The thing about losing that much weight, is that nothing at all fits anymore. I went from a decent me-made wardrobe to nothing. But the thing about that is that you get to start over. I was feeling kind of stuck in a wardrobe that didn’t really fit me, both literally and figuratively. I didn’t really want to dress like a mum anymore, and I don’t have the kind of job that requires the corporate wardrobe stuffed in the back of my closet which suddenly fit again.
So when I made this dress I decided to choose something way more fun than I normally buy. Roses and skulls. I feel a bit more badass than normal, so I figure I’m doing it right.
This pattern is perfect. It is super easy to make and the fit is great! The only problem I ran into was of course the infamous Awkward Skull Placement™. There was a 1/2 inch of skull on the bodice front that I thought would be fine but then I decided it would irritate me constantly. I had to shorten the bodice by just a sliver. If I hadn’t, the length of the bodice would be perfect, but what’s a girl to do!
Pattern: Lady Skater Dress by Kitschy Coo available in sizes 1-8 (using their own pattern sizing system). I chose the short-sleeved view. There is also a long sleeve version.
Fabric: Red Goth digital jersey: 92% cotton, 8% spandex, and 200 g/m2 with black tubular ribbing. From l’Oiseau Fabrics.
I can’t believe summer is almost over. I just added fabric for a swimsuit to my stash and created a caftan inspiration board on Pinterest. But really, it’s just the right time to get started sewing for fall.
So to get in the right state of mind, I’ve collected some of the best new patterns for early fall sewing. Because even when you’re stash busting, it’s fun to have something shiny and pretty.
The big four pattern companies have just released there fall patterns, or sometimes just their “early fall” patterns and there a few really good ones.
I sometimes find that Butterick patterns don’t really grab my attention, so I was really happy to see three new patterns I like. Gertie has a new vintage-inspired dress pattern, Butterick B6380. Lisette has a great coat pattern, B6385, with various cup-sizes included. And I also spotted a cute and original dress pattern, B8388, that looks great for knits.
Vogue has some new patterns, but one real stand out, V1517, an amazing Anne Klein jacket with skinny pants.
Over at Simplicity, Mimi G has a really cute motorcycle jacket, 8174. I just wish you could still buy Simplicity patterns in Canada.
Not many indie pattern companies have released their fall lines, but quite a few have some nice spring patterns that also work for fall. Oki-Style has a very unique cowl-neck dress. Vanessa Pouzet has her Folk dress, which could work for work or evening. And Named patterns has released a sleeve addition for their very popular Kiehlo dress, making it a great addition to a fall/winter wardrobe.
In separates, there is the new Rosarí skirt by Pauline Alice. Closet Case has the new Morgan boyfriend jeans pattern. And over at Bootstrap Fashion, the tunic with yoke, though an older pattern, I think, would make turn everything into a little mini capsule wardrobe.
And finally, over at Waffle patterns, is the Tosti utility jacket. I think this one is my favourite.
This time I made quite a few adjustments. First, I went down two sizes. I made size 12, which is about 2 sizes smaller than the size chart indicated I should use. This made the fit at the shoulders much better.
I skipped the waistband altogether, which wasn’t especially flattering on me, and lengthened the top by three inches to make up for the length in the band and then some. I’m a little long in the ribcage and ready-to-wear shirts are often too short. This is the length I prefer.
I also skipped the zigzagging around the neckline that is called for in the pattern instructions. Last time, I tried this on the back of the neck but I didn’t like the look. to hem the shirt, I used a double needle. I’m much happier with this finish.
I also used better fabric. This jersey is a bit more expensive than the last time, but has much better recovery. That makes it a little more flattering, but also more comfortable. It’s also really bright, which I like. Who says kids should get all the fun?
I am so much happier with this shirt. It feels great and cheers me up when I wear it.
Pattern Review: Renfrew Top by Sewaholic Patterns. I made view A. Fabric: Cotton-spandex Jersey, from L’Oiseau Fabrics. Cost: The pattern was a birthday gift and the fabric was about 16$ a meter. Total: about 25$. Size: 12. Sewing Level: Adventurous beginner. Modifications: I didn’t zigzag around the neck band, I lengthened the shirt by about three inches, and I skipped the waist band. Results: So much better than the first Renfrew I made. I plan to make this again with the cowl neck.
I have recently seen so many gorgeous knit maxi dresses on the web, that I thought it was time I made one too. I was especially impressed by a number of dresses made by some curvier ladies, that looked amazing. So after some mulling over, I decided to use the Moneta dress pattern by Colette Patterns.
The instructions are great, and the pattern is simple and quick. If you’re new to knits, this shouldn’t give you much trouble and there is a Moneta sew along, just starting. It’s also very quick to assemble.
I used a lovely, springy bamboo jersey by Telio that I bought locally. It’s amazing, and I will definitely use it again, in all the colours possible.
