Monday, July 15, 2019

Deer & Doe Sirocco


You all know my general thoughts on Indie pattern companies, right? I want a PROFESSIONALLY DRAFTED AND GRADED PATTERN! You deciding you like to sew and want to sell patterns isn't enough! But sometimes, I get sucked in too. Sigh. I couldn't find any info about whether or not they are professional pattern makers so this rant may be unfounded. Does anyone know?

I own a chunk of Indie patterns. (If I eliminate Style Arc that number is cut in half). Sometimes, I do the right thing and *closely* inspect the finished garment pics before buying. Sometimes, I make a mistake and buy the pattern and don't inspect closely until I'm ready to make it.

Listen, I was this || close to choosing another pattern. Sigh.

This is not a dig at any home sewer as I would never do that. Please do not take anything I say personally, I am forming an opinion based on what I see.

So, I go and look and I notice:
Puny bodice pleats. I instantly decide I don't like them.
Front crotch ermm, issues.
Rippling waistbands
Sleeves that are way pulling away from the body when the wearer has their arms lifted (if it weren't a knit, arm movement WOULD be restricted)

And I'm instantly mad that I didn't inspect closely BEFORE buying

Be clear, I am not ragging on sewers nor am I making declarations about the pattern (except for that armscye - No.). I don't draft patterns. I can't say what's objectively right and wrong about the draft. If their patterns work for you then maybe this one will. I just know that I did way more work than I would EVERRRR do on a pattern and especially one that I spent $16 on (I am a Friend of PR) and it's unlikely that I'll do it again. I really like the Pensee top (less so the dress) so never say never. Sigh.

Alrighty so I have never sewn a D&D pattern aside from the Plantain -and I was a new sewer- but I know now that, it didn't really work for me. That top is the reason I've believed, for forever, that they draft for a pear shape (apparently, they draft for an hourglass). I am NOT a D&D customer after this.

I feel like, over the years of being involved in the sewing community, I've seen a lot of conflation between pattern adjustments and pattern drafting. Yes, not many of us will sew a pattern "out of the envelope" and have it fit properly. And even when we do, that is not necessarily equal to a "well drafted pattern".

I make sewing adjustments. I do not fuss about making sewing adjustments; it is what it is. The work I had to do on this front armhole? Nah, not okay.

I don't have a ton of pics because I didn't get nearly any pics of myself alone and it has been SO hot that I have not been able to get full finished "blog photos" of the jumpsuit. This is less about the finished product though and more about the pattern itself. Hopefully I can update the post at some point in the near future with regular front/back/side pics.

As mentioned, I hadn't sewn any of their patterns and knew I'd have to muslin. I chose a size 40/42 (40 neckline/shoulder and 42 everywhere else) based on the size chart:

There is 2-3" positive ease in bust and hips and 3" of negative ease in the waist. I thought this was interesting considering it's a pull-on garment. But I'm going to muslin so it's all good.

I used this cut of Telio jockey ponte (I do NOT like this fabric) as a muslin. Similar drape as my fashion fabric but slightly heavier. The one change I planned to make right away was to lift the armhole and cut it in a bit since I was going sleeveless. I was PERPLEXED by the armhole shape.

Here is my muslin in all its glory (horror? lol!)...
I make adjustments. I assumed I'd need an FBA, full butt adjustment and to shorten the front crotch width. No problem.

I hated the pleats as I assumed I would. The shoulder was too long, the 1-layer waistband was awful and I was again, this || close to jumping ship. I really wanted to eliminate the front pleat but they are diagonal and I didn't fully understand how to make that happen.

Now, if this IG follower is a blog follower, I promise I am not mad/offended/:insert other words: but someone told me I probably don't like the pleats because the jumpsuit is too small and I should go up a size or two.

1) It is a muslin. The purpose is to determine what adjustments, and in what amounts, are needed.
2) Going bigger isn't always the answer. Adjusting where you need the adjustments is better than just going up or down full sizes.
3) In the IG post, I pretty much called out most of these adjustments as necessary...but since I was muslining, why guess at them?

I went back and did the following to the paper pattern:

Converted the back pleats to darts (narrowing the overall takeup about 1/2" total)
removed 5/8" in CB length.
Reshaped the armhole.

Did an FBA and rotated it out
Reshaped the armhole
Took an ENORMOUS armhole dart of ~1" (e.g., don't just automatically go up a size because of tightness)
Straightened out the side seam - I had about 2" of excess fabric at the very top while the waist fit fine.
Converted the pleat to a dart

This really flat shape on bottom is something I don't think I've seen before. I may have been able to understand it better if I'd added the sleeves.

Let me to stop to say the instructions for this front pleat were ridiculous. I hate non-technical directions.  It's probably my biggest gripe with indie pattern makers.

Also, there are no pocket markings AND the pocket is exactly the same for all sizes.

