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1  Mamu Imke in Sewing Pattern Reviews by iloveskirts on: June 18, 2016 10:20:57 AM

I recently made this dress for myself. I like it because it's easy to alter. However, I wouldn't recommend it for a first time sewist for a couple of reasons. First off, there are no directions on making the casing for the elastic in the neck, on the sleeves if you choose to use one, or at the empire waist. Now if you've already done this kind of thing it's easy, but if you're just learning you'll want to use a more descriptive pattern first. Also, there aren't directions on how to put the two pieces of the bodice together (there's an extension on a second page) or how to best lay out the pattern. Again, intermediate or advanced sewists won't have trouble with this but it could be confusing for beginners. Oh, and the patterns are made to be traced, not cut...I use freezer paper from the grocery store because I find it's more sturdy than pattern tracing stuff and it's cheaper. I go through rolls of it around the holidays with 13 grandkids to sew for.

That being said, I love this pattern! I altered it by adding width to the sleeves, placing the pattern an inch from the center fold (the biggest size doesn't quite accommodate my tummy) and flaring the skirt part out so the bottom was a total of 12" wider than the original pattern. I also added 4" in length to the skirt. It goes together really fast because you just sew the sleeves to the front and back, sew the side seams, add the casing and elastic, hem the dress and sleeves and you're done! I chose to add the waistline casing after I had completed one side seam so I didn't have to try to sew it while the dress was like a tube, though that's not necessarily harder. It's just something I prefer to do. I use single fold bias tape for casing and 3/8" elastic for this peasant-style garment - it seems to be just the right size.

This is best made with a woven fabric. I used a blue and teal-green batik I got online because I like how the bias on batiks has a bit more give than some other cottons. Fabrics can be mixed if you want; this particular dress I made all one color because I love this fabric!

Feel free to message me if you have any questions.  Mamu makes great patterns as long as you have a grasp on basic sewing techniques.

So here's the completed dress:

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2  New Mamu Imke Dress in Clothing for Curvaceous Craftsters: Completed Projects by iloveskirts on: June 17, 2016 12:46:18 PM
So...this is another pattern I've had for half of forever. Now I have tons and tons of time on my hands because hubby is retired and was recently diagnosed with glioblastoma in his frontal lobes (butterfly glioma) so I can't run everywhere like I used to. On Tuesday I got out my pattern, fabric, and freezer paper, did a bit of tweaking as I'm prone to do, and whipped up a new dress for myself.

I have a smaller chest than the pattern calls for in my size so I used elastic at the empire waist line, more like a peasant top than the pattern shows. I also widened the sleeves by 2" and added a total of 12" to the bottom of the skirt, tapering out from the armpits for a total of 2" on each side and adding an inch to the fold in the center. I don't like snug clothes; I find a bit of room adds to the circulation of air and helps me stay a bit more cool.

I love this batik print!! It's so Florida, which is great because that's where we live now.

I'll definitely be using this again. I may raise the front neckline a bit...it's just a titch too low for my liking, but it's not bad. Just a personal thing. 

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3  Penelope by Modkid - my results in Clothing for Curvaceous Craftsters: Completed Projects by iloveskirts on: June 23, 2013 08:04:52 AM
I've been looking at this pattern in my sewing area for I don't know how long but I keep moving it from one place to another instead of just tucking in and making it. A couple of weeks ago I finally got my nerve up and decided to make the dress.  Now I have the results as well as a pointer or two for anyone else who might want to make this cute dress up.


If you do decide to make this up, please measure your upper arm and compare it to the pattern. I had to add over 3 inches to the width of the sleeve/upper arm part of the pattern; if I wouldn't have done so, the dress would have been an experiment in disaster. The sleeves are way tight if you don't add to them. In fact, they wouldn't have even gone on my arm.

