Kelly Anorak – It’s Not Me. It’s You.

 

Well. This was exhausting. I made the Kelly Anorak by Closet Case Patterns, and I’m not happy I did. I do have a wearable piece of clothing, but I’m also angry at the universe and have mixed feelings about the finished product. I’m not in the mood for sugar coating my sewing process, ok?

Before we start, here are my jacket specs for reference:

  • I made a straight size 4 based on my measurements.
  • I’m 153 cm tall (or there abouts), so based on the pattern being drafted for 5’6″ (167 cm) I shortened fronts and backs by 5 cm and sleeves by 2,5 cm. I did this for the bodice pieces by taking out 2,5 cm at the shortening line and another 2,5 cm above the drawstring casing to keep the dimensions more even, and to keep some room for the pockets.
  • I didn’t make changes to the zipper placket or facings, but instead added 5 cm more depth to the hem curve in front and back pieces. This was because stylewise the dipped hem looks nicer to me. I also congratulated myself about avoiding having to re-space the snaps and re-measure for the zipper. Later on you’ll see I got a little ahead of things here.
  • Due to the more curved hem I drew facing pieces for it after checking the hem of my rtw jacket. Had to wing it a little with the zipper facings, but nothing major.
  • I kept the cuffed sleeves, cut the sleeve lining as is and left attaching cuffs last. Then adjusted the lining to fit the cuffed sleeve.
  • I used a fairly light cotton poplin (black) for the shell and super annoying rayon lining (army green). Seriously, you could just cut whatever from that lining and shape it to any piece you like. Back lining in my finished jacket is doing something funny because of this.
  • I worked from the lining extension instructions except for the sleeve cuffs.
  • I don’t usually use the cutting diagrams to place pattern pieces on fabric, and didn’t do it here either. I haven’t checked those too closely, but read somewhere that there were errors.
  • I’ve been sewing since the 80’s but don’t have a professional training, so I won’t be nitpicking things like should the understitching go this or that way. I’ll focus on nitpicking everything else, though.

Errors in pattern pieces and instructions:

  • Instructions say 12x 12 mm snaps, but counting from pattern pieces you’ll need either 13 (cuffed sleeves) or 11 (no cuffs).
  • Instructions specify 26″ (65 cm) zipper, but this won’t fit to the smaller sizes. The zipper facing in size 4 measures 26 1/8″, so what you need to make room for seam allowances is a 24″ (60 cm) zipper. I’m guessing this is a problem at least in sizes 0-8, but haven’t measured. Update on this one: I discussed this issue further with Heather, compared pattern piece measurements to what she had, and it looks like there could be a problem with scaling. My placket piece was also 2,7 mm too narrow. I have a vague memory of checking that the square on the pattern was in the right ballpark, but since this happened in May I’m not going to claim that I absolutely did it. However, I also took measurements on two other patterns I’ve printed with the exact same settings before and after Kelly (Named Isla Trench and Grainline Linden Sweatshirt, so not just one other pattern company), and both of them were spot on. If the pattern has some kind of locked internal printing settings this would also explain why the jacket looks somehow smallish on many people, and why the armhole/shoulder area feels a little tight. But so far I’m only guessing here, so take this with a grain of salt. (I’m under the impression that CCP pattern files are at least protected so that you can’t for example email them, but didn’t get a confirmation to this when I suggested that it might be related. I’ve once tried to print Sophie at the library, and wasn’t able to email the file to their mobile printing system.)
  • Pattern pieces R2, V and W say “cut 1 fabric”, but you also need to cut them from interfacing. (Hood facing piece R2’s text has been fixed lately half way, it used to say “cut 2 lining” in the original lining extension.) You need to look at the interfacing diagram to get these right.
  • Optional 3 yards of biastape to finish the hem is excessive for the lined jacket. The instructions have no indication of finishing the neckline with biastape, but it still says “to finish neckline and coat hem” in Additional Supplies.
  • There’s no mention of materials for the optional coat hook in the supply list, it just appears in the instructions.
  • I got confused about pattern pieces O and O2 (front drawstring casing) which are basically the same thing, mirrored, with different label. Both seemed to come from the original pattern package, since in (most) lining extension pieces it says “Kelly Anorak Lining”, but these are both labelled “Kelly Anorak”. As it turns out, O2 belongs to the lining extension, but I could have just cut O and leave it at that.
  • The instructions say to attach the zipper with 1/2″ SA, and this contradicts the tutorial. In tutorial comments Heather has promised to correct the instructions -eight months ago. I bought the pattern in May 2017, and the wrong measurement is still there. It should be 5/8″.
  • When you attach the zipper the instructions tell you to switch to zipper foot, and then again to switch to zipper foot in the next step, but you never switch back to any other foot in between.
  • I had to relocate the cuff snaps. They were centered on the pattern with the seam allowance included, and similar to placket, just a hair away from the edge. Looking at the sample photos they should be centered on the cuff, not the pattern piece.
  • Pocket or pocket facing pieces don’t have snap placement marked. I’m listing this in errors because all other snaps have an X in the pattern piece.

