Follow My Friend “Crafting A Rainbow”!

My pal Gillian just moved to wordpress from Tumblr, a challenge unto itself. You should check her out here:
http://craftingarainbow.wordpress.com

It’s rare that I suggest to my followers or readers that you do anything, but let me tell you why you should follow this awesome blog.

1. She does wonderful fabric review videos so you can learn a lot about online fabric options and stores.

2. Gillian also sews up all the current fashionable patterns, specializing in knits I think. Here is a Collette Myrtle she made in early August.

Crafting A Rainbow, Gillian, makes a Colette Myrtle

3. Gillian not only sews way more often than I do, but she posts regularly. I mean, like many times a month, with all types of not just self-serving posts like mine, but very helpful posts about how to sew things and what patterns work and have you seen her color palettes?

If you follow and read my blog and don’t yet follow Gillian of Crafting A Rainbow, you are missing out! She is not only a talented sewcialist, but a great online friend to have too. Check out her blog and, if you think of it, comment with a blog of someone you really enjoy that I could follow too!

- MaLora

Short Drama

So yeah. I didn’t really like any of these photos. I am not proud of my hips and bottom, and it feels weird to type “bottom”, but this is about pants fitting and might as well start with my short drama.

For some reason, I am insistent on using the Prefontaine Short pattern. These are my third pair, after a muslin. While I am getting a better fit with each pair, I am not where I want to be with well fitting shorts. Here is an onslaught of mediocre photos to help discuss these fitting issues.

Point 1. Flat front, elastic back creates bags/folds under my belly. (I don’t mind how it looks here too bad, fresh from the dryer not worn very long.)

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Point 2. Big booty creates copious fabric that hangs out from my bottom.

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Point 3. Side lumpy curves plus belly creates sags and folds of waistline, dragging waistline down.

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Point 4. Even wearing a shirt over the shorts well, it just makes it worse. This looks like I am wearing a weird pleated tennis skirt.

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Point 5. Sway back is ok, front belly is not ok, folds unpleasant.

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Stop taking photos already!

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Frustrations: I just don’t think I can use this pattern to get a look I like. Flat front, elastic back feels fine to run around in, but just isn’t working visually for me. I am also frustrated with sizing. I know exactly how big I measure and by this patterns “guide” I should be an 18 but I am more like a 12 waist 16 hip after sewing it up. Why do even the indie designers build in so much give? No actually needs that many inches of extra room. *These are designed for running I understand, and I plan to use mine gardening and biking and chasing my toddler.

Fixes: My plan moving forward is to try another pattern that has a zipper (in my stash is McCall’s 6756 ) or maybe a pull on pant (The StyleArc Barb).  Maybe I will never like a pull on elastic waist for my style, but I do like how they feel. I dress for comfort and style. How can I integrate function into fashion? Is it a technical sewing skill I lack, the “right” pattern? How do you get TNT patterns? I still feel like I don’t any. Maybe it’s more ego+pride and my perspective needs work. Or as a friend suggested, maybe I should invest in a wardrobe that I love in ready to wear clothes so the pressure of sewing is removed.

 

Still seeking answers,

Love, MaLora

 

PS: Previous “fitting figures” is the beginning, this is the middle. Soon I will hopefully find an “end.”

Fitting Figures

Figure A. My figure.

Take note of the pencil markings at the high natural waist (35″) and the low waist (40″). These are sketches are obviously not accurate. It’s just to help you get the idea because I can’t take pictures of myself with my cellphone until I get better at yoga.

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Figure B. Pants Fitting

This is how most of my pants currently fit me. Due to ready to wear jeans being low waisted typically, and the amount of time I have spent chasing and picking up a toddler over the past two years, most of Seattle has seen my lower (low!) back (underpants!) According to my measurements and fitting books, I have a sway back. My chiropractor would agree. I have a curvy tail bone. So my pants barely cover my bum and tend to curve under my belly, riding along a c-section scar and reminding me I made a baby.

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Figure C. How patterns fit

So this is the “natural ride” of many sewing shorts patterns (or pants or skirts.) Something ready to wear calls mid-waist and other various terms that just mean’s it’s not high waisted and it’s not low waisted. It’s useless. When I sew a pattern, based on my measurements (37″ at belly and 49″ at low hip) I get gigantic amounts of fabric pooling around my front crotch. Seriously. Handfuls of fabric. This always happen in ready to wear clothes too.

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Figure D. Gravity Works

So I sew up the pattern and all seems well until about an hour into wearing them at which point gravity has fought the good fight (is gravity even on the good side? Is it more like Darth Vader Good-Bad-Good?) and the shorts slip down past my belly and lay at this low curve below my stomach but up high on my back. This is unattractive. Very unappealing. I can’t describe it very well, but it looks like I am hiding a gremlin in my shorts, or Yoda, if we are keeping with my Star Wars references. (Ha! Better than a Wookie!) (Ha! Laugh it up fuzzball!)

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Figure E1. The Maybe Fix

So I could fight gravity and create (or ideally find!) a pattern to sew shorts that hits my real waist, which is 15″ smaller than my widest hip point. 15″ of booty. (Luke: Boy, it’s lucky you have these compartments. Han Solo: I use them for smuggling.) But then I am obligated to insert a zipper or closure to ensure the shorts will actually function and pass over my booty and also fit around my waist. I have lots of booty. Expect I am trying to make pull on elastic shorts/pants/skirts. Do you have a pattern that you like that is like this? Kinda vintage high waisted slim fitting shorts?

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Figure E2. The Failed Fix

I could make a pattern that hits me at my mysterious “mid waist” above my belly button over my belly at a decent no-peek-a-boo height and learn to adjust/slim down the crotch curves. Except I have tried this a few times and can’t make it work. It creates unpleasant drag lines everywhere. I want to feel like Leia, not like Jabba.

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Figure F. The future?

So this is my last idea, because I don’t have any technical sewing instruction. I could make a slim fitting short that has a super short front crotch length, with a decent high back crotch length to keep things PG. Then I would just ignore my belly hanging out (which it has done in ready to wear my entire life) or wear really long shirts (which is my fashion fix for everything. Long tank tops.) However, I fear it won’t sit right. I have tried something like this on my toddler and for myself when I was pregnant, and the fabric wouldn’t stay high enough in back, dragging down in front instead around my lower belly. This shifted the entire short backwards, hence creating draglines.

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It’s so frustrating because I know how to sew but not what to sew. I want to make clothes that make me feel attractive and comfortable (do those exist in woven fabrics? All I wear are knits!) and that I can construct without having to use the Force. I think my very curvy body won’t change out of this shape, even as I work out and loose size. I have had a low belly and low wide hips as long as I can recall. My jeans always come apart at the base of the zipper first. It’s just how I am made. So I am asking for your help to fix this issue.  I just don’t know any fitting techniques or patterns that could help me make shorts that are flattering and smooth out my lumps and keep all my good bits covered and don’t fall down. If YOU have any ideas, please share it with me! It’s almost 2am and I have read my three fitting books into blurry images trying to figure this out.

 

I need a sewing mentor.