Friday, September 22, 2017

DIY Bell Sleeve Tutorial | The Marjorie Dress Pattern

DIY bell sleeves tutorial

I’m so happy to be a part of the Marjorie Release Blog Tour! Hazel & Gather is a brand new pattern company whose patterns can be found at the Do It Better Yourself Club.  I had the opportunity to test drive this pattern just before its release.  With lots of neckline and sleeve options, it’s sure to be the staple swing dress in your closet!  This tutorial will give you one more sleeve option to add to the mix.

One trend I’ve seen all over fashion this fall are bell sleeves!  I love how flowy and feminine bell sleeves are. They can be dramatic, with tons of volume.  You can wear them with a jacket, or dress them down for the weekend.  Whether you are a confident beginner or seasoned seamstress, you can learn to draft and sew your own bell sleeves.  

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Allium Dolman Dress Pattern Review

I pattern tested the recently released Allium Dolman by Sew Like My Mom.  This top and dress pattern is easy to sew and flatters a variety of shapes and sizes.  

dolman dress sewing pattern

It features a hemmed short or long sleeve dolman and scoop neck.  The curved style line just above the bust is perfect for color blocking.  The bodice is straight or gathered and has the option for pockets.  The pattern ranges from ladies' sizes XXS to 3XL.  

dolman dress sewing pattern

Melissa drafts for 5'3" to 5'7" in height.  The instructions tell you how to adjust your pattern for more or less length.   The designer wants to make sure you busty gals don't end up in a size too big, so for this one you choose your size based on your high bust measurement. 

This pattern is perfect for knits that have 30% stretch or more.  I know I have a few knits with less than 50% stretch that sit in my stash for a loooong time.  (I hate that! Gotta keep 'em movin!) Melissa recommends using a fabric that has more structure for the yoke, such as cotton/lycra.  I used a heathered cotton/lycra from Purpleseamstress.  

dolman dress sewing pattern

That being said, you can use a knit for the bodice that has less than 30% or cut the bodice out in a woven fabric that has some drape, like a rayon challis.  I purchased this pineapple fabric last year, not realizing it had barely any stretch.  I didn't have anything to pair it with (I had purchased a yellow knit to go with it, but when it arrived it was not pineapple yellow, it was Batman yellow, grrr!) so I eventually went with the dark green as a contrast.

I was worried about the green, but I'm actually really digging it! I think though, because of the pineapples and the length, that it's going to be a nightgown.  What do you think?  

dolman dress sewing pattern

Check out the pattern listing for more tester photos! A few of the testers used a fun floral for the yoke and a solid for the bodice.  

This pattern has great, detailed instructions.  The construction is simple enough that I could recommend it to you sewists who are brand-new to sewing with knits.  Give it a try and let me know how it goes!



Monday, September 11, 2017

Cora Culottes by Made for Mermaids Patterns

Made for Mermaids reached 35,000 Facebook followers this month and to celebrate they have released the Cora Culottes for girls, and the Mama Cora Culottes for ladies.  The new patterns ($3 each) are a fundraiser for local Hurricane Harvey relief funds for the month of September.  This pattern is drafted for moderate stretch knits with drape.

cora culottes sewing pattern
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My little lady and I tested this pattern and we love how comfy our culottes are!  I'm not sure I've ever owned a pair...but wearing culottes is like wearing a swishy skirt with a bit of loose fabric between your legs.  They are also super easy to sew! 

cora culottes sewing pattern

If you've made a t-shirt or leggings before and want to try curved hems, this would be the perfect project to practice that skill.

cora culottes sewing pattern

I made a straight size pink, 12" hem. This hem is supposed to hit just above the knee (I am short, so I removed 2.5 inches to get this length). This is a thin, drapey rayon/spandex from La Finch Fabrics.  Not everyone person likes the way thin rayon/spandex hugs the skin, but I don't have a problem with it.  In fact, I love how thin and airy this is!

cora culottes sewing pattern


And if you are that seamstress who hates hemming...

Wanna know a secret? You don't have to hem these! I only hemmed mine because I was pattern testing. They actually look pretty great un-hemmed, especially in a solid color.

