plus sized patterns

As I was cleaning up the sewing palace, I found a loosely folded pile of fabric and pattern pieces, which turned out to be a dress I had started working on but never finished.   This dressed straddled the time where I was struggling with the sizing of patterns vs sizing of store bought clothing.  The pattern was sized up to 20, but as I’ve previously said, my “pattern” size is really 26 or 28, depending on the pattern.  So, disappointed, I had folded up the pattern and fabric, and shoved it on a shelf.  Fast forward to this past Thursday, in my frenzy of cleaning, and after having just launched my newest web presence, Plus Sized Patterns, I decided that my buddy, Sheri, needed this dress, and it would fit her perfectly. 😀  Please excuse the state of the carpet in my photos. I desperately need to vacuum the sewing palace.  It’s all scraps of thread and fabric.


I laid out the fabric, IMG_1322

then placed the pattern pieces for cutting.


IMG_1326  In less than half an hour, I had a lovely dress nearly made.



Because the fabric is this light stretchy crepe, I decided that a nice rolled edge hem on the serger would be the proper treatment for the neckline, sleeves, and hem.  Having two sergers, one is always set up for the 3 thread rolled edge hem, and the other does a standard 4 thread overlock stitch.  I set up the rolled edge hem serger with the correct shade of thread, and started practicing on scrap fabric.  It immediately made a huge wad of thread and jammed up.  The racket it made while running was terrible to say the least!  After two hours of fighting with the serger, it dawned on me that this machine hadn’t been used in approximately two years.  AND, the last time it was used, I suspected it was in dire need of a tune up.  I took the two sewing machine repair classes, so I’m pretty handy tuning a regular sewing machine.  But we only briefly covered sergers, and what material we did cover didn’t stick at all.

Look at how fuzzy the inside is?  Haven’t touched it in forever. Due for a good cleaning!IMG_1328

So I called my local sewing machine repair guy…$150 for a tune up.  GULP.

I really didn’t want to spend that much money, but I was excited to finish my first post at my new blog.   So…I looked on Amazon, and a new serger was 189.00!

For 39.00 more, I could have a new, better, machine, delivered to my front door.

I went ahead and bought the new one, got it 3 days later, and executed a perfect rolled edge hem within minutes of turning it on.IMG_1360

IMG_1361Can’t hardly see the rolled edge, the color of thread matches so perfectly.


I Finished the dress this evening and gave it to Sheri.  She reports it fits well, but is uhm…rather see-through.  She is going to find a slip and see if it’s useable then.


Other Craft Projects:

So here are the two lounge pants I made myself.  I made them in size 28, since that’s the measurements I seem to have.  But are crazy loose.  I added some length, as the last pants ended up capris because of shrinkage.



The grey are boring, but they are way more comfy!!!  Great feel to the fabric and a lighter weight.




Other Craft Projects:

A review of Simplicity Pattern 1622

This pattern is part of the Khaliah Ali collection, a plus-sized collection that I’ve made patterns from before.  I chose to make the pants because I’m still on this quest to find/make pants that fit well.  Not perfectly, just well.

As I explained Here and Here I’m a size 20 in the stores.  But in patterns I made previously the 20 didn’t fit, and the 24 was pretty tight.  I broke down and pulled out a tape measure (actually bought a tape measure, then pulled it out!), and it turns out according to Simplicity, I’m a 28…the max size they make.  Talk about devastated.  I spent several days in a funk.  The day I bought the pattern and Jo-ann’s, I also bought some fabric that was “outside my comfort zone.”  When I got home I just felt like it wasn’t fabric that I “loved.” So between the two, the pair of pants was slow to get going.

Here is a picture of me laying out the pattern piece on the fabric:


Laying out Pattern


And here is the fabric on the serger:

On the Serger


You can see it has it’s drawbacks.  It has an optical illusion effect when it moves.  Not great for avoiding attention to the rear end!


Here is a picture of the seams lining up:

Lining up Seams


I didn’t put a lot of effort into hemming.  In fact, the pants were finished except for hemming for 6 weeks before I touched them again. And then it was just to get it over with, and move on to a new pair of pants.


I used the “blindhem stitch” but did it wrong:


Not thinking clearly

But don’t care, since I am starting to hate these pants.  Keep in mind I paid like $10/yard and got 4 yards.  So huge waste of money.  Plus the pattern which I only got for 40% discount.


Here’s the finished product:




In the end there are several issues.

1-    The waist is TOO HIGH.  I have to roll the waistband down three times to get the waist to a reasonable height.

2-    The crotch is too low if I don’t hike up the pants (causing the waist to be too high, see above).

3-    The legs are too short with the crotch in the proper location.


Unfortunately I didn’t wear them before I tried another pair of pants from the same pattern.  I would have known to alter the waist and leg length.

