As of this week, I have a nice little problem. I finally found out what was making my weight fluctuate and have cut it out of my diet. In the last two weeks I’ve already lost six pounds and am still losing. My problem is this: I’d already cleared out my closet to accommodate the previous weight gain and need new clothes to wear now. Any suggestions, besides not choosing pants, on what to sew until my weight stabilizes to make this transition time easier.
Tatsy, I have recently lost around 30 pounds. When I started on this journey, I thought I would make some knits that would see me though the transition. Didn't happen. By the time I got them finished, they were too large and I didn't want to wear them. Then I decided I would shop sales and buy just enough to get me from one phase to another. That worked, sort of. There were a couple pair of pants that I only got to wear once. As you lose inches around, you gain length. The crotch of the pants ended up way too low.
My solution...I have a few things that I wear in public that fit me now and are coordinated enough that I don't appear in the same thing all the time. At home I am wearing clothes that are too large. I am just now beginning to sew for myself again because I am getting close to my target weight. I am not spending the time creating something that takes a lot of time or money, just in case I won't be able to wear them when I get to where I want to be.
I am interested to hear from others about this "problem", too.
Where you carry your weight and where you lose it first makes a difference in how you handle the "what to wear problem". I could wear most of my tops longer than any of my pants, but nothing I was wearing 30 pounds ago will I wear now.
Thanks, MaryMary,I know what you mean about the tops fitting longer than the bottoms. I still have a few good outfits to wear, and some of them are knits. Tatsy
What a nice "problem" to be having! Still, it's very frustrating not to have anything to wear!
At this point, very fitted dresses, jackets, slacks, or blouses are probably not a good investment of sewing time; they offer very little leeway in size and take a lot of time to complete.
Some good "fluctuating" pieces are wrap dresses, wrap skirts, gathered skirts, tie-back blouses, and palazzo pants made in soft, flowing fabrics like rayon. Anything that ties at the waist or that can be worn belted also works, as does anything that can be cinched at the lower back or have elastic in the back.
I have used a short double-clipped fabric-covered elastic cinch at my back waist to reduce fullness, and often I've reduced a dress or top by two or more sizes by simply taking in the entire back seam by several inches or adding vertical back darts or tucks.
An a-line wrap skirt with a buttoned closure in a more structured linen or denim is a flattering, useful piece, and you can just move the button back or forth on the waistband (or use several buttons in a row) to change the overall size.
I'm sure you'll get lots of good suggestions on this topic; let us know what works well!
Thanks, Teaf5, I like the idea of wrap skirts. The wrap dresses don't work so well because they tend to gap in the bosom. The idea of taking in the back seam and the vertical darts is something I had not thought of. Tatsy
I wonder if anyone else has had the same problems I have had with wrap dresses. I bought two and they gap at the top and sitting in church I am constantly closing my skirt which falls open. I also have a very flat bottom and the dresses are not flattering for me in that department. I love the idea but will not have another one. I'm very thin and was surprised that the dresses were so unflattering on me.
Wrap dresses have to be engineered to fit the body wearing them. Most wrap dresses are made for hourglass figures, similarly sized on top and bottom. The skirt can be adjusted to stay closed by adding an extra triangle of cloth to the pattern front which allows for walking and sitting ease. Getting the top to stay closed requires more fussing with the pattern to accommodate the difference in width between the smaller bosom and the larger hip. I've given up. Wrap skirts are fine, but dresses just take too much engineering.On another tack, yesterday I went shopping for a mother of the groom dress with a friend of mine. She's taller and larger-framed than I am with even more of a high hip problem than I've got, but she wears two sizes smaller clothes than I do. I didn't try any of them on since it was my turn to be dresser, but even if I went back and put on the same outfits, the outcome would probably be the same. It leaves me wondering.
