Monday, March 17, 2014

Piccadilly Blouse

Denyse Schmidt Piccadilly Simplicity Patterns Clothing

Clothing has been tough this year. To start with, I'm a curvy girl (yes, as in "plus size"), which limits my options to a grand total of 3 out of the 33 women's clothing stores at our local outdoor mall. When I do visit one of those three shops, I find myself struggling with a sort of fashion identity crisis. As a 36 year old stay-at-home-mom, where do I belong? When you cross off the career section, the twenty-something section, and the grandma section, there's not much left. And for the past three months, the plus size women's section has completely disappeared from all our local Target stores where I used to buy at least half of my clothes. The salesgirl that I questioned on my last trip told me that their women's clothing shipment was late this year but still on its way...some time in May.

Denyse Schmidt Piccadilly Simplicity Patterns Clothing

Sigh... Going shopping for clothes used to get me excited. Nowadays it just makes me tired. After a particularly crummy experience last week, my husband shook his head and said, "That's it. Go buy yourself a book on sewing clothing. I know you can make something better than what they're selling you at those prices." Unfortunately it's hard to find books geared toward curvy girls these days. I've drooled over lots of modern dress books and patterns in the past year, but I've sadly had to set them aside when I realized that they were designed for women half my size.

Denyse Schmidt Piccadilly Simplicity Patterns Clothing

Thankfully, there are a few companies making patterns for girls like me, and Simplicity is one of them. I picked up this pattern (#1620) and a few yards of a print from Piccadilly, Denyse Schmidt's latest line for Joann Fabrics, on Friday night and started sewing on Sunday afternoon. In a few hours, I had a new top that actually fit me. I sewed a little sash to go along with the blouse just for fun. I plan to try this pattern again with a few adjustments and using a fabric with a little more drape. It's absolutely mind boggling for me to think that I can actually design my own clothing to fit my shape and personality.

Though there is definitely room for improvement, I think I did pretty well for my first clothing project. It all reminds me once again what I love most about being able to sew: the freedom of it. There have been days when I've walked through the mall and felt like there was no place left for me anywhere in the fashion world. By sewing that top yesterday, I created a place for myself, and I made it exactly the way I like it. It's taken me a long time to work up the courage to try sewing clothes, but I guarantee you, there's no turning back now...

75 comments:

  1. Lovely blouse. I also find shopping demoralizing and prefer to make my clothes when possible. This year I am aiming to make one garment for myself each month to push out of my comfort zone and expand my handmade wardrobe. Good luck with your clothing sewing adventure!! Can't wait to see what you make next.

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  2. It's a bummer there aren't more clothing resources geared toward women of all sizes. I'll bet there is stuff out there on the internet though! Quilters can't be the only sewists with a vast online presence. :) I don't sew clothing (I love knits and fitted things, and even though clothes were the first thing I learned to sew many years ago, both of those preferences sound REALLY challenging to me--maybe someday I will be brave!), but I follow Julia Bobbin's blog because her stuff is super cute and inspiring and she is entirely self-taught. She alters a lot of her patterns, both for fuller bottom halves, and also full bust adjustments (I see this abbreviated "FBA" from time to time on the internet.) I wish I could be more helpful in suggesting helpful resources!

    You've become such a great quilter and bag maker in such a short amount of time, I'm certain that you will be making an incredible wardrobe soon enough!

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  3. Gotta agree on the frustration not only of having such limited shopping options (and Target's strange actions recently), but also the difficulty of finding attractive patterns in larger sizes. I've never sewn my own clothes, partly because I can't find any patterns anywhere near my size and there's no incentive to sew for anyone else. I tried last year (when I desperately needed a bridesmaid dress) but even the pattern that claimed to be to my measurements didn't work for me or the experienced people who were going make it for me while teaching me. Your blouse looks very cute and I'm looking forward to seeing what else you make - and maybe getting up my own courage to try again too...

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    1. It's hard, isn't it? I get so frustrated sometimes, and I guess this frustration finally drove me to give this a try. I think it was worth it, and hopefully I'll get better as I go along. I hope you may get the urge to try again too! :)

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  4. I think you did better than pretty well - that blouse looks amazing!!! Add on to that - that you can sew to fit your exact body and personality, considering cut and fabric and you have a major win here. Love to see what else you get up to!!!

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  5. It looks really good! I know the frustrations of plus size shopping. There's not many stores in Australia either, but it is getting better. Brands that don't aim at the teenage market are starting to realise that the larger sizes are what sell first, coz most people are those sizes.

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  6. Good for you, it looks great! I hate clothes shopping to, really must get into making some clothes!

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  7. Your blouse looks great, how lovely your husband encouraged you:) Here's to your sewing clothes journey:)

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    1. Thank you so much, Vicky! Yes, my husband is such a sweetheart. He believes in me more than I do in myself! :)

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  8. Looking beautiful babe :) i started making my own clothes this year because of sizing issues.....i have found sewing with knits and stretchy material easier for a perfect fit.

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    1. Thanks, Heather! Yes, I'm hearing lots of good things about knits, so I'm definitely going to give those a try. I'm excited to keep working on this new adventure!

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  9. What a pretty top! Though you certainly don't look plus size at all... Enjoy your sewing success :-)

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  10. Such a pretty top Heidi! I'll have to check out that pattern. I have the same problem with clothing. Love this post, so encouraging!

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  11. Wow, it came out beautiful, I love the fabric choice, you did an excellent work. I sewn for my daughters and make tons of bags and pouches and even a couple of skirts for myself but I'm so afraid to make a blouse, you have inspired me, thanks!

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    1. Thanks, Noemi! Your projects are always lovely! Yes, you should definitely try a blouse. It's a little tricky, but not as hard as it looks!

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  12. It's FANTASTIC! Clever you. Actually, I already knew that you were clever! You look beautiful in your new top. I'm looking forward to seeing the next creation!

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  13. Wow I think you did a great job, your top looks great. You have a built in sense of what works for you already. Like you said you will do it again and make those adjustments and than will improve your skills. I have sewn since I was 6 and have sewn sizes big and small as I went up and down the sizes. It can be a challenge. I think one thing you will really enjoy is trying out sewing on knits. It really helps when it comes to wanting things slightly fitted and with ease of wearing and washing and packing if you travel.
    I plan to try some fabric from Mood online someday.
    Great job on the top.

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  14. I don't sew clothes for similar reasons....your top turned out darling though, and hopefully you'll find more encouragement to continue to give it a go again!

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  15. its a great top.. thanks for sharing. I am short waisted so it helps sewing a few items.

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  16. It's adorable and so are you! I am also just learning to make my own clothing (I'm also curvy!), and do find that I love what I make way more than what I buy. :-)

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    1. Marcia, you are SO sweet!! I'm really excited about trying to make my own clothes for a while. We'll see if I can rebuild my wardrobe in the next year!

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  17. Good for you, it turned out great! I'm a curvy girl too, so I totally feel your pain and shopping for clothes just isn't fun anymore! I haven't sewn anything for myself in a while but am feeling the urge to jump back in!

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  18. Your top turned out very cute! I have been looking at patterns at Made by RAE. She has some cute adjustable patterns with lots of tips. You might like her ideas as well. I am trying to decide on one to start with. Good luck with your creations!

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  19. You did a wonderful job. I was nodding my head as I read you post-I can relate to everything you said - been there, way too many times. I haven't sewed anything but quilts for many years, but maybe it's time to try again!

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  20. Those are beautiful pictures of you! I LOVE the top! You rock it, girl. I echo you completely about clothes for plus size women! That sucks so much about your Target. Ours still has a pretty small section. I have lots of career clothes ATM but not enough casual, and I always feel out of the loop.

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  21. Great blouse. I know what it is to go shopping for clothes and being a larger woman . I am even dissappointed in the "grandma section" even though I am that age in years only not in mind. Ithink whoever designs these colthes for us say we will let them were this or do without. Shame on them.

