Getting the A-line Right

Some time in September, when I was pondering the significance of National Sewing Month, I decided I’d look into the Craftsy class I purchased a long time ago, about designing and sewing an A-line skirt with Deborah Moebes.

Over the years since I bought the class, I’ve been slowly buying all the requested supplies and materials called for: Swedish tracing paper, clear fashion design ruler with curves, bias binding maker: this is stuff I’ve never used before planning to make this skirt. But my hope was to make a skirt that really fits me, so maybe all the extra sewing paraphernalia would be essential.

First off, I take measurements of waist, hip, length, and projected hem circumference. Next, I quarter the horizontal measurements and mark them on the pattern. Then, I place pattern piece on muslin and cut out a front and a back and sew them together on the right side seam. On the left side, I sew an invisible zipper. [Craftsy plus: this lesson is extremely comprehensive when it comes to invisible zipper instructions.]

This is the muslin I ended up with:

muslin

muslin #1

Now, according to the directions, at this point you try on the muslin and figure out how deep of a dart you need to add to each quarter of the skirt. Or, if you need to add darts at all.

If you notice, this muslin looks rather tight and has horizontal stretch lines. According to page 205 of Sandra Betzina’s book, Fast Fit, a problem like this indicates someone might be lying about their waist measurement. 🙂 OK, I concede that might be the case here–I did measure before going out for my anniversary dinner at Embers Thursday night and then consumed a lot of bronzed Chilean sea bass with lobster mashed potatoes and shared a wedge of flourless Belgian chocolate torte with my DH…so I rechecked my measurements, and they were absolutely, undeniably what was shown on the pattern.

Fast Fit

Additional fitting help

So, did I miss a lesson on adding ease? Or do I need to rethink the whole issue of ease? Barbara Deckert’s book Sewing for Plus Sizes has a table on page 73 that gives minimum ease requirements for plus sizes. Have I gotten into a whole new ball game of ease requirements since my badonkydonk has gone up a bit in size?

 

Sewing for Plus Sizes

Deckert’s book

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I looked in my stash for a commercial skirt pattern to see how it compared with the sloper pattern I just made.

Simplicity skirt pattern

Simplicity skirt pattern

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I drafted a new sloper based on my measurements and the lines of the commercial pattern for the two different sizes that represent my waist and hips.

 

sloper pattern

The Craftsy sloper on top, the altered Commercial one on bottom

The picture shows a pretty big difference in sizes for the two different slopers. Also, the back piece of the commercial pattern was bigger than the front piece, whereas the Craftsy front and back pieces were the same size. I allowed for differences in the seam allowances and placements of the zipper.

muslin

Composite sloper muslin, darts added front and back

I should mention that the Simplicity pattern did not include darts in the front, only in back. I added the slim darts to the front because the skirt seemed to need them, what with the extra space on the pattern pieces and therefore extra fabric added. The “smile” lines across the lap area are not present in the second muslin. I’ve always heard the phrase “make a muslin” and thought, why? Surely it’s a waste of time and fabric and a zipper. But now I’m glad I went to the trouble of creating a second muslin. Why not? Better to tweak for fitting before cutting into that designer fabric.

The designer fabric was this Innocent Crush cotton velveteen by Anna Maria Horner I bought a few years ago.

A-line skirt

A-line skirt in Innocent Crush cotton velveteen

I just happened to have a sweater in the closet the same shade of red! What are the odds of that?

So, what did I learn here? 1) The sloper pattern made from the Craftsy lesson did not fit me well. Why not? Maybe because I’m not slim, my measurements and body shape are not a natural A-line, they’re maybe more like an O-line? 2) I did end up with a composite sloper pattern that fits me pretty good–at least until my next dinner at Embers. 3) I can try out the Craftsy class A-line pattern drafting method on the little girls whose measurements I copied down last summer. They need some of those cute little A-lines, too!

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. ethgran
    Oct 17, 2014 @ 11:18:19

    I expect to see you wearing that fancy outfit Sunday. Gorgeous, Hon. When I took a Tailoring Class when I was a senior in HS we had to make a muslin for the Big Project. I used a medium weight cotton in pink as my muslin because my mother said I would be able to wear it – I did – a lot. I did the finished project in an apricot (Orange!! Me?) wool which was lined and discovered that wool is so much more delightful to work with than cotton. I have no recollection of ever wearing that dress but I’m sure I did. I haven’t made a muslin since then but am starting to wonder if I should again now that my badonkeydonk has gone wonky. Not having made myself much in the past 16 gluten floggy years – I am out of touch with my shape!

    Reply

  2. jenyjenny
    Oct 17, 2014 @ 14:47:00

    Thank you—I guess my biggest obstacle is realizing that I’m actually not losing that extra weight like I keep saying I’m going to do, and until I do, my clothes need to be adjusted…or else keep showing up in my stretchy gym clothes in public 🙂

    Reply

  3. writenlive
    Dec 07, 2014 @ 22:42:25

    Wow! It was really interesting going with you step by step. It was almost as if i were looking over your shoulder. Lots of hard work and patience required for sewing.

    Reply

  4. Trackback: Best (?), with Remnants | Project Remnant Redo

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