Well what a journey I have been on these past few weeks. Several weeks ago I found Karen’s blog at didyoumakethat and a wk later Gertie’s New Blog for Better Sewing as I read I had a growing desire to learn to sew clothes for myself properly. I have sewed for 22 yrs. I’ve made clothes for 4 girls and 1 son; Curtains for 4 houses, floor rugs, patchwork and an interesting variety of home decor items. Over the years I have tried to sew clothes for myself but it always ended it tears and frustration. I’d give up and a few years later give it another go. Sadly, no matter which brand I tried the commercial patterns just never fit me.
Three weeks ago I set off on a journey with New Look 6515. Easy! It says on the pattern envelope, honestly it was easy to sew but the fitting was not!
Last year I had made view A in a size 18 because the envelope said that was my size. I had high hopes that It would fit me, how naïve I was! View A turned out way too big for me. I do hope some one bought it from the thrift shop. I tried again in size 16 and while the sizing was closer to the mark, it didn’t fit well. I gave up. Again.
Fast forward 1 year:
June 2012: Off I went again with view B this time. Unfortunately I had previously cut the pattern to a size 16. Lesson 1 for me: do not cut multiple sized patterns! This time in mid June, I measured up and decided I would have to go with the 16 and use 0.5 cm seams instead of 1.5cm. Possibly my first mistake?
Toile Number 1:
I did not take a photo – a sad day. That band is supposed to sit just under the bust, mine sat half-way through in a very unflattering place. Definitely not a good look. Disappointment & Recovery followed; My journey to better sewing had begun.
I think where the band is makes it an Empire Line? Not having a clue what I was doing I unpicked the shoulder seams and added 1 inch to the front and back on each side to bring the band down and give more room for the bust. The center split went way down too far for my liking. I’ve seen on the internet that several others have also changed the length of the split. The underarms sat too low and the shoulder lines moved out of position. I wrote all over the toile. I was reasonably happy with the blouse style, it made my belly look not so noticeable and I like the front split. I think I’m perhaps past the age of being able to go sleeveless but come summer I’ll change my mind.
I love this fabric. I now wish I had not used it on my first toile…
Toile 2 was too big, that 1 inch on each shoulder seam had become too much. I re-sewed the shoulder seams with a slightly larger seam allowance. The armhole gaped underarm, my underwear was clearly visible although the armscye had improved a little with the larger seams on the shoulders. I took in the side seams, getting right into this toile adjustment thingy now. The armholes improved somewhat and overall it was better although not perfect. I’ve been game enough to wear it out although I’m not sure if I’ll do so again.
I noted my changes on the paper pattern and went to research via the internet for more help. I found Casey’s tutorial on an amazing blog called Elegant Musings. Casey explained how to adjust commercial patterns in a beautifully thorough style. On other pages and You tube I also saw some information about pivot adjustments. After days of reading and thinking I decided to try the cut and move method. I’d also learned about ease. I worked out how much I wanted, measured myself again and added my desired amount of ease; I then divided into four to calculate the required width of the front and back pattern pieces. It seems complicated now but one step at a time it was okay. I traced the original pattern pieces, cut and moved them apart, then redrew new pattern pieces adding 1.5 cm seam allowances. I pinned the new pattern pieces together and did a fitting.
Feeling optimistic I cut into the fabric for Toile 3, there was heaps of fabric so I decided to lengthen it to a dress. I’m pretty pleased to say Tolie 3 came together like I always dreamed sewing ought to be. Several fittings during the process with a couple of minor adjustments. Those armholes were still too big so I took the side seam in, lesson learned with toile 2. I was just a little excited and made it in secret. When I put it on to show hubby he said
“Wow it fits perfect. Well done”. It is not perfect but it’s the closest I’ve ever come. The bust gathers are in the wrong position. However I was feeling pretty pleased with myself. A mountain load of thanks to Karen, Gertie, Casey and all the other fabulous internet users who have shared their knowledge. I am so very grateful.
I like it more now, although it will only be worn at home.
3 toiles are enough. This weekend I made my good version of N6515. I took a cm from centre front and it doesn’t flap around like the dress does.
The boy, (BB) said
“it looks great, the best ever”. That is something coming from a teen. I tend to agree.
Can you help? The bodice front seems to be floppy near the front armholes. Please can you suggest what I ought to adjust next time? And I’ve just notice the issues with the waist area? Anyone?
Onwards I march…