It's that hourglass figure requirement that does me in I guess. It takes me years to gain five pounds which goes on the waist measurement only and it takes two months for me to lose it again. The wrap dresses do nothing for someone like me who is swaybacked in the hip area. But since I bought these dresses I really appreciate suggestions. Thank you.
After you brought up the idea of wrap dresses I got to thinking about their construction and it's the wide variance between the upper and lower torso that does me in, as well as the high hip problem. It would be possible to wear a wrap dress if the style were adjusted to include a "waistband" that allowed for extra fullness to be eased into the skirt and also allowed for the surplice to travel less distance on the diagonal--more like a wrap version of a shirt dress than the normal wrap version of a sheath. Does that make sense to you?
That sounds like a good idea. I hope one of you more occomplished people will try to adapt this idea and let us know the results! If the dress is cut on the bias could you get the waistband worked out right? This is probably a dumb question. This may not even be a problem but I haven't worked much with bias and I just wonder. Nothing like looking for a problem when there may not even be one!
I'm soooo glad someone posted about this subject! I was afraid to, because so many people in my life are "sensitive" to my issues. I've recently lost about 45 pounds due to an illness, as well as just losing my mother. I'm not very big anyway, so I guess I'm considered a bit underweight...the women (and some men) in our family are considered on the very high end of obese, so when I stand next to someone, it really amplifies my weight loss. I don't suggest losing weight the way I have!I found that belts are the greatest invention to man, and they are very "in" this season. You can easily take in the sides of tops (tunics are nice) and dresses, then cinch in the waist with a wide belt (I like the elastic type for comfort). Works for pants, also, because this season, high waisted pants are back in style. These suggestions may help you for the short-term, as you are making clothing or altering some that you have. I gave up on altering pants to fit - way too many adjustments!I also had to purchase a dress form (only $99!) to aid me in adapting patterns/clothing and it was one of the best purchase I have ever made! Well, except for my sewing machine and serger...Good luck - we're lucky to have so many people with experience answering the alteration questions - I've learned so much - THANKS!
When I mentioned the waistband I was thinking of a straight-grain insert that would fit at the waist and be slightly looser than the bodice and slimmer than the skirt to make the transition. It could even be in folds like an unpressed cumberbund, but I'm sure a bias band would work too and if it were plaid, striped, or figured would even de-emphasize a tummy because the lines of the band would carry the eye outward.I've been through this so many times because my body is so sensitive to carbs that one or two meals with fries or a pilaf can mean a dress size. One good thing that came out of this round is that I think I've finally figured out why I have such a hard time getting pants to fit and why either petite or extra tall will fit so much better than regular. All this time I've been trying to adapt the pattern in the crotch area and the real problem is the shape and size of the hip bone at the side back. Putting the top corner of the pattern at the hip threw everything else off. Ready-made petite pants put extra width in the back. Extra tall give more depth. Either adds to the diagonal across the back which allows the room needed for the top of the hip bone. I hope this adjustment finally solves the pants-fitting problem, and by the way, this is not exactly what Sandra Betzina calls high hip--that's a line of extra flesh across the back just below the waist.
Wrap dresses don't work especially well on me, either, even as a classic hourglass figure, but I found a way to adapt them if I really like the print or fabric.
I try on the dress, adjust the wrap to a comfortable spot, and then use a row of safety pins to hold that position in place. Then I try to take the dress off by pulling it up over my head, removing only those pins necessary to make that possible. Sometimes, this is just the waistline pin.
When I've determined how much of the wrap can stay closed, I take off the dress and then topstitch through both layers along the topstitching of the top layer where the remaining safety pins are, leaving the unpinned areas open.
This secures the neckline area as well as that pesky gapping around the thighs; by stitching down to the top of the thigh and leaving the bottom two-thirds of the skirt loose, you still get the beauty of the wrap skirt but don't have to worry about exposing too much.
Basically, this turns a wrap dress into a pullover, so it doesn't allow for weight loss or gain, but it makes wrap dresses much easier to wear!
