Sunday, 26 August 2012

Mini Wardrobe Contest - Key Item troubles.

Sometimes I think that I'm not cut out (ha ha) for sewing...

I am busily trying to get my key item done before the contest starts (as per the rules - or maybe not - who can decipher the rules????)  but my lack of experience seems to be getting in the way - again...

I am doing the Pamela's Patterns Cool Banded Cardigan as my key piece in a lovely knit that I purchased from the Remnants Warehouse. It is really a lovely fabric and I was hoping to get at least a muslin done today or even further today..

But alas... it was not to be.

I looked carefully at the pattern and measured it against myself and my sloper and decided that although Pamela was considerate enough to include a separate piece for full bust - I still needed to do an additional FBA as the largest size of the pattern was just still a tad smaller than I need.

So - I got out my trusty tracing paper, cardboard pinning board, scissors, sticky tape, rulers etc and checked the Palmer Pletsch DVD - Full Busted - again and spent considerable time doing an FBA and adjusting the back piece of the pattern to match the added length an FBA gives the front..

 All was looking good and I was happy with progress.

I put away my tracing paper, cardboard pinning board, sticky tape, rulers etc, got out my cutting board, rotary cutters, weights, aligned the fabric perfectly ready to cut and then luckily checked the pattern.

Do you notice the word BACK written on the pattern?? That's right - I gave myself a full bust adjustment on my back!!!

You know - after tracing the pattern pieces and then adjusting the back like it was the front and the front like it was the back - I seriously considered cutting it this way and wearing it back the front!! Start a new trend. But luckily sanity prevailed.

So - I then had to retrace and remark and redo the pattern adjustments...

Now I am too tired to cut fabric and sew. I don't want to make more mistakes.

My big question is - do I try to finish it by the end of the month or do I wait until next month to cut the material and try to do the five items in the one month. I can't sew at night as I am way too tired after training all day and I have limited day time hours to cut and sew.

Seriously - those rules have done my head in.

Until next time.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Where did I go wrong?

I'll tell you .... sizing. (Well - that is one of the areas anyway). It gets the better of me. I remember blogging my first finished garment (after all - it wasn't that long ago :-). Sherril commented "You are using a much too large pattern. Do a search for full-bust adjustment. Then get a few fitting books like Fit for Real People". So I learnt about choosing smaller patterns and doing FBAs. 

My first finished garment was a size 32 (according to my full bust measurement)...... The Abby cardigan a size 28 (according to my high bust measurement) and I am still having trouble with fit. You can see the back is still too big in the Abby cardi (prior post). So what I did was cut up one of my RTW tops and put it over the pattern and this is the result..

Now the pattern below does has a seam allowance - however the seam allowance is minimal (less than a centimetre). I have traced out the RTW top and that will become my sloper to put onto any knit pattern to see sizing. This will certainly help me to choose which size to cut and any grading. I am sure that there are more professional ways of doing this - tape measures and measurements etc, but measuring is not my strong suite. Now I feel a bit more confident making tops.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Pattern Review Mini Wardrobe Contest

Change of plans... I am not going to start sewing my cross over top as I am going to enter the PR mini wardrobe contest. As I have been madly creating wardrobe plans for the next year, I have decided to go ahead and use my plans for the contest.

So for the next 3 weeks I will be preparing... adjusting patterns, washing fabric and making muslins ready to kick off in September.... I have decided to start on the turquoise pallet and hopefully get through the 4 items required.

I haven't yet decided if I will sew my key item or buy it (already purchased a couple of options, just waiting for delivery - see below). However I do also want to make the Pamela's Patterns banded cardigan and I have some lovely cream material to do so.. I guess it will depend on how much pattern and material prep I can get through in the next 3 weeks (sounds like a long time but with work commitments etc - who knows!!!). Of course if I go with the purchased options I may have to sew up a quick tank top for my first wardrobe option.
Purchase option 1

Purchase option 2

The below is my board for the contest. I figure I can get 11 outfits out of the 5 items. I am not going to enter until I am sure I can complete because I have entered contests before and then life interrupted. So - fingers crossed.