Small things that annoyed me:

  • The information about what height the pattern is drafted for is on page 10. The size chart -the place where I looked for this information- is on page 3. I eventually found this from the blog while adjusting the pattern, and only came across the mention later on when I had already cut the fabric.
  • The outlines on the pattern pieces are unnecessarily thick, and I had to guess a lot to clip the right notch in places where they overlap into a solid black block.
  • Some inconsistencies in language. The instructions sound a little chatty to my ear at times, and as a non-native English speaker I appreciate a clear and simple way of saying things. I had a head scratching moment with shoulder seams being stitched at “scant 5/8″ seam allowance”, and realized only at the next step that it ment stitching just inside the SA. Later in the instruction the same thing is stated this way.
  • There are a couple of seams that could be stitched in one go if you just pin and pay attention to what you’re doing. Instead you’re instructed to stitch one layer first, then stitch the second on top.
  • Pocket bottom corner is left unfinished inside the pocket.
  • I had to extend the right zipper placket by 6 mm, because otherwise snaps would end up hanging right on the edge, and it looks like a mistake in all the photos I’ve seen.
  • No cuffs on sleeves with lining, even though this should not be impossible to do.
  • The concept of extension package for something as basic as a lining in a jacket.

Big things that annoyed me:

  • I spent 23,50€ on a pattern I had to test and correct myself.
  • The fact that most blog posts -also by pattern testers- I read before buying say practically nothing but “OMG love this sew much” when there were clear errors in the pattern. The original pattern instructions without the lining have the exact same snap and zipper errors in the supply list.
  • Knowing that someone is making money by selling an obviously unfinished product -while not fixing errors that have been publicly pointed out to them.

That said, I like my finished jacket. As others have said, the sleeves are a bit tight, but I still like it. I chose this pattern because I liked the design best out of similar options, and I had a positive experience with Sophie swimsuit last year. The details give the finished jacket a very professional look, and it doesn’t look homemade by any standards. I’m pretty excited about it now that it’s finished, and I can see how easy it would have been to write a glowing review saying that I love my new jacket and wouldn’t change a thing.

The fit is mostly ok, the jacket just feels a little small when I pull it on over my shoulders. Might relate to the sleeves. Below you can also see where the original straight hem would have hit me. I’ve basically kept all of the length, just changed the dimensions and the shape. (It’s good to have your butt covered in this climate.)

The thing is, I’m used to being able to trust the patterns I use, and hadn’t experinced anything like this since buying Colette Anise PDF that had pieces of Beignet skirt in it and a missing sleeve. Sure, sometimes a single notch might be missing, but that’s only human compared to this. To me this looks like the lining extension hasn’t been proofread at all.

