Attitude adjustment needed

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I ask your indulgence in asking this question, since it is long.

I have many reasons to sew personal garments like men’s dress and sport
shirts.

Some are: copying a favorite design not available any longer,
accommodating posture or fitting problems to achieve perfect fit, using
special or high-quality fabrics like Armani, Zegna, Bill Blass, etc in
the style I want and without the high price, using sturdy/pleasing
construction techniques like different seams instead of serger
construction or glue, using comfortable interafacings and linings (I
like corduroy collarstands and sometimes collars or cuffs on casual
shirts, for eg.), pocket size and location or absence of, and many other
reasons besides the pure satisfaction of making a shirt I cut from whole
cloth.

We usually get better at sewing with experience; I have at least. But
some of my stuff looks “homemade”, and many things I see others create
have the same look about them, either in person or on some of the
webpages I see people refer to here.

I’m not talking about weird designs as shirts I make are pretty
standard, but the devil is in the details. Things like a pocket a little
tiny bit askew, uneven topstitching, miniscule puckering of a seam maybe
from a finicky fabric, failure to hang right, and a lot of other things
alone or in combination and scream out: "I’M HOMEMADE" .  I wear a new
creation and someone asks: “Did you make that?”   “Why do you ask?”
“Oh, I don’t know; just wondering”  Busted again.  But they all like the
materials; they’re special.

  The problem I have is that machine-made off the rack shirts, however
poor the stitching or cheap the fabric, or how soon the buttons need to
be resewn. don’t suffer from these faults.

I’m not looking for the usual platitudes like: “Don’t worry, it will all
come in time, with experience, just have patience”.  I’ve seen lifetime
sewists showing at state fairs create garments with the same look, and
stuff  in sewing books as well. So the issue is not how to achieve
perfection, but how to accept results that are less "professional" than
even cheap stuff off the rack, although better constructed and of better
material.

  Assuming you’ve all created less than perfect garments tainted with
homemadeitis, my question is just this:

How do you come to accept the reality of creating imperfect garments,
yet retain the satisfaction of creating things in this wonderful hobby,
business, or whatever? How do you get over this hurdle?

So far remembering just one thing has helped a little: I took a
beginning art course as a returning GI in the mid-50’s on my way to
gaining an engineering degree. Noting I was unusual student in her
freshman class of Liberal Arts students by my goals and age, the
instructor said, “This semester I’m going to teach YOU that a pearl is
prettier than a ball-bearing”. So I’m trying to embrace imperfections in
my creations as being positive, but it’s a struggle.

Any thoughts on coping skills you may have are welcome.

JPBill

Re: Attitude adjustment needed
WB wrote:

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No - I always strive to make the next garment better than the last one.

But education is a key thing: learning to look properly at things that
are professionally made by the very best, and learning by observing the
details:  I go to museums and look at historical and couture things, and
really look hard at how things are made, and what is used where, and try
to see why.  This helps you get a handle on what does and doesn't work
for the look you want.
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It's a bit like silk dupion: a lusterous and beautiful fabric made full
of errors!  At one time dupion (the word comes from having two silkworms
in a single cocoon, making slubs or tangles in their silk as they spin
round each other) was reguarded asbeing full of faults, so was only used
by those who couldn't afford the better stuff without the faults.  Now
it's one of our most popular bridal and special occasion fabrics, and
the faults are copied in polyester!
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A lot of the 'home made' look is in the cut and finish, and these things
DO take time to learn and perfect.  Some also come with materials: many
of the fabrics one buys in the high street fabric shops will give a
'home made' look no matter how you try.  Especially if you chuck it in
the wash before you make the garment!  Manufacturers and couture houses
never do this!  You will never regain that crisp new look if you do
this.  Yes, I know there are folk who have good reason to wash stuff,
but they are a lot fewer and further between than one might think from
the passions this topic arouses.

Some things to think about:

If you want a factory finish, you need to use factory techniques and
machinery!  You also need to use factory cloth...

If you want a properly tailored or couture finish, again, you need to
learn these techniques and then keep using the skills (for several hours
every day!) until your stitches are perfect and invisible in use, your
pressing divine, and your fit magical.  There are no short cuts!

Much of the 'I'm home made!' look comes from not doing some of the basic
but boring things:

Measuring properly and taking account of fit issues such as a high
shoulder line, odd height hips, dowager's hump, and so forth...

Proper fitting: if you are making a garment for yourself, fitting has to
be done by a second person!

