About me

My photo
I am a mother, a new grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon


Follow by Email

Follow me on Instagram


Friday, January 13, 2012

Pattern Master Boutique from Wild Ginger revisited

On Wednesday I took a day and spent it with two friends who have PMB version 5. Like me they bought it and like me thought that they now had a shortcut to fitting. Hasn't worked out quite that way. 

Of course owning expensive and powerful pattern design software does not remove a sewer's need for nearly every new pattern released - but the need for some TNT basics remains.

None of us have been perfectly happy with what we have been able to produce with this program. It all felt close enough however that we decided to explore the possibility of operator error and devote a day to measuring, sewing slopers, and critiquing each other. 

Only a sewer would appreciate how a day spent with three middle-aged women jumping in and out of trail garments and running around someone's basement in their underwear was a most excellent day.

What we all learned was this: another sewer is a much more accurate measurer than a husband who largely does what he has to do as fast as possible. So he can get back to whatever much more interesting activity he was engaged in before you interrupted him. You know like napping, looking at vintage motorcycles on eBay,  or standing in front of an open fridge door. Not hugely, world important, activities like trying to perfect a sloper pattern for a LBD despite the fact that your actual life doesn't require one except for funerals where, in this country at least, you are likely to attend with your coat left on anyway. 

OK. Where was I?

My sloper with pictures. 

I am going to alert Wild Ginger and see what I need to do to fix my problems, which are minor. Really with decent measuring help we all three found our products needed only minor tweeking, mainly I think because we all shortened our shoulder lengths.

Before you look these shots I can't help but give you a disclaimer.

We left the defaults on for our data inputer by mistake for all of us. She is 5'1" and I am 5'9". 

Therefore this is a mini skirt version. I don't want you to think I am actually delusional enough to wear my skirts this short, and I would have to raise my bust point too. Also the program can't see, so there are things like lowering the back darts for caboose accommodation that even I can see myself I need to do and we pinned out.

And finally this is a fitting garment - a sloper - and not a real dress pattern. I would be nuts to wear anything this form fitting and as revealing of my dumpy self.

I mean can you imagine wearing a dress made out of this? A person might as well forget getting taken out for anniversary dinners if she dressed like this. Forever.

This is why there is such a thing as Design Ease, the stuff that gets added to patterns along with that thing called style so you don't look like that aunt you told yourself when you were fifteen you would never end up dressing like when you were that old - you know really old like 45. 

OK my sloper:

A garment suitable for wiping down the tables after a church supper

A dress that Tells the Truth

The Truth with back darts lowered

Don't scare the children Babs.
 Note mysterious need to move shoulder seams back as marked. Also little looseness in centre front. We tried to tell ourselves this could be eased in. I hope so because having a single centre front dart will be uncool even in the kitchen in the church basement.

What do you think?

I will let you know what the experts at Wild Ginger advise, but to tell you the truth this is pretty good progress, and the conversation during our fitting day, largely off topic, was fabulous.


Scenic Route said...

you are brave and very very dedicated--my hat's off to you! ...and funny! Having spent a great deal of time cleaning up after church socials, your comment regarding that made me spit my coffee out, laughing--it's so true! I've hammered into my 2 gorgeous adult daughters all their lives that one does not have to be frumpy to be spiritual! In fact, I believe it's an obligation not to put those two together. Carry on--I'll be watching your fitting progress with great interest :)

LindaNan said...

I don't think the neckline will ease in. I would dart it out and then xfer the dart to the waist dart.

The slanted wrinkles in the upper arm need to be worked out. I'm struggling with my own fitted sleeve right now, so I haven't a clue for you. Also the sleeve front at the elbow isn't hanging straight. Is this a one piece sleeve?

The front waist line looks high to me.

Would the slant wrinkles toward the waistline dart be eliminated when you lower the bust point?

Yup back darts to be lowered.

As for the length, I think it would be great as a sexy LBD.

You're a lot spunkier than I am to post your sloper. Hope my comments help.

LindaNan said...

"I don't think the neckline will ease in. I would dart it out and then xfer the dart to the waist dart".

I said to xfer to the waist dart because I don't see a bust dart. If there is one, I would start there.

Doobee said...

Your blog gave me a good laugh - the things we do to get a good fit.
Anyway, think you are on the right track with this dress - fingers crossed for the real thing...

jennywren said...

First I want to take the opportuntity to say how much I love your blog. The way you write is interesting, informative, amusing and 'real'.
I have been trying to make a sloper for ages now - and no way would I have even taken photos of it let alone show anyone else! Having said that it does help to see what's going on from all angles so maybe you've hit on something. Mmm time to be brave I think.
I know nothing about the subject other than from books etc but I wonder if you were to lift the inner shoulder seam a little (by the neck only) if it would flatten out the spare fabric at the neckline? Not sure if it would but pinning just a little near the neckline might tell you if that would help.
Also I would personally widen the shoulder seam a little at the outer edge as I think that would solve the sleeve wrinkles. If you were to unpick just the top of the sleeve and leave it loose you might see where it wants to hang from - if you see what I mean.
Your sloper day sounded fun.

