My Fearless February challenge was to conquer my fear of pattern drafting and draft a pencil skirt pattern to fit my curves.
This is what I posted I was going to do so I would DO IT… I thought if I shared my fear it help help me conquer it and you know what… it’s working LOL
This is the first time I’ve ever drafted a pattern and thought it would be the perfect project for Fearless February as at the time I was embarking on making my first pencil skirt for a Sewing Dare. And as I had to make a few modifications to the pattern to get it to fit I thought to myself I can’t wait until I’m able to draft a skirt pattern of my own to fit me and my curves just right. Then I had a lightbulb moment and thought why not give this a shot for Fearless February as I’ve got nothing to lose and a new skill to add to my arsenal of sewing skills.
So off I headed and reached for a book I’d purchased online a few months ago by Helen Josheph-Armstrong Patternmaking for Fashion Design 5th Edition
With my Fearless February challenge and courage thanks to Victoria from Ten Thousand Hours of Sewing (who instigated the Sew-Along and all my online sewing friends supporting me I knew I could do this… so out came Helen’s book so I could get stuck in and make this pattern. I started reading and then as I was reading the instructions thoughts of “OH NO this is too hard why did I say I’d do this… Why didn’t I pick something easier” started running through my mind.
I had to conquer this fear… I had put this out for the whole WWW to see… how could I not now do this?? There it was for everyone to see… I put my hand up and I just had to conquer this fear once and for all!
These crazy mind games crept into my little ole’ brain and I put that book back on the shelf so many times and then it sat by my side everyday while I Googled about drafting a pencil skirt and I read so many blog posts and the more I read the more I thought I really do just need to do this and stop procrastinating.
Then finally I said to myself “Just follow what that darn book says and stop playing games and wasting time… just follow step by step what’s in the book and DO IT!“
So armed once more with my book I headed off to my sewing room and whipped out my measuring tape again along with my pencils, pens, rulers, rubbers, tracing paper, pattern paper and anything and everything I thought I was going to need to tackle this challenge and make myself a pencil skirt pattern!
I was doing this… I was now on a mission and you know what it’s like when a woman sets her mind to do something… There’s no stopping her and look out if you get in her way LOL…
I finally had the determination of a wild lion and I was ready to take a giant leap and attack this challenge once and for all!
This is the dress I made for Jungle January… and this is how I was feeling when I made up my mind I was going to finally conquer this fear of drafting a pattern!
Now here’s where I’m at with drafting a pencil skirt pattern…
I finally have a pattern and a muslin that fits… how exciting… I did it… I conquered my fear and I drafted that little baby!
The fit isn’t quite perfect yet although the front is sitting really well and I still have a few minor adjustments to make to the back but it’s so close and I’m almost jumping out of my
skin curves already!
The reason the front is sitting so well is from a simple discovery… I have a little problem called “Pelvic Tilt”
My Pin Pal Patty Sampson at Village Dressmaker (Patty came up the term Pin Pal and don’t you just love it!) gave me some tips after she had noticed from a few of my past blog pictures that I may have Pelvic Tilt. Patty is so observant and has a keen eye for picking these things up as she’s an extremely experienced dressmaker with many years of experience making custom fitting clothing including wedding dresses.
Patty let me know how to check and identify if I had Pelvic Tilt and also how to alter a pattern to accomodate for it. I ask Patty if I could share this information with you as I thought it could be helpful for anyone else who may want to check to see if they have the same issue and if so how to adjust for it.
This is what Patty shared about identifying and adjusting a pattern for Pelvic Tilt
“A good indicator of this fitting challenge is if you put on a straight skirt and then stand sideways looking in a full length mirror. If the side seams don’t hang perpendicular to the floor then there should be an alteration done to the pattern pieces prior to cutting out a skirt (this goes for pants, also). I think that you may notice that your side seams curve toward the back a bit toward the hem. If this is the case chances are that your waist is not horizontal to the floor. This is really quite common, and it is easy to alter for that when making a skirt…more difficult when altering a ready-to-wear skirt.
Should this be something you notice when looking in the mirror here is the fix.
