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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 for learning how to do a Full Bust Adjustment and other types of grading (= 'adjusting a pattern size' - every skill has it's jargon, doesn't it?). I accept that, because all bodies are different, one of the parts of sewing at home will be making adjustments for a good fit like tweaking dart placement, adjusting for bust, hips, biceps - whatever. I know people have to adjust for narrow shoulders and sway-backs and all kinds of things. I don't mind fitting a pattern to my body's idiosyncrasies. I do mind having to enlarge a pattern more than 2-4 inches before I can even think about sewing up a muslin (=cheapo fabric practice garment) to tweak the fit.

A couple of nights ago I looked over my pattern stash; all the plans I had for my summer of sewing. I had a cute skirt with pockets, I had a gorgeous blouse in a style I love - I even had a shift dress (I might be mad about that - I'm usually more of a fit-and-flare style person but I have a colleague who rocks a shift dress and I'm beginning to wonder if that's a good way to hide my somewhat potato-shaped midsection). Absolutely none of these will fit me without so much grading (adding inches to the pattern) that it will be almost impossible to make the damned things. So I'm out about $40 on a bunch of envelopes that will just sit and taunt me with their 'Noo, we're too pretty for yooou!" covers.
Damnit, I can see them from here. Those buggers are going into a box under the bed or something.

I ended up emailing the CSC for the digital version of a drunken and emotional rant. I will excerpt it in the next post, for your amusement.


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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…

A tale of two wadders, and what I've learned

I know that Burda supposedly drafts for broad back and shoulders, so I should have known that Burda 6680, a nice, simple, building-block princess-seam A-line dress would need more than a basic Narrow Shoulder Alteration. Before cutting a muslin of the bodice I measured the distance between shoulder-seams on the pattern and compared them to my own shoulder-to-shoulder measurement and gulped at the thought of taking out 3 inches. I think I ended up taking out 2 1/2, and stopped because I was worrying about distorting the armscye. 

I didn't do a FBA, because I've not done one before with a princess-seamed bodice,  and so I thought I'd try out the Burda D-cup fit first. I'm around an E cup and so sometimes I need all an FBA, and sometimes I don't.

First of all: the bust-fit is great when I grab the shoulder seams and lift them about 2 inches. Of course, I can't actually do this for reals as a fitting solution, because the armscye disappears into my armpit.

Do I h…