looking at you Mary and Jenny!

So I will share the finished tees I make for my coworkers but for myself I'm moving on...

...as always more later!


36 comments:

  1. Interesting... I have this pattern and will have to grade the lower half up but as i am quite small in the shoulders i think the top half will work. I'm a Style Arc fan -you're probably right that may of their patterns wouldn't work for your lifestyle, but they do grade up to size 30 Australian which is a 58 in bust, so i give them kudos for that. It's nice of you to sew for your coworkers! Make sure they appreciate you (or better yet, teach them to sew!)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I acually made two versions. One short, and one lengthened as a maxi dress and ou wouldn't belive how comfy the are! They can also look office appropriate if you pair it with a nice skirt for example.
    I agree that the pattern pieces are quite small but the grading was easy for my shape. Even the sleeves fit! I just made a new white T and It looks quite cool! I'll try to blog about it this week end.
    You should give it a try :) (or maybe I am a true optimist and I believe that if you came to the conclusion it wouldn't work on you, I trust your experience more than my optimism)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Laurwyn - I really think I'm just being lazy! I have a limited amount of time to sew and since t-shirts aren't something I normally wear to work, spending valuable sewing time on them just doesn't work for me. I rather spend the time on a dress, skirt or pair of pants.

      Delete
  3. I've never tried an indie pattern either. Though I have loss some considerable weight and dropped a couple dress sizes, I am still comfortable sewing in my small little hemisphere. I can't wait to see what you make for your co-workers, and your so beautifu inside and out. Have a great one.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I own a few Indies but alas, I am not of "The Indie Way". So many are not my aesthetic at all. And aside from that, the just cost too much for me to experiment. NOT saying they overcharge; I get the coat of doing business. I just am able to find what I need from Burda/S/NL/M/B/V.

    The plantain went together well for me but holy buckets those sleeves are cut SLIM.

    Oh and thanks for new bloggers to follow!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks for the info! I looked at this tee as well and decided it wouldn't work for me. I found the Tonic tee by SBCC to work very well, so I'm going to stick with that and just make changes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mary, I did exactly that--I took my Tonic tee (now my TNT tee) and Plantainized it, and that worked out really well. There are pictures on my blog if you're curious.

      Delete
  6. I get your pain as I am a plus size too. I think that is why I had quit sewing for myself for the past 20 years. Please know that you have inspired me to start again because you sew such fabulous pieces. Right now I am copying my clothing that fits as that seems to be the easiest way. I hope to one day have the TNT patterns that you use. I also will be checking out those plus size bloggers you mention!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi Carolyn -

    Thanks for the shout out! It's most definitely a different style, and I agree that often the sizing is small - I'm usually right at the very top of the scale. However one bit of good news is that Colette just announced their new patterns are going up to 3XL and have said they're going to try to increase their others in the future!

    In terms of indie patterns, my favourite ones (that fit me without major alterations - I'm a 22 in the Big4) are Sewaholic Renfrew (vertical FBA), Grainline Archer (I didn't even do an FBA, I just added to the side seams) and the Colette Sorbetto (FBA was sufficient). I know Mary also likes By Hand London's designs.

    There is definitely room in the market for more plus size independent patterns though... we should start a campaign!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I actually just tried the Named Blair batwing as well - doesn't suit me (my chest is too big) but my fellow size 12 friend looks great in it! Also would be SUPER easy to grade.

      http://cashmerette.blogspot.com/2014/03/a-stripy-named-blair-batwing.html

      Delete
  8. Is that the Olivia Pope top I spy in the background? Can't wait for the official unvieling!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I'm used to grading up, so I guess I've gotten used to it. I do prefer the ones who have the upper end of the size scale, but really like the pattern, I will do the work. I am with you on the other points about buying indie patterns. If it isn't different enough from a big 4 pattern that I already own, it isn't worth my money. I don't wear business clothes like you and mostly make dresses and with my pattern stash (er.... hoarding) I probably shouldn't be buying more anyway!

