Couture Lunacy

Exploring Fashion One Thread At A Time


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Outside the Fatosphere – Wake Up Call #812

For once the plea for help and justice may have been heard. I have been reading that plus size clothing made the runway at NYFW this year. This is very positive news, but more would be welcome.

I make clothes for one basic reason. Because I can’t find anything in the marketplace, excluding jeans and some bras, that doesn’t look horrific on my plus-sized frame. Usually the plus-sized clothes I see are made of incredibly cheap material, in patterns no one would want to wear and cut on the idea that a big dump of square cloth will fit someone who obviously doesn’t care about herself at all because she’s fat. None of these clothes take anything near style into consideration. Nor the fact that I clean up well, as my Dad used to say.

Fat is a word that has no good connotations at all. It either means stuff you eat which clogs up your heart causing you to die young, or it means that you are the opposite of the worshipped body of the eons, the thins. But there is a whole population of non-svelte women dying to find a great place to buy clothing. And the marketplace is keeping them out. Why would this be? Isn’t there just one or two or maybe even three companies that would like to make a lot of money with a built in repeat business? All it would take is clothing with exquisite construction and fit and that added ingredient of style.

This fat-thin complex has been going on in America for as long as I’ve been alive. There has never been a time in the roughly 55 years that I can recall where buying clothing made me feel good. Except for when I worked out at Nautilus and got my fleshiness into shape. I was still large by model standards at a size 12, but I was a compact size 12 and I certainly looked good. This wasn’t sustainable because eventually we moved, there was no Nautilus near me and I quit pumping iron and kept cooking.

The problem that I now face – and why I sew – is not only the incredible cost of decent, long wearing clothes, but the sheer impossibility of finding them. I don’t require much, but I do want to look stylish. And I do want the clothes to be made well. Designer made well, as in when you put it on, you feel fantastic.

When we first came back to the US, I did some in-the-mall shopping. I had to go up to the second floor of Macy’s (where it’s hidden away) to find the plus-size department.  I shuddered. The clothes were shapeless, made from polyester in bright colors. I could see someone who was in her 80s or 90s wearing these. I could not see myself in them.

To give you a general idea – look at this picture

Photo credit blousehouse.com

Photo credit blousehouse.com

Goodness. Square, no shape, gathers everywhere and guaranteed to make you look like a circus tent. And to top it all off? These blouses probably cost a fortune. I don’t know. I wouldn’t go look at these. The fabric is horrible. The colors are garish and I can’t imagine that the construction is worthwhile.

Similar tacky-looking clothes are out there on offer anywhere you want to look. I call it the Walmartization of plus size clothing. We’re letting someone in China make clothes for women with curves and they look bad. Although I will agree that even thin people can have a rough time buying clothing that fits their budget AND them at the same time.

Some of the companies complain that it’s just too expensive to make plus-size clothing because their patterns can only be sized up a certain amount before they need to draft new patterns and plus-size women don’t buy that many clothes. Ha. If you take a look at the above picture, you will see why. Why would anyone consent to wear something like that? And something like that can be found in almost any place that sells plus-sized clothing. It doesn’t have to be this way. We only need a few enthusiastic people to change course –

And it’s not just in the RTW sector of fashion that thin prevails either. Take a look someday at sewing patterns available for plus size women. They’re not a pretty sight. We could use some decent, complimentary patterns too ………….

If there are any clothing companies out there that want to design fantastic, flattering clothes for a real women with curves to match, let me know. I have a lot of good ideas –

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A Wear With Everything Hoodie

Today I’ll finish hemming my new shirt and put it in the closet, ready to wear. It’s so nice to look through my closet and see that almost everything in there was made by me. It gives me a great feeling.

It’s turned cold here in a hurry, as is usual in Maine. I’m reminded that I’m going to need a nice warm jacket to throw on over everything before we get to the OMG I have to wear a coat weather. So next on my make it list is this:

blackhoodie

 

I’ve made this pattern already in a red ponte with a hood lining that I’m not nuts about now, but I’ll wear it.

mccalls6614A

 

and the notion info on the pattern was wrong, so I bought a zipper two inches too short. The snap tape looks pretty cool though and since I have my new serger, I’m going to finish off all the seams again on the serger so it looks great inside too.

The one I’m going to start to wear everywhere will be in black double-knit with substantial body. I already have the zipper for it here:

zipper1

 

which will just add that little quirky bit of difference to the hoodie that I’m looking to get. The rest of the hoodie will be black – not going to do any contrast fabric for the inside of the hood. Also this one will be in a size that actually fits me rather than oversized as is the red jacket!

Many more on the make list …………… I also have some fantastic faux leather that I want to use for a jacket too. This is it

white gold

 

This is outside my comfort zone weird wise. I think I can make it work though and the fabric is very soft and malleable so it will work up well. I think this calls for a Riri zipper – which is good because I need one for another outfit and I can get them together and save on shipping – more money for FABRIC!


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Working on a Sweater

bluesweater

 

Over the last couple of months, I have had no energy to start new projects. I’m treading water, waiting for enthusiasm to return. I don’t like being in these periods of stress, gloom and doom. But I am and there it is.