Pressing (NOT ironing) as you go: I usually press AFTER fitting the
garment, as pressing in a seam that has to be altered can leave a
permanent mark, and that screams Home Made like nothing else!

Using not just a professional construction method, but also professional
materials for the hidden construction: horse hair canvas in coat fronts
and collars, for example, and proper felted Melton for undercollars in
gent's suits...

Using the right technique for the fabric: for example, using modern
fusible stuff for tailoring poly and poly blends just because they work
better than traditional hand tailoring on these fabrics, and using the
traditional way on real wool that responds so much better to that
treatment; using the serger for stretch Lycra type fabrics because that
gives a more professional and complete look than the standard machine
for seams; learning to use something better than 'lining fabric' for lining!

There are many ways to avoid the Home Made look: an accusation I rarely
get from strangers.  Friends and folk who know me assume things ARE home
made, and ask how much it would cost for me to make them one!

I'm not (and I'd never pretend to be!) the most skilled stitcher in the
world, but I still don't accept that Home Made look.  I much prefer that
special 'made just for me - professionally!' look!  ;)
--
Kate  XXXXXX  R.C.T.Q Madame Chef des Trolls
Lady Catherine, Wardrobe Mistress of the Chocolate Buttons
We've slightly trimmed the long signature. Click to see the full one.
Re: Attitude adjustment needed
 
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They are also, in general, not buying off the retail floor, where
goodness knows how many people have handled that first yard or so, or
what kind of cleaner gets used (or not used) in the warehouses and
trucks.  That's the main reason I prewash much of my fabric.

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I hardly think I'm passionate about it, but being told that washing a
natural fiber in water is somehow more damaging to it than soaking it
in dirty petrochemicals annoys me.

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What Kate said.  In addition:

Use the right buttons.  If you're making a man's dress shirt, use
shell buttons.  Faux shell buttons always look fake.  Make sure the
collar points match and are properly pressed.

Use a finer thread for those buttonholes.  Make sure they're properly
placed and spaced.

--
Jenn Ridley : snipped-for-privacy@chartermi.net

Re: Attitude adjustment needed
Jenn Ridley wrote:

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So glad you thought to mention this. It does make a big difference.

Doreen in Alabama

Re: Attitude adjustment needed
If the garment is going to be less than perfect, it could just be worn
for casual wear.   I used to have a dressmaker make my clothes, and the
zippers were hand picked.  I would go for several fittings.  My clothes
were lined and were beautiful.  I now make clothes but could not
duplicate those made my the dressmaker as she must have been educated
in Europe.  She could copy coutourie clothing from better dress stores
for my mother.  What I sew is at my level.  I have good machines, a
blind hemmer, and four sergers.  I used to sew shirts for my ex, who
had a broad back, and he loved those shirts so much.  He wore them
every day.  I made his ties as well.  But that was in the seventies
when people wanted to do things by hand.  What I find works for me is
to use fabrics that have stretch, to fit using the pivot on a pin
method, to baste first, to be sure I have enough for the sleeve length
and the other things that were mentioned.  But as far as looking like
the tailor made shirts which I see made in my neighborhood, I would
have to apprentice there and as been mentioned get my fabric from their
work room.  It is very hard to find fabric like that of the fine
clothing manufacturers and as been stated, our machines, and our irons
are not the same.  Without the fine tools, tailoring rulers, knowledge,
it just cannot be done.  Were I to purchase a computer program, I still
do not think I could fit every part of my body to get a perfect
garment.  Also, I know two tailors from Italy.  They do not make
clothes, but fit them.  They do the hem by hand, even finishing the
edge.  Probably they would hand pick a zipper.  My son had a suit made
by a chinese tailor, and I notice that the top stitching is hand done.
A trip to a fine dress store helps learn how the clothes are made, but
where are those fabrics.  Also, tummies, stooping shoulders, hips, and
so on all require changes.  The math of pattern fitting requires
college level course work.  Clair Schaefer has written several books on
fine sewing.  I had many books and sold them as I will never learn it
and now sew with fleece which needs no seam finish.  A hem could be
serged and left hanging if desired.  I make pull on pants and have
given up on darting and fitting for it just has never worked for me.Judi


Re: Attitude adjustment needed
WB, I might suggest that you learn the sewing techniques you need by sewing
a more casual shirt or pants first.  As you sew the garment, have a
professional shirt or pants next to the machine and copy the placement and
way the pocket is sewn on, and other details.  This way you can see exactly
what the difference is between "your" garment and the purchased one.  The
first one you sew will take a day or so, but the second will be much easier.
Also,  a few private sewing lessons might help you, maybe from a friend.
HTH
Barbara in SC and now FL



Re: Attitude adjustment needed
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Unless you're talking about woolens or garments you intend to dry clean
only, that makes no sense.  The best you might say is that the garment
might look crisp the first time you wear it.  It will have to be washed
eventually and will lose that "crisp new look" anyway.  That's what
starch and sizing are for.  Or do you dry clean everything you wear?