I did Fashion Incubators c*mel toe adjustment which took the front crotch basically from a 42 to a 38.  (did I mention that you shouldn't automatically size up?? Okay, fine, I'm being obnoxious now...)
I added this 1/2" back at the side seam.

More front crotch pics!

Because it WAS too tight in the hips - because, butt - I did a slash and spread to add 1/2" (1" total). The back pant already had a dart, vs pleats everywhere else.

Not shown, as I did it directly on the fabric, was to add 1/4" to the CB crotch seam, tapering to nothing near the point.

And I added 1/2" to the crotch extension which is another common adjustment for me (full thighs).

I added 1" total to the "height" of the waistband and doubled it (made a facing). 

Lastly, I removed 2" and they still pool a bit (I could see this being less of an issue in something less drapey where you can roll the legs like the pattern pic).

LOVED the new darted bodice!
The neck binding went in perfectly for me! It's a little wide though...or the neckline curve is a bit too high for me. I felt like it was sort of encroaching.
Really love the wider waistband too!

ignore my random foolishness in the background

A full-length pic showing the neck fit thing I mentioned, slightly long legs but not bad, and how much better the front fits compared to the muslin. It fits snug through the bust and part of that is my bra.

My husband and my 4 closest friends.   

This is the closest thing I have to a back fit pic! :-p But *I* think you can see that it isn't pulling, the side seam is straight, the darts fit well, etc.

  • Didn't like that there were no pocket insertion markings.
  • Didn't like that the pocket piece is the same for all sizes.
  • I don't like the bodice pleats.
  • VERY low armscye (I can't imagine putting a sleeve in there)
  • Weird (IMO) front armscye shape. 
  • Didn't care for the 1-layer waistband 
  • Too much negative ease at waist (IMO) for a pull-on jumpsuit
  • There's something with the shape of the neckline (for ME) that I can't identify.
  • The neckbinding went in flawlessly - yay!
    I liked the back fit a lot "out of the envelope". Sure, I needed adjustments (which is NOT an issue) but I think the crotch curve as drafted worked well for my butt.
It turned out and it was pretty and shiny. The fabric is THIS Telio knit from (I am an affiliate). It sewed well, it didn't press well but I don't think anyone expects a poly metallic knit to press well! It did well enough with a little steam, press cloth and a clapper.

It is very slightly sheer held up to the light but I figured (and I do this often, LOL!) that my brown skin and black undergarments would be fine -- full seamless/no show bottoms - I don't do "shapewear" Nope. Cannot. I think I've told the story of trying on a Spanx garment with my wedding gown and immediately calling for her to come get me out of that dress so I could that thing OFF.


I was off work and sewed A TON. There are definitely finished items before this but this skirt from Burda 04/2019 is up next for review - spoiler alert: I LOVE IT!


  1. First, I LOVE the skirt, and can't wait to see it up next!

    Second, I think you worked out all the fit adjustments on that jumpsuit flawlessly!!! You look so lovely on your birthday!

  2. I don’t think I will even attempt this pattern now lol
    I’m not about them redrafting a pattern
    Maybe one winter snow storm day
    I spent a pretty penny on this and that one dress pattern
    Going forward I withhold my initial excitement and admire from a far

    1. It really is tough but better that way. Step back, take a look, see what pops up and then decide. I think that a muslin is worth it if you're sitting back with nothing to do :-p

      I am going to try the Pensee top. Fingers crossed.

  3. You looked FABULOUS in the end but yeh. Pattern adjustments do not equal pattern drafting. It took me way too long to figure that one out as a beginner.

    1. Thanks Siobhan!

      I really hoped to love this brand but idk how much risk I'm willing to take with additional patterns :/

  4. I just made the long version. Maybe because the fabric I used (double brushed poly) was so drapey it covered a multitude of sins. I agree the instructions are a little wonky. The finished illustration and the instructions looked completely different so I had to redo the front pleats. I too faced the waist band, a single layer just looked unfinished! Thanks for your entertaining and informative blog!

    1. Thank you Karen and yes to all of that! A friend is making it in a dbp and I told her the'll cover up lots of issues. She couldn't figure out the front pleats either. Grrr!

  5. I can totally understand not wanting to sew indie patterns created by people with no patternmaking experience and with no QA people on their teams. Your jumpsuit is so elegant! Also, your skirt is cute.

  6. Great job! It looks wonderful on you!
    RE: the funny shaped armhole. Unfortunately, I'm familiar with the shape, as that how my personal draft/draping ends up. In my case, it's the result of too much fat on the upper torso and arm- When the arm is down, it has to squish somewhere, and that what it does to the armhole shape.

  7. Wow! that jumpsuit looks so beautiful on you after all those adjustments! Now you can use your adjusted pattern as a base for more. There’s going to be more jumpsuits, right?