I also shortened the sleeve since I didn't want it to be sleeveless but the kimono length sleeves were too long for summer wear.                                      

For future reference, as a small-busted big woman, I wouldn't gather the center front of the dress but instead make it smaller so that the binding/facing fits it smoothly. It looks kinda geeky on a B-up though I can see the need for the gathers on a C, D or DD cup.

If you have a bit of a tummy like me you'll also have to add some to the tummy part of the dress. I achieved this by starting the pattern at the fold up at the neckline but then aiming it out so that at the bottom of the dress the pattern itself is 2.75" away from the fold of the fabric. This gave me an additional 11" of fabric on the bottom and almost 4" at the abdomen level. It helps me feel more comfy without having to wear shapewear under the dress in the summertime.

All in all it's a nice dress but not quite as easy as it seems unless you're perfectly shaped with thin arms, which I don't happen to be in either category.

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4  Re: empire waist dress help in Clothing for Curvaceous Craftsters: Discussion and Questions by iloveskirts on: September 16, 2012 05:18:08 PM

I make lots of dresses that are gathered or pleated at an empire waist. In fact, I have one pattern I used so much that I had to order a second pattern (I didn't use a copy of the original but I won't make that mistake again!)

If you have an okay tummy, you might prefer a pattern like this one -
It has insets in the skirt that make it larger. 

However, if your tummy is like mine - I'm kinda sorta pear-shaped - this kind of dress would be a better bet -
It gathers under the bodice and is really comfy. I made this one last year and I really like it.

Gathers aren't all that hard. It's just a matter of stitching the gathering line and then pulling the thread to make the gathers; then, you pin the gathered fabric to the bodice and sew the pieces together. One of the nice things about gathers is that they don't have to be perfect in order to look good. Like anything else, you'll get better at it with time.
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5  New T-shirt and the skirt it goes with in Clothing for Curvaceous Craftsters: Completed Projects by iloveskirts on: April 18, 2012 10:11:14 AM
I got this fabric from one of my favorite sources back when she was trying it out in her store.  Unfortunately it didn't sell well so she doesn't offer it any more.  It's a blend of cotton and a fiber made from corn!!  Yet another environmentally friendly fiber instead of using pure synthetics and the toxins that go along with them.  I dyed the fabric, originally a really light cream, using a Dylon packet.  I stirred it on the stovetop for 15 minutes and then stirred intermittently for 45 minutes.  It came out *just* the color I wanted! 

I used Butterick 5215 as my base, but my shape is a bit different than this pattern.  Warning:  This pattern runs LARGE.  I took a shirt I had that was stained and I was going to toss anyhow, that was, in fact, my favorite t-shirt; I cut it up and used it on top of the other pattern to make a hybrid that fits me better than either of them. 

It came out so well, and I was thrilled beyond belief to find out that it matches my batik skirt!!!!

OK so here's a pic of the two together.   

I know, I'm a ham.....

Gotta go get my son and the grandkids.....have a good day!!

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6  It only took me 4 years... in Quilting: Completed Projects by iloveskirts on: January 04, 2012 12:12:25 AM
I got the top for this quilt done 4 years ago.  I am making all my kids a hand-quilted quilt for their beds.  They get one, and that's it.  Anything else will be machine-quilted.  I got my son's done right away - he was in a bad place and needed something to comfort him.  My daughter's -- well, it took a bit longer.  I've got a disability that includes facial pain all day, every day, and hand-quilting a 108" square quilt can cause quite a headache without facial pain.

Anyhow, so here it is.

The pattern is called Mrs. Taft's Choice from The Quilter's Cache.  The blocks, half of them anyhow, came from a Yahoo groups swap.  I made the other half.  I moderated the swap.  It was fun, but it is amazing sometimes no matter how specific how you are with your instructions some people just do what they want.  I specified non-pastel non-dark colors, light or bright.  You can see that some are pastels and others are dark.  However, it all came out in the wash.  It was quite interesting sorting and distributing the blocks from 30-odd people from the US, Canada, Australia, and 2 European nations. 

It felt incredible to finish this quilt.  Now I can get on to the other 5 tops I have waiting to be given a proper backing and batting.   Wink    I also found out we have a new grandson on the way so he needs a quilt, too.

Happy New Year!
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7  A couple new things in Clothing for Curvaceous Craftsters: Completed Projects by iloveskirts on: November 02, 2011 05:06:43 PM

First off, a robe from Kwik Sew Pattern 3587. 

I had the fabric a long time before the pattern.  I saw it and thought - dang, that would be great for a robe!  Then I found a pattern I could use, and here it is.  Because I had less fabric than the pattern said I needed, I had to piece a few things.  The ribbon around the bottom of the robe hides where I pieced the bottom.  I found fabric in my scraps that matched the front pieces so I fit them on; in the back it doesn't match up but by the time the pattern is cut up by the ribbon it really doesn't matter.  The neck binding is also pieced but again it's not really noticeable. 
Note to self - always get an extra half yard more of fabric if you're not sure what you're going to do with it.  You can always use the scraps for quilts.

Next is a skirt I made with the master pattern from the Sew What! Skirts book.  I've used this pattern numerous times.  It's just an A-line skirt but I prefer the gathers instead of making a flat skirt - I'm still really self-conscious about my tummy so the gathers give me a little extra room and help hide the abdominal apron as well.


Close up shots of pocket and hem

I used one of the fancy stitches on my Janome QC4800 to dress up the pockets and hem since I thought the skirt by itself was just too plain.

Now all I have to do is find something to coordinate with a dark olive green corduroy skirt other than white.  White and I don't get along so well.  It seems to draw things that stain it - tomato sauce, chili sauce, chocolate, grape juice - you get the idea.

Next on the list is a winter robe.  I got some nice Polartec 300wt. fleece for it in a gorgeous dark burgundy color.  This will beat the cheap Walmart fleece I used for my first one.  That one is now getting threadbare and it has nice little pills all over it.  It was soft for the first few washes but since I wash my robes often due to cat hair and other things a fleece of less than great quality is just going to pill up after a while.  Hopefully my $16 a yard fabric does better for me.


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8  Re: GRRRRR, why was I cursed?!?! in Clothing for Curvaceous Craftsters: Discussion and Questions by iloveskirts on: September 25, 2011 04:38:57 PM
Okay.....I made my daughter a sundress this spring.  She's a 44DD and notoriously hard to fit.  The pattern she picked out, unknown to me until I started cutting out the pattern pieces, has a side zipper!!!!!  I don't like zippers.  I really don't like side zippers.  However, it came out really nicely. 

(McCall's 6085 - not as short as the short dress, but not as long as the long one either)

I don't have a photo of her wearing it, at least not that I can remember....but if I can find one, I'll come back and post it.

Anyhow, when I had it all made, and adjusted up for her boobage, I had her come try it on.  Well, underneath the biggest part of her bust we had a problem - the dress in that part and at the top of the skirt was too big.  What I ended up doing was taking out the zipper, tapering the top part of the dress inward from the top of it to where it attached up to the skirt, and then tapering it out again so it would fit the large of her abdomen.  I'd never done it before but I knew I had to do something to make it look better. 

Anyhow, what I used to do before, when I wasn't quite as confident that I could fix my screw-ups, was to make a muslin only not necessarily out of muslin....whatever was really cheap and available at the time....and then if I really butchered it badly, it wasn't such a letdown as if I'd used expensive fabric.  Sometimes the only way to learn is to make mistakes.  Learning the boob adjustments for her has been easier than for me.  She has bigger shoulders and a bigger chest.  I am a full size and part of another size smaller on top than on the bottom.....except in my arms.  This really complicates things since I have to alter up the sleeves if I make the top smaller but if I make it the same size as the bottom and the sleeves my B-cups disappear in the mountains of fabric.  I'm slowly but surely learning how to adjust the fit for this problem.  I just recently learned to increase a sleeve so it's looser on the bottom without looking ghastly on top.  Heck, by the time I'm 80, I should have this all figured out!!   Cheesy

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9  New dress, just finished in Clothing for Curvaceous Craftsters: Completed Projects by iloveskirts on: September 20, 2011 10:02:59 PM
I've been putting off making this dress since I got the pattern.  Then.....I found the fabric.  It just screamed that it needed to be made into this dress, so I made it. 

