How the Medical System Fails People with Chronic Illness

Trigger Warning: Suicide awareness

 

I have many doctors appointments and medical tests on a regular basis, but I still manage to not get effective care from many of my healthcare providers. My chronic cough remains undiagnosed and not effectively treated. My allergy attacks are getting more frequent and leaving me breathless and drugged on allergy meds and asthma meds. I have multiple joint issues that are left untreated and am told they will get worse, but there is no solution for stopping the degeneration. Doctors tend to eventually turn me out their doors with no available solution.

Why?

Because I am “not bad enough yet” and there is very little focus on preventative medicine. When you are “bad enough,” they treat you with the next step of care, but until then you are not given effective care.

When you get diagnosed with a chronic illness or you suffer from chronic pain, you are constantly asked about your mental health. How are you coping? Are you able to get out of bed on a regular basis? Does it interrupt your daily life? etc. etc.

Every new doctor I see asks me these exact questions. If you aren’t coping, they go to the next step in their method of care and that step usually includes a drug program or risky injections or steroids to help get you out of bed and cope. If you are “coping,” you are considered “not bad enough yet” and continually told to self-manage your symptoms and try physio-guided exercise, diet changes, supplements, etc. All of these alternatives help in a small degree, but they fall short.

But how do you actually measure “not bad enough yet” for someone with chronic illness or pain, especially when they have lived with it their entire life like me?

I also have the experience of having cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) tools to help me cope with pain on a daily basis and “push through” my bad days so I can do things like have a shower, make food, go to the bathroom.

Doctors for the most part lack the ability to understand chronic illness and pain. The pain scale is different for us. The ability to cope is different for us, especially if there is a background of CBT or other coping mechanisms. They often don’t understand that the fact that I am seeking help from and seeing every specialist means I am bad enough. I’ve lived with chronic illness long enough to cope with bad days and live with high pain even on “good days.” And if I try to help them understand, they often say something along the lines of “I don’t want to start you on narcotics yet” and they don’t offer an alternative.

I don’t have a perfect solution. I’m not an expert. I will say that not being accused of being a drug seeker would be a great start and listening to what is happening to the patient as well as understanding that I may be “coping” but I am not doing well. The more bad days I have, the less and less I will be able to cope. My “good days” are days most would consider terrible.

I’ve overcome depression and suicide attempts to really value my life and value my abilities. To let pain stop that enjoyment for me is too late in my opinion and if that is “bad enough” for the medical professionals, I shudder to think what other patients are falling through the cracks – patients without my coping mechanisms – because the medical system is failing.

There is no mystery that the rate of suicide in the chronic illness community is higher. I have lost a family member with chronic illness to suicide.

I am not at risk myself. I have a fantastic family and friend network that is there for me plus the coping mechanisms to help me through the dark days, but I am at risk of losing my ability to cope. I am losing my ability to work and earn income. I am losing my ability to do basic tasks. I am losing and doctors are not helping.

We need an overhaul of how chronic illness is assessed and diagnosed. We need a new scale of understanding how a patient is coping. We also need a better system in place that considers a comprehensive view of patient care and has all of our health care providers talking to one another. With that conversation, maybe a real healthcare plan could be drawn up and the patient could feel hope. We need more patient advocates in health care policy and administration. We need to not wait until a patient is “bad enough” and make sure they don’t get there.

I see the start of this change, but it can’t come quick enough. We’ve already lost so many chronic illness warriors. Let there be not one more.

 

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Decades Everyday Chore Skirt

I’m extremely pleased to announce that Decades of Style has expanded their size range for their Decades Everyday patterns! The Chore Skirt just released today and goes up to a size 26 or a 46″ waist. This means no more grading up for me! When Janet asked me to test the skirt, I jumped on the chance. I’ve been a big DOS fan for a while. The instructions and drafting are great. The vintage style is right up my alley.

The Chore Skirt is not your regular pleated skirt. It has a narrow waistband, side seam pockets with a side seam zipper, and beautifully placed pleats in the front and the back. In the front, there are less pleats than the back for a clean look. The back pleats really give the skirt a lovely look. There are also side pleats that make the pockets and zipper disappear. There is a bottom panel in the skirt that is perfect for contrasting fabric or for using bias tape or lace. The hem is weighted so that the skirt always draped beautifully. The skirt works beautifully in mid to lightweight fabrics that can handle the multiple pleats at the back.

I made my skirt in a hot pink cotton poplin with bias trim above the bottom panel. The skirt went together really quickly except that I originally forgot the side pleats and frantically messaged Janet saying the waistband didn’t fit. She was very wonderful about it, but my cheeks sure were red! With the side pleats, it of course fit perfectly into the waistband. D’oh.

I will need to wear this version with a belt, but that is okay. My gold belt looks fabulous with it. 😉 I made a size 24, but likely should have made a size 22