Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane

Pride comes before a….



If you don’t know of Mrs Mole, then go here for hilarious tales from her sewing room: she makes her bread and butter at doing exquisite alterations of wedding gowns for prima donna brides-to-be and diva mothers-of-said-brides-to-be. She is, of course,  a very skilled sewer and does alterations and custom makes for normal people too and documents each tailor made fitting in beautiful detail – kindly sharing her knowledge, tips, tricks and skill with us all.

I have often wondered and have actually asked Mrs Mole, why do people buy clothes that are too small for them?

Is it just to keep her in business? Is it a form of vanity? Did they not try the stuff on before paying? Do they not know what size they are?

There are apparently as many answers as questions. But it remains a total mystery to me..

What’s even more mysterious, is not why do people buy too small clothes, but why, oh why do some people MAKE clothes that are too small?


I didn’t dare be photographed in these, or at least the bits of me that could actually get into them , or rather the majority of me that bulged out over the top  – it was not a pretty sight. It is the same jeans pattern that I have made just recently, but yet with different material, I got an entirely different fit (or NOT fit).


green denim


Aubergine cord


Teal moleskin


Lose 5kg – couldn’t be bothered

Add a wedge in the centre back seam – dodgy, what with that crotch curve and all. Would it look like a nappy (diaper)?

Add panels down both side seams – a la Mrs Mole – except, I had blarged ahead and sewn, over-locked and top-stitched them. And, because I always cut this pattern from 1.5m there’s not much left over for large scale ‘fixes’.

Throw them in a corner and forget all about them – dead on. Best idea yet. However, I have (a very small) stash of dusty pinks bought with the intention of making up some tops to wear with these. Not to finish the jeans would mean wasting more fabric.

After sleeping on it, I spent a therapeutic morning with the seam ripper. Dug out some smallish strips of meagre leftovers and cut some wedges to sew into the side seams.


We’re not out of the woods yet. I’ll let you know….. After the success of Ziggi, there’s nothing like a crash to bring one back down to earth. I now have a tonne of wee bits of threads to pick up off the floor too.

24 thoughts on “Pride comes before a….

  1. Thanks for the mention, Ruth. Could your bad fit have anything to do with cutting those pants crossgrain? At least I was in knit mode when I added much needed strips down the sides albeit having to actually MAKE side seams to start with…ha ha. Your Ziggi jacket turned out superb!!!! so you should just think of this pink project as a bump in the road, a speed bump or “ramp” as the signs say in the UK. You have guts for sharing it and isn’t it a relief to have the seams open…I swear when I open tight clothes I can hear a slight “sigh” coming from the threads as I cut and release them. What about making the new insertions using a ribbed or textured knit in the same color family…make it look like you really intended to have racing stripes down your leg…be bold…who gives a rip in the long run….think how comfy those narrow panels would feel at the end of the day…along with your ventilated crotch and horizontal corduroy…This could lead to a real fashion breakthrough….I’ll be waiting!!!!!

    • Mrs Mole, there are many reasons why these don’t fit – crossgrain cutting, haste, over-confidence, not trying on as I go along etc etc etc. Thanks for the tips though.

  2. 🙂 ugh, sorry Ruth. Odd that a different fabric can make such a huge difference. I expected that if you had only made the cordaround version, but the other two were on the lengthwise grain and still… In any case, i am so glad that you decided to fix them, because that is a yummy shade of pink. It will be all the more satisfying to strut around in your pink jeans knowing that you had to fight for them 🙂

  3. Buying clothes that are too small: triumph of hope over experience.

    Making clothes that are too small? I do it when I trim off too much in the hope of a good fit (so make a muslin, Marianna…)

    That is a great pink, btw. Good luck with the save.

  4. It is a great pattern, and well tested, so I can imagine how you felt when this turned out too small. Well done even being prepared to try a fix in these circumstances. I hope it works.

  5. You’ll make it work. I have faith in you 🙂

  6. What a wonderful array of jeans! At least you have managed to make quite a few that do fit. And it’s not exactly your fault this pink pair is too tight. I have made three pairs of Colette Iris shorts, all in cotton drill, and each time the fit has been different.

    Good luck with your alteration. I admire your patience, by which I mean I envy your resolve and staying power!

    I will check our mrs mole. Sounds interesting.

  7. Ahhh Mrs Mole my favourite read! Looking forward to seeing the revised jeans –

    I have just spent time adding a gusset a la Mrs Mole for my stepmother because she bought M&S pants in her normal size (didn’t try on as always buys that style) and they must of changed the sizing fit as they look the same as her others but too small!

  8. Yay for Mrs Mole! I am so sorry about these not fitting, but you’re not alone. Different fabrics affect patterns and therefore, the fit. Discouraging – absolutely! But I’m glad you didn’t throw these in the corner, and look forward to seeing the new design details in these trousers! 🙂

  9. I am like all the others….I have faith that you will find a way to make them fit. I love all the other jeans you’ve made from this pattern!

  10. You have the skill set to make this work.

  11. Oh I’ve been a big fan of Mrs Mole ever since stumbling on her blog about the time I was starting to sew my own wedding dress. I’m in stitches of laugher everytime I head over there! Her patience with her clients blows me away.
    I rather like the idea of the triangular wedge at the side seams – you could always sell it as a purposeful design feature and the majority wouldn’t suspect a thing! Those of us who do suspect would know that not everything can be perfect in the land of sewing…

  12. Ah, you can do it! I await your brilliant fix. I snorted out loud at the “Couldn’t be bothered” – too funny!

    As for why people have clothes that don’t fit – speaking only for myself, I am “drafted” quite differently from the average consumer that stores seem to cater to. I have but a 7.6-cm difference in my hip and waist circumference, so anything that fits in the butt doesn’t close at the top and anything I can zip and button up invariably means I can grab handfuls of excess fabric on either side of the hip. Alterations are absolutely required if proper fit is to be attained. Also, I get hand-me-downs from my taller sister, very nice and expensive clothes – worth altering instead of donating to charity.

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