Smooth Sailing Pattern in Extended Plus Size!

If you’re following me over on Instagram or Facebook, you saw that last week I released the Smooth Sailing pattern in extended sizes! HURRAH!!!! This has been one of my most constantly requested patterns, and completely honestly it took me years of work on and off to finally turn it into a sewing pattern.

You can grab the E-pattern here, and the printed pattern here.

Why did this take me so long? Well, a couple reasons, really. Firstly, when I was in fashion school I was only trained for misses patterns. They warned us that going up or down more than three sizes with grading would distort the pattern grade. When I originally released the Smooth Sailing pattern it was based on my size, and at the time I was a 32″ bust, 26″ waist. I’m *So NOT* that size anymore! This was one of the very first patterns I released from Wearing History, and I started with a 1930s base and then redrafted, and redrafted, and redrafted until I found what I felt like was the perfect balance between 1930s cut and modern fit. 1930s trousers have super saggy crotch, which isn’t at all what we want today!

Me wearing white Smooth Sailing trousers with a striped Smooth Sailing blouse back in 2012. This was a later photo than the original release.

So, flash forward to when I did my Kickstarter in Ready to Wear back in 2015. We were successfully funded (yay!) and I thought I would no longer be making sewing patterns if the idea took off and focus all my energy on ready to wear. Well…. after we were funded it kind of… didn’t work like that. But we DID sell enough to do a second run of the trousers, including plus size that I drafted myself. We also did Smooth Sailing Blouses, including plus size. The proportions of both were based on the sewing pattern. What I did was grade the pattern up to the size of my dress form I was able to purchase after the Kickstarter, and simply fit them to her.

Except… they didn’t work out that well. Firstly I didn’t really have experience drafting plus size. Secondly, they had to be exchanged quite often for different sizes. We had feedback that the pants were too droopy, and the blouses ran way too big.

Between this and my first sewing pattern attempt I had a baby. So that sucked a couple years, right there. (Shoutout to moms of young kids. It will get better.). So, yeah. Not much happened then.

Then I got sick of doing nothing but early mom life and forgot how hard it was, and thought “I’m going to turn it into a sewing pattern! People can fit themselves, right? It will be fine!”

So I spent all the nap times adding to the pattern packs, altering the pattern so that home sewers could understand it, formatting them for print, and doing the work. I sent it out to some friends to test and… yep. Remembered what happened with the ready to wear. (Super sleuths- you may have realized a couple years ago that I changed the listing on etsy and the pattern cover to say “MISSES SIZE”.. This was because I was expecting to release the plus size then.)

So, a dejected and depressed young mom closed that door and thought “I’ll do it someday.”

And that was this year.

I was housebound due to coronavirus and thought “what can I do that will make me feel like I contributed something positive to the world. I know, people still ask for this. I’m going to go back and try it again!”

And so… it began. I tossed everything and started drafting again from scratch.

First I needed basic blocks to base the patterns from.

That took a long while, obviously.

Then I got sick of the bodice and moved on to the pants.

I drafted these from scratch according to old textbooks from school based on my form’s measurements. And it needed a lot of finessing.

The hard part was to get the pattern legs to hang right so they were full, but not MASSIVE. That was one of the complaints about the original ready to wear.

We also heard the butt felt too saggy. So a comparison of the two shows a shorter rise, and not as much seat room. (Obviously if you need longer rise or more seat room you can fix that in your personal mock up for your body)

Back to the blouse and much slashing and spreading and finessing later and I got something workable. One of the things that always bugged me about the blouse was the side bust dart. The misses doesn’t have it, and it bothered me that one did and one didn’t. The fulness of this version has been rotated up into the yoke so the yoke tapers a bit towards the armhole. That allowed for the fuller bust of the plus form, but retained the style lines of the misses version.

Mock up on the form and the fit looked good! MUCH better than the original version. Not nearly as roomy all over.

I’m particularly pleased with how I drafted that collar. So 1930’s sportswear.

And the sleeve has room, but shouldn’t be massive. Of course, like all things, you can tailor the fit to your liking.

So there it is. My long story and some behind-the-scenes on transforming this pattern and why it took me forever.

I know folks will ask me when the next plus size pattern comes out. And honestly, I don’t know. Because this was SO time intensive, we will have to wait and see how it sells and how people like the pattern. But if it is a hit and folks like it, and it takes off, perhaps more Wearing History “Best Hits” will be redrafted for extended size.

If you don’t want to scroll back up to the top again, here’s the links for where to find the patterns!

You can grab the E-pattern here, and the printed pattern here.


Lauren and family

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