Next project! I plan to make a waistcoat for the husband. Now, he is a robust lad from Northern Ireland, so I had to seek some adjust on adjusting. I’d got the hang of the full bust adjustment so now it is time for the full belly adjustment. Although I have plenty of fabric options in the stash for this (“Jin, why are you making me five waistcoats…?”), we’re going with his favourite ones.
But I think I’ll exercise an unusual level of caution, and just make it from rough calico first to adust to his fit since I don’t want to waste that fabric. I also need to order a few bits and pieces, like buttons, and so on. I found that, on the pattern, they call those notions which I love.
So, a new adventure awaits as well as the Anna Dress – I’m going to do all of the measurements for myself and my daughter. Then I’m going to adjust a simple garment in there for both of us and make it. I’ve gone for the Sewist page as a starting point.
So, a new challenge! The Anna Dress, By Hand London – This is a dress that looks simple and elegant and gets rave reviews for the simplicity of making it. Probably those raving at the ones who can just cut from the pattern and aren’t new to sewing BUT, that said, I’m going to give it a try.
The sizing stops at UK 20, which means I have four sizes to go up, according to the finished measurements (amazing how different this is per pattern!). So here we go.
This is the first pattern where I have bought it as a PDF, downloaded and printed at home. This added a new dimension to the whole thing. The instructions are relatively clear, and I spent a considerable amount of time with sticky tape, to put it together, and then cut it out. All good so far.
Next, adjustments for being bigger (I am mentally calling this the Boob Time Tax now). I traced out the patterns onto my pattern paper and copied all of the markings across. I started doing this around 4 hours ago, and now I have finished it!
So, I’ve pinned and cut out. I’ve managed to do pleats (first time!), and it looks alright! I’ll tweak the shoulders a little and I suspect I do need a zip in the back which means I can’t avoid the challenge of an invisible zipper having never sewn a normal one!
I carried on and managed it. I don’t think that is the type of zip they intended but it works. It needs a good iron and some hand sewing to finish it off but… I’m happy.
So, I think it might be easier to fit someone else rather than on me! So, this is a nice dress for my daughter, and in a pattern suitable for someone who teaches primary school children.
Obviously, because it is a pattern, it isn’t in her size (because that would be too easy). So resizing it using a different style to see if that works better for me.
It is a good opportunity to see if the body form we made for her is a good match too – according to that, I have these measurements pretty right, and the adjustments for the shape of her body too – in fact, on measuring, these seem to match nicely which I am pleased about.
One thing I hadn’t considered until it came to putting pattern to fabric is the fact this fabric has little pandas all over it. So I need to think about how to match the shoulders and the sleeves…Quick, to the internet where there are useful tips for that. But I had an idea while in town and I have bought this fabric, which matches the little pandas colour nicely. So that will be the panel across the abdomen, and also two stripes down the sides (because the fabric is not wide enough to lengthen this enough).
I did discover that the panels down the sides look lovely but because they aren’t balanced there was one problem…
So we fixed that by making a small patch of wrinkled material to match.
Time to start putting it together… I thought the shoulders would be tricky but they were actually really easy!
One thing she (and I) specifically want in our clothes is pockets! So I’m going to add some pockets in here using techniques from this site.
Adding the interfacing made the inside too scratchy for her to wear, and so this whole thing got more complex than my skill level! But I found a nice lining for it, which matches part of the triangle.
After some rather tricky sewing, I think I’ve not done badly when you consider I altered the dress to have a lining and pockets, and fitted it to a person.
So, this was shelved for Christmas because I had a houseful of people and rather lost any spare energy. Kindly though, my daughter bought me some actual pattern paper which is SO much easier than thick craft paper. I had played with the pattern using calico, but got in a bit of a muddle. So! Starting all over, and being brave (or foolish) and going straight to the real fabric.
So I’ve resized the pattern using this method, and cut out the main parts (but have weirdly lost page 3 of the pattern, which I hadn’t previously cut out so that is odd – not sure what to do about that).
What I hadn’t twigged until I went to follow the instructions is that this uses interfacing. A new thing so alright! I’ve gone down that rabbit hole and so… following some instructions I’m could try using the same fabric to do it, instead of interfacing. What is the worst that can happen, right? Or I can pop to the shop tomorrow… Either way, that isn’t the next step so that is good.
