Peggy Sagers Sew A Long

I enjoy Peggy’s Broadcasts and have used her procedure to successfully fit patterns from other companies. However, when her patterns require fitting,  I’ve failed miserably.

I think part of my issue is not understanding Silhouette pattern sizing.  IMO Peggy is a bit ambiguous. Which is totally opposite from the authoritarian “your butt is this large you will use this size (whether it fits or not)”  approach I’ve had drilled into my head over and over by both the Big 4 and most Indy pattern companies.  I think Peggy wants your garments to fit they way you want them to and acknowledges that it’s going to take several tries.  She’s also open to the idea if you don’t like something in particular, just change it to what you do like i.e. if that armhole is too tight, copy one that works for you. She assumes you are not walking around nekid and therefore have found clothing thatat least fits acceptably. You are instructed to measure your clothing and compare to the ‘finished measurements’ printed on the patterns.

I didn’t even try Silhouette patterns for several years. Partly because I hate the french dart – a combination of waist and bust darts – which Peggy loves.  Most of my life, no matter my weight, I have not needed a front waist dart.  Starting with a pattern for which I need to remove the waist dart, which is half of a bust dart that probably needs to be larger, does not thrill me at all. But the other reason, as I said before, I couldn’t wrap my head around the sizing.

My first attempts with  Silhouette patterns were with garments that did not require fitting (Kacy’s 5 Way). The next attempts were with the Yoga Pant and Tank top. With both of these patterns, I compared my sloper to the new patterns and chose the closest size. This has worked for me with other patterns.  It was woefully wrong with Silhouette patterns. Neither garment came anywhere near fitting me. I gave up — for a long while.

I like Peggy’s pattern styling.  I think she and a very few others are providing patterns that reflect current trends, styling and fit.  While I don’t want to exactly reproduce RTW, I do want my garments technically as good as RTW and I want them to incorporate current styling. I would so love to purchase a Silhouette Pattern; make a few fit adjustments and finish with an on-trend garment I can proudly wear.  I’d like to do that enough that I’ve decided to bite the bullet and fully follow Peggy’s instructions.

I started by ordering the Sweater Set #195 and Sally’s Pant #3200 from the Starter Pack here. It will be a week before the patterns arrive

I continued by printing the Measurements chart here

I won’t be measuring dresses or skirts this time; and instead of a seldom made jacket I measured a vest of which I make quite a few.   I tried measuring my favorite garments; and that’s despite the fact that there isn’t a garment in the closet I can’ t improve. Got to tell you, measuring clothing is not as easy as it sounds. Yeah, I thought  fold the garments in half, take measurement and multiply by 2. I had forgotten that fabric will move around. Air will lift it in places; and other places will become scrunched.  The finished measurements I was recording sounded off. I decided to measure my slopers instead. To my surprise, while off, the garments weren’t as far off as I thought; and the final measurements are surprisingly consistent across T-shirt, Blouse, Jacket and at hip level pants and jeans too.

In the spirit of full disclosure I’m posting my measurements here. Just because I was curious, I put my body measurements in the column preceding the T-shirt.

Measurement \ Garment Body T-Shirt Blouse VEST Pants Jeans X X
(Where Applicable)
Size of Armhole 19.25 17 26
Circumference of Sleeve 14 17 17
Width of Back 14 15 16 15
Width of Shoulder Seams 4 4.25 4.5 4.5
Cap Height 5.25 5.25
Bust Circumference 41.5 44 48 46
Waist Circumference 39.5 41 44 48 40 40
Thigh Circumference 28 29
Hipline Circumference 49 50 54 52 46 48
Knee Circumference 13 22 26
Hem Circumference 20 20

Just waiting for my patterns.

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