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Blank Slate Marigold: FBA queries

I'm still figuring out what to actually DO with all the excess fabric an FBA generates. I lost my nerve on the HP Chameleon muslin (and got annoyed, and got a ton of marking) because while I figured out the Y-Dart FBA and how to tweak the great big dart and manage some added shoulder fabric, the waist was suddenly inches and inches too big for the skirt portion of the dress, and the pattern wasn't supposed to support gathering at the waist, and I couldn't see how/where to add a dart... Now I'm at the adjustment stage of cutting out the blank slate marigold and the instructions cheerfully suggest I won't need an FBA (in my dreams) and then suggests putting the whole lot of added fabric in the shoulder gathers. If it were an inch or two, maybe, but I need to add 3.5 and that's just not going to work, is it? Is it? Stay tuned! I guess I have nothing to lose but the muslin fabric - and precious sewing time.

"I atent ded"

Well, summer was not at time for sewing. I think fall might be - specially since I need some additions to my work wardrobe, and pronto! Tonight I'm cutting up the free Lekala 3 seam skirt and making a muslin of that, tomorrow night I want to make a muslin of the HotPatterns Chameleon dress (bodice part). After those two things, my next challenge is the bodice muslin for the Marigold dress. I hope the 3 seam skirt works - it looks pretty straightforward (only 3 seams!) and as my biggest fitting hurdle is my pot belly I'm hoping that the lekala fitting algorithms have worked their magic to account for my 'high hip' measurement. Bloggers I think make beautiful things, such as Thornberry, have demonstrated a great fit with this pattern. I'm making mostly dresses and second layers (a Hotpatterns Chimera jacket and a burda soft knit jacket, I think) as work is overly airconditioned and chilly, while summer lingers far into September here in NJ.
I haven't forgotten this blog, I promise! Summer school is reaching the end of its first week and it has been quite exhausting getting things into gear, but I'm cutting out Hot Patterns' La Strada tee tomorrow night, all being well, and I will take some pics. This pattern looks GREAT! :)
I made a muslin! I cut up a $2 IKEA bedsheet and made up the the Hot Patterns Plain & Simple Woven T. I cut a size 22 and the armholes and bustline fit brilliantly.

Hilarious Newbie Mistakes so far:

(1) Not marking the bust darts accurately enough. I mis-alligned them and it looks like I have comedy wonky boobs.

(2) Forgetting how to add a sleeve to an armhole. Let's just say I mixed up right side and wrong side, and I love my seam ripper.

and this isn't a sewing mistake, it's a style mistake:

(3) Forgetting that boatnecks show everyone my bra straps. Next time I'm cutting out the V neck or adjusting the neckline so it's more like a scoop than a boatneck. It's probably the least flattering neckline on me, but I keep wanting it to look great on me, then forgetting that I can't influence the world by just my wanting. Hah!

Pattern's first muslin verdict:

The fabric is awful and I'm glad I don't sleep on it! The shape is GOOD, the pattern is s…
I started! I cut something out! My sewing table is the kitchen table, so the cut out fabric pieces and these two little drawers full of my notions and gear are now in a box in the IKEA expedit behind me.
 I'm making the  Cake 2224 Tee because it's free, was easy to find, and goes up to my size. 
Tiling and cutting out the pattern didn't take very long, it was only 18 page. It was very straightforward.  Cutting out the fabric was harder because it stretched as I cut it. This is my first bash at knits, and I should have figured out that would happen. I was all nervous and blah blah but it worked out alright. I have cut the crew neck in a size 45 at the bust, grading out  to a 50 at the hips,(i.e. I drew a straight diagonal line on the pattern between the 45 bust and the 50 hips, and felt pretty darn accomplished) so this second pic is me cutting out the 50 waistband.


In her craftsy class "Pattern Fitting for Plus Sizes"  Barbara Deckhart is always saying &quo…

Starting point

Aaand with the ceremonial un-boxing of the machine, my Summer of Sewing has begun!
Only, tonight I'm just running scraps through the machine, winding bobbins, trying out different stitches and generally playing with my new toy and being delighted. Tomorrow night I'm thinking of cutting out the McCall's woven tee  M6927.  Here it is:






In her woven tee review, Happily Caffeinated blogged that she'd bought this but not cut it out due to some fit issues around the sleeves/ armscye. Now I look at the pictures, there are lines. Bugger. Musing Alert:
I've noticed that since I started shopping for patterns I am becoming more discerning about fit. I barely know a thing about it but I noticed that a knit top I wore for work yesterday had lines pointing towards the armscye AND drag lines across the bust. If I made that, I'd be annoyed about it, yet I wear it to work! I hope learning to sew is going to make me less tolerant of badly fitting RTW clothing, and I'll be a…

The Singer 7258 - meeting the machine.

