my creative space :: circles

As you might guess from yesterday's post, my creative space is full of sewing bits and pieces this week, but it hasn't all been just pattern lust around here - last week I took advantage of some uninterrupted time at home to dust off the sewing machine and work on some summery sewing (and watch almost all of season 7 of project runway, in preparation for season 8 to start next week!)

I cut out some purple cotton to sew up a test run of Simplicity 4236 - a simple circle skirt to get me back into the swing of sewing. All I needed was for the waist on the skirt to resemble my waist - how hard could it be?

Ok, so saying it went wrong would be overly dramatic, but it wasn't quite as straightforward as I expected. The problem was that I measured my waist and cut out a size 18, since that was the size that matched my measurements according to the size chart on the back of the envelope. Then I ended up having to cut the pieces back to between a 12 and 14 before it would fit me! I understand that the pattern if for wearing a bit lower than the natural waist, so it would be a bit bigger than the waist measurement, but I could take this off without unzipping, and my hips are a good two sizes bigger than my waist on the Simplicity size charts. It is just so frustrating!

I'm completely open to advice from my more experienced sewing friends - how do you get a decent start to fit with? I don't mean making a muslin to tweak a fit before using your 'good' fabric, but to chose a size as a starting point? Do you ignore the size chart and measurements on the envelope and just measure the pattern pieces for comparison with your measurements? It is especially annoying since my size tends to sit right between where the 'misses' sizes end and the plus or women's starts, so it is always tricky to decide what to get.

In any case, I will end up with something wearable, and I'll know what to cut next time, but it would be a nice problem to be able to avoid when working on more complex patterns. I'm starting to think this book by Cal Patch might start to pop up in my creative spacey future...

or maybe that's just the project runway talking!


check out loads of creative spaces where people don't just go on about their lack of seamstressy skills over at Kirsty's!


  1. I have that book, so if you want to have a look at it on Saturday to Brown Owls, I'll try to remember to bring it along.

    As for what size to make, I sometimes go by the prescribed sized, but also keep in mind the finished sizes too. I don't want to wear a blouse that is 10 inches bigger than my bust size, thank you very much! I also have the issue of my hips being 2-3 sizes bigger than my bust, so it makes blouse and dress making VERY interesting! All that grading!

  2. props for even attempting your own clothes! it looks hard!

  3. I have a similar issue with sewing, as my bust often puts me at a 14, but my hips at an 8 or 10. I've found increasingly that modern patterns don't offer enough info about all the measurements that make up a size, so I often have to add darts later... infuriating!
    The pattern making books are more work initially, but less hassle when it comes to the actual garment. I have that one too, and a couple of others I'd be happy to lend you. I'll fb you the titles :)


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