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Look again.  Lots of RTW now comes labeled "preshrunk", "stone washed",
and "distressed" just to name a few.  Many people obviously hate that
"crisp new look" so much they are willing to take hammers and hacksaws
to their jeans.  When washable goods aren't prewashed, it's because some
"crisp" looking garments sell better from the rack.  Manufacturers don't
give a flying fig how much you have to pay for dry cleaning to maintain
a "crisp" looking garment or how much it might shrink or that it might
look completely different after it is washed.  They are mainly concerned
about sales and do not want to add to their production costs.  

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If you never wash anything, it will eventually get stiff enough to
break! :)

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You obviously mean "prewash" here I'm guessing.

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Sounds to me like you're the one with the "passions" argument here--- to
*never* prewash anything.  The considerably less passionate, more
reasonable view is to use one's own judgment according to the fabric
type and effects one wishes to achieve with the garment over the long
run.  

[...]

--
I fear me you but warm the starved snake,
Who, cherished in your breasts, will sting your hearts. (Henry VI, Shakespeare)

Re: Attitude adjustment needed
Phaedrine wrote:

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Nope: washable fabrics don't change much when you wash them, and then
change slowly.  Printed cottons are (in my experience) the ones most
likely to change. But if you make them up before you wash all the size
and stuff out of them, you get a much sharper, more accurate finish, and
that really does last through several months, or even years of washing.
  Domestic equipment is never going to give you that sharp finish you
get on new fabric.
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Yes - but this a manufacturer's finish, not one made in domestic equipment.

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yeah, well ...  There madness all over, innit!  ;)

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Except that if you wash or dry clean a garment according to the
instructions and that wrecks it first time, you get your money back.  At
least you do here in Europe!

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Oh I do that all the time.  I just can't see the point of doing all that
extra work to remove the way a fabric is supposed to look and behave.
If you want to pre-wash and wreak a fabric just so it's washable
forever, go ahead: it's your fabric!  But I don't make the kind of
clothes that one wears and washes every day very often.  Most of my
making is things like coats (dry clean wools and such like), tailored
silk suits and wool suits, bridal stuff, costumes  (and some of those
get VERY hard use and a LOT of washing in their lifetime), occasionally
hiking kit (that has to be washable, and re-prooffable) and other odd
things.  If someone wants a washable silk dupion suit, we look for and
buy washable silk dupion.  We don't buy bridal dupion that is dry clean
only.  The two are manufactured differently for different uses.  It's a
matter of buying the right stuff in the first place and then treating it
as intended.

And I do prewash stuff that needs it: I quite often get loomstate
fabrics that need to be prewashed before making up, and I sometimes get
stuff for costumes for kids dirt cheap because it's grubby: a quick trip
through the tub does that a world of good!  And, as I said before, I
quite often pre-wash quilting fabric because a lot of it is printed on
cotton that has NOT been pre-shrunk.  If I'm going to dye a fabric or
print on it, that too gets pre-washed to remove anything that might
affect the dying or printing process.  But wash it just because it's new
off the bolt?  Nah...  Got more interesting things to do!  :)

--
Kate  XXXXXX  R.C.T.Q Madame Chef des Trolls
Lady Catherine, Wardrobe Mistress of the Chocolate Buttons
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Re: Attitude adjustment needed
Kate Dicey wrote:
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Something else to factor in is that you, Kate, can buy "needle-ready"
fabrics.  Here in the colonies, our fabrics can be very different.  We
don't get the same thing you do very often.  Lots of our fabrics are
stiff with sizing, and not needle-ready by any stretch of the imagination.
--
Joanne
stitches @ singerlady.reno.nv.us.earth
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Re: Attitude adjustment needed
Pogonip wrote:
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A lot of the suitings I get, and the stuff I use for historic costumes,
comes from mills and factories: the company I buy from gets liquidation
stock from mills, and season's end over=order stock from the factories
that make for Marks & Spencer, Daks, Next, Henry Lloyd, Barbour...  I do
as the manufacturers do and use straight off the bolt.  It comes from
all over the world.  Some of the liquidation stock has been straight
from the Lancashire mills and is over 20 years old by the time I see it!
  Now that can be something like £1 or 50p a metre, never to be
repeated, and is fantastic mercerized cotton.  If it's got dusty from
warehouse storage, marked by damp or is unfinished, I'll wash it.  Most
of it is fine to go as it it.

Some of my more glorious silks for the bridal customers come straight
from the manufacturers and never see a shop floor: Mrs Grubby-Paws in
the High Street never even sees it, never mind gets her mitts on it!  :)
  And even when I go to Joshi's I tend to want quantities that mean I
buy a whole roll (specially of linings), and they fetch one out of the
warehouse, still wrapped from the factory.  No need to wash that, unless
the customer requests it specially.  But, as I said elsewhere, if the
customer wants washable, we look for washable fabric.

--
Kate  XXXXXX  R.C.T.Q Madame Chef des Trolls
Lady Catherine, Wardrobe Mistress of the Chocolate Buttons
We've slightly trimmed the long signature. Click to see the full one.
Re: Attitude adjustment needed
I really don't know that I want to look in this particular can of
worms, but here goes nothing...

(Note: I am in the US, and I do not know about the qualities of
Europe's fabrics "from the mill".)

For many years, I used wolven, natural fabrics almost exclusively.
These would shrink when washed, generally 5 to 20%.

Then we all seemed to be using primarily synthetics, and the rage was
knits.  Early US double-knits were very, VERY unstable, and some of
them would shrink as much as 50-60% when first washed.

Now I am back to using traditional, natural wolvens, but the same
shrinkage factor is still present... You simply never know how much a
fabric is going to shrink when it is first washed. Fabric shrinkage
can also be uneven, with different rates of shrinkage for the warp and
the weave...

So, I guess I fall into the school that washes everything first.. I
also use vinegar and salt in that first wash to help set the dyes.

However...... Some fabrics can be more difficult to manipulate after
the factory sizing has been washed out. I sometimes will press and
lightly starch fabrics if they feel like they are going to be a
problem in this regard. I also make sure that the fabric is "on grain"
when I do this. (I would rather take a few extra minutes to do this
than have to "fight" with an unruly fabric during the whole
construction process)

I would never consider making  a garment out of unwashed fabric if
that fabric once worked up was going to be normally washed during it's
lifetime. The fabrics here are simply too unstable to do this. Dry
clean only fabrics are a different issue, but I even know people who
take their dry-clean only fabrics to the cleaners before they work it
up (garment construction).


JM


wrote:

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Re: Attitude adjustment needed

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Hmmm.  I'd need more than "domestic equipment" to plow through all those
contradictions.  If, as you say, washable fabrics don't change much when
you wash them or change slowly, then I can't imagine why are you so
worried about other people "chucking" them in the washer before they sew
them if that "sharper,more accurate finish" lasts through "several
months or even years of washing".

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Without making any distinction, you said manufacturers would never do
that.  Yet they do.

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So then , obviously, there should be no problem washing it. :)

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No one except you said a single word about changing the way fabric is
supposed to "look and behave".  It is your own unsubstantiated
generalization.  First you insist that washing any fabric before making
a garment from it will ruin the look of the garment.  Then, when
challenged, you somehow swing it back around to say that even after
years of washing the garment finish will be preserved.  And now you're
back to prewashing "removes the way a fabric is supposed to look and
behave" or even "wreaks" a fabric.  

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You could have made that distinction (as I did) earlier on in this
discussion, but you did not.  Instead you referenced all fabrics.  
Further, you seem to be assuming that just because a person prewashes
certain fabrics that they will prewash any fabrics.  That, of course, is
incorrect.  Even a person who prewashes all their purchased fabrics may
not ever sew with woolens or the other things you note above.  Just
because Colonel Mustard was found in the library with a candlestick,
does not mean he killed Miss Scarlett.

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Ah.... so prewashing does not, in fact, ruin the look and feel of all
fabrics.  No doubt most others are just as capable as you of determining
what needs prewashing and what does not.

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Strawman.  I don't recall anyone saying they prewash their fabric "just
because" it is "new on the bolt" or because they find it interesting.  
In fact, I recall people giving other far more intelligent reasons.

