Thursday, 20 May 2010

Vintage Pattern Grading for Plus-Sizes

Ok, so now that I have a suitably large stash of vintage patterns, a huge fabric stash and more notions than one woman has a right to, it's time to get busy and start making them up. However, before I can do that I have to grade them and not just a little bit either. So where to start? Conventional wisdom has it that it is not worth grading up more than a couple of sizes as it will just turn out wrong.  All the collars & pockets will be out of proportion and the darts will be off. Here at MOR, I say "to hell with convention" (I am sure that phrase will come back to haunt me). 

We all know that the range of vintage patterns in a plus-size is pretty limited and that the ones that you fall in love and that will fit are very rare so I have decided to have a go making up one vintage pattern using a number of different grading methods to compare. I am going to try 3 ways: The slash 'n' spread, the pivot and slide and the grading method in my copy of "Metric Pattern Cutting" by Winifred Aldritch. 

The lucky pattern of choice will be Butterick 5871, a funky 60's -70's blouse pattern with 5 variations. I love the styling for this and could use some summer blouses for work. I have a lot to add to this pattern as I need to do a FBA and grade it up a little at the waist and hips. It is a size 18/ 38" bust but more on that when the (grading) fun begins!

Wish me luck xx

Burda Style Magazine: Style 114/May 2010 The beginning!

This month's issue of Burda Style magazine (the former BWOF) was pretty good pattern-wise and featured a lot of nice summer dresses. I love Burda and have been collecting it religiously for years, although to be fair IMHO the patterns have got a LOT better in their styling in the last year or so.  To break me in gently to sewing something that wasn't a corset I have decided to use up some of my fabric stash making dresses for my DD. I have some nice light weight contrasting cotton prints and some cotton batik that I had bought a couple of years ago but never had the time to do anything with. They were mostly in 1m pieces. I decided to sew up Style 114 which calls for a couple of metres of cotton batiste.

This dress is very simple. Just 4 rectangles, 2 larger than the previous, sewn onto a bodice section with a racer back. The top section is supposed to be self-lined but for the light butterfly fabric I used a white cotton batiste from John Lewis to stop the butterflies on the reverse shining through to the right side. I have decided to use bias binding on the arm holes to add a splash of colour. It just needs a zip now and hemmed and it will be done. I am not sure what I think about this dress. It is pretty simple and is nice and summery but something about the styling leaves me a bit cold. I will post pics when it is finished this week and see if I have changed my mind by then. I am not too happy about the sequence of the fabric and think that I should have put the darker middle tier on the bottom. Still it is just a scruffing about dress but maybe this is what is putting me off *hhmmn*.

Have you made this dress? What do you think? Better in different fabric? Why not let me know?

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Do Your Patterns Cut It?

I have bought quite a few sewing patterns recently, scoring a bag full out of one the local charity shops...woo hoo..., buying 11 Butterick Retro and Vintage Vogue pattern reissues from their website and a few off eBay. The charity shop ones are a fantastic selection of styles from the 30's to the 80's none of which were anywhere near my size but hey whatever is, especially in vintage patterns? Still I "had to have them". "Had to" like a junkie needs a fix "have them". After rushing home sweating and shaking with my booty and the euphoria of the hit had worn off I realised that there would have to be a whole lot of pattern grading going on before I could even dream of fitting myself into any of them.

However, this got me thinking about why I was buying them and what my motivation was when looking for something new to make.

I know that I will not be alone in pining madly after some pattern for months only to finally get it into my hot little hands and lose interest, while it languishes in a drawer never to be seen again. Worse still, decide that I was mad and that I would never ever wear it or, the most depressing of all, it would make me look like a pregnant bag lady. Yeh, plus size patterns, we mean you!

So what do you do with a pile of patterns on your hands? How do you define your pattern pecking order? Is your sewing ruled by your heart or your head? Would be interested to hear how you choose?