Patterns for Pirates Siren Swim Top and Sailor Swim Bottoms and Designer Stitch Willow Kimono

My last sewn items in 2018 were all for our trip to Cuba. I made two bathing suit sets using the Patterns for Pirates Siren Swim Top and Hello Sailor Swim Bottoms, Blank Slate Forsythe Trousers in a capri length (I’ll review this in February since I plan on making some more fit tweaks for a pant length version and do not have any pictures ready for the capris), Designer Stitch Willow Kimono, and a pair of Blank Slate Barton shorts in a hot pink nylon for wearing around on the beach (I have more of this material and want to make a couple more pairs of these in various lengths).

I first made the Siren Swim Top and Hello Sailor Swim Bottoms back in the summer before we went to Niagara Falls for a fun weekend. I made 2X in the top and 3X for the bottom.

 

The construction of both was not easy for me at the time. I actually dislocated my left thumb for the first time trying to sew on the elastic. That plus the fact that they didn’t fit great PLUS I cut the anchors upside down made me not want to wear them. We didn’t end up swimming during the vacation anyway. I wasn’t feeling confident about the construction and didn’t want to accidentally fall out of my suit. 😦 It’s a complete bummer when you have such cute fabric! The fabric is from Emerald Studio and very nice quality. I decided to buy more of it so that I could make it again. Erin doesn’t have any more of the matching hot pink fabric, but there was a suitable replacement at Water Tower Textiles along with a bunch of other ones! Both Canadian shops! 😀

I learned a lot during construction of the suit, but wasn’t motivated to make another until we booked our trip to Cuba. I knew the alterations I needed. I needed to add two inches to the top length to accommodate my bust and add two inches to the centre back of the bottoms since I have booty. I also needed to reduce the width of both the bottom band of the top and the waistband of the bottoms to really get a good fit. The pattern has cut lines based on the difference between your overbust and full bust which is an okay method, but not perfect. Even though, my difference is 7 inches, I still needed to add a bit more length. Of course, part of that has to do with using powermesh to line it and making it less stretchy, but the pattern doesn’t really accommodate for projection or underbust. For the anchor version, I added powermesh to the front and not the back of the top and then lined the whole thing with swimsuit lining. I lined the bottoms with swimsuit lining also from Emerald Studio.

  

In the next two versions, I used powermesh to line the top and lined the bottoms with swimsuit lining or black swim fabric depending on what I had left. I believe the black/mermaid scales are lined mostly with black swim fabric (except in the crotch area that has swimsuit lining) and the purple bottoms lined with swimsuit lining. I like the structure the black swim bottoms have in comparison to the purple bottoms. The purple fabric is also a bit thinner than the black fabric so there is less structure overall in that suit.

 

Both are constructed much better than the first pair and had no issues with dislocating my fingers during the construction process. I really love the backs of both suits. The criss-crossing straps are really lovely. The additional length changed it so that the 2-piece suit now looks like a 1-piece suit, which is more to my taste. I loved the original suit I made, but I definitely feel more comfortable in this look. The 2-piece is easier to get on that a 1-piece for me, but I didn’t want to be exposed in my mid section. Mostly due to having to apply more sunscreen and not wanting a burn there!

I did not like the suggested construction methods for a lot of things in the patterns. The bottoms have you sewing the elastic in and then turning the hem over leaving the crotch a lot smaller than I would prefer. I added bands to the legs and sewed the elastic on with one side of the band and then folded the other side of the band over to enclose the elastic in the band. It was much easier for me to do and meant I could wait to cut the elastic and had more of it to grip. I stretched the elastic as I sewed in order to get everything cinched in perfectly. I used this swim elastic from Emerald Studio. It’s seriously good quality and I highly recommend it. I used the same method of enclosing the elastic in the bands for the waistband and the bottom band on the top. The top has elastic at the neckline and under the arms. These are enclosed in the lining already.

I used the serger for all construction. The only alteration from these two versions would be to either cut the straps shorter or stabilize them somehow. I found that as I swam they stretched out. I also plan on making the bands a bit shorter still on the waistband and the bottom band for the top. I may actually line them with powernet. The powernet was from Emerald Studio again. Yes, the post is one long advertisement for Emerald Studio. Hah. I was not paid in any way for this. I just really love Emerald Studio.

