Wednesday, July 09, 2014


My second try at getting this garment idea sewn also fell short of comfortable, especially in the arms.
 I lifted this image from Pinterest, as an illustration of my problem.
 I don't want to give up, but I recognize that the old patterns I am using have not met with my goals. I did spend quite a long time looking at patterns and came away empty handed, figuring I had what I needed in my collected patterns at home. NOT. So I figured I will hold off trying to fix/refashion them, in favor of finding one which already has what I want.
But I didn't go to the small pattern companies, ones that show up at quilt shops for example. And my other thought came from the comment on yesterday's blog:
I wish you the best of luck in your clothing adventure, Melody. I used to make much of my wardrobe, but after purchasing pattern, material etc, and having a OK-to-wear-but-not-exactly-right result, I realized that if I had tried on the same garment ready-made at a store, I would not have purchased why would I purchase it AND spend time making it? You will do better, I'm sure.

I'm starting to think this would be my experience too. So maybe I will hold off on all of this and just get back to having fun with paint.



  1. Or you could go buy a garment that works for you, and take it apart...

  2. If you are looking to use some of your fabric in a garment, I (somewhere in my patterns) have a pattern for a quilted jacket that would be ideal. I got it off the internet several years ago and made the jacket. It came out too large for me, but I loved the experience! You quilt the fabric first, then I think you wash it several times before cutting the pieces out. Anyway, that would be my solution if I wanted to make a garment, rather than try to use lots of fabrics for a blouse or tunic.

  3. When I was younger (and MUCH smaller!) I use to buy patterns, make them up, and they fit and looked great. Not now! I've gotten "middle-age spread" and no matter how I alter a pattern it just doesn't fit or look right. I absolutely hate shopping so I don't have many clothes any more (thank God I'm retired). The styles are horrible and there's nothing for us "mature" women :) I'd rather buy fabric for quilts :) Good luck.

  4. I used to love to sew garments but it isn't financially smart anymore . . . I would much rather buy stuff to play with and leave my clothes shopping for the world's best boutique (Salvation Army - they carry all my favorite brands!).

  5. I did what Marcie suggested. I have a ready-made shirt that actually fits my body with just a couple small tweaks. I took it partially apart and made a pattern. I also did the same with a favorite pair of pants. I took one side apart and made the pattern then sewed it back together. At least I have a couple things that now fit my middle-aged body and the shirt and pants go together pretty quickly.

  6. Anonymous4:57 PM

    I looked at the Indian clothes (from the link in the original post) and many of the items made me think of Marci Tilton's patterns. The garments tend to be looser and easy fitting, and many are multi-fabric. On her blog she shows variations to the patterns. They are Vogue patterns which (fortunately) in NC I can often get at the chain fabric store for $5 on sale. Not much help if you find a $18 pattern you love and want right now!

  7. Judy Morningstar5:26 PM

    You and I share the same fitting problem. Overdeveloped upper arms which is a result of carrying heavy hunks of fabric and quilts. (That's my story and I am sticking to it). Raglan sleeve patterns fit much better than set in sleeves on people with bigger arms. If you want to get a set in sleeve pattern so it fits better, slash and spread the sleeve pattern so it is bigger around ( additions parallel to grainline marking). To make it fit back into the armhole, you have to increase the armhole size so the sleeve circumference at the seamline is 1 1/2 inches bigger than the circumference of the armhole (also measured at seamline). You can cut the armhole deeper down towards the hemline to accomplish this, or add more at side seam and then taper it off further down. If that is clear like mud, let me know and I can draw some pictures and scan them to you. But I like the fit of raglan sleeves much better. I have a Simplicity 2936 that has front buttons and raglan sleeves.

  8. Anonymous7:50 PM

    For my adjustment for bigger biceps, I don't find I have to adjust the armhole - my arm fits through fine and moves...until the sleeve is inserted! So I do just an adjustment to the sleeve. I measure the sleeve pattern across at the bicep, and also just below the elbow (I inherited my granny's larger than usual forearms - had that problem even when I weighed 40 pounds less than I do now), and adjust based on those measurements compared to my measurements plus ease.

    I usually use the pivot and slide method of adjusting to widen the sleeve without changing the length of the seam line (it still fits into the armhole) - the method is in Fitting Finesse by Nancy Zieman (mine is from 1994 but there is a newer edition - under the title Pattern Fitting with Confidence). Slash & spread can be done without affecting the seam line (slash to but not through the seamlines - spread, fill in the space with tissue, and "true" the cutting lines after that).

    I also need a full-bust adjustment, but I don't use the pivot and slide method (as given in Fitting Finesse, an FBA adds to both the front and back pieces, and I only need the extra in the front!) - my FBA method comes, more or less, from Palmer & Pletsch Fit for Real People. I will note that I do NOT tissue fit (tissue being prone to tearing), instead I trace from the original pattern onto Swedish Tracing Paper, and test-fit and adjust on that (which has the benefit of leaving the original intact if I mess up my adjustments).

    There are also a variety of tutorials online for pivot & slide adjustments and for FBAs, if one doesn't want to invest in the books (some libraries have copies or can get them through inter-library loan).

    The concept of making a pattern from existing (fitting) clothing is something I came across after I'd made the jump into adjusting patterns, so I haven't tried it but I know that method works too. I just don't have a great deal of luck finding tops that fit (other than one line of basic knit tops that rely to some extent on the cotton-lycra fabric for the fit - negative ease makes it appear to fit...and still could use some adjustment based on the rise in the center front hemline, which is supposed to be a level hemline...).

    Keep an eye on the Vogue patterns website, they will sometimes put their whole line on sale for $3.99 or $4.99. There will still be some shipping, but if you don't have a chain store with the good sale (or they just happen to be out of the pattern you want when the sale is occurring...every time they have one of those good sales), it is way better than paying full price!

    --Jean Marie

  9. I just avoid the whole sleeve issue by making sleeveless garments! I live in Florida, so that works for me.
    Former Home Ec. teacher who knows how to properly alter and fit garments, but doesnt want to bother!

  10. When I was young and slim I made my own clothes. Now, nothing seems right or to fit. It's too much of a gamble. I can take dozens of clothes into the dressing room ,thinking they'll all look great and none will.
    I do enjoy your painting, son happy to see more.

  11. Ah---what wisdom is contained here. When it occurred to me I had NEVER thrown out a jar of store-bought pickles, I gave up all that work of making pickles from my bumper crop of cucumbers and squash only to have half-time success. Same with making my clothes all those years. Now I watch for sales and try on and am satisfied with what I bring home. You're soooo good at collages and art quilts--let those other folks make the clothes!

  12. I had the same problem with a poorly drafted sleeve pattern. Try a gusset under the arm. It worked for me.

  13. Hey Melody, try rayon challis. Cottons and batiks don't drape well on these womanly curves and are too hot for these "hot bods!"

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