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Thursday, August 5, 2021

This Tee Journey Is Not Easy!

All photos have been wicked enhanced for contrast because of the black fabric. This makes for weird shadows and I apologize. 

The Tee Shirt Quest continues................and this was a story unto itself as well. I haven't hit the Holy Grail yet! I do have lots to say about this pattern. You may be thinking to yourself "she is really getting grouchy in her old age." Maybe I am but I don't think so. Yes, after a certain age our lips and what comes out of them do get a little looser but I am not getting crabbier. I just have a lot more experience under my belt at this stage and perhaps expect more because of that. The sewing world is changing and I am not sure quite what is going on with it as you will see in my review. Let's get started. 



 Fabric:

The first thing my husband said when he saw the tee was, "Wow, that is gorgeous fabric." It really is and makes a great tee. It had the stretch needed and was from ancient stash. This fabric, which I think is a rayon/poly blend interlock, came from the Fabric Fix, an awesome Mom and Pop fabric store whose owner hit the Garment District every couple of weeks and brought back killer bargains on designer fabrics and sewing notions. I think I paid 3.00 a yard for this and bought tons. I made a voluminous skirt from this fabric that I wore to death for years at work. I still have the skirt to recycle its fabric. I wish you could see it up close. It is lovely and a delight to sew. It topstitched and eased beautifully. 

Pattern: 


This is where it gets interesting! This is Simplicity 9229, cute little tee shirt number from "Something Delightful" ugh. You need to really look at this pattern envelope closely, the model and the back. I bought this pattern on a big pattern sale at Joanns about a month ago. I bought 4 tee patterns. Two were Simplicity with S before the number on the patterns and dated 2021.  Now I don't know what is going on with Simp, if they were sold off, acquired, owned by CSS, or Design Group, or Something Awful or what but things are different. These 2021 versions have a confusing guide on the back. It says Sizes and then underneath European. You take a look and tell me what that means. 

OK, maybe I needed more coffee, but I thought size 6 had a 32 inch bust.  Luckily for me I always flat pattern measure. Seems it was only 30 1/2. Now, for about 2 1/2 decades I have been achieving pretty decent fit with the Zieman method which put me into a size 6 with an FBA , not a big one. This pattern was way too small all over. I knew negative ease was involved and I don't like negative ease but this was beyond that. I ran to Pattern Review. Low and behold, the one review was having the same experience I was. I will let you judge for yourself here. The envelope and others like it also have no description of the garment which I found frustrating. I would think a description acknowledging the princess seams would be nice. In the photo above you will see that the cutting lines for side front are wrong for the size 10. They put the size 10 lines on the size 6 cutting lines. I did end up cutting  a size 10 and did an FBA and did a MAJOR bicep adjustment. Since I stopped working I am more active plus those health issues and have lost weight.  So my 107 pound frame jumped up in size, and after losing weight (only a number)  then I needed to add a lot more to that to get it to fit my bicep. There is just something wrong here. Read the PR reviewers comments as well, including those below her review. 


So I don't know what is happening at Simplicity but for the first time in forever, their sizing is not working for me like it has for years. 


I will be the first to admit it could be me but the PR review does give a bit of validation. I have remeasured myself and cutting out another tee right now with another pattern and we shall see what happens. 

Construction:

This fabric was delightful to work on. The pattern did call for inserting sleeves in the round so I went with it being my first try  but next time will be in the flat. Between the last tee and this one I stumbled upon Sara Veblen's method of inserting neck bands and used it for this shirt. Wow, her tips helped me get perfection. I am really happy with my results and you can see her video here on the Threads website.  The pattern did not call for it but I stayed the neckline with fusible tricot interfacing.  Before I inserted the sleeves and after doing the neckband, I pinfitted the sides and they were fine, plenty of room. It did seem to need a bit of a sway back adjustment but I would catch that on the next make.  Sleeves went in. I did the hems and done. I tried it on and it did not fit. I don't know where the fit went but once the sleeves were in it totally changed and I had no extra seam allowance to play with. I was not going to wad this shirt. I loved the fabric too much. I ended up cutting gussets for the side seams.  They were shaped like picket fence stakes adding one inch to each side and terminating in a point at the armscye. Worked like a charm but took time, ugh. Size ten did not fit at ALL. You can see it does not have negative ease, but neither does the triple size 0 model on the cover of the envelope. Is it not fair to expect my ease to match that of the photo on the envelope? With no description saying "close fitting" or anything else, I thought mine would fit like the model's, at least in regards to ease. I hemmed the sleeves and hem with my usual manner. That means a fusible tricot applied to the full hem width and stitched on the edge and again about an inch further up. 

In Conclusion:

I don't recommend this pattern. It required me to rethink a method of fitting that worked for me for decades. I feel the pattern itself is faulty and it shows on the poor guide on the outside of the envelope as well as the printed tissue.  Upon further investigation of the back of the pattern you get a "6" size, a "32" European and a "34" in Francaise. Is Francaise not European and are these measurements or what? I think those may be just representative of further turmoil within this company and if so they better get their act together as their competition is nipping at their heels with foam dripping from their mouth. This pattern is not one I will make again. I have one more I will try on the cutting table as we speak. This five foot tall, 107 pound woman cut a size 12 based on my measurements. If it fits perfect, so be it it. Numbers don't bother me. Change without explanation does.  Maybe they took lessons from Nancy Zieman and redid their pattern slopers.  We can only hope..............................Bunny

19 comments:

  1. I have appreciated Peggy Sagers advice to wrap the fabric around the bust to determine how many inches you need for your preferred ease, then use the pattern size that provides that. Her patterns provide finished garment measurements but I flat measure everything else I use. This method also accounts for different stretch factors. There are so many variables that go into a seemingly simple garment…best wishes on your next one!