 

The cover up I am wearing is the Designer Stitch Willow Kimono. I won it during the Monthly Stitch Indie Pattern month. I made it with a lovely cotton voile and it is soft and drapey for a cotton. I trimmed it using a fringe for the and pom-pom trim for the arms. Construction was fairly easy and the overall structure of the pattern is easy. It’s 5 pieces of fabric: 2 front pieces, 1 back piece, and 2 pieces for the band for around the neckline and sides. I would definitely make it again. I made size 10 based on my measurements. It fits large and makes a nice beach coverup. I would have been far far more sunburnt without it.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Patterns for Pirates Siren Swim Top and Hello Sailor Swim Bottoms
  • Pros: I love the result for the black and purple swimsuits.
  • Cons: The pattern without modifications isn’t perfect and the method for adjusting the bust isn’t solid. The instructions are in pictures, which I personally find difficult to see versus illustrations.
  • Make again?: Absolutely. I’d be interested to move on to more complicated swimsuits, but this is a great beginner pattern.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdwhite-star-black-md4/5 stars
  • Pattern: Designer Stitch Willow Kimono
  • Pros: It’s a great pattern!
  • Cons: I’m not sure there are cons. It’s a simple pattern with a decent size range.
  • Make again?: Absolutely!
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md5/5 stars

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#2018MakeNine and Top 5 Reflections, Highlights, and Goals

#2018MakeNine

For a few years now, Lucky Lucille has been running the #2018MakeNine hashtag on Instagram. I’ve taken part two years in a row. The first year, I failed miserably and last year I was able to get 4 items done which is still a percentage failure. This year I am trying something new by focusing not on patterns but on fabric meaning that I can be flexible about whatever I choose to make with my stashed fabric. I find the pattern focus fails me because a year can be a huge evolution in my style or I could end up needing other things to wear due to physical issues. The things that got made from my #2017MakeNine were far more on the comfort side of things than anything which is not surprising given my health issues all year. I know from my year of tracking my stash fabrics that knit fabrics are in and out of my stash very quickly. This year’s fabric purchases were definitely heavy on the knit fabric side. I would love to make the other projects planned from my #2017MakeNine but I am not sure when I will be able to get to them or want to make them. I also just purged a huge amount of clothing from my closet. I considered what I had worn and what I found comfortable and what issues I had with some things and bagged 4 large garbage bags for donation. I got rid of a bunch of old RTW that I wasn’t going for anymore plus a bunch of handmade garments that I just didn’t wear due to fit issues or not liking the fabric. A few got pulled aside for alterations that I will get to throughout the year. I definitely got upset over a couple due to loving the fabric so much, but I feel much better and finally have closet room and drawer room again for more handmade garments, of course! But enough talk, let’s look at the fabric plans

First up, 1.75 yards of a sparkly flannel cloud fabric. Of course, I could really put multiple flannels here, but this one is my favourite. It’s not quite enough (maybe) for a pair of pj pants for me. I could either go for pj capris or shorts, I think, or I could completely branch out and make a nightgown or a pillow case. Who knows?

Second on the list is this turquoise brocade with dragons on it. It’s one of my deepest stash items and purchased 6 plus years ago. I am thinking an Upton dress with pleats, but I could also see this as a long fitted blazer. I have 4 yards so the sky is the limit.

Third is the ever impossible to photograph black duoplex. I just grabbed the first duoplex fabric out of my lingerie fabrics drawer and it had to be black, right? I need new bras. I haven’t made them since 2016. WTF is wrong with me?! I may or may not use the black fabric specifically but I need to make damn bras already. In total, I have approximately 3 yards of duoplex.

Fourth is 4 yards of a mint cotton eyelet that I search high and low for and then got it for it to languish in my stash. Weird how these things work. I’ll need to line whatever I make, but top of my list is probably an Upton dress. But then again, maybe not?

