Friday, July 30, 2010

I'm Big, I'm Beautiful and I'm not bashful about it!

Style and Company at Macy's
Warning this is a rant blog. Please forgive me I'm sick of the whole weight issue in America.
"Fifty Years ago, the fashionable American woman was size 16 going on size 18. Today she is size 12 going on size 10. Tables of statistics have made her health conscious. Mass media have made her youth conscious. Size has become a status symbol." ~ Adele P. Margolis 1969 from How to Make Clothes that Fit and Flatter

Those same statistics, media messages and society pressures are still present toady. Some times so much I want to scream stop please and lets instead except everyone as they are. Size really does not matter but living a health lifestyle does.  It's interesting to me when media tries to get it right how quick the haters come out to continue pushing the pressure on any group of people that do not fit into what they presume to be the correct way. For large woman the number one criticism is get up off your tail and do something.  The number two criticism is well if you wear something that flatters you you'll look better.
I want to look at both of these criticism in short so if I get ranty for give me.
Me made
If you wear something that flatters you you'll look better
Who determines what the current look or trend is? The fashion industry of course. RTW has for a long time over looked the plus size market. Either down sizing or limiting styles to plus size woman. The few stores that cater to nearly half of the adult female population like every one else move up and down with the economy. But often as a plus size woman we don't understand how the fashion industry works. Recently NYT put out an article that attempts to explain the problem. See the link here.  Pattern Reviews very own Kathleen Fasanella was quoted in the article. She further explains her quotes on PR in this discussion of the article. It's funny how and industry that should be helping solve the problem also seems to be the cause.  As mentioned before I work in a shop as my second job. I see woman who have been told for years wear something baggy and it covers your bumps, lumps and other things. They don't understand or are too conscious when told that outfits that skim the body actually make you look thinner and feel better. Those who have embraced wearing the correct foundations, finding a good seamstress for alterations and only buying what really fits and flatters them are some of the most fashionable women in town no matter what size. For me and many of my fellow sewist we have found a way to limit the problems for our own unique bodies and that is to create wonderful garments for our self. Yes some times we create a wader but there are alot more winners the better we get with knowing our body. The funny thing to me is that the problem of what to wear is not just limited to the plus size market but to womens clothing in general. My youngest daughter is a size 00 an we have a hard time finding things to work for her too. So the next time you see a friend, stranger, or co-work dressed to the nine tell her you love her look she probable spent hours looking for or making that great outfit.
Get up off your tail and do something!
"I'm a size 20 who just finished dance teacher training.. six hours of dancing and yoga a day for 10 days. I wonder how many of the people posting nasty comments could keep up?" BoredNowPhillyJuly 29th, 20102:56 pm Comment from the NYT article above.
Lane Bryant top and thrifted pants 2005
Let make it clear not every plus size woman is large because they eat wrong, are lazy, don't exercise or are poor. Recently when I was watching CNN they interviewed a former Secretary of health who made it quiet clear that the current science of things can and does have extremely health people being categorized as obese and overweight. I've often told well meaning friends, relatives and students I really don't loss weight. Only twice since graduating high school have I been less than a size 14. The first time they discovered that I was a diabetic. Being put on food plans, exercise plans and medicine plans brought my weight up to higher than what it currently is. The second time was five years ago well I was on what I call the "divorce diet". Again once the stress of things was off my body the weight came back. Today I focus more on just living a healthy life style making sure my body stays on the strict food plan, walking 2 to 6 miles every day, having enough sleep and just trying my best to be active. I'm a much happier person today because of it.
 It saddens me to see woman who have been dieting and exercising for years hating them self because they cant fit into the model that is so often thrown at us. I often tell these women buy your self a new outfit and enjoy life you might just be at "your perfect" weight. I found it interesting that this study shows that overweight elderly live up to 10 years longer than their thin counterparts. I'm not and advocate for fat or for thin. I do believe we all need to live has healthy as we can.
I'm done ranting and will be back to sewing. Still working on Lutterloh pants. My friend D~ was nice enough to provide me with a playlist (music) the other day so I could do surgery on the pattern. Today I will be making a muslin.

