Wednesday, 7 November 2012

An Epic Fail

I came home from work grabbed some grease proof paper to act as tracing paper and traced off the appropriate size of my skirt pattern. Thankfully the skirt only has 3 pattern pieces so it was hardly difficult. Cutting it out of the sheet on the carpet was not so easy, but doable and it didn't have to be that neat because it was only a practice.

I sewed the relevant bits together and went to sew on the waist band. It said the skirt would be a bit bigger. But I have to say the pattern instructions got a bit like gobbledegook here.  Hmmm the waist band seemed short. Had I cut it too small? couldn't see how I had really and it wasn't so small that I was supposed to have placed the pattern piece on the fabric fold. I know, I thought, I'll just pop it round my waist to see how it fits. It was way too small. Not a little a bit. A LOT.

So I thought I'd try the skirt on and it was quite snug on the hips. At this waist measurement I was sort of prepared for this.  Then I did up the pretend zip (I hadn't actually wasted a zip on the sheet skirt.) The pretend zip busted out of it's seams. There was no way this pretend zip was ever going to do up. The sheet skirt was way way too small. I'd got my measurements right so I must have misread the corresponding size on the pattern envelope. At least as it was too small I didn't have to work out the waistband instructions - every cloud and all that...

For all of you that said I should cut straight into the pattern or wondered why I wanted to do a tracing. I think you can see why I was reluctant!  This is why I didn't cut straight into the pattern tissue. It's a jolly good reason why tracing a pattern is worth the effort. Not to mention useful if you intend to make more than one of a pattern or make the pattern in different sizes.

Epic Fail

Whatever size you do version 'C' of the skirt it is super short. Chief would love that. I think my days of wearing super flirty short skirts may be well and truly behind me so I'd need to lengthen the hem too.   I so need to attend dressmaking classes. I just don't think I can do this myself by following instructions. 


  1. We need Judith to come over and give you and I personal lessons. But you were right, cutting pattern and fabric would have been so wrong!

  2. Leason learned. I never would have thought of that. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I always used to trace the patterns for the very same reasons! Best book I have is the readers digest complete guide to sewing-great for dressmaking. I think it may be out of print now (?) but you may be able to order one from the library

  4. Bummer!!!

    My dressmaking O Level is about as rusty as my French, so I am keeping my mouth shut!

  5. I know Misses patterns are designed for a slimmer fit but that just sounds weird. I agree - we need Judith on the case.

  6. Do not get discouraged. Plenty of people, including me, just grab a pattern and cut into fabric. It can work.
    Your next step is to check the measurements very carefully. Different brands of patterns use different measurements for their sizes and this can vary due to styling. A woman's body has more shape than a teenage model. You are slim but not shaped in straight lines.
    When you measure your body, be ruthlessly honest. Yuk!! Tie a string around your waist. Measure your hips at 10cm down and again at 20cm down. Observe your curves. Check total length back and front. Remove string from waist and have a strong cup of tea!!!
    Now attack the pattern. Insert extra paper where necessary. You are a patchwork master so this will be easy. Sew a rough toile using the altered pattern. Darts? Now if you like what you see, it is time to get some light card and carefully trace the altered pattern onto the card. Label everything because one day you will have a headache when you go to use it.
    Have several more cups of tea before sewing the new skirt. If all is good then keep the cardboard pattern, otherwise scream. Ta da! You are now a couturier with a select client list (of one).
    Occasionally pattern companies make mistakes and it sounds like you are on the receiving end of a mistake. Follow the steps and the mistake will be repaired.

  7. You may be cautious with your tracing but you came up smelling of roses! As I can't dress make I am going to leave all advice to the folk who know! I will just cheer you on. Di x

  8. Ok, don't give up. I find following dressmaking patterns much harder than drawing up my own pattern based on my own measurements. I'd highly recommend you get the book Sew What! Skirts and you take your own measurements and chart your own pattern template! It's a sure fire way of making a skirt that will fit. Jxo

  9. I think Simplicity patterns tend towards small sizing, we used to tell customers to buy according to their measurements not the size on the packet, but they never did.....

  10. I agree with Judith, i have never liked the fit of commercial dressmaking patterns and the instructions are not the easiest to follow. Hope you find a solution

  11. This was not an epic fail!! You did everything as you were supposed to do. I want to go get the pattern to see what was wrong with it. I find with most patterns I have to adjust up for my hips. Louise gave great advice. I have to measure every time.
    Don't give up!

  12. Get up, have tea and try again!

    Steep learning curve if this is your first time but you can't give in now!

    You are probably so nearly there!

    And think how wonderful it will be making your own skirts to fit you from all that great stash of fabric - hold onto the dream!

  13. I hope it goes better next time - I'm off to check out the book Jude recommended!
    P.S. Instead of tracing the pattern you could cut it out (with an allowance, all round the largest size) and then fold it back to the line you want...

  14. Oh bugger! Still, that's why I always make muslins and trace too! Although I use cheap thin sheeting that I can trace through for when I'm feeling ultra lazy ;o)

    Now on the pattern did you cut out your high street clothing size, or your real, live, actual measurements? It's just that the high st numbers are the equivalent of rather higher numbers in the pattern size number area (Next and River Island obviously believes in flattering us more than Simplicity and Vogue ;o) ) If you look at the measurement chart it should show you what number match up to your size, and you might find that you have a blend of sizes between waist and hip.


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