And Sew it Begins…..

I am a sewist.  I am a fabric manipulator.  I am a craft-maker.  I am adding dressmaker to my descriptors beginning today.  I am embarking on a sartorial journey with the goal of making clothes for myself that fit me well and allow me to express my ideas of fashion and style.

I am neither petite nor average.  I’m between 5′ 4″ and 5′ 6″ – the no man’s land of clothing.  Pants are either too short or too long.  I’m long waisted.  Dresses with a defined waistline never fit correctly.  The waistline is always too high.  And, to top it off, I’m plus-sized with a DD bra cup size.  So, off the rack clothes don’t usually fit well and commercial patterns are not made for me.  What’s a girl to do?

Do it herself!

I purchased two books to help with commercial pattern alterations.  The first is Sewing for Plus Sizes: Creating Clothes that Fit & Flatter by Barbara Deckert.  This book explains how to alter a commercial pattern to size it UP, even if you have to size up quite a bit.  Many books tell you how to size down – that’s easy-peasy!  Some show you how to size up a couple of inches.  Barbara tells you how to size up to the size you need.  She gives you the math and explains how to re-create the commercial pattern accordingly.

The second book is Fast Fit: Easy Pattern Alterations for Every Figure by Sandra Betzina.  This book explains how to deal with real bodies – dowager’s humps, sloping shoulders, rounded belly, thin/thick neck, big butts and/or hips, and more.

For my first project, I’m taking an online class called The Couture Dress with Susan Khalje at Craftsy.com.  We are using Vogue Pattern 8648 for the class.  I have two fashion fabrics for this project.  I am hoping to get two dresses out of this class:  one sleeveless with a straight bottom and the other with the full bottom.

I will post my progress and pictures of my progress as I go.

There’s no time like the present, so off I go!

Boldly sewing,

MiMi

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6 thoughts on “And Sew it Begins…..

  1. Glad you said sewist not sewer 😉 I’m interested in pattern making too so I’ll be following your makes with great interest! See you around!

    • I made a medical tape dress form once. I used the softer cloth-like medical tape because I thought it would be easier on my pins than duct tape. It turned out ok. My hubby helped me make it and, looking back on it, we should have done it with a better plan. However, it wasn’t bad! I decided to invest in a My Twin dress form to have a better platform since I decided to be more serious about my sewing. So far, I’ve used the form to try different pattern sizing things and am enjoying learning about the “craft”! Thanks for stopping by! I look forward to hearing about your progress with the Couture Dress class! (Isn’t Susan Khalje just the best??? I love her teaching style and her practicality!)

      • Brenda on said:

        I’m itching to get at my dress, but I’m waiting on my fabric order (living in Canada, things take a bit longer). I ordered a coral linen with cotton voile underlining and a cute batik print lining. My daughter is getting married in July, so I thought I’d try to have it for then. I’m just a little concerned about using the same pattern Susan is using since it only goes up to a size 22 and if I go by my full bust measurement, I’d be a size 26! (and it doesn’t get any better with the waist) It’s the defined waist that I’m worried about – maybe a princess line that goes straight down would be better.

      • The dress pattern doesn’t fit my waist or hip measurements, either. I used Sewing for Plus Sizes: Creating Clothes that Fit & Flatter by Barbara Deckert to help me determine how to add to the princess seams so they will fit my waist and hips. She does a great job of explaining how to increase the size of a pattern. If you want to do more sewing for yourself and you know commercial patterns in your size are hard to find, I cannot tell you how useful Barbara’s book is for Plus-sized sewing.

        The waist part of the Vogue pattern is cut on the bias so it makes the midriff panel very flexible, so it’s almost “stretchy”. I think that will add to the comfort of the dress. I did have to do some alterations to the panels to get them to line up correctly with the bodice and skirt, but doing that in my muslin was easy enough.

        Good luck, Brenda! I can’t wait to see your dress! The fabrics sound beautiful – post pics when you get them in. I love pretty fabrics!

  2. Thanks for stopping by! I see you love Japanese sewing books – I love their style! I have a couple in my Amazon wish list that I hope to buy soon.

  3. Brenda on said:

    Hi Mimi – sounds like we’re in much the same boat. I too am a plus size and have read Barbara Deckert’s book. I signed up to take Susan Khalje’s Couture Dress and have found it to be amazingly helpful. Now I just need my own appropriately sized dress form – thinking of doing the duct tape version. Good luck with your two dresses!

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