Fifth is this beautiful light blue wool fabric from a friend. I have four yards. I also have thinsulate on the way to interline and a lovely fur to trim a new winter coat. My current winter coat is falling apart. I’ve learned a lot since then so I am hopeful this one will last for a really long time. I’m not sure of the pattern yet. I think I will actually hack a pattern I already own, because I don’t really want to go through fitting something. I know for sure the pattern doesn’t exist in my size and ones that come close would require a hood anyway so I might as well start with a pattern that fits well.

Sixth, the weirdest fabric in my stash, I think. I got it from Minerva Fabrics as a Monthly Stitch Indie Pattern month prize and at first was disappointed, but it’s a soft poly satin and so loud and fun that I have grown to love it. I have 2 yards of this bright orange leopard print. I also happen to have several yards of red fringe that might look amazing on it as a Designer Stitch Willow Kimono. I probably wouldn’t really wear it out of the house, but man, I would have fun wearing it.

My seventh fabric is a bit bluer than the picture is showing. It’s a super soft chambray from Fabricland. I have just over 4 yards of it so I could make anything. Part of me sees it as a lovely 1970s prairie dress with blouson sleeves and a pleated fronts. I could also see it as a casual shirt dress like Simplicity 8140 or I could just make a Cashmerette Harrison top.

Number eight on the list is 2.5 yards of navy blue polka-dots on white rayon fabric. I can see this looking beautiful as a Simplicity 8140 as well. If there were a bit more, I might make a Lenox shirtdress.

Finally, number nine is a antique gold stretch pleather. I only have 2 yards of it. Can you see this as a sexy pencil skirt or the bodice fabric for a biker jacket?

I’m pretty excited about these plans and see them as realistic. You’ll notice no knit fabric on the list, because I have no issues destashing that and, in fact, have a ton of it on the way from end of year sales. Oopsie!

I also want to finish up my Top 5 series with Reflections, Highlights, and Goals.

Top 5 Reflections

  1. I am resilient. This year has been a roller coaster of health issues, but I am more and more impressed with my resilience and ability to cope with all that has happened. I am hopeful for the future and hopeful that change will and can happen for me to be healthier and thrive with EDS.
  2. I have amazing support systems. My family, my friends, both online and offline, have been amazing this year. My husband is incredibly supportive and I love having him in my life. I am so grateful for his calm spirit in the face of the emergencies we’ve had this year. I truly am loved.
  3. I have made a difference. This one is a huge one for me and is the reason I write about my health so openly. The people who have reached out to me to thank me for my words are so wonderful. If I can help even one person with chronic illness feel less alone, I’ve done a good job.
  4. I am happy. As a person who has suffered from depression and attempted suicide many times, I can confidently declare that I am happy and my mental health is in a good state. I am able to compartmentalize the health frustrations and still enjoy every moment. Thankfully, the cognitive behaviour therapy I learned years ago to help me out of suicidal depression can be transferred to pain management. 2018 is supposed to bring me a referral to group therapy and mindfulness based therapy for patients suffering from chronic pain. I only see my happiness improving.
  5. I am grateful. I am grateful for my support systems and I am grateful that my words reach people. I am grateful for everything.

