Meet Barb, a StyleArc pattern, a yoga pant type, basically, a comfort pant. I have had a few problems fitting these and other StyleArc pants on my figure. You will see a few more in post to follow, since I need to get more pics of the pattern alterations. For now I wanted you to know about these.

They have a simple elastic waistband. The way the waistband is installed, actually, saves bulk at the waist and keeps the area flat. You use a 1.5-2″ elastic, sewn on the flat band and then folded before attaching it to the pants.

The problem I have had with accepting the StyleArc RTW concept is this– “If Ready-To-wear does not fit me, then why would I want to deal with a pattern that purports RTW?” It doesn’t seem to make much sense to struggle so much with a pair of pants that pose all the same fitting issues I deal with in RTW.

The following are the long list of challenges that plague me with RTW, as well as have shown to crossover into the StyleArc pants patterns: I cut a size 16.

1. Back rise had to be raised by 1.5 inches
2. Front crotch had to be lowered 1.5 inches
3. Crotch extension in the back was extended by 1/2 inch
4. Removed over 1 inch excess crotch extension from front
5. Took out 5 inches (yes, five) from the waist
6. Deepened the back crotch by 3/8 inch.

Mind you this was a basic pair of stretch pants. Considering the simplicity of the pattern, this was a lot of alterations. Oh, and yes, I did follow my sloper to determine some of these changes. Although, I think part of the problem falls with the skew of the grain-line in these pants. The pattern has the grain almost straight along the side seam causing the inseam to be on a more pronounced bias than that which my sloper is based.

I used a patterned Ponte Roma knit from my stash. This is a very stable knit with excellent recovery. It has the handle and weight of a Sofia Ponte knit.

Because I did so many modifications, I almost lost interest in this make, but, didn’t want to waste the good fabric by throwing them into a pile. So I pressed on to get them done despite my frustrations. With that, I have now decided these will be my quick makes for comfort pants.  They really sewed up pretty quick, aside from the alterations, it took me less than an hour, mostly done on the serger, including adding the waistband.

Everyone should have a basic pair of comfort pants to sew up anytime. Do you have recommendations for other great Comfort pants patterns to try, that you have perfected? I would love to try others.

as always, thanks….Andrea

Did I say season?  Oh, yes, this is Houston, Texas.  We have the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, better known as RodeoHouston, the world’s largest live entertainment and livestock exhibition. ( RodeoHouston is only second to the International Quilt Festival.  So, it is only right that I celebrate both in my Gringos and Cowboy Cowgirl hat, like baseball and apple pie, they go together during this time of year.

cowboy boots, RodeoHouston, cowboy hats and fashion
The weather during Rodeo season is just as unpredictable as bronco busting, you never know which way the cowboy will be thrown, so we have to be ready for anything here.  I decided to wear a simple dress I made to go with my boots or my house shoes, slippers to some of you. The day started with a bank of fog all over and a slight chill, and ended up by mid-morning at nearly 70 degrees.  This is why we call it Rodeo season.
cowboy boots, RodeoHouston, cowboy hats and fashion
It’s quite fun dressing in Houston, because you can actually have the best of both worlds…excluding the summers.  I get to sew summer clothes during the “Winter”.  I made this dress from McCalls 6346, which is now out-of-print, but my lovely boots are new to my wardrobe.  These Old Gringo boots, as they are branded, are the most comfortable I have ever worn.  The website says: “Our distinctive style makes us a life style brand with a vast following unlike the average “cowboy boot” company.  They have a “following,” now that is interesting.  
cowboy boots, RodeoHouston, cowboy hats and fashion
We all migrate at some point in our lives to a particular brand or style whether it be in fashion, cars, or sewing machines.  We all have a preference.  Why that is the case only we personally know ourselves, and explaining it is useless.  I like sewing with Bernina sewing machines, and wearing Old Gringos, simple as that, no explanation needed. 
cowboy boots, RodeoHouston, cowboy hats and fashion
Out of curiosity, have any of you ever been to RodeoHouston or just plain enjoy wearing cowboy boots and hats during any season?  

Sewing for and working with ladies trying to get patterns and clothes to fit their body has reminded me of my own insecurities that were present in my early years.  My studies have taught me that pattern companies and clothing manufactures must use standard measures based on norms they have found helpful as a basis for sizing sewing patterns and ready-to-wear clothing.  

BDD, pattern fitting, body dysmorphic disorder
These sizing standards of measurements, I think, however, can form insecurities in us that may contribute to our obsessions regarding our body and cause use to feel “we” are abnormal.  While, in actuality, the sewing patterns in this case just don’t “fit” us.  

