Total Pattern Fail

You know when you finally finish that great pattern that looks super cute on everyone (everyone!), and then you put it on and it looks just terrible (truly!) on you. That.

It’s possibly not a total fail. I am hoping that later tonight after a couple glasses of wine, it can be upgraded to “wearable” (sigh). Possibly it will have to be (double sigh) up-cycled. And no, no photos yet. It’s raining and I am unmotivated to wrestle dress, light, camera and photobombing toddlers into place.

I am especially discouraged because I dutifully made up a muslin. I even muslined the sleeve (the &^&%#$#ing sleeve folks!), which fit well, by the way. And I tried it on as I was sewing, and only when I got to the buttons (arrrrrrgh!) did it become apparent that this would not be wearable. And it isn’t even the pattern, or the fit, it is that style on my body. Did I mention the fabric had an especially nice drape? @%$#*!

Eventually I will share photos. (And no, it is not the men’s shirt that I’m also working on).

To borrow from  Mad Men, you might put a Betty in a Joan dress, but you can’t really put a Joan in a Betty dress. And I am clearly in the Joan camp. And this is a Betty dress.

For the record I am in the rectangular/hourglass camp, and curvy on top. Let’s just say that the FBA is a good friend of mine 😉 And I still have a bit of baby belly to work on (four kids will do that to you). In other words, I am human.

So while I wait for a less rainy day, I thought I would take the time to jot down a few styles which I have proven do not look good on me, so that when a new and exciting pattern comes out I can check this list and remind myself that the following do not look good on me. (Though they may be smashing on you, in which case, carry on, nothing to see here).

What Looks Bad On Me

  • peter pan collars
  • pussy bow blouses
  • fitted capris and short shorts
  • high waisted bodices with gathered skirts
  • empire waists
  • short and cropped and/or boxy jackets
  • tiny upper pockets
  • smock-style tunics/dresses
  • drop waists
  • pleated pants
  • tea-length skirts, unless quite fitted
  • strapless dresses
  • anything with gathering at the bust
  • low v-necks (a bit too “hey mister!”, if you know what I mean)
  • details that are too small
  • ruffles (often but not always)

You know the patterns I’m talking about!

And this is what I should remind myself to get instead, possibly along with some new fabric in my colour palette.

What Looks Good On Me

  • pencil skirts
  • long, fitted tops
  • a-line (most of the time)
  • longer, tailored jackets
  • cowl necks, square necks, scoop necks
  • shift dresses, especially with sleeves
  • wrap dresses (when they have enough coverage)
  • boot cut jeans, skinny jeans
  • flat front pants
  • 3/4 sleeves
  • stretch knits

I also have a request of you, dear reader. Which sewing bloggers do you know, who are shaped like yours truly?

I feel like I should be following more people who sew things that look good on a me-shaped body and that I should find some more kindred souls so that it is less tempting to copy the super cute, petite and/or waiflike sewists stitching up some terribly adorable peter pan collars and such. (And that is sincerely not meant as a slight to the peter pan collar or the petite sewist! Do carry on!)

So send your links my way so I have something to read with my glass of wine tonight. Bonus points if you can suggest some great curve-friendly patterns.

Author: Shannon Smith

Sewist, quilter, fabric lover, and pattern hoarder in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

4 thoughts on “Total Pattern Fail”

  1. I would agree that you are a Joan – though I’m not sure that the sexy fitted sheath dresses are the most practical for your lifestyle right now! 😉 I would check out Loran’s World, because Loran is hourglass and tends to go vintage, but avoids the twee peter pan collars and ruffles (most of the time). I don’t know how tall she is, but she can pull off the tea length skirts quite well, so maybe you could too.

    http://loransworld.com
    Vicki recently posted…Justin Leblanc’s “Test Tube” DressMy Profile

  2. YES! I did this recently as well, with the red dress. The test dress seemed to be fine, but the almost finished one? I dunno, there’s just… something.

    I tend to look at clothing in my wardrobe and find similar patterns.
    Andrea_R recently posted…Appliqued baby name quiltMy Profile

  3. This is probably why I don’t sew garments for myself. I too am a mother of 4 and I’m a curvy gal! I once made the mistake of purchasing a dress pattern in the size I would buy in the store. Got it home and realized that that is NOT my pattern size! I’ll probably need to get rid of some weight till I can sew it.

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