Sunday, February 3, 2013

You win some, you lose some.

I think I mentioned a while ago that I made myself a nice sewing to-do list for spring.  I've already referred to it several times and I feel like it's been helping me stay a little more focused.  All the items on the list were garments for spring and summer, with the exception of one leftover winter project, Simplicity 2451, view C.  Yes, the skirt everyone has made except me.

I was dying to make this skirt in the fall, but somehow didn't get around to it.  My grand plan was to knock out a muslin, and then make the real deal in one of the Anna Maria Horner velveteens I'd bought.  I wasn't super crazy about the fabric I got for the muslin, but sometimes I think that's a good thing - there's no great sense of loss if it doesn't work out. (Queue eery foreshadowing music.)


I started having problems as soon as I traced the pattern:  I originally traced a size 12 (for my waist size) and didn't grade out at the hips, thinking the pleats would give me the ease I need there.  Once my pieces were all traced though, I thought, "That looks awfully small."  I took some measurements of the pattern; the waist added up to 27".  But it looked so small

So I decided to measure my waist.  And this is when I discovered that my waist is no longer the 27" I've been sewing for, but now 28"!  Ah, middle age.  You really throw a kink into the works.

Back to the drawing board.  I traced out the next size up . . . and then it just sat.  For a couple of months.  I just couldn't get inspired to sew it, as much as I loved the design.  But it really bugged me - do you guys get bugged by "unfinished business" like that?  So the other day I decided to just knuckle down and sew the darned thing.

I was slightly more enthused when I found a piece of silk in my scraps that made a nice match for the facings:


But obviously not enthused enough to change to matching thread on either my serger or my sewing machine.  Making the vent was fun and easy, and I'm happy with how that turned out, although if I were doing it for real, I'd be much neater in sewing back the edges inside:



Things were going along pretty smoothly for the most part, except for my continued dislike of the fabric, which emits a strong and unpleasant petroleum odor when pressed.  Yuck.

I decided it might not be a bad idea to try the thing on before installing the zipper and waistband facing.  And that's when everything ground to a screeching halt.

WOW!  This is NOT a good style for my body shape!  Aside from being too large (really? after all that business with measuring the pattern?!  You're killing me, Simplicity!) I'd forgotten that pleats in the abdominal region and low-curved skirt yokes are not my friends.  Now, if I'd taken a few minutes before even buying the pattern to think back to the 1990s, I'd have remembered this.  Those of you who are old enough might remember pleat-front chinos, the slightly dressier sister of the Mom Jean.  Yeah, it's that bad.

(Insert harp arpeggio and flashback montage here.)

This style made me look so much wider and pouchier than I really am.  Now, before any of you comment that I'm being too hard on myself, let me reiterate that I'm quite happy with my body!  And I've learned over the years what styles work for me and which ones don't.  There's a reason I wear flat-front pants and a-line or dirndl skirts.   I ought to have remembered that in this case, but I got distracted by how cute it looks on all the other (less curvy) bloggers who have made it.


So this one is going straight into the Goodwill pile, unfinished.  And the pattern will be useful for a swap or something in the future - this view was the only one I really liked.

Have any of you ever done this?  Made something totally unsuitable for you just because it looked good on somebody else?  It's a good lesson to me to think a little more deeply about this in the future!

29 comments:

  1. I haven't made this actual skirt, but I've made another Simplicity one that's very similar, and it doesn't suit me either. I could never wear pleat front trousers when they were in fashion, and I never even connected those to this skirt until you mentioned it now.

    It's such a shame, because as you say, it's such a cute skirt on others.

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    1. That was my problem: I didn't connect it either!

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  2. Yo made me realize that pattern almost mirrors the Anna Maria Horner Proper Attire skirt I wanted for a lot less money if I can get it for $1.99.

    Since we have a similar body type I do wish you had included a picture because I still want to make it. Pretty please?

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    1. I'll see what I can do . . . it may be a few days though. I wouldn't mind sending you the pattern though if you want it. And even the skirt - don't remember what your vitals are right now :-)

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  3. It's great that you know what works for your body. Can't wear them all no matter how good it looks elsewhere. I'm sure you'll find a similar pattern but one that works better for you and that will be so much cuter than this one. Props to you on keepin' it real.
    I don't think i've made something that didn't work for me but I have bought tops that haven't worked for me at all which taught me I need to stop being lazy and try that stuff on.

