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2011 September 6
by elizabeth_admin

My friends, I have figured out why my mojo left me for the allure of the West Side Highway and destinations unknown.  I am suffering from another fear, or syndrome if you will.  Have you heard of SBS (Saggy Butt Syndrome)?  No?  Let me enlighten you so that you too can avoid it all costs and never suffer a staggering loss of mojo.  Saggy Butt Syndrome is well on its way to becoming a full-out disease since it’s cause is readily known and can be circumvented if one has the requisite knowledge.  Have you ever picked a gorgeous woven fabric, say a linen or a pique and then sew it up into an equally gorgeous sheath dress?  You admire your gorgeous fit, your beautiful stitching and then you have the audacity to sit down while wearing said gorgeous dress.  How dare you sit down in your dress?  What were you thinking?  God forbid you ever think to bend over in your dress.  Yes, you painstakingly underlined it and lined it.  It couldn’t possibly bag out, not with all those layers engineered into the garment.  No sir, it wouldn’t dare!

Or would it?  Could it possibly resemble this after a day at the office?


I mean no disrespect to the current vogue of wearing saggy pants that’s popular right now.  I just don’t want a saggy pants look when I’m wearing a sheath dress.  Am I right?  That’s just downright unattractive.

I have made a sheath dress in a stretch woven that bags out because the stretch factor has no recovery and immediately reacts to body heat.  What’s the point of adding lycra to a woven if it has no recovery?  Now that’s just mean.  I have made a cotton pique pencil skirt that droops down below the butt by the end of the day.  Listen, it’s bad enough being called Four Eyes, but Four Buttocks?  That’s just the pits.

Remember the gorgeous floral linen I wanted to make up into another B5147?  Well fear of SBS is completely driving my mojo to Tahiti for all I know.  I am too scared to make it into a form-fitting sheath dress and suffering through people whispering “Hey, there goes Four Buttocks!” behind my back as I walk through my office.

The cause of SBS has recently been discovered by scientists at the CDC in Atlanta who have been working around the clock: poor fabric knowledge.  If you don’t know your fabric and it’s properties, improper matching of fabric to pattern, even improper handling of said fabric can doom a sewing project to SBS.  There are two known cures in preventing SBS: 1. Never sit down when wearing your garment, and 2. KNOW. YOUR. FABRIC.

How do you “know” your fabric?  Well, to be honest, it’s a lot of trial and error.  It takes experience.  Lots of it.  But take heart, dear friends, the knowledge is there for you to grasp with your own two hands.  Just keep sewing!

This is another Public Service Announcement brought to you by SEWN.

(Hopefully, I will take my own advice one of these days.)


20 Responses leave one →
  1. September 6, 2011

    I’m a SBS sufferer too. How do you know your fabric? Please don’t say you just have to makeup that sheath dress or pencil skirt and then throw out the ones that sag??!! Someone needs to come up with a predictive test.

    • elizabeth_admin permalink*
      September 7, 2011

      I think we need to set those scientists at the CDC on the search for a predictive test. Awesome idea!

  2. September 7, 2011

    Oh my god this happened to me about 5 years ago with a printed linen skirt, I was so horrified when I saw what it looked like when I got home after a day sat at my desk that I chucked it out nd never sewed with linen again!

  3. September 7, 2011

    Glad you’re back! Hate it when this sort of thing happens. If lining and underlining don’t help, what hope is there? I tend to err on the side of picking very heavy fabrics with some stretch, but that doesn’t always work either.

  4. September 7, 2011

    Thank you for this public service announcement. I shall now go to the bathroom and inspect my derriere. I won’t cycle in certain items because of exactly this effect!

  5. Marie-Christine permalink
    September 7, 2011

    Actually, what you need is a mother who was a grown-up in the 50s-60s, to bitch about all the inconvenients of those styles. You’d know then that you couldn’t sit down, couldn’t eat, could hardly breathe.. That’s why they called them cocktail dresses, all you could do is stand up with a drink, till you dropped. Stretch seems like a modern solution, but as you’ve found out it’s only temporary, and certainly won’t stand up to a day of office sitting.

    Makes those 70s hippie clothes suddenly look better, eh :-)? How about some 80s potato bags?? You can be retro, you just have to pick your period carefully..

  6. Ruth permalink
    September 7, 2011

    Fabric knowledge….it’s so difficult to amass without wasting hours on clothes that are unwearable (weeps). Honestly, my sewing skills are okay, but almost every single UFO or wadder I have had in the last three years has been because of fabric knowledge. The latest… I made up a whole coat with loads of detail (welt pockets with flaps, etc) in basically a trench type fabric, but could not put the sleeves in to my satisfaction. I learned: set-in sleeves – use wool; stiffer, unshrinkable, uneasable fabrics, use raglan sleeves. But I hate learning the hard way!

    • elizabeth_admin permalink*
      September 7, 2011

      Ruth, you don’t know how many people you are saving from countless hours of frustration with your invaluable sleeve tips! Thank you!

  7. September 7, 2011

    Four Buttocks! You crack me up, Elizabeth 🙂

  8. SusieR permalink
    September 7, 2011

    Poor Fabric Knowledge (PFK)…. just what drove me away from sewing in the first place. I often wondered about sampling fabric in 1/4 yard segments and devising the perfect memory test. wash, stretch, wash… not sure. Perhaps this is your calling, oh wise one!

  9. September 7, 2011

    I’ve found that I never have this problem with the sheath dresses I made out of menswear/suiting remnants. I’d highly recommend those. They look great even at the end of the day. They ARE a bit hard to sit in, as they have less “give”, but I put up with perching on the edge of my chair for vanity’s sake.

  10. September 7, 2011

    This is one reason that I don’t sew with stretch fabrics.

  11. Harriet permalink
    September 7, 2011

    This is the reason I don’t wear form-fitting clothes. I allow my naturally saggy butt the dignity of sufficient fabric.

    (Marie-Christine, :))

  12. September 7, 2011

    Linen. (shudder) I have a love-hate relationship with it. It looks so good for about 2 minutes. And then you have to move or sit. Sigh.

  13. September 8, 2011

    Yep, you are absolutely right. But I love linen. The trick is only buy the good stuff. The only good thing about linen viscose and other linen mixes is the price.

  14. September 8, 2011

    There is no known cure for SBS sufferers, but there is a prevention – underlining!

    • elizabeth_admin permalink*
      September 8, 2011

      Underlining did not help me with the SuBtle dress unfortunately. 🙁

  15. September 8, 2011

    So disappointing I know…
    A couple of hints come to mind. It can help to stretch the fabric crossgrain instore and check its recovery – if ripples remain, turn away. And despite the ‘rule’ I hardly ever prewash the fabrics I use as they can contract and stretch out again in the seat, which to me is worse than a little shrinkage.

  16. September 12, 2011

    I’m thinking underlining helps a multitude of misbehaving fabric sins.

    ALSO. *so* looking forward to fabric shopping this weekend! i have had a long and lousy week that can hopefully be made much better by a little run through Elliot Berman! 😉

  17. September 13, 2011

    I, too, have been fooled by the “underlining will prevent all problems” theory. It doesn’t! Boo!

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