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I am a mother, a 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 book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge was published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon


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Sunday, January 3, 2021

Revisiting patterns

I really like the dress I am wearing on the cover of my latest book. It is so comfortable and the cotton blend ponte is so wearable. I also made my mom a top from this fabric because I like it so much. I got both the fabric for the dress and for the cardigan from my local Fabricville.

There is a story behind this dress.

I used Jalie's Nicole I had made this dress when it first came out and reviewed it here.

Despite really loving the fabric and the style of the pattern I haven't really worn that dress much at all. It sticks to my rear end and stomach too much.

However like I said I really like the style so I decided to take a different tack and try it again. This time I selected not the size my measurements would give me, but the size that the actual garment measurements would give me to what I know to be comfortable around the middle of my body.

This meant going up two full sizes from the armholes down - essentially changing this pattern from close to the body ease to an additional 1.5" of ease.

Here is the result:

So so much better and now one of my favourite patterns. (You can see I did this in the fall - in major catch up blog post mode here).

I think this is a strategy I am going to work on with other patterns. Because Jalie comes in so many sizes and those sizes go up in fine increments it is possible to tweek the ease a bit without a lot of distortion of the pattern lines.

I think I am going to try the same approach with the Lisette skirt pattern, which has beautiful lines but on me made me look like an egg cup. You will notice that when I did that review I focused on the construction techniques and not my body fit.

Once I had this success I decided to go back and look at other patterns.

One of these was the Charlotte cardigan. I had some nice red sweater knit but wanted something really practical and warm. As a result I just lengthened this pattern to something more jacket like to wear with the dress.

The sweater knit was fairly soft though so I didn't make buttons and buttonholes. Instead I used those big snaps that I consider one of the best inventions of this century:

I think there is a theme here. 

One of my take aways from this strange time of the pandemic is about doing more with whatever you have on hand. My house, I have rediscovered, has deep sewing supply resources that I have had no choice but to mine this year.

I used to think, with irony, that I collected patterns, notions and fabric like squirrel. Like I was waiting for the big storm and I couldn't get out.  

Well what do you know. 

That storm came and I was ready.


Kim said...

You look wonderful in the dress! I am the same way as far as not liking things to cling to my bum and belly. When you went up the two sizes did you simply grade out to the larger size from the armholes or another way?

bbarna said...

I think the dress and cardigan look fantastic. I have decided to sew up some of my Jalie patterns that have not been touched yet. Today it is the Marie-Claude in red power knit. I am doing it as a layer for cold days and camping and something to try my new to me coverstitch machine on. I can already see this will be a great pattern for my daughter and granddaughters as they are also outdoorsy folks. I look forward to your posts. Happy New year.
Barb from Prince George.

Judith Newman said...

The dress hangs very nicely. Good tip for the rest of us older women to keep in mind. Thanks.

Barbara said...

Kim that’s exactly what I did, graded out armholes down.

M-C said...

The slightly too tight dress might be saved with a short petticoat - nothing fancy, just a bit of lining to keep the dress moving freely. Or possibly the right slick panties might do the same

Alison G said...

That dress and cardigan look really great, that is to say you look really great in them. Quite a lot of my sewing at the moment involves working out how to adapt commercial patterns that don't take account of the post-menopausal body. And like yours, my haberdashery and fabric stash has, vast as it is, been totally justified. But now I don't think I'll be able to throw anything away, ever again!