I sewed the XL, based on my measurements, but it was huge. I ended up taking in the sleeves by two inches and the sides of the bodice by an inch on each side. I could have taken a bit more in the sleeves, and a tiny bit more at the waist. I probably should have cut the medium with a fake FBA (to the size large).
I’ve seen at least one review that recommended using the sleeve in a size smaller than the dress, and I agree, this would be a good idea. I thought the bodice looked short, but with the weight of the skirt, the length was perfect (I’m a bit long waisted too). I extended the skirt by 12 inches, to make a maxi dress, but I didn’t keep the angle, as others have, keeping the same dress width at the bottom.
The instructions have you gather the skirt using clear elastic. I’ve seen at least one review that noted this was difficult. I had no trouble. But I had to recut the skirt a bit (more on that later), and I was out of clear elastic, so I used lingerie elastic. This is much, much easier as it doesn’t slide around. I added clear elastic to the shoulder seams though, which wasn’t in the instructions.
After taking the dress in, I had two main problems: the first was the neckline. Did it look like the pattern photo and technical diagram? Absolutely! And was it flattering? Absolutely not. It’s just the neckline to show off my bad curves, and hide my good ones. In the end I recut the neckline into more of a scoop neckline and lowered it by 2.5 inches. I could have lowered it more. I also used a band to hem the neckline (like in the Renfrew top by Sewaholic) – tutorial here. My double needle broke, which is why I did this, but I prefer the look, in any case.
My second problem was with the stripes in the skirt. The skirt panels are not rectangles, but curved at the top and bottom. I think this might be to have a prettier hemline with a shorter skirt. However, with stripes, it means that the stripes near the waist will appear to curve down at the sides of the dress. You can see it in the pattern photos on the Colette website, if you look carefully. You would only notice this with stripes. It also means that if your fabric panels are cut the slightest bit off, or if the gathering is uneven, the skirt will appear crooked. In the end, I recut the skirt to be straight on both the top and bottom, because the curved stripes really bothered me.
And in the end? Even with the fitting modifications (and the fit is good), I don’t think the dress is especially flattering – on me. I’ve seen lots of versions of this dress, on a lot of different figures, and they look lovely. On me, though, the gathered shirt emphasizes exactly where I need to loose a little weight (sigh). A better silhouette for me would have shorter cap sleeves, or 3/4 sleeves, a lower scoop neckline, and less gathering at the waist, and I think I’ll stick with a solid next time. It is, however, the most comfortable dress I have ever owned. So overall, a great pattern, but not ideal for my figure.
I’m a bit discouraged, to be honest. I was hoping this would be a great, easy (it is easy!), go-to summer dress. But I think I have to keep looking. I’ve just cut out Vogue 8825 in black , which I think might look better on me. And I’ve bought the Lady Skater by Kitchy Coo, as well. Hopefully I’ll have more luck with one of those. Wish me luck!
Modifications: I took in the sleeves by 2 inches and the sides of the bodice by 1 inch per side. I lowered the neckline by 2.5 inches and made it a bit more scooped. I used a fabric band on the neckline. I reshaped the skirt so that the stripes would be straight at the top of the skirt and I lengthened the dress by 12 inches. I used lingerie elastic at the waist, and clear elastic at the shoulders.
Results: Great pattern, but not ideal for my figure.
I had the best surprise yesterday! I got a package in the mail and it looked suspiciously sewing-related. Except that I hadn’t ordered anything. What could it be?
Inside were these amazing vintage patterns from my friend F. (Name withheld to protect the innocent from the harsh glare of sewing blog fame). These patterns are so amazing!!! And unexpected. She had been helping her parents move, and found these and thought of me. Yay!
Looks like someone (her mum?) was a big fan of the mod look in the late 60s.
I don’t even know where I’m going in this outfit, but I bet I need a Vespa and a bob haircut to get there. And the hat!
This dress looks pretty modern. Until you get to the broach, but this might be my safest bet to sew. She’s wearing gloves (and Lanvin), so maybe I get to go to some sort of posh party. The theatre, perhaps.
Oh yay! Looks like Mr Garment is taking me out to dinner someplace fancy. View A folks! Will there be cocktails^
Looks like I’m off to some sort of party with Edie Sedgwick, maybe. Or just lunch in Rome? I think this one is my favourite. The dress might need to be just a tad shorter though, no?
This one is cute, but I’m not sure if I can pull it off with my figure. I’m not as petite as those 60s models. But it looks like I’m off to the Mad Men steno pool.
On the back it describes the designer’s look as “young, fresh, bright and professional!”. Yup, I’m off to get a job!
Now, with the improbable bowler, I can only be off to a casting session for The Avengers. But hat aside, this dress is the most unique. It has a sort of draped panel that opens on one side in the front (with a pocket) and the opposite side in the back. Very unique!
