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Note to self

2011 May 25
by elizabeth_admin

Dear Self,

When reading reviews on PatternReview of potential patterns that you might use, always remember to:

  1. Check the body type of the reviewer
  2. Check the skill level of the reviewer
  3. Take each review with a grain tub of salt
  4. Check the body type of the reviewer
  5. Trust your instincts
  6. Check the body type of the reviewer
  7. Not pay any attention to the reviewer’s notes on pattern sizing
  8. Check the body type of the reviewer.

If you find that that the reviewer of your potential pattern is a skinny person who could buy RTW and have it look perfect on them no matter what, don’t trust a single thing they say about that pattern’s sizing.

If that skinny reviewer says anything like the following, DON’T TRUST THEM. 

  • “I had to go down two sizes!”
  • “There’s so much ease in this pattern.”
  • “It fits like a tent.”

Furthermore, Self, I implore you to trust your instincts and your measurements.  If the pattern envelope says that the finished garment measurements are 39 inches, trust them.  Don’t assume that ease will magically appear as you sew the side seams.  Don’t fantasize that your 40 inch body will squeeze into 39 inches of fabric.  I am telling you from experience, Self, that as you wiggle that dress onto your body, your granny underwear will come off as you do so.  Trust me when I say this is not an ego-boosting experience. 




Folks, last night was interesting to say the least.  I muslined New Look 6022, which I fell in love with the moment I cast eyes on it.  See?


I attempted View A which is what the model is wearing.  Isn’t that a sweet dress?  Do you see the ease in the dress?  I wish I had the fortitude to show you all a picture how how the muslin looked like on me.  It closely resembled this picture of Kim Kardashian, but without the embellishment.

image from


Attractive, right?  Yuck!!!  Seriously, this dress was all kinds of ugly on me.  There was no ease, much less six inches of ease as noted on the pattern and by the skinny reviewer.

In case you’re wondering, I made up a sz 10.  I think I might have to go up two or 3 sizes to the sz 16 in order to get the intended loose fitting floaty look of NL 6022.  So we’ll see what happens with the next muslin.

Hmmm…  Maybe I should see if the sz 10 muslin fits my sister.

Hope you’re having a better sewing day than I am.

25 Responses leave one →
  1. May 25, 2011

    I feel your pain! I’ve made this mistake myself. But yet, sometimes the patterns do have too much ease, and this is how I get into the same trouble again and again. I have started to measure the pattern pieces themselves. This really helps me.

    • May 25, 2011

      I’ve had the same struggle and found results with the same solution. Measure, measure, measure!

      Also, I made a similar dress last year and it looked like a sack on me. I called it the “prison matron” dress. Pop some Keds on and I would have been ready for some yard time. Or the chow line. Whatevs.

      I feel ya, tho. Darn those skinny minnies!

      • elizabeth_admin permalink*
        May 25, 2011

        Yes I am worried about the sack look becoming a reality, but I hope my fabric (and correct sizing) will save this project. Keep your fingers crossed for me!!!

        • May 26, 2011

          I think you’re on to something with your muslin. It really looks great on your and I think that all of those extra fitting steps you did really make the difference. Rock on, Lady! This is going to be one cuuuuuute dress! That elastic in the back does WONDERS. I didn’t have that on my dress, which is probably to blame for the sack-like appearance. In your dress, you can tell there’s a body in there! And a hot rockin’ body at that. 🙂

  2. Sara permalink
    May 25, 2011

    Now I wish Kim Kardashian would start sewing (and acquire some taste in less form-fitting clothes at the same time), so that she could post pattern reviews! Because girl, I feel you when it comes to everything you’re saying, and also you have her build, which is pretty awesome.

  3. May 25, 2011

    Re: Your note to Self

    AMEN!!! LOL!

    I read only the reviews of plus size patterns!

  4. May 25, 2011

    Apropos of celebrities, isn’t it time for “Sewing with the Stars”?

    • elizabeth_admin permalink*
      May 25, 2011

      YES!!! What a great idea! Call your agent and get the ball rolling.