I was looking forward to working on a relaxing and more complex lengthy project for a change, but in reality this just made me both sad and angry. Sewing a jacket is always an investment, and I don’t want to worry and go back and forth buying new zippers on the way. (For reference, at that point I had spent about 150€ on very basic supplies, pattern not included.)

I don’t even feel like I’d be exaggerating when I say that this project bugged me from beginning to end. I started cutting the fabrics last Wednesday, had worked for an hour, a friend came over and I was already hissing at the pattern. And when I was attaching the cuffs (the last thing I did on the sewing machine) I thought “at least it can’t get worse anymore”, turned the cuff and saw that the snap mark wasn’t centered at all. On the following Monday I was about to attach the last two snaps, went to get the pocket pieces to mark the placement and saw that there were no marks on them. That’s six days spent on something that annoyed me. See where I’m coming from?

I read a couple of not so favorable blog posts about Kelly Anorak, but then basically went with the gut feeling that most of the reviws had been positive. And while googling I noticed that this pattern has 4,8/5 stars on Pattern Review. And so on.

Trust me, I’m not trying to be the mean girl here. I wish someone had told these things to me before I bought the pattern, but it seemed to be all rainbows and happy unicorns, and then this happened. So this wall of text is merely to say that if you insist on making this jacket, know what you’re getting into. And if you’re considering buying the pattern, it might make more sense to buy something that has been professionally tested by people who get paid to test patterns.*

I’ve at least tried to send my error list to Closet Case Patterns, but got two error notifications (sic!) when hitting “submit”.

*Disclaimer: I don’t have inside knowledge on the testing process, other than that it seems to be done by blogger testers who get the pattern for free. This could be in the list of big annoying things: I don’t like businesses that make people work for “visibility”, and I avoided CCP for a long time because of this. Then I slipped, because I’m only human. I’ve also bought things from IKEA and H&M at times even though I try not to.

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Few of My Favorite Things

Sure, I’ve been having a minor wardrobe crisis on and off for a while, but for some reason I currently feel most me in activewear. While actually doing something active, that is. I’ve never gotten into wearing leggings at work or even for getting groceries, but at the yoga studio -and lately while running- I never worry about my clothes. It’s all good. Otherwise I’m mostly confused about the summer that hasn’t even started by late July and basically keep guessing wrong (daily) while choosing between sweaters and t-shirts and feel weird about wearing the same stuff all year round. To be honest, I’d just like to lounge in my leggings and tank tops until I figure out what it is that I want to wear at the moment.

So obviously when I suddenly decided to try running, it all began by getting a pair of trainers and sewing leggings with a back pocket for keys. I’m freakisly insecure about everything related to sports (except ashtanga after six years of practicing), so I thought that I had to have at least a comfortable outfit to start with. No jogging in worn out pats and no carrying keys in my hand. 

I did some research on the pattern options, basically between Sewaholic Pacific Leggings and Papercut Ooh La Leggings. Pacific seemed tempting at first because of the pocket, but looking at the size chart it dawned on me that I was below size 0 for not being pear enough. And then I assumed that probably Ooh La Leggings had a waistband, so it would be super simple to just add a pocket in the seam. Well, they didn’t but it was still pretty easy. Not my best work ever because I was impatient and didn’t think everything through and for some reason used the serger on everything, but we certainly have a pocket here:


I made it big enough to carry my phone and keys, and so far it has functioned just fine. I don’t feel it while walking or running, so it’s been surprisingly stable. While sewing I was a bit worried that the zipper might make the waistband too tight, but it hasn’t been an issue. I made a straight size XXS, and shortened the legs by 5 cm. Could have taken a little more, but on the other hand I like having room for bending my knees and all that. I’m about 1 cm bigger than XXS, but it’s just fine with this lycra. If I’d make these in something less stretchy I’d definitely size up, though.

But hey, look at my leggings, matching my trainers! I had some neon lycra stashed here, so I cut those strips to show the hip seams (not side seams, but is hip seam a thing?)


