This is B 5959 compare it to the other two B 5993 and B 5819 below. Why are the coats below more flattering? What can be done with this coat to make it more flattering?
This section was initially intended as a NOTE, but grew. It occurs to me that there is a lot of thinking and assessment I do before purchasing a pattern, then, actually cutting and sewing the garment.
This is principally because the fashion industry cannot be trusted when it comes to clothing large women. Burda is really the only pattern maker that applies even the most basic of fashion to large women. Notice B5959--can you believe a string of people were actually paid to produce this cape, and then photograph it? There is nothing flattering about it, its color, fabric weight, length, style, nor is there anything flattering about the colors the model is clothed in--her posture, and where the cape falls on her hips.
In fact, the more I think about the comparisons amongst the three photos, showing patterns B5819, B5959 and B5993, the angrier I get. So--we'll just move on.
In selecting a pattern, and then altering it, we have to ask ourselves two questions. What must I do to make this pattern fit well? What must I do to make this pattern look good? Weight falls on people differently, and although we can attempt to categorize body types, no one is an exact pear, or hour glass or what ever.... You may have thick arms---thin arms, but thick back, the options are endless. Measure yourself honestly, and then compare these measurements to those listed on the back of the pattern.
The patterns today are incredibly simple. In fact, where a 1940's Vogue pattern would have a minimum of 15 pieces, most patterns today are reduced to 4. This is not good if you need to finely tailor, but, most of us don't have that skill. We can add a couple of inches here and there, for which most patterns have provision. Getting the pattern to fit, with minimal effort is a lot easier with the new pattern systems. However, getting the garment is fit, is not the end. Getting it to look good is.
You also must ask, will this look good on me?--or, how will this look good on me?
Everyone is different, only you know the colors and styles that compliment your skin tone and personality, but I thought it would be helpful if I shared my reasoning for the alterations made to the sherpa coat.
Adjustment made to the coat
The changes made to the coat look simple enough, but were the difference between wearing the coat or not.
As the bonded sherpa is double sided, I considered which side to use. A thick bulky fabric is not necessarily something to steer away from, much depends on the character of the fabric and the style of the pattern.
Take the two above examples, pattern M 7057--the white coat-- is made of reversed sweatshirt fabric, the leopard, M 4975, is made of fleece. Which would you like to be seen in? If the leopard makes the model look enormous, I can't believe I would look any better. The problem with the fleece is that it can't keep its structure, and falls like a sack of potatoes.
Because the bonded sherpa does have its own structure, and because the style is loose, sewing with the sherpa side out, and the cuffs, boarder and collar with the bonded side out, could have been a fun and flattering alteration. However, the sherpa attracts every particle of dust, and if you own a dog or cat, every wayward hair. I opted for the bonded side out.
Pattern B 5993 is a more flattering coat. What do you see that makes a difference? Also, in wearing the coat, notice the use of color.
B 5819 helps to break up the front through the use of a large collar and side buttons. The weight of the fabric gives the cape body and it doesn't look sloppy. You will notice the cape comes to the model's waist and doesn't fall at her widest point.
This was not the only alteration I considered. I also thought of cutting up the pattern and contouring the coat using the texture of the sherpa and contrasting nap of the bonded side.
A bit too experimental for me--and because the fabric isn't cheap, I whimped out. But, for the stout of heart, there is some really fun contouring that can be done through contrasting the sherpa and bonded sides.
What I changed
First, I did not include the pockets. I rarely include pockets in my garments...and its not just because I'm lazy--my large hips do not need any additional bulk. Eliminating pockets helps. My second alteration is to lengthen the coat. Because of my height,5'9", the coat comes roughly 3" too short, as all patterns except for Burda are made for persons who are 5"6". I add an extra inch so that the boarder looks in proportion to the coat.
My next question is, how the boarder should look. To just add the bonded side to the coat bottom will look like I'm just trying to lengthen the coat. However, as the collar is the sherpa side--the cuffs are the sherpa side--putting a boarder sherpa side out helps to finish the coat, especially since the omitted pockets have an ornamental function.
So, to recap. Because the pattern is too short, I had to lengthen it as its unaltered length landed right at the widest part of my hips. The pockets are eliminated because they too would have added bulk, and therefore needless attention to my hips. But, the pockets also serve an ornamental function, bringing the coat look together through the contrasting sherpa, at the collar and cuffs. By adding the wide boarder to the bottom, and flipping it to the sherpa side, three things are now accomplished. The coat is lengthened to a more flattering length. The dark more textured sherpa pulls the eye away from my hips to a narrower part of my leg. And last, the coat looks finished.
NOTE: Sleeve length typically also requires alteration, but, in this case, because the seam allowance is reduced to 1/4", I didn't have to alter the cuff.
Next week we will discuss sewing the garment and finishing, until then--thank you for joining me, and I look forward to your visit next week.
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