crafts · Sewing

Choosing patterns that suit

Look, I’m the first to admit that I have a pattern buying problem.  I am totally unable to resist a cute modeled (or drawn) photo, and will often buy something without thinking of how it will actually look on my body.  However, as of today I’m making a pledge – no more buying patterns if you wouldn’t buy the finished garment in a store.

Here’s an example:

Now, this pattern is adorable.  Look at the cute sash on version 2!  The scalloped neckline and sleeves!  The sassy way that the model has taken off one glove!

I actually made a muslin of the bodice of this dress, and let me tell you… it is not for me.  Actually, the neckline and cut on sleeves are cute, but the style is rather less fitted than it appears to be in the line drawings (and my measurements are almost exactly what a vintage 32 call for.)  Actually, it’s enormous in the bodice, and while I could adjust it, I think I’d really rather just find a pattern that will suit me better – perhaps one with actual sleeves, as anything faintly kimono or dolman-ish gives me issues.  Blouses are ok, but not dresses or sweaters.

I think it’s important to be realistic about what actually looks good on your shape.  My principle challenge is being petite.  A lot of fashion these days seems to be about volume, and I just can’t do it.

Instead I’m going to go ahead and make a muslin of Colette patterns Rooibos dress, since I was so pleased by the Beignet skirt.

I’m going to be using a lovely kelly green crepe from Gorgeous fabrics (it’s so much more beautiful than this photo, but I couldn’t get a better photo with my camera either!)

I’m using a black crepe for the contrast color, and black piping for the details.   At least I hope I am… assuming the muslin works out!  I’m going to make the smallest size to start, and we will see if that fits me.  It’s for a 33″ bust, and I have (sigh) a 31.5″ bust.  I wouldn’t mind a little extra ease though, so we’ll see, and I can always take it down a size.

Now the question of the hour… would I buy this dress in the store?  The answer is “yes, if it actually fit me.”  I buy a lot of empire waist dresses and things with ties, since I can never get all parts of a fitted dress to fit my measurements (apparently if you’re skinny you’re supposed to be straight up and down, which I am not at all.)  And that’s what sewing is about, right?  Getting a garment that’s made for your measurements, not whatever measurements the manufacturer has decided you should be.

I’ll report back in a day or two with the results of my muslin… hopefully good!  I’ve also (ahem) bought some fabric, and I want to talk about my plans for it.  I wish very much that there was a Ravelry for sewing.  I’ve got spreadsheets going for patterns and fabric, which is what I did for my knitting pre Ravelry.  I had forgotten how terribly annoying it was.  Patternreview has some of the same features, but it’s not the same, and I need the stash organization aspect (lest it all get buried in boxes and bought again!)

13 thoughts on “Choosing patterns that suit

  1. Too bad the vintage dress pattern didn’t work out — the scalloped neckline was so pretty and feminine! I agree though that you have to buy or make styles that actually fit your shape. Empire waist sweaters or tops don’t work on me, so when I find the rare item with a waist in the natural place, I have to jump on it. Too bad there isn’t more of a selection of styles for all the differently shaped women there are!

  2. It’s so fun to watch you get into sewing, as I just got into that year (after knitting for quite some time. i still knit, but am *into* sewing right now). I agree, Pattern Review is nice, but it’s not Ravelry. I find the site really hard to navigate and it makes it hard for me to want to participate as Ravelry did/does. Gorgeous Fabrics rocks, by the way!

  3. I have been trying to do the same thing with knitting patterns, but it’s hard…some of us just seem to have an inborn obsession with pattern-buying. For me, it’s all the possibility… 🙂

    And thanks for the tip on Gorgeous Fabrics…it’s a great site!

  4. De-lurking to say that there is a group on Ravelry for this topic (like so many others!) called ‘thanks Ravelry sew sew much!’. The owner and her husband are working on a Ravelry-for-sewing site – not sure when it might be in beta, but just wanted to mention it.

  5. I agree that Ravelry needs sewing! I’ve just finished my first skirt in forever and popped it onto Ravelry as a “weaving” project… doesn’t help with stash management, but luckily my fabric stash is small… so far.

    Love your blog! Happy crafting 🙂

  6. Apparently a new Ravelry-like site is due to go live in the next few weeks, it’s called, if I’m not mistaken… keep an eye out, you never know, it might turn out to be pretty decent…:-)

  7. It’s amazing that it takes so long to come to the simple conclusion — buy patterns for the garments you’d buy ready-made. Believe me, it was an epiphany for me when I applied this logic to knitting patterns. That’s the thing about knitting and sewing patterns — they hold such promise.

  8. Ravelry for Sewing? Why yes- there is and it is available NOW! I have co-founded a website named where you can track your fabric stash and patterns as well as your projects underway and share you finishes as well.

    We have a lot (like a lot) planned for the future and we are working with all of the major fabric manufacturers to pre-populate our catalog so you can just pick and choose the fabrics you have and then click ‘add to stash’!

    Come on by and have some fun. Membership is always free. My username there is within a quarter inch – say HI!

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