After an unusually long respite, I now question myself on my organization and planning skills.  But I say to you “What does tailoring have in common with quilting?”  Is there a special skill required besides a single straight stitch, what mathematical calculations or algebraic algorithms are required to become skilled in the art of piecing squares and triangles, binding edges, planning fabric, and sorting techniques.  Could they be one in the same when time is considered.  I know precision is a necessary component in the equation.  Yet, now, I am convinced that there is more.

Menswear tailoring

The suit Jacket was finished in March and engagement photos were taken then as well.  But it’s no secret, by now, that I didn’t finish for his birthday! (I intended to finish Last Year 2014!!!)  I had all intentions of doing something fast and furious.  This time, I think maybe I bit off more than I could chew given the timeframe and all the holiday affair, moving my sewing room, and, of course his brides wedding dress.  I believe I know what I’m doing, but am I a perfectionist to a fault?  I saw several other options for designing his jacket and pants, and they all included unlined, patch pocketed, floppy lapeled renditions of a mans sport coat.  None of which I wanted to make.  Here ye, here ye, though I did often try to figure a way off the path I had already started, a direction of which there was no return.  The jacket was cut to be a fully lined, multi-pocketed, pad stitched, lapeled, sport coat with working sleeve vents and tail.  I was in it to win it now.  Yet, I also had an “heirloom gown” that had to be completed.  More on that later.  Just know, however, that both were for my son and his bride-to-be. Both equally as important.

I’d scratch my head too if I was avoiding saying what I wanted to say about you taking for EEEVAA!! to finish my suit coat.  Come on MOM let’s get this over with can we please????
The scraps after cutting the suit, and I still need to work a waistband out of this, plus welt pockets.  EEEK!!!

Taking off from the gates in such a rushed unorganized manner did cost me dearly. Number one and most importantly, I ran out of fabric to properly cut all the pieces for the entire suit. The fabric, a bamboo linen blend was originally purchased for a women’s suit. Thus, I only had four yards. I usually buy five. Number two, I did not plan which techniques would work best with the style jacket I was making. I usually just stick to the old “long” way of doing things, no tricks, no short cuts, just straight forward simple techniques. But this time, I stirred too far into unfamiliar territory in an effort to finish quickly, trying methods from popular names currently on the sewing horizon. Number three, my tailoring supplies were no longer plentiful since I hadn’t truly done a men’s suit in over 15 years. Why I have stayed away from such a fine art for such a long time, I couldn’t say. What I can say, however, is it hurt my pride for sure, to flutter along so amateurishly. Especially since I had always prided myself for how quickly I could finish any suit, and the fact, I actually have professional training and college in this field, just added salt to the wound.  Does the old saying ring true in this instance: “It’s like riding a bike?” Finally, number four, I had not secured all the findings needed to finish. i.e. buttons, linings, etc.  All the gory details are in this first post here, and the second post here.

I don’t know why he just wasn’t excited to be fitting his jacket…does he suspect it will still be another few months before I get around to finishing.

With the last post, part three, here, regarding the construction of this suit I left you with a “few, yes a few task remaining undone.  Today you shall get the rest in all its glory and this than shall bring this saga to a close.  I owe you at least that much.

This was the To Do List I left you with:  Narrated of course with as many related pictures that I could find from the number of SD camera cards I have been using. They will get my point across.  
  • Shaping and pad stitching of the lapel, roll line and front, (est. 3-4 hours if I’m lucky)  This took more like 15-20 hours, give more for stopping and starting to work on other things and to give my hands a much needed break from the chore.

  • The hair canvas was basted in and roll lines were drawn on to match. 

  •  The pad stitching was done over a “sausage” I created by wrapping a rolled towel inside of a cut of cotton broadcloth.

  • I drew in my pad stitching lines to remind me when to tighten the stitching for the “roll”.  The breast pocket looks a little off because I still needed to stitch it down…I loosened it because I had to flatten it out after I had it hanging over the “bust” on my dress form, which gave it “breast”…lol.  after that, I padded out the form to avoid womanly bulges.