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  22. Heidi--I love your top! I think you did a great job! I can so relate to your wardrobe problems! I'm in the same stay-at-home-mom category and it is frustrating that there isn't more out there for plus sized women that is fun and pretty, but not career-ish. I will be watching your new sewing adventures, and maybe I'll even jump in and start sewing something for myself! I've actually never thought about it before! Great job!

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  23. How disappointing that shops, and patterns aren't catering to all women! I haven't tried them myself yet, but I've heard great things about the online shop eshakti. Their sizes go up to 6x and they do custom tayloring for less than 10 bucks. I think though, you are doing a fantastic job of stitching up clothes for yourself! good luck on your new sewing adventure!

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  24. Great job! There are some great classes on Craftsy that might help you in your quest to sew clothing for yourself. Also, sometimes classes are offered locally through a community centre or fabric store.

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    1. Thank you, Jean! Yes, I love Craftsy, and I've enrolled in two clothing classes. We'll see if I can start learning some tricks as I start down this new road!

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  25. Really nice top, there. I do not know how curvy you are, but Burda magazine usually has a nice fashionable selection of patterns for 'Plus' sizes in the back. They tend to have very measurement accurate patterns, but you must add your seam allowance. They have tops, dresses, trousers and coats, so well worth a look. Up to a 48" bust. Good luck!

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  26. You're beautiful and so is your blouse! Nice job. :)

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  27. Lovely blouse and you look great in it!
    If it wasn't for my sister's sewing skills I wouldn't have a summer wardrobe at all! Everything seems too young , too old or too tight!!
    Nice job and I'm sure you'll have lots more success.

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  28. You are darling in your picadilly blouse! Loved your blog about it.

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  29. Thank you Heidi for this post! I love your blouse. I haven't sewn clothing for myself because I am a little curvy myself (but in all the wrong places lol) but maybe I will give it a try. I really like the length of that blouse. I will def check out that pattern!
    xo jan

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  30. I think you look fabulous and the top is very flattering on you! I love that print too, I just picked some up the other day. I am a little on the curvy side myself and clothing shopping is so frustrating. Really the most frustrating thing is bra shopping though, but I don't think I'm going to start making my own bras!

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  31. OMG! You are singing my song! I'm also a plus sized stay-at-home mom and all I wear are jeans and t-shirts with some sweaters thrown in for good measure. I need a new light jacket and I can not for the life of me find one for less that $50 which is insane. It seems that everything in my size-range, no matter what it is, costs $50.

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  32. Good for you! You look beautiful, and now I feel there is hope for me. I have been struggling for years to find clothes that fit and look appropriate for my age. I am now putting this in my bucket list.

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  33. Your top looks great! As a SAHM, I like very casual clothes as well, I'm not yo fashionable (i.e. Trendy), but I want to look good. For patterns with a wide range of sizes, check out Imagine Gnats-her Bess top is awesome. Also Colette Patterns has a knitwear collection coming out that will have quite a range of sizes. Some of the indie patten companies are trying to expand their range of sizes.
    -Julie

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  35. This looks adorable on you and your fabric choice is great!

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  36. I think you did a great job and you should give yourself a big pat on the back!! It is sew cute on you!

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  37. You did a great job. Just use the same pattern and put a little of yourself into each project. You'll be surprised how many variations you'll come up with. There's no stopping you now!

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  38. Beautiful job! It looks fantastic! I've only made skirts so far (with varying levels of success), but I love being able to wear something I made myself.

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  39. I applaud you for venturing into making your own clothes.
    One of the things that can make it easy, is to find a few basic patterns that can be modified for a different look. For example, your cute top with a different neckline or eyelet inset at front. I've made a skirt from the Serendipity Studio.com The patterns accommodate many types of figures. Give me a holler if want help making a muslin :)

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  40. This is a great top Heidi, I have sewn a few things for myself, my favorite was a pair of bloomers, I promise I only wear them around the house or when channeling Laura Ingles Wilder. :) I once bought the book "built by Wendy" and was so excited to get started until I realized that she was not intending the book for anyone with a, shall I say, curvy slightly plump figure, like myself. I do have a top that I love but it is worn out and sometime soon I hope to make a pattern from it and make a new top. Well you have inspired me. Thanks for that.

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