And as you can see, I actually went out in leggings. And ran a little, since I’m trying to ease my crappy knees into it. I ran in public on a Saturday evening, past the bar district, and didn’t die. Also, super happy about the pocket:


The fit is pretty amazing in my opinion, and I love that high waist, too.

Because I had some fabric left and an already tested sports bra pattern, I made one. Somehow I don’t like the idea of getting outdoorsy dust and stuff on my yoga clothes, so I felt I needed one more for running. My previous Pneuma bra (also from Papercut) feels and looks too small, so I went a size up to XS this time. I had some nude powernet and flimsy FOE in the closet, and so far this combo has worked for me:

I eased the strap adjusting process by basting them loosely on the back, and then pinning the excess and measuring how much I needed to take out. Let’s say that it saved me from stabbing myself on the back.

I’m pretty damn happy with these things, and usually tempt myself to get off the sofa with “but you’ll get to wear your amazing leggings”

Thoughts on (Not) Having A Plan

While being stuck on the sofa with a mild flu I began to panic over not having a master plan for sewing. (Ok, I read a shitload of Anuschka Rees / Into Mind.) I mean, I admire people who are able to track their wardrobe needs, plan their sewing ahead (usually with sketches) and actually stick to their plans. For me it’s been more like “oh no my coat is broken, oh no I have no functioning bras, no wait, zero tops for layering”, and so on. You get the point. I think it’s partly because I’ve somehow ended up making almost everything and -let’s face it- sewing takes time. I’m probably slower than average and have no specific sewing space, so for me a quick project would be four hours or so with all arrangements included. And honestly, I can’t spend all my weekends indoors sewing. I also need to go out and wear clothes.

So, most of the time I feel like I’m just putting out fires to make sure I don’t need to walk around naked, and my “sewing plan” is a non-existing list that updates on it’s own. Sometimes I simply get sidetracked because of a new pattern I need to use, even though I try not to do total impulse buys by asking myself stuff like does this fit in, where do I use it and does it go with my other clothes. Or I can’t find the perfect fabric for a blazer, but see something that suits to a wintercoat pattern I’m also planning to use. And every now and then I remeber that I’m in the middle of 1) making a new bikini top, 2) muslining a blazer, and 3) shortening a dress pattern + finding fabric, all while trying to replace my worn out transition weather coats.

What I’m getting at here is that I’d love to have a plan, but I never feel I really do. It all seems to depend too much on limited sewing time, weather not changing as it should (looking at you, Finnish spring 2017), and me not being able to track everything that’s going on with my wardrobe. This year we’ve had a freezing cold spring until now, so my coat plans moved on top of the list. A month ago I had the idea of nobly hanging in there with one stupid coat and one worn out coat “until it gets warm”. It never got warm. As I write this, we’re still expecting snow and I need to feel more polished in my daily activities. So, I’m currently panic-taping together Isla trench and waiting to get bettern so that I can get more ink for my printer and get Kelly anorak printed out. At least this kind of looks like a long term sewing plan? Then again, I also had a plan of replacing my work dresses during last winter, but somehow my Helmi still exists only on paper. (On the other hand, I did make a couple of Inaris.) With Helmi it’s been mostly about not finding the right fabric, but I now have finally ordered some from Atelier Brunette. 

To see just how much I’ve gotten sidetracked this year I dug up my #makeseven (instead of #makenine):


And it wasn’t really that bad. I’m half way through with Beverly bikini, have half a muslin for Michelle (this is also a pattern waiting for the right fabric), have made two long-sleeved Inaris, done with Pilvi coat dress, and as said, Helmi is finally making some kind of progress. And in the beginning of the year I had no idea that I’d encounter bra, pants and spring coat crisis on the way. I’m sort of on the fence when it comes to making that dress top right, because I’m pretty well off dress-wise at the moment. Alexandria trousers might still happen during summer holidy, but I think the need for woven summer tops is a bigger issue. I’d say that the two pairs of Ninni culottes I’ve made fill the summer pants hole quite nicely.

