Thursday, April 26, 2012

Simplicity 5364



Titanic
The Titanic



Rant mode on.

I joined The Pyjama Party, hosted by Karen, and instead of buying the pattern she suggested (Simplicity 2721) I used one I already had, but had never used (Simplicity 5364). I thought there was no need to buy another pattern as really how different could they be, right? They were both just one pattern piece and therefore super easy. I can't speak for 2721, but 5364 is sized huge. Massive. Gargantuan. Titanic. Enormous. Colossal. Voluminous. Capacious. Humongous. Did I mention they fit big? I actually made two pairs, one for me and one for a friend of mine (S). The ones for me I cut according to the sized indicated on the envelope (XL), the ones for my friend I made a size smaller than her measurements (M, I had a feeling).  I sewed mine up and they were as I think I may have mentioned a tad big. I then took in the leg seam two inches each side. Still big. At this point I was very close to having a temper tantrum, so I put mine aside and started on S's,  thinking as I cut them smaller they would maybe perhaps almost fit. Nope. Even though I should have fit an XL I could actually get the Mediums on my body, I couldn't move or breathe or anything but they were on. That is how big they are. I took her inner seam in two inches each side as well. Still didn't fit.

Photo
I don`t know why these people are smiling. Notice the lack of a photograph of the pyjamas. 


At this point I was seriously pissed and was wondering how someone would go about bringing a class action suit on pattern companies that fuck up the sizing on their patterns. No, I am not kidding. I was that angry. So I decided to take the rest of the day off.

I really didn't want to give up on my pretty seersucka (aka seersucker), So I ironed each pant leg in half, then cut a side seam, making the back of the pants an inch larger than the front. I then sewed up the side seam on each side, taking them in another 2 inches on each leg. This was sufficient to make both pairs work. So all in all I took each leg in 4 inches, and they are not even close to fitting snugly, but you will have to wait until April 28 to see the reveal.

Now I know some of you will say I should have know better and tissue fit these before cutting them out. To you who say that, I say shut the f up. Kidding. I agree, if I was making a fitted garment. I am not small (working on it) and when someone who is large takes in a pant leg 4 inches each side and the legs are still loose, that is ridiculous, totally ridiculous. A new sewist would have made these, and not knowing how to fix them, likely would have put them aside and maybe would be discouraged enough to stop sewing.

Why do pattern companies do this, why would they make such a poorly sized and designed pattern, and why do they keep on doing it over and over again. I guess my question is, why do we not hold pattern companies responsible for their products?  I can't think of anything else that we buy that we would be as willing to accept a poor quality product with such inconsistent results, and that we would buy again and again. We seem to be willing to accept poor instructions, inconsistent sizing, and if the pattern doesn't work out, we assume it is our fault. I think this is wrong.

BTW, when I say pattern companies, I mean McCalls, Butterick, Vogue (aka Vague) and Simplicity. The smaller independant companies seem to produce a superior product, perhaps because they use multiple pattern testers, and also because they feel accountable to their customers. Clearly the big 4 do not.

Rant mode off.

PS-I love my new PJs and the way they fit now.


19 comments:

  1. The amount of ease built into some patterns is crazy. I guess because they figure pj's are suppose to have a little more ease they would just add 4" everywhere. I am glad you found a solution, I can't wait for the reveal.

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    1. I easily could have taken another inch or two, but I like loose PJ's. I am looking forward to seeing yours as well.

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  2. CRAZY! I think you were smart to add the outside leg seam. So frustrating, though. And you're exactly right, this is the sort of thing that turns new stitchers right off.

    I do often wonder what's going on with the Big 4. Are they coasting on their reputation? Do they skimp on testing since they sell their patterns for a few bucks, while independents rarely charge less than fifteen? (I know the "official" price of Big 4 patterns, especially Vogue, is higher, but let's face it, everyone waits for the sales.) Do they figure that people who make PJs are probably doing it for family presents and won't actually care? I understand padding the ease in children's clothes (having noted how annoyed I get when kids' clothes fit true to size, as they do with Jalie, and are then outgrown within a few months), but not in stuff intended for adults.

    In short, I second your rant. :D

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    1. It worries me that BMV has bought Kwik Sew, I haven't sewn a lot of Kwik Sew, but what patterns I have used have been great. I really hope the quality control remains the same, unfortunately I doubt that will be the case.

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  3. Totally agree! I made bathrobes for my family at Christmas - my the measurements indicated on the envelopes, I should have been an XL. But I made and XL for my mom and dad and they were big on them! I made and XS for my grandmother (I probably should have made kids sizes) but it actually fit me pretty well! What the...? I also find it VERY annoying when the finished garment measurements are printed on the inside of the envelope on the pattern pieces - you buy a size, go home, and find out it is going to be waaaay too big. Very annoying. I think Simplicity is finally starting to print finished measurements on the outside of some of their patterns, but I wish BMV would do it as well. I am pretty much turning to Burda and other pattern magazines as my primary pattern sources now, as the sizing is (mostly) consistent and the drafting and fit seem to be much better.

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    1. It seems that there is less and less information on the pattern envelopes now. Vogue in particular used to have more detailed descriptions of the actual garment. I can't remember about the others. It is all very disappointing. Maybe I will have to try Burda.

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  4. I end up buying 2 or 3 of each pattern when they go on sale, so that I can modify them. Because I almost always cut out the wrong size the first time around. Taking my measurements doesn't help. Using the finished measurements helps but only sometimes. It took me years to get over my first few disastrous clothing attempts because of how confusing the whole system was. However, I think of it as being a corollary to clothing companies who can't decide whether I'm a 4 or a 12 or something in between.

    What really ticks me off is when the pattern pieces don't line up. I mean, bodices that don't fit on skirts, skirt yokes that are too narrow for the rest of the outfit, waistbands that don't have a prayer of fitting on the pants, etc. I have to wonder how bad the drafting department is if they can't catch these kind of glaring errors (McCall, I'm looking at you).

    I also think part of the problem is that the pattern you used is unisex. Unisex patterns are ridiculously sized because they're really cut to fit men, particularly men who like things baggy. Unisex is like "one size fits all," automatically a lie.

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    1. I think you are right about the unisex sizing, particularly with Simplicity. I have one Simplicity scrub pattern that is unisex and it is massive. The thing that really pi$$ed me off about that one, is that I paid full price for really cool fabric and it is huge on my husband.

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  5. Hil-A-rious. They're happy cuz they're not wearing any pants. This is why one must stay the F away from all unisex (and each size fits two sizes etc) weirdness. It is ALWAYS sized for the largest size (i.e. the men's version in this case). Thanks for the laughs.

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    1. Absolutely will do. As a matter of fact I may go through the pattern books at the fabric store and write note to anyone thinking of buying unisex patterns warning them off. You are welcome for the laughs.

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  6. Oh dear, your close proximity to street style aseersucka has made you aggressive! Got to love a good jammie rant!

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  7. OK. I'm glad you got your jammies sorted out. You did a great job persevering until you got a good end result, and I'm sure they look gorgeous!
    But here's my opinion...
    Firstly, I have never had any complaints with the big 4, and I've been sewing for myself for 35 years. And secondly, I have read plenty of instances of a few small independent pattern companies who do get it very wrong, the "multiple pattern testers" are actually sewing bloggers, people who have paid in full for their pattern and are basically working as unpaid guinea pigs. There is a small-ish independent US pattern co... who is definitely coasting on a currently hugely popular wave with sewing bloggers thanks to their seasonal palette scheme, whose product is ridiculously expensive for what it is. Which is a range of very very basic and ordinary patterns. Just saying.

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    1. First things first. You have been sewing for 35 years! Did you start when you were 4?

      Don't get me wrong, I buy a lot of patterns from the big 4 (mostly Vogue), far more than I am likely to sew in my lifetime 8-). Good for you (seriously, no sarcasm intended) about not having difficulty with the big 4. I think the problems lies mostly with the easy/beginner patterns and clearly you don't sew many of these. There also seems to be as many opinions about the big 4 as there are sewists. For instance I don't care much for Simplicity, most of the Simplicitys I have sewn have either been dumpy or wadders. I know other sewists who sew mostly with Simplicity and love them, clearly they are wrong. Kidding. I love Vogue, I had had more success with them but I know others who hate Vogue.

      I have only heard of one independent company that people seem to have consistent issues with the quality. I will have to do some more investigating.

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  8. as one of the new sewists you mention, thing like this scare me a bit! i do expect things to come out the size they say, and i'm taking the good advice re tissue fitting and unisex patterns above! but i guess the market is so dominated by the big 4 and not everyone has money for independent patterns for everything (especially for PJs!). in answer to Carolyn above, i guess you buy the patterns you like and can afford - i happen to like a lot of the patterns of the company you are clearly referring to, and so even if they are basic, they are different to what is produced by the big 4! but each to their own! i live in the UK where patterns are not discounted as much as they are the US, and so independent patterns seem much less expensive.

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    1. I think this is the reason that sewing blogs can be so useful, you can pick up bits of info like this and mentally file it away for future use. I had never made the connection about unisex patterns before and I think this is the third one I have sewn with. Okay, I am not the sharpest needle in the pincushion. 8-)

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    2. definitely. i learn so much from blogs and they give me the confidence to try things out!

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  9. Okay, I was back to read the comments and just noticed this on the pattern:
    "Sleepwear, Unisex, and Men".
    Um, isn't the "and men" part the whole point of unisex? I hope that is to remind people it could be filed in 3 spots, but then why not say "Sleepwear, unisex, women, kids, and men". Very strange.

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    1. Maybe they wanted to clear that unisex didn't mean just one gender.8-)

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  10. Hehe, I made my first entire outfit for myself when I was eleven. Never looked back :)
    Thank you for your lovely comment on my Mum's kimono and I will be sure to pass your kind words along. She will be thrilled to have received so many compliments!

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