Top 5 Highlights

  1. Going to Cuba for the holidays. There is seriously nothing better than swimming in warm ocean waters and laying about on the beach when you are used to freezing cold temperatures for Christmas. I’ll talk more about my fun times there as well as a mini wardrobe I made for it in a separate post.
  2. A weekend of fandoms at FanExpo Toronto. In September, I got to perform with my improv troupe, the Dandies. We did Star Trek, Doctor Who, Buffy, Harry Potter and SuperFollies, our Super Hero show. I was unable to attend the SuperFollies show, but had a blast at the rest. It was such a great weekend.
  3. Card Retreat. I had a great time organizing a Christmas cardmaking retreat for a small group of friends. I made tasty foods and designed 10 different cards. I look forward to growing that aspect of my creativity in the new year.
  4. Embracing my inner unicorn. As a queer bisexual woman, it’s tough married to a man, looking very femme, and being erased by most of the world as queer. When I joined the CSC, we got a comment that there were no queer editors or people of colour and I got really upset about being erased yet again. I realized that it wasn’t in my bio, though, and it is becoming more important to be public about your identities to help repair this messed up world. I have on more than one occasion had to defend my queer label. I was once asked by a gay man to prove it and list my same-sex partners as if I were on trial. I have been eroticized by straight males and had a few friends ghost me when they found out I wasn’t fully straight or fully lesbian. I am so tired of feeling on the fringe of the queer community. I’m just going to be super loud and super proud about it now. I went as a unicorn on Halloween as a tongue in cheek on the bisexual female nickname. I enjoyed being more out this year in the community (it’s now part of my bio in IG, CSC, and my blog here) and look forward to some fun queer goals in the new year.
  5. Getting my Lit on. I’m a lit nerd through and through with a Masters in English Lit, but in recent years I’ve not been reading a lot at all for a few different reasons. I found myself in a mourning period after dropping out of my PhD in 2013. I had spent so much on that emotionally and financially that it was difficult to read afterwards. I was burnt out and exhausted and disappointed in the academic world that failed me (I dropped out due to supervisor neglect and, even after I got two new supervisors, realized I was done with the PhD as a result). I find holding books to be very difficult with my EDS fingers. I recently got myself a kindle and loaded it up with a bunch of books. It’s much easier to hold and I read three books last month! I have a related goal to share about reading.

Top 5 Goals

  1. Self Care. I’ve had this as my goal before, but I have to continue to make it a priority. I am heading to the YMCA sometime this week to start up my membership and get into the pool for some doctor-approved low-impact exercise. I have 2 swimsuits as a result of my recent vacation to share and a bunch more fabric on the way so that I always have a dry swimsuit to take with me. Other than that, I want to make sure I stop beating myself up on “can’t” and focus more on “can.” I literally cannot do everything I want, but I can do a lot and I need to focus on being a lot easier on myself. I spent the majority of last year upset with my body’s failures and refuse to do that this year. I will celebrate the successes more often.
  2. Get Lit. I want to read more.  For my 2018 Goodreads Reading Challenge, I set 15 books as my goal. I think I can do it. I plan on rereading Wrinkle in Time for the movie release. I cannot wait!
  3. Scrapbusting/Stashbusting. Last year, I did a whole lot of organizing of scraps, but didn’t use a lot due to my up and down health. I’d like to sew scraps up and get it out of those bins. I’ll still be taking part in the Stashbusting Sewalong. I love that group! 🙂 I started off the year with a bit of splurging on year end sales, but I will be back on track soon with my #2018MakeNine fabric plans. I am going to focus on buying on things that I need for specific projects.
  4. Knitting and Crochet. I have been finding myself needing other crafts to do on my lower energy days and recently got back into knitting by finishing a cardigan I started 10 years ago. I am planning on teaching myself crochet as well. I really want to learn how to knit socks and plan on focusing on that first.
  5. Queer sewing. I used to wear a lot more gender neutral clothes before I started sewing. Unfortunately, the selection was small and ill fitting for a plus sized and very busty person. I would buy larger men’s button up shirts and wear them with ties on occasion, but never felt comfortable in them because they were either tents or too tight across the bust. I never bound my bust so nothing quite fit and the shoulders were always comically large. As a teen queer, doc martens and men’s jeans were my uniform. I’d like to embrace more gender play and sew up some nice button ups, bow ties, and ties. I want to make a blazer/pantsuit that would make Marlene Dietrich jealous. God damn, I want that. I was recently inspired to make this a goal after Shannon from Rare Device launched her Sew Queer project. Follow Sew Queer on IG!

A final announcement for the post to help along my goals and your goals is the #curvyyearofsewing. Editors and Contributors at the CSC have created an inclusive sewing challenge for the entire year with themes every two months to give people lots of time to sew. We will be creating pattern suggestions for each theme, but you are not confined to those. Look out for discount codes and prizes. Share your makes using the hashtag #curvyyearofsewing. I cannot wait to see what you create!

Year in Review

Originally, I was going to post this after my holiday, but I suddenly feel like posting it now since inspiration has struck!

