Friday, 14 June 2013

17

The Lady Skater Dress: FAQs and further information

Firstly, thanks for all the support everyone has thrown behind me and my first adult pattern! I'm so grateful for all you guys, truly.  I hasn't gone without hitches but it's gone and that's something.

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Those of you that follow me on Instagram might have seen that I had to do a complete rebranding within a couple of hours of the launch!  As hard as it is to believe, there are loads of people who don't read my blog and were unaware that I had a girls' skater dress.  So our in-joke of Big Girl / Little Girl lost its context and Big Girl became Plus Size.  Now, I have zero problems with being aligned with 'Plus Size' and probably the largest sizes I offer are indeed 'Plus Size' by some definitions but there are also very small sizes so I needed to rename to reflect that.  Not that everyone has been happy with Lady Skater as a name but hey-ho :)  I guess if there's a lesson to be learned it's that everyone should read my blog.

Why did I name my sizes 1 through 8?

skater dress essential details

Several reasons!  Firstly, the sizes included in all patterns are relative.  Having eight sizes means that they could've potentially been called XXS, XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL, and XXXL but that's misleading because it's relative to my own grade rule and how many sizes I included.  Like it or not, relative sizes like XS or XXL carry meaning as to where you fall in comparison 'average' and I feel very strongly about not doing that.  So why didn't I use sizes in relation to off-the-rack clothes (like 2, 6, 8, 10, 12 etc)?  My cop-out answer is that my customers come from all over the world so researching how I should marry UK / US / EU sizes accurately would've been tricky (even more so as off-the-rack sizes vary wildly between manufacturers and even within the same manufacturer due to different factories of origin).  But more than that, numbers again carry weight.  I want people to choose their size based on their own measurements, not because of conditioned responses like 'I'm an 6'. 

Why do you use your high bust measurement and not your full bust?

high bust and waist annotated

Full bust measurements vary wildly, high bust measurements less so. For smaller or average busted people, choosing a sized based on your full bust might be the same size as it would be on your high bust (more likely it would be 1-2 sizes up).  But if there's a large difference between your full and high bust and you choose size based on full bust, it will be way too big through the shoulders and upper bust.  Katie is doing a really interesting experiment of sewing big-4 patterns based on full and high busts if you want to read more about it (clue: you do).  This is a knit dress so a lot of our full bust differences will be taken care of through negative ease but if you find that you need extra room for the girls, you can add it where it's needed: the bust.  This might be as simple as increasing the width of the front bodice under the arm, or you might need to do a more official FBA to increase the length of the front bodice too.  I'll be talking more about this in a fitting post. 

What is clear elastic and why should I use it?

Clear elastic

The Lady Skater calls for you to insert clear elastic into your shoulder seams and your bodice / skirt seams.  If you've never come across it before, clear elastic is an elastic that you can insert inside your seams to stabilise them and stop them from distorting over time.   It's not 100% essential it totally is but it's easy to sew in and will greatly improve the longevity of your dress.  How clear elastic differs from other elastics is its stability. If you cut a 5" piece of (good quality) clear elastic and stretch it out, when you let go it'll go back to 5"*.  When inserted into a seam, clear elastic means that the seam can stretch, but that it won't overstretch, particularly over time.  An interlock dress without clear elastic will start losing its intended dimenstions through wear for example.  In a fabric with a highish lycra content, clear elastic is less important but I'm still going to attempt to convince you.

Clear elastic done

Inserting the elastic in the seams couldn't be easier!  Rather than trying to sew it in while you're sewing your shoulder or bodice / skirt seams (which is admittedly trickier to catch all three layers), the elastic is basted on to the wrong side of the fabric before attaching pieces to one another.  I use a 2.5 x 2 zigzag and the stability of the elastic is great enough that it's no harder than basting on a woven ribbon- you're not stretching it at all so it really does behave like that.

Tl;dr: Clear elastic is the business.

*For this reason you can also use clear elastic for gathering!  Cut the length you require for the final intended size and sew it on while stretching it to fit the fabric. For example, you want to make a 15" piece of fabric gathered to 10".  Cut a 10" length of elastic, tack it to the fabric at either edge and then sew it on while stretching the elastic and it will gather to 10" (or slightly more if your fabric is dense).

17 comments:

  1. Ooooo...gathering with the elastic tape!!! Brilliant!

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  2. I love skater dresses. One has been on my making list for a while.

    Sarabeth
    Life of an Agnostic Sunday School Teacher

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  3. "I guess if there's a lesson to be learned it's that everyone should read my blog." Yep, true. Love the dress.

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  4. I love the dress. I can't wait to make one for myself, but how wrong is it to match your toddler? After having looked through the flickr group I now needed a striped dress but I have already made one for my daughter...

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  5. I‘ve been stalking your blog for ages waiting for the pattern to be released, when I received you email I bought it in three minutes! I just have a question for you, I live in Brazil and clear elastic just doesn‘t exist, what could I use instead at the waist seam? Thanks for this great pattern! Tatimaio@yahoo.com.br

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    1. Hi there! Thanks for your comment (and order!). I'm really not sure if there's a more-easily available alternative to clear elastic, I will try to find out!

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    2. Hi again! I was talking to some sewing friends about this and if you can't get clear elastic you could use a strip of swimwear or high lycra content fabric in the seam. Or find a company that sells clear elastic and ships internationally at reasonable rates :)

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    3. I will try the swimwear fabric, thanks a lot for your reply! I am printing my fabric to this dress, I had this purple knit on my stash for ages, but it's too plain, so I am printing it with some black flowers, let's see how it goes...Tatiana

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  6. I‘ve been stalking your blog for ages waiting for the pattern to be released, when I received you email I bought it in three minutes! I just have a question for you, I live in Brazil and clear elastic just doesn‘t exist, what could I use instead at the waist seam? Thanks for this great pattern! Tatimaio@yahoo.com.br

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  7. Hey! I'm a blog-stalker who's been waiting for this pattern as well :) but I have a different question. What if (like me) you're a slightly weird (post baby) shape and your high bust:high waist proportions are nothing like those in the pattern sizings? Would you recommend choosing a size based on bust or waist? Or should I go for the one in between and hope for the best?!

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    1. Hi Kato! I'm writing a fitting post right now, hopefully that will help but if you still have questions ask again in the comments or send me an email :)

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  8. So I'm lazy and I don't want to go to the store. Can I use rubber swim suit elastic in place of the clear elastic?

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    1. Maybe? It would depend on how heavy the swimwear elastic is, you wouldn't want it to overwhelm the seam if it's too substantial. Another alternative is a strip of swimwear fabric or high lycra content fabric basted on in the same manner.

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  9. I'm having a bit of trouble with the neckline on the Skater. I'm sure it's something I'm doing wrong, but I don't know what! I've got my back and front bodices cut out and stitched together at one shoulder. I have my neckband cut out, folded in half and the centre marked. But when I pin it to the top corners of the front and back bodice pieces and line up the centre of the front bodice with the centre of the neckband, there is just WAY too much neckband for that section of the neck (between the top corner of the front bodice and the centre of the front bodice. And then, of course, there's nowhere near enough neckband for the rest of the front bodice and whole back bodice, no matter how much I stretch the neckband. Any help would be appreciated :)

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    1. Oh no! Can you email me a picture of what's happening so I can visualise it? My email is amanda(at)kitschycoo.co.uk.

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