What I’m getting from this in-depth sewing plan analysis is that I might benefit from both having a plan and prepping several patterns at once when there’s time to do that. What I’m also getting is that I should first go through my wardrobe as a whole (from coats to undies) to see what’s not there. Like currently I have many more pairs of pants and pencil skirts than long-sleeved tops (minus wool sweaters), and you can see how that might be a problem in daily life, right? I feel like the collection above was more like a list of patterns I want to use, not really a plan based on what I need.

I feel like I’m still -after several years of picking up sewing again- in the process of making sense of this. I mean, it’s a hobby in a way, and I’ve made choices like I’m not sewing t-shirts (boring) or jeans (broken needles scare me). But at the same time I’m also adjusting my opinions on things like does it make sense to sew coats and bras, and what’s a good way of doing that. It’s like making choices between comfort and discomfort, feeling well dressed or frumpy, spending all my free time at home or actually going out in my clothes. So basically making more detailed plans might be a good idea at this point. I’m also thinking about the sustainability aspect of my sewing here, and being more thoughtful of what to make appeals to me. It’s began to bother me that I’m (despite a small crisis every now and then) pretty well equipped for my daily life, but still making things in a way that often feels random. Because of this I’ve tried to pick “bigger” projects lately so that I’d have something to do / get my mind off work while not blindly producing stuff. I’ve also promised mittens to three more friends, and possibly a coat for one to stop focusing on me as much as I’ve usually done. And to use some of the left-over yarn piles here.

I’m curious, how do you feel about these things? Do any of you get stressed out by having plans and not having plans or making too much and too little?

Basics

As we all know, my sewing lately has revolved around underwear. After getting all my notions (from Tailor Made Shop, Make Bra and Bwear) it was a matter of hours to put together two bras:


I’ve used Ohhh Lulu’s Romy pattern for both, and based on this I’d call it a versatile pattern. (Considering that my first velvet bra is also completely different from these.) The fit varies a little depending on the material, and the lace bra seems to be a little tighter than the strappy one. Actually you can almost see the size difference in the photo, and I think it’s mostly about the open upper cup in the strappy bra being more forgiving in the sense of fit. The upper edge in the lace bra sits lower while the straps find their place on their own. Like this:

The lace bra is fully covered by that same neckline. As you can see, the upper edges dig in a little at armpits, so I might need to experiment with the cup fit a little. However, this doesn’t feel at all uncomfortable and I’ve successfully worn all three bras with no complications. It’s pretty luxurious to have four bras in laundry rotation after trying to survive with three stretched ones for a couple of months! Also, I’m totally wearing the strappy one like this when the summer comes.

Which brings me to a serious issue with sewing your own underwear: it would be so nice to show and tell when you’ve made something super nice, learned to apply FOE so much better, found exellent notions and pretty lace and love all the strap details. And then you end up feeling Saga Noren level socially awkward for either talking about it at lunch (we have a pretty relaxed office) or instagramming pieces of lace. I’ve done both. Usually manage to bite my tongue before going into too much fit details, but still. It feels weird, because I’m used to showing off my self-made clothing, but now I don’t really have anything to present. I mean, I’ve not gone as far as to change t-shirts in an open office.

So I ended up making a top that would show a tiny bit of straps. Not for work, but perfectly ok for more casual events. I feel like a horrible blogger for constantly forgetting to take perfect photos right after finishing stuff, and ending up posting wrinkled clothes after two days of wear. Also I hate taking selfies, so all I have for you is the photo above to prove that I’ve made Ogden Cami from True Bias, in light weight black rayon. I had some doubts about the pattern in the sense that it’s so minimalistic, but on the other hand I’ve been out of basic tops for a while. And it’s actually kind of facinating to have something with basically no detailing what so ever, and I really like the smooth transition between the neckline and straps.

