Thursday, August 13, 2015

What have you learned about yourself or your sewing in the contest?

When I started to reflect, I realized how much I have grown throughout this competition. I narrowed it down to these three points; goals, confidence and finding my fit. 
I have learned that I love to be challenged and given sewing goals to achieve each week. I will try to continue to set goals for myself. Perhaps each week or biweekly sewing up new patterns. I have learned so many new sewing skills by having a set goal or date to complete it by.
I have also learned how to go with my "gut feelings". At first, especially in Rounds 1 and 2, I felt hesitant about my fabric choices and adding any extra ideas into each pattern. However by Round 3, I began to feel more confident and free. I ordered my fabric without one worry or second guessing my choice. This competition has definitely given me more confidence.
In reflection the last thing I have learned about myself is how to make my wardrobe fit my petite frame better. In the past, I would overlook the lengthen/shorten line and just hem the end of the garment up 2-3”, some times more. This is a horrible way to try to adapt a pattern for a petite frame because it does not change where the waistline falls on your garment. After making many test runs of each of the patterns in Round 1-5, I finally figured out the best way for me to adapt the pattern is to take the paper templates and fold it at the lengthen/shorten line and tape it (then I fold over the paper at the edges if it is not smooth). This way if I shorten it too much, I can go back and refold at the lengthen/shorten line. This also helps when you have multiple templates to adapt. Like the coat for example there are 8 templates (outer shell and lining) that needed to be shortened. Since I folded the front upper body template 1.5" up at the lengthen/shorten line I did the same technique to the other 7 templates so everything would fit together. It makes all the difference in the world! Now and forever I will adapt my pattern templates so they fit me.
Thank you so much for hosting this competition Kristin and Beth! It has been an honor to sew beside these great seamstresses. I feel very fortunate to be able to compete. 


In My Sewing Box said...

Ah, that 'lengthen/shorten' line, I always ignore it (but not anymore, thank you). I think the reason is that I don't quite know what to do with the side seam that has lost its continuous line. Does one add above the fold line or subtract below it or, alternatively, halve the difference and draw a completely new side seam?

Leah Williams said...

Hi @In My Sewing Box, For me personally my side seam line depends on the pattern. If it is a pattern with a lot of ease, I would use the closest line to the center. If it is a very fitting garment, I would redraw the side line and use the widest point from the edge. It also helps to know were your natural waist is and how far it is from the shoulder down to your waist or underarm to your waist. Then you can see if your waistline draws inward at the correct point. Some seamstresses even place the waist line a little higher if they are petite to make themselves look taller. LOL! I might have to give it a try. :)

Barbara Carlon said...

Hello Leah,
I feel the same way about challenges and deadlines. You really can learn a lot by throwing yourself into something you've never imagined making before. I'd like to invite you to join The Monthly Stitch (if you haven't already) which is a great sewing community run by several gals in New Zealand. There is a fun challenge every month, and a super easy way to post your creations on their site.
Best of luck in round 5. I can't wait to see what you make. :)

LiEr said...

Hello, Leah, this is LiEr from ikatbag! I've been following this SMS contest (and by that I really mean "dropping in whenever summer burnout and the kids allow") and wanted to say hi and commiserate on the challenges of fitting the petite frame. I am 5'3" and not skinny. It is rare for me to find RTW that fit my upper body- dresses yield even more hilarious results in the fitting room. Because I've never used commercial patterns, I never thought about how the petite frame differed from a small-size regular frame or even a large child size. When one drafts from measurements as I have all my life, it doesn't matter what industry standards are - one drafts to fit an individual shape, size and height. And then I came to the US and was increasingly bewildered that RTW was not at all in the category (the size S/M/L or 0/2/4/6 per se was not the issue) I thought I was. Eventually, I figured out that petite frames have shorter torsos and different torso-to-hip-to-leg ratios than other body categories, so that one cannot just reduce a regular women's size with a photocopier to get a pattern that fits a shorter/shorter person who is also petite. For that matter, certain styles e.g. skater dresses, empire-lines, flared skirts, circular skirts, and dresses that are divided at the waist, look different on us petites than they do on children of the same height, or women who are 5'4", for instance. And also tucking in our tops into our bottoms looks... excruciatingly odd in ways we cannot fathom. It's just because of where our waists sit. Super funny, now that I look back at what should've been obvious, but really wasn't.

So I hear you, and yes, your adaptation of your patterns to shorten that midsection, will revolutionize your fitting, as you've already discovered. Hurrah for you! And try slight drop-waisted dresses, or simply deliberately draft a slightly lower waistline on the dress patterns that have a divided waist to balance that naturally shorter torso- you might be surprised at how good they can look! That's how what I do for me, at any rate!

P.S. I love how your PJs turned out! They fit wonderfully!