Friday, April 11, 2014

A Pile Of Patterns

What we think or what we know or what we believe is, in the end, of little consequence. The only consequence is what we do. - John Ruskin



... quit waiting for perfection, inspiration, permission, reassurance, someone to change, the right person to come along, the kids to leave home, a more favorable horoscope, the new administration to take over, an absence of risk, someone to discover you, a clear set of instructions, more self-confidence, the pain to go away. Get on with it already. - The Success Principles, Jack Canfield

We tend to think of books like The Success Principles as about establishing a career or making a million dollars or achieving some other more commonly accepted form of success. I think they're about far more than that. Success is individual. It is doing well in the areas that you want to do well in. For me, an area I want to achieve huge levels of success in is creativity. When I'm crabby, I feel like I'm barely making progress but when I sit back and look at all that I've achieved in the last few years especially, it's more valid that I'm making progress and that's something to celebrate.





This week, I've been making muslins. I pulled out a pile of patterns, traced the correct size, and one-by-one sewed the muslin, made notes about my observations, and then bagged the pattern, muslin, and observations up for future consideration. The muslins include three coats, a blouse, and five pairs of pants. I've come to an interesting conclusion.





Unless I am sewing a more artsy style of pant with a looser leg or unless I am making a pant with a trouser style leg, the success I want in terms of the way the garment hangs simply is not possible because I am far too curvy and not always in the right place. For instance, my derriere is flat and my calves protrude out further. There is no way to get rid of the wrinkling between the two without French seams or a horizontal seam of some kind. Horizontal seams are unusual below the butt and even a French seam would have to do a lot of curving to flow around my shape. Right now, I'm working on Burda 8157, a trouser style pant. I'm hopeful of taking this pattern forward into "real" fabric.



When there are too many curves to flow around, a form fitted garment is not nearly as flattering as showing some curves and skimming others. This is good learning. Not new. Simply a good reminder to concentrate my energy where it is most likely to succeed. I'm looking at the stack of patterns I still want to explore from that perspective. Reality is that I'm never going to be able to sew a pair of skinny or bootleg or straight leg jeans that fits me any better than RTW so I could save myself a lot of hassle and simply buy those and spend my sewing time where it is better maximized. I can see myself wearing jeans less and less often as I explore more fun and more flattering styles of pants. Or skirts.





Burda 8407 is a garment I immediately recognize as flattering to my figure and at the same time it offers opportunities to explore creativity in the way that I want to explore creativity. It seems to me that a component of success is to know the direction that you want to go in and to take action to actually go in that direction. In other words, to stop being all talk and no action. That's a lecture I have to give myself frequently. I can get bogged down in other interests and forget to push forward in this area. I've come up with five different scenarios for exploring this particular skirt pattern just from looking at the line drawing. These are good exercises in thinking creatively and now I need to take action to sew them out.

Planning has its place, but it must be kept in perspective. Some people spend their whole lives waiting for the perfect time to do something. There's rarely a "perfect" time to do anything. What is important is to just get started. Get into the game. Get on the playing field. Once you do, you will start to get feedback that will help you make the corrections you need to make to be successful. Once you are in action, you will start learning at a much more rapid rate. The Success Principles, Jack Canfield



My daughter once commented that for a person who sews as much as I do, I don't have a lot of clothing. This is true - partly because of my shifting size but mostly because I tend to enjoy following theories. I actually like figuring out the fitting skills needed to get a flat piece of fabric to fit around my curvy figure. It's a challenge. I can spend a lot of time making muslins to test theories and not nearly enough time sewing actual garments. After I finish the Burda pants muslin, I'll make one more of out of print McCalls 5592 because...





... this pattern has been the most successful jean style I've ever sewn. I spent a lot of time achieving the fit in the image above and then - of course - gained weight but that doesn't mean I can't get back there again. I think those jeans look pretty good.

Of all the muslins I've made so far, I'm not ready to take any of the pants forward but I liked all three of the jackets. The blouse has dolman sleeves and is loose through the shoulders and tight through the torso. With my previous dolman sleeve experience, you might wonder why I bothered only I've tried this garment on before and it was quite flattering. It's one of Diane's patterns and was available to try on at the Design Outside The Lines workshop. Her version was made from a very drapey fabric and had godets added to the princess seams so it was a lot curvier than my muslin is. To take the pattern forward, I'd need to do something similar and I may at some point down the road but what I really want to do right now is to work a little less on the fit aspect of sewing and a lot more on the creativity aspect. To accomplish that goal, I'm leaning toward patterns I recognize as flattering to me and my core group of T & T patterns.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - applied learning

10 comments:

  1. It is so refreshing to finally read someone who agrees with my theory that pants without back wrinkles can't be achieved for every style and every figure type. I decided that a while ago (my calves protrude too) and I found it really liberating.

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    1. LOL - I could get them to fit without back wrinkles but they definitely would be funny looking and not at all flattering. It is liberating to accept what doesn't work for me and to learn to maximize what does.

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    2. I've said this for a while and agree: some clothing will have wrinkles as we're trying to mold a two dimensional surface around a three dimensional figure. Wrinkles are going to happen or else we won't have movement. Hmm. That sounded kind of philosophical!

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    3. Painted on would definitely not be my best look. That did sound philosophical and not surprisingly so. I've learned a lot of life lessons from being creative.

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  2. Painted on pants--->recipe for some sort of infection. yuck. I like to be able to sit down also.

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  3. I do love those jeans on you! I think the whole idea that no garment should wrinkle in any way (like it's the sign of hideousness!) is totally nuts and it makes people like me (those who are compulsive to achieve order) insane. Fit is about much more than drag lines or the lack thereof.

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    1. I am - thankfully - coming out of the compulsively insane stage of my fitting journey and am far more realistic now. I ended up preferring the Burda jeans to the McCalls ones. The crotch curve was exactly mine which reinforces that posting I did a while ago about my Burda butt. I want to make them again with some variations with a tiny bit of tweaking.

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  4. The jeans are great. About the trousers/pants issue - sewing vs. RTW - maybe you could do what I did years ago. I had a great pair of linen dress pants. I would have loved them in several colors but my navy ones were the only choice. So, one day, I took them apart and made a pattern from them and was able to make myself several pair in other colors. And yes, I did put them back together - eventually. Nancy

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    1. I always laugh when I read that advice to copy your favourite pair of RTW because I've never had a favourite pair. The ones I sew are WAY better. For any of those tighter leg jeans, I can buy something good enough with wrinkles and four any trouser style ones I can sew them to fit well. I think that's a good compromise.

      Glad you got those pants back together. LOVE linen.

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Thanks for commenting. I appreciate the feedback and the creative conversation.