I just unpacked my new sewing machine.
She is beautiful.
Here is a photo from the Singer website. You're not seeing a picture of her in all her glory, because she is on my kitchen table, and it's messy. Gosh, it's so messy. Hoping the Chap will do some mad housekeeping soon, otherwise I'll have to do it. And I'm still so ill. Coff Coff.
Are you ready?
The exciting new addition.

Now, I will always love our IKEA Sy for teaching me what can be achieved with a straight and zigzag stitch, but I can sooo excited about my Singer 7258 Stylist. Not least because, after the Chap sewed himself a very complicated self-drafted Hallowee'n costume last year, the Sy is starting to groan. Too many layers of fleece! Brave little machine.... I salute you!You were great for the last 2 years, until we mistreated you!

You're not forgotten, old friend.

The Singer is so exciting because it is my 'real beginner' machine. If I get good at this and I'm still doing …
I've just found some links to things i think are going to be very, very helpful indeed.
A Canadian blog called The Finished Garment has a Big List of Independent Pattern Companies who cater to plus sizes. This is going to be extremely helpful! I wish I hadn't spent the money on patterns that I just dn't think will grade up to my bust size but are soo cute (I'm looking at you, Sewaholic Alma) but at least I can make sure I don't spend more money on patterns that I'll never make fit me!
I've also found personal sewing blogs that are going to be hugely valuable resources - happily caffeinated and Diary of a Sewing Fanatic are my new lunchtime reads! 

Summer Sewing: Where I'm starting

I browsed StyleArc for a couple of days, looking for some things I'm likely to wear this summer while teaching summer school and puttering around my 2-small-kids-and-the-park kind of life.
I'd initially dismissed StyleArc because
(1) I want paper patterns and I was worried about paying for them to be shipped from Australia
(2) On first glance I saw a lot of knit patterns and - while I WEAR a lot of knits, I'm nervous about sewing them as a beginner,  and I wear more wovens in the summer as I find them cooler.
(3) People have commented that StyleArc have minimal instructions, and as a beginner I want plenty of hand-holding (apparently I will find tutorials on their website to help me as I go).

Nonetheless, when I looked carefully at the site I saw real potential in the designs - not twee (I like bright colours, but I'm not especially into twee/retro) and very wearable, like things I already actually own and wear.  Also, although they have pretty dresses, whoever design…

My impassioned rant to CSC and their very kind reply.

So I mentioned that I'd typed an email to the CSC. It was sober email, but rather the equivalent to the drunkenslurry speech you do, when you think you're being super clever and impassioned but actually possibly a bit repetitive and maybe spitting/wobbling when you talk.
Oh dear.

Here it is (I cut out the fangirling at the top of the message. I am a big CSC fan, and I told them as much, and why.)

"I'm a newbie in this world and all around me I see beautiful things. I also see beautiful things I can't fit into with a waist measurement of 44 inches...  I can buy the Colette Moneta but not the Hawthorn. I can admire the  Sewaholic Alma but frankly I'm not grading up ANYTHING that much as a 'beginner' sewist. I want a Hollyburn skirt SO badly but how on earth will it fit?
I know I can buy things from Style Arc, Cake, and Lekala/Boostrap but ... only tents from the Big 4 and forget Deer & Doe ...
How is this different from RTW in that the 'ni…

Patterns and plans.

I'm a big fan of the Curvy Sewing Collective and I've been lurking on their blog for a while, following links to the Collective members' own personal blogs, and reading about patterns and thinking: I might suit that! or "That's not my shape, but I like what she's done."
I like their enthusiasm for sewing, I like their feminism and their body-positivity, and I like what they make. But - and you knew that was coming, didn't you? They claim they want to get us fat women into sewing, because it is creative and empowering and hey, you get great clothes that fit. I am SOLD! Now, how to start... Well, when I look at the patterns they sew over and over as TNT (tried and true) fits for them ... well, they do make a lot of patterns that definitely didn't fit them straight out of the packet.
I can't do the adjustments that they do. Not without a real old freakout.

What does it mean to adjust a pattern?

I've been following lots of online tutorials …

Prelude to the Summer of Sewing

Oh god. When did I get so fat that I had to learn to grade up patterns?

Simple answer: After Older Kid was born. OK is nearly 5, and when he was 6 weeks old I had to go back to part time work.  OK didn't sleep through the night till he was nearly 18 months old. I was nursing and (in my Precious First Baby frenzy), thought that caffeine - ANY caffiene, would definitely make him too alert and less likely to sleep. And remember: sleep was the key. All I cared about was the sleep. So I ate a lot of sugary things to keep giving me the little jolts I needed to work after nights when he woke ever 2 hours. Sugar replaced caffeine. So many sugary things.
They were delicious.

The fat from pregnancy 1 rolled into the fat from postpartum exhaustion which rolled into the 'I'm too fat to exercise and too tired to deal with losing weight: ahhh now I'm pregnant again." Younger Kid is over 2 and I've had consistent, through-the-night sleep for almost a year now.  It's not…