Sorry for the huge gap between posts: I have been doing a lot of weekend breaks wearing all the new clothes I have been making. I have also been completely forgetting to take any nice pictures of me wearing them out and about in the magic hour of sunset (I am listening to your advice Ms Cashmerette!), so this post will yet again have pictures taken inside my messy flat.
It will also not have pictures of me wearing it out and about because quite frankly, it is a bit indecent. What is it about Plus Size patterns that seems to dictate that they have a preposterously low neckline?? I am all for showing off your assets, but I’m not at all for walking around with your tits hanging RIGHT OUT. Oh well, even though it’s basically unwearable (it’s also really tight around my tummy so I can’t breathe in it) , I am really proud of it.
Why, you ask, would I be proud of a dress I can’t wear??? The answer my friend, is because it looks like this:
It would look better on me but it would be indecent and I wouldn’t be able to breathe and would fall over. So here it is looking a bit funny on a hanger. But you get the jist, right?
It’s a Butterick ‘Fast and Easy’ (ho ho, as if!) B5317 by someone called Maggy London. I don’t know who Ms London is, but I thought this looked like a nice frock. And it is. So much so that I patently ignored the fact that the measurements for the largest size were about 6 inches too small all over. I am still experiencing some real cognitive dissonance with the difference between ready to wear clothing sizes and pattern sizing. I am an RTW UK size 20-22 (I’m pretty tall so people are often surprised when I tell them this ‘giant’ size, sigh) so even though I had taken my measurements and they were considerably bigger than the pattern size 22 which was the biggest size: ‘I’ll fit in to it’: I told myself. I was smug in the knowledge that I was going to do a full bust adjustment on this one, ignoring the fact that I was not going to do some kind of ‘full tummy adjustment’ too that would allow me to breathe. Ho Hum!
I had the best African wax print fabric in two patterns from this place and I knew the dress was going to be either a complete disaster or pretty fancy because I was trying new things. They were:
1: Using really rigid wax print cotton (lovely)
2: Putting in a zip (pretty ok)
3: Putting in pleats (so pleasing)
4: Lining that mofo! (Oh yeah!)
5: Using my new tracing wheel and paper. (phwoar)
6: Doing a full bust adjustment (success!)
7: Doing a narrow shoulder adjustment (fail)
These are all fairly basic things but new for me.
Look: here are my tools:
And here is my really snazzy full bust adjustment learnt from Colette. I also tried doing a narrow shoulder adjustment but all it seemed to do was make my straps way too thin and and angle of the neckline more rectangular than curved. If anyone could tell me what I did wrong, I would be most grateful. Perhaps you can only do NSA’s on dresses with sleeves? HALP! The FBA was a triumph though. I used the lining piece as a sort of muslin, and it just didn’t fit in its first incarnation. I made it again with the FBA’d pattern piece and it was perfect. I am delighted by this. It’s just a shame that my delight blinded me to seeing how low cut it was and I didn’t raise the neckline a bit too. Ho hum. Baby steps.
I didn’t have the right size invisible zip so used a too small visible one:
Yes, it’s all a bit wonky, but I have only ever put one zip in anything before, and that was an invisible one, so this was all new. AND I SURVIVED! It works! Praise the lord of zips!
I also learnt about pattern placement and pleats. I thought I had worked it all out so my swallows would show nicely on my pleats. This is what the piece originally intended to be the front of the skirt turned out like:
However, the side where I didn’t attempt to be good at pattern placement turned out like this, and swiftly became the front of the skirt. Ridiculously lucky, non?
So there we go. I made a dress that I need to wear a vest underneath to make decent and that I can’t breathe in. I swore I would no longer have ‘incentive dresses’ for when I am thinner, but this is staying in my wardrobe on the offchance that I lose some weight without dieting and can breathe in it, and can also find a suitable vest top to go under it that doesn’t look weird.
And look! Contrast pockets!
I will make this dress again for sure, with an upgraded tummy area for putting oxygen in, a higher neckline and hopefully a narrow shoulder adjustment that moves the straps in nearer my neck as opposed to just really thinning them. If anyone can advise me on this I would be most grateful!