Intro to group.
Hello. I'm Sewcea. I've been a Threads/Taunton Book fan for years, collect as many as I can, and find them an invaluable resource. I have been a tailor and fitting/alterations specialist; I segued from dressmaking into such work for several reasons. On the whole, I think the turnaround of work is quicker, thus making the pay better. I've gone back to poverty, though, as I am trying to make it as a published writer--a life-long dream, so my sewing has been neglected of late.
To stay on topic, Teaf5's solution for the wrap dress is a good one. If I recall, though, this thread began with a discussion of losing weight, and the loss of a wardrobe which results. Any weight loss of 30 lbs. or more makes altering your garments difficult, if not impossible. There are, however, a couple of quick fixes which you can do to extend the wearability of your clothes, depending on the garment construction. None of them are tedious to do, nor require complicated fitting-- they're not what I would do with a client's expensive silk/wool suit, but doable with casual clothing.
Pants can be altered from the top. Sometimes cutting an inch or two off, and re-setting the waist works. ( easy on elastics, trickier on jeans and similar pants--) Another thing you can do is to make small slits between the rows of elastic, and run a drawstring through to the pant front, thus making the waist more adjustable. This works best on lightweight to medium fabrics, but I have used it with success on some denims. Seal the slits with a dab of fray-check.
On pants which aren't too bulky, and will eventually be discarded, you can pinch up, just below the waistband, the amount of pants (waist-to-crotch depth) which needs taking out, and seam it out. I do this with my serger, and then steam the heck out of the area, flattening it into submission with the weight of the iron. Do this close enough to the waistband, and it's unnoticeable.
Another alteration is to shorten the crotch--sew side-to side, not front-to-back. I always pin-fit for this, but on my own pants, I baste a new seam, try on, adjust, sew a deeper seam if necessary, trim.
Sometimes, on denim jeans, I add darts between bulky areas in the pant back. Usually weight loss means the inseams and outseams must be reduced. It's quick and easy to pin and alter these, if you own a serger. You might find a combination of these alterations will extend the use of your pre-diet clothing. There are variations on the alterations, too. If you are big in the belly area, you might find that 'dropping' the waist in the front alone makes for a better fit for you.
I have Full Moon disease (I wax and wane regularly), so I use some variation of these alterations on my own clothing. I'm as fond of waist darts as I am of Ben and Jerry's strawberry cheesecake ice cream.
My last suggestion, should you not be inclined to alter anything, nor to hire me ;), is that you check out some local thrift shops. Very nice weight-loss interim clothing can be picked up for very little money. Not that I'd do such a thing, heh, heh.
Hi Sewcea. Great screen name, had to say it aloud a few times to figure it out, lol. There are a quite a few great suggestions on quick fixes there. Great thinking outside the box. Thanks. :) Cathy
Bless you for sharing these tips! I have NOT been having any success altering my clothing after I lost 45 pounds (due to illness not dicipline). These tips gave me a whole new approach to adjusting pants to fit (instead of a belt!). You are worth every penny you charge - wish you were near me!
Can you help me with the pun in "sewcea"? (I'm hopeless with personalized license plates, too!)
he he he, sew, and cea(sea) saucy! I love puns and plays on words. It takes me a while with some of those plates too. ;) Cathy
Thanks for the explanation!
A linguist always has too many possibilities to run through--"cea" can be "say," "cheya," "so," and "chi" in other languages, but none of those made any sense, especially since we Pacific Coast folks pronounce the first syllable of "saucy" with the same vowel as in "not."
As a result, I came up with "so-so," not a very flattering name, and "sochiya" and "sochi," which are Latin American women's names: Xochiya and Xochi, and "so-say," which made no sense at all.
Ah, can you tell that I'm procrastinating this morning?
