Well if you are a fellow sewist / blogger type person, you would have to have been locked in a dark room to not have seen the new book from Tilly and the Buttons called Love at First Stitch. I bought mine through Tilly’s shop and my signed copy dropped onto my doormat on Friday morning! It’s a great book, as Tilly says it’s the book she wishes she’d had when she started sewing and I can see why. It has really clear instructions accompanied by easy to follow photographs ( love that…can’t cook a recipe unless I can see what it’s supposed to look like!) which make all the difference in understanding something new. Although I’ve been sewing a loooonnnnggg time I was interested in seeing how this book would turn out. I only started blogging last August and it’s all still fairly new to me, but I can honestly say that Tilly’s site was one of the first I read and inspired me to claw back my long lost passion for sewing, so buying the book was something I was always going to do.
The ulterior motive though was the fact that there are 6 patterns in this book, not one or two…SIX!! Plus a tutorial for the Brigitte scarf. Have you seen the skirt on the cover!? Anyway having pored over the book most of Saturday morning instead of doing the cleaning, (dust? What dust?) I decided I needed to make the Megan…
This dress is brilliant, I love it. It’s a classic shape, the pattern is very easy to follow and is really well drafted. I read with interest Alana’s from Lazy Stitching’s post on ‘a curvy perspective’ on Tilly’s book, I wondered whether the patterns would work for someone like me, 5’10” size 18/20, but do you know what? It doesn’t matter what size I am, all the wonderful blogs I read are of people of all shapes and sizes and regardless of whether you would label them ‘plus size’ or not they ALL talk about alterations they make to patterns to make them their own and to make them fit. I’m developing my own formula for dresses. I need to cut a size 16 neck and shoulders, grade out to an 18 under the arm, probably do an FBA and grade out a couple of centimetres at the hip beyond the 18. I need an inch extra length in the bodice and a few on the skirt length for my preferred length. This is now just something I need to do to patterns much the same as other people will shorten, grade out / in to make their pattern fit and that is part of the joy of making our own clothes. After some serious deliberation as to what to make first, I decided to make the Megan dress. I started with my high bust measurement which matched the size 6 on the pattern, traced the neck and shoulders in this size then out to an 8 under the arm (probably the only occasion I can say I’m a size 8!!!) as I need this size sleeve so I need the armhole to match, plus it gives me more room across the bust. However after measuring there wasn’t enough room, so I needed the FBA. Here’s what I did…
1. Cut a horizontal line through the middle of the dart from the side seam to the apex, cut a line vertically down from the apex to the waist seam and cut a diagonal line up towards the armhole leaving 1.5cm for the seam allowance.
2. Moved the pieces so the space between the two vertical parallel pieces is the amount of the FBA needed, in my case 1″
3. Cut a horizontal line across from the centre front so the waist pieces match.
4. Normally at this point I can stop and retrace my pattern piece, but I noticed that the dart was now quite big and the fabric I was using had a directional print, on a plain fabric it would not matter. To resolve this I moved the legs of the dart together which turned the dart into the waist seam. My intention then was to gather the excess created into the waist seam. My new pattern piece looked like this…
At this point I added 1″ in length, I’ve learned (to my cost!) to do the lengthening AFTER the FBA as the process give some extra length anyway, I added an inch, so did the same to the back pattern piece so the side seams were the same.
I have put the gather line in, it’s roughly a third of the length of the new pattern piece, keeping it flat under the arm and centre front, but you could have gathers all the way along if you wanted or even pleat it!
Phew! I’ve waffled on a bit there, hope it helps someone!! I am thrilled to bits with this dress, I wore it to work today and felt really smart in it and that’s what this sewing lark is all about isn’t it? To make us feel good??
Back to the book, I’m now looking at what to do next, Lilou is looking favourite. Two words to sum up this book?…Buy it.