--
I fear me you but warm the starved snake,
Who, cherished in your breasts, will sting your hearts. (Henry VI, Shakespeare)

Re: Attitude adjustment needed
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First of all, there are no perfect garments.... certainly not in RTW.  
The closest you might get to that is with haute couture.  The typical
RTW garment often has:

- failure to match seam intersections
- hanging strings all over the garment
- buttons ready to fall off
- off-grain cut making the garment hang poorly and look like crap
- obviously shrunken marker or
- oversized to account for lack of construction around body curves or
angles
- plaids don't match
- poor grade of fabric (Eddie Bauer's cotton for example... ugh!) so
harsh to the touch you wonder if it was recycled
- overuse of synthetics
- rotten thread that breaks after only a few washings
- plastic (ick!) used to stabilize seams
- lack of bound buttonholes
- zippers that break or fall apart
- lack of design detail or construction elements
- no pockets
- construction marks show thru fabric (Landsend shirts do this a lot)
- and so much more!

I once bought an expensive sweater that had one sleeve a full 8 inches
shorter than the other one.  My husband bought himself a couple shirts
while out of town on business (longer trip than planned).  $40-50
shirts--- yikes!  While the fabric was excellent and they were all
cotton, the underarm seams were off kilter on one and the other one had
plastic "stays" sewn in the inside of the collar!  Eeeeeew.  I can do
way better than that.

Let me ask you this:  Do *you* really think your garments look home made
or are possibly jealous friends/associates trying to made you feel bad
or weird?  If you think they look home made, specifically which details
are you having trouble with?  Let's get specific and find the right
solutions.

Phae

--
I fear me you but warm the starved snake,
Who, cherished in your breasts, will sting your hearts. (Henry VI, Shakespeare)

Re: Attitude adjustment needed
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For these, may I suggest a thorough read of Carol Ahles' book,
Fine Machine Sewing?  

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My experience is that a shirt that doesn't hang right was probably cut
slightly off grain, or from a poor pattern.

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Some of it *is* practice.  When you sew precision cut pockets on
all day, every day, you get good at it.  When you've got a specialized
machine to do a particular operation, tuned for the particular fabric
at hand, it's easier than doing the same job on a multipurpose machine.
Some of it is using different methods than RTW manufacturers do...
some of it is using different fabrics that would have been rejected for
a particular pattern by a RTW maker.  Some of it is crummy patterns.
Some of it is crummy or poorly chosen interfacings.

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Mostly, I hang stuff up in the back of the closet and don't look at it
for a week or so.  Usually I find it looks much better than I remembered
when I look at it again.  
--
NewsGuy.Com 30Gb $9.95 Carry Forward and On Demand Bandwidth

Re: Attitude adjustment needed
This topic is definitely of interest to me, as a new sewer/seamstress.

Reading the various responses is somewhat depressing. I don't have several
hours a day to devote to this hobby. I'd like to think that I can become
"proficient" at the things I do frequently, and that I need to practice a
time or two (or three or four) at the things I don't do frequently. I don't
plan to sew a wedding gown anytime soon (I can certainly appreciate the
amount of time and attention to detail that this would involve - besides I'm
past the need for one myself, and have no girl children); I'd like to be
able to make a suit for myself (this is down the road).

Am I condemned to looking like high school home-ec, unless I give up
exercise, walking the dog, having a full-time job outside the home and going
to the gym?

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 the devil is in the details:  uneven topstitching, miniscule puckering of a
seam maybe
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Re: Attitude adjustment needed
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No, but choice of patterns and materials become even more critical if
you haven't got a lot of practice.  For instance, Louise Cutting's patterns
come with extensive construction notes, and she's very good about suggesting
interfacings for particular fabrics (and she carries some very good
interfacings, too.)  Cecelia Podolak's "Fearless" patterns are well drafted,
classic, and I can practically feel her behind me when I'm sewing, the
instructions are so thorough.  I would suggest you'd likely get better results
from either patternmaker and some decent fabric (good stuff is so much
easier to sew than the cheap stuff!) than you would with J. Random Big4
pattern.

The other thing that really separates good sewn products from mediocre,
in my opinion, is pressing.   Taking the time to press as you sew, and
knowing how to press and having the basic pressing tools makes a really
big difference in how something looks at the end....  Good pressing and
mediocre sewing often produce a much better looking product than mediocre
pressing and good sewing.