So thank you very much F. for sending me the patterns, and please thank your mother for me, for her great taste in 1960s patterns and for making you clean out the basement.
So what do you think? What should I sew first? And where can I get those hats?
One of my goals this year is to try to make more clothes that I will wear – everyday basics that fit into my real world, mum-of-four lifestyle. And while I’d love to say that darling dresses and strappy heels were a huge part of that, t-shirts and jeans are the norm. However, darling dresses do figure in my sewing plans, so stay tuned for that in upcoming blog posts.
I was super excited to get the Renfrew Top by Sewaholic for my birthday. It’s such a versatile pattern. It can be a basic tee, or you can dress it up.
I wanted to test the fit, so started with I a wearable muslin in cotton jersey. I made the neck from view A and the sleeves from view B.
I made the size 16, based on my measurements. It all depends on how you like your tees to fit, and the stretchiness of your fabric, but I found the 16 to be large. The shoulders are quite loose, and the sides as well. I took in an inch on each side, (leaving the full width just under the arms for curvaceous reasons-ahem) and it’s still not especially fitted. Next time I will definitely go down a size, maybe two, and do a cheater FBA. I’m also considering shortening it a bit. But maybe without the band at the waist, it would be better. We’ll see.
Since this was a wearable muslin, I used simple cotton jersey. It’s soft, casual and comfortable and easy to wear.
The only change I made, was not to zigzag along the neckband. I did this in the back of the shirt, but I didn’t like the look, so I didn’t continue on the front. It’s a wearable muslin after all, so I think that’s fine. If I were making the cowl neck version, however, I might keep the zigzagging just to stabilize everything, since it wouldn’t show.
I don’t have a serger, but my sewing mating has an overlock stitch, similar to what you would find on a serger. Net time I have to remember to trim the seam allowances so that the insides are more neatly finished. The pattern uses 5/8 inch seam allowances, which is fine for sergers and sewing machines when using a narrow zigzag stitch. But my overlock stitch works with 1/4 inch seam allowances.
Overall, this is a really good pattern. The instructions are very clear and the whole thing comes together in an afternoon. Next time, I’ll try the cowl neck in a different fabric.
Since this is a wearable muslin, (kindly worded) fitting suggestions are welcome!
Of course I’d rather be sewing, but I’ve had a whiny toddler in a cast for the past three weeks, so all my sewing has been virtual.
Lately I’ve been reading the Collette Wardrobe Architect series. One of the things that I’d love to do better is sew things that better reflect my style. When I sew for my self, I find I’m using the wrong fabric, sewing for the wrong shape, or just playing it too safe. Basically, I’m ending up with the wrong clothes. And yet, when I go shopping, that doesn’t seem to happen as often.
So I went virtual shopping at Polyvore, dreamed up some imaginary outfits, and now I’m going to try to match them up to real patterns (hopefully ones I already own) and maybe, eventually, sew some of them up. Can you help? I’ve matched these up as best I can, but maybe you see a better match. Let me know in the comments, if you do.
As a web developer in real life, I don’t have to wear a suit, but I do have to look serious at meetings. Black is always good, and it’a colour I like. For this I was thinking the Archer shirt. But the skirt is tough. I haven’t really seen many asymmetric skirts. There is this one on Burdastyle, but it isn’t really the same.
Not sure about this one. It’s Lanvin and sells for $3,000. I can safely say I am unlikely to ever spend that much on a single piece of clothing. But it sure is pretty. It’s a little like the BurdaStyle Cowl Dress 10/2012 #118A, but there must be a better match with a similar neckline, no?
So that was my imaginary sewing. Can you tell I miss having the time to sew? And thanks in advance for any help you can offer in tracking down patterns that are a better for than what I’ve found.
You may have seen that the Pantone colour of the year, for 2014, is Radiant Orchid. I was so excited when I saw the colour, because for the last couple of years, the colour of the year has been just a little outside of my colour palette, and finally, this year, it isn’t.
But what to sew?
I have been hoarding this beautiful piece of Bromley voile from Warp & Weft, in just the right shade of purple. It’s really pretty and very soft.
I had just the pattern in mind. This summer, Jeni Baker of In Color Order was one of the stops on The Staple Dress Blog Hop. It featured The Staple Dress by April Rhodes and I was lucky enough to win their giveaway.
The Staple Dress, is a super simple, whip-up-in-a-day, pattern. There are only a few pattern pieces, no darts, little fitting, no closures and no fussy details. I made the version with the straight hem and with pockets. (Who wouldn’t add the pockets?)
The toughest part was adding the elastic thread shirring. I’ve used thistechnique before and it was a breeze.
I received the paper pattern, but you can also get the pattern as a PDF. I prefer paper, since I don’t have to tape things together and the instructions come in a handy booklet.