Until next time...

Initial answer from Macy's and my response

Hi all,

I received this response from Macy's - which frankly is c--p. I have include my inital question and my response. Let's see if they get back to me.


Original Message Follows:


Comment: Hi, I haven’t ordered but want to. I have a question. Why are your products so much more for Australians that American? I started dress shopping and when I chose the dress the price changed from US$79 to AUS $95.20 which is $16 more which is almost 20% more. This happened with every item I chose. The dress for US$79 is One World Plus Size Dress, Sleeveless Sublimated-Print Maxi.

I would appreciate an explanation.

Thank you.

 Web ID: 686486

Dear Bea Jay

Thank you for your interest in

Please accept my personal apology for any inconvenience that you may have experienced due to the delay in our responding to your original e-mail. We wish to make sure that all inquiries receive the attention they require.

I am sorry for the inconvenience and confusion. We have only recently begun our international order service. We have chosen for our international partner, FiftyOne, which is a service that is experienced in international transactions and uses DHL as their shipper. FiftyOne takes care of the exchange currency and the shipping of our package to international customers.  At the time of your purchase, the exchange rate may have been different then the current exchange rate. FiftyOne access the exchange rate for your order at the time of its placement and processes the final amount of your order.

If you have any further questions, please email us at or contact us directly through Chat at on our website.  Chat hours are Monday through Friday 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM EST, Saturday 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM EST and Sunday 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM Eastern standard time.

Thank you,

Kandiss Benton

Internet Customer Service

My response

I am sorry but this answer does not fly. The Australian / USA exchange rate has been either on par or AUS dollar slightly above since the Financial Crisis hit. To have approx 20% difference between USA price and AUS price is a rip off and actually discriminates against Australians.

 I can understand the increased shipping charges but not the item charge.

Please see pictures below from Macy's own website. The first picture is as the webpage is loading clearly showing one price and then a massive increase in price in AUS dollars once the page has loaded. I just checked now and the prices are the same as when I took these screenshots yesterday so has nothing to do with exchange rate.

Here is the current exchange rate as of this minute – as you can see the AUS dollar is higher than the US dollar.

 (Inserted screen capture of currency converter)

Here the page is loading – showing $79.00

(Inserted screen capture of website)

Here is the price once the page loads

(Inserted screen capture of website)

When I saw this I blogged about it and received information from my American blog members that indeed it is $79 in the US plus the appropriate tax. As an international shopper I do not pay tax in the USA.

I have also received comments on my blog that the price escalates too for Canada and New Zealand.

I see this as a serious breach of Anti Discrimination laws and would like a honest answer to this.


Thursday, 9 August 2012

Request for a favour from my American friends

I have a favour to ask of any American bloggers out there. All I want is for you to check a price on a website..... why?

There has been much said of late in the Australian media how much more we pay for products than our overseas friends. Everything from petrol to clothing to food etc. Not to mention house prices which are astronomical here in Sydney.

This is why - unfortunately - we have started turning to the Internet to purchase overseas as even with shipping it is often much cheaper than we can buy here. Even downloads which cost nothing to ship is up to 50% more here in Oz than in the USA. Apparently the location of your computer shows up and Aussies are charged more because - get this - "we will pay more because we are used to paying more".

I have been looking at fashion for Pinterest - mainly as a inspiration for sewing. However I have come across a dress that I am thinking of purchasing.

This is in the Macy's plus sized department. When I click on the dress it shows as $79.00 whilst the page is loading. However once the page fully loads it strangely changes to AUD$95.20. Now this does not include shipping - which is $25 for the one dress - nor does it include any taxes to pay with customs and the Aussie dollar is slightly higher than the US dollar at the moment.

My questions to my American friends are:

1) Is this dress showing as $79.00 in America on the Macy's website?
2) If so, do you have to add tax to that amount - and is so - how much would you pay in full for this dress in the USA (not including shipping)?

Just interested. I am hoping the difference is the tax component as I believe in the US prices are quoted ex tax where in Aus prices are quoted tax inclusive.

If it is not this then I would like to know if we are expected to pay more.

