April 8, 2012

Lesson Learned #2: Flat Pattern Measuring

As of my last post, I was very excited about the progress I was making on McCall's 5538, a unisex fleece jacket pattern. Unfortunately, because it was just a jacket, I made no effort to really check my size, and cut out my usual large.  Which of course, meant a men's large. Granted, I probably should have caught that from reading the pattern envelope (or thinking for about two seconds - unisex pattern, duh).  But if I'd flat pattern measured, like I keep saying I'm going to do, I won't end up with garments that look like this:

I feel like I should be in an 80's music video, it's so oversized.  The contrast yoke highlights just how far the shoulder seams are from my actual shoulders, and the sleeves completely cover my hands.  Granted, in some cases just hanging around outside this would actually not be completely horrible.  However, if this had been anything more important than a polyester fleece jacket, it would have been very aggravating.  In this case, there is a happy ending for this garment.  My byofriend (who actually wears a men's large) kindly volunteered to take this version, so I can make myself a properly fitting one while knowing this one still gets use.  It fits him much better...

... okay, a little better, but he at least doesn't mind the bagginess so much.  So something can still come of this jacket. It will be a little while before I get over my aggravation (with myself; there's nothing wrong with the pattern) to attempt to make a me-sized version. But it marks the day when I stop assuming that the pattern companies know anything about ease or that my measurements on the envelope mean anything at all.  I've got the measurements chart copied out of Fabulous Fit for Everyone and it's getting filled in today.  Or else. After that, I'll have absolutely no excuse for not knowing exactly how much ease is allowed in each part of every garment. 

Another little blip with this jacket came when I managed to slice a decent way into the body of my garment while serging a seam allowance!  (Side note: does anyone really do a double turned hem on fleece?  It seemed like it would have resulted in crazy thick seam intersections...)

Ack!  Of course this happened while sewing late at night, when I probably should have stopped already, but the damage was done.  I used my favorite method of mending straight tears, which is to butt the edges together, fuse a small piece of interfacing to the back, then go over the rip with the smallest zigzag stitch that's feasible for the particular fabric.
Voila!  Not quite good as new, but not too shabby.  For this one, it didn't matter too much because most of the tear ended up hidden in the seam allowance.  But it's a pretty slick trick if you're in a tight spot. 

Once I get my measurements all figured out, (which might require a post of its own - it's a very extensive chart!)  my next project will be New Look 6864.

 I'm planning on doing the view shown in white with black trim here.  I have a lovely turquoise print for this; the only problem is that it's a knit, while this is a pattern for wovens.  It's a very stiff knit, though, and I'm planning on doing some muslins, as well as flat pattern measuring, of course!  :)  Happy Easter everyone!


  1. Good save on the jacket! I'm always terrified of this sort of thing when using the serger.

    I really like that maxi dress. If it's a stable knit I would have thought it would be ok. I have a couple of similar 70s maxi patterns that say you can use knits of wovens.

  2. Unfortunately, those types of serger screwups are all too common around my house; I just have a hard time keeping all the layers out of the way. That's good to know that those dresses can be made either way. There's not that much fitting to be done, really, so you'd think it wouldn't matter. I'm extra excited for the maxi because I've been hoarding the fabric for something awesome to come along. Hopefully the end product lives up to my expectations.

  3. I've used knits on woven patterns before. You will likely want to size down a little because you won't need the ease required for wovens to have freedom of movement. I'm actually wearing Lekala 5432 right now, first version was a woven as the pattern intended, then I made it in a knit without the zipper.

    1. Oh and I forgot to say the fleece jacket looks pretty good. Yes, exceptionally large on you, but sometimes an extra large jacket is just what you want around a camp fire (although I imagine that is not quite what you had in mind initially).

    2. That's definitely true. I guess I was being a little overdramatic about it.:) I know it's still definitely functional, but like you said, just not what I was hoping for. Thanks for the tip about sizing down, I'll have to think hard about the ease in my dress.