#2017MakeNine roundup

I completed 4/9 projects:

  1. Cashmerette Appleton dress in a tropical knit print. I adore it!
  2. Burda Cowl Neck top in a turquoise cotton lycra. I think it would be great in a different fabric and I have plans for that in the new year.
  3. Burda Sweatshirts. I made 5 in various materials: jersey, sweatshirt material, fleece. I love them all!
  4. Burda Kimono Robe. You know I adore this one. It’s probably my favourite of the year.

The unmade patterns are as follows:

  1. Prairie Style Dress from Burda. I got some lovely polkadot chambray for this, but never got motivated to do a muslin.
  2. Keyhole dress from Burda. I just never got this done. I picked out fabric, but didn’t have the motivation for muslining it.
  3. M7537. I ended up not wanting to make this. I may not but I still like the look of the pattern.
  4. 5 out of 4 free pj pattern. I have tons of flannel in my stash but just never made this pattern for myself. I made it for other people last Christmas, though.
  5. Boho maxi dress from Burda. I have a gorgeous crepe print for this pattern, but didn’t end up getting to it.

I am doing something a bit different for my #2018MakeNine list and just focus on fabric that I want to use. I’ll post that list in the new year.

Top 5 3 Misses:

Burda Cowl Neck top. Just a failure of fabric really.

Burda Cowl Neck Top 10/2011 #135

Blank Slate Barton Shorts. Another failure of fabric. The linen shrunk a bunch when it got put in the dryer. I am definitely going to hang linen to dry from now on. See how disastrous the back became!

An Accidental Capsule Wardrobe

Itch to Stitch Belize Shorts. I’m just not a fan of how they look on me.

Itch to Stitch Belize Shorts

And that is it. I actually really like everything I made this year!

Top 5 Hits

With so few misses, this was so difficult to choose!

Decades Everyday Chore Skirt. I love this skirt so much. The colour, the black strip of bias tape, the look. I feel wonderful in it.

Decades Everyday ESP dress. Wonder Woman! Need I say more?

Decades Everyday ESP Dress

Cashmerette Appleton. The tropical print was absolutely perfect for this dress and I love the way it looks on me.

Cashmerette Appleton Dress

Cashmerette Lenox Dress. I love it. I put a lot of work into the embroidery and adore it.

Cashmerette Montgomery Shirtdress

Cashmerette Springfield Hack. I wear this top at least once a week. I love wearing it and can’t wait to make more. I have another cut out, but haven’t gotten around to it just yet.

Cake Patterns Pavlova Skirt

2017 Summary

In 2017, I made 76 things. It’s lower than 2016 with 107. Not surprising considering how sick I was this year, but a ton with all my health issues! I’m really proud of what I accomplished this year. I visited the ER twice this year and still managed to make 76 things! Go me!

I had the usual December rush of getting gifts made but also with an additional CSC theme month challenge and sewing for an upcoming vacation. I will eventually share all those items in 2018.

Some months I made very little and other months I made a ton indicative of my up and down health.

Gifts top the list of items made, but second is dresses. Swim/beachwear are third (still have to share those!) and fourth is tied between shorts and skirts.

Cashmerette is an obvious winner. Second place goes to Burda and third is Blank Slate Patterns. I love seeing how this list changes from year to year as my style evolves and as pattern companies expand sizes.

In the new year, I will post about plans and goals and my #2018MakeNine.

Happy Holidays everyone!

 

PJ Party Time! Burda Neglige and Kimono Robe

Long time no blog posts! I sound like a broken record, but I was sicker than usual in November and early December and then I had to scramble to get a bunch done. I’ve sewn 50 yards in December! I’ll probably be sharing the things I made with those 50 yards in January along with my TOP 5 2017.

For CSC Party Time, I decided to have a fancy PJ party and made two Burda Magazine patterns: Burda Lace Neglige 01/2017 #125A and Burda Belted Kimono Robe 01/2012 #134AB. I shared this on the CSC the other day, but I thought I would share it here with a few more details.

