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  • Mandy

Breaking up with a Pattern, and Finding my Fit (with the Chi-Town Skirt!)

First, the bad news. I'm sorry #sewmystyle April - I broke up with the pattern that was allotted for this month. It wasn't you - it was me. The pattern was the Backless Bridgetown Dress/Tunic, and I knew when I first saw it in the lineup, that it was verrrry iffy [*note: This is a beautiful pattern, don't get me wrong, that isn't why I broke up with it - keep reading]. Like a trooper, I gave it a shot - I figured out my size, I printed it all out, and I did a muslin (muslin = trial run). I did ANOTHER muslin, and they both looked awful on me, as I suspected they would. I should have known better, I sewed up a similar pattern a few years back and it looked the same . Basically, my body type does NOT look good in anything that has an elastic gathered waist, or has too much flow around the shoulders and bust. Which leads me to what I'm going to write about today. Figuring out my body 'type', shape, and fit.

If your eyes started to glaze over in the first paragraph, and your mind started to wander to what you might have for dinner tonight while you read - you have my blessing to scrollllllll, check out my pics, and get on with your day :) IF you're a sewist/interesting in becoming a sewist, the rest of this post might actually be relevant to you.

Sewing clothing for myself is a continuing journey in not only sewing skill, but honestly looking at my body, and then figuring out what adjustments I can make in a pattern to most flatter my shape. In the last couple years I finally figured out that I am what they call an 'Inverted Triangle' (this usually means broader shoulders and narrow hips, but for me it means fuller high bust and bust, and narrow hips) - with a short waist (my natural waist falls very close to my bust, and further away from my belly button than is 'average') - and a sway back/tilted pelvis. I've always known I could never get certain styles to look good on me, but didn't always know why. Now I know. Which means my hunger now lies in finding the alterations I can do, to make patterns work for me, AND how to look at patterns objectively and know they won't suit me (so in other words - to STOP buying the wrong patterns! Oh so much money on the wrong patterns.... ugh).

And now - to the project I did this month to take the place of the Bridgetown - the Chi-Town Skirt!

I have had the Chi-Town Chinos pattern since last year, I bought it knowing I could get a lot of leverage with a skirt, shorts, and pants option (I still need to buy the pant add-on, it's on my extensive list of WANT patterns). Plus I know that I look cute in mini length skirts. So I tackled the Chi-Town Skirt.

I decided to start by printing off 3 sizes; 8, 6 (I felt this would be closest to my measurements), and zero (my hips fell into this size and I felt I'd probably need to grade down at the sides). I made a straight size 6 as my first muslin, and noticed that although the waist felt decent, the back flared out under my bum, and the inseam/fly length seemed long (see my first muslin pics below). This all scared me, because I knew that it COULD work, but I was going to have to research alterations to try and see what happened. Uncharted territory!

Here are some quick pics I snapped with my phone of my first muslin:

I'm going to fast forward through my muslin growing pains, and skip right to what ended up working for me. Here are the modifications I did (over about 5 different tries as I worked on different issues):

--> shortened at the fly/inseam (I think by about 1/2")

--> Full Seat Adjustment (I used THIS super helpful video tutorial)

--> graded in the sides, starting just below the waist, and ending at about the size zero line

--> shortened the back darts

Here's my final version of the muslin where I clicked my heels and fist pumped the air because it all seemed to work:

(Like my amazing backdrop? I picked it specially - everyone's inspired by a 1970's vanity that includes attractive wires in a mess on the floor and a plush dirty beige carpet, right?)

Once I got this far, I felt like I could cut into my super cute black and white flamingo stretch lighter weight twill! Without further fuss, here is how it ended up. To say I am happy with it is an understatement. It fits, it is relaxed and comfortable, and I feel like I can dress it up or down. Above all though, I feel like I learned SO much and am ready to tackle the shorts version, and maybe even, gasp....pants!

Check out the insides! I'm so proud of the professional finishes.

Phew, that was a long, pic-heavy post! I hope you hung in there ok, thanks for making it to the end :)

[Also, the cerise pink shirt I'm wearing is Hey June's Cheyenne shirt pattern! ]

xo Mandy

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