I’m slowly creating a wardrobe, since I currently just wear workout clothes (or worse, PJs) all day while working from home. Starting in June, I’ll be working in a legit office and that means I need clothes. I’ve hobbled along “decent” clothes for as long as I remember. It’s time for a change…clothes that fit and look good too. It is definitely a new sensation. I’ve made knit shirts now for several months. In February, I took a one-on-one class with Sunni from, A Fashionable Stitch. Unfortunately, she is no longer holding classes, but at least I was able to get that boost and learn how to make knit shirts based on my own measurements. I’m slowly moving into more technical patterns with the confidence of knowing how to make adjustments to the patterns. My first real top is the Ruby Top from Made by Rae. It’s a simple enough pattern and there’s a ton of great resources online to show you how to sew the top. I added a lining to my top (see here) and the capped sleeve from the Washi Dress pattern (see here).
I did have to make some major adjustments to the yokes, but let’s start with determining the right size. My upper bust measures 35″ and my bust measures 38″. That places me at the upper edge of a size Medium and the lower edge of size Large. From experience, I know my back width and shoulders tend to be larger than normal (15+ years of competitive swimming will do that), so I went with a size L. Although this was just a shirt, I’m a size L based on my waist and hips as well. For my first attempt, I just made a muslin so I could determine overall fit. Everything fit wonderfully, except for the neckline (the top of the front and back yokes had major gaping). For the top of the front yoke, I needed to take in a 1/2″ at the center front fold (total of 1″), but needed to leave the bottom of the CF as is. In other words, the bottom of the yoke fit perfectly around my upper bust and across my back and across my shoulders too, but the neckline was too big.
For the top part of the back yoke, instead of taking in at the center back (CB) fold, I needed to remove fabric (about 3/4″) around my shoulder blades. I made the changes simply based on where the fabric was gaping when I was wearing the muslin. Call it beginners luck or whatever, but these adjustments worked perfectly.
The only other adjustment (and this goes for all shirts) was a 3/4″ forward shoulder adjustment. No surprise that the top of my shoulders are slumped forward 3/4″. I spend too much time at the computer slouching and yoga isn’t fixing it fast enough. I’m so happy with how the Ruby top turned out. I chose Art Gallery Morning Walk Mojave Cotton Aloe for my fabric and lined it with Kaufman Organic Voile Optic White. Its going to make a great summer shirt if summer ever decides to arrive in Utah.
I’ve tried making pants and thus far I’ve had no luck in getting the fit right. Although I don’t wear skirts a lot, its more because skirts never fit right either. I decided to learn about my body’s fit by making skirts. Namely, I know I will always have to make a Full Derrière Adjustment and adjustments for Full Front Thighs. But more on that as I learn to make those adjustments. I wanted to make a somewhat “fitted” skirt so I could learn about how to make adjustments for my body. I was interested in the Simplicity’s Amazing Fit patterns, since there’s some adjustments already available in the patterns based on whether you have a slim, average, or curvy body. How cool is that?
Let’s take a look at fit for the Simplicity 1541 Amazing Fit Skirt. I have a 31.5″ waist and 42″ hips so for this pattern I’m a size 18. In order to determine correct figure type (slim, average or curvy) the instructions ask you determine the difference between your hip measurement and the pattern hip measurement. Luckily (or not so luckily as I will discuss), I “fit” standard sizing. For this pattern then, I am an average size 18. Let’s do this thing…
Again, I’m a huge fan of making a muslin to see how the pattern is going to fit. I have zero faith in my abilities to sew a pattern correctly the first time. I am also dubious that the pattern will fit correctly without any adjustments. Given all that, I was shocked at how well the pattern did actually fit (sorry I don’t have any photos of my muslin). Just because I was being fastidious, I did have to add 1/4″ to the front (not back) side seams from the hip notch down two-thirds towards the knee. My skirt ends just above my kneecaps. This gets back to my comments about whether I need a Full Derrière Adjustment and / or Athletic Quad Adjustment. I’m making up adjustments now 🙂 What I’ve noticed with my pant pattern testing and this skirt is that when I walk, my pants pull on my thighs. The result is that the skirt starts falling and pulling down in the back, because my athletic quads are pulling my clothes forward and down. Explains why I live in Lululemon pants that account for the hockey butt syndrome. This is a very confusing fit issue, because it looks like a lot of other issues. You might be pressured to think, make a Full Derrière Adjustment or in the case of my pant fiasco, lengthen the crotch, etc. but I’m pretty sure my fitting woes are all due to my quads. Here’s some posts on Full Front Thigh Adjustments, which is different from Full Inner Thigh Adjustments:
The other way I could tell that I needed to make a Full Front Thigh adjustment on my skirt was the my side seam swung forward at my thighs. The side seam should lay straight from your waist down to wherever the garment ends. My side seam was straight from my waist down to the hip notch (meaning I didn’t need to make any butt adjustment), but from the hip notch to two-thirds down to my knee it was forward. Silly thighs. What’s great about the Simplicity Amazing Fit patterns is that they give you a whole 1″ seam allowance in those places you’ll need to make adjustments and they give you helpful instructions on how to make adjustments too. Again, I only needed to add 1/4″ to the FRONT seam from the hip notch down and not the back seam.
If the thigh area fits too snug, and the seams pull either toward the front or back, release the basting below hip notch to marked hem. Smooth the skirt over your contours, then pin the front to back, making sure that the side seam is perpendicular to the floor. NOTE: the seam allowance will be uneven.
The rest of the skirt came together fairly easily. I had no idea how to sew a Vent Extension, but I found this great tutorial:
I also am not happy with my lapped zipper and I just didn’t find great tutorial either. Something to perfect in the future. I’ve made this skirt twice using two different fabrics. I’ve used a stretch denim as a second muslin and it looked so good that it’s a wearable muslin, bonus!
I then also made the skirt in a cotton twill. This pattern might very easily turn into a TNT pattern. Now I just have to tell myself that having more than one skirt or pant in my closet is OK.