July 2, 2013

Why I love StyleArc Patterns

I love StyleArc Patterns.  Even though they come from half way around the world and they are single sized and they same cost as a Vogue Pattern, I love them. Why?  Because they fit!  And fit is worth the cost and the wait.  I can do the same thing to each pants pattern (shorten the leg 4", tilt the back 1", lower the front 1/2") and they fit.  I don't have to guess.  I don't have to hope they will fit.  They will. They might not have been the best style choice (LOL--having some issues with that at the moment) but they fit. 

To test this out, I just made the Laura Knit Leggings.  I was lazy so I didn't shorten the legs, but I did add the inch at the center back, and lower the front the 1/2" as usual.  I also used wider elastic, which puts the waist slightly lower than the expected spot, which is fine.  And, they fit perfectly. Well, except for the fact I need to shorten the legs 4" because I didn't do that when I started.  Now, I have to admit that leggings are probably not the best 'fashion' choice for my body, but I want exercise wear.  And I'm on a RTW fast, so that means making legging shorts for exercise class.  So, this is my test run pair:

Hmm, Iphone photos are much more challenging than I imagined
and wow, I need to tidy next time!
Laura leggings
Pattern: Laura Knit leggings, size 18.  The pattern includes a couple of length options, but it is really a doll clothes kind of pattern--one piece, sew it up.  When I ordered, I went up one size from my usual size because I am not comfortable with the very very tight look of fashion leggings.  This was a good choice, and something I would do again for a very tight fitting garment.  It does mean that there are wrinkles on the knees because they are looser than the fashion dictates. But, they are comfortable.

Fabric:  1 1/3 y  of  very old stash knit, thick ribbing style.

Notions: Thread, and 28 inches of 1 1/2" elastic for the waistband

Pattern Alterations: I added 1" to the center back rise, and lowered the center front rise 1/2".  Next pair I will also cut 4" off the leg length to make them the correct length.  The pooling is cute, though.

Comments:  I would highly recommend this pattern.  I love the fact that it is 'doll clothes'--as long as you pick the right size, and know the changes you need, the garment will fit.  The leggings are surprisingly comfortable.  Just be careful in your fabric choice, and pick very stretchy fabric, with good recovery.

I will be making these again.  The next pair is going to be some fleece lycra four way stretch, and then I'm making exercise shorts.

Wishful thinking, or Did I ever talk about SWAP?

A number of us have been reflecting on SWAP over at Artisan's square, and why we finished, or didn't, as the case may be.  Now, dear reader, I have to tell you that SWAP is worth doing, and I love it.  It helps you plan.  It makes things work.  And, there are clothes that I still wear from my very first black and white swap so many years ago.

But, this year's swap was a failure for me.  Not because I didn't have time like last year (I did), but because I violated that first rule of all sewing and fashion: know thyself.  Or, to put it more positively:  Dress what you have, not what you wish you were.  And, it is a sad fact, when looking in the mirror, that the very 'in look of the drop shoulder' does not flatter me in the least.  All of my swap was based on that look. 

This failure to finish is not the fault of swap.  I did not use the tools I have to make better design choices.  The clothes I made fit very well.  They just don't look awesome or wonderful on me.  This could have been prevented by using a personal croquis, and testing it all out in drawing.  A design course I took long ago taught me that you can tell if you will like something if you draw it out and like the design, and I have found that to be very true.  And a fashion drawing can head off many a fashion failure like this. 

My sister, who is a lovely fine boned rectangle, has inherited two of the pieces I made, and all the patterns, and is thrilled to pieces with them.  She rocks the dress that made me look like I was wearing a sac (still makes me want to cry that the dress did not work for me).  She was thrilled beyond words to get the patterns.  And I have decided that I will bite the bullet and make a proper croquis in the next week so that I have a better idea of what works for me.