Saturday, 11 May 2013

Calling all curvy sewing fashionistas - warning - rant ahead

THIS MAKES MY BLOOD BOIL - does it make yours boil too? Or am I wanting too much?

Now I lurve a pattern that has a "Lifestyle Wardrobe" attached. One purchase - many coordinating looks.

Here is what Buttericks have brought out for us plus sized ladies - behold the plus sized Lifestyle Wardrobe .... drum roll please



Apologies for the last 2 blurry pics - apparently Buttericks  don't even want to give us good pictures - that is the best I can do.

I can't apologise for the appalling shapeless sack-like clothes - that is all on Buttericks.  Is it just me? Or does that look like it would look good on..... well .... nothing.

These go up to my size but I would rather wear a bed sheet!


Here is what they have for their regular sizes in the Lifestyle Wardrobe.


Sassy and smart.

Why oh why can't they just make these in the larger sizes? This goes up to size 22 - much too small for me - but jeeze I can see myself in these. Yes I would make the dress, skirt and jacket a tad longer but I love this look.

I know I am trying to get fit right but when they start off giving you patterns with NO waist at all - well poo to them!

My curvy sisters - is it just me???? And what can we do about it? Can we start an online petition - anyone know how to do that - and would it matter.

Sorry - my nose is severely out of joint! And what infuriates me even more is that - in my opinion - very few people will actually purchase the atrocious plus sized wardrobe so Buttericks will no doubt not blame their pattern but believe that there is not much of a market for up to size 32.

I am sorry if you actually like the plus sized wardrobe - and PLEASE let me know if you do - that will teach me not to assume - I am really interested in your thoughts.

On the positive side - the lovely JuliN has awarded me a versatile blogger award which I am thrilled to receive (can't help it - I am a sucker for an award) and I will post more when my blood stops boiling about this. 

33 comments:

  1. Couldnt agree more. Shapeless and uninspiring. Beajay until the pattern companies get there fingers out and create something better, you might want to think about metric pattern cutting, its time consuming but you will get exactly what you want in your size. Im behind you on the petition, considering the average dress size is a 16 I think they need to have a rethink.
    Pat on the back for that award:->

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    1. Metric pattern cutting - not sure what that is - I will have to investigate. Thanks for the Info Louise.

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  3. Im much better with a sewing machine that computer, didnt refresh my page so duplicated my reply. Metric pattern cutting is where you make you basic blocks ie dress, trouser, blouse, skirt, shaped from you measurements. Once you have this shape right (abit like you did with the dress shape you perfected) you then build your desired style from these block pieces add details, its quite involved but could be worthwhile for you. Hope that helps.

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  4. I agree with you, I would not buy or sew any of the clothes in that first pattern, too shapeless/blocky for me. The second pattern is a lot nicer, looks fitted and smart. This all reminds me off why I started sewing, I got so frustrated with the RTW clothes in plus sizes, I found them all shapeless and unflattering which made shopping a nightmare (yay for sewing!)

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  5. That first wardrobe is really unimaginative. Email the companies, they deserve to know what their customers want and don't most of us sew because we are non standard in some way? Or ditch them all and buy Burdastyle Plus magazines online. It would serve them right.

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  6. I so absolutely agree with you - it's like there's only one bodytype and one clothingstyle for +-women, should the pattern-making companies dictate it - and that would be 'Baggy-sack of potatoes'.
    I have to say Burda-style + also seams to lean toward the 'babby-sack-of-potatoes' as well, though they loners with great style in between.

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  7. First thing you're welcome BeaJay. Next, I think Louise is right and pattern grading is what may be next for you. I'm getting a bit disheartened with the lack of measurements, sizing discrepancies, and unimaginative pattern offerings of late don't care to buy what doesn't even look good on the envelope. I'm hoping to get slopers/ blocks that fit me and then I can pattern fu with the best of them -- like Carolyn!

