Before I start talking about Confetti and V9008, I just wanted to have a bit of a ramble about style and sewing and shopping. If that’s of no interest, then please just scroll down to the pictures and the reviews. I won’t be offended.
Sometimes I find it really useful to park thoughts and ideas here. Mainly for me, but also because you never know who might be having the same stuff rattling around in their noggin.
I’ve been pondering on this topic this week. I think there are a couple of factors at play. Grab a cuppa, I have thoughts!
Firstly, I’ve never really experimented with style overmuch. I’m very interested in fashion and style. But…I’ve been plus sized, to varying degrees, all my life. When I was younger, there wasn’t the abundance of plus sized fashions available that there are now. And fashion didn’t really seem to apply to me or my lifestyle.
Also, I’ve always found shopping for clothes to be verging on traumatic. I know that sounds terribly overdramatic, but I’ve lost count of the times I’ve come home feeling very bad about myself because I’ve just not been able to find anything that fits or suits me.
Even today I find much of the available plus sized fashion that I can easily access to be lacking. Fabrics are often very cheap. Patterns are gaudy. Colours tend to vacillate between sludge and circus. And the whole look tends towards a much younger market too.
There are some lovely brands out there for plus sized women. Just not near to where I live.
I do understand that clothing manufacturers need to cater to a mass market, the needs of their shareholders, and a competitive marketplace. That the problem isn’t with my size or shape. Sewing, obviously, is the antidote to this quandary. But I don’t have the time to sew quite as much as I want or need. And even if I did….the question of what to sew is still pertinent.
I could go shopping to try stuff on….but the legacy of years of hateful shopping experiences doesn’t make this a fun option. I’m still very much a work in progress when it comes to clothes shopping. Even online is only slightly better.
And obviously in the current environment, casual clothes shopping is not the safest health choice!
Secondly, my sewing practice is intermittent at best. I’ve been sewing for about 40 years chronologically, but whole swathes of that time have been fallow. It’s been very on and off.
Family life for me isn’t conducive to regular bouts of sustained sewing. I’m not complaining about that, but it is a fact. I’m always in awe of mums who sew deep into the night, but that’s not something I, for a variety of reasons, can do.
The current pandemic also hit hard. Have the kids and Dave at home all the time really put the brakes on my available time to sew, and, if I’m honest, my inclination to do so.
So, I find myself in a place at the moment where I need to both improve the quality of my fit and finish of garments, but also try new styles to see how they work on my body.
I’ve definitely made some progress. I’ve nailed wide leg trousers, my beloved Blackwood Cardigan, and now the Ogden Cami. But I’ve a way to go. So experiment I must.
These V9008 are one such style test. I haven’t worn shorts for years, simply because I couldn’t find a style that I liked in RTW. Having had successes with trousers recently I dug this pattern out of deep stash to give it a try.
The cotton fabric I used was deep stash. I have a distant memory of it being not very expensive. So nothing but time would be wasted in trying this pattern. And I could maybe learn a thing or two.
I first cut out the size based on my measurements, made a toile, tried it on, and roared with laughter at how oversized they were.
I’d completely forgotten the amount of ease that the Pattern-Company-Formerly-Known-as-Big-4, puts in their patterns.
As an aside, if anyone can recommend a really good resource that teaches how to accurately flat measure patterns, I’d be awfully grateful.
So I recut them and re-fitted, but there was a definite niggle at the back of my head that these were going to be too wide, and the fabric too soft.
You know where this is going. I never listen to the voice at the back of my head, although she is most wise.
Obviously legs so pale the glare from them can be seen from space aren’t the best accessory. Nor is the lovely compression strap on my knee. But even so you get the gist!
I’m pleased with how I’ve sewn these shorts. I paid attention to the details.
I’d envisioned them being the perfect out and about shorts for walking dogs and going to the beach with the kids.
I look more like Don Estelle in “It Ain’t Half Hot Mum.
I think part of the problem is that when you carry your weight in your middle, as I do, the pattern thinks your weight is evenly distributed. So if you have a rotund waist, then the rest of your body must be proportionally round.
I, however, am not proportional. My legs, in comparison to my torso, are more slender. So the shorts leg is simply too wide. Were I to try this pattern again, I’d use the straight leg version, or remove some of the leg width in this style.
And use fabric with a little more structure and weight.
The fabric is also too flimsy. Picks up dog hair and lint if you go within a yard of it. And creases most unattractively the second you move.
Needless to say these won’t be seeing the light of day again. But I think it’s valuable to share the misses here as well as the hits.
The sweater is Confetti by Veera Välimäki. Forgive me for not linking to the pattern. So many people are having problems with Ravelry at the moment, and their response to it has been, quite frankly, appalling. Sadly I can’t find it available elsewhere.
It’s a shame because Confetti is a lovely sweater. I think if I were to knit it again, which I very well may, I would lose the last bit of shaping towards the hem. I’m very straight hipped. I think the hem is a bit too flared. But this yarn is super sticky and is a bugger to unravel. So I’m not.
The yarn is Ulligen from Midwinter Yarns that I purchased at Yarndale last year. I was totally smitten by the muted colours and soft texture, and still am. Midwinter had a sample of Confetti on their stand. It totally sold me on this yarn.
However, Ulligen isn’t without its challenges. It’s very sticky, almost to the point of self-felting. It doesn’t frog well if you make a mistake.
Also, it’s quick to pill.
For this sweater that’s not much of an issue. This is a dog walking sweater. Or a schlepping around the house sweater. Definitely not a date night sweater. Unless it’s popcorn, wine and a movie on the sofa!
So whilst there are things I would change about the shape, this will still get loads of wear. It’s lightweight, cosy, and comfy. And it does the job it was destined for.
The takeaway from this post could be that I made two failed garments. However, I disagree.
Whilst the Confetti sweater isn’t quite perfect, it is a perfectly lovely sweater. It will get a lot of wear over this winter, hopefully many more. Yes, it will probably need liberal use of the bobble shaver, but I’m ok with that. And who doesn’t love a striped sweater!?!?
I’ve mastered the art of knitting stripes in the round.
I reminded myself of the need to be more mindful of the properties of the yarn I’m purchasing. And the probable longevity of the resultant garment.
And I’ve taken a step nearer to narrowing down what I do and don’t like to wear, and what styles do and don’t work for me.
I’ll take that as a win!