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.


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