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  8. BeaJay, I can totally see you in that second wardrobe. You'd look lovely in the jacket and dress. I agree with the previous posters about developing a slower, then modifying that (or at least using it to adjust commercial patterns). I'm cutting a few corners and am having success lately with the Sure Fit Design system.

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  9. Threads has had some very good articles on pattern grading. Here are some that I bookmarked on my Threads archive DVD that may be helpful to you BeaJay (or there may be something similar online):
    Issue 76, page 58; Sizing up to Plus Sizes
    Issue 79, pg 48; Your Sloper as a Fitting Tool
    Issue 83, pg 61; Your Sloper as a Fitting Tool, part 2
    Issue 101, pg 66; Making Sense of Pattern Grading
    Issue 139, pg 44; For a Personalized Fit, Grade It! (this one is just about grading pants patterns).

    Personally, I like Issue 101's article best as it has the clearest illustrations/instructions and I get confused really easily! Lynda Maynard's e-book De-Mystifying Fit has really helped me too, but it took a while for what I read to make sense to me. It's very similar to the articles in Issues 79 and 83, but with more body types and many many more illustrations which is helpful. I hope this info is useful, BeaJay!

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  10. I always like a photo on the front of a pattern...shows you the real story. And that one's a beauty. What a shocker! If it looks that bad on a MODEL, god help the rest of us. Although when I looked at Butterick's website, the line drawing looks much better so maybe it could be altered & given some shape?

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  11. Oh! I have had to move the dachshund to type with more gusto over this. You have another villager ready to grab her torch and pitchfork with you! Nothing frosts me more than being told tht I'm not allowed darts, tucks or shaping because I am over a 10?! I don't buy plus sized patterns for this reason. I'd rather grade up as much as my skills allow then be told that I am doomed to an elastic waist. This muumuu perpetuation for plusers is criminal- espercially from a company that is about fit and creation. I don't even look at that section of the pattern book for fear my left eye will explode with hostility. I sew because I don't want RYW telling me to basically put a sack on it, how dare a pattern company do it.

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  12. I saw that pattern and went right past it. I got frustrated with learning to fit my body and depending on commercial patterns. I started using a computer pattern drafting program because I'm on the upper end of plus size. It had been a struggle to learn the program until I had a lightbulb moment. I realized I am drafting a pattern and making the same decisions that I would if I was hand drafting. The only difference is the computer does some of the work and gives me a starting point. I still have to tweak the pattern and make muslins but it is less frustrating than depending on commercial patterns.

    Of course I still buy way too many patterns because I love patterns. My goal is to combine the commercial pattern with my drafted pattern.

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  13. I would love to see you investigate the Artisan's Square thread on Sure Fit Designs (and you can also find a lot of videos on YouTube). I love Glenda's easy way to fit a basic "blueprint" of bodice, skirt, and pants. Once you have those, you modify any pattern to your blueprint and your imagination is the limit!

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  14. No girlfriend, it is definitely not only you! I noticed this long, long ago when shopping for bras for my very full bust. The full-figured bras came in three colors: black, beige, and white. No lace, bows, or flowers. The tiny, padded bras came in all kinds of colors, prints, etc. What? Busty chicks can't have pink, lacy bras? Nowadays, there is certainly much more variety in full-figured bras, but for a while I couldn't find anything remotely resembling anything on the color wheel.

    As for clothing, I've also noticed that plus-sized patterns are shapeless and uninteresting. The styling is flat, colors are boring, and the proportions seem off. In the two patterns you featured, both models appear to be the same height. Yet, the black dress stops mid-calf and makes her look heavier. The view from the back is just all kinds of wrong. Can I get a dart please?

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  15. ok, in the minority here, but I think it has a classic appeal, which suits some but not others.

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  16. ok, in the minority here, but I think it has a classic appeal, which suits some but not others.

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  17. Beverly, those patterns do no favor to anybody. Ottobre and Burda have really stylish plus size patterns. Tracing might be nightmarish at first but once you get the hang of it, it gets easier..

