I’m wondering how to tell you the story about the handful of DIA sweaters that I made this October. Do I just shout out immediately that you HAVE TO BUY the sewing pattern for the DIA sweater, because it’s so incredibly amazing? Or do I build up a story about how I met the designer of this beautiful sweater many years ago and from a distance saw this beautiful small business, Misusu, come to bloom. Hm. Hm. Hm. Let’s do the whole story in a concise version and then I’ll tell you a bit about my testing process.
Many many many years ago Elles (the creative mind behind Misusu) was introduced to me and we organized together one of the best visited Etsy Labs in the Netherlands. Soon after that she became my colleague and for a short period we ran the Etsy endeavor in the Netherlands together. Parallel to working with me, Elles had this beautiful clothing brand, where she designed the most amazing sweaters. I could only drool over them as they weren’t made in my size.
Our (work-)life roads split, Elles moved to the US, a few years later I moved to France. And only from a distance I could slowly watch how Elles meticulously started building up a new online business for sewing patterns. Something she was already thinking about when we worked together. First only for children and in October 2018 she announced her first adult pattern, which was also available in plus sizes. Imagine my excitement! I could now finally own one of her amazing designs.
In my manic excitement I might have been the first one that signed up for her testing team. A bit too over-confident as the pattern said that you needed to be an intermediate sewer and with all the positivity of the world, I can’t describe myself as an intermediate sewer. But, where there is a will, there is a way, and so I gave it a serious go when I was chosen to test the pattern. I promised to make two tunics. One decent one for day do day use, and one (what I call) ugly one, in neon colors to deter away hunters while hiking in autumn.
I think I made about 4 sweaters/tops/tunics over the period of 4 weeks out of excitement. I can only show you two, as the others need some finishing touches. The testing period was a super nice experience. I got to learn a lot about garment fitting and sewing. The first (cropped) top that I finished was the blue one below. Fully made of cotton and without any stretch. That’s the fabric I feel most comfortable with sewing but also for wearing (along with linen). The second (and last one) I finished, was the orange tunic you see below. That one was made out of stretch fabric. A bit more difficult (as I don’t have a proper sewing machine), but definitely also doable. It turned out to be an easy sewing pattern, even for this impatient beginner.
The nice thing is, that you start with the part where you need to have the highest level of concentration: the diamond. You will have line up the different pieces all nicely so that you end up with a balanced diamond. As you move away from the diamond, things get easier and easier and the steps become bigger and bigger, so you feel like you are accelerating at the end. Which is a nice way of working I find. But hey, I’m of the impatient kind.
This sweater confronted me with a few things that were a bit frustrating. With a ‘few’ I actually mean, with one thing: my size(s). I hoped that I could just go for one size, both for the top and the bottom. Because that is the easiest way to go. Isn’t it? I kind of assumed, based on the drawing that the garment was just perfect for my shape as is. So I chose to go for my biggest size, my bottom part. I didn’t do any measuring, I just went for the size I would normally buy in a shop and I even sized up (a bit). I soon figured out that the bottom part (of the blue non stretch fabric) didn’t fit (nicely) around my hips, and definitely not over my (over) pronounced derriere. I had to cut the tunic short. Further inspecting the fit I also figured out that I could probably use a smaller size for the top part as well. Imagine my disappointment. This meant I had to adjust a pattern. WAAAAAAAAH. NOOOOO. No one size fit Marta!
Luckily I was part of a testing team, where many women (where were the men?) in many different shapes participated and shared their fitting process. By following their (more experienced) journeys I had to accept the fact that I had to size up and size down at the same time. I also had to accept the fact that I had to size up beyond the available sizes. I asked for some advice in the group on how to do that and with only one small hiccup, where I ended up making a penguin like back (I’ll spare you the images), I managed to get the fit right. When I started feeling confident enough, I decided to give the pattern a go with the fabric I bought for the final version of the sweater. And that’s how I ended up with this super flashy sweater. A perfect sweater for winter hikes in the forested mountains.
And in case you are wondering, I made an H-size top and a beyond any charts size bottom. This meant I had perhaps five sizes in difference between my top and my bottom part. Which was I think a new record in the group. And even though it probably sounds very complicated to work with this, it wasn’t at all.
I’m sharing all this information, so that people with also ‘no one size fit Marta’ bodies will feel comfortable enough to give this pattern a go as well. But don’t worry, there were enough people in our group that could just choose one size and would end up with perfect fitting tunics/sweaters/tops. I added this overview of end results in the image above, so that you can see how versatile this pattern is.
I have worn the flashy sweater for three or four weekends in a row now. I basically don’t go out of the house for a hike without it and I love it. It’s well-fitting, nice and warm and people do tend to come up to me and ask questions about it. I’m not sure if it’s the painful color or the beautiful diamond. I will have to follow a friends thought about this. Her idea was that people were probably jealous of my unique outdoor garment. Which they probably are. Hahaha.
I can only praise this pattern, as it is very versatile, special, nice fitting, well thought of and fun. I’m so positive about it that I plan to make at least one more of these. Probably a dress like version, in the fabric that I made the cropped top earlier. And if I feel brave enough I will add some pockets to it. This pattern is easily adjustable for adding a few pockets I think.
The pattern is also on offer now, so if you were in need of more motivation to buy this pattern, I just gave it to you. Just pop over to Misusu’s shop and have a look at all the versions other people made and get yourself an early Christmas gift. Because there is no need to walk in an ugly Christmas sweater if you can have a diamond one!?