Page is loading price $79

Page fully loaded - price AUD$95.20

Your help will be appreciated

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

A Jean by Any Other Name - will it look as sweet?

Being a plus plus plus size gal, I get my jeans where I can - whatever shops sell my size I buy. And I have been happy - but never really given different cuts of jeans any thought.

I stumbled across this site through Pinterest (my new obsession) and found it really interesting. Something my slimmer sisters may already know about. I will be photographing my butt more now (or my photographer will be). Especially after pucker butt photo on my last post.

Check out the jeans on Grasping for Objectivity Blog - it really shows how a good cut can change the look of a butt.

If anyone wants to check out my collection of Plus Sized fashion on Pinterest - I am under Bea Jay and my board is called My Plus Size Style. Or use the Follow me on Pinterest button on the right (fingers crossed it works).

Monday, 6 August 2012

Style Arc Abby Cardigan

As promised here are a couple of pictures wearing the Abby Cardigan - front and back. Next Abby I make I will definitely make longer and probably come down one size but add a full bust adjustment. The sleeves and back are a little big. I am still getting sizing right

Hmmm - photos are somewhat revealing aren't they - pant view from the back - not so good!!! Static electricity is a killer isn't it? Maybe I need a puckered butt adjustment - is there such a thing?? These pants are ready to wear but wearing out - so I am going to take them apart for a pant pattern. I am not quite up to crotch adjustments!!! Is anyone?

I have purchased some hi-tech matte hybrid crepe from EmmaOneSock. (their name for it - not mine). I don't know why it is called hi-tech - I am hoping that the fabric is like the fabric in the invisibility cloaks on Harry Potter and make all rolls, lumps and bumps disappear!  I saw it on Margy's blog A Fool for Fabric and knew I had to get me some. It was expensive - especially with the cost of shipping (apparently it is heavy) - but I desperately need new slacks... I purchased teal and navy and chocolate....

Next on the agenda is the start of my Spring wardrobe.

I am going to commence with a copy of a ready to wear top that is one of my favourites but again - wearing thin. (Notice it is BLACK!! Although it looks black and white it is actually a pale gold)

It is a boucle type?? knit (bubbly???) very comfortable but has risen up a little as my stomach has expanded out a lot!! It is a cross over. I am going to make it in the below material that is the same as the one in the Abby cardi but in blue. I will make it a bit longer (to cover pucker butt!)

Once I have the template for the slacks and top I will feel much better about using patterns and adjusting them.

Until next time.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

One pattern many looks FAIL! & S.W.A.P Swapped

(Warning warning: long blog - it has been a while!!!)

Well - I didn't get to do my one pattern many looks entries. First I had hurt my ankle, then visitors arrived... then I started preparing for sewing....

First - the border print didn't fit - the space between the border pattern was too small for the length of the top. Second - I forgot to gelatin the blue chiffon so it was running all around the table when I tried to cut it so I put it aside to pick up the white material. That cut well and I was happily sewing away........ only to find that I had sewed the sleeve on to the top inside out - with the overlocker!! My family thought this hilarious - not so much me.... I decided that I didn't like the material enough to sit there unpicking the overlocked stitches so I thought that obviously this competition was not for me!!!

Then I thought about what I wanted to sew and looked at my SWAP (Sewing with a Plan). Oh how uneducated I am in the ways of sewing! I thought I was so cool creating my SWAP earlier in the year. I, in my infinite newbie non-wisdom, thought that sewing with a plan meant - well - planning what you were going to sew for the next year. Little did I know that it was much more organised than that. That sewing with a plan involves creating a coordinated wardrobe - items that can be mixed and matched so that you end up with great many outfits to wear.

It has only been through reading other's blogs and the message boards at Pattern Review that I learnt the errors of my ways. And besides - my SWAP really wasn't working for me. I missed months and I changed my mind because of the siren call of new patterns and fabrics. Not only that but until the "mini wardrobe" month - nothing would match. Also, my previous SWAP used all my favourite fabrics and I am not yet at the stage where I want to use great material. You live and learn.

