And the winner is….

M7624 WINS!!!!!

Thank you to everyone who voted!

The voting was super close for those two dresses:

For a while it was stuck at a tie and then I posted on IG asking people to not let it tie, please! Someone tried to be funny and voted for the Simplicity blazer after that. D’oh! I plan on making all three at some point, though, so no worries to the ones that didn’t get picked. 🙂

In other news, I have been sewing like crazy. I have two Cashmerette Cedar Dolman hacks to show you plus M7094 and S8140 and sew (har har!) many other plans. April is looking like a busy sewing month. We’ll see how much I can cram into it. I feel super energized and really obsessed with sewing so I am positive that I can cram a bunch.

But of course when I prioritize sewing, it means that pictures don’t get taken and blog posts don’t get written so I need a bit of time to do that. Hopefully next week I will have a chance to do that. 🙂

Hope all is well with everyone!

Happy Friday!!

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Miss Bossy is back!

Over on the Monthly Stitch is a super fun challenge for April that I am taking part in:

Miss Bossy is back for April! She knows that I have way too much fabric and way too many patterns that I need to use up so she’s being quite Bossy about me using them up.

The objective is for me to post a poll on my blog and have my readers vote to choose what I make. I’ll keep the poll open for a week and then snip snip… I’m cutting into my fabric! YIKES! But I better.

It’s pretty close to summer so all of my choices are based on that. I paired the fabric with a pattern that I haven’t used but thought would work really well with it.

1. Pink dot cotton & Designer Stitch Pippa wrap dress

I have 4 yards of this lovely cotton that are begging to be made into the Pippa dress. I got the pattern as part of my Indie pattern month prize last summer and haven’t made anything with it yet. The fabric was found at the thrift store. I am also excited about those flutter sleeves since they mean minimal sleeve fitting. I will be focused on making sure the wrap is appropriate for work, though. A muslin will definitely be needed to check that but the project seems pretty easy.

2. Tropical Rayon fabric & McCall’s 7624

I will need to do an FBA on this McCall’s pattern and possibly size up, but the sleeves for sure have enough ease in them for me not to worry about them too much (I really hate fitting sleeves lol). The only thing I will have to look out for is them perhaps revealing my bra on the side. I will also use a coral rayon I have for the contrast in the bands at the waist, neck and sleeves.

3. White Crepe Suiting/Coral Satin lining & Simplicity 2340

Simplicity 2340 is out of print, but I love it. View B has been on my list for a while using this white crepe/coral satin lining and I have just been putting it off and putting it off. I hate sleeve fitting and doing an FBA. Ughhhhhh. But maybe Miss Bossy will make me do it. It might not be done for the end of April though since it involves more complex fitting and sewing than the other two choices.

Vote now!

Seamwork Jill Coatigan

And now for something completely different…

The last time I made a Seamwork magazine pattern it was a complete and udder (HA!) disaster with the Florence bralette pattern. I would still love to find a bralette pattern that works for my bust size (gargantuan). That experience definitely turned me off of the patterns, but then I started thinking that maybe I might perhaps….. try another.

I’m not extolling the virtues of Seamwork or Colette, but my Jill Coatigan did work out very well. I had bought some other patterns before I made the Florence bralette. I also ended up getting the Audrey jean jacket. Of course, the patterns are very tempting because they go up to a 54 bust and 58 hip. But are they actually worth it? Colette gets some pretty warrented criticism from the sewing blog community for their drafting, especially in the sleeves.

I took the plunge, though, because I wanted a boxy coat for the Spring and really wanted to use some wool knit I had in my stash for the project. Megan and I spoke and decided to do a Same Pattern, Different Bodies for the CSC for the Curvy Year of Sewing theme of jacket/blazer for March/April. You can read more about Megan’s coat here. All of these things kind of meant I was committed to another Seamwork pattern.