    I Catch myself drooling at the plus size patterns in my small Burda magazine collection... Maybe someday I'll learn to grade and get to use them in my size.

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  18. I wouldn't buy the plus size wardrobe pattern either because it is unappealing. Even after looking at the line drawings I'm unimpressed with the pattern. However, you know that I'm going to suggest that you purchase the pattern you like and use your TNT dress pattern as the basis for making the dress you do like. Do you have a jacket pattern that fits well that you can use as the basis for making the jacket in the wardrobe pattern too?

    Personally, I've given up on ranting to the pattern companies and the RTW manufacturers. It doesn't seem to help and I'm tired of the responses which never seem to hear our pain, just to tell us that we're being negative. Plus I can sew and its a better use of my time to take my TNT patterns, make some modifications to them, to get the look I want.

    I now vote with my dollars...and I really don't think the pattern companies will stop making crappy patterns whether we buy them or not!

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  19. I wouldn't be so bothered by the shapeless, square jackets and dresses offered in plus-sizes if they were accompanied by the other, fitted patterns as an option. Since they often aren't, it feels pretty offensive. Even though the response from companies seems to be that they don't think there's a market for plus-sized, I'm inclined toward the conspiracy theory option that says there are people in the fashion/pattern industry that don't want to see plus-size shapes and would rather they were covered in sacks, but the truth is probably more along the lines of software capacity and industry know-how. I'd be willing to assume that the main people drafting and grading those shaped styles wouldn't know how to draft or grade over a size 22, so they pretend they don't need to.

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  20. I like the dress and loathe the rest. Collarless jacket? Really?? WHO looks good in one of those? These patterns have also always said to me, "Luv, you're dumpy and we can't be arsed working out proportions for you dumpy sheilas so here's a sack. And we assume you're all a bit thick too, you dumpy sheilas, so we don't want to to put anything on it that is too hard to do, or you might get upset and eat a king size chocolate bar"
    Burda is the only commercial pattern company that seems to come out with imaginative styles in large sizes, and also to make sizing that is realistic. Something I noticed in the larger size boutique shops in the UK was that the labels out of Scandinavia and Germany were gorgeous! I bought the most fabulous shirt in one, half what it would have been in a shop here, and so much work and detail in it too.
    The thing is, even if they DID make that pattern in a 22+ range, the proportions would be bound to be whacked out. Look at the two of us - we are opposites in shape - either I would have to drastically reduce the bust and let out the base, or you would have to do a FBA and take in the bottom. The differences in measurements in larger size women are much greater than in little ones, so it's much harder to hit on a size that is a reasonable starting point. Not that this is an excuse - people like Steph at Cake patterns is all over sorting out how to make this work for everyone, but the big 4 ain't going to be bothered with that malarky.
    I used to get angry about this, now I can't be arsed either. I know enough to get myself and my customers out of the vicious circle. I've though many times, and made half hearted attempts sometimes, to make a line of clothes but my heart is in bespoke land and always will be.
    But I'll stand at the back with a pitch fork and go GRRRRR for you!

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  21. I was just telling one of my sewing buddies today how it is a shame that the big 4 pattern companies don't come in larger sizes. If I can grade it up to my size why can't the professional designer(s)? Like Towanda, I purchased PMB to draft my patterns and learned the hard way that it is not a magic bullet. You still have to make adjustments and make a muslin. Like Carolyn, I'm on my way to having TNTs that I can use to make the smaller size pattern work for me. I totally would not purchase that shapeless Lifestyle pattern. I usually purchase the largest size pattern and grade up to fit me.

    I can honestly say, I am so thankful that I can sew. I can make garments that fit me!