  • Sew in the lining and hem- by hand!  (est. time: 1-2 hours because my hand hurts when I do hand stitching, so I have to take lots of breaks.)  HA!!!  Did I say 1-2 hours..who was I kidding!!!  This was a big stretch to say the least.  
    I decided to include the red piping because it just looks nice in RTW and so I wanted that look here.
  • install inside breast pocket (est. 1-2hours, if I’m not distracted.) 

  • Collars and buttonholes (est time:  “I DON’T KNOW!”)  By now the planning and prepping to make the wedding dress is in full affect and the jacket has been put on serious hold.  It is now December, time to prep for holiday affairs and finalize wedding dress fabric orders, sew muslins and have fittings, while the bride is in town for the holidays.

  •  Underneath the lapel, the pad stitched pricks.

  • Set-in sleeves of body and lining (est. 1-2 hours) It is now February I have moved to my new sewing space that now gives me room to breath and work on the wedding gown.  I have got to hurry, because I have some traveling planned and they have their engagement photo shoot date already set.

  • I am sewing in the collars and making sure it is all flat and non-bulky.  A hard task since I have been handling this for so long.  Some things have shifted or I just forgot what the heck I was doing.  Who knows?  (bug eyes rolling in my head!)

  • Shoulder pads (1 hour maybe)  Well, this is probably the only thing that took the estimated amount of time.  Go figure.  I had to make these.  Forgot to take pics…just take my word for it, they are in there.
  • Sew in the lining and hem- by hand!  (est. time: 1-2 hours because my hand hurts when I do hand stitching, so I have to take lots of breaks.)  Lots of breaks were indeed taken…say about 1 week at a time.  hehe!.
  • I guess he will get the pants in January, or in time for Easter.  LOL.  Insert:::::Loud Laughter!!!! followed by rolling on the floor with tears in my eyes.  It is now November, and they have yet to get done.  HeHe.  I hope he never mentions them!!! 
Did I say this young man is really patient with me!!  I LOVE this Baby Boy of mine. 

Fitting was extremely limited for me.  I was very adamant with him to come over and fit this along the way, yet I did not prevail.  His bride won out on his limited amount of time available for me to work with him.  Prepping for the wedding was starting to test all our patience, and time.  So I just closed it up and “LET it be DONE!!” It is now March 2015!!!  How about that!!.

I did go back and move the top button and added a longer shank so it would not cause a pull under the roll line.

Who’s sleepy in the picture.  Definitely not me.  He was in a real rush to get out of town to meet his finance’ so they can take the engagement pictures. 

The back is slightly big.  But no time to fix it and for being on hiatus from tailoring menswear for 15 years, I think I did a Damn Good job!!!! Now put that in a pipe and smoke it!!!  I”M BACK!!!!

I was really excited that he would be wearing his new jacket for the engagement pictures.  I ended up truly being an integral part of the entire wedding from engagement all the way to the alter.  I love what I do, especially when it makes my family happy.

Thus, I ask again, how very related is tailoring to quilting?  They seem one in the same where planning and preparation is concerned. Most importantly, in this instance, finishing after such a long journey is euphoric.

Until next time….keep on sewing.

I love palazzo pants just as much as I love maxi skirts.  Jeans are not on my radar during the Houston summers.  Only dresses and shorts are my summer attire…but occasionally, when I really want to relax modestly and still feel dressed up enough to go out in this heat, lightweight pants are great.  In this case, the palazzo pants do the trick.  
There are so many different patterns on the market for palazzos, but these sort of went under the radar for such a long long time.  As a matter of fact, the envelope even screams “boring.”  I spend more time opening pattern envelopes and reading and studying pattern pieces, than I care to admit.  I just want to see how they are designed, because that is my nature, never take anything at face value, and always look under the hood.

I always knew making leggings were easy to sew up and finish quickly.  So what does these palazzo pants have in common with a pair of leggings?–  They do not have a side seam, and there is only one pattern piece!  Gotta love simplicity, right?  This McCall’s 6571 is a hidden gem, but not the first of its kind.  After a little research, I found another pattern from the same company “McCall’s Pattern Company”, a Vogue 2064, a really nice tunic and “wide leg” pant pattern.  They can be done up in a knit or woven fabric.  Both need to be light draped fabrics though.  The pattern made for woven fabrics come with extra darts for shaping the hips and waist, and includes an invisible zipper.  The knit pattern piece has darts on the side only at the waist for that final tweaking of the waist shaping, along with an elastic waistband.

I made them extra long and added a 2.5″ topstitched hem for the look to balance out the stripes.  The pattern is listed as a Palmer/Pletsch pattern because of the helpful adjustment lines available to assist with making fitting alterations.  These fitting lines help you to make size and fitting changes in areas common for most people when using commercial patterns.  Mainly, these adjustments include crotch changes and lengthen or shorten lines.  The width is done down the side seam in most pants, but in this pattern, you would just increase the back crotch width or the front accordingly.  

I like this pattern because, it is balanced enough to allow for stripes to remain horizontal with no skewing like what happens with regular leggings.  This is because the inseam (inside leg seam) is straightened, thus causes the pant leg to hang straight on the grain.  


Pattern Details:  
  • Cut size 16 with a waist size 14.
  • lengthened 3 inches to achieve the large hem
  • I used a 1.5″ flat elastic, and installed it like a sportswear waistband with 3 rows of stitching

Fabric Details:  A nice beefy cotton jersey knit purchased in New York.  (New Yorkers are so lucky.)  This fabric has a 32″ repeat…why do I do that to myself!??  The matching striped was begging to be purchased at the same time, although I just can’t seem to pull together a good look for it just yet.  I tried a making top from the small stripe, but it just did not work.  My instagram friends said, it works for two separate looks, but not together. 

Blouse:  I originally made this blouse (The Graffiti Wrap Top) from the 01/2008 Burda Style magazine here.  I just decided not to place the sleeves on this version, and folded over the sleeve opening’s and stitched using a zigzag.  I can see the underlay pulls at the armhole giving it a really cute angle detail at the armhole.  Later I will try and figure out the problem, but for now, I kinda like the look.   I used a matte jersey to make the top, its really nice and cool even in this weather.

All-in-all, I am working on so many different looks right now…so getting back to another top from the same pattern within months of each other must mean I really must like it.  As for the pants, I will be pulling together another pair to wear with a cute tunic I’m working on currently.
Okay, hello everybody, I am back to share more tailoring escapades of my son’s suit.  Of course, I will admit this will not get done by tomorrow.  I slowed down a little bit because I made some really silly mistakes, maybe because I was sidetracked, or just maybe because I was tired, either way it is getting done.  I would rather it be done right then it to be done fast and wrong.  So keep reading if you want to find the mistakes I made.  I know you want to…we all have it in us to see what someone else did wrong.  Be my guest, I’ll even help you.  
There’s my handsome baby boy fitting the shell of his new suit.  Doesn’t he look excited?
Here are the things I’ve gotten done so far.  Some of the techniques and changes I made are from various sources, but the main one I use for tailoring is my book, Classic tailoring techniques, a Construction Guide for menswear, by Robert Cabrera and Patricia Flaherty Meyers

For you techie folks: here are the details about the pattern adjustments that I made before cutting the fabric.

  1. Altered the roll line on the jacket front to be 5/8 inch above the first button and then I made sure that it ended at least 3/8 inch out from the neck cutting line at the top
  2. Changed the back shoulder seems to be at least 1/2 inch longer than the front shoulder
  3. The center back vent was changed to 2 inches wide near the top and graded it to 3 inches at the hem.
  4. The front facing straight of grain orientation straightened to line up with the center front and the size was increased to 2″ inches wide at the shoulder,  3 inches wide from the midpoint of the roll line and 5 1/2 inches wide at the hem. 

Before I laid out and cut the fabric, I made sure the grain was straight.   The pictures above just show you a few steps that I took to make sure the grain was completely straight.

Interfacing: Before I installed the pockets and sewed the darts, I underlined the entire jacket with fusible weft interfacing cut on the same grain as the jacket.  It is a Rayon/polyester medium weight weft interfacing called “Perfect Fuse” from Palmer/Pletsch.

Stabilizing:  The jacket was steam pressed by hand to cause as much shrinking as possible beforehand.  This is not the only interfacing we’ll be using for this jacket, horse hair braid and canvas will be used to further stabilize only the jacket front, should/breast and upper back and sleeve cap.  
Marking each piece was done after all underlining/interfacing was completed by placing the pattern tissue back on the fabric to check for any distortion and make sure the size was okay. then using tailor tacks or tailors chalk to mark placement lines, etc.  (With the interfacing in place, I was free to mark as needed without worry of show through.)
OOOPs!!!  Yeah!  I ran out of fabric, so this became a real Tim Gunn “Make it work.” moment.  You will find out some of the places I actually made it work as the construction moves forward.

 Here you see I hand basted the chest pocket placement lines on the left front panel.

The single welt pocket was finished and hand stitched along the sides to secure the welt.  The pocket isn’t shining, I think its the camera angle.  Do you see the dart under the pocket? 
Looking inside the chest pocket: you can see I have the base shell fabric on the bottom towards the body and the lining is actually on the top facing the jacket, but hidden from view when worn.

Stylish design lines: The picture above is of the jacket front.  The entire jacket is designed with upper and lower parts, which can be color blocked if desired.

Lower Pocket:  You see in this picture (which is upside down) the flaps have been sewn and placed and now it is time to sew the inseam pockets that are actually part of the waist seam.  The flap was cut with the none public side 1/8″ smaller on each end to cause the seam to roll to the inside when turned.

 OOOOPs!!…do you see that??:  

More sleepy sewing.  I put the pockets off towards the back too much.  EEEkkk!!!  Wake up Andrea!!!

OKAY!! That it, I’m done!….Now I have gone and done it!  I put the pocket inside out!  Time to take a break and get back to this later.

Stay tuned in for the fitting and more “Make it work.” moments.

I am working on a tailored suit for my son, JP.  I actually promised him a suit as a birthday gift back in 2009.  Of course I know this makes me look like a really bad procrastinator based on the timing of this project.  But let me assure you that I haven’t just been twiddling my thumbs on this one,  I have been quite busy with so many projects, including having made him a shirt along with many other custom alterations.  So, don’t think I totally neglected my baby boy.  Besides, like any good procrastinator I have thought through the entire process ahead of time, and now I am ready to put this behind me.

This is a model not my son…although my son may be more handsome.  
So, I hope you enjoy the process as I share my style of tailoring and the steps I take to get my kind of outcome.  Some of the process will be shortcuts, my way, and other parts you may be familiar with from the Internet or other books.  I don’t really like to take very many shortcuts when I work with menswear, since they wear their clothes longer and harder than women.  
Either way, I am just going to work through my tasks and give you the pictures and points that help me to stay focused as I work. 
The Fitting:
After measuring his chest size(42) and taking the waist, I selected the pattern as listed on the envelope for the size 42 and pants size 38.  It seems that the pants run really small because of the European cut…slim fit.  I tissue fit the jacket front, back and side panel.

The jacket is pinned to the t-shirt

Here he has the pant muslin pinned tightly over the jeans.  I used a muslin to check the fit of the pants.  I had to make it work in this case..since he had just gotten off work and had road the motorcycle for an hour before making it to my house.  (I failed to inform him of the reason for his visit.)  Needless to say, he nor I were willing to venture into a messy fitting.  So, in the true spirit of the “make it work” process, I ripped the pant muslin apart and fitted over his jeans.  I knew how tight to allow it in order for me to check the fit, since the pants pattern is a slim “European” fit.    
Back of the jacket fitting.
I know, that what I’m looking for in the pant fit, is to have enough rise in the back and enough in the front of the crotch, and to check knee placement so I can get the flare correct in order for him to wear his cowboy boots with the suit.  My son!! I would not ever had imagined him loving cowboy boots.  Maybe it was all those years of us going to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.
Burda pattern changes and alterations. JP
I will tell you about all the pattern preparations needed for men’s suits compared to the women’s, and all the actual fitting alterations I had to do for JP in the next post.  But for now, here are a few other tidbits on this project.
Fabrication:  I had this really nice Linen/Bamboo in my stock of high end suitings. I say high end, because it is lux for real!!!  I bought it in Los Angeles on a sewing guild trip back in 2010.  I can’t believe how I remember so much about my fabric purchases.  It seems that I have some kind of personal connection with every fiber in my stash.  This one almost didn’t get used for JP’s suit because I have hoarding tendencies.  Does anyone else have that problem?  Because it is a problem, if you are will to admit.

Sewing for me, is extremely fun.  Patterns and patternmaking is intriguing and challenging at the same time.  I do it because I like to challenge myself, and because there is “always” something new to learn.  However, every time I think about making a pair of pants, I want instant success.  I usually avoid making pants because I don’t want to redraft or go through endless pattern alterations.  Thus, as with anything else I would rather have two, or three, or even four if it means less stress.  Shucks the way I am, I may start wearing a “personal style uniform” as discussed  here (uniform dressing)

This is why I think it important to have that one pattern for every style of clothing, that you wouldn’t mind using over and over again.

After loosing weight you would think that all the pattern alterations would have to begin anew if using the same pattern. Well that is not the case with these pants from burda..at least for me. I have found that we usually gain and loose weight over a basic body composition. Meaning that if I gain weight I gain it proportionately. (1″ at the waist, then 1″ at the hip.). The things that changes on me are always proportionate, so when I lost weight I decided to make these pants again using a smaller pattern size.





Pattern Description:
Wide leg pants that are close fitting through the hips.
Pattern Sizing:
34-44, us- 8-18. See my blog entry– “Making the Grade” a matter of size. for the size differences with the Burda Patterns compared to the “big four” pattern companies.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

They do tend to flare out at the hem, I know it’s because this time I used a stiffer linen fabric…the original was a linen blend.


Pattern Review for first pair.

I am really short in the front and the panel tends to crumple down…As it is designed it is two interfaced pieces, sewn together like a pocket and turn right side out through the bottom, then edge stitched. Afterwards, the buttonholes are sewed on before applying to the pants front by sewing only on the bottom and buttoned up the sides. The buttons and holes are still loose.


Were the instructions easy to follow?
Since I have made these before, I did not use the instructions, however, I still reiterate if you are a beginner it does take some getting used to to follow Burdas style of instruction. Just take it slow, read all before starting.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
The crotch curve is absolutely magnificent! I only did a 1″ rise increase in the back, I was able to leave the curve alone. Normally, I have to extend it to go under the rump roast I carry in the back. They hang wonderfully. I don’t have any dislikes for this pattern. I like the fact that the lap zipper is on the side. (finally, a side zip) I like that the panel can be removed from the front and just show the buttons. There is no functioning zipper opening behind the front panel, so its really just a design detail.
  

Fabric Used:
I used a Linen. I knew it would have some wrinkling but I was ok with that….I choose not to line the pants as a result. The pattern doesn’t require lining, but I know some people like to line linen to help with wrinkling.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
As I said earlier, I increased the back crotch rise by 1″. I lowered the front by 1 1/2″, this adjustments makes the pattern look really malformed, but it is my body. The gradual decline starts at the side seam, you can’t even tell when they are on the body, the waist actually appears normal….do your adjust and ignore how the pattern “looks”.



I left the hem the same from the original pattern, so that they would work better without heels. The regular length would be just fine for the average 5’5″ person such as myself.
Everytime I think about making pants, I want instant success.  I don’t usually make them because I don’t want to redraft or go through endless pattern alterations.  Thus, as with anything else I would rather have two, or three, or even four if it means less stress.  Shucks the way I am, I may start wearing a “personal style uniform” as discussed  here (uniform dressing)


Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I would definitely sew these again. This pattern has a lapped zipper on the side, I will make with with an invisible zipper next time.

Conclusion: for those who have seen my ordinal post, I encourage to check it out, there is a cute video that will give you a great laugh.Original review

IMG_1156

 Last year I took a trip to Antigua, Barbuda during their “Carnival” season.  Was I ever surprised at how much fun I would have.  I am such a prude when loud music and dancing is involved.  So, needless to say, before leaving for vacation I was all over the internet researching what to expect on this trip.  I was looking for dressing ideas, and what the meaning of “carnival” was all about.

Of course it is all fun watching the pin boards of all those cute ladies wearing those cute knit crop top that look like a second skin on them.  I wanted that too, but I wanted the fabrics to match.

I made the pants to wear during my first trip. However, the picture I had in my mind for the top never came to fruition, so I ended up just wearing a simple white tank.  When Simplicity came out with the pattern this month, I moved at breakneck speed to find this pattern. I had attempted other crop tops, but this one was the ONE!!!!

As for the fitting of the basic pattern straight out of the packet, I made View b up in a muslin size 16 to check the fit, and make sure I got a clear map of where I needed to go with the pattern alterations. All-in-all, though, I really can’t complain much about this one here, as it seams to have been quite generous.  So I just went ahead and marked my changes as needed to get the fit I was working towards.

  • Initially, I had already known that I planned to widen the lower band considerably.  I knew I wanted it to hit “that level” just above my navel.  So this was my first order of business, I widened the band by 2 inches.  
  • Next, of course was to add additional “top” coverage, thus, I did the simple pivot-slide method of adjusting the pattern to give more coverage over the top of 3/4 inch and a little at the bottom.  However, next time I won’t put the whole 3/4 inch on the lower half, it was not needed.  
  • I increased the coverage of the back piece by the same amount at the upper edge.  I wanted the coverage more substantial under my arms and around my back, to give it more of a crop top feel and not a “bra” feeling.  There was a slight curve in the pattern coming from the back to the front that I trimmed off in order to give the top a more gradual transition under the arms, otherwise the fabric was collapsing on itself there.  
  • In the center front, I took out a dart wedge at the lower and upper center front seams in order to cause the cups to curve in at the center.  
  • The pattern requires the center front seams be gathered to 3inches before sewing them together, yet because I was aiming for fuller coverage, I only gathered to 4 inches, considering I had already added an additional 1.5inches to the cup at the top and bottom.  
  • As for the straps, I added the length to them initially, but removed that same length when finalizing the fit.  Better to have too much than not enough, right? 

This is a really cool top!!! I have so many ideas for this here pattern.  What took simplicity so darn long to bring this one back!!!  



Finding Pattern Review.com has been so much fun. Knowing there are so many others in the world who want to know how I did with a pattern is exhilerating. It encourages me to complete my projects and try new ones. Taking all the pictures is fun too, yet can cause the family to run everytime you pull out the camera.  But, lucky, my fashionista daugther loves to see the pics come out nice.  So, on her visit she treated me to a fun photoshoot and actually made me accessorize the outfit….Enjoy!
Project Description:
Burda 8488- Wide leg pants that are close fitting through the hips.
Pattern Sizing:
34-44, us- 8-18. See my blog entry– Making the “Grade” a matter of size. for the size differences with the Burda Patterns compared to the “big four” pattern companies.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
These pants are totally awesome. I saw a Tracey Reese Resort Wear pair that I just fell in love with. This pair, after lengthening them 2 inches, foot the bill totally. They are really long from the envelope.
The front panel as it is designed it is two interfaced pieces, sewn together like a pocket and turned right side out through the bottom, then edge stitched. Afterwards, the buttonholes are sewed on before applying to the pants front by sewing only on the bottom and buttoned up the sides. I ended up sewing it across the top and shortening it by another inch to where it as a mock panel just to get the look. The buttons and holes are still loose.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
The instructions were very clear, as I am a visual learner, actually seeing the layouts and step-by-step instructions are great for me. I layout the garment pieces exactly the way the pattern says. The pics line up with the instruction numbers just great. That is really a plus for beginning sewist. I usually don’t follow instructions, but when they are this easy to follow it really helps to stay on task. Something, my sidetracked mindset needs.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

The crotch curve is absolutely magnificent! I only did a 1″ rise increase in the back, I was able to leave the curve alone. Normally, I have to extend it to go under the rump roast I carry in the back. They hang wonderfully. I don’t have any dislikes for this pattern. I like the fact that the lap zipper is on the side. (finally, a side zip) I like that the panel can be removed from the front and just show the buttons. There is no functioning zipper opening behind the front panel, so its really just a design detail.

Fabric Used:
I dyed a piece of white linen blend I bought from Joann’s last summer. I had dyed it then during a class, but ended up removing the color with Ritz Color Remover, it left the fabric a grayish tint. I wanted the color to look worn and rustic…I think I achieved the look I was after.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

As I said earlier, I increased the back crotch rise by 1″. I lowered the front by 1/2″, and I added 2″ to the hem. The regular length would be just fine for the average 5’5″ person such as myself.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I would definitely sew these again, next time I will actually put the patch pockets on them just like the Tracey Reese inspiration pair.

Conclusion:
Wide leg pants look great on me. I’m so glad they are back in vogue.
My daughter, the fashionista, insisted I do better at my photo uploads. So she made me change shirts, put on jewelry and heels and get a purse to go outside for a real photo shoot! Enjoy…

Fitting issues plague everybody.  But those of us that sew for ourselves seem to be on a quest for the perfect fit.  Thus, we sew through pattern after pattern in hopes to find the perfect fit, or make the pattern fit.  Others of us, buy our clothes from mainstream producers of the garment industry and come to those of use who sew, to make that special garment fit using a multitude of alterations.

For those of us that sew, sizing and the pattern “Grade” matters. 

In 2008 I went back to school in hopes of understanding patterns better.  It was a success.  Did I learn everything there? No, but all education is a success in my eyes… As for commercial patterns, I learn more and more from working right here at home.  But the one class that did absolutely teach me the greatest amount of knowledge that has clarified my understanding of the pattern designing and fitting systems, was the class called Pattern Grading.  I shall fondly think of my instructor, Diane Brett, from Houston Community College, everytime I cut into a commercial pattern.  (I can see clearly now….the lines between sizes are no longer blurred.

Ok, I’ll get to the point….I learned that in grading between sizes, the “average” industry standard is to increase sizes incrementally in groups. So, sizes 2-4-6 and 8 have a 1″ size difference between each numbered size.  Sizes starting up from 8 to 10 to 12 is a pattern grade of 1.5″ and from 12 to 14 to 16 to 18 and beyond is graded by 2 inches.  Well this is knowledge that is helpful going into the patternmaking and commercial pattern manipulation process. 

Until today, this system simplified working with commercial patterns. BUT….I noticed that Burda is the bad boy.  The odd man out.  The rebel, the one that skipped that class. You see, since I started school, I had not been buying many patterns, especially Burda.  I just loved taking a coffee break and looking through their magazine, but never traced a pattern.  I don’t like tracing.  (I see now everybody does it, and so I ventured to start tracing some of these beautiful designs….”I want to be part of the “in crowd”.) 

I even went out and purchased a pattern to check out the “J” curve of the crotch…

I love it… This makes sizing this pattern so, so much easier.  But upon closer manipulation I find this…

Sorry, couldn’t get it to turn. 

Now this should be a 2″ Grade from size 12-14, 14-16, 16-18 and so on.  And of course, the average female fashionista would faint if she was told she wears a size 44 pant size.  Whew!  try explaining that one to your custom clothing client, or a model for that matter….

…to be blogged later.. but the skirt is Vogue ??? and the bustier is my design.

Back to the GRADE!   You see, the industry standard of grading is as mentioned earlier: 1″ sz 4-8, 1.5″ sz 8-12 and 2″ sz 12 & up.  What does that mean to us…

  • The main grade, or measurement between each size is either 1″, 1.5″ or 2″ in the finished size.
  • Each main block, i.e. pant, bodice, skirt side seam is divided by 4, giving us 1/4″ per seam for size 6 to 8, 3/8″ per seam for size 10-12, and 1/2″ per seam for size 14-16 and beyond.
  • In this sleeve pattern, the grade changes between sizes, as I learned.  The sideseams, grade different from a sleeve.  But you get the point.
    A simplicity pattern showing the difference in size grades.

    That equates, in the case of Burda, to a loss of 1 1/2″ in the upper sizes in comparison to other pattern companies.

Burda does a “straight grade” for all sizes.  So those of us that have gotten used to having a “weighted grading scale” with the big four.  Sorry, but you now are in a lower percentile ranking.  Thus you have to essentiallly cut a larger size than even the big four.  Burda, says that a 34 is size 8, a 36 is size 10, 38= size 12, 40 = size 14 and thus 42= 16.  Sooooo, now I have to cut a size “46/18!!!!” in burda on the bottom.  Aaaagh!!  So much for vanity.  Shhhhh! Don’t tell.

More to come…