I found the instructions very easy to follow and extremely thorough. This is definitely a good project for a beginner. It’s hard to go wrong.
I made the large, though the finished measurements said it might be snug. I wanted to be sure that the dress wasn’t too blousy, especially with a fabric that doesn’t have too much drape, and the unstructured design of the Staple Dress. In the end there was plenty of room.
The only problem I had was that the waist is really high (by design). The high (but not empire) waist ended up being very unflattering on a curvy, long-waisted girl like me. So I had to undo the shirring and move it all down, and I moved the pockets down as well by three inches.
The only other thing I changed was to make the dress a bit shorter. I’m 5’5″, and I ended up shortening the dress by 2 inches. I also made the dress hem a wide one, instead of the recommended narrow one, in case I change my mind about that shorter skirt later on.
Would I make this again? Yes. It’s super easy to sew. Though I think next time I would either use a draper fabric, maybe even a knit (you can see some examples here and here) in a smaller size, or add darts, for a bit more shaping. But overall, I’m pretty happy with the results. It’s a nice, simple, comfortable dress, that I can just throw on, and that fits well with my lifestyle. And of course, it’s the perfect colour for 2014.
Modifications: I lowered the pockets by 3 inches, lowered the waist shirring, shortened the dress by 2 inches, and used a wide hem.
Results: A quick and easy project that would be great for a beginner.
C’est orchidée la couleur Pantone de 2014, alors voici une petite robe très simple pour commencer la nouvelle année. Le patron est ‘The Staple Dress’, un projet à fabriquer dans un après-midi, et apte pour même les débutants.
I have been slowly rebuilding my wardrobe with some basic everyday clothing. After four pregnancies, all pretty close together, my wardrobe is in rough shape. I’ve also changed shape, and so my old clothes just don’t fit right. Rather than battle the clothes racks with four kids in tow, I’ve decided to make what I can.
This is my latest project, the Ginger skirt by Colette. It’s a simple, high-waisted a-line shirt, fitted in the hips with an invisible zipper.
I used a super soft baby cord, which is the same fabric I used to make pants for my kids. They think this is hilarious. Ha! Just wait till high school, kids.
I cut the size 18, based on my waist measurements, but I ended up taking in two inches, and I could have taken it a bit more in the hips. Next time, I’ll cut a 14, graded out to a 16 waist.
At first I thought the 18 looked ok. But it wasn’t lying smooth over the front of my hips. So I scoured the internet looking for similar body shapes, in the same skirt, and with the same problem, and they all had their skirts quite low on the waist. So I raised the waist and took in the sides and the skirt fit so much better. It was a whole new garment. I’m honestly not used to such a high-waisted skirt. Most ready-to-wear a-line skirts are designed to sit lower, but I do like the look. Next time, I’ll also take the skirt in a little more in the hips.
Adjusting the fit was quite easy. So if you are a bit larger than the largest size (or smallest than the smallest size), you shouldn’t have too much trouble grading up (or down) a size or two and still getting good results.
I made version 3, which has a straight waistband , and is cut on the bias. With baby cord, the results are not quite as dramatic as the chevron stripe pattern shown on the pattern packaging, but it does make for a really nice hanging skirt. Even my husband mentioned that it hung really nicely, and with no prompting (!!!). Using baby cord also means you don’t need to worry about matching the stripes.
The skirt has an invisible zipper, which went in really easily.
I added some very thin tricot interfacing to the skirt before adding the zipper, to stabilize it. But because the skirt was cut on the bias, it was still a little stretchy, so I also used bias tape on the seam edges, a suggestion from a couture sewing book, and this worked very well.
Hemming was a bit of an adventure. I let the skirt hang for a few days before I started. I had read how Sunni of A Fashionable Stitch has Mr Stitch help her with her hemming. So I gave it a shot. I can now confirm, that while Mr Garment has many superpowers, garment hemming is not one of them. He’s pretty good with compliments though (see above). Needless to say, I had to re-hem. Luckily, my hems usually fall pretty straight, so I guess I’ll just continue t0 hem on my own. I think next time, I’ll go a couple inches shorter as well. What do you think?
I didn’t line the skirt and simply zigzagged the seams. It’s a corduroy skirt, after all.
At first I was a bit shocked by the price of the pattern. I paid $18, which, for a simple a-line skirt pattern, is a lot. (You can get the PDF version for $12, which is better). But I wanted to try a Collette pattern (this is my first), and it was a gift as well (though I picked it out myself). I’ve found that the fit is really quite nice, and I will use the pattern again, so overall, still a worthwhile purchase.
I really like this pattern. It has a really nice fit, and is quick to sew, but also has a lot of room for creativity, if you are feeling up to a challenge. I’ll almost certainly make it again.