Monday, 31 March 2014

Getting the facts straight

Why do you sew?

Some people are just born makers. Our family are makers, I have sewn since I was about ten, and chose a career in the clothing trade.  I am a pattern maker and grader.
My husband is a great 'do it yourselfer'.
 My daughter, although she hated being in clothing factories when she was younger, is a more prolific sewist and blogger than I have ever been. You can see her blog here.
My son has just completed studies as an Industrial designer. And you can see his page here.
 We just make things naturally

Maybe you sew because you like making things.

Maybe you sew because you have great styles in your head and you want to have them in reality.

Maybe you don't want to be just like a sheep, like everyone else.

Wow! Great coat you are wearing! Where can I get one?

Maybe your body isn't a standard size.
Once upon a time , I was the model for a clothing store. I had a size 34 body. I also worked in the design department. Every week we would go through all the styles we had made that week, and I would try them on for the buyers. They would critique them and we would adjust the styles accordingly.
Even then, at the age of 23, we discovered my bust level was one inch lower than the average, and bust darts looked funny. I was devastated! I was not normal!

Now, 33 years later, I am no longer a size 34.I still think I am in my head, but no. I have now a bust measuring 41 inches, and I am absolutely sure that the bust level is a lot more than 1 inch lower than normal. I measure, but in my head I want to be the same size I was when I was 23. Then I forget what the measurement is. Denial, I know!
I'm on the right. Size 34??? I don't think so!

In order to correct sewing mistakes in the future, the first thing you need to do is get a friend to measure you. Maybe you can find a sewing buddy, and you can do the same for them. Having a good understanding about what your body is like, and not the imagined picture of yourself in your head, and definitely not the picture of the style on the pattern that you want to make.

Get yourself some elastic , and make some rings, which you can put  around your body as a reference.

Make some coffee for you and your measuring friend, and then start measuring!

I know, you already don't want to do this. Hell, even I wouldn't want to do it.

 But it won't take long, and the measurements will be there, for you to call on whenever you need them. 

The essential measurements are as follows.....

1. neck circumference
2. bust circumference
3. waist circumference
4. abdomen circumference
5. hip circumference
6. bust span
7. bust height
8. waist height
9. back length
10. back width
11. shoulder
12. waist-abdomen
13. waist-hip
14. biceps
15. wrist circumference 
16. overarm
17. outside seam
18. crotch depth

******Measure bust height (7) and waist height (8) around neck (double) and divide by 2.*******

1      Neck Circumference: Measure around lowest part of neck, at the base

2  Bust Circumference: Marked with elastic. Measure around the fullest part of the
                              bust, keeping the tape high at the back

3  Waist Circumference: Measure waist at the elastic tape

4  Abdomen Circumference: Measured on the level where abdomen circumference is

   Hip Circumference: Measured over the largest part of your bottom/thighs (at elastic)

   Bust Span: Horizontal distance between bust apexes (also called bust bridge).
              Measured along bust elastic.

7 Bust Height: Measure from center of back neck over shoulder to apex of one breast

8 WAIST HEIGHT: Measure from center of back neck over shoulder to breast apex
       and from there vertically to lower edge of waist elastic. To be sure to get right
       measurements, take this and bust height as a link around neck (=double) and
       divide the result by 2 (see picture).

9 BACK LENGTH: Measure from center of back neck to lower edge of waist elastic

1 BACK WIDTH: hang your arms relaxed on your sides. The measurement is taken
       horizontally between shoulder blades (i.e. from sleeve seam to sleeve seam), from
       and to the point where your arm meets your body (but not to armpit) about 4" (10
       cms) from neck downwards.

1 Shoulder length: Measure from neck to shoulder tip. Shoulder tip is found when you
       raise your arm to horizontal position and feel where there is hollow/pit between
       shoulder and arm bones. Hold your arm horizontal, if necessary, to find this point.

1 Waist-Abdomen: Measure vertically from lower edge of waist elastic to lower edge
       of abdomen elastic. Measure at front center.

   Waist-Hip: Measure vertically from lower edge of waist elastic to lower edge of hip
       elastic. Measure at the side.

    Biceps circumference: Measure at widest point of upper arm.

   Wrist circumference: Measure over wrist bone

    Overarm: Arm length from shoulder tip (as described above) to wrist. Bend arm
      slightly and measure over outside of elbow.

Outside seam: Measure from waist over the outside curvature of the hip to the
      desired cuff length.

   CROTCH DEPTH: Sit on unpadded bench or chair. Measure vertically from waist
      elastic to chair level on both sides, and use the longer measurement. Measure in a
      straight line, not along the outside hip curve. (Crotch depth can also be measured
      from a pair of old, well fitting pants.) Crotch depth is the difference between outside
and inside length of pants.

   Desired jacket length from waist elastic to hem
  Desired skirt /dress length from waist elastic to hem

Why do we do it?

Sewing is a great hobby.

 It teaches you lots of things, and one of the most common things it teaches you is how to fail. And, lets face it, no one likes to fail.

 This is what can happen....

You are going to a party.

You imagine a lovely style,
 you look for a pattern to create your new garment,
 followed by fabric and trimmings.

 It starts to get costly!
(but it will be so much nicer than a shop bought garment!)

You need to choose a size to cut out. 
Measure yourself, or guess which size you will need.
They say I am a size WHAT????
(I cant be, I'm only a size 2, or 3, or 4!)
Cut out the garment.... but wait! 
If you are really sensible,
You cut out a calico version first to see how it fits. 
Try to understand the sewing instuctions....
Sew it up. 
Try it on.
Calico looks rubbish on anyone unless you are a supermodel 
 Pin the garment to fit your body
(where is a helper when I need one?)
Adjust your pattern .
Cut out the garment in your fabric.
You start to make your outfit. 
Its getting long and drawn out now 
And you may be getting bored,
So you rush through the process.
(maybe the party is TODAY!)
Try it on....


The fabric doesn't do what you want it to...
 The Colour doesn't suit you
Pockets are doing something funny,
And the style isn't right.
The pants seams are twisting round your legs....
The buttons on the blouse gape and pull.

It just isn't you.
So what can you do?
Why does that lovely style in your head
Look so dreadful in reality?

Take it off, chuck it in the UFO pile
Hide your pile of shame away until another day
And go and put something old on

To go to that party.

Been there, done that. 
Nobody is perfect.

But I have made a few things in my career,
And maybe I can tell you
 some things 
that I learnt the hard way
may help you to get it right
Next time.

So please... remember me!

Read about me here