Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Hey June ~ Mountain Pose Pants

Adriana recently came out with these sweet yoga pants, called Mountain Pose Pants.  In case you didn't know, this is a free pattern, provided you join her Facebook group and find the coupon code in the pinned post.  I was really excited to try this pattern because Hey June Patterns are always well-drafted.  They fit me well and they have great instructions.  This is my first pair of yoga pants with a pieced, contoured waistband.

For my size, I went by my hip measurements and cut out a straight XS for the legs, front and back.  I cut out a L at the waist piece top and a M at the bottom edge of the waist piece.  I wish I'd cut out a straight M waistband, the fit is quite big.  If I'm unsure, I'd rather go with the bigger size at my waist because a snug waistband is just not comfortable.  It really doesn't matter, though - because the waistband is pieced, it stays on my waist just fine!

I removed about 4" of length throughout the pattern.  I removed another 2 3/4 inches when I hemmed the pant legs.  They ended up being a tad too short but I don't even mind.

Oh, I totally forgot to mention, how cute is this sewing machine fabric!  This custom sewing machine print from Love Adore, is double brushed polyester (DBP).  The waistband is black athletic DBP from Zenith and Quasar and it has great stretch and recovery!

If you haven't made these pants, they are super easy and fit great! Give them a try!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Kathryn Dress by Itch to Stitch

I happened across the Kathryn Dress Pattern by Itch to Stitch while trying to find something for my very petite mother.  At the beginning of the year, she sent me this picture of a RTW dress she liked:

My mom couldn't believe that this dress had an all over floral pattern which she loved! I think all the women in our family are a little floral obsessed, actually!  She also liked how soft the fabric was, so I told her it was probably made of double brushed poly.  The problem is, the smallest size was way too big and I doubted she would find anything similar that fit her and had the style she wanted.

I told Mom I could make her one and we set out to find the perfect pattern!  She wanted a dress that had some detail at the chest, and wasn't too form-fitting at the waist and hips.  We eventually settled on the Kathryn and she chose this lovely floral DBP from Sew Vagabond.  My mom was in town, so I was able to fit her for an XS muslin. It ended up being a size too big.  I probably should have known. My mom has the same body as me, only smaller and shorter.  Kennis's patterns fit better on me sized down.

The final dress is an XXS, graded out to to a XS at the waist (the dress has an empire waist).  I did a SBA this way after getting a refresher from Melly Sews.  This great tutorial is for SBAs and FBAs, so check it out!

Also, I *finally* learned how to do a narrow shoulder adjustment on a dolman sleeve! Christine Haynes has this genius blog post on bust adjustments with a dolman sleeve.  She demonstrates how to draw a faux armscye.  I used her method of cutting off the 'sleeve' and then I did my narrow shoulder adjustment and SBA and then I pieced the 'sleeve' back on.

I made adjustments for height because my mom is 4' 9" tall.  I forgot to mention that by this point, my mom was home, 2000 miles away so I took lots of measurements.  I knew that she wanted the dress to be 35" tall from the bottom of the neck.  

The last adjustment I made was to bring the neckline in 1/2" all the way around.

The finished dress is 1 size smaller than the original and 2 sizes smaller than the size I would have chosen based on my own measurements.  After all that work, I had to try it on.  And what do you fits ME perfectly!

The only problem I have is that the neckline gapes a little bit, how do I fix that? Just take out a little at center front?  (The pic makes it looks worse than it is bc my shoulders are forward.)  It looks like my center pleats are facing the wrong way but I don't even care.

This is such a happy dress, I just love it!

I usually don't like to twin with my mom but she does have good taste in fabric.  Maybe I'll have to make an exception...?

Anyway, I hope it fits her because she's waited for it to be done for way to long!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Linen Loungers by Patterns for Pirates

I bought this Robert Kaufmann chambray a couple years ago planning to make a shirtdress.  Well, I totally botched the top - this is back when I was doing every narrow shoulder adjustment wrong - and it didn't fit at all.  It got stashed in my UFO pile and I was filled with regret every time I saw it.

When I saw the testing call for these pants I decided this would be the perfect way to get this chambray out of my UFO pile.  The Linen Loungers by Patterns for Pirates are great in lightweight fabrics with drape.  The designer recommends linen, linen blends, rayon, chambray and crepe.

I made the bermuda length shorts with front slat pockets and I added some vintage lace trim.

I normally make an XS, graded out to a M.  I didn't know until I'd already made them, that there is no need to grade to a bigger size at the waist.  This design is already roomy in the hips and waist (it has to be so that you can get the fabric over your booty). Go by your hip size and simply cut your elastic for your waist size.

I also wanted to mention that the ease in the hips was slimmed down slightly later in the testing process.

These shorts are super comfy! I've been wearing them around the house and to bed.  Maybe I will plan some more projects with lightweight wovens.  They are so nice to wear in the heat!

Tess Tulip Shorts ~ Bella Sunshine Designs

I tested these adorable tulip shorts by Bella Sunshine Designs this week.

I just love sewing kids' clothing because it gives me almost instant gratification.  Also, toddlers are not aware if there are fit issues and they don't have areas of their body they are trying to disguise.  Because I do, and sometimes it's exhausting!!  And toddlers are exhausting, so at least my daughter isn't complicated when it comes to clothing - YET.

But I digress...

The Tess Tulip Shorts have a short option (think booty shorts) and an equally adorable longer version.  There is an option for pockets, if your little Peggy Sue is into that.  But the thing I love most about this pattern is how fun it looks with trim!

I used some white piping around the edge of Cici's shorts and I love how polished it makes them look.

The shorts are nice and flat in the front and the waistband has encased elastic in the back.  You can't tell, but I used some elastic from an old pair of undies in those shorts. Ummm...Goodwill or scrap pile? Scrap pile it is.  Can't give away perfectly good notions!

Anyway, buy this pattern while it's on sale! It is super cute, a fast sew, and the instructions are very clear and easy to follow.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Oceanside Dress by Itch to Stitch

I am one of the lucky folks that test drove the Oceanside Dress by Itch to Stitch.  I absolutely love this dress! It is so comfortable and easy to wear.  It looks good on all body types.  

You can wear it to the beach or on your way to work out (as one of the testers planned to do) or for date night.  There are a lot of different options for color-blocking this dress, and you can make it with or without 'V' inset.

My dress is a size 0 graded out to a 4 in the waist.  I used a grey bamboo/lycra jersey and an Art Gallery cotton/lycra for the contrast.  I opted to do a solid 'V' and topstitch it.  The topstitching is kind of 'meh' so there is no close up photo.

I did not have to do a SBA for this pattern - YAY!!

I made a second Oceanside during the test.  This was a 2 graded out to a 6 at the waist with no inset.  It was too big, so I took it in some.  I should have taken it in more at the waist, lesson learned, lol!  That waistband needs to hug your body so that it gives you a nice waist and doesn't get stretched out of place.

The dress instructions tell you how to lengthen or shorten the skirt.  My peplum pattern piece is about 9" long.  The peplum arrived on the scene 5 years ago and this is the first garment I've made (or worn) with one!  I used to think the peplum was only for people with an ample bust.  I love this pattern because it brings attention to my upper body so that I don't feel lopsided, if you know what I mean. 

A few tips for this you:

- Clear elastic at the waist is a MUST! It seriously pulls the waistband in and makes the garment look super polished!  I buy only 1/4" thin clear elastic. You can get it from Sew Sassy Fabrics and So Sew English Fabrics.  I love being able to feed my clear elastic through my serger as I sew the seam.  But if you don't have a serger (or if that intimidates you) you can sew the seam on the sewing machine and attach the clear elastic next.  (This is the method used in the instructions.)

- Try on the waistband prior to attaching it to the bodice or skirt.  Make sure it hugs your waist BEFORE you attach it to the bodice or skirt.  A form-fitting waistband is crucial to giving you a nice silhouette.  It means that the waistband will lie flat even if gathers are sewn to it. If your waistband doesn't hug your waist, you may want to take it in before you get any farther.  You will avoid A LOT of unpicking. *AHEM!* 

- Consider how your fabric choice will affect the look and feel of the garment.  My dress has a drapey bamboo/lycra bodice and skirt.  The main part of my top is cotton/lycra. It has less drape and more body so it comes away from the body more.  Neither is right or wrong, it just depends on the look you're going for.

Friday, June 2, 2017

The Arenal Top: 3 Tops, 3 Summer Fabrics

I had been searching for a new short sleeved t-shirt pattern after realizing that my old ones are just not working for me anymore.  I wanted a top with a relaxed fit, sort of like those Boyfriend Tees I see at Target.  It needed to work for moderate stretch knits, particularly knits with a little less stretch lengthwise.  

And then I realized...I already had a pattern that fit my requirements: The Arenal Top by Itch to Stitch Patterns (aff link).  This pattern, which I tested for last fall, calls for knit fabric with 100% stretch widthwise and 30% lengthwise.  Kennis states that drapey knits work best for this top.  If you use something with more or less drape you may need to size up or down.  I chose the fitted top option.  

Fit Adjustments:
My bust measurement puts me at a size 6.  However, when I was testing, I found the shirt to be a bit baggy on me, so I sized down to a 4.  I did a narrow shoulder adjustment.  Sometimes it can be difficult for me to gauge how much of a shoulder adjustment I need.  I find that comparing the pattern with another top in my closet made out of similar fabric helps me get it right. 