Thanks for the explanation. I thought it was sew and see: if you sit down to sew you've got something to see for your work. I never would have got "sau" out of that either.
procrastinators unite, when we get around TUIT! he he heHaving lived in several places across Canada, and heard several strange ways of having common words pronounced, I often try on different out loud sounding outs of new words. That is how I got this one. I love word play and puns, and often get fits of giggles at things people say so innocently, that are hysterically funny, that they have no understanding of what they just said. And I have a huge, odd laugh that embarrasses me too. Just cannot take me out in public, lol. Cathy
It's been pretty well explained by other word-lovers since my first post-- I live in an ocean community, and we sew folk do seem attracted to puns. The medium is well suited to word-play, even if it makes some folk groan that it is a 'low form of humor'. I am 'sewingbycea'.
I'll try to pop in more often, but have been beset by disaster in all forms, including (but not limited to): a flood while re-roofing, during which all of my electronic sewing machines got drenched, resulting in my vocabulary becoming infinitely more colorful, frightening roofers of all ages, exhausting me beyond words.
I've spent the last week shoveling fabric out of the room, drying everything- machines, fabric, a great stack of my garments, which I'd pin-fit and chalked for altering. If you've ever fit your own garments, you know what a tedious, time-consuming chore it is. My plan is to alter all of the clothes, then wash the flood out. I cannot bear the thought of having to pin-fit and re-mark again. I'd rather cut both wrists. Bet I've got 25 pair of jeans, plus slacks, tops, blouses.
I've yet to test machines to see what is totally ruined. I'll have to open each one and check for rust, then clean and grease each. I'd just spent a lot of money having them tuned up, so the allowance for re-check is slim.
After endless washing, I'm down to a great huge rolled bolt of lightweight wool knit, which no cleaners wants to tackle, so must haul it to a self-service cleaning place. Roof water is incredibly filthy, and smells bad. Water came in around all of my lighting fixtures, so they must be tested, too.
Other disasters abound- some of them more urgent than flood. Can't wait till I get them sorted out and can contribute to this lovely group on a more regular basis.
ohmygoodness..........that sounds like a real disaster. I hope you had insurance and then if your machines are ruined you could go shopping. We had a flooded basement years ago but thankfully my machine was not down there and neither were fabrics etc. Since I no longer live in that house I am not shuddering every time it rains either. Really do hope your machines are not beyond saving.
Ouch! It makes me shudder to think of what you've gone through. Hope the machines turn out okay or the insurance covers new ones. As for the lost work, what a drag! Good luck as you deal with it.
My deepest condolences on your flooding and other disasters-- I cannot imagine how one would restore order in a sewing room or stash after a flood, and if that's the least of the disasters...may you have the strength to overcome all!
On that huge bolt of wool knit, do you have an idea of what you might be making out of it? If so, you could cut it into more manageable lengths and hem the raw ends for drycleaning--just tell them it's tablecloths or curtains, and they will be less likely to refuse.
I like your login name, now that I understand it! I should've guessed it after spending two weeks in two different coastal communities this summer, but the computer and I live in a hot, drought-plagued, landlocked area where thoughts of seas or (small amounts of) water are just wishful thinking.
(((SEWCEA))) that is a big hug to make you feel a bit better, I hope. It is so discouraging when things go so wrong in a big way. Wish I could be there to help with the clean up. Cathy
"Full Moon Disease" and "iron it into submission"-- I love your approach to sewing! Like you, I've found that you can't be afraid of the fabric or of stitching whichever way works to get the fit you need. As one dear elderly friend once advised me: Just lay a little pucker here or there! Great suggestions--thanks!
As it turns out, I don't have to alter anything for awhile. I found the bag of last year's clothes that was supposed to have gone to Good Will and thank God, they fit.Went to the doctor last week and am so glad to have changed from the former pill-pusher to one who believes in preventative medicine. He says the latest labs say I'm not diabetic and probably never was, and there's no sign of heart disease. Yippee! Of course, retiring from teaching junior high may have helped with the blood pressure. Anyway, I'm grinning from ear to ear.
