April showers did indeed bring May flowers, even though it took me a while to get pictures in this dress.  I initially made this dress to wear for Easter on a cruise back in April.  Yes, I did wear it on Easter, and I had all intentions of using the pictures taken on the ship for my blog post.  Well, that did not go over very well.  The photographer was lame, I mean terrible!!!  The next day, when I excitedly went to see my pictures on display… I was floored by such awful pictures.  My coloring was horrible, my hair looked like crap, and the neckline and armholes were disgustingly oversized and ill-fitted.  I had not done this beautiful cotton sateen justice.  When I downloaded the pattern from the Bootstrap, “Fashion Design WIZ Pro“, I was supper happy to have something “fit” my chest.  But, totally forgot to take time to thoroughly analyze the fit in the most important areas, the armholes and neckline.

Bootstrap "Fashion Design WIZ Pro.

This dress was constructed in true—ready-to-wear fashion.  Meaning, I sewed the entire dress on the serger.  I used the regular sewing machine to complete 3/4″ hem along with making the alterations for the neck and armholes.  The facings were included with the pattern in this case, since it is considered a “fashion” pattern.  If you recall the one I did for Jennifer…did not, because it was a sloper.  The fabric was purchased by me from Sew Much Fabric, the online “fine” fabrics store I deal with mostly for any of my “online” purchases.  I love working with the owner, Roz.  She is very interested in making sure I get what I need.  You all really should check her services out.  Occasionally, she will sponsor one of my post.  Which, can get blurred at times, since I purchase a large majority of my fabrics from her when I don’t go out of town or to the only ONE fine fabrics store we have left here.

A little about why I have been using Bootstrap is in order.  You see, lately, I have been testing these patterns up against my Cameo Fashion Pattern Design software, by Wild Ginger (not sponsored) in an effort to determine which one produces the best pattern to give my students who take my fitting classes.  So, lets get one thing straight.  Bootstrap is THREE (3) systems in one!!  The “Fashion Design App”  and the “Made-to-Measure Sewing Patterns” and an industry marketplace.  (More on those in another post.)

https://bootstrapfashion.com/pages/design-center?i=9cd06d7e

They use a system created by an engineer based out of Russian using algorithms that can get some really good results, not withstanding plus-size.  The jury is still out on that one for me.  This system is the EXACT SAME AS “Lekala Sewing Patterns- Site” , and is no different, except for the website layout.  Bootstrap offers everything on one website, to be used copyright free, and royalty-free, in multiple ways, by designers, sewing enthusiasts, pattern makers, teachers, etc., all with the desired outcome of creating “custom-sized” patterns to your measurements.  All their systems will get you pretty close to a decently fitted pattern.  But, this part of their offerings, the Fashion Design app… right now, will not take up my time EVER!! AGAIN! I’m serious y’all.  It seems to have created the same problem I told you all about in my YouTube video on how to choose the right size pattern.  Check it out if you want.

Don’t get it twisted, this dress fits “around” all the important places, but I had to work to get the dawn neckline and those armholes right.  Those armholes are still in need of some manipulation..(aaahhh, I didn’t do a muslin…I was in a rush).  I’d rather start another dress.  Truth be told, we wear this kind of stuff all the time from the store with no concern.  It’s when we sew it ourselves that we create big deals and hee-and haw over every little detail.  Those times when faced with sharing with the world our fashion fit-flaws, and risking telling the public and our “students” in my case, that we didn’t get it right!!.  I am human y’all, and I am honest too.  Honestly, I am gonna wear the threads out of this dress this summer, fit issues and all, regardless of what I say here on this blog.

I think that considering so many are in desperate need of patterns that fit, this system can be a welcome change and a very good option for those who want to at least start with a “pretty” good pattern, less the major expense of a computer system such as Wild Ginger or PatternMaker.  Also, consider, this program gets you some pretty decent designs straight out the gate.  Whereas, with Wild Ginger, you are working with libraries of “plain” base pattern blocks, which require “vision” to conceptualize.  Most people are not at that point, or just would rather have designs already worked out on the front-end.  I can be that person at times when I “just” want to sew, not design…or worry about all the major fit issues presented with standard pre-packaged pre-sized patterns.

After all the alterations I did to get the neckline to fit, I will be going back to the pattern and redrawing all the lines to get my fit, albeit, it is a lot of work.  Work I really hate to do in circumstances like this.  I really despise having to redraw and redesign necklines for fit, even though I have done several videos explaining necklines to you how to get it done.  It’s just a lot of work, you already know!!  This parting shot will show you that I really didn’t concern myself with matching.  Oh well….shoot me.  I must have shifted that pattern a slight amount when I was cutting, because this is enough to drive your OCD tendencies up the wall and need medication.  So, when you are standing behind me, keep it to yourself, “Connie!! and Beckie.”  LOL.  (I adore you ladies.!)

Back of dress...bootstrap patterns.
OOOH BTW…do you all want a tutorial on how I improved this neckline?

