I have been following Zoe's Me-Made-May Challenge with a mixture of interest and envy. Interest because, obviously, it's a totally awesome idea, building on her Me-Made-March success in only wearing clothes she made herself. Envy because I am very much not yet good enough at sewing to take part (I do not think my knits are eligible, because I already only wear knitwear made by me, which I suppose is an achievement but does not make for much of a challenge).
Rather than weep into a knitted hankie about my sorry lack of sewing skillz, I decided to do something about it.
Enter Vogue V8240, a halterneck dress with a daringly plunging neckline and a pleasingly full skirt. I read through the instructions, and was somewhat surprised to find I more or less understood them, which is progress in itself, as until recently sewing patterns might as well have been written in mystic runes for all the sense they made to me.
Then, however, I took my measurements, and everything started to go pear-shaped...
I am quite well-acquainted with the measurements of my upper half, as I check them quite regularly for jumpers and cardigans. As for the rest of me, I was vaguely aware of being a classic British pear-shape... seeing this translated into a sewing pattern size was something of a shock, though. It appears I am a size 8 at the bust, a 12 at the waist, and somewhere between a 12 and 14 at what pattern manufacturers refer to as the 'Hip', but which I prefer to call the bahookie. Now, I would like to stress that I do not normally have a lot of body hang-ups: I like and do not wish to change my shape. Part of the reason I so want to learn to sew is to fit it better. Late last night, though, as I was debating which size to cut out, I did begin to feel a little bit bad about covering such a wide size spectrum. Was I freakishly disproportionate? Did people wonder behind my back whether I was two differently-sized figures crudely welded together as the result of a cruel medical experiment?
Leaving aside these body issues, this discovery also threw another obstacle into my path towards sewing wisdom. I have traced out the midriff piece, and attempted to graduate from an 8 at the top of it to a 12 at the bottom... I suppose I'll just have to make a muslin to see if that will fit my form. I have ordered Fit for Real People off of the internet in the hope that it might address this issue, but in the meantime I would absolutely LOVE to hear from anyone with a modicum of sewing experience on the matter.