The bodice of wrap dresses are on the bias and seem to need to be snugged in more. Try running a hidden line of running stitches by hand to ease in that extra along the front edges. Snug it up until it looks and feels better. Take a few back stitches to keep the stitches in place and keep the thread secure along the edge as you sew. You will have to try the dress on a few times as you do this, but is worth the effort.
I find the wrap is often too open for me also on wrap skirts and dresses. I use a full length under dress for modesty in a dress weight silky fabric or a micro fiber knit. These go with a lot of my lower cut or lacy tops as well. More comfortable than a camisole, and stay tucked into skirts better. I use a basic slip type or pull over dress pattern, rather than a lingerie pattern, and finish the edges with lace, bias or lingerie stretch lace. Even a half slip in a nice satin would work for modesty purposes. Then it doesn't matter if it slips open, and you are well covered, and a peek of a contrasting or matching fabric underneath looks more like a design idea. Just an idea. Hope that you find this helpful. Cathy
I've done that and it just didn't work. The last time I made a surplice dress I had to put two layers of contrasting fillers in the neckline because the first two inches weren't enough. Good thing the dress had a zipper up the back. Wrap skirts with tops work much better.Besides, the weather here makes even lined clothing unbearable. The temp hasn't hit 100 yet today, but this is the first day in nearly two weeks that it hasn't.
Doubling up on a dress can be warm and sticky with high temperatures and high humidity, I will agree. I guess it all depends on the weight of the fabrics, and the contents as well. Works great for cool and cold temperatures, or for the air conditioned offices that make us shiver.
I find I do not like adding the triangular inserts in the front of dresses either. I think it was someone else that suggested that one. I will add a permanent lace insert in a low blouse, however. :) Cathy
Thanks for the suggestions-somewhere around here I have a good never worn black slip I can try-at least when its not 100 plus like it'd been lately. One dress is black the other is a blue print. I'll try the running stitches you suggested. I wore the blue one but frankly have not had the black one on because I didn't want to fight it and I can't afford to buy anything I can't use! I ordered these over the internet and should never have bought them without first trying one on. Until this past year I had never ordered anything over the internet. I also ordered a really nice blue and black block print which I love. It's unusually fashionable for me! I tend to be a plain Jane and the only things I ever had which were prints or combinations were the years when polka dots were in and I had to have navy and white! A few years ago I decided to change my image and buy things I would never have bought before but still could not seem to get away from plain colors. Lately tho I have tried printed tops or skirts with plain tops or skirts and I have liked that. I bought the block print at a terifically reduced price and I'm really happy with it. It's a double knit.
I sympathize over the heat. Can you send a little my way? he he he, we have been having a lot of rain and cooler temperatures so far this summer. Seems like it is still late May. One day of nice summer weather followed by a week of heavy rain.
I find it is hard to stray too far off of a familiar style also. That is why I am getting more daring in what I try on in the stores. I know things are not going to fit. I know they are too expensive. But I am getting used to thinking of trying things on "just for the giggle". Lots of times, I find ideas of what does work! Colours, prints, style lines that do look good when you look past the fit, or colours... and it is a giggle. Cathy
Oh yeah ~ the "trying on" is Free! and you can get some great ideas with very little effort. We could use a share of someone's extra heat here in Chicago, too! It still feels like April or May most days. ;)
G'Mornin', Teaf!Those 'double-ended clips' can be found in the notions dept.(fairly expensive) or with bedding (way less $$, for 4! They're sold to hold the sheets on the mattress - teehee) and can be totally customized - shorten the elastic if you like, and cover with a tube of matching or coordinating fabric, for every outfit!BB! Kharmin
Actually, pants might not be a bad idea. I have some very lightweight loose fitting pants with an elastic waist that have looked nice on me gaining or losing! Over the years they've become a favorite in my closet. They are made of a very soft, drapey fabric. Someone mentioned that when you lose weight the crotch is noticeably lower. With this kind of pant it really isn't noticeable. When slim, they look good with a long, fitted tunic that belted. Heavier, they look good with a loose jacket over a long tank top.
