(Subtitle: Finished Objects – Tiramisu, Three Flavors)
When I first starting sewing clothing for myself it was out of necessity. I was disgusted with the RTW (ready to wear) options I routinely found in the stores. Straddling the fence between “regular size” and “plus size” (whatever those terms mean) meant I had two choices for clothing: potato sack or waaaaaaaay too tight across my “mummy tummy.” And, everything is way too long since I am barely 5 feet tall.
In the words of my five year old: Uhm……. No thanks!
I know everyone out there has their own fitting woes. We all dread the changing room and feel bad about our bodies like there is something wrong with it, as if our bodies are the problem. In a tear filled rant (one of many) to my husband about this he looked at me and said “you have a sewing machine. You know how to sew. Why can’t you make your own clothes?”
My initial reaction was that’s ridiculous!!! I cannot possible make all of my own clothes, which is what I said to him. He, in his very zen like calm, countered with “why not?”
Uhm……, well……, uhm……, I don’t know.
The more I pondered this idea the better it sounded. Yeah, I can make my own clothes. They will fit. They will flatter. They will be just my size. I was on a mission! Now, I just needed to find some patterns.
Enter amazingly awesome Indie pattern companies Colette Patterns and Sewaholic! I immediately scarfed up a few patterns and got to work (what? no Cake Patterns? Patience, I am getting there). I tackled the Meringue and Jasmine from Colette Patterns, then dabbled in knits with the Renfrew from Sewaholic, but something was just not quite right.
Colette Patterns are all based on using woven fabrics, which usually need ironing. Was I supposed to sew an entire wardrobe that needed regular ironing? I work from home with two kids under 5. I am soooooooo not ironing everything I wear.
The Renfrew from Sewaholic is a knit pattern and it is fine. Just fine. A very nice pattern, very well drafted. But, it’s a shirt. A plain, ole knit top. Mmmmmm….. I didn’t want to spend all my hard earned time sewing t-shirts. No offense to Sewaholic, but I wanted something a little jazzier.
About this time I was feeling quite frustrated. I own no pants (don’t even get me started on those fitting woes), and only a few tops and skirts I have sewn, all in need of ironing. I am beginning to wonder if I had bit off more that I could chew. Maybe I CAN’T sew my own wardrobe.
This is it! This is it! This is the Holy Grail! I excitedly clicked on the link:
Revolutionary sizing guide
Stripe Matching Placement Guide
This was the first pattern release for Cake Patterns, a new Indie pattern company spearheaded by Steph from 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World. I was already familiar with her Consulting Dressmaking Pants Block service (I had bookmarked her site to revisit when I was ready to tackle pants – I don’t know if she still offers this service, though) and had downloaded and puttered about with her Blank Canvas Tee Pattern while I was working on the Renfrew.
But this pattern was different. It was everything I had been looking for in a pattern that I had not yet found. And, I ordered my pattern just in time to participate in a sewalong (link to Sewalong page)! Talk about a whole slew of serendipitous events!
The Tiramisu Knit Dress fell into my lap at a turning point in my life. I was about ready to give up making my own clothes and settle for ill fitting potato sacks and a whole heap of unhappiness. Instead, I mustered up some gumption and plunged head first into my very first knit dress and my very first sewalong.
I proceeded to make not one, but two Tiramisu knit dresses during the sewalong (link to Flickr pool for sewalong). I even stepped waaaay outside my comfort zone and chose a striped material for one of them to use the stripe placement guide in the pattern. When I realized that I was wearing them almost to the exclusion of everything else in my closet I made two more 🙂 How can you argue with a comfy, flattering knit dress with pockets that needs no ironing or special care?? I get to walk around looking like a million bucks and feel like I am wearing pajamas.
I even took one to the top of the Mayan ruins at Uxmal:
I won a Salsa dancing contest in another (with my amazingly supportive hubby – isn’t he cute?):
Front View (check out those matched stripes!!)
Back View (love those flattering chevrons!!)
I also bathe my two kids, run around parks, and sit on the floor at story time at the library wearing them, just in case you had any inking they were not versatile. I am very glad Cake Patterns has released several other awesome patterns since the Tiramisu, because I promise you I would have sewn 20 more of them! I figure 4* is plenty for now for me, but I just convinced my sister to let me make one for her. 😉
This pattern, this piece of cake, set my life on a new path. One where I am happier and healthier. I no longer feel negatively about my own body. I feel positive about my shape. I am confidant and sometimes I even feel a little sexy. Every day and every new piece of clothing I sew for myself I gain more self confidence and feel I have more self worth. I know some of you may be reading this thinking surely a dress cannot do all that! Surely a dress can’t change her life for the better. But, I challenge you to repeat that statement when you are standing shoeless in a dressing room looking at yourself in an ill fitting dress in a three way mirror and thinking bad thoughts about your body. Is it your body or the dress that is making you feel bad?
Easy answer: the dress. Is it always the dress. Never you or your body. Your body is perfect and exactly what shape is it supposed to be. It is not your fault that RTW clothing fails you (and almost everyone else). And, THAT is what the Tiramisu Knit Dress taught me.
*Here’s photos of dress#3:
I used Steph’s Long Sleeve hack for this version
I don’t have any photos of me in the fourth since there was a laundry disaster that I am still seething about. I saved the dress, but the fabric shrunk and now it is too tight. So, I am brainstorming how to fix it or recycle the lovely fabric.