  5. May 25, 2011

    This made me laugh because it’s just so true!!! We’ve all done it…

  6. May 25, 2011

    Hilarious! You, KK and I have the same build (Beyonce’s also in our camp.) In my experience, although we definitely don’t want to wear anything as sausage-casing-esque as KK does, floaty and loose doesn’t work on us, so I would bail on this pattern altogether.

    • elizabeth_admin permalink*
      May 25, 2011

      I know, I know. I can hear what you’re saying, but for some possessed reason, I feel I must try. I just can’t help myself. I am still suffering from body eumorphia (where you think you look better than you do).

      • May 25, 2011

        Nah…I think you should give it a try. Add inches only to the waist hip area, keep it a little closer at the bustline and you will end up with a winner!

  7. May 25, 2011

    I wouldn’t say it’s anything about “looking better” than you do – just dressing the actual body you have and embracing it! I didn’t say it’s a bad thing to have our body type, I like it myself 🙂

  8. May 25, 2011

    Haha on the granny underwear 🙂 You are so funny Elizabeth. Can’t wait to see your next attempt.

  9. Marie-Christine permalink
    May 25, 2011

    That is not a good day indeed :-(.
    I must say that I’m often appalled at how people buy a pattern that’s total 80s, should have 18″ of ease to look like the picture, and then whine that it’s too loose and cut it down till it’s skin tight. Or conversely. I’m mean, really, you need to get started with the right style pattern if you’re going to go in the direction you want..
    Apart from my own bitching :-), I should say that Big 4 patterns aren’t where you should start if you have something specific in mind (New Look is Simplicity). Their sizing is so off the wall that a person can’t possibly have anything but a random result. Burda, Jalie, Kwik-Sew, those are brands that consistently size as advertised.
    Still tiresome though..

  10. Mimi permalink
    May 25, 2011

    Great post! As always, I appreciate your candor. The worst mistake a sewist can make is to make a garment too small as an incentive to lose weight. I did that only once and the frustration caused me to eat. Mimi

  11. May 25, 2011

    You’ve hit the nail on the head with regard to PR. I, like you, read the comments and look at the other projects the sewist has completed. I also measure the pattern and compare it to how I want the item to fit. Some of the notes are helpful, some are just folks who don’t know how to sew well making mistakes.

    That dress is adorable and I’m sure you can get the fit you want. What material are you going to use? A nice drapey cotton?

  12. May 25, 2011

    Oh, haven’t we ALL had those fitting moments, when you get halfway into something way too tight and suddenly get scared you might have to cut your way out with a pair of scissors?

    But PLEASE tell me you’re going to review this on PR – otherwise some other sewist might have the same problem you’ve had, but maybe she’s done it (unwisely) in super expensive fabric or something??

  13. SusieR permalink*
    May 25, 2011

    Pay special attention to numbers 1, 2, 4, 6 and 8 on that list.

    Thank gawd for muslin – at least you didn’t wreck that wonderful fabric meant for this dress!

  14. Meg permalink
    May 25, 2011

    Oh, I really want you to make this work. This pattern would make such a cute summer dress and I think it would look swell on you. Don’t give up…this is why we make muslins, right?!

  15. May 25, 2011

    I’ve had those moments. There was one dress that I managed to zip, then wondered why I bothered, then had to wake Mario up to get me out of it because I couldn’t unwedge t he zipper on my own personal sausage casing.

    FWIW, I’m generally a 12 in New Look.

    Except when I’m not.

  16. May 25, 2011

    It just doesn’t make sense does it?! I made a dress in a size 8, a top in a size 14 and am tackling trousers in a size – wait for it….. 18!!!
    Fitting ease, wearing ease, style ease – pass the gin plEASE …

  17. May 25, 2011

    So funny, if it makes you feel any better I just finished a shirt dress, which actually fit nice, but the fabric was so thin (which I thought was a good thing for summer) that it tore in my back the first time I bent down to pick up my daughter 🙁

  18. Mary permalink
    June 23, 2011

    A good post. I’ve been thinking I should favourite the people (on PR) with my fitting issues/measurements. They sure are handy references.

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