Wrangling in this child for this photoshoot/pattern review, was not as easy as I thought.   Since I was sewing a dress for her, I thought she would show up ready and willing to fit and take pictures whenever I wanted.  OOOOOhhh….but no!!  Going “live” on the internet for review and scrutinizing of her clothes isn’t something your average person wants.  Everything has to be perfect, her hair, face, nails, mood, weight, and everything else you can think of when presented with the idea of being put on a quasi-chopping block.   This model-child doesn’t have a problem walking a runway for designers.  Neither does she have a problem with self-esteem.  However, presented with a “sewing” blog and still shots that are there to be reviewed and analyzed is a game changer for sure.  I present to you my review of the Bootstrap Fashions Jersey Dress for Jennifer…..please be considerate and remember this is a HUMAN Child you are dealing with!!!

This dress was easy to sew up and took less time than ordering a pizza from dominoes.  However, the time was spent deciding on the placement of the birds in this print.  Yes, those are birds, not houndstooth. Jennifer loves this dress. So let’s just bask in that for a quick second. You see, usually she would have to settle for a dress riding up the back and too tight on the arms. Along with those issues of the shoulders being too big at the neck and the front opening showing all her décolleté.

Nothing beats the feeling of a garment that actually fits just you.  Being plus-size and sexy-curvy does not mean it is easy to find clothes that are perfect, even when they say the garment or even the pattern is made for the plus-size woman.  That is a mis-norma.   My child is “fine as all get out!” and is NOT the average plus-sized woman.  She is “CURVY!!” but still proportioned based on the “normal” pattern making standards and “grading” rules that have cropped up for “plus-sized” folks. Truth be told, she and I are built pretty much the same.  We both have “cinched” waist and well rounded butts.  I do say right now….she already has a long list for me to sew for her.  I’m glad she is back to being interested in me sewing for her own style.

bootstrap fashions

Look at that skirt tail…I lengthened the back by 2″ inches to make sure it didn’t ride up as she walked.  I did take in the center back seam more than normal, but using a strip like this continues to skew the lines a little more than I wanted in order to get around these awesome curves.  The shoulder could have been taken up a tad in order for the “horizontal” balance line above the shoulder blades to stay “horizontal”….but!!  I would have needed to adjust the sleeve. Which is something this person here, didn’t want me to waste time doing.  She wanted this dress NOW!!  It is way better than anything she has ever bought in the store!

Construction and Pattern Details:

  • The dress is based off of a custom fitted block/sloper I got off of BootStrap Fashions as a tester they provided me in the form of a store credit worth $6.95.  Normally, I create slopers from my Cameo Pattern Design software, which I have owned and used for about 7 years.
  • Disclaimer here:  NO Flat pattern will give you 100% fit, no matter if you draft it yourself or have a computer aided draft done…you will still need to “do some fabric draping” to get the perfect fit whether on a body or a dressform.
  • To create this I made it pretty close to the base design in order to test the fit of their patterns.  (I did not made a muslin because I was confident with my measurements going into the project.  
  • In the photo here, you can see that we have wings, although, the “block” was listed as “no ease” or negative ease in the bust, waist, and hips, it still was 4 inches too big.  Look at those wings.  I don’t understand how that happened.  I measured the pattern after I taped it together and still this is what I ended up with.. so you see…85-90% on fit.  Now that is awesome still, especially when you are short on time.

     

  • The picture below show the pattern layout on the PDF with drawings showing you the changes that I needed to make…. Red is my changes to get the fit you see on the first go-round.  Since, this doesn’t have darts, I can tell where the shaping was automatically moved to in order to make this fit…ie- The under arms are huge and baggy.  I have seen that on a lot of “so called” plus-size patterns when they have been graded up over the average of size 16, although, this is “custom”, the darts had to be “put” somewhere.

  • I still may go back and pinch out some on the shoulder points in order to get those birds to fly straight across her back.  For now, she really didn’t want me to do anything else.  She took the dress and wore it right out.  
  • The pattern didn’t include any facings, neckbands, or instructions, rightly so, since this is a “base/block” pattern used for patternmaking.  I drafted the neckband using my own formula for determine the stretch factor and length of the neckline opening.  
  • Basically I would say this is a success.  The pattern is only delivered to you as ONE chance.  Which means, if you make a mistake in measurements, you will need to pay an additional fee (60cents or so) in order to have a new pattern emailed to you.  You can also buy the pattern as a digital download in any format for use on another pattern drafting software that you can use for manipulation.  Something, I like most..since, what’s the use of a “base block” if you can’t manipulate it any way you see fit.  I like patternmaking, but, I don’t like tracing and retracing patterns when designing. 

There are so many things that come to mind when I prep to write a blog post….How do I title this?.., what pictures should I use?.. I want to tell you about this raglan blouse and all the flowers and how divine the fabric is to touch!!! I want to tell you hello and all that jazz that goes along with it, and show you a gazillion pictures, cause that is actually how many I took before writing this post. Sometimes, I want to say: “What’s up y’all, what’s crackin!”  But, I change my wording because, I think..~~~, will they receive my relaxed, sometimes crass tone as easily as my Periscope folks do when I start a broadcast, or maybe “will my impatient Youtube subscribers receive my laid back somewhat wordy conversational style when they read my blog? So many questions arise… “What interest you? Is it fashion only? Do you want to see cute pics? Hear stories? See construction details? See my studio? Have updates of my sew life? Or, learn about the patterns I use or the lack thereof?….there are so many directions I can take a blog post.  So I start with this…..

“Hey y’all, I made a new blouse!!!  Yeepee!! Meet Petals….

I become bored so easily with just showing pics of my makes and discussing what seam I used or the pattern I used. I want to tell you a story about the blouse and how long it sat in the corner of my studio balled up in a wad waiting for me to love on it and cuddle it in my arms. How it sat hoping I would smooth the wrinkles from its soft forgiving petals and then wrap it’s caresses around my shoulders to allow it to comfort my body the same way a warm spring might feel on a cool spring morning.  I present to “Petals” the name of my new blouse.

http://patterns.bootstrapfashion.com/index.php/fashion-designer-sewing-patterns-tailored-bloused-with-raglan-poet-sleeves.html?i=9cd06d7e#.VzuU7ZMrKV4

This poor blouse has been sitting in the corner of my studio for months.  I almost forgot about it until my cousin came to visit and noticed “the pretty fabric in the corner.”  I showed it to her and realized it was complete and ready to just take pictures.  So I put it on my dressform and that is were it sat for a long time…you all probably have seen it in the background of some of my videos or periscope broadcast.  That is all.  So here she is in all her glory with the pants from stitch fix that I made the alteration to on my channel.  

http://patterns.bootstrapfashion.com/index.php/fashion-designer-sewing-patterns-tailored-bloused-with-raglan-poet-sleeves.html?i=9cd06d7e#.VzuU7ZMrKV4
It’s a raglan sleeve with puff/ bishop sleeves, but I decided not to put the band on the sleeve, I like the loose look a little better.  The wide collar is fun and comfortable.  The pattern is a custom sized pattern from bootstrap fashions
http://patterns.bootstrapfashion.com/index.php/fashion-designer-sewing-patterns-tailored-bloused-with-raglan-poet-sleeves.html?i=9cd06d7e#.VzuU7ZMrKV4
I like the way it fit straight off the bat…no changes to the shoulders, but the length and the waist are very big.  I took in the back to give me more of a curve, but that created a little problem, so I had to distribute the amounts by taking in the back seam, some of the darts on the back as well as some of the side seams.  I’m still working to figure out how their patterns run.  I may need to just print out the base size 14 pattern to check the fit of it and gauge how it works first before using their custom sizes.  Of course that adds cost by, I think .60cents to print a different size from your original download.  Bootstrap charges $2.99 per printout for each PDF pattern, plus an additional .50c for the seam allowances.  

 Next up is a dress I made for my daughter, Jennifer to test the sizing of bootstrap for plus size curvy ladies.  Here is a sneak peak until I can finish writing that post and get pictures of her wearing the finished look for you all to see…..

I couldn’t allow this to remain a Facebook fad.  For some reason, I was moved to share this bit of information because it is something I have been dealing with in my own world and I just felt compelled to share with all of you.  I did a final paper on the generational gap that has gotten extremely big as time has passed in fashion as well as values and dreams.  The Internet creates and permits so many passing successes due only to the number of likes and hearts.  It is so very easy for us to get caught up in the world of “cyber-friends” that we forget that life still needs “human” touch and conversation.

To “All My Children….”  This is a Public Service Announcement
to make you pay attention to a generation that has all the knowledge you will ever need to succeed in this world when I am gone.

Our “real-life” conversations are wroth with words that springboard from what we saw on the Internet.  So much so that we think we know somebody, based solely on what we saw on their Instagram or Facebook feed.  We “CHECK-In” on loved ones first thing in the morning by picking up our phone and “looking” over their feeds, not by “calling” them.  We show our support for them by “double” tapping the screen, not by patting their back, because that would take actually being in their presence.  You seek advice from other millennials, because heaven forbid you ask my advice on anything.  I don’t have anything to say that you want to hear because, I just “don’t understand!”

Pictures are NOT WORTH A 1000 words, because, unless you hear the real story from the person taking the picture or the one in the picture you really don’t know a darn thing.  All you have in front of you is a still shot of a glimpse in the space and time of an inanimate object that will never be able to tell you the real truth, the real story.  The days are still here, that you can sit down with the storyteller on the sofa, while they hold the photo album in their lap and laugh as they tell you all the back story behind the picture to make you feel as though you were there with them experiencing the moment.  Unless, you really say something to them, in their presence, accept their “idiosincrencies” and their “child whatchu say” moments, you will miss the beauty of all that is beautiful about this world today and slide into a “fake” self centered “millennium that has no connection to heart and home, nor history or truth.

I leave you with this song I found in your “hometown,” the Internet……