So I am going to swap my SWAP. It is a lady's prerogative to change her mind after all.

Why do a SWAP at at all?  Sewing a wardrobe is a big task. Especially for a beginner. The reason is my current wardrobe is not great. Most of it is old and black or if it isn't black it doesn't match with anything else. My wardrobes are busting at the seams with mostly unworn / unwearable clothes. I really do have very few wearable clothes. I am a business trainer that goes to many different organisations and teach everyone including directors of the business. I have been thinking for some time now that I have become lazy in my dressing - I pull out my black slacks (I have many different versions) and then pull out a top. I really need new clothes and to move away from black slacks. And also - what better way to learn? I am going to concentrate on business clothes and then once I have enough I am going to do a wardrobe clean out!

I am going to create a wardrobe based around basic colours. I remember reading Carolyn's Blog - Diary of a Sewing Fanatic where she had purchased 10 YARDS of ivory fabric. I thought to myself - why would anyone buy 10 yards of anything - let alone a plain colour????? Not that I was questioning Carolyn's choice at all - just didn't bear thinking about - when there is all that pretty patterned fabric around.. Now that I have cottoned on to what a SWAP should be, I have had to purchase more of the base colours fabrics that I had in my stash to create a wardrobe - it all makes sense now.

First I chose my fabrics for my base. I know that there are "colours" out there that are supposed to match you - Summer / Winter colours etc. However I haven't had my colours done and this is the fabric I have in my stash. I actually started choosing coordinating fabrics to buy a few months ago now so I have been purchasing with a purpose!

I have looked in my stash to see what coordinating fabrics I have and this is what I have come up with. I have made a wardrobe for each season with some items overlapping as they fit in both wardrobes.. I know I wanted to move away from black but my summer wardrobe is a lot of black and white as I think that it is very fresh looking.
These are my SWAPS. They will take me quite a while to get through (I am thinking years) but will give me clothes that actually coordinate - this will be a first for me.

The Autumn and Winter SWAPs are much more coordinated as I was originally going to start with those ones - until injuries occurred.

Will purchase lightweigh navy, chocolate and white slacks to go with summer

Now - I am sure I wont get through it all - that is not really my intent - and I have heard that people do get sick of their SWAPs but at least it will give me some where to start - some ideas that I can pick and choose from. I will probably only get through a few items from each season. But they will coordinate. The ones I will definitely do are the key items in all SWAPs and then I will try them on and think about the options on the SWAP that will go with them the best and sew as many as I can of those. I am also sure that I will take breaks from my swap when something catches my eye. I may even change the items as I go. I just needed a plan to start with.

I am definitely going to have to find myself a good teacher to help me get through it.

I would love some feedback. Apart from the massive amount of items - as I said - I am sure I won't get through it all - have I got it right this time? Will this work?

I have actually started on my winter SWAP and completed one item. Then I developed a massive pain in my chest - feeling like broken ribs but not tender to the touch. Doctor thinks it is a pinched nerve in my spine so off I went to have x-rays - seems I have lots of problems with my spine - worst being compression fractures of some vertebrae... Will need to have injections into the spine (ouch - putting it off and hoping pain will go away - nothing like being an ostrich) so after I completed this item - I haven't been able to sew. It looks like I will start again with my Spring collection since by the time I will be able to sew Winter will be drawing to a close.

Here is the item on Babs. On person photos when I am up to it.

Mignon knit from

It is the Style Arc Abby Cardigan. I am loving it. (not quite as shiny in life without flashbulbs going off!)  The fabric has a crushed look and and feels lovely. It is lighter in thickness than it looks and I have purchased it in red/blue and teal. I haven't hemmed it - I have left the selvage as the hem but I will need to hem the sleeves as they are too long (although I have worn it a few times with the sleeves tucked up - It is after all black and fits into my current wardrobe). According to the stretch I should have sewn it with the "stripes" running horizontal as in the fabric picture - but I liked the look of it running vertical - especially on the sleeves.

I am pleased with the outcome and Babs was of great help assisting me during the construction to help me figure out what attached to what. The fit is good and I shall make another I am sure....

Until next time.