Pattern Modifications:
I made a couple of modifications to make the Arenal Top the perfect summer tee.  The pattern does not come with a short sleeve option, but that is easy to fix.  I decided where I wanted the sleeve edge to hit my arm, added some length for my seam allowance, and cut off the bottom part of the sleeve.

I chose not to color block the bodice fronts.  The pattern piece is easy to alter.  All you have to do is draw where the seam line would be on the bottom of the yoke and on the top of the bodice front.  Then, you place the two pattern pieces together, lining them up at the seam line. Tape them together, and you've made the yoke and the bodice front essentially one pattern piece!

3 Summer Tops
I made the Arenal Top in three fabrics to compare the staple fabrics of my knit summer wardrobe: bamboo, modal and cotton.  These breathable fabrics are perfect for braving a hot, humid summer. I live in the Southern USA, so I don't take my fabric choices lightly!

Modal Jersey Top

I love this modal fabric from So Sew English.  This fabric has 50% stretch widthwise and 40% stretch lengthwise.  In a nutshell, modal is a second-generation rayon fabric that has more wet strength than rayon, is softer,  and holds more water than cotton.

As you can see, the top is very drapey in modal.  I cut the hemline to be curved.  (This was also an easy pattern mod.)  I love the way the hem turned out, and I'm so pleased with the fit!

This fabric is absolutely perfect for this top.  I need more of these modal solids, STAT!

Bamboo Jersey Top

This Kelly Bamboo Jersey from Allielane in Abbyville has 100% stretch widthwise and 30% stretch lengthwise.  It has a wonderful, soft hand and has a beautiful, soft sheen. It is the most luxurious-feeling and the most expensive fabric I used.  In previous years, I've only been able to find bamboo in the $16-20 price point.  I was really happy to find this bamboo for just a bit more than my CLUB jersey prints.   The widthwise stretch of the fabric affected the fit of the sleeves.  The top of the armscye sits a bit farther off the shoulder.

I'll admit, this fabric was a bit frustrating to sew with.  It slipped under my presser foot A LOT, despite me using a walking foot.  But, the finished product looks just as good as the modal tee, so I won't be giving up sewing with bamboo any time soon.  If you're a newer sewist, you might want to choose a more stable fabric to learn on.

Cotton Jersey Top 

My third top is in cotton/lycra made from some fun CLUB mint stripes from Raspberry Creek Fabrics paired with Icy Mint Knit from Art Gallery.  Both fabrics have 50% stretch widthwise and lengthwise.  Cotton has more body than rayon, bamboo and modal.  It doesn't drape well, but it works just fine for this view of the top.  I love tops made out of cotton jersey because they breathe well and they don't tend to snag.  

I was concerned that the increased thickness of the fabric would affect the fit around the arm, making it tight and uncomfortable.  I didn't want to size up, so I chose to use a 1/4" seam allowance at the armscye and side seams.  It feels a bit roomy and is so comfortable!  

Final Thoughts
As you can see, the fabric you use can change the entire look of your garment.  The bamboo and modal tops are very drapey.  I think they are dressier and give the wearer a more feminine silhouette.  I love how thin these are, without being see through.  They are the most comfortable tops I own!  The big differences I noticed between these two types of fabrics is that the bamboo is softer and has more of a sheen to it, and the modal is slightly more stable and was easier to sew with.

The cotton jersey top has a more structured look.  This fabric is the most stable of the knits I sewed with.  The CLUB fabric, especially, is almost spongy and is a great fabric for a beginner.

I hope you've enjoyed this comparison post! If you've made your own version of the Arenal Top for summer, post your blog link below.  I'd love to see them!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Pirate Pencil Skirt ~ Patterns for Pirates

When I took pictures of the Camilla Top I was also wearing my new Pirate Pencil Skirt by Patterns for Pirates.  I've had this on my to do list since last fall.  I have a few tops/blouses with navy colors so I really needed a plain navy skirt to wear with them.  This is a really easy sew, and great for a first knit project.  It's even easier than making Peg Legs!

I used a Telio Ponte Leggero Knit from in Navy...and let me tell you, this stuff is like BUTTAH! It's really lightweight and would work well for a top or even a dress.  It has 40% stretch widthwise and 25% vertical stretch.  This fabric is so lightweight it will be an all-season neutral skirt.

I used an XS, mid rise option.  The pencil skirt pattern is for a skirt that is quite form-fitting in the legs.  I graded out the pattern past the hips so that it is pretty straight up and down to give me more room to move.

The pattern doesn't call for an elastic waistband, but it's something I wanted, so I chose to turn the waistband into a casing for my elastic.  Since I only had 1 1/4" elastic I made my waistband 1" shorter (4" tall, folded in half) than the pattern called for.  I finished off my project by coverstitching the skirt hem.

I can't stress how wonderful it is to be able to hem a skirt just where you want it!

I absolutely love this pattern and definitely plan to make more this summer!