My daughter is wearing a straight size 1 made in a 2-way poly/rayon jersey with a cotton/lycra band (the band definitely requires 50% stretch). 

girls culottes sewing pattern

I bought this knit from Girl Charlee years ago, before I knew anything about 2 way and 4 way stretch knits.  It's so hard to find patterns designed for 2 way stretch knits so it has sat in my stash for a long time. I had no problems using it for this project!

girls culottes sewing pattern

My husband could usually care less about how I dress our daughter.  He has mentioned several times how much he loves these culottes! He says they are fun and dressy but allow her to move around like a toddler and stay covered.  What a win-win! 😁

girls culottes sewing pattern

If you're farther north than me, check out more of the tester photos for tips on layering with these culottes.  I really loved seeing Brittany Reini's culottes in green velvet!  

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Easy Peplum Hack | How to Modify a Peplum

Today I'm going to show you a quick tutorial on how to move the waistline of a peplum top.  I'll be using the Rosemary Raglan* from Peekaboo Pattern Shop.  I love this pattern! It fits my daughter really well and is packed with options.  

easy peplum hack how to modify a peplum

The peplum on this pattern is designed with a dropped waist, a waistline below the natural waist.  For this project I moved the peplum up to the natural waist, and here is how you can do it, too:

Start with a multi-size pattern.  If you're using a PDF pattern with layers, I recommend turning on layers with your size and a couple sizes bigger and smaller.  (Out of respect to the designer, whole pattern pieces are not shown.)

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easy peplum hack how to modify a peplum

Take a look at your front bodice piece. This pattern tells me if I'm sewing the peplum option, I cut my bodice on the 'Peplum Tunic Cutting Line".  Instead of doing that, I'm going to mark my daughter's natural waist on the pattern.  You may want to hold the pattern piece up to your child (or your body if you are sewing for yourself) to check the position of the new waist. 

easy peplum hack how to modify a peplum

The new waistline at the natural waist is shorter than the old waistline.  Because the body is smaller at the waist than at the hips, this will affect which size peplum I cut out.

Using a ruler, draw a line parallel to the center fold, starting from the side of your new waistline and extending down to your old waistline.  (Shown in PURPLE.)

easy peplum hack how to modify a peplum

This line intersects with the 18 month size, so I know I will need to cut an 18 month size peplum.  I want the width of the 18 month size, but my girl is a 2T so I'm going to add about 1" around the bottom edge of the peplum pattern piece, and then cut out my peplum.

easy peplum hack how to modify a peplum

Going back to the bodice piece...fold your pattern piece on the new waistline. You can fold and tuck the lower part of the pattern out of the way.  It's time to add your seam allowance. 

easy peplum hack how to modify a peplum

Cut your bodice pattern 1/2" lower than the edge of the new waistline to allow for your seam allowance.

Repeat with the BACK BODICE pattern piece, folding it at the waistline and adding your seam allowance before cutting out. 

Sew you peplum and bodice together according to the instructions.

easy peplum hack how to modify a peplum

My daughter loves her new floral raglan shirt!  (She also will pose for bubbles, if you couldn't tell.)

easy peplum hack how to modify a peplum

This adjustment is easier than it looks and it's so fun to get another look out of this pattern!

easy peplum hack how to modify a peplum

I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial! For more sewing help, visit my 'Tutorials' in the menu at the top of this page.  Happy Sewing!

easy peplum hack how to modify a peplum

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Tutorial: How to Add Lace Trim to a Hem

Hemming with lace is really popular right now and super easy to do! Play this video here, or on YouTube, for all the details.  (This is the Matilda Dress from my last post and the lace in this video is some really cute pom-pom trim from Sew Vagabond.)  


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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Matilda Dress by Violette Field Threads ~ Pattern Review

The Matilda Dress Pattern by Violette Fields reminds me of a butterfly print peasant dress I made and wore when I was 15 years old.  I loved using simple techniques to get a similar look for my daughter in a style that is easy to wear.

easy toddler dress sewing pattern

The fabric is Cotton + Steel Basics XOXO in Pink Cheeks that I purchased at a local shop.  I love the simplicity of this print!  I made the dress with short cap sleeves.  I used smaller elastic at the sleeve edge than it calls for.  I think the wide elastic is a little overwhelming on a toddler.