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  22. You know, on my blog, I am constantly moaning about patterns for all sizes that are designed as one friend calls them "to wrap around packing boxes"...they just make the boxes bigger for plus size. I'm with Maryanne on the pattern makers attitude toward anyone over a size 20, hell some private companies stop at 16...16....that is the national average in the US, so like forget the rest! Finding a sewing buddy who will work with you to make a duct tape dummy or fitting sloper would be ideal if you can find someone with skills not afraid to slash and spread. Years ago Delta Burke had her own patterns from the Big 4 but I have not seen them around for a while. Until the pattern makers can come up with something new and flattering I'd bombard them with letters and photos of what you really really want and avoid all potato sack styles!

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  23. Hi Beajay, what the heck are those pattern companies thinking? The jacket from the first group of pics can make ANY woman look frumpy! I can easily envision you in the safari jacket, so you!

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  24. Hear, hear! I said something quite similar to a friend when I first saw this pattern -- uninspiring design to begin with, then styled totally blah and with no color. I can't stand most plus-sized patterns, and they don't fit me right anyway; that's why I just learned how to resize regular patterns to fit me. Wasn't easy but worth it!! I absolutely was unwilling to limit myself to the few styles of ugliness that pattern companies felt was appropriate for my curvier self.

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  25. Amen girlfriend. You are absolutely right. I am a curvy women and I am so tired of everything made for my size RTW or patterns looking like a sack. I am big and I know it, but doesn't mean I don't like to be dressed nice and look good. Is it that hard to design patterns to meet the needs of us curvy women that is stylish. Look around people, there is more curvy women in the world than perfect figures. Can't you meet our needs also.......

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  26. LOVE what you're saying! That plus-size pattern is hideous, it's not even classic to me, it's just wrong. We've got a three problems here. First, they used a model who is probably "big" to them but a size 12 in the real world. So they need to get some real women in there which would probably make them break out in hives. Second, we've STILL got a society that thinks anyone over a size 12 is LARGE. Heard the statements from the CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch lately? I wrote him a lovely little letter over his stupidity. And finally, until we really DO let the pattern companies know that they have this underserved market they're going to assign the task of drafting a larger women's wardrobe to some fashion school Christian Siriano wannabe (remember his pouts when he had to dress the 'heavy' girl on PR?) intern and we are NEVER going to be well represented. We need to have some blogger a la Gertie who is at least a size 16 to 20 do the same thing Gertie is doing. If you want to start an online letter to Vogue/Butterick I'll sign : ) Shoot, I'd even contemplate delivering by hand in some fabulous not-size-6 outfit to make the point!

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  27. As a sewing beginner, I find this interesting. I'm a plus size petite (16WP in RTW), not so much an hourglass as a figure 8 (I'm short and curvy). If you want to have trouble finding clothes that fit, try that combination! It's one reason I am learning to sew in the first place. While many plus sized patterns in my size seem designed for a taller and larger framed person altogether, I've been a little surprised at how many patterns DON'T come in my size at all. And I'm no where near good enough yet to draft up. While I have found some nice options, it can be discouraging to find a lot of cute patterns stop at the equivalent of RTW size 14 (or even 12!). As many plus sized women as there are in the world these days, you would think we would be a great potential market for good designers and visionary pattern companies. In the meantime, I will keep sewing and learning. I have several patterns in my stash still to be sewn (and as slow as I am, that may take awhile). I hope eventually to learn to make changes in the patterns to make most of the ones I like fit me.

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  28. Beajay. These styles do nothing for the model so I can't see they do anything for others.

    How about when we're at our sewing group, we just work on styles that suit you and get used to some easy pattern drafting. And think of this as the usual adjustments.
    I'll bring my reference books and heaps of enthusiasm for you:)

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  29. I think they fit and suit everyone equally badly! A sheet would be more of a fashion statement than these abominations

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  30. Amen and ditto! I am size 26/28 and 72 yrs old. I still want and will always want style in my clothes whether RTW or sewn by yours truly. I just ran on your blog and love it. Keep on sewing and blogging.

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  31. Amen and ditto! I am size 26/28 and 72 yrs old. I still want and will always want style in my clothes whether RTW or sewn by yours truly. I just ran on your blog and love it. Keep on sewing and blogging.

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