For plus-sized intimates, there are not a lot of options, but magazines like Burda sometimes have themed months and January at Burda usually means either activewear or intimates. While their plus-sized patterns can often be pretty shapeless and uninteresting, there are occasionally some great collections and actually in the past year there have been more wins than duds for me. The January 2017 intimates collection is one of my favourites and I am slowly going to make my way through it. Burda plus sizes are 44 to 52. The sizing is a bit more generous than other companies and goes up to a 48 inch bust and 50 inch hip. That being said, I’m still a bit outside their range with a 50.5″ bust and 54/56″ hips. I am a fan of Burda patterns and find them well-drafted and often lack the major issues that I see in other Big 4 companies (larger than life shoulders and armsyce issues). I will always need to narrow shoulders in any company, but I narrow significantly less with Burda and sometimes don’t need it depending on the design. I have never needed to raise the armsyce or deal with gaping at the bust/armsyce with their patterns. Often, instead of grading up their patterns, I just do a quick 2 inch FBA and get a good fit. I haven’t made a ton of their patterns yet, but that’s my experience so far.

 

Based on my measurements, I graded size 52 up by 2 inches in both patterns using the slash and spread method effectively making a size 54. I did this instead of an FBA in order to achieve a loose fit all around. This worked really well, but made the darts on the nightgown a bit off and the neckline is a bit wide (would have likely been fine had I added in the lace). Instead of redrafting the darts on paper, I sewed up the back seam and side seams and pinned the pattern to get the darts in the right place. Curved bust darts (is there a different word for this type?) like this can be a bit difficult, especially with a large bust. The darts aren’t perfect and do angle in a bit at centre front. My advice, if you choose to sew this up, is to trim out the centre of the dart before sewing to give you 5/8 inch seam allowance (after pin-fitting them, though, you don’t want to trim and then not have them fit correctly) and then grade the seams to a 1/4 inch again after sewing. It will help you get a better handle on the fabric and make it a bit easier to sew. Curved bust darts like this aren’t used very often in patterns these days (they tend to be seen more in vintage patterns), but can really create a lovely fit and shouldn’t be feared. For the nightgown, I shortened it by about 12 inches in the front and 11 inches in the back for a slight high/low hem. What can I say, I prefer a short, short nightgown. For both patterns, I did french seams for a nice inside finish. I finished the bust dart seam allowances using my serger. The more difficult of the two patterns was definitely the lace nightgown. I’m not super proud of my sewing on that at all, but I really like the finished garment. Not perfect by any means, but lovely to wear.

 

Burda instructions are famously sparse and these are no exception. I would definitely list the patterns as intermediate based on the lack of good instructions. The construction of both is very basic, though, so they aren’t advanced patterns.

 

The fit is robe-like for the robe – loose fit and comfortable to wear. I immediately want to make a bunch more. But how many fancy robes does one person need? All of them, Andie, all of them. The original pattern calls for velvet and I can see that being super gorgeous! I can also see making a basic flannel version or a see-through lace version. Mrowwwwrrrrrr.

 

The fit on the nightgown could be better. I actually need a small FBA as there is some pulling forward of the side seams. I could also remove an inch from the centre back and bring the shoulders in a bit since the neckline does sit wide. At the end of the day, though, these are PJs and don’t require a lot of overfitting since they will not be seen that often by more people than my husband and the internet in this post. Hahah. I’ve never felt more fancy and luxurious and that is definitely something to celebrate.

 

In terms of time, both patterns were made at the same time and in total took about 8 hours. I’m definitely going to make the robe again.

 

The fabric I used for the nightgown is stretch satin with a crepe back. I didn’t use lace at all. I had mint stretch lace that would have looked nice but didn’t want to be sewn on to the stretch satin at all so I left it off and I still like the nightgown. I used the stretch satin as a contrast for the robe along with flannel backed satin to make it extremely cozy as well as luxurious.

 

What’s in the glass, you ask? Root beer. Nothing like drinking soda out of fancy crystal wine glasses! Now that is a party!

