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Friday, January 13, 2012

A Wild Time with Wild Ginger

The faithful few have been peering at my static pages, wondering when the next blog entry will appear. Alas, I haven’t fallen down a manhole or been whisked away by a seductive man. My blogging life has been derailed by more mundane stuff than that, like writing a sewing guild newsletter, and attending meetings, and drinking wine. Ok, the latter wasn’t mundane, especially since it was with a seductive man. (I said I hadn’t been whisked away by one, I didn’t say there wasn’t one.)

All this has put me way behind. My apologies. First up, Project 1, the t-shirt made from a tried-n-true (ha!) pattern. It’s done. I’ll share the nitty-gritty and some  photos when I figure out how to insert pictures in the blog. Most of the faithful few already know I’m technically inept, so this learning bump will not come as a surprise to them.

Second up, sewing guild meeting. That event deserves an entry of its own, so I’m skipping right over it and moving on to point three, the focus of today's blog, Pattern Master Boutique. (PMB is a pattern-drafting computer program from Wild Ginger.)

Wild Ginger is on Version 5 of PMB. I jumped in at Version 3. I must confess, I didn’t have a lot of success with the program and never got a fitting muslin that I liked. As a result, PMB sat in my computer, gathering cyber dust. At the time, I didn’t know much about pattern drafting or fitting, and I got lost. Sewing buddy NM continued on, and made lots of lovely clothes with her program.

When Version 5 came out, NM persuaded me to upgrade and try again. This time, I had lots of fitting experience (the Big 4 pattern companies – Vogue, Butterick, McCall’s, and Simplicity – don’t fit me either) and I’d learned a few things about manual pattern drafting, so I felt ready.

Wednesday,  NM and I, along with fellow PMBer BE, got together to make fitting slopers. In turn, the three of us stripped to our skivvies and were measured. (Let’s just gloss over my imperfect acceptance of my imperfect middle-aged body.)

Version 5’s measurement chart is much simpler than Version 3’s, and we zipped through. The only point of debate was the shoulder point location. We spent a bit of time discussing the importance of a good fitting shoulder and how the fit of the whole garment depends on it. Somehow I missed actually reading the instructions for measuring the shoulder point because PMB clearly states where it is, and it wasn’t where I put it. Sigh. What can I say? It was an interesting philosophical sewing discussion.

After entering our measurements into the computer, the printer spit out the pages for our patterns. Assembling the pattern takes a few minutes but isn’t hard. Each corner is marked with a quarter of a circle. When the edges of four adjoining pages come together properly, you get a full circle in the corner. Easy peasy. Pattern to fabric, cut fabric to sewing machine, and presto! our finished sloper.

The fitting sloper is a basic, tight-fitting sheath dress with sleeves. The front has side and waist darts, and a jewel neckline. The back has waist darts and a CB zipper. A plain-jane dress.

Round 1 of the slopers turned out surprisingly well. All of us have tweaking to do, and we’ll probably email Wild Ginger for their input (which they encourage you to do), but the general idea is right. Except for my sleeve/shoulder area, which was my fault for not using the correct shoulder point. The upper arm area felt a little snug, as if it was a size too small. Although the other ladies told me the sloper looked good, all I saw was King Kong wearing Fay Wray’s dress.

(An aside: Nothing reveals your figure flaws like wearing a plain, tight dress. Every mouthful of those Christmas goodies are present and accounted for.... )

Later that evening, after reading the measuring instructions and realizing the shoulder point mistake, I asked my husband to redo the shoulder point measurements.  Round 2 of the great sloper quest– much better! The tweaks are the very same ones I make on commercial patterns – forward shoulder, swayback, hollow chest. Won’t it be grand to have these adjustments built-in to the pattern!?! (Or am I expecting too much?)

I’ve sent some photos and my measurement chart to Wild Ginger for their assistance. You know my guesses as to what I think they’ll say I need to adjust. I wonder if we'll agree?


  1. I can't wait for pictures. And I'd never say 'alas' to the fact that you haven't fallen down a manhole...

  2. You got pictures! Good job!