Kay

--
NewsGuy.Com 30Gb $9.95 Carry Forward and On Demand Bandwidth

Re: Attitude adjustment needed
Ok, I've been reading all the answers and thought I should add a few
things.   As has been mentioned, cut is important.  One thing I have
noticed is that If a garment is cut outside the cutting line, care must
be taken with the width of the seam allowances.   If the pattern is cut
to fit you, and you aren't careful with the stitching, the garment will
still have poor fit. you can't hack out a garment, stitch it together
willy nilly and have it look right

Secondly I thought I would mention that the direction you stitch a seam
and the direction you press it can have a Huge impact on the way a well
cut garment hangs.

Thirdly, put the pocket in so it feels right to YOU.   the idea that it
is crooked is in your perception of it.  What the heck are you making
your own for if it has to look right to every tom dick and harry you
run across.   the point is that it should feel great, and make you feel
great.   if it does, then the question "Is that homemade" comes from
their envy of your skill.  If the KNEW you made it they wouldn't ask.
If your coworkers know you sew, then consider it a compliment and quit
worrying.

A good answer is "It's hand tailored"  No one has to know WHO did your
work, just that it was hand done to fit YOU.   If you're really worried
ask someone who's opinion you value to curtique it before you wear it
out to work.   get the seam ripper out and fix the little Bits that
bother you, but don't move the pocket.  I think that leaves the threads
out of place and it will always show.

HTH, Kitty in SW PA


Re: Attitude adjustment needed
If the off the rack shirts you buy have none of those problems, I want to
know where you're buying them!  My husband's purchased shirts are loaded with
sewing errors.  It's obvious to my eye that they have been rushed through the
factory process.  Actually, after 18 years with me, it's usually obvious to
his eyes also!  LOL

The way to get avoid these problems, in my experience, is to take a lot of
time fiddling.  If the pocket looks askew, take it out and adjust it.  Also,
lots of pattern directions tell you to sew the pocket on the front before
doing anything else.  I rarely do that.  I put together most of the body of
the shirt and then put it on to get the pocket "just right".  (no doubt I
developed that as a busty woman who needs to avoid certain pocket
positioning!)

Same with other things - if the topstitching looks uneven, take it out and
redo it.  Meanwhile, learn to sew *slowly*  so keep the topstitching lined up
and over time you will be able to pick up speed again.  Heck, after 35 years
of sewing, I have times and garments that I have to topstitch very slowly.

If it hangs wrong, analyze that and figure out what IS wrong.  Figure out
what it needs to be wearable.  Decide if the problem was in the sewing or the
fabric.  It's tricky.  Even experienced sewers will sometimes choose a fabric
that doesn't hang quite right in the end.

And the repeated advice about pressing is gospel.  I used to sell fancy vests
at art shows.  I saw lots of other folks selling garments that were poorly
made - little or no pressing, partially lined, but with the seams still
exposed, etc.  They looked cheap and junky.  But a garment that has been
well-pressed throughout the construction process, looks so much better even
from a distance.  You can tell the difference by how it looks on a hanger!  
Also, pressing throughout the process can help avoid some of the other
problems you mention.

And finally, when folks ask if you made something, do they ask it in a
derisive manner?  I've had folks often ask that of anything I wear that looks
a bit more interesting than the standard off the rack item.    If I make
myself a plain, solid color shirt, no one asks.  But when we show up in our
tropical fish print cotton shirts, folks who know us always ask if we made
them because they've never seen anything like them in the stores!

--
Nann
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Re: Attitude adjustment needed

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Amen to everything you said.  I would add that, IMHO, at least 1/2 the
patterns put out by the major American pattern companies are poorly
designed, have major errors, use extremely outdated (and often stupid)
sewing instructions, or fit very poorly.    It must be horribly
discouraging to new sewers to pick a size according to measurements, cut
out their fabric ever so carefully, follow instructions to a letter and
then have their garment look like it was made for a camel.

Two of the best investments a beginning sewer can make is a great book
on fitting & pattern alteration, and a bolt of muslin.  What you learn
from making muslins increases proficiency dramatically.  Even with that
experience, pattern selection is still very much of a crap shoot.  How
many times have you brought a pattern home only to discover some totally
odd detail or stupid construction that was not revealed on the envelope?  
Once you learn how to fit and alter patterns, you've gone at least
halfway to eliminating that homemade look.

Phae

--
I fear me you but warm the starved snake,
Who, cherished in your breasts, will sting your hearts. (Henry VI, Shakespeare)

Re: Attitude adjustment needed
Phaedrine wrote:
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Many thanks to Phae and all the others who shared their experience on
this topic with the group.  JPBill

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