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Burda Lace Neglige 01/2017 #125A
  • Pros: Love the curved darts. They give the nightgown extra shape and interest.
  • Cons: The usual sparse instructions issues for Burda patterns.
  • Make again?: Absolutely after a few fit adjustments
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdwhite-star-black-md4/5 stars
  • Pattern: Burda Belted Kimono Robe 01/2012 #134AB
  • Pros: Everything! I adore this pattern!
  • Cons: The usual sparse instructions issues for Burda patterns.
  • Make again?: Absolutely! Is it possible to have more robes than actual clothes? Hmmm….
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md5/5 stars

If you are wondering why I gave a different rating on the CSC, it is because the rating system is different for reviews. My 5 stars are based on how well the sewing went, the fit, and the size range and most importantly how I feel about the pattern. 🙂

 

Party Time. Excellent. *air guitar motions*

December is Party time at the CSC! It’s a fun themed month all about celebrating. And the theme is pretty open so you don’t just need to sew up a fancy party dress or suit. You could sew a bathing suit for a pool party or pjs for a pj party.

I thought I would share my plans for the theme.

I plan on making fancy pjs!

Back in the early summer I got flannel back satin in a mint colour.

My plan since has been to make a fancy robe using a Burda kimono pattern:

My plan is to also trim it with this pink satin that I got:

The pink satin has stretch and is going to be used as the main fabric for a Burda nightgown:

The lace trim is going to be this mint stretch trim to match with the robe:

The whole project will be shared on the CSC when it is done. Luckily, I have a swanky new photography set to keep me inside for pictures. 🙂

What are you planning for #CSCPartyTime?

Burda Cowl Neck Top

The Burda cowl neck top (10/2011#135) was part of my 2017 Make Nine so I wanted to share it for that reason. I don’t love it, but I don’t hate it. I really think the issues are due to the fabric. The top really requires a fabric with enough drape to make the cowl really look gorgeous. On the bolt, the fabric appeared to be nice and drapey, but it wasn’t really. It washed up a bit crisper as well. A knit with rayon would work beautifully in this top.

20171106_153019 20171106_153032

The top has raglan sleeves and an inset for the front and back for the neckline/cowl. The sleeves are also in the original pattern ruched at the side from forearm to hem. I chose to make sleeve bands instead since I doubted I would like the ruching. In terms of fit problems, the sleeves fit like wings and the bust is pretty good. The cowl neck could be more cowl-like. More room in the hips would be good.

20171106_153025 20171106_153049

In terms of sewing, it’s not my best work. The cowl was difficult to get in and there is something weird with the side seams.

20171106_153037 20171106_153039

And yet the times I have worn it, I really loved wearing it. Just goes to show that a garment doesn’t need to be perfect for you to enjoy wearing it. It’s a super comfy top and I just love the colour of it. The length is perfect for wearing with jeans. Overall I feel pretty great in it even though I know there are fit problems and sewing problems.

Go figure.

Burda has the usual sparse instructions so this top isn’t for the faint of heart. You just sort of have to “interpret” their instructions or go your own way like I do 90% of the time.

Speaking of 2017 Make Nine, I’m on track to get five out of the nine done. Way better than my 2016 Make Nine where I made exactly zero of the things I planned.

Here is my #2017makenine Except for the middle column, these are @burda_style patterns. I made a goal to make more Burda patterns since I love the designs and think the block fits me pretty well. Plan is to make at least these 6 this year starting with the grey sweatshirt using some cat print terry I have. In the middle column, I want to make a maxi length @cashmerette #appletondress with some lovely tropical fabric I recently acquired in a swap. I love #M7537 from the @mccallpatterncompany early spring release. I can see it becoming a quick favourite. Finally, I have a bunch of flannel in my stash that is due to become pjs using the free pattern from @5outof4patterns If I bust that stash, I clear out an entire shelf of my stash! And I get many cozy pjs to wear about the house in various lengths for the year. Last year I didn't get any of my list done. This year feels pretty reasonable and should be doable. 😁 #sewing #sewcialists

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I think the summer dresses just aren’t going to happen, but the pj pants and the kimono robe will for sure. I finished my Appleton dress, Burda sweatshirt and now my Burda cowl top. I would love to get the top left corner Burda dress done sometime this winter. I have fabric for the other Burda dresses, but it doesn’t seem to make sense to make summer dresses when there are leaves on the ground so those will likely be pushed over to my 2018 Make Nine list. The McCall’s dress fell off my to make list. I ended up buying fabric for M7624 instead. Hahha oops. I hope to make view  C or D depending on how much I can squeeze out of the fabric at some point during the winter.