When it comes to fit and construction, I have no complaints abouth either. I made a straight size 2, shortened the body by 5 cm and the straps about the same. The instructions seemed very detailed, but I basically just browsed through to check the order and measurements for hemming. This is just a personal preference, but I like more general “sew until done” instructions and these seemed to be very much geared for beginners. I just like being left on my own when sewing, so I avoid reading stuff like “remember to finish seams to avoid fraying” or “be careful not to cut throug the seam”. To me it feels like someone is watching over my shoulder all the time, but as said, totally a personal thing and I can see how someone else would love those reminders. 

All in all, a nice quick project and I’ll probably make another one when I find the perfect silk. All of these small pieces of clothing have in a way replaced knitting for me: they are easy to pick up after work, don’t take much space and can be folded somewhere while I need the table for something else. But I like change, so I’ve kicked off the massive process of printing, cutting and taping together Isla trench coat from Named Clothing. Because while my bra issues have been fixed for now, I still have a wardrobe hole the size of a neat spring-autumn coat. More on that later!

Harriet vs. Romy

This spring I’ve been making all the things, but haven’t really blogged anything. Just no time, no energy. But now that I have a weekend of no other obligations than recovering from Friday’s massage*, I figured I’d write down some bra making notes.


At first there was Harriet from Cloth Habit. Even though I’m not a huge fan of underwires, I thought I’d give them a chance. I was kind of thinking that it might be nice to have some kind of structure on a bra for a change, and that this might be a safe way of seeing if it works for me. Spoiler alert: it didn’t. Not the pattern’s fault, just that my ribs and sternum have very little padding on them. I get bruises if I wear my Harriet for a full day.

The making process was pretty smooth: I did a few muslins to get a starting point. And also because when you spend 50€ on a bra kit (kit+shipping+custom fees), you are not going to use it on a bra that might fit. Nope. I mean, even if you skip the elastics, you’ll get a fairly good idea of the fit by just putting together bra lining (front), power mesh (back) and some spare hooks. I tried three different cup-band combinations before I cut into my actual bra fabrics, starting from 28DD and ending up with 30E. I’ve seen similar Harriet fitting paths around the interned, so I’d say that it runs a tad small. I don’t have to pull the measuring tape that tight to get 27″ chest measurement, but 28″ band was definitely too short for me.

I’m not going to get too deep into the sewing process because 1) I don’t remeber much about it anymore, and 2) as I recall, it was all quick and easy. What I ended up with was a bra that fits, and if I’d ever make it again I’d merely lower the upper cup piece by 4 mm. The band feels nice and snug, the wires lay smoothly against my chest. The shape is more projected than what I’m used to, but it doesn’t make me feel like my boobs are in wrong place. (Like some padded bras have done in the past.) Only I keep getting bruises, and haven’t been able to wear the bra two days in a row ever, because it hurts. I’ve tried to find out if this could be solved some how, but really, the band isn’t too tight, and it seems to be just the even pressure of wires against bones. So, for now my relationship with underwires is over.


But that just means that I can get back to my beloved bralettes. I had somehow forgotten Ohh Lulu, even though I’ve had some positive experiences in the past. Maybe it was because the bralettes began to look too easy or too flimsy when everyone around me seemed to have moved on to Orange Lingerie or the like -more structured bras I mean. But lately the flimsy things started calling my name again for a couple of reasons: all my old bra(lette)s are slowly dying, but my favorite source of unpadded bras (Monki, that is) has began to add padding to friggin everything. I found an exellent bra from Weekday, but they’ve quit Finland and I can’t keep flying to Sweden for bras. On top of these things I kept seeing Sarah’s freakishly pretty photos on Instagram, and figured that I might need to make stuff with straps everywhere. This naturally led to buying patterns for Romy and Ava.

