Completed: The Marathon Thurlows

I was absolutely determined that I would have two pairs of me made shorts to take away on holiday. I have a dislike for shopping for shorts, I can rarely find a pair that fit me well around my waist and are the right length. Then there is the ride up factor, I detest shorts that work their way up your legs as you walk. Seriously, what is that about? Shopping for shorts, for me, is like shopping for glasses - I just can't find a pair that works for me and it is a complete nightmare! The Thurlow shorts were to be the answer to my annual dreaded shopping trip. 

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I have loved this pattern since I first set eyes on it. After my shopping trip in Birmingham I knew they would look great in some of the suiting fabric I bought, in particular the grey and green. I did wonder about the navy but couldn't bring myself to make a suit out of my anise and these shorts, even if I wouldn't wear them together! 

I delayed making them until the month before I went away as I'm still losing weight. Great idea as I wanted them to fit the best they could, bad idea on time! I had read up on the pattern ahead of time and knew that I would need to make some alterations. I am essentially using a pattern designed for pear shaped ladies while I have narrow hips. Taking out fabric from the back didn't seem like a big deal but man, I was SO wrong! Stick with me, I have chopped out large parts of my marathon journey. 

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I used the finished measurements to work out which size to cut. The waistband sits across the bellybutton so the waist measurement is different plus there is a lot of ease. I happily traced out the pattern and made a toile. I put it on and as suspected they fitted around my waist but my legs couldn't been seen under so much fabric. I decided to grade down the pattern from the waist to the hem line. This improved the fit around my legs but I ended up with this. 

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What a smile! Using the very helpful series by Sunni, I tried everything I could think of to get rid of it. I added more width to the inseam and lowered the crotch line (I'm not going to apologise here!). You can also see an additional seam in the photo. This is because I had to remove 1.5cm from the back side seam and an additional 2cm from the centre of each of them. By the time I had got to the end of my third toile I knew I needed help and emailed Sarah Liz who has been on a trouser toile mission recently. I then waited patiently, trying not to tweak any more. 

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Sarah Liz saved me the following morning. She realised that I needed to make a sway back adjustment. Why hadn't I thought of that?! I know I can get away without alterations on tops and dresses but clearly not with trousers. Perhaps that is why I struggle to find good fitting trousers of any kind. She also sent me a very helpful comment that told me exactly what to do. I do love the online sewing community. 

I slashed the pattern horizontally in two places. The first was 7.5cm from the waistline and took out 1.5cm wedge from the centre back tapering to nothing at the outside edge. The second was 20cm from the waistline and I added in the amount I had removed. Roll forward to completed toile number four which had the other alterations and to my shock, it worked! Phew! Suddenly I knew I was back in the game and I would have two pairs of brand new shorts to take with me.

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This pattern comes together very easily once you have got the fit right. I was a little worried about adding the zip but in the end it was a piece of cake. I followed Lauren's really helpful tutorial and both zips behaved themselves although I did break a needle by accidentally trying to sew over one of them - not clever. My machine didn't like the belt loops and refused to sew the stitches correctly so I hand stitched them on to the grey ones, skipping them completely on the green. For the lining, I used the left over map fabric for the green pair and the white and grey fabric from my Jasmine for the grey pair. 

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I did need to recut the waist band for the green pair as I somehow got myself mixed up and sewed the lining to the wrong side and then couldn't get it to work once I had realised and tried to correct it.

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I think I prefer the green pair. I do like the grey ones but they lost a little bit of their shine when I was told they looked like the shorts that Adam used to wear to Cubs! Anyway, that doesn't take away from the fact that I finished these and I am proud of them. I almost gave up and was planning a shopping trip but a bit of patience, determination and an ask for help saved me from my nightmare. For that alone, I'm thankful!

Pattern drafting - week 3

Hmmm...where to begin? I have mixed feelings about the class tonight. I spent it making the toile of the bodice to check the fit. 

Here's a reminder of my working drawing. Can you see how many curved seam lines there are? Practically every one! Anyone who has sewn a princess seam knows they can take a while. Double that when you consider the curve of the back panels. I have never sewed a seam like it! 

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The rest of it came together quite well and I was feeling pretty good about the overall shape. The rest of the class were finalising their patterns and cutting out their fabric but that was ok - patience was on my side tonight. And then I got to the fitting, ten minutes before the end of the class. 

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As you can see from the picture above we have to make A LOT of alterations. Essentially we have to redraft the bodice. The front shield shape will disappear completely. Instead the seam from the top panels will meet in the middle under my bust, indicated by the pins across the front. We will draft new pieces for the bustier which potentially means putting pleats into chiffon (gulp!). There is some excess fabric that we pinched out which will be removed completely. It is too tight across my backside. 

The shoulder seams need to move forward a couple of millimeters and move in towards my neck more. This will ensure the puff sleeves will fit well. They are yet to be drafted. I walked away disappointed, made worse by the fact that I can't do anything until next week as my teacher needs to sit with me and talk me through the changes. 

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For those of you that don't know me well, I always try to find the positives as it tends to make me feel better. So let's try that now: I love the panel seams at the back. I continue to learn about pattern drafting and will be able to test my new skills again next week. I'm learning about fit and how to make alterations in a better way than I have before. At the end of the course I will have a dress that I designed myself, drafted and made with my own hands and will hopefully be the best fitting item I own. I will be able to use this knowledge for future patterns. I have a fabulous, encouraging teacher who will help me get to the end, even if it is once the course ends. Heck, she even brought some fabric from her own stash for me to consider. I have to say, I'm becoming increasingly more tempted!

If I can find the right lining I think I'll go with it. It has passed through every opinion test I have put it through so far. The colours come alive with a light colour under them - I tried it with cream earlier. 

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So has that made me feel better? A bit but not a lot. It isn't watching everyone else move ahead. It isn't really the fact that I have to go back to the drawing board. I think it is that I had got my hopes up that I would cutting merrily away next week. Generally I don't have to make a huge number of alterations, I'm lucky that way. This is just a bit of a surprise after the amount I have invested it in already. It will pass and I'll make the most of the next class. Apologies, this is a raw post but I just need to get it out of my system...