I have a smaller bust than most people my size, and I didn't want gapping in the front, so I added some grommets and a bit of teal ribbon.  I really like how it turned out.  I have weird size issues like a lot of us do, so I made the top closer to my size {20-22} and then to accommodate my 24-26 bottom half, I added 6 inches to each side of the front and back skirt pieces.  The only thing I'd do next time to make it better is add pockets.  I can't believe  I forgot the pockets!

The dress is from Butterick 5195. 

Excuse the dark tights and the Birkies.  I'm having a bit of trouble finding dress shoes in an 8 1/2 EEE or a 9EE to fit my fussy feet and the tights....well, when I get them to fit my tummy, I have elephant ankles.  That's what I get for being short and round, I guess.  I'm still looking for shoes.  I found some really cute ones at Lane Bryant the other day but they had absolutely no padding in the bottom of the shoe and I thought for $65 I ought to get some padding....that and the heel size was a bit higher than I'm used to, and at 51 I really don't want to go falling off my shoes.

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10  New skirt and rigged-out dress form in Clothing for Curvaceous Craftsters: Completed Projects by iloveskirts on: June 20, 2011 01:42:53 PM
After reading from quite a few larger sized crafties about how hard it is to alter a plus sized dress form to fit, I decided to go with an un-plus-sized dress form.  There was one on sale at Hancock Fabrics that only went up to about an 18 so I snagged it up.  I got her home, put her together, and the fun started.  

I had some 1 1/2" foam sitting around.  I used the pieces in a bit of a patchwork style until I had the whole form covered.  I still needed some major work, though, so then I got out the quilt batting.  I wrapped, and taped, and wrapped, and taped.  Once I had 2-3 full layers, I wrapped her in duct tape to make it a bit solid.  Next I used more of the batting around her until I got to the right size to add my (seriously small B-cup) bra and stuff it.  After that, I added some more batting to make the form fit my form - I have a waist all out of proportion to my hips.  If something fits my hips, it won't fasten at my waist.  If it fits my waist, it swims on my hips.  Who knew I was so askew??  LOL   Grin

Finally Miss Sophie the Headless Torso was done.  She was wrapped again in duct tape, covered with a tank top and then with a microfleece cover so she doesn't look so weird, and then I measured her to make sure she hadn't shrunk too much.  I only had to add a bit around the non-butt area (my form is adjusted to allow for my flat backside and round belly) to finish her off.  I tucked the microfiber in under the edge of the layer of foam that started the whole transformation thing and I was done.  

The skirt is one I have been meaning to make for a while.  I believe it's microfiber.  By the time I made it, of course, it was too warm to wear, so it will have to wait for fall.  However, it turned out well.  It has 8 panels or godets and then they flare out about 2/3 of the way down.  I don't think the fabric is happy with that but it will adjust with time and wearing.  It's Kwik Sew 3254.  I have used Sophie to make a muslin, alter, and cut out the pattern and fabric for a pretty top to go with it - Butterick 4469 - now I just have to make it.  

With tops, I have to alter more than the bottom.  I have narrow shoulders and wear a B cup so almost every single plus size pattern is not going to fit me.  If I fit my tummy, it's huge on my boobs and shoulders.  If I fit my boobs and shoulders, it won't close on the bottom.  Fortunately, Sophie and a good supply of muslin should help me with that.  My garments will take a little more time and work, but to have clothes that fit will be well worth the effort.


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