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    1. Thanks, CanI. That is a great tip. I will try that. There are so many variables that come into play with such a simple garment. I do flat pattern measure and it would have been an even larger debacle if I didn't. I truly detest losing a garment so almost always find a way to make it work and did here. I do like the sleeve length a lot. So many short sleeves are very frumpy on my shorter arms. These were in a flattering spot and I will make note of that. Thanks for your input.

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    2. That's a great tip! I'm writing it in one of my sewing books. Hope I can remember which one when I need it....

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  2. It seems contradictory, but I find the simpler the garment, such as a tee, the harder I need to work to finesse the fit. I suppose because there aren’t a lot of details to detract from how well it fits? After many tries I’ve come to use Pamela’s Patterns tee as my base, but our shapes are not the same, so perhaps that wouldn’t suit your small frame. Good luck!

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    1. Definitely. The more seams, the more opportunity for fitting.

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    2. I've used Pamela's Patterns Perfect Tee for a number of tees. I constantly tweak the fit depending on the stretch of the fabric. I am built more rectangularly so I find I need to take it in near the hem. We all have adjustments that we need to make. Compare the pattern to a finished tee that you like the fit of. That will show you where you need to make alterations.

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  3. I’ve not bought any Something Awful patterns, choosing instead to rely on my pattern stash plus a few indie purchases. Your review reinforces that hesitancy. Omitting the princess seam on both the drawing and the word description is unforgivable, as is not mentioning negative ease. I appreciate your blog so much—thank you for writing.

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    1. You are welcome, Linda. Those simple small descriptions really mean a lot.

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  4. Today I was in a Joann store, passing the time while my husband was on an errand next door. McCall patterns were $1.99 so I gave a good look at the book and inside the drawers. Nothing was tempting, as I realized I’ve lost all trust in the Big 4. Between the fitting challenges and the outdated instructions— I just walked away. ….. I’m so grateful to independent entrepreneurs who are truly the future for us devoted sewists. Thanks, Bunny, for your frank words.

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    1. You are welcome. In general, I support the Big Four but I don't know what the future portends. I learned to fit myself with their slopers but it just didn't work this time. I have another experiment tomorrow. Then I am moving on to pants or anything else.

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  5. Every European country has a slightly different size definition..Spain, France and Italy all use a different numbering system, and England is more like ours (but two sizes bigger). “European” means nothing.

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    1. I understand French and Spanish and don't get the chart below. I thought maybe I would understand it better than the English version but it is even more confusing. I also realized we no long have the ease descriptions which I thought were a great help as one was glancing/shopping for a pattern. Why are those gone?

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  6. "European" here (Greek living in Germany)! It's quite common for clothes sold both in Greece and in Germany to have a size label showing the EU size and the FR (French) size. Usually the French size is one size larger (actually two, because the increase in EU adult sizes is by two each time). Sometimes ypu would get the UK sizing as well, which is similar to US sizing but not exactly the same measurements.
    I guess that the newer Simplicity patterns are aimed towards an EU audience as well and they wanted to minimize the cost of printing separate envelopes?

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  7. I haven't bought a pattern in 2? years. Not just because of the offerings, but since retiring nearly 2 years ago, the need for new garments and pattern/fabric retail therapy is greatly diminished. Well, garment fabric anyway - we'll not discuss quilt fabric and needlework supplies :-) Reading this makes me think I really should break out those "miracle" pattern drafting items I have and give them a try. How far off the rails could my efforts go in comparison? And the prior t-shirt, I have to wonder if McCall allowed P/P to add only the section to the start of the instructions, and insisted on using their regular cut/paste from all their old patterns for the rest?

    I do like your t-shirt, good that you found a way to make it work and save that lovely fabric.

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  8. I agree the sizing is confusing, and worse if the US versions of the pattern used to print different information on the pattern envelope. I think the top line of sizes is simply the number required to find the lines you need on a multi-sized pattern. The "European" line is a number to indicate a fairly standard European pattern sizing. Actually it isn't quite standard, compared, say, with Burda and Ottobre. They go up (at least as far as 41 inch bust) in regular 4 centimetre progressions from size 34 (80cm bust). Simplicity seems to be going up from size 32 (78 cm bust) in very irregular steps (78, 80, 83,87,92....). I would have read what they give as "bust size" on the envelope back as the actual body measurement and what they give as "top width" as the finished garment measurement - so expected about 3 1/2 inches of positive ease. But your flat measurement and the finished garment dimensions printed on the pattern piece suggest no ease at all, so that is very confusing, I agree. I've just had a look at a 2011 Simplicity pattern and the sizing as given on that pattern envelope is exactly the same, as it is on a more recent (2017) New Look pattern produced by the Simplicity company. I suspect the only solution is to look very carefully at each company's own sizing charts on their website.
    All that said, I do think the T shirt looks really good - your sewing is always so flawless and that neck binding is a joy.

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    1. Thank you, Anne. Your response was good and validating and I learned a bit as well. I am just to hem my latest and final tee which I approached quite differently and am finally pleased. The next two days are very busy but will get pics up as soon as I can with my review.

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  9. As others have pointed out, French sizing is its own thing, but when they do include it, just subtract 30 to find a near American equivalent. a 38 FR = 8 US.

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