But I went back to the drawing board and started with a knit fabric.

Here are the pattern pieces being cut out (ignore the boxes in the background, still unpacking from the move):

Laying out Pattern


And here they are cut out:

Cut Out


Here I’m matching up the front seam:


Matching Up Seams

And here I’m hemming the pants.  I used the serger, then rolled the edge under, then rolled it under again.

Hemming and Hawing


Here is the finished product:



I love these pants.  There are still the same issues as the other pants.  They are too short when I pull them up to where the crotch should go…and then waist is too high.  The pant legs are flared a bit, it seams to me, which I’m not sure how I feel about.


I’ve been using these pants as PJ bottoms, lounge pants, etc. And they are perfect for the task.  The other pair I wore to work and was self-conscious the whole day.  I might wear them around the house for lounging as well, but over all it was a waist of fabric and money.  The fabric is this silky polyester.  Not a great choice for pants, but I was looking for something that would flow nicely with the little bit of flare.


In the end I plan on making one more attempt with this pattern.  I’m going to lower the waist and lengthen the leg.  I’ll post the results here as well.


Other Craft Projects:

After work, I ran over to Joann’s. They have McCall’s patterns 5 for $5.00.  I picked up a Shirt, Capris, and Dress pattern in sizes 18W-24W.  Initially I thought I’d make the capris and compare the cut, fit, and sizing with the other two Butterick patterns.  Then, somewhere on the drive home, it dawned on me that McCall’s and Butterick are the same company. Not sure how I managed to forget that, but there I was.  To prove the point further, I got online when I arrived home and pulled up their size charts.  McCall’s Size 24W is a Bust of 46, Waist of 39, Hips of 48.  Same for Butterick. And Simiplicity. And Vogue (also part of McCall’s).  Burda Style (same group as Simplicity) was the only deviation, ¼ of an inch smaller on the bust and waist.

What is depressing about this is that, had I a tape measure, I’m sure I’d find that I’m consistently a 24W, unlike the multitude of stores where I can blissfully walk out with a 20 in pants, or even more rarely, an 18!

Which got me onto the concept of Vanity Sizing.  Yes I knew it existed, but I just thought it was for people already skinny enough to be vain.  I’m fat, who am I kidding trying to fool anyone. Well, apparently, me.  I’m fooling myself.  Luckily I’m in good company as this article discusses, Vanity Sizing goes back a long long way. Lucky me.

So I’m too bummed to sew today.  I’m officially fatter than I thought I was.

Fashion Patterns by Coni seams to have me somewhere in the 18-20 range, though. So…there’s a glimmer of hope!



Other Craft Projects:

I was pretty bummed that the previous pair of capris came out too small.  I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was down on myself the whole night.  But today is a new day, so attempt number two began!

I stuck with Butterick, since they had a sale on their patterns at Hancock, B5655 was the pattern, for 1.99. Can’t beat that.  And their Fast and Easy series are extremely quick to work up.  This pattern has only two pieces, no pockets.  I cut out the pattern pieces, ironed them, pinned them to the fabric, cut out along the lines, sewed according to directions and viola! Two hours later I’m wearing my homemade pants!  Yes! These fit!  I have to say that I did go up to a 24, as I was a little afraid the 22 would still be too small.  So…I have to say so far Butterick tends to run small, or smaller than the sizes I’ve been getting at the stores.  I can wear a size 16 dress from Dress Barn without issue.  Which is of course my main complaint about sizes not being consistent.

I didn’t take as many pictures because I figured you can only stomach so many shots of my serger sewing a seam.  And since I’m strictly avoiding a step by step tutorial for obvious legal reasons, I only took a couple key shots.

So that’s about it.  I’m going to head back to Hancock this weekend and buy some other brands plus sized patterns.  I think this could be quite the undertaking trying to figure out which brands run big and which run small. Surprised no one has documented this.  I also plan to take apart some of my pants or shorts that fit and make my own pattern.  I would like to see how well that goes.

Ok, I’ll sign off now. It’s past my bedtime!


ETA: Wearing my pants to work today! LOVE THEM!

Also – after wearing them all day, I have a couple of notes. 1) the waist is way too big. The pattern assumes I have a lot more of a stomach than I have, so there’s a lot of excess fabric in the front.  I felt like I had maternity pants on for most of the day. 2) the waist is too high compared to “the style” these days.  It came up to my belly button, but if I pushed them down the crotch came to my knees. In the end I rolled the elastic down.  3) While I was bold in my choice of summery fabrics, it was not a normal choice for me. I felt uncomfortable all day. Normally I pick black, brown, or khaki. So this was a summery diversion, but I don’t know that it’s really “me.”  My friend Sheri insists I need to add more color to my wardrobe, so at least I’m trying!

Other Craft Projects: