Wednesday, 16 April 2014
built by wendy 3835
The Built by Wendy Simplicity 3835 pattern is famous on the interwebs. Everyone has made it, and usually more than once! This versatile pattern is for a top and two dresses with different sleeve lengths and necklines.
Do you know it? Its been out of print for years but still manages to appear regularly on sewing blogs. In fact all the Built by Wendy patterns are popular. And all out of print.
I don't understand why pattern companies, and fabric companies, don't revive some of their more popular designs. I'm sure there are reasons, but when they are still sought after and increasingly rare, I feel like they could do a limited rerelease.
The good news about the 3835 pattern, for me and for you if you don't own it, is that it is available as a digital download from the site sewingpatterns.com along with some of the other Built by Wendy patterns.
I bought the pattern and made this top once a year or two ago. It is a quick sew and takes a tiny amount of fabric. I quite liked it at the time, but wear it rarely because it ended up as they often do too tight across the bust and shoulders, but gapey on the sides where I ended up taking it in.
When I decided recently to finally tackle the world of the FBA, or full bust adjustment, it was this simple pattern I turned to. The FBA if you don't know it is an essential tool if you are a sewer with a larger than B cup. Its also a good first step toward making your own pattern alterations, which leads to more satisfying clothes sewing.
Its taken me a while to learn this secret, but now I'm on to it! My first basic foray into pattern making here also gave me more of an understanding about how it all works, and more confidence to fiddle.
Unfortunately this is a raglan style top and the instructions for a raglan FBA were thin on the ground so it took some dithering around until I just went for it. The only tutorial I could find online was this one. I'm not sure what she does with the dart at the end, so I pressed on and added a dart where one didn't exist before and left it there.
I sewed a couple of muslins with my revised pattern making changes until I was happy with the fit. I actually ended up coming down two pattern sizes. From making a size 16 the first time I sewed this eventually as a 12, using my high bust measurement, adding a FBA and using the size 14 sleeves with slightly extended armscyes to fit. The sleeves are notoriously tight on this pattern.
I then cut the sleeve lengths where I wanted rather than following the pattern, I used the longer dress length sleeve pattern rather than the top as a starting point.
Once I was happy with my revisions I made these two tops in quick succession. I think the blue and white patterned top is the more successful due to the nice drape of this voiley Spotlight fabric which was already in the stash.
But I do love the colour of the blue floral figured fabric and couldn't resist buying it. It has a bit of a starchy, quilty feel but I'm hoping it will wear in a bit. The good news is that both tops cost less than $10 to make and I now have a bespoke pattern that I can make confidently again. And it has given me confidence for altering other patterns.
As usual I hate photos of myself (I enlisted my school holidaying junior photography team for these) but as usual I wanted to pay back all those people who have shared their 3835s online and from whom I've learnt so much. Special mention to the special Built by us Flickr group. Check out my friend Jo's versions, they are all great.