In this post, two recently finished projects will be highlighted, but will the main focus will be on MEASURING. The Bay Area Sewists met up at The Sewing Room a couple of weeks ago to talk with me about pattern measuring. This is often a step overlooked by the home stitcher and I will admit that I fall prey to the impatience of just wanting to sew up and finish something without first making sure it will fit me. Case in point - This 1930's skirt pattern.
So, this tweed version is my 3rd attempt at making this skirt. It's labeled 30" waist. The first time I sewed it up, I added 1" to the pattern, overall, because my waist is 31" and I figured that should be enough. Well, as it turns out, that was not enough. and the skirt I made was much too small. I did end up finishing the skirt and eventually gave it away to my friend Jonathan who helps people costume-up for The Gatsby Summer Afternoon.
You might think I would have learned my lesson, but instead, I just cut out another skirt but added added several inches to the hips and waist, based on the garment I tried on before. I wasn't totally off base, and in fact, the skirt fits me pretty well, however now a little too big. Sadly, I never even changed the pattern. What was I thinking? no notes, no nothing. Well, it did give me the opportunity to share this experience with you....
So I decided this skirt would be a great example to show the Bay Area Sewists and also to fix so that I could make up another one, using this new (to me) vintage tweed fabric, that was acquired the week before at the Vintage Fashion Faire from Jennifer Osner.
So I start with my measurements:
- waist - 31"
- Hip - 41"
- Hip Position - 9" down from waist
Then I add ease for comfort, using the measuring tape around my waist and hip while SITTING DOWN to see what measurement feels comfortable.
- waist - 32 1/2"
- Hip" - 44 1/2"
Then I measured my pattern to see what it actually measures.
- waist - 30"
- Hip at 9" down from waist- 39"
So that meant that I actually needed to add 2 1/2" to the waist and 5 1/2" to the hip (measured 9" down from the waist). I would need to divide it all up and add some of the fullness straight through from waist to hem at Center front and Center back and some of the fullness at the side seams.
Here is how I divided it up - keep in mind, I'm working on only half of the pattern (left or right side) as it is cut on the fold for the center pieces.
- 3/8" added from waist to hem at center front and Center back. This gave me +3/4" at the front and +3/4" at the back for a total of 1 1/2" to the waist and hip and bottom opening.
- 1/4" added to waist at side seam front and back (adding 1" total)
- 1" added to the hip and bottom opening blending the curve from waist to hip (adding 4" total)
- Created a waistband piece that measured 4" x 34" (32" waist measurement + 3/4" in seam allowance + 3/4" for the extension)
This process is much more accurate than randomly cutting my pieces bigger! The one part that was not immediately apparent to my stitching friends, was that one needed to measure the pattern circumferences in the correct vertical positions. For instance, my fullest hip lands at about 9" below my natural waistline. This position measurement is different on almost everyone. Also, It's a little more complicated for a blouse, but the same principles apply.
Above are photos of the sweater I finished earlier this summer. Imagine how thrilled I was to find that it coordinates perfectly with this skirt. It's been much to warm to wear it, but now that it's cooling down, I will definitely get more of a chance.
Here are all the details:
- Sweater - Vogue Knitting (early Fall 2015) 21 Belted Cardigan by Jacqueline Van Dillen (pg. 65) with a few modifications. Yarn Berroco Lustra (purchased from The Recrafting Co. in Alameda).
- Blouse - Banana Republic (purchased 2nd hand from Maribel in Oakland)
- Shoes - Aerosoles (purchased 2nd hand from Aphrodite's Closet in Alameda)
- Jewelry - 3 strand pearl necklace and earrings - hand strung by my MOM (Awe thanks mom!)
- Skirt - fabric from Jennifer Osner, lining from a fabric swap (Thanks Leah!), pattern-
Vintage Pattern Lending Library style #T1047
Until Next Time, Happy Sewing (and knitting too!)