  

In spite of the loose fit for this pattern, the arms were still going to be a bit tight for me. They would have *just* fit so I added 2 inches there and had to add a bit to the side seams to accomodate. I also initially shorted the pattern by 7 inches. I am 5’3″ and regularly have to shorten patterns quite a bit. 7 inches would have meant the pattern would hit my mid-thigh. But then due to fabric constraints, I needed to shorten further to get the pattern to fit because I *had* to use this fabric. I think in total it is shortened by about 15 inches. If I were to make it again, I would go with the 7 inches instead.

In terms of fit, it fits as boxy and loose as the pattern suggests. I made a 2XL. The arms are a bit long but I do prefer jackets and coats and cardigans and long sleeves in general to be long on me to protect my always cold hands.

Things I didn’t like about the pattern are the slightly curved seam at the front. Comparing the curvy block to the regular block, the curve is a bit more in the curvy block. With the curve going up to the centre front, it doesn’t make any sense to me since it then doesn’t look like a straight hem from the side view. My bust pulls it up further as well. If I make this again, I will definitely be correcting that.

The instructions were so strange in some places. It suggests top stitching the facing down but then it would show from the right side in places so I noped that. It’s a simple pattern and would work for a beginner, but some instructions might be tough for them to understand and could be done in an easier way. So for the most part, I ignored them.

I started off by binding all my seams with a bright green cotton bias tape. I sort of abandoned that after a bit because I found the process tedious. Do you ever do that mid-sewing? The back seam/kick pleat and the edge of the facing all are bound, but the rest is finished with my serger instead.

 

The main fabric is a grey floral knit with a stripe on the wrong side. The floral shows on the collar facing but I used the stripe for the main parts. I liked the floral but not enough to make it the main look. I added a belt and belt loops to the coat. I used a darker grey wool coating for the tie and the pockets for a bit of contrast…..hahahha because I ran out of fabric. Luckily, I had some in my stash from a trade a while back so my lack of fabric worked out okay.

 

I love the look of the tie and those pockets are enormous and can fit anything in them. I put my kindle in it as well as some cards during a respiralogist appointment recently. Very useful.

The other good thing about the pattern is that it is quick to cut out and quick to make. It is pretty satisfying to have a pattern like that. I think you know by now that I enjoy quick projects. I do love an involved one, but definitely need a few quick ones in between those.

 

What more can I say? I love the coat. It’s great for this in-between weather and an alternative to my Pepernoot coat that I made 2 years ago.

Before I finish this post, a quick update on my health. My new respiralogist has been amazing (I literally cried in his office after he promised he would get my cough managed). He put me on some new meds and increased others and my cough has improved dramatically. Initially, I thought I might need to return to him sooner for an appointment because my cough was bad for about a month with the transition of the new meds, but it just started going away and now I cough only if I forget my meds. At the first appointment, I was using 80% of the normal lung capacity. Now I am at 120%, because I am a major overachiever. 😉

Of course, the disclaimer to this update is that while one part is more managed by medication, other parts of my chronic illness are not and I am still a person who lives each day with health issues and chronic pain. The thing about devoting all my time to breathing normally is that it allowed me to ignore or push aside the pain. Now that I can breathe again without coughing fits, I am noticing the pain more and how much it has increased in the past year. I have a growing instability in my lower spine and my left hip (my right hip has a labrum tear so it is always in pain), and my costochrondritis is flaring horribly making deep breaths extremely painful. But I take the breathing again as an extremely amazing victory! And knowing I have remarkable lung capacity for a person of my age, weight, and height, is fantastic news! Yeay lungs! When they work, they sure make breathing easier! 😀

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Seamwork Jill Coatigan
  • Pros: Simple pattern with a good size range. Great for beginners who need a gateway drug into coatmaking.
  • Cons: Instructions are a bit weird and could be improved. Strange curved front hem….
  • Make again?: Absolutely after a couple more adjustments and in the mid-thigh length. How many coats does one need? Well, quite frankly, I think all the coats would be the answer. ❤ I have a tan non-stretch knit that would work well for this pattern so I will probably use that for another version since it sews up pretty quickly.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md4/5 stars

Cashmerette Darturner Dress and Dartmouth top

A while ago, my fellow CSC editor, Jessica, shared her Dartmouth/half circle skirt dresses on her blog. I had also seen a few other people share versions of this with the Dartmouth top and the Turner skirt. I knew I needed to try it.

