Tuesday, 25 August 2015

The fate of Simplicity 1418 and toiles of other types. And welcome a new sewer

From last Thursday until Sunday,  I was visiting my daughter Helen - mother/daughter wedding dress trying and fabric shop trawling. Her fiance A was away on a stag weekend; my husband was at home. I travelled by train which is easier than driving. Though I took a sewing machine for Helen which made it rather more awkward. What's not easy is travelling around London on underground and bus - crowded and hot. I was exhausted!

Before he left,  A tried on the toile of the waistcoat I'm making for him. H had sent me his measurements but had clearly,  I thought,  made a mistake in the back measurement as the measure was so short.  She made a mistake in her and A's shoulder measurements and I had to guess. The toile was actually a pretty good fit;  I had used the standard burda size 40 pattern. A's shoulders are wider and the shoulder line will need to come out. H had got his back length wrong; A requested a 1.5 cms longer length. We also took the waistcoat toile in at the side seams. I thought there was gaping at the front armhole;  this was removed by pulling the shoulder up so I hope that is the fix! Nothing too major.

H was unable to get Simplicity 1418 on - or at least she got it on, though not pulled down properly over her bust  and the zip was a long way from closing. My feeling is that this pattern runs smaller than the other Simplicity patterns I've made. H reckons the dress would fit one of her friends so hopefully it will get some use.

However,  I had a couple of toiles with me for her,  too.

The first was a dress (bodice plus skirt)  made from my Sure Fit Designs kit, using the updated sizes she finally got around  to sending me. I was surprised to see that she quoted her upper bust as 3cms larger than her full bust and realised that her shoulder width couldn't be correct. I had made up a more basic pattern from the dress I made previously and saw that she didn't have the mammoth shoulders she quoted. When I drew up the SFD pattern,  I compromised and put her shoulder width half way between what she said and the standard.  Even so,  this was wide and the armhole surprisingly small.  However,  I went ahead and made it up.

When H tried it,  it didn't look too bad.  The shoulders were certainly way too wide and the armhole significantly too small.  I drew on a better armhole shape and clipped and that was much better. Other than that, it was pretty good. H requested less ease at the waist and for the waist seam to be lowered 1.5cms. I slightly adjusted the bust dart.  Overall, it looks pretty good. When I get home,  I'll change the pattern and make a new toile. I will also try to adjust my small model to her sizes so that I can use that.

The other toile I made was from an old Style pattern 1961. A short pencil skirt with a vent. I made a straight side 12, this was before I got her sizes though,  and when I made it up,  complete with zip and waistband,  it looked very tiny and I thought there was no way it would fit her. Especially after I got her new sizes and thought I'd have been better sewing the 14 skirt.  However, she tried it on and loved it. I think it's a little too tight across the upper thigh but H is resisting it being made larger. I took out the side seams

I took a sewing machine down for H as she is keen to start sewing. I gave her a few basic pointers,  let her go through the basics of threading,  winding spools etc. , do some practice sewing and read the instruction book (as I won't always be there) and got her to sew the seams on the skirt toile. She did some overcasting, made a buttonhole, looked at standard and invisible zip insertion,  though we didn't go ahead to do this and looked at the various stitches and the different feet. She seems to be picking it up quickly. She's loving it.


  1. Welcome to the club, Helen! Maybe she can start blogging too. Both my daughters started a sewing blog and it's nice to watch their progress from a distance (we're living in different parts of the country). Too bad the dress didn't fit!

  2. You are really beginning to make such excellent progress on drafting and fitting. I was interested that your daughter likes a tight skirt - I have just made my daughter a circle skirt and she wants me to alter it to make it no more than 1/2" tighter at the waist. I can't believe how fussy she is....

    1. Thank you. Yes, my daughter is fussy too. It's clear that she likes far less ease than I do, for example; I wonder if this is why I see so many complaints about 'excessive ease' regarding big 4 patterns from a number of younger sewers (I think it is often younger sewers) when I don't find that, usually.


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