Patterns & Planning
Now you have an idea of where you want to get to, and what you can re-use from your own wardrobe, now we need to asses what our day to day entails, and what wardrobe needs will arise. Mine is running around after an almost 4 year old boy, housework, errands, occasional social outings and fleeting moments of glamour… well, near-almost-kinda glamour.
- So things that are easy to launder – I don’t mind ironing, but hand washing is reserved for hand knits and dry-cleaning is not on the cards
- Clothes that are comfortable to wear but versatile enough to go out in
- Pieces that are coordinated to maximise wardrobe with fewer pieces
Whilst I enjoy wearing dresses, seperates are more practical for me at the moment.
So now I have an idea of the types of clothing I want to include, I need to think about which period I want to use as a starting point. I enjoy a vast array of vintage fashion, from Regency era through to the early 1960’s, particularly the mid 1920’s to mid 1950’s. The easiest to adapt for me to start with will be the 1940’s. Fashion in the Wartime 1940’s was all about slim, tailored lines, using minimal fabric as to maximise rations. Women were still feminine while frugal, style was not compromised.
A good place to start, if you don’t have patterns to begin with, is a “sportswear” category pattern. These can range from really casual, to entire business wardrobes. At the moment, Simplicity have two 1940’s inspired patterns. I bought this Simplicity pattern. It’s a ‘retro’ 1940’s repro pattern. It’s a classic 1940’s line, and come in a full spectrum of sizes. It is also easy to adjust the bust due to princess seams in the jacket and the yoke on the blouse. The reason sportswear category patterns can be great, is they encompass key pieces, in this case, blouse, pant, skirt and jacket. Creating coordinates becomes simple. To expand the wardrobe, add other blouse/shirt patterns, a different style jacket, add a pencil skirt or two and you’re good to go!
If you’re new to sewing, the simpler the pattern the better. Each pattern will have a rating of Very Easy, Easy, Intermediate or Advanced, so it would be to your own advantage to choose patterns that you will be comfortable making.
But what size pattern do you buy? Except for a few advanced technique patterns, the Big 4 tend to have pattern ranges, some reproduction companies may also do single size patterns. So you’ll need to take measurements. So many other people have great guides as to how, my favourite is at Sew, Mama, Sew. Once you have your measurements, you want to get the size that is closest to your own measurements. Unless you’re a perfect match, you’ll probably have to fiddle around with the pattern a little. Also, if you’re larger than a B cup you’ll want to use your high bust measurement to determine which is the correct ‘bust’ size pattern to use. This means, however, that you will need to do some adjustments for the bust. A great resource book for fitting is the Palmer/Pletsch book “Fit For Real People“. Taking the time to fit a pattern properly will make a huge difference to the end garment. It’s time worth spending. Especially if you plan to make more than one of the same pattern.
Next week:- Buying Fabric & Things