I’m working on Tatiana’s Latin dress. I mentioned earlier that I was looking forward to the challenge, and I am actually enjoying it. The exhibition is Friday night, and I wanted to have the base leotard done so I could check the fit last night. Once the fit is determined, I can build the dress pretty easily. Last week I took a (very) full set of measurements for Tatiana and started working on the design. Rather than reinvent the wheel, I went to the store and picked out a McCalls dance dress pattern to copy the leotard. I cut the size based on her measurements. Then I basted it together and put it on Shelly, my dress form that is pretty close to Tatiana in size. I noticed right then that the leotard was HUGE! I mean, saggy, hangy – not something I would describe as closely fitted. So I took it in by 1 1/2 inches on the seams and finished the legs so Tatiana could try it on. Once she did the leotard was still too loose. It needs to come in at least 3/4 of an inch on either side.
Now, shame on me I suppose for not doing flat pattern measurements. But in my defense, I have never made a leotard before, and I assumed that leotards would be built with negative ease. Here’s the first line of the pattern description from McCalls’ website:
Flared, fitted dresses have dropped waistline, attached bodysuit with or without snap crotch closing
Hear that? “Fitted”. Fitted does NOT mean 3 inches of ease in a frickin’ leotard, people! It’s not just this pattern. I have noticed a trend in the Big 4 pattern companies in the last few years. Call it Vanity Sizing for lack of a better term. The pattern envelopes indicate a size for a given set of measurements, but the patterns themselves run really large. Case in point – me. By my measurements, I fall firmly into a Big Four size 14. But the last half dozen patterns that I have made in a size 14 are way too big. Even a size 12 is pushing the size. And much as I like to think that I’m svelte, there just ain’t no way I’m a 26 inch waist any more. I’m talking about all types of patterns – dresses, pants, skirts. And what’s more annoying is that the measurements printed on some of the pattern pieces are wrong, too. It’s not just the McCall companies. Simplicity is just as bad. Maybe I’m obtuse, but I would think that these companies would actually adhere to their slopers, or change the measurements for their size charts. And if it frustrates me, it’s got to be ten times worse for someone who is just getting started with sewing.
Alright, enough of my rant. I’m going upstairs to cut a new leotard. Thank heavens I always buy at least double the amount of fabric I need when I’m making a completely new type of garment.
Hmmmm… I wonder if I should enter this dress in the Pattern Review New Techniques contest?