    ReplyDelete
  10. One of the best aspects of sewing is that you can sew your own style and size. I love your style, but since I don't work I can only dream of wearing your makes. I've tried a couple of indie patterns, but piecing together is frustrating. I do like that I know most of my adjustments for the Big 4.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi Carolyn. Wow, first of all thanks for such a lovely shout out on your blog .... I'm surprised and delighted. :) I am only brave enough at the moment to tackle this kind of major adjustment on patterns for knits, although renegade pattern slashing has redefined how I view patterns. Now I see them as just a starting point I am getting much better fits for my unusual proportions and am happier with my sewing overall. I still hate tracing patterns and having to make toiles though ... That's why I love making stuff for children ... So refreshing (and speedy) to run them up straight from the packet!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I have the opposite problem - most patterns are to big for me, especially in the hips and the chest, which makes it a struggle to find a pattern unless I resort to junior/teen sizes. Annoying, yes, but it lead me to create my block pattern. That took me months to draft, fit and fine-tune, but the experience taught me so much about pattern making, measurements and shapes that I am actually thankful for my unique size. Looks like you did the same thing and developed TNT patterns according to your body.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I have yet to try an indie pattern, although T's Plantain shirts are tempting me, too. Most of the indies seem to skew to young, petite and/or retro -- none of which I am. Also, I haven't had too much trouble fitting with the Big 4. However, I'm certainly glad for all the new pattern designers and sewists out there. The more people are sewing, the better for all of us. And if some indie decides to specialize in rectangular figures, I will be very interested:)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thanks so much for the blog shout out, Carolyn! It's funny, the reasons I sew with indie patterns are exactly the ones you named: they skew toward the cute, casual, and young end of things. At work, I'm in scrubs, so sophisticated professional wear so rarely leaves my closet. I am quite envious of your chic work wardrobe! You always look so elegant.

    I will say that, despite my love for indie patterns, I do take issue with their sizing systems. For the companies I sew with--Colette, By Hand London, and BlueGingerDoll mostly--my measurements put me at the second-to-last or last size, which means a quick FBA is all that's needed. I've actually stopped buying patterns from Deer & Doe, as well as a few others, because they would require me to grade. Not only do I hate that process, but it's downright insulting. I am a RTW size 14/16--the American average. If I'm not included in your size range, then you're actively excluding most women from your patterns. Reasons like time and resources are always cited for not including plus sizes, but I don't buy them. Plenty of indie companies include larger sizes--Cake patterns goes up to a size 26, and Colette's next releases will join them--without batting an eye. Thus, I tend to assume that if you're not including sizes above a 12, then you want your "brand" to be cool, fashionable, skinny women. Which is fine, but this cool, fashionable, curvy woman won't be wasting her money & time on your designs. Traditional fashion excludes too many women already, the sewing world would be gravely wrong to follow suit.

    Which is all to say: I'm not sewing a Plantain either. Great blog!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. *slow clap* I sew mostly indies as well (I work in software, so the casual/retro style is more appropriate than businesswear), but I stick with the ones that encompass my size range (mostly HotPatterns, StyleArc, and occasionally Colette). I'm short, and I love that SBCC includes a plus range with their patterns. I'm so in love with the Tonic tee that I just bought several more of her not-free patterns.

      Delete
    2. Yes, Mary what you said. If some indie companies don't cater for my size then I am not going to buy them. I do find this insulting and am known to have a good rant about it given any opportunity. I am plus-sized (at the 2nd top or top of the size range in Colette, et al) but am not ready for a shapeless sack yet. Would love to see bigger sizes in stylish indie designs. Goodness knows you won't really get that with the Big 4. Lovely Carolyn to see someone make such lovely, stylish bigger clothes.

      Delete
  15. For the most part I have to agree with you; I've yet to see one that isn't either boring or not meant for me. My lifestyle is more casual than yours but most really don't seem to be worth the money or meant for me either. I do like a lot of the Hot Patterns and they are graded to a size 24 or a 54" hip.

    ReplyDelete
  16. This was the first (and I'm sure last) pattern that has fit me with no modifications. I am almost 6" tall and it fit me like she had made it for me and me alone. I'll be making a lot of these in the future.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Most of the Indie designs that appeal to me I can figure out for myself and make with my sloper block. I do buy the ones that I think are bringing something new to the table, but even with my 44" hip measurement, I am at the large end of the measurements (a 16 in a scale from 2 to 20 for the widest set of measurements for SewChic).