When I was younger, I thought that as long as I was fitting into the size 10 pattern as it was drafted with no knowledge of FBA’s, Sway back, prominent buttock adjustments and the like, then I was “normal” and of good weight and build, and therefore, acceptable.  I fitted into the “CHART” used by the pattern company.  This was my guideline to know whether I was healthy, or so I thought. 
However, as “normal” life changes occurred, so too changes in my body occurred.  Unfortunately, my young mind of twenty-something, did not register or conceptualize, that “those” standards were not absolutes, and thus, were not a goal for me to maintain.  Nor did those “CHARTS” change to recognize a females body changes.  So I was basically trying to fit into a pattern which only took into account the norms of someone half  my age.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder: Signs and symptoms of body dysmorphic disorder include: 

  • Preoccupation with your physical appearance with extreme self-consciousness 
  • Frequent examination of yourself in the mirror, or the opposite, avoidance of mirrors altogether 
  • Strong belief that you have an abnormality or defect in your appearance that makes you ugly 
  • Belief that others take special notice of your appearance in a negative way 
  • Avoidance of social situations 
  • The need to seek reassurance about your appearance from others 
  • Excessive exercise in an unsuccessful effort to improve the flaw 
  • The need to grow wear excessive makeup or clothing to camouflage perceived flaws 
  • Comparison of your appearance with that of others 
  • Reluctance to appear in pictures 
I don’t think I suffered from BDD, but it was unfortunate for me, that I was a small 135 pound muscular woman with young kids, yet still a Weight Watchers Poster Child, who thought I was overweight, and needed to loose some pounds to “FIT” into my patterns.  Yes, even back then, I did not often purchase ready-to-wear clothes.  OOOH!!! so wrong and naive was I. 
That me on the right at 26.
Unfortunately, I am finding that this feeling and belief is still a problem for many women no matter the age.  Fitting “into” sewing patterns still creates a culture of sewist who think something is wrong with them.  This in no way assumes these ladies have low self-esteem, however, it is apparent we still have some level of insecurities, and just can’t pinpoint the actual cause, except the issue of pattern sizing.  Neither does this take into account that pattern companies have made it part of their mission to make some adjustments in the size groupings now available for the different life stages of their market.
Thus, I now have made a conscious effort to avoid my old way of thinking by increasing my knowledge and understanding of fit, and also to no longer obsess over every little wrinkle and fold in my handmade clothing.  To accept my body as it is, and make things “FIT” me, not me fit them.

So, as corny as it seems, my business name, or my web name was changed many, many years ago to “SEW-TO-FIT.” and that’s what I try to do now, sew-to-fit for me.

I hope this information will help anyone, who can relate at some level and help a young person with their own body image.  

Shameless self promotion!!! 

 Click here to vote.

Thanks to Rhonda for all her hard work in making this contest possible.  You can now vote on your favorite entry through Monday, February 9th.  Of course, I know it’s me you can’t wait to vote for, so I made this fancy button to assist you.

You can find the original blog post “Project Runway contestant or not?” here, explaining my complete process and inspiration for creating this lovely two-piece outfit.  The fabric was the main reason and inspiration for the challenge.

To make it even easier to vote, here are the instructions:

  1. Click on the picture above or here.
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the page where you will see the group of Get Your Motors running entries.:
  3. Cast your vote by clicking on the heart shape in the upper right of your selection.

Everyone did such a wonderful job.  If I weren’t a contestant, I would have a hard time voting objectively. 
What will I win?  I get to win an online class from and personal satisfaction for actually participating.  Well, is that a win, or should I already have that.  Anyway, it was fun. 

A few years back I completed the current application for Project Runway contestants. While answering the questions I began to question my competitiveness.  I chose then not to participate because I didn’t want to put my creativity under the gun like that.  Not very many people can pull me into a competitive event, but in this case….

Rhonda, you did it, here I am…competing in a fabric creativity contest.

contest entry for sewing expo.

 I was excited to receive the print, a bark cloth with a one way boarder design.  What was I to do?  I know I couldn’t just stick to the black and white, since I prefer color burst in my designs, I thought it would be good to die the print.  That quickly left my thoughts, since I was not sure how it would turn out.  I only had one shot at this.  So I tested some machine embroidery,  and copying the print onto another fabric.  That didn’t work either.   Painting, was my next option, and of course it did work, and that was what I set out to do.

contest entry for sewing expo.  painting fabric with

I wanted to make the print a reverse affect or release onto the second adjourning color to give it a continuous flow across the seam lines. In order to do that I traced and transferred the design from the main fabric. To do this I used a color pencil along with tracing paper.  Once I traced the design onto the paper, I then used the end of the paintbrush to draw it to the fabric using wax transfer paper.

The paint use for the release on the black was by Jacquard Lumiere Metallic Silver.  I got it from my local art supply store, Jerry’s Artarama.  The paint orange paint is a glitter paint pen by DecoColor, also purchased at Jerry’s.

The fabric used included the contest piece, a bark cloth, provided by Rhonda at Rhondas’ Creative Life.  It has the texture of a linen/cotton, and has a terrific drape.  Complimentary fabrics:  Black- peach suede, and the coral fabric is a poly crepe, both from my stash.  For the top, I used a black ponte knit in conjunction with the coral crepe.

The patterns were Vogue 9004 for the top view A and McCalls 6755 skirt.  For the skirt I omitted the right side seam in order to not break the flow of the print and make it appear to wrap around the body.

On the back of the top, I continued the design freehand into the the waist and up the center back.  This way it would look like I have one continuous flow from floor to should blades.

piping the skirt and painting the back of the vogue top.

I added flat piping to the front to give a contrast between the white and the coral.

This was a fun project.  I love painting and thus will most likely include paint into more projects in the future.  As for Project Runway, well, I need to develop just a few more skills in time management.

I would love if you would go over to Rhonda’s blog and vote for my entry.