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    1. I've made plenty of knit stuff that didn't work for me - easy in that case because you just rip it out and use the yarn for something else!

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  4. I bet you're happy you muslined it and didn't waste your good stuff! You know, I have found myself drawn to a much wider variety of styles in sewing patterns than I am with RTW, so these are definitely lessons I'm learning along the way as well. Movin' on!

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    1. I think I'm the opposite: with sewing patterns, I've generally been sticking to what I know works for me (despite present evidence to the contrary!). At a certain point, I decided to try stepping out of my safe zone . . . and it bit me in the butt!

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  5. it is a cute skirt, i definitely see the lure! oh well, good thing you muslined!

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    1. Oh yeah! This was only a $6 lesson too ;-)

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  6. To answer your question, um, yes! As you know, all those lovely Kimono Dresses you made had me itching to make my own, and well, you know how that went. Despite the fact that this one didn't work for you, and that pleats are not my friends either, I think I'll still give this pattern a go... sucker for punishment over here?

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    1. I thought about warning you off it, but exactly because of the "Kimomo Dress Incident" I decided not to! I used to think of us as having the same figure, but now I know that's not true!

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  7. Oh yes, I'd definitely love to see it on... I'm fascinated by body shapes and how garments work with them. I know that I've been tempted by that cute skirt style but I don't think it would work for my body type either...
    So unfair when fashion does that to us, lol :P

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    1. Part of the reason I didn't take photos (aside from the obvious one of just being lazy) was that I'm not sure how well it would show in photos that this is so unflattering. But I'll give it a try when I have a little free time :-)

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  8. Oh that's tough but it's easy to see things you like and get carried away, I think sometimes I get drawn to patterns that don't really fit what I need in my wardrobe - I'm trying to be more discerning :)

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    1. I'm not too inspired to sew what I actually wear, because that would be jeans, tee shirts and sweat pants! But if I'm going to sew something pretty, I think I should probably try to make it something that would look good on me, on the off chance I get to do something fancy, LOL!

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  9. Oh man, what a bummer! I've totally done that, though, most recently with a boxy top that looked really good on someone else (plus I chose a terrible fabric, so it was a double whammy). I just can't wear cropped, boxy tops, so I don't know what I was thinking!

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  10. oh yes - I'm right there with you - both about the body size dismorphia aka gradual middle age spread and contraction (various effects around the place!) and about making things that look good on others but not me. In my head they look great.
    I have that pattern! But I haven't made it yet. I'll let you know how I get on.

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    1. Hehehe - yes, it didn't occur to me until I traced out this pattern that I might be spreading, LOL! I feel the same, and I think I look the same!

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  11. Yes! I am so guilty of this. I've been trying to be more aware of whether or not I want to try a pattern because I think it will work for me or because it really worked for someone else...but it's hard.

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    1. It is hard! I did it again over the weekend (different pattern). I though it would work for me, but then when it didn't, at least I was able to discern why - so I guess that's progress!

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  12. F.Y.I My vitals are 30" waist and 40" hips.

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  13. Ah, I'm so glad I read this post because I have this pattern too and I didn't notice the pleats in the front. I'm too curvy for pleats in the front! Like you, I will stick to A-lines and skirts with no pleats!

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    1. Hehehe - I'm surprised how many people have said they didn't realize the skirt was pleated, just because that's what drew me to it! I think it's a great design. Just not for me!

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  14. Oh yes, I definitely have, a pleated a-line skirt it was. Pleats are not for me. Neither are any kind of gather or pleat at the front waist area so I feel your pain. Hey, at least you figured it out at muslin stage and didn't just carry on optimistically with your lovely velveteen - I'm sure you'll find a nicer use for that.

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    1. I hope so . . . after working with the first piece of velveteen, I discovered I really don't like sewing with it! Although it's somewhat easier with a roller foot.

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  15. Funny, I also bought this pattern after seeing how cute it looks on Zoe, but I'm pretty sure it's ill-suited for me as well. Oh well, at least it was only 99 cents!

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    1. I just saw another cute one yesterday: kelly green with navy piping! I was so excited when I saw it, and then I saw that it was 2451 and got kind of deflated!

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