Monday, July 26, 2010

My First Lutterloh Blouse

Lutterloh 2009 19 or Supplement 273 19
and Burda Plus Fashion spring/summer 2008
(E 985) 405 skirt.
 This weekend I got a chance to play with my new Lutterloh System. Let me start out by saying love this system. I went into it totally knowing I would have to make all or most of my usual alterations. But since I have not made a button down blouse that fits me in years I figured it would be a good way to test a garment with the lutterloh. So in essence this is a very nice wearable test garment that will come in handy this fall. I carefully planned and prepared how I would put this garment together since Lutterloh has no directions. My copy of A Guide to Fashion Sewing by Connie Amaden-Crawford was consulted briefly. Over all I am pleased with this blouse.  There are a few fitting issues I will be playing with any suggestions are welcome.

Anyway here is the review I posted on PR. I plan to use this as a layering piece this fall.

Pattern Description:

Easy summer sleeveless blouse with self facing and no collar.

Pattern Sizing:
Lutterloh is based on your bust and hip measurement.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Lutterloh has no directions. Used A Guide to Fashion Sewing when to double check what I had planned to do.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I had been looking for an easy transitional (summer to fall or spring to summer) piece that could be layered but dress enough to wear alone. This sleeveless blouse seems to fit my lifestyle.

Don't really have a dislike yet.

Fabric Used:
This is a poly crepe or a poly-rayon crepe I saved from Goodwill $1.99 for 5 yards.
Sorry did not do a burn test so fabric suggestions based on feel test.
I used about 1.5 to 2 yards of fabric.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I made my usual list of blouse alterations. 2.5 FBA, Moved dart up 1/2 inch. (FFRP) Narrow shoulder adjustment 1/2 inch (Pattern Fitting with Confidence) Removed all back darts need the room for my thick stomach. In the end I had add to much room and had to take out 3/4 inch from each seem and lengthen dart 1 inch.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes I will be making this again. Want to work a bit on the fit. Yes I would recommend this for others. Beginners need to make sure they have made a blouse before.

Great little layering piece.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Burda Style 06-2010-122

Well my daughter graciously allowed me to take a few quick preview shots of her in her new dress. I had to promise not to publish to Facebook where her friends might see. LOL I'm sure there were a few reasons but the first and foremost one was she plans to use this dress this year for senior pictures. So I ask you to please ignore the lack of beautifying she plans to do before the real picture is taken.
What you need to know is that my daughter has been greedily eyeing the June 2010 issue of Burda Style magazine.  Many of the styles in it called out to her whimsical/bohemian heart. This one came with a mom do you think an eyelet dress would look good on me. Needless to say that on one of my trips to fabric hunting (searching for a bargain) I saw this red tag eyelet at Joannes for 50% off which does not happen to often at Joanne's. After a quick call and trip home daughter took a look at it and declared this was it. The fabric was polyester but very thin and light weight so perfect for what she wanted. Thin wasn't the word sheer would have better matched it. By the time we left the start daughter realized that yes I would sew this dress but it must be lined.

My daughter has been collecting accessories to go with this dress for her pictures. Today she found a shell necklace that she plans to wear and would not let me photo. Below is my review from PR.

Pattern Description:

From Burda Style Relax on the beach in this loose-fitting dress with practical pockets and pretty lace trim.

Pattern Sizing:

38, 40, 42, 44, 46. My dd took a straight 46

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?


Were the instructions easy to follow?

Typical of Burda magazine but yes you can follow them.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

My dd had marked this dress from the beginning because it looked fun and carefree. That fits very well into her whimsical/bohemian style.

No dislikes yet. But she could not understand why pockets.

Fabric Used:

Polyester eyelet and lace hemming type from Joanne Fabrics

Polyester batiste for the lining from my stash

Both of these fabrics ravel badly.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

We left off the pockets and belt made from self fabric. I also lined the dress since the eyelet was very light and very see through.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

Have a feeling this maybe made again but this copy my daughter plans to use for her senior pictures.

Yes this was a super simple and stylish summer dress.


A wonderful easy breezy summer dress.

Next up my first Lutterloh, Lutterloh 2009-19. What girl doesn't want a sleeveless shirt for under jackets and cardigans.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The story of a TNT top.

Once upon a time there was a fashionista who long to find clothes that fit. She searched high and she searched low but RTW often lacked quality and really lacked styles that she was comfortable in.

