Sunday, September 16, 2012

Questions & Answers 9.16.12

A few of you guys had some questions for me and I thought I'd publicize the answers just in case anyone else was curious. 

Question #1
The Lovely Shannon R (from the Fashion Night Out....Post)asked....

How do you keep track of which patterns you have? Do you buy fabric for a specific pattern or with something in mind (jacket, pants) or do you simply buy what material catches your eye? Any tips??

Great question Shannon R!!! 

I detailed my pattern filing system in this POST. To be quite honest my sewing room is overrun yet again by patterns so it's time to get back to the filing system. Once I've used a pattern that I plan to keep then I store it (envelope, guidesheet, and cut pattern pieces) in a clear Ziploc gallon bag in a separate bin. I keep used patterns separate from the unused ones.

Good question about my fabric shopping practices! I cover my inclination to buy fabric first rather than a pattern in this POST. I tend to have "love at first sight" moments with fabric as I describe in this OTHER POST. All those it's been a while since I've written these posts I still tend to purchase the fabric first and decide it's use later. But I know everyone is different. Alot of people don't want a fabric stash so they'd rather buy as needed. If I lived near NYC I probably wouldn't have a fabric stash. However, sometimes fabrics are slim picking and hit or miss for me so when I see something that catches my eye I get it and hold on to it until I decide what to do with it.

Question #2 The Wonderful Becky (from the Denim Trouser Post ) asked ....

What s the difference between trousers and jeans? Genuinely curious as I thought they were the same. I always wear skirts as a personal preference so I am out of the loop on this one.

To be quite honest Becky your question stupefied me. I really thought I knew what trousers were and it appears I may have confused them to be synonymous with a dressy slack. 
In truth a Trouser is defined as 1. (Clothing & Fashion) a garment shaped to cover the body from the waist to the ankles or knees with separate tube-shaped sections for both legs

So it appears that the word trouser is an umbrella term for a type of pant. Ok I got that.  But up until my Denim Trouser Post, I'd never heard of the phrase "denim trouser". I'd only heard of "denim jeans". So what the heck are jeans. Well  jeans are defined by as (Clothing & Fashion) informal trousers for casual wear, made esp of denim or corduroy.

So now I completely get it. I mistakenly equated the terminology trouser to always mean dressy pants and I've always associated denim with undressy pants. So when I saw the denim trouser I thought there was some new Frankenstein creation on the pants front. Not so!  I understand it now!!!! Trousers are a type of pants that can even made out of a casual fabric such as denim. Good to know. Thanks Becky for forcing me to think a little more about this!

 Question #3
The Fantastic Chaka (posted on my Chat box ) asked.....

What size do you wear retail? What pattern size do you wear? I am trying to wrap my head around the measurements. So far, I always cut too big.

Hey Chaka I answered your question in my chat box but felt I didn't do it thoroughly. So here's the full answer. I wear a size 8 in RTW. RTW sizing can be tricky and depends upon the size assigned to it (unfortunately vanity sizing exists). But I've tried on alot of different clothes so for the most part I'm a size 8. Now in pattern sizes I normally wear a size 12 for my bodice and 14 for the waist and below. My actual measurements are Bust 36, Waist 28 & Hips 42". I often opt to make smaller sizes in knit patterns since I like my clothes fitted. The point I'm trying to make is your sizing for each pattern may oftentimes be different. It depends on your measurements & necessary wearing ease of course AND the design ease of a pattern. You can read more about wearing and design ease HERE.

Case in point, I recently made this McCall's 6241.
 Based on my size 12 pattern measurements I fell into the Medium size category. However, I looked at the finished measurements (which included the design ease) and realized it was.......... That was more ease then I wanted. I wanted the top loose but not that loose. So I decided to go down a size and the resulting top is what you see and what I was happy with! So always examine your pattern's design ease in light of your actual & wearing ease measurements. This will help you to choose the fit of you prefer.

An additional suggestion is when in doubt, make a muslin.  There are plenty of times where despite knowing the design ease I'm still unsure of how a design will look on me. In those instances I often make a muslin, or test garment using dispensable fabric. I'd rather take the time to do that then waste good quality fabric. I   HATE ill-fitting clothing so making a muslin is often the best insurance policy!

Hope these answers were helpful!!!!
If you have any additional questions please post in the comments section below and I'll answer in the next Q&A post!!!


  1. Hello Victoria -- two questions for you:
    1) You often mention making muslins to test the fit of a pattern, etc. What do you do with your muslins after you finished using them?
    2) What are your favorite fabrics to work with?

    1. Thanks, I'll include these 2 question in my next Q&A post:)

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