Friday, August 6, 2010

Hmmm, Amy Butler...

Hmmmm, Amy Butler. You have nice fabric, kind of pricey, but I can't say I'm too thrilled with your patterns.

I made the Lotus Cami. This is the first Amy Butler pattern I've sewn and it did not go well. Now, I'll be the first to admit that sometimes I don't always follow the directions so I could of screwed something up. But I have gone back through the directions several times and can't find where I did anything wrong. I cut a "M" which the claims a 36" bust and 40.5" hips. I thought that was a good size to cut since my measurements are just slightly under those. The construction was fine. Even though it's really hard to ease all those curves together, I like the shape it gives the top in the end.

But, when I finished it all and went to go put on my new top, it was too small. Not just a little bit small-- super duper, teeny tiny small. Not just kind of tight-- it wouldn't even meet up in the back to button. Not only did it not go around me, but the armholes felt kind of small, too. I usually add some length to the middle because I'm long in the torso, but I didn't on this top for some reason. I wish I had. I feel like that has something to do with the armholes feeling small and the waist not quite hitting me at the waist. I was determined to "make it work" so I ended up ripping out all sorts of seams. I took out the back darts completely and I redid the placket on the back at less the half the width they recommended. I also sewed the side seams with a smaller seam allowance, down to about 1/4" to 3/8". I even sewed the facings in another 1/4" on the armholes to make them slightly larger. To be fair, I did notice after the fact that the pattern makes the note that all seam allowances are 1/2" (in very large print and at the top of the pattern- oops). I initially sewed all seams at 5/8" as I normally do. Could 1/8" make that much of a difference? Maybe so.

After I became frustrated I just sort of slapped it together determined to finish. My seams are a little sloppy, but I also used a really cheap cotton blend broadcloth which made it hard to get all those curves right. I guess you could say this is a wearable muslin, though I won't be making this top again. All in all, I'm happy enough to actually wear the cami, but I'm not happy with the amount of work it took to make it fit. My only complaint now is that it's not quite long enough through the middle. The bust could be lower, I think. I like certain features about it. I love the working buttons up the back and the neckline, but the sizing of the pattern is just---- weird! Or maybe it's my body that's weird- I notice strange things as I get closer to 30 :). I've had trouble with fitting dresses lately, too. Valerie gave me some good advice so I'm going to work on finding an adjustment I can make to patterns to make them fit me through the shoulders. My grandmother was an excellent seamstress and her strength was fitting the things she made. I'd like to learn as much about fitting as I can. Thanks for reading!


  1. nice to meet you via pattern review. I haven't tried an Amy Butler pattern becos I'm wary of the fit issues, I'd have to alter it a lot to fit my broad shoulders. I love your pirate top too.

  2. Cute top LizaJane. But seeing you asked the question..yes 1/8 x2 on each seam does make a difference to the total curcumference in a woven with no give. Been there, done that, on a princess seamed dress that I ended up giving away. Another tip - if you are not sure of the exact size of the pattern measure the pattern pieces themselves through the bust and waist, and anywhere else you are not sure of, before cutting out the pieces. This is called 'measuring in the flat'.

  3. I hate that I can't reply. Hope you two see this.

    Pixie, thanks! I'm glad you stopped by.

    Valerie, I was thinking about my question after I posted it. It makes a huge difference! That's a 1/4 on each piece-- I didn't think about that. So all in all, sewing at 5/8 instead of 1/2 took about 1 1/4 off the circumference. You have to be so precise sometimes and that's my downfall I think.

  4. I had a demon of a time with my lotus cami, too. It was in a pretty liberty fabric, I can't even think about it without feeling sick. Like you, I cut the M for slightly smaller measurements, and also like you it wouldn't button in the back, not between my shoulder blades. I used the 1/2" seam allowance. I think she drafts for people who don't have breasts. I keep telling myself to go back, do a big FBA and then maybe it will be alright, but I just can't bring myself to touch the pattern again.

  5. After all these adventures, I like the result! I love that kind of neckline, it is so flattering.

    I've had the same kind of problem the first time I printed out a pattern. My printer adjusted the size so that 10cm would become 9cm. Let's just say I could have worn that dress in another world, with a tight corset and no breathing...

  6. If you still have the pattern and are not going to use it, I would be happy to take it off your hands. I'm on the fence with Amy's patterns, (I've done several bags) but I'd like to try this particular one. :)