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I made a 2T and cut it out 2" longer because my gal is tall compared to her bust measurement.  It's pretty long...it kinda looks like a nightgown.  She'll grow into it, right??

easy toddler dress sewing pattern

The white pom-pom trim is from Sew Vagabond, she has the best trims!

The only problem I had with the pattern is that the elastic around the empire waist was way too short. The bodice was constantly riding up while my daughter was wore it and got worse after she hit a growth spurt.  I took the casing apart and added about 1.5 inches to the elastic length and it fits perfectly!

toddler peasant dress sewing pattern

Have you tried any VFT patterns? What are some of your favorites? How did you like the fit?

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Jalie 3350 Pattern Review + Sew Sassy Swimwear Cup Review

one piece swimsuit sewing pattern

This is my second Jalie 3350 swimsuit!  This time, I made View A, which has the same neckline as View B, without the twist.  Here's the patten envelope pictures so you can see the difference between the 2 views:

one piece swimsuit pattern review

I was really excited to make this pattern in swim fabric from Sew Vagabond.  This fabric is absolutely gorgeous, a nice sturdy weight with good recovery.  I found this pattern to be very true to size.  I HIGHLY recommend Jalie swimwear patterns.  The same pattern fits little girls all the way up to plus sizes! Score!

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The bust adjustment I did was rather severe - I took width out of the gathered area, and some length.  I bought some cups from Sew Sassy Fabrics in a AA and they were super small and very thin.

AA swim cups

As you can see, they are only 4" across.  They are the smallest cups I've ever used.  Since they fit, I can't complain too much, but next time I want something with more coverage!

swimsuit patterns for a small bust

The thing I don't love about this pattern is all of the bulk at the seam under the bust. There are 6 layers of fabric in this seam - SIX!  I think if you're using bra cups, there is no reason to line the bodice twice, especially if your outer fabric is sturdy and doesn't show through.  

swimsuit patterns for a small bust

And I've only just noticed after viewing these pics that the right cup is being pulled down.  It's no wonder I struggled a bit to sew the underbust seam with all those layers.  I took a look inside and it appears that the gathered area slipped out a bit from the seam line while I was stitching it.  The seam isn't laying flat, thus the pulling issue.  This wouldn't have happened with fewer layers.


In my opinion, if you are planning to use swim cups, the bust area only needs one lining (the thinner the better - mesh would be ok).  

Jalie 3350 swimsuit sewing pattern

Despite a couple of issues, I am really happy with it.  This fits so much better than RTW ever would.  If you've never made swimwear before, I would strongly encourage you to give it a try!

I can hardly believe it's been 5 1/2 years since I made my very first swimsuit. I was TERRIFIED, but look how good my first suit turned out! (And I made the entire thing on my sewing machine, no serger required.)

What swimwear patterns have you tried and loved? Which patterns are on your wish list?

Monday, August 21, 2017

Reversible Elastic Waist Skirt

I was recently chosen as a Sewing Portfolios Ambassador which gave me the opportunity to sew up some Michael Miller Fabrics from the collection, "Catching Dreams".  The collection will hit stores this October.  This round of sewing ambassadors focused on projects using a 1/2 yard or less.


I decided to use 2 of the fabrics to make my 2 year old this super easy reversible elastic waist skirt.  


It was fun to sew such a quick project! You can definitely make this in under an hour.


It turned out a little bigger than I expected, but that's what I get for making this while Cici was asleep!  


I love the teal hues and the gold accents in this arrows print, "Fly Free".  I lined the skirt with the gold stars print, "Starlight".


The waistband is Metallic Woven Elastic from Hobby Lobby and I think it complements the fabric perfectly!

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.

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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 know...it 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!

UPDATE: The dress (no surprise) was too big for my mom so I am keeping it.  I plan to grade down the XXS one size and make the dress again. 

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.

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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!