She relized very quickly that covering her spare tire and lovely twins was hard work. This or that friend offered advice or suggest this store or that. But still a huge struggle of a a possitive self image seemed to follow each shopping trip.

So as a young teen our fashionista began to learn to sew and tailor. The classes at school were good. She finally had some clothes that fit and that she loved. She dreamed of someday moving to NYC and being a famous designer. But art school did not happen insted 5 little happy peas decided to pop out of their pods and jump around like happy little hot peppers. So our fashionista traded in her fashion for motherhood and happily sewed little baby rompers and kids clothes.

Anyone who loves fashion knows that if the feel of the fabric or the smell of a new garment are left dormant too long the frump frump land can appear often in young mothers. And so it did.

Fashion blood runs deep and soon our young mother found herself working at a shop. A shop that required she dress nice in current season and colors. The fit issues with the RTW started again. But not to be fooled and not to be satisfied our now single mother put on the smock of a sewist.  Armed with fitting books, sewing books and tapes,  patterns and piles of fabric stash and good sewing friends on PR and blogs she set out to find a TNT.  

A TNT she did find in McCalls 5977. The first picture of our sewist is view A. Our second picture is view A played with. Folowing the directions found in Make Your Own Dress Patterns the darts have been rotated to the neckline and the pleated bib left off. The third picture was an experiment of more pattern manipulation following some great ideas in Make Your Own Patterns. All three pieces are part of the pink lipstick collect.

The smile on her face is one of gratitude. She is "sew" happy to have found great inspiration in fellow sewist and ametur designers. To have found out the power of a TNT and pattern manipulation, and the grace of God not to let her give up.

Until next time she is busy working on Burda Style 6-2010-122 for her daughter who really wanted a eyelet dress.


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Thrift Store Finds and Eye Candy

Being a single mom I don't just sew because it relaxing but also it's a way for me to stretch the every tight budget. Another way for me to stretch that budget is to thrift. It's great fun when my youngest daughter can find a out fit or two for and absurdly low price of like $10.00 and look completely in fashion. But if I can find some great deals to add to the sewing room I always come home jolly.

This week was one of those weeks. The picture to the left are this weeks thrift store finds. Six plus yards of brown print charmeuse perfect for lining pants, jackets or skirts this fall. Two yards of blue print poly knit and three yards of brown & red print poly knit great for making tops for work. All ten plus yards cost me a $1.05. I couldn't be more happy to rescued them from my look thrift store even if all they become is messy copies for some upcoming project. It still was an excellent deal. The new tailors ham comes at the best time too since my current one was getting really flat.

The mail man was kind enough to bring me some eye candy as well. I've owned several pattern making systems in the past. Usually with mixed results. So when I was going through my divorce I sold them and never looked back.

 Three or four years back I started sewing again. It was a great way to relax and challenge the old brain. With the want and need to sew also came the want and need to learn to be a better seamstress.

 I had never heard of fitting back in home ec classes in high school. I do remember my teaches pushing me to learn more about tailoring by working co-op at a men's store which I refused to do. They also pushed me to take a fitting class with a company that was coming into town to sell its product again I politely reused.

Back in high school I wanted to be a designer not a seamstress. So if it wasn't going to help me get into design school I didn't want to do it. LOL if I only knew then that I wouldn't go on to design school but instead get a degree in Marketing and Fashion Merchandising and get married and start a family.  Maybe I would not have been so stubborn.

Well my mom decided to give me and early gift, and for my birthday I decided to invest in that system that 20+ years ago my home ec teachers where pushing me towards. I've studied it alot and know most people have a love hate relationship with their Lutterloh. Yet I'm sure this was a good move for me at the time. I love my BurdaStyle Magazines but I dislike the tracing, up sizing or down sizing to fit my two dd and me. With the Lutterloh I should be able to draft of a pattern closer to the size I need to start a project. So when I figured out to get started with Lutterloh I would get 280 patterns I jumped for it. I could never buy that many patterns from the big 4 or Burda for the price of Lutterloh.

I'm looking forward to starting a new adventure with the Lutterloh. Burda and my other friends will not be left behind because ever good seamstress realizes a pattern is just a tool to get started on making the fashion dream come true.

Up next still playing with McCall's 5977