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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As I'm switching from using a machine to hand sewing, I've realized most of the patterns I kept as I'm downsizing have 8-15 pieces just for a blouse. In reenacting the items tend to be much simpler because sewing 15 pattern pieces by hand gets old fast. So I'm trying to work up some modern patterns that have fewer seams and fiddly bits to fit into each other. I did this years ago for my scrubs and simple dresses and got where I could just pick out a fabric I liked and know how much to buy, get the thread, and run one up in a weekend. Silly me thought I'd be able to just quick mock up a new pattern for my older body and I got rid of the muslins.

Right now I'm working on drafting a six-piece blouse pattern: Front and back, 2 sleeves, front and back neck facing, with a false placket on the front for buttons because I like buttons but not buttonholes. It's loosely based on a favorite blouse I have because drafting armholes and bust adjustments is... problematic... for me and has resulted in some hilarious results. Robo-boob look, anyone?

Anybody else DIY or adjust a favorite pattern? Tips and hilarious stories gratefully accepted.

I've found old medieval chemise patterns make lovely nightgowns and they're all geometric. And then there's this one, which you can draw from a comfortable old woven shirt and modify the shape as you like. Sometimes you just want a comfortable shirt or nightshirt to hang around in that's loose and soft as an old flannel bedsheet, right? Not that one would admit to owning a totally comfortable and cozy nightgown and matching mobcap made from a red and taupe plaid king size sheet. Ahem.

 

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The old muslins probably aren't any use anyway, if you've aged. I know mine aren't. None of my old costume patterns and mock-ups fit my "mature" body now. I'll be starting from scratch next time I make something.

The only thing I've made in the last few years is night/lounge wear. Pajama pants are easy, making them a little large is not a bad idea. You're bigger in the seat than you think. :) The one thing I remember from a bust fitting class years ago is that there are different kinds of problems. They can be high, low, or hanging to the sides, each of which has a different solution. Also, some neckline shapes don't work with some body shapes. For example, I can't wear a v-neck or it becomes a peep show. And of course, do your fitting over any support garments you might wear.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
All good advice Contrary! I hear you about the body changes. My bust is not quite where it used to be, and my rear takes up more space than I consider reasonable these days. :D. I find after the lockdown here which started in March 2020 and just ended a few months ago, I'm much less comfortable in my off-the-rack, polyester-blend business casual. For many online meetings I confess I wore "business on the top, garden on the bottom" : a nice business casual blouse, makeup and earrings with a pair of well-worn jeans and my muck boots. During one meeting our smoke alarm went off and I flew out of my chair to go check. When I got back everyone was sending me PMs about my "business country" look (which I consider a compliment).

So now I'm working on fitting my actual body which conforms to no standard pattern sizing ever with clothing that is modest, comfortable and business appropriate. One of my coworkers is from Hawaii and wears muumuus but in classic prints. I'd never seen a muumuu in paisley before and it looks quite nice. She could go to a meeting in it and not look out of place as long as she wears dressy flats with it. Bless Kate Middleton for bringing back simple classic dresses and skirt suits, and proving even a princess can wear a dress or coat that flatters her more than once. My dress pattern is very simple, just the empire waist blouse pattern with a slightly gathered skirt attached. I can't wait to play around with my stash fabric to add some pleats or ruffles or pintucks, and start using up my button jar.
 
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Easiest ever skirt: (I can get by with 45" wide silky-type fabric, width needs to go around the hips with several inches of ease.) Need about a yard, pick a nice print. Sew selvage edges together. Leave a walking slit at the bottom if wearing it long. I wear the slit on the side. Hem the bottom, make a casing at the top/waist to insert elastic. I made about 6 of these. Wear with solid color top or sweater.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Maggie, you are not alone. I once sat by a campfire in full view of about 20 reenactors and somehow stitched part of the seam of the chemise I was making onto a fold of the gown I had on. Nobody said anything, so I just waited until everyone was focused on the bard and waved my friend over to run grab me a modern seam ripper so I could extricate myself. When people say they do hand sewing while watching TV programs, I just think "dangerous, very dangerous" and keep my eyes on my task to make sure the hem of my blouse isn't getting stitched into the ruffle of my new nightgown.
 

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Sorry, Maggie and Mme, but ROFL! I think we've all had such incidents. I don't recall ever sewing something to something I was wearing, but I've done my share of bonehead things while sewing. I once ran over my finger with my industrial walking foot sewing machine, the one with the needle the size of a medium sized finishing nail. Lucky I didn't break a bone.

When I do handwork while "watching" TV, it's more like while "listening" to TV.

I learned on a treadle machine when I was little, too. Mom assumed l'd be less likely to hurt myself than with her electric machine. I used that till I was a teenager, then was given an electric machine of my very own.
 

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Easiest ever skirt: (I can get by with 45" wide silky-type fabric, width needs to go around the hips with several inches of ease.) Need about a yard, pick a nice print. Sew selvage edges together. Leave a walking slit at the bottom if wearing it long. I wear the slit on the side. Hem the bottom, make a casing at the top/waist to insert elastic. I made about 6 of these. Wear with solid color top or sweater.
That is most of the skirts I have made for myself. Sometimes I use a drawstring instead.

I also have a bunch of wide fabric belt I have made in various prints. They are about 4 inches wide. So simple to make. It helps give the illusion of having a waistline.
 
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