Julie Culshaw said...

When you find the solution for that extra fabric at centre front, please let us all know. I find this in every pattern. I figured this must be the only area where I am actually small. But there must be a solution.

Towanda said...

Your sloper turned out really well. I agree that it needs some minor tweaking. Karen's suggestions are spot on. I suspect that you need some adjustments with your shoulder slopes and to decrease your front shoulder width just a little bit.

Sharon said...

You just have to love real life sewing buddies, they make all the difference to measurements, problems and stress.

Your sloper looks very good for a first up, will be interesting to hear what Wild Ginger advise.

Carolyn (cmarie12) said...

I loved your description of the sewing time with your friends. I have no comments on your sloper because like you I'm just muddling my way through trying to perfect the fit of my garments.

Linda said...

Please share the ,feedback you receive from the folks at PMB. I am always tweaking my PMB sloper, If I make one tweak it seems to throw off something else.

Jane M said...

As always your post is both entertaining and informative. I don't have any fitting advice but will love to find out about the front neck area. I just made a sheath mock up last week and could take a large dart from under my chin to the top of my waist but it too wouldn't be apretty design feature on me.

Calypso Flowers said...

I love your description - laughed till I cried.
Please could you explain what TNT means ? I can't figure it out.

Sew Lady Sew! said...

It was a fun day! I learned so much! I wrote about it, too, on my blog.

Nancy said...

Don't ever let me see you in that dress!!
Love always your sister Nancy

Jennifer said...

Excellent post! Getting together next weekend with several other PMB ladies to do exactly the same thing. I am hoping we have as good of a time as you all did:-) It will be our first time meeting one another so it should be interesting - lol!

petunia said...

There is a video, Fitting Torso, in the "Threads Fitting Series" that tells us to stand with back to wall lined with pattern paper and have a buddy outline us neck to bicep with pencil held parallel with floor. Do this for right and left sides both. Then compare the outline with sloper pattern, fitting shell, or whatever you are using and make any necessary adjustments. The video explains how to adjust for both square and sloping shoulders. Also how to correct the distance from shoulder point to bust point. I think it would correct roominess in your front neckline, shoulder seam length, and where the topmost point for the armhole seam should be.

Jan Baker said...

Would you tell me how your conference with Wild Ginger turned out? I have owned this program for years and years, and also Dress Shop. I have relied on the latter, but Boutique has a couple of features DS doesn't (e.g. pleated neckline which I hope will take care of MY extra fabric there!!) and Boutique, or PM, is way easier to use. In the past, I've run into problems and given up, but am making a dress right now that I'm highly satisfied with, in pattern form. Nothing I do fits. I don't even have the distracted husband to help. And then the other thing is, I lose or gain weight.

But here's what prompted me to write you, a year later. I cannot communicate with the coordinator at either DS or PM. Sometimes I think they're the same person. They skip words, always going too fast, and apparently never edit. They don't answer the question asked, but a different one. They use terms nobody could understand, part computese, part sewese. If you try to get clarity, at some point, way too early, they get cranky. My latest try was regarding the directions that come with Hat Shop. I was thinking of buying it and had the trial version, that won't let you print, but will let you design. I asked if you had to have a head form, or even steam, the hat if you used boiled wool in the first place. I could not understand three words of the complicated answer, when all I needed was Yes, or No.

So--did you ever get the sloper to fit, and was Wild Ginger very helpful?

But I love the programs, both of them! I just can't master the human end of it.

By the way, church is the reason I sew. I go to traditional mass, and women only wear dresses there, and since dresses and hats and so forth aren't always easy to buy these days, it's a heaven for sewers. And you can wear anything as long as it's modest! Like, leg o' mutton sleeves, for example. A knitted wimple. A collar made of fox tails (yes I DID). I'm presently waiting for beaver strips to edge a camel-hair poncho, and no one will think anything of it. Thank heaven for church!

Hey thabnks for your nice blog, and the description of the weekend.

kathleen said...

Hi as Jan Baker requested, I'd like to know about how assistance from Wild Ginger served you. I am considering buying their Women's wear and Womens knit wear programs, and it will quite a daring spend for me, a novice sewer. Please email me back at kathkay@gmail.com
thank you!!!

Corey said...

ok so as a disclaimer I am completely self taught and have no formal training to base this on, but it seems to be if you brought the shoulder seams "in" (closer together by just a quarter inch even) you could eliminate the gape at the front...

/ /
___/ /
I know this is an older post but that's my thought anyway.