I had high hopes of a more complete post, but not only is my Beignet not ready for primetime, but this ridiculous daylight savings time is ruining my picture-taking mojo. Get ready for eight months of blog photos that resemble home-baked sex tapes. All blurry and bad lighting. Or at least, that’s what I imagine them to be. Not that I’ve seen one.

I’m slaving away on my Beignet. See? I rhyme! The picture taking I’ve managed has been spotty. I started out with a straight grading up of the pattern. I needed to add 3” to the size 18 at the hips and waist in order to get to my measurements, so I added 3/8” to each pattern piece (4 pattern pieces X 3/8” = 1.5”, X 2 = 3”.) Here’s a photo of the graded up pattern pieces**, I marked in the leftmost pattern piece in red where I cut and added the wax paper…

**Eagle-eyes will spy that the two left pieces are clearly graded up a bit more than the two right pieces. That’s because this photo is of the SECOND round of alterations, post muslin #1…

Once I graded up the pattern, I made a lovely tablecloth muslin to check the sizing. I sewed the front together (where the buttons will go) and tried it on.

Oooooo!! doggie! I will try to not blind you with my untanned tummy! The shot from the side isn’t terrible, although it brings up one of my rules for straight skirts (or even slightly a-line)… to reduce the frump factor, pay extra attention to the amount of fabric at the hem. In order to accommodate my hips there’s a lot of fabric there! I’ll probably take some out later.

Other than that, Obviously I have too much room at the top of the waistband which makes sense. I have a true pear-shape going on, with my upper ribcage being three inches smaller than my waist. The Beignet is drafted assuming that you are NOT shaped like a triangle, so the high waistband is more straight than I am. I’ll show how I fixed that below. Related to that, to pencil skirts and to fitting in general. One of the most enlightening (and slightly nauseating) things I’ve done since really focusing on proper fit was to take a photo of myself wearing leggings and a tight fitting camisole. Then I opened the photo in Photoshop and drew parallel lines along my hips, my waist, my bust, my ribcage and my shoulders. This really helped me ‘see’ how I’m shaped. Perhaps someday I’ll share those photos. Or not.

Final note on the side view. I hate when straight skirts are really tight, especially around the lower tummy/top of the thighs. Is there anything less flattering? This skirt is looking good in that area!

 

Now for the view from the front… again, not too bad. I’m not a huge fan of the slight a-line shape on me. I have the whole high hip thing going on, so a-line skirts just make my whole bottom half more ginormous.

The photo on the right shows an action shot, with me pointing at my particular problem spot on all skirts, most trousers, etc. I really struggle to get the hipline nice and smooth without too much unflattering tightness. But not baggy.

This photo also shows a bit of that snuggy buggy-ness that’s not my favorite part of this whole straight skirt business!

 


Final shot. Here I’ve circled a part I didn’t like in the front, I drew some lines on the side where that dip was showing a bit of tightness and you can see in the center front where I pinned to mark how big the waist was. Once I pinned the waist, I marked the edge of the fold I made on either side of the pins. Once I took the muslin off, I measured the distance between those two marks to see how much I needed to remove from the waist.

 

 

 


Altering the pattern

Muslin #1 made and modeled (what’s nicer than a tablecloth skirt and motorcycle boots, I ask you?) it was back to the drawing board to make the alterations. I needed to (1) remove the extra width from the waist (2) add a bit of ease to the hips (3) make all changes to the lining and facing pieces (up to this point I had not made any changes to those pieces.)

First – taking in the waist. I’ve circled in red the new waistline I drew on the side back piece. I removed about an inch from the side front and side back pieces, that’s 4” total, but I also add to the width in the next step. WARNING!! For anyone else doing this alteration – I was tricked by the size cutting lines!! If you’re taking in the waist, check your pattern and make sure to take in the waist on the side that’s marked for the pocket! On the side back, the cutting lines are on the pocket side, but they aren’t on the side front piece! I ended up altering the wrong side of the side front pattern piece!

 

After taking care of the waist alteration, I added to the width of the front and side front pieces. I added about a quarter inch on each piece, for a total of 1 inch added to the front of the skirt. I’ve notice from previous fittings that things tend to fit better if I’ve got more wiggle room in the front than the back.

The pattern comes with separate facing and lining pieces. The facing pieces are meant to be cut out of the fashion fabric and cover the inside of the waistband and the button placket (pictured to the left – they are a weird, swoopy shape). I graded all the pieces up by laying the facing/lining pieces over the altered pattern pieces and cutting and filling in with tissue.

The hardest part of the grading was adding to the front facing and the front lining piece that snuggles into it. With the seam allowances and the curves, I’m not certain that I graded really well. I guess we’ll see!

 

 


So here’s the final layout, all pieces graded up. This was a very quick and dirty process – I am planning on removing width from the fabric hem by a modified pegging. And I do have to say, I have found the most awesome square, mustard yellow vintage buttons that have Beignet sewn all over them.

patty brower

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