    I've been following a couple of design students by blog, and they are being encouraged by class assignment to work on 'plus sizing'. At least one of them flat out refused the assignment, with some commentary about how only skinny people like fashion. This is not a positive thought, but not surprising. We have to make our own change in the world, we have to stop being invisible.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I don't buy ready to wear that doesn't fit, so why would I buy a pattern that doesn't fit? Thanks for the warning about this indie company's sizing. In addition, let me say your style is impeccable; I think you need to learn NOTHING about style. Be you! xxoo

    ReplyDelete
  19. Well, at least you'll gain some good sewing karma for sewing for your coworker! I don't usually sew new indie patterns, either. But that's because I'm cheap :) I can appreciate a good tee, though.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I don't sew indie either - there's not that much unique or different about them to justify the cost or the effort in taking on an unknown sizing style (at least I know what I'm getting with the big 4). My main criticism though is that some of them aren't even properly trained pattern makers - maybe this is why they don't do plus size because they don't know how to grade up properly?

    ReplyDelete
  21. As a boomer I find that most indie patterns aren't sophisticated enough for me. I'm not a big dress-wearer and would prefer to buy T's that are made by good companies like St. James or Petit Bateau. I admire these companies for giving it a go, but wonder about the pattern-drafting skills sometimes.

    ReplyDelete
  22. It's a varied world, so I don't see why it's insulting to create patterns for one particular bodyshape rather than another. Deer and Doe are French so why should anyone expect them to draft for a completely different market. Named are Scandinavian so they draft for taller women. It seems natural to me. The Big 4 continue to churn out loads of patterns for many sizes.( However the ease issue is another matter altogether.)
    Indies should be encouraged not scolded. BTW Colette are planning to increase their size range in the plus direction. I am by no means a young woman but I find plenty of Indie patterns I can wear.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I don't believe anyone is insulting indie pattern makers. I believe they are just discussing why they do or don't support them. It's the same discussion that sewists have about the Big 4 which to me happens much more than discussions about indie pattern designers. Every time a new pattern collection debuts online, there are multiple blog posts dedicated to the good, the bad and the ugly of the collection. If those reviews are acceptable, why can't the same be acceptable for indie designers?

    ReplyDelete
  24. OK, Carolyn -

    I've just got one question... How in the world do you have time to make all the fabulous clothes for yourself and then sew for others while holding down a full time high pressure job, spoiling grandchildren and living constantly shopping for more great fabric to use and give away? When do you sleep? That's two questions. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Actually I mostly sew on weekends and I just make it priority. Fabric is easy to buy online since it's present on all my devices! *LOL* And the grandchildren show up about once a month...

      Delete
  25. I love that you reviewed the D&D Plaintain! I, too, am a larger lady, but I wanted to see what all the fuss is about. I've printed it out, but not yet taped it together, and will definitely need to grade it up when I do. It looks like an ordinary t-shirt (for which I've already drafted my own custom pattern), but I'm curious.

    As for indies, I want to try more of them and support them because I'm all about the little guy. I guess I'm so used to grading up patterns (I'm bigger than the Big 4) that I give indies the same leeway. I wish I could simply cut and stitch like smaller ladies.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Have you tried Lekala patterns? Apparently they send you a pattern already made to your size! I haven't tried them yet, but have heard good things

      Delete
  26. In case folks are interested, I just did a blog post compiling all the pattern sizing of the independent companies (and compared to the Big 4):

    http://cashmerette.blogspot.com/2014/03/one-stop-guide-to-sewing-pattern-sizes.html

    ReplyDelete
  27. I just found your blog and wanted to say hi!!! Very excited to have found this place!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Pity the Plaintain pattern didn't work for you. Maybe there will be an independent pattern house dedicated to people needing to size up.

    ReplyDelete
  29. I don't do Indies either - I know what I am getting with the Big 4 and know what alterations are likely to be needed. Plus I like the conservative styles. Also, Indies tend to make for pear shapes,and I am not a pear, so again, not worth it for me. I am toying with the idea of trying Lekala, but all that sticking together of a large PDF may not be much fun either :)

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! It is so appreciated.

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails