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?
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?
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?
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
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).