Happy, happy

I have a stash of gorgeous fabrics that were bought for me – not for kids’ clothes, crafting or anything else. Some were bought at Clegg’s, others at Tessuti’s but the one thing they have in common is that they’ve been lying in my cupboard for anywhere between 6 and 12 months. I love these fabrics so much that I’ve been very cautious about cutting into them. At the beginning of last summer I made a top from a lovely plum linen that was hideously big; linen trousers from a just-right-for-me olive green linen, also hideously big; more successfully a straight skirt from an Echino print with pleated detail. The skirt very nearly but not quite fit.

What I learned from this: I can’t trust a contemporary sewing pattern from the main publishers and the one item that came close to fitting me I designed and drafted the pattern myself. I cannot figure out how I’m a size 14-16 when I go to a shop but once I pick up a sewing pattern I’m considered a size 20 or 22 (WTF?). Add to that that I’m less than 175cm tall and I have an hour glass figure. Yes, indeedy, my waist and my hips are two totally different measurements. Goodness, that makes it tricky.

I’ve had more luck with Burda patterns. I prefer their styles and I don’t mind tracing out the patterns because it gives me more opportunity to tailor the fit. And the experience I’ve had with tracing patterns means that I’ve become a better sewer because I understand why this bit is shaped like that and how if I alter this it looks like that. So I’ve become a more adventurous sewer and more demanding in my standards. If I’ve spent good money on fabulous fabric I want it to look fabulous on me. Which explains why our living room floor looked like this last week:

Drafting trouser pattern

Drafting trouser pattern

I borrowed a pattern drafting book from the Melbourne City Library and got down and dirty with measurements, diagrams, tracing paper, pencil and rulers. I’ll use the pattern to make a muslin, tweak the fit and finalise the foundation pattern. Voila, I’ll have a pattern for perfect fitting trousers. And the measurements are in a spreadsheet so that when some of them change I won’t have to redraft from scratch.

Happy, happy.



  1. kate said,

    October 6, 2008 at 8:38 am

    So you’d like a dress-maker’s doll for Christmas?

  2. The Bloke said,

    October 6, 2008 at 9:08 am

    And here was me thinking it was really complicated life-sized origami. With pins in.

  3. froginthepond said,

    October 6, 2008 at 10:21 am

    I think that I may put a dress-maker’s model on my combined Xmas/b’day list. And it wouldn’t be a list because it would be the only item.

    The Bloke is also right. It’s just that it takes more words so it’s called pattern drafting instead.

  4. innercitygarden said,

    October 6, 2008 at 10:41 am

    Important not to let present buyers get sidetracked.

  5. Mini Manc said,

    October 9, 2008 at 5:56 am

    Especially present buyers who live in other countries.

  6. Jane said,

    November 18, 2008 at 7:19 pm

    I feel your pain re sizing – I’m a 16-18, but my hips put me at a size 24, which is in the Plus/maternity category. And I am not that big, just curvy! (bosoms make me a size 20 – I must be really deformed, huh?!)

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