While I have toyed with ideas for shirts (gave it up), vests (gave it up), more shirts (gave it up), I have at least been able to continue knitting. It doesn’t require any effort for me. As long as I’m not under pressure for a deadline and as long as the knitting is easy. Very easy.

I started knitting around my birthday last year. I had learned the basic cast on and off technique as a teen, but I never followed a pattern or knit anything other than a scarf. It was so time-consuming! Now I am happy to be time-consumed because I have so much time on my hands.

This sweater is the Boxy by Joji from that I got from Ravelry. I had been working on a pink one but made so many mistakes that I knew I wouldn’t wear it. So I started this one – with the pattern and it’s requirements fresh in my mind. I know that I have to learn to do a three-needle bind off and I am committed to doing that. Doing it any other way distorts the pattern on the sleeves and shoulder.

Boxy_01_small_best_fit

 

I like this sweater a lot and I know once I conquer the binding off and getting all the pattern elements correct without making a major error, I will wear it.

Thank God knitting is something I can do to keep my hands, and my mind busy. Once again, having time off from visiting my husband at the nursing home, I’m in the sewing room waiting for inspiration to strike! With persistence, it will.


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Beautiful Seam Finishes and a Sheer Shirt

McCall's 6605

McCall’s 6605

 

I’ve wanted to get to this project ever since I finished the “muslin” using the sari silk, which you see here:

DSC_2098

I did totally finish this shirt with a tie at the neck and buttonholes. It fits very well and will be great under a cardigan for winter. The version in red above is slightly longer and has a nice collar. My only issue with this shirt is that I want all of the seams finished so they look great from the inside too. I didn’t have much luck with the Hong Kong seams on the silk as it added too much weight.

I’ve been thinking about doing french seams on the yoke gathers but I think that also will add more bulk than I want. I’m also going to add sleeves to the red version so it will be wearable with or without a sweater. And my fabric is sheer. Not too sheer, but sheer enough to need a nice finish on the inside.

I think I’ve finally figured this out! Whew, sewing involves so much thinking! I am going to line the yoke pieces which will very nicely cover all the seams and the shirt will look fantastic inside and out. I’m going to use a thin weight interfacing for the button band and some nice antique buttons for the front. I think it will be marvelous! Here’s the fabric I plan on using:

poly_navyflorlace

I will, of course, be wearing a navy cami underneath this. Gorgeous, don’t you think?


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It’s All Done! Style Arc May Top!

This top is fantastic. I wasn’t at all sure about it until I tried it on. Even seeing it on the dress form didn’t appeal to me that much. When I put it on I felt like I’d just gone out and bought a VERY nice top.

The fit is fat-lump skimming – if you know what I mean. One day – soon – I am going to get this stuff off – but until then I need clothes that make me look good. And this top does that.

The neck line is just a teensy bit low but nothing extreme, so it’s very wearable. Also that weird, hard to do seam under the bust means that it is very flattering. It hides the old tummy and it has a flattering A-line.

I hemmed it with a double needle which always turns out looking professional. I just have to keep reading the directions on how to thread the two needles because I don’t do it often enough to keep it in my head.

Here’s the pictures!!

And on another high note – I spoke to my husband just a few minutes ago and he’s doing well. He let’s me know that he likes where he’s at – that’s so good. I’m glad he’s adapting and I know I wouldn’t do it as well.

And on the second note? I have a job interview tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!!! I got the call at around noon today and I cannot. wait. I love that I will actually be able to work and my husband will be taken care of at the same time!

 


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I Take Back Everything I Said – Style Arc May Top

MAY-KNIT-TOP

 

Okay. Wow. I got the May top sewn together at the side seams and, of course, the sleeves on, and I tried it on! Wow again! It fits beautifully and it is SUPER CUTE.  I will have pictures this afternoon so you can all drool over this top!

The rest of the sewing was pretty easy – just sewing in sleeves and then doing the side seams. I did the side seams on my serger (!) and it was SO easy to use. I am in love with this top now and I plan to make many, many more – difficult under bust seam or not!


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May Top Back on the Sewing Machine!

MAY-KNIT-TOP

 

Hopefully I will get completed top pictures up tomorrow. Wow this was harder than I thought it would be. It’s that tricky little seam under the bust – you need GUMBY fingers to get that all neat and nice!

I cut the top out today out of a rayon/viscose that doesn’t roll. The neckband went on perfectly and it is nice and snug so there’s no gaping at all. Then I started on the weird wrap/seam.

First off, the seam allowance is only 1/4 inch. On the next top I’m going to add another 3/8 to the seam allowances to give me more to work with. Although I can’t add it at the weird seam thing, now can I? No.

The seam is gathered and that’s hard to do in a 1/4″ space. Then the horizontal seam which encloses the two wrapped over seams is also hard to get in to do because it’s basically just a hole in the middle of the shirt. Eeeeeek.

Anyway I have managed to get the seam done and the wrap is fine. I just don’t think I’d want to make a lot of these. Too nerve-wracking making sure I’ve not caught anything. A nice plain top with a yoke like the Laura Dress I cut shorter to make a top or another straight tee is more my speed.

I took the weird lycra/nylon out of the garbage. It dawned on me that I may be able to do it on the serger. Of course I still need to gather the under bust seam but I can do that with hand stitches. So we’ll see if that works next!