Category: Pattern Making

Dear Maddie: Altering Garments

In my opinion, both altering a garment and making one from scratch requires skill. One is not harder than the other, rather, each one requires different techniques and methods. Also, each one is suited for different types of sewers. While one sewist loves bringing life to a worn and outdated garment, another hates messing with something that is already constructed. One aspect of my sewing career that I’m especially grateful for is that started by getting my feet wet in both fields. When I worked at Mishka’s tailor shop, I helped create patterns and make garments from scratch (I remember replicating this dress for one client. That was fun!), but I also hemmed jeans (keeping the original hem) and shortened cuffed, men’s sleeves (that was a hassle!). Specifics… specifics… you want specific examples on what I’m talking about, right? From my experience working at Mishka’s and the trickling of alterations I’ve done since, here are my pros, cons, upsides, downsides, viewpoints, or whatever you want to call it, for altering and making clothes.   There is a different order of operations when altering clothes. When sewing a garment from scratch, the sequence is 1, 2, 3, 4 and so on, but when changing a garment after it’s been made, the sequence can be backwards – 4, 3, 2, 1 – or mixed up – 4, 2, 3, 1. Let’s pretend you have a pair of pants that fit everywhere except the back waist – it sticks out and let’s places that the sun don’t shine, well, shine. What do you do? Well, what Mishka and I did was add 2 darts on either side of the CB seam. Detaching the waistband from side seam to side seam (don’t remove the entire thing!), we added darts mid panel. If there were pockets, we…

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tags: Construction, Pattern Making Comments: 17

Bra Making: Finally, A Bra Pattern That Fits

I finally have it! I finally have a bra pattern that fits me perfectly! Well, almost perfectly (nothing in this world is one hundred percent perfect, right?). It has taken me many readings of Norma and Beverly’s books/manuals to wrap my head around the concepts of bra making. Silly as it may seem, I also made flashcards so that I’d remember what the point of most strain is and how to reduce cup volume on a dime. Through all the treachery (bra making is tough!), I am happy that I stuck with it and foraged on. Also, a huge thank you to Norma and Amy for answering all my questions! I’m still trying to find a conservative yet creative way to debut my bra as I want to show me wearing it rather than the bra lying flat, but until then, I thought I’d share the steps I took to get to today’s pattern. The key to achieving this pattern was correcting each fitting error one by one and then measuring the cross cup seam and total cup volume after each pattern correction. Why did I do this? Because when it comes to bras, and especially the cups, one correction will affect another one. An example – during my first fitting, I needed to reduce the cup volume and cross cup seam. But when I reduced the curve of the cup (reducing volume), this also reduced the cross cup seam. So once I reduced the cup volume, I needed to reduce the cross cup seam by less than pinned out in my first fitting. Putting this into practice: for a good fit, my cup volume needed to be approximately 4” inches and my cross cup seam needed to be approximately 6”. The cup volume of my initial pattern was 5”…

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tags: Fashon, Pattern Making Comments: 18

Dear Maddie: Pros and Cons of Wired and Non-Wired Bras

Every woman likes and wears a different type of bra. Just like ordering a hamburger or a cheeseburger, whether she takes lettuce, tomato, and/or onion on top of her meat depends. Fit, support, comfort, and fabric all play a role in how she dresses both her breasts and her burger (enough with the synonym, Maddie!). There are pros and cons in the construction, patterning, and fit of each type of bra and when Brigid reached out to me with her question above, I thought it would be the perfect question for a ‘Dear Maddie’ post. Because I wear an A or a B cup and have only worked on bras this size, I reached out to two other expert bramakers to help me answer Brigid’s question – Amy of Cloth Habit and Norma of Orange Lingerie. Even though we three “take” our bras differently, a couple of things rang true for all of us. The obvious being comfort and support, but the not-so-obvious was that without an underwire, the bridge at the center front, or point of most strain (POMS), will stand away from the body. In other words, without the underwire, it is hard for the bridge to sit back on the chest wall. Pros of soft cup bras without underwires: Comfort – many women have not found an underwired bra that fits them satisfactorily. Some women like the looser, “freer” feeling of a non-underwire bra. Special needs – great for and sometimes medically required for special situations such as post surgery around the breasts or breast area. Cons of soft cup bras without underwires: Support – This is by far the number one issue. For A and B cups this is not much of an issue, but any cup size larger than that will not get the lift…

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tags: Pattern Making Comments: 6