I’m just not sure that both of those dresses will happen in 2017. They may be muslined in 2017, but not finished up.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Burda cowl neck top (10/2011#135)
  • Pros: Even though it was tough to put in, the separate pieces for the back neckline and the cowl make for a nice shape and lovely finish. I really like the relaxed fit and with some tweaks it would be perfect.
  • Cons: The usual sparse instructions issues for Burda patterns.
  • Make again?: With some nice drapey rayon knit and a few fit/style mods. I would increase the cowl width and try to figure out how to adjust to get rid of the flaps of fabric in the sleeves above the bust.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdwhite-star-black-md4/5 stars

 

Cashmerette Rivermont Pattern

I tested the Cashmerette Rivermont pattern and really fell in love with it.  The pattern includes a sheath dress and a peplum top with a high scoop neck. The neckline has shoulder to shoulder facings. And there are big pockets in the sheath dress. The pattern called for medium weight ponte knit or lightweight neoprene/scuba.

When Jenny sent me the pattern preview, I jumped on it. We actually tested back in July/August. I bought some lovely ponti de roma in a deep purple from Fabricland to make my first version.

 

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I sent off the results of testing and hadn’t hemmed the dress yet. I usually take off 3-4 inches from the hem of Cashmerette patterns unless I feel like leaving them long (the Webster dress I left longer). I’m considering going back  and hemming it about 4 inches shorter. Also, because the hem got all wavy in sewing and even after pressing it wouldn’t go flat.

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I realized as I was taking these pictures that most are with my hands in the pockets. They are such deep cozy pockets that I just kept putting my hands in there. Ha! I styled it with a belt from Addition-Elle. That belt is one of my favourite wardrobe accessories.

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I adore purple on me. Weirdly I don’t have a lot of it in my wardrobe. This piece was the start of getting it back into my wardrobe. 🙂

My second Rivermont dress was also using the tester pattern. I had a wedding to go to in Killarney at the end of September and really needed something nice to wear. I got some peach scuba in a Bunz trade at the end of August. Over 86 yards of awesome fabric for a $40 gift card to Staples! Bunz is crazy good. What I noticed was the light peach colour was a great match for my skin and then my brain just needed some lace overlay for it. I got some royal blue stretch lace from Fabricville (sadly not available anymore) and got started the week of the wedding. Yes, I was finishing the dress up the night before we left.

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You can see how the scuba with its lower stretch percentage and stiffness makes it fit a little bit differently. But it still looks awesome imho.

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After seeing all the pictures with my hands in my pockets, I basically was self conscious and kept them out for these pictures. LOL. I styled this dress with a thin gold belt from Winners.

The neckline was fixed for the final version. It doesn’t really bother me in either of these dresses. It’s much better in the ponti version since the fabric has better recovery. The scuba version definitely has a more pronounced neckline issue as well as an issue with gaping pockets. I used a lighter jersey to line the pockets due to a few reasons. I didn’t want to have too much bulk from sewing through three layers of fabric at the waist and I didn’t have enough fabric. The dress also had to be cut 4 inches shorter, but that turned out to be a great thing since I love the length.

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I really wanted to take these pictures and get the post ready for the launch of the pattern, because I love it so much. I had a rough September and October due to having gluten back in my diet in order to get tested for celiac disease and spent a lot of the time sick. I’m back on my gluten free diet now and automatically feel better. I mean I still have a chronic illness, but a chronic illness plus an extra amount of horrible migraines, allergy attacks, GI issues, and not being able to eat for fear of throwing up is the worst. I often have all of these issues, but not to that degree. And of course, it is fall here, so if it isn’t me being sick, it’s raining. I actually managed to take these after it had rained off and on all day.

There will be many more Rivermont iterations in the future. I plan on making a stretch velvet peplum next. 😀