So I did:

 

 

 

I added pockets to this dress. The Turner dress does have a pocket through a free expansion, but I decided to make my own pattern piece since I wanted the pocket to be held in place by the waist. I should have basted the pockets in place, because the serger knocked them off ever so slightly. My pocket fabric is a dark hunter green lightweight jersey. The bit of pocket showing is even on both sides with about a 1/4 inch of the pocket peaking out so it looks intentional and quite frankly you can’t tell at all since the fabric is a dark hunter green and black and the hunter green blends nicely.

Speaking of the fabric, it is a crepe knit that I got at a Buy 1 get 2 free sale through Fabricville.com. The fabric is actually printed on white crepe which makes for a weird white on the inside look, but no one will see it. It’s polyester knit and not breathable so it will be fine for winter but going into Summer probably not, but I prefer bright colours in the Summer.

To do this “hack,” I just cut the Dartmouth top at the waistline and popped it on the Turner skirt. Any discrepancies in size were fixed with stretch fabric and elastic at the waistline.

I made the whole dress in about 2 hours for a party the next day, because “I had nothing to wear” (*cough* an excuse to sew).

The very next week after that, I made another Dartmouth top in a white hacci knit. The knit ended up being a bit see-through so I also made a Concord tank top to wear underneath in a lightweight knit fabric.

 

 

 

With the extra stretch and low recovery of the hacci knit, there are some strange fit issues with this version, but I don’t mind. It’s a comfortable sweater top to wear. Please excuse the crap hem. I was having tension issues on my serger at the time so it was stretching stuff out, but I am too lazy to go back and fix it. For the most part, I wear this top with skirts so it doesn’t show.

I have a couple more projects cut out that I should sew first, but my brain is starting to turn to Summer sewing plans so I might have to lock myself to the sewing machine to get those done before the warmer weather hits.

While I’ve been gone

It’s been a while since I posted. I’ve been busy with a lot of pattern testing that I can’t share yet and a costume project that I can share, but didn’t take many pictures of, and a few other smaller projects one of which I will share in a different post.

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For the costume project, I took apart a suit and two jumpsuits to make them tearable for a friend’s sketch show. This is the only picture I took, but it reminds me of Flat Stanley and makes me giggle a lot. The suit ultimately needed to be made into a jumpsuit and then the front needed to tear away from the back.

My old Brother SQ9050 kind of died after this project. I broke about 10 needles during the project and it struggled through every bit of it. Afterwards, the feed dogs just stopped working completely. RIP Jane Eyre. Rochester, my serger, will be in mourning forever… I do want to see if I can fix Jane so I can use her as a backup machine or even use the different stitches. I don’t want to take her into a shop, though, so it would be purely DIY. I did that with my serger at one point and fixed the timing. I think the connection to the feed dogs is probably where to look. And I looked briefly at the Brother site and saw that parts are available including new feed dogs.

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Meet Brienne of Tarth. She’s a Singer Heavy Duty 4452 that I purchased off Amazon.

Brienne of Tarth is aptly named because she is a workhorse and can take anything I throw at her. She has a metal frame and a fast motor meaning I can go up to 11,000 stitches per minute. So far, I love this new machine. Moving from a computerized to a manual machine is a bit of a learning curve, but not impossible. My first machine was manual, but I didn’t really remember a lot from that time. I also think I didn’t really learn what I could about the stitch settings and am taking my time to learn with this new machine. I thought at one point I would save up to get a Pfaff, but I think that is out of range for now. The positive of this machine is that is extremely affordable. I’ll do a full review after I work with it for some more time, but so far is is doing a far better job than my Brother ever did.

I started off with a simple project of some fabric bins for the first project with Brienne.

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I used this tutorial on Birch Fabrics to make them for my friend. I did change the shape slightly into a rectangle due to a cutting error, but I love the rectangular shape. I also used fusible foam instead of a heavy interfacing so they stood up better. I have fabric and foam left to make myself a couple of fabric bins.

This past weekend, I made a Concord top and redid my tester version of the Belmont leggings so they fit and I cropped them off in hopes that Spring may arrive here some day…

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The fabric is a bamboo jersey and is quite lovely. Grey seems to be a theme lately with me since I just cut out another grey project and have two others planned. I’m not entirely in love with the colour or lack of colour, but can see potential for layering and pairing with obnoxiously bright neon colours. I am also working on a grey Seamwork Jill Coatigan:

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The fabric is a gorgeous heavy wool knit blend with stripes on one side and floral on the other. I decided to go with the stripes on the outside, but have the floral showing on the collar. I ran out of fabric as well so I had to cut the pocket and the tie I decided to add from a dark wool. To make the whole thing less blah, I will be finishing the inside seams with a lime green bias tape made from the fabric in the bins above. 😀 I shortened the coat by about 10 inches for two reasons: 1) I am super short (5’3″ at last measuring) and the hem would have hit me at mid calf when it is supposed to hit mid-thigh; 2) And then when I was cutting it out…. I had to shorted it again to get the main pieces to fit on the fabric and they *just* fit. This actually might hit me mid-thigh now…which makes me wonder if they made the pattern for a person with Brienne’s proportions… I’m excited to share this later on this month on the CSC and then again here. Cross your fingers it all goes well.

I also recently made a new knit dress, but I will share that in a different post. 🙂

In other news, I received my first sewing magazines in the mail from Ottobre. The CSC editors were offered them for free. I have a few favs from them and at the top is that pink babydoll dress on the right hand cover of the Spring/Summer 2018 issue. I just have to get some tracing paper and then I should be ready to go.

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I have some pretty intense costume projects coming up for improv performances at festivals in the summer and early fall. I will need to plan them out and I’ll share the process here. It’s pretty exciting, actually, since we have a costume budget! But it is a budget so I will have to think carefully of the plans for it. After all the costumes are created, we can use them for more festivals in the future as well as runs of our improv shows. The troupe is pretty excited about all that. Speaking of the troupe, if you are at Toronto Comicon this weekend, check us out:

Blank Slate Forsythe Trousers

As part of the Curvy Year of Sewing, I decided to make the Forsythe trousers to fit the pants/trousers theme for Jan/Feb. I made Blank Slate Patterns Forsythe Trousers, an elastic waist trouser with front pockets and back welt pockets. The trousers can either be full length or capri length. The Forsythe Trousers go up to a 55″ hip. It’s not an amazing size range: my 55″ hips just make it into the pattern’s 3XL size. I have a double belly, big booty and a waist that is about 7 inches smaller then my full hips. I haven’t done a lot of pants fitting and have only just begun with it, but this pattern is great for beginners. They are like secret pjs and are so so sooooo comfortable to wear.

The first version I made was with a lightweight denim with deers and stars on it. I made the capri length in anticipation of wearing the pants for a trip over the holidays to Cuba. The fit wasn’t perfect. I did my usual adjustments before this pair by adding to the back rise (big booty adjustment) and scooping out the front crotch. The back fits pretty close to perfect for my first version, but the front crotch definitely needed more scooped out of it as there is some pooling of fabric in that area.

I forgot to mention in my CSC post that I changed the waistband so it was 1 inch elastic. That, of course, means only skinnier belts can go through the loops. It does also bring the rise down a bit more. I prefer rises to hit under my belly button.

