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Frustrating Sewing Day

Karen_Caouette | Posted in Fitting on

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I am returning to apparel sewing after 10 years and losing 100 pounds. I boned up on some new techniques, especially concentrating on fitting, since I am a new size. I was puzzled that I am a 12 or 14 in ready wear, but by measurement am an 18 for patterns. Today I had a terribly frustrating day.

I had bought a cute moose flannel for a blouse pattern. When I went to cut it out, the sleeve width did not fit the selvages. When I measured the flannel, it was only 40″! I went back to the store to get another yard
and measured the original – it was 41″ (before washing)! Nowhere was it tagged that it was this smaller size. First question….Since when did they start making fabric so narrow??

Second problem. I picked Simplicity 9181, which is a “loose fitting” blouse. The picture shows a typical, comfortable blouse – nothing special. I need a 40″ bust, so I got a size 18 (of an 18-20-22 pattern). After I sewed the front facings and shoulder seams, I pinned basted the side seams and tried it on – It was GARGANTUAN! Stunned, I measured and found the bust was 54 1/2″. I checked the pattern, and there written on the front tissue was “Finished Garment Measurements (for size 18) – 54 1/2″! Now I understand about fitting ease, but 14 1/2” of fitting ease???
Is this normal? And why isn’t this measurement printed on the outside of the pattern so that I could either pass on the blouse, or buy a different size. Any comments and answers would be greatly appreciated.

Replies

  1. Marie_Hoge | | #1

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    Over time you will get used to gauging how wide the fabric is. Fabirc generally comes in 45 or 60 inch widths. However they also can come in 36", 54", 56", 58"...list goes on. If it is not marked, I would just ask the cutter to check.

    With concerns to your second question, this will be a learning experience when it comes to fit. I don't think that amount of ease is unusual for a loose fitting blouse. However, it is probably too loose for you and in the future you will know that you can go down a size or not buy a pattern for a loose fitting garment as you will know it is not how you like it.

    Marie

    1. Elona_Masson | | #2

      *Karen,Regarding fabric width, it's a good idea to check the "spine" of the bolt--the width is usually printed there. If it is not, or if you're even halfway suspicious, ask the salesperson to check the width for you (although as Marie says, you will develop an eye for dimensions with time). You can also get a yardstick from the rack in the store and check it yourself.Second, there is no relationship between ready-to-wear sizes and pattern sizes. None, zero, zip! And this is especially true when you're dealing with Simplicity. Their idea of fit is just to make everything big, figuring that it will fit SOMEONE (al though this may be less the case with their "Fit Rules" line of patterns).Vogue patterns and Burda give the finished widths and lengths on the envelope; they're also printed on the pattern pieces themselves. For some McCall's patterns, such as the Palmer and Pletsch series, this is also true, but McCall's tends to run big, unfitted, and style-less though less so than Simplicity.In general, your fitting progress will be faster if you avoid both Simplicity and McCall's.

      1. Karen_Caouette | | #3

        *Thanks! I live in a rural area, and the only patterns available are Simplicty and McCall's. I can order others off the net. I have found that some of the newer Simplicity patterns have the finished bust size on the outside of the envelops - otherwise I have to open to the front tissue piece.

        1. Sarah_Kayla | | #4

          *Y'know, sometimes the sewing gods are just smiling on you, and sometimes they aren't. I am having one of those days when they are not smiling on me. My serger has gone through nearly a dozen needles in the last few hours. The project I need the serger for is due by the end of this month and it a fairly large scale project. AAARRRGGGHHH!!! I think it is time to move onto something else and give the serger timne to decide to behave..Maybe my sewing machine loves me today.Sarah

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