I’m still waiting for my strappy lingerie notions and laces from around the world, but have managed to do some fitting and one functioning lingerie set! I mean, this is what I love about Ohh Lulu patterns: I don’t need a bra kit with eleventy different elastics to make one piece of clothing. And what I need can be mostly gathered from here. I had a notions kit left from planning to make two Harriets, and I used the leftover lace to muslin Romy:


And that became one freakishly bridal bra muslin with too small cups. I actually measured smaller than XS, but ended up spilling from the cups. Naturally I read only afterwards from Sarah’s tutorial that you pick the closest size, but will need to adjust the cups if you’re beyond D cup. And yep, I had to. For some reason it makes sense in practice even if the sizes refer to full bust measurement. I prefer grading between sizes to adjusting the pattern pieces myself, so my fitted version (pictured far above) is size S cup blended into XS band, and it worked really well. The pattern pieces are nested, so no fiddling with tracing or anything like that. For Ava panties I measured a straight size S, and they fit me out of box.

The set is black stretch velvet and it’s awesome. I mean, horrible to work with, but awesome to wear. I’m not sure how it will work with other clothing because so far I’ve only been prancing around my flat admiring my soft and warm undies (hello neighbours), but it doesn’t seem too bulky. More like normal underwear, and I expected worse. I’ve lined the bra cups with some kind of stretch mesh I found from Eurokangas, mostly to get a neatly finished, non-itchy interior. The peach notions I picked out from the muslin, and then got some FOE from Nappitalo to finish the rest of the edges. I think I can still get another pair of panties from my leftovers.

I have plans for at least two more sets from these patterns, and at least one involves straps everywhere.

*I hadn’t had a massage since December, I was super stiff after having all the flus and the pain level was somewhere around dentist. I drank about two liters of water before going to sleep yesterday, and my back has sore spots all over.

Learning New Things At 34

Maybe it’s a combination of yoga, age and comfort candy eaten over the past year or so, but I’m currently in a situation where I’ve had to learn to adjust patterns in a new way. I’ve basically been one standard size most of my life, but last autumn I began to notice stuff like this in clothing made a year or two ago:

(Along with not being able to fit into my Sophie swimsuit top, which I’m still mourning, but definitely not posting to internet in shape of photos.) 

While I think I might still get away with wearing my first Inari in public, I’m not really comfortable with making more in a size that’s clearly not fitting me. I had previously done a small FBA on my Kielo dress, but this was a bit more complex to figure out since the pattern doesn’t have darts to start with. I did some research on dartless FBA at first, but all those systems seemed kind of random compared to a darted one. I eventually went with the tutorial on Curvy Sewing Collective, with a little modification: in my opinion the bottom of the dress is fine as it is, so I cut the front piece in two at waist, and only added more ease to top. I thought it would be easy, but ended up having a medium sized adult tantrum over paper, scissors and tape.

I think my main problem here was that my bust point is pretty high, and it’s simply not possible to draw a straight line from side seam to full bust. It has to be angled, and that messes with the diagrams instructing you to draw the second line upwards, but at the same time in the middle of the underarm curve. As you can see, I tried that at first. I don’t have any photos, but it completely messed up the armhole and almost made me cry. As a side note, I’ve also tried to draft a block following Madalynne’s tutorial once, and hit the same brick wall there, too. At some point my lines just didn’t meet where they should, and I knew why, but not how to fix it and then just gave up.

When I calmed down I drew the line from bust point to armhole notch, and eventually had a pretty normal looking pattern piece on my table. Then I re-fitted the top part to the bottom, took a deep breath, and cut the fabric. My first new Inari is made in mustard yellow sweater weight jersey, and I’m pretty damn pleased with it. 


It’s the most relaxed dress ever, and worked perfectly for getting back to work after two weeks of influenza: you look like you got dressed, but feel like you didn’t. I added side seam pockets, because I always find myself looking for them and left out the slits to make it look more… I don’t know, solid? Cocooned? The only thing that bothers me here is that the darts came out too long and they sort of stick out in a weird way. It’s not as bad now that the fabric has relaxed in wear (yeah, I know it’s also a bit wrinkled) but at first it was bad enough for me to wear a scarf all day to hide the weirdness. 