Except here is where I made a massive realisation. Having cut and got to the part where I sewed back to front I noticed this:
So either I go on a hunt for the “right” fabric or we adapt and overcome. I feel like I am making this much harder on myself in every way!
Ok! A quick cup of tea and a think later, I have a plan. I’ll make the one top (the one with the solid stars) since I’ve made the front already with the darts in from that.
That doesn’t work too badly. The neckline seems to assume I have no head to speak of. The arms assume I need to be able to fit my head in there, although I think that is an adjustment of the pattern size, rather than the pattern makers. So I’m looking through websites on how to make bust darts, and I did find this phrase that I found funny (“Press your dart with the point on a curved part of a ham that is similar to the shape of the breast.”) That might just be me though.
I have, at this point, abandoned the pattern almost entirely. Armholes are now smaller, and I’ve sliced in at the sides to give more shape, made a slice in the neck …so instead of following their pattern I’m simply finishing the neckline and shoulders with bias binding from the darker blue fabric.
Overall, quite happy with it. I’m still tempted to put a bit at the back to pull the waist slightly smaller… Nice to know that I can do this a bit more on the fly. Martha wouldn’t be impressed, I think, because it isn’t finished as nicely as the one I did with her but it the first one alone, and mostly without a pattern!
So having used all of the duct tape, and wanting to get actually sewing on my stuff, I’ve kinda improvised. One bra and some padding later I have a very soft approximate of my size and vaguely my shape. Very vaguely, and very soft 😀
Very glam, I am sure you (my sole reader) will agree!
So the gorgeous Mr Jin-Shei bought me a lovely sewing dummy for Christmas. These are fabulous and makes life a lot easier except (you might see this coming) they don’t actually make them in my size.
So, having expanded it as far as it goes, we have resorted to duct tape bodyforms using a youtube video. Much easier to do one for someone else first so… meet Jin-Shei Jr.
She has kindly allowed some pictures of this rather undignified process…
I have some padding to add, to make sure it holds its shape. She is more apple than I am (pear / hourglassish) and so the top half works just fine. Which is really the trickier bits for me! So now all we need is a bit of a bra cup to support the boob lumps, and then we can roll with that.
So I liked the D pattern of this. First step, untangle the giant pieces of paper. They come with a list of which you need for each of these, and so I have only those I need for D ready to be cut.
Size-wise I have bought one that goes up to size 24, but as with the others, the idea of size 24 is not mine. So another adjustment required I think. But I bought some brown craft paper to make patterns like this, just in case! I do want to get some calico and use that to make patterns from when I have the ones I like in the size I want. But that is a Future Jin thing, the one that has more money and is further down this line.
So I’ve cut the pattern out and put it on the fabric. It looks… tight. So I slipped and fell, and accidentally bought more fabric. Hopefully, that should be with me shortly…
I decided that I needed quality clothes that I actually liked, rather than could fit in and didn’t hate, and POCKETS. I carry a lot of Stuff ™ and I want pockets.
So I joined a sewing class (which I highly recommend), in the hope of doing both and the benefit of avoiding the horror of changing rooms while fat. The irony of the latter is that, when the pattern we would be working on was passed around, it only went up to a size 18. So lesson 1 – I can resize patterns and I only really want to buy patterns that cover my size. Lesson 2 – the sizing (18, 20, etc.) doesn’t actually match sizing in the real world and you need to compare the measurements of their sizing to your body. So according to that pattern I was a size mahoosive.
So far, so good. I selected fabric, finding a lovely warehouse near us and a beautiful soft faux linen of a deep red colour. It is a bit slinky and thus hard to pin down (pun intended), but I did love it.
The pattern was the Merchant and Mills camber set. It is not a top that is my preferred style but it is nice enough. Our fearless leader, who is very supportive and just hadn’t considered the impact of the pattern (maybe I shall write a post about weight and wanting clothes, and also being female and pockets).
So, weekly, I took my new sewing machine to the class, and the fabric, and all the things. Slowly we progressed but I haven’t taken photos because… well, it is week 10 now and I didn’t think of blogging it as a thing. So, the end product looks like this…
I’m mostly happy with it. I feel as though the neckline needs changes, and I prefer a fitted cut a little more. It will gain pockets this week!