You know that feeling where you are so stoked and thinking “wow, this project will turn out AMAZING!!” … and then it’s … not amazing .. at all …

That is the experience I had with this project.

I’m going to come out and tell you this right away:  the top runs AT LEAST two sizes too small.

You know those moments where you overlook all of the red flags because you make excuses every step of the way? This project was red flags from the second I looked on the back and realized it wasn’t a jumpsuit …

Actually, it comes off quite defensibly saying “I’m not a jumpsuit, I’m BETTER than a jumpsuit because I look like a jumpsuit, but I’m really just a top and bottom.  How awesome am I?”

I mean, really?

WHATEVER SANDRA BETZINA … you’re an expert at everything, so I guess I’ll overlook this desperate marketing pitch.

And then the next red flag … almost 4 yards for this thing? Really, how lazy were they with the layout?  I’ll show you … see the pictures below.  Wasteful, right?  Well, I thought this pattern was going to be a great example of how to get the most out of your fabric if the layout is wasteful, and I wrote about it here, “Getting the most ‘yardage’ out of your fabric”.

I had this amazing vision of this designer sample “Gucci-esque” poly lycra fabric (below), which I found at the National City Swap Meet for $2/yd.  I only had 2+ yards of it though, so I picked some coordinating fabrics and decided to see how much of the outfit I could get out of it before cutting contrast.  Now I know you’re thinking, she went through all of that work for $2/yd fabric? Of course, cheap fabric is the best fabric!!

Before I started cutting, I checked the sizing of the pants because pants are my usual trouble spot.  I pulled out a sloper I use for my work slacks and compared the curves (neglecting the style ease) and found that the curve for size C was perfect! AWESOME!  I did add a little to the waist, took some length from the legs and started cutting the top and bottom.

Big Mistake.  I should have checked the top too.  I got lazy because of the following excuses:

  1. I’m using poly lycra and it’s very forgiving.
  2. If it’s too big, I’ll just take in.
  3. The styling is going to make it tough to compare to a sloper.
  4. Sandra Betzina is a fitting expert.  How far off could it be?

Well, let me tell you.  It’s at least two sizes too small.  I went back to the pattern after it was too late.  There is a negative 5″ of ease in the bust!! To put that in perspective, it’s a little tight on my dress form with a 33″ bust.  And I cut a size C for a 36″ bust! WTH SANDRA BETZINA???!!!!

So do yourself a favor and check the pattern before you cut.

And then there was the weird grading stuff.  Like two #5’s in clearly 2 different sizes (see below).  There was no D-F piece, so I assumed one of the #5’s was a D-F and cut the smaller one.  The notches were also a tip off to a problem with grading.  They were starting to collapse on each other in the smaller sizes (see above).

While I was cutting, I did a preview of the armhole binding method.  It was the typical Vogue method which turns out wonky every time.  I thought to myself, “Sandra Betzina has something to change/fix about everything under the sun.  Why the heck didn’t she actually fix a real problem and come up with a better method?”  … after my annoyance dissipated, I cut the binding piece at only an 1 1/4″ wide, removed 3/8″ from the armhole (below) and decided on using Jalie’s method for binding a 1/4″ seam allowance.

Now … about those instructions.

See this picture below, the one that talks about Sandra’s instructions being what’s “different” about the pattern?  Well, they are different all right.  And different is not the same as better.  There are some instructions that unnecessarily, and wastefully, recommend the use of notions to complete the task.

  • Like “zig zag over buttonhole twist thread to gather” … first of all, it’s actually harder to do this right than it is to stick to the traditional method of pulling the bobbin thread
  • Use fusible hem tape, then stitch the hem …

And then there’s just BAD instructions

  • The method for sewing the hem on the vent will be a wonky mess if you follow the instructions.  Instead, baste the seam, press open, and then topstitch.  Remove basting. Not unlike a zipper.
  • The armhole binding.  All the Big 4 do it the same, and it’s horribly inconsistent.  I like Jalie’s method.  I’ll do a write up on that and post a like here.

Almost all of these comments are against the top.  The bottoms turned out fine.  They are really just fancy pajama bottoms, so I don’t know if there is much more to say about them.

Below are the photos of the size C on a size B dress form (I take credit for the crazy fabric choice – it’s not what I was envisioning – even the best of us have unexpected results).  Still a little snug, huh?  Nothing like the photo on the envelope.

I’m going to attempt to grade this back up 2 sizes.  Other than the fit issue, it is otherwise a good pattern, but I cut it and I’m NOT spending more money on buying a replacement.  That goes against my ethics – I’m not going to help bump the sales numbers by buying a 2nd.

I’ve come to the conclusion that this pattern was not very well tested and Sandra Betzina does not actually sew her printed patterns. Since Sandra Betzina hangs her reputation on fit and instruction, I may be grading this a bit harsh … but she does push her patterns in her classes.  Maybe she will sew one of these up herself and a lightbulb will go off …