With my birthday money I purchased a copy of The Colette sewing handbook. My intention is to get good at the basics including altering and fitting and then start buying a few 1940's/50's vintage dress patterns as the styles are far better suited to my body shape than todays fashions.
I have had a go at grading up two patterns I already had and had a small degree of success (my Christmas dress I graded up too big, and the other dress I have made needs me to sort out how to grade the bottom half to match the top when the measurements of my body dont match the pattern top and bottom. But at least I have started the learning curve.
The first pattern in the book is the meringue skirt. The patterns in the book go up to size 18 which measure 2 inches too small on the waist for me and 4 inches too wide on the hips, so while I am still searching for a suitable fabric I thought this afternoon I would have a bash at altering the pattern peices.
It turns out to be quite a monumental task. With the help of the book it would seem I have to
- cut out and trace the pattern so that I can preserve the original pattern pieces that come with the book
- use the slash and pivot method of altering to make the waist bigger (I have decided to leave the hips for now as it is an A line skirt and should take the difference, no idea if this is right but for now ...)
- slash and lenghten pattern as I dont like just above knee length and want it a bit longer.
- change the waist from a simple facing to a waist band which is a whole lot more of altering and redrawing a la tutorial on Colettes blog.
- redraw the whole pattern out again as by now its probably going to have more cellotape than paper holding it all together
And thats before I even get near to a bit of fabric. Phew!
Its a steep learning curve and very labour intensive but hopefully worth the effort when I finally get a wardrobe full of clothes that I actually like and which fit.