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Thread: Garment Making

  1. #1
    Afton's Avatar
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    I want to make a skirt, or a simple dress. I'm plus sized and having a hard time finding a pattern I like. Plus I've never made a dress before so I need to learn some basic garment skills. Any suggestions?

  2. #2
    Power Poster erstan947's Avatar
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    Check out your fabric stores that sell clothing fabric like Joan's of Hancocks
    There are simple patterns and try one of those first. Also see if youtube has tutorials on basic garment sewing. You might ask around and someone may give you a few lessons. If I still lived in Hayward I would be more than happy to show you how.....but I'm too far away:(

  3. #3
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    I'm now making myself a skirt or two to wear with boots, since I wear lace up boots for ankle support most of the time. Since it looks ridiculous for a lot of leg to show below the skirt and above the boot, I'm having to make my own for the correct length. And it's a whole lot cheaper too.

    I bought a very large dress at a flea market, it's a very fine, almost cotton/silk weight wool and probably very expensive. I cut the skirt into 4 pieces, each a little bit more than 1/4 my own measurements. Each piece is larger at the bottom than at the waist/hip area for stride length and I'll just put elastic in the waistline. This is a very old way of doing a skirt, and still works nicely. It's slightly gathered all around, not much but enough for a lot of ease.

    When using this pattern that I've made myself, I can then sew on a blouse of bias cut fabric that is more or less a blouson style, which I find is easy to do and easy to wear.

    Very simple, but most of the very expensive ones ARE simple designs.

  4. #4
    Super Member Monika's Avatar
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    Yes! Read your pattern two or three times before cutting and starting. It will really help later!!!

  5. #5
    Super Member psychonurse's Avatar
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    check with Adult Ed in your school sysytem. They may offer classes.
    Or a senior center.

  6. #6
    Super Member Favorite Fabrics's Avatar
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    You can easily find all the pattern companies websites (Simplicity, McCalls, Vogue, Butterick... ) online; see which patterns you think you like and then post the links here. Those of us who have done garment sewing can take a peek and let you know if it what you've chosen would be easy or a bit challenging.

  7. #7
    Afton's Avatar
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    I am having a terrible time reading the pattern I picked up. its more or less a sundress pattern and its marked as easy but i am so not getting it. plus i think i may need to make it smaller in the bust area and wider in the hip which is freaking me out.

    I'm thinking of doing a cheaters one at this point. maybe trace a tank top for the top and attach a circle skirt, but at the empire waist? would that work?

  8. #8
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    Take your measurements before buying a pattern - don't cheat! The only person seeing the numbers will be you!

    Pattern sizes run differently from ready-to-wear sizing.

  9. #9
    Super Member crafty pat's Avatar
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    Mc All's and Vogue carry a good line of plus size patterns. Most are simple to make.

  10. #10
    Super Member feline fanatic's Avatar
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    Also make sure you line up on the straight of grain correctly. There are arrows on the pattern pieces that tell you which way to place the piece on the fabric so the bias will be in the right places so that the completed garment hangs right. Very important not to stray away from how to place those patterns on the grain. Also the patterns usually have notches in them that require lineing up with other pattern pieces.

    Most garments need interfacing somewhere but the pattern will specify.

    I haven't sewn a garment in ages but I do remember McCalls and Simplicity were the easiest patterns. I think McCalls used to have patterns geared to make in an afternoon. I loved those and they really were easy.

  11. #11
    dd
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    Super Member dd's Avatar
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    Ask at your guild or chuch, maybe there is someone there who can help you learn to read a pattern. I teach 4H sewing. Find out who teaches in your area, she will probably help you. JoAnns usually has beginers sewing classes. Sorry we're not closer.

  12. #12
    Senior Member mmdquilts's Avatar
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    Check out McCall's M6127! I just made the dress for dd's future mother in law. It was really easy to put together and it really looks nice! There is the dress, tunic, pants and jacket in the pattern. The dress looks great on her. I used specialty fabric because it's for the wedding. The pictures on the patterns can be deceiving because we weren't sure it would look good but it really does!

  13. #13
    Senior Member rismstress's Avatar
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    If you are new at garment making, try McCalls and simplicity patterns. Butterick and Vogue are much harder to do, more details, and the directions are not as easy to follow. I believe they are designed for experienced sewers. Also, check the measurements in the pattern books. The different companies size and market to different types of customers. Vogue patterns are cut smaller than McCalls.
    Cheryl
    40 years of sewing garments

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Afton
    I am having a terrible time reading the pattern I picked up. its more or less a sundress pattern and its marked as easy but i am so not getting it. plus i think i may need to make it smaller in the bust area and wider in the hip which is freaking me out.

    I'm thinking of doing a cheaters one at this point. maybe trace a tank top for the top and attach a circle skirt, but at the empire waist? would that work?
    When altering your pattern, do not forget ease. Standard ease is 4" bust and 2" hips. I think for us large ladies, we would need more for a slim skirt, they tend to pull up.