    1. Thanks Kay!

      Probably so! I Love jumpsuits!!! :) And I think I want one with a striped bodice and solid pant. Mmmmmmm!

  8. Ah you know that you and I have alot of the same concerns about indie patterns and I'm very particular about which ones I give my money too. That said, you made an interesting point about pattern alterations and redesigning a pattern. You should BOLD and CAPITALIZE that! I'm glad you ended up with a very pretty and wearable garment for your birthday!

  9. well you got there in the end with a cute jumpsuit and great looking fabric but yeah, those were some issues! One of my complaints with some of these patterns are that the instructions are kind of "chatty" but not really technical so kind of incomprehensible. Also a lot of indies have terrible sleeves/armholes......not all of the brands but enough of them to drive me into the arms of Burda or McCalls :)

    1. Sometimes I want to understand drafting better and other times...
      I find they have a lot of armhole issues and front crotch issues. So many front "wedgies" and ridiculously long fly zippers. Very interesting!! And you know how I feel about Burda :)

  10. The more I sew I realise that none of the patterns fit. I sewed a New Look top in a 42 inch. It was way too big in the shoulders. Tried a vogue pattern in a 42 and it was too small. I have decided to do a pattern drafting course and make a pattern perfect for me and then I will use that to make pattern adjustmentsbefore I start. Now,
    to find a good drafting course as I live in rural Australia.

    1. If you have an interest in drafting, I say you should totally GO FOR IT! I don't know how you fare with online learning but I'm sure there are some good drafting courses online. I think Alexandra of In-House patterns does them. I know she has a sleeve drafting course I want to take.

      I can sew Burda with very few adjustments and they'll always be a top fave! I also find Vogue to run smaller on me than the other "Big4".

    2. You are right. Patterns fit very very few people and really can't be designed otherwise. We are all too unique and wonderful. SEWING IS FITTING. It is part of the process and I am always amazed at the countless who think a pattern should fit right out of the envelope when it has to be designed for some specific size. While I applaud designers who seek "niche" bodies to design for it isn't fair for those who like their patterns and don't have their niche bodies. Again, we need to learn to fit. I like to stay with a few companies who have a consistent fit block that I can alter the same way every time and come up a winner. With so many Indies out there, I am not about to remake the wheel with each new designer I try.

  11. Well you ended up with a stunning FO but I don't think D&D can take credit for that. That armhole is strange indeed. To start with I wondered whether it was a grading issue but you're slap bang in the middle of the size range (and poor grading is just another aspect of poor drafting, so...)

    I learned to sew im 2008, just before the indie pattern scene erupted, and I am on the edge of a lot of bell curves so I spent A LOT of time studying fitting resources. And I'm so glad I did as I suspect it has saved me a lot of money and angst over the years.

    (There's one popular indie whose patterns make me cringe every time I see them. Either the sewers don't notice - fair does, I'm a fitting snob! - or they blame themselves for it having gone wrong and that in particular makes me so sad.)

  12. All your effort really shows. It looks great on you and fits wonderfully.

  13. Great job, thanks for all the details of the changes, very interesting reading. The final jumpsuit is FABULOUS, looks awesome on you!

  14. Adore the jumpsuit and am blown away by your dedication and perseverance in making all those adjustments. I would have given up long before you.

    Totally agree about the whole indie pattern thing. There is a bunch of indies who come from a drafting background (Style Arc & Grainline are two of them). Then there are some who sensibly contract to a decent pattern drafter (Cashmerette & Thread Theory for example). And then there are the rest who work it out bit by bit, with varying degrees of success. Fehr Trade did and her patterns are awesome.
    I am very reticent to try new designers until I know their drafting is OK. I accept minor fit modifications are sometimes necessary, but re-drafting the whole pattern is just painful.

  15. The jumpsuit turned out really well after all your hard work. I don't know much about pattern drafting either, but I do know that my armscye needs to curve up at the side seam (the way it does when I FBA) in order for it to fit me properly because, bbs. I sew a few indies here and there (and I have a few indie TNTs), but when I buy new patterns they are overwhelmingly Big 4. There are a lot of Style Arc that catch my eye but I am nervous about the lack of instructions.

  16. I'm waaaaay late on commenting to this post. I was out of town when it went live and waited until I got home to to read it thoroughly.

    I read several reviews of this pattern and saw that anyone with the slightest bit of curve had trouble fitting it. I usually have to make some adjustments (FBA, full seat, swayback, petite) to most patterns because the blocks are not designed for someone with my shape and height. That said, one shouldn't have to make as many significant changes as you and others made to get this pattern to fit.

    I'm glad you worked through it because the final jumpsuit is nice and fits nicely.

  17. Your efforts look like they were totally worth it - you look amazing! This comment is so late, but at least I’m finally getting caught up on summer blog reading.... 😂


Your comments are appreciated! I will always respond to questions and try to respond to each and every comment!