For the second one I bought light weight black wool which seems to have some kind of in-built stretch. Either that, or it’s not actually 100% wool like the tag says. Not sure what to think, but it presses like wool and feels lovely, so I’m not too bothered by this. I made a small adjustment here by shortening the darts 1,5 cm, and to me they look much better now. I can still see some weird pooling below the darts, but it’s probably something no-one else would notice. I did the same pockets-no slits mod, and would say that I’ve finally achieved something I’ve been wanting for years: a loose fitting, cocoon shaped, super comfortable dress I can wear pretty much anywhere:


Yes, I’m extremely happy with these.

On Admitting Defeat

You know how sometimes you just screw up in a mysterious way you can’t put your finger on? This is exactly what happened here: I had a previously fitted pattern, a seemingly good quality fabric, a vision of what I wanted to get out of them, and I still managed to fuck up. Twice. And today I decided to give up on having fitting faux leather pants, because it’s just not going to happen.

My first issue here was that I hadn’t used the pattern in a couple of years, and blindly assumed that same measurements would equal same shape. Nope. I’m somehow different. Should have probably started over with a fresh, un-adjusted pattern. Now I had one with so many mods already that it just got really difficult to tell what was wrong and how to fix it. And it’s possible that the whole pattern was a wrong choise to begin with. 

My main issue with pants -especially slim fitted- is the size difference between my butt and tighs. This is something I haven’t been able to solve at all: how do you adjust for full butt without adding ease to upper tigh? I mean, I can’t be the only person in the world with stick-like legs, and I’ve even found fitting rtw jeans. So how does this become a huge obstacle when I want to make pants? Like this time it seemed clear that my first version of these pants were too tight in the back but ok at tighs, but I couldn’t figure out where to add ease without adding it everywhere.

So, being in a blinded state of “of course I can solve this” I rather randomly did the same full butt adjustment I had already done once before and got more fabric. I’d really like to kick myself in the face because of this, because it only resulted in too loose pants with all topstitching done being worn once and then abandoned on the chair with “I need to do something about these” status for months. I found the pants today and tried narrowing the leg, but honestly, the fit at waist and hips is god awful, and I’m never ever wearing those things outside my kitchen. Ok, maybe not god awful, but the kind that I don’t want to see when I look in the mirror. It looks home made, and I want people to look surprised when I say I made my clothes, ok? And this more in line with the clothes I made as a teenager, and I’m way past that.

The second issue making things worse might have been the fabric. I’m not 100% sure, but it felt like the pants stretched in use about two sizes. As in, they looked semi good on me right after finishing, but began to feel loose during the one and only day I wore them. I have a vague memory of sucking in my stomach to get the zip closed, but now it’s more like I have to hold the pants up before closing the button. So yeah, it’s possible that there was nothing I could have done to make this work, other than a massive amount of negative ease to begin with. And how was I supposed to know?

All in all this whole project just makes me gringe. It’s like a way too long visit to the dark side of sewing, and I just want to forget everything about it. All the wrong choises, wasted materials, rushing into making something I wasn’t sure about and the feeling I’m a weird shape. 

I think it’s been more depressing -if you want to be dramatic about pants fitting- than usual because I’ve had a pants problem all winter, and feel awkward for not having the perfect skinny jeans I’m used to having. For about ten years I had a go-to pair of jeans, but now it’s gone out of production, and I’ve been forced to settle on a less-than-perfect. It also seems that the shape has changed again from last year (it’s some skinny jean from Nudie, Skinny Linn or something like that), and now I’m back at too loose at leg, too short at crotch and feeling uncomfortable and annoyed.

I’m sort of trying to solve the problem of feeling put together by making new dresses that would equal owning an exellent pants. More on that and learning to make a full bust adjustment at 34 later.