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Sewing revelations

February 4, 2010

Recently I had sort of a sewing revelation. But let me back up a bit. I started learning how to sew when I was a pre-teen and my mom taught me the basics using a hideous floral knit fabric to make stretch pants and a matching top (all of which I picked out, so I can’t blame her for that fashion disaster). Over the years I’ve made many things with various degrees of success. Right now, in fact, I happen to be wearing a skirt that I made from my go-to skirt pattern. (It’s New Look 6197, if you’re curious.)

So skirts usually work out pretty well, but shirts and dresses are another story. I’ve made several that just didn’t fit me right. Despite the fact that my chest measurement corresponded to the pattern size I was using, the finished product ended up too tight under the arms. For a long time I stuck to sewing skirts and only made tops out of stretch knits. Finally, however, I was inspired by BurdaStyle to sew a sloper block. A bodice sloper block is basically a bodice pattern that you adjust perfectly to fit your body, and then you can use it to help you adjust patterns accordingly. I was kind of shocked at how off my upper body was from the standard measurements. No wonder nothing I sewed had fit right.

Sloper in hand, I was determined to sew a shirt that fit me correctly. I started with Simplicity 2599 (which Angry Chicken posted about here and here) and, revelation number two here, I made a muslin. Yep, I took some scrap fabric and adjusted the pattern fit until everything was just right. Only then did I make my top out of some slightly more precious fabric. And you know what? It fits me really well! In fact, it’s probably one of my favorite things I’ve ever sewn. Of course there are still imperfections–one of the darts is a little bit puckery, and I’m sure better seamstresses than I can find more mistakes. But by Golly, I think I’m on the right track.

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