    If your pattern is multi-sized, you can tell where/how you need to alter. Did you measure your body? You need to do that & compare to the pattern. Generally says on the back. say there's a 20, 22, 24. If it is too big at one, cut at the next smaller. Ditto hips, if you are bigger than the pattern, you can see how much to increase it by the increase of the three printed lines. One thought. For detailed fittings, for wedding dresses, I made the garment first out of sheets. You can pick those up for next to nothing at 2nd hand. Mark the center line of folds with a sharpie. Large stitches, with a heavy thread in the bobbin. I generally use buttonhole twist. slides out without breaking. Now, your taken apart sheet garment becomes your pattern. Sharpie lines become your fold line marking.

    Simplicity is on sale at joanns this week $1, limit 10.

    dd's comment about 4h is a good one. The county extention office in my county (probably the whole state) holds free sewing lessons.

    I'm not certain a full circle skirt attached empire would give the effect you are hoping for.

    Here is a cut & Paste of my comments to another garment making member:

    NO purchased garment has EVER fit me properly. 6' 1" short waisted, hourglass sloping to pear shape. 36' inseam (same as my 6' 7" brother )

    Time was (BC-before child ) I made all my own clothing. Jeans, coats, skirts, suits, etc.

    Find some $1 yd fabric or buy a couple of sturdy goodwill poly cotton sheets. Get the Butterick fitting pattern. It is a waisted (true waist) straight skirted dress. The directions start you out on a full range of measurement taking. Make the dress in your sheet or $1 yd fabric. pin it write on it, etc. Sew the dress and darts in basting stitch, contrasting color thread. You can put a zipper in if you want, or have someone pin you in from the back, or you can sew the back shut leave the underarm side seam open, and pin yourself into it. make all your adjustments on the sheet dress, adjusting fit of all seams & darts. Cut the sheet dress's seams down to 5/8", cut it down into its components, draw the darts in before you take them apart. Use the sheet dress as your fitting pattern with any Butterick pattern you like. It's is extra work, but the end product is worth it. I have made 2 wedding dresses using this method for SIL & BFF.

    A note about darts. Regardless of a woman's size the accuracy of the dart placement will make a wonderous difference in a garment's fit. Find the most outward part, the body's "point". On me, large woman, I drop down one inch, and toward the side seam one inch. THAT is the point of the dart. NOT right out ther on the body's point. If your bust is petite in addition to being a petite woman, your moves may not be one inch, but I think you get the picture.

    Another dart suggestion, is to use a pattern with princess seams. Thus, no bust dart. You still need to know how to do darts, for back shoulders & on the waistline of skirts & pants.

    Sew darts from widest to narrow. If it is pointed on both ends, start in the middle, go to the end, twice. As you stitch, aim for 1/4 inch short on your angle, not to the tip of the dart. When you get to the point, take 3-4 stitches parallel to the fold of the fabric. this smooths the end out to nothing, and no dart pucker.

    Everything else, the pattern will tell you how to do.

    Happy stitching & keep asking questions.

  15. #15
    Super Member Tink's Mom's Avatar
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    I am not being bad...really...but,
    There is a line of patterns called "Sewing for Dummys". These are geared to the beginning garment sewer, not a dingaling.
    I used this to teach a girlfiends daughter how to construct a garment. She wanted to start with a prom dress...I made her try this first and then we could go on.
    I'm sure you will be able to master these and any other patterns. :thumbup:

  16. #16
    Senior Member sewgray's Avatar
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    Take a look at these.
    http://www.fashionpatterns.com/

  17. #17
    Super Member Glassquilt's Avatar
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    Get a mentor. Real live help in invaluable. As you progress you'll become more comfortable.

  18. #18
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    Silhouette Patterns are very good. You can find them at Hancocks and online. They are designed to use basic industry garment construction. You need to make sure you take a good set of measurements, forget about the "size" and use the correct pattern. I would start with the Yoga pants (3 pieces). They fit really well.

  19. #19
    Senior Member donna13350's Avatar
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    I usually take apart a garment that fits me well and copy that...saves so much time and headache! You can alter the length , add buttons, trim, etc as you get more experienced..but to start, i would just grab something from the closet that fits the way you like it and copy it!

  20. #20
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    I noticed a new line of Simplicity patterns made of fleece which should be easy to sew.

  21. #21
    Super Member damaquilts's Avatar
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    I have the hardest time using patterns anymore. I have given up buying them.And I used patterns for 40 years.
    I ran into a lady in Walmart about a year ago who told me about someone who made patterns just for larger women, You know I lost the name. The only thing I remember is the last name was something to do with sewing. LOL
    I stick to my farmers dresses one size larger than the pattern says I take and pants I can find that have tie waists.
    Good luck . Sewing for yourself can be fun.

  22. #22
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    There are a couple of plus sized pattern makers out there one is Connie maybe you can try patterns.com? I know there is a web site full of every pattern maker out there. Good luck

  23. #23
    Senior Member bobbie1's Avatar
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    Simplicity has their phone number on the first page of inst for you to call for any questions. I ran into something I could not figure out. I called and left message and they returned my call within 10 mins.

  24. #24
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    do you have an old shirt that you like but is getting worn? Cut it up and use it for a pattern. Add or subtract what you need to make it fit.

  25. #25
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    I have not worn a dress for 40 years. I have made one and for almost done with a second one. I am loving them........ I also found a new long skirt at goodwill. Just need to find a top.. I am making the long so that I don't feel uncovered. Have fun making them. Beth in Co

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