Alter your skirt pattern in this way….the front pattern piece should be lowered by about 3/4″ to 1″ across the top of the skirt making a gentle arc that goes from side seam to side seam. This essentially removes some of the length of the skirt front but at the top where it is needed. The goal of sewing is to have the grain lines of the fabric horizontal and perpendicular to the floor. If the front waist is lower than the back, or if there is one high hip, or a number of other posture deviations then the fabric will not hang properly.”
Armed with my new found knowledge off I went to check myself in the mirror and check I did… I checked from every angle taking close notice of my waistline and low and behold I discovered I discovered I have a Pelvic Tilt and it was so obvious now that I knew what to look for.
I went and found a skirt that had a stripe that I could use as a guide while I stood sideways in front of the mirror…. and there it was I could see I had a Pelvic Tilt by the way the seam line on the skirt was sitting under the bottom of my shirt… Patty was right!
Here you can clearly see that the front drops down in the centre and comes up at the sides… I was actually getting excited about this as I was thinking to myself… this is probably why I’ve had such a hard time getting patterns to fit me right around the waist… here I was all along thinking it was simply because I had a tummy I had to cater for… yeh I know I still have a tummy but it wasn’t only my tummy that was causing the issues for me and now I also had a solution to help me… YEAH!
Here’s a close up shot… you can clearly see the seam line on the skirt sloping down in the centre right under my tummy.
Simply by pulling up the waistband in the centre front of the skirt you can see it makes the seam on the skirt now sit horizontal making the grainline horizontal and the hemline actually sits straight also.
Here’s a close up shot of the skirt seam line and how it now sits straight simply by pulling up the waistband in the centre front…. what a difference it makes!
Now armed with this new found knowledge I went back to my paper pattern pieces and made the adjustments exactly how Patty explained them and cut out my pattern ready for my muslin… I was getting so excited now and couldn’t wait to cut out my muslin and sew this little baby up.
Final pattern adjustments were made… as you can see I’d made others before I discovered I had Pelvic Tilt and how to adjust my pattern for it. I tried on my paper pattern and I was now sure this was going to sit so much better.
By making the adjustment to cater to my pelvic tilt ook at how well the front of this skirt sites around my waistline and it’s on grain… all thanks to Patty!
The only adjustments I had to make to the muslin front was take in the side seams a little as you can see in the picture below where the second row of basted stitches for the side seam now sit… and oh how good do those front darts look?
It think the front is sitting pretty good now on my tummy and is falling perfectly. The darts also seem to be placed well and their length seems to sit in just the right place.
Here’s the view from the back… as you can see there’s a little excess fabric that I need to take out… which I’ll take out of the side seams without taking any out of the front.
Once I adjust the side seams I’ll then review how the darts are sitting. I only want to make one adjustment at a time and check on the progress of the fit as I go.
The side seam is now sitting perfectly vertical… and hopefully once the excess fabric is removed from the rear I’ll check again to ensure the side seams are sitting right. When I get all the top sections of the skirt right I’ll straighten the hemline.
As you can see I’ve made great progress with my Fearless February challenge and I know I’m going to have a great go to skirt pattern block that I’ll be able to use over and over again and will be able to whip up a pencil skirt anytime and know that I’ll be able to get a great fit and adjust for any body changes that may happen over the coming years.
A little distraction has come my way…
We’re currently experiencing an extreme cyclone “Cyclone Rusty” and to help take my mind of things I decided to have a little fun and make Zoe a little dress… as she was so envious after seeing the cute little outfits her Super Sewing Hero Kitty was wearing when he received his awards that she wanted an outfit as well.
Here’s what I made her from a pattern I drafted
Zoe’s happy now that she has a cute little outfit… and friend Kitty gave her “4 Paws Up” for it via Facebook.
Sometimes it’s nice to have a little distraction and this was definitely a project that was fun and helped take my mind of the cyclone for a while.
If you’re participating in the Fearless February challenge I hope you are making great progress too and are glad you decided to take on the challenge.
Also if you haven’t met Patty Sampson yet please drop by her new blog and say “Hello” I’m sure she’d love to meet you :)