Congratulations! Indeed ~ what a delightful 'problem' to have!So, what did you eliminate from your diet? Inquiring minds want to know! (wink) Plus, it may help solve a common problem ...?"Pallazo" pants (sp?) or "gaucho" pants seem to have a lower, looser crotch to begin with. That style may fill the bill for some occasions for you... and there's "harem" pants, too - think I Dream of Jeannie! They practically beg for art-to-wear tops, which can also be loose and flowing.Bright Blessings! Kharmin
Lucky me, I'm grain intolerant. I had cut out anything that caused noticeable reactions but was still eating potatoes occasionally and Ezekiel bread. Last week I noticed that my weight varied by as much as four pounds in two days depending on how much other starch I'd eaten. After seven years of doing without wheat, corn, or soy, cutting out potatoes and the last allowable bread are not that difficult. If you're interested, check out Eat Right for Your Blood Type.As to harem pants, I'm not sure. I have what Sandra Betzina calls a "high hip" problem. Do you think they would add to or subtract from that problem?
Edited 7/19/2009 11:15 am ET by Tatsy
G'Mornin' to you, Tatsy! Cool - I've heard of the 'Blood Type diet' concept, and it sounds logical, but I haven't dug into it. Will check it out.~~~~~I just plugged "high hip, Betzina" into my Favorite Search Engine(TM) and came up with this awesome excerpt from her Fast Fit: Easy Pattern Alterations book ~ Wow! Gotta get me one of those! http://tinyurl.com/mpuehdThe beauty of harem pants is that you can do anything you want to them - add or subtract darts, make them fuller or skinnier, tapered at top or bottom, even panelize them. (I picture 3 piece legs - front, back and a side panel instead of a side seam - you can do your sculpting over the high hip, plus not have the bulk of a seam at the widest part of the body). I usually just put elastic in a casing at the waist, but one can get fancier: flat front + elastic back, even add darts in the back to reduce bulk. Then there's the bottoms of the leg to play with - cuffed, elastic, pegged, whatever. Even straight - no gathers!
I don't think I've ever used a pattern for them - just cut out a U or J shape that's deep enough and wide enough for your body, and sew up the legs. Your favorite pj bottoms will even work as a starting point. Gotta go load the tent into a friends' trailer now - I'll be back later if you've got more ???.
Bright Blessings ~ K
Fast Fit is a great book, but it just makes me want to cry. When I went through her checklist for pants I came up with nine (or 11?, I don't remember) changes I need to make for pants to fit. That's just too many to deal with even if you do have a list of what order to make the changes in. At base, standard patterns are off-grain for my body. I used to have a trick for drafting patterns that fit, but I never wrote it down and have forgotten.By harem pants, do you mean elastic waist pull-ups? I thought harem pants were gathered into a cuff at the ankle but that doesn't sound like what you're describing.
Yes, that is the basic, simplest-to-make style.
I find them more attractive if I use a wider elastic at the ankle - up to 1-1/2".
You can also substitute a waistband or a yoke at the top, to shift the gathers away from the waist.
I've tried to attach the photo of the "Sarouelles" pattern (no. 119) from Folkwear, but here's the links:
I wear these both for SCA events and *mundanely* (in the real world), usually with a belted tunic-style top, anywhere from 8" below the waist to below the knee. While you're in flux, they're very easy to make and comfortable to wear, and can be dressier than sweats, depending on the fabric you use. (I have made them out of sweatshirt fleece, though and those are really nice!)Hope this isn't TMI - you did ask a simple question, and the answer sorta ran away with me!Bright Blessings! Kharmin
This post is archived.