My second version is made using a lightweight stretch suiting material with stripes throughout. For this version, I scooped out more in the front and actually lowered the rise a bit at the center back. There is maybe a few more tweaks that could be made, but overall they fit pretty well and I really love them. You’ll notice in both versions I left the back pockets out. I am not a fan of back pockets in general. I have them on a few other pants I made, but I just don’t like them. I never use them and find that they don’t really add any benefits for me. I do, however love the front pockets and think they are a great size. My phone fits in them so that makes me happy.

I took about 4-5 inches off the hem to get them to fit correctly. I didn’t go for the cuffed hem, but instead made a 2 inch deep hem.

 

Blank Slate Patterns always has great instructions that are easy to follow. I also find that their patterns are pretty standard and I can make the same adjustments. I actually used my Barton shorts pattern to help me get a good fit with my first pair by comparing the pattern pieces to make my adjustments.

 

I’m a big fan of how the pattern looks on me and I am definitely going to make it again.

It’ll be a great addition to my work wardrobe.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Blank Slate Patterns Forsythe Trousers
  • Pros: Simple pattern. Great for beginners with great instructions. Fits well with minor adjustments.
  • Cons: Size range could be a bit better, but I do fit into the size range so that is something.
  • Make again?: Absolutely after a couple more adjustments. Destined to become a TNT pattern.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md4.5/5 stars

 

Cashmerette Belmont Leggings

Today I am sharing my Cashmerette Belmont leggings. Earlier this week, I shared my Cedar Dolman top. Both the Cedar set and the Belmont set were released together and tested together. I haven’t tried the Cedar tank or the Belmont yoga pants, but both are on my list to try. As with the Cedar top, I tested the Belmont leggings and received the final pattern for free. But my opinions are my own and definitely not from a robot or created by predictive text. HA!

The Belmont leggings have side seams and inner seams as well as a separate waistband. I thought I would hate all those seams, but I actually don’t and it makes it easier to squeeze them into a small amount of fabric. My TNT leggings pattern has just one pattern piece. I took apart Old Navy leggings to make it. However, the inner seams on the legs twist about no matter the fabric type and the rise is always a bit off depending on the fabric. I was coming to the conclusion that I either needed to tweak it or finally find a good pattern for leggings when Jenny messaged me about the testing on the Belmont leggings.

I have tried Cake Patterns Espresso leggings and Patterns for Pirates Peg Legs and hated both. They were very tight, very long (hello 5’3″ here!), and just didn’t work out for me.

I’ll be honest, my tester version weren’t as good. Which is why I am so never sharing them here! I do have pictures of me with the waistband pulled up really high that are funny, but I’d prefer to keep them for private laughs.

My final version of these is so close to perfect! I made a size 24. The only adjustment I made was to cut off about 5 inches in length, my standard for pants/leggings. I also added a cuff to the bottom since hemming knits is the WORST (#lazytips).

The fabric I used is a fleece-back poly from Water Tower Textiles in Heather Navy. The texture of the right side of the fabric is smooth and soft to the touch with a bit of a “wind proof” feel to it. The wrong side is a super soft fleece. The fabric is thinner than I expected. My experience of fleece-back poly is that it is pretty thick. I don’t find the warmth is lost by the thinner fabric, though. If anything, it makes them a bit more breathable, but still keep the heat in when walking around.

 

I love the leggings. I squeezed this pair into 1 metre of the fleece-back poly (shortened by 5 inches) which makes them a great project for small amounts of fabric.

There are literally no adjustments I would make for future versions of these. They fit perfectly.

Of note, the top I am wearing is a lovely bamboo/viscose Concord tank top. It’s so soft and comfy. I usually throw it on as pjs, because it is like being wrapped in a blanket.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Cashmerette Belmont Leggings
  • Pros: Everything! I adore this pattern!
  • Cons:  Um?
  • Make again?: Absolutely! I have fabric for 4 more pairs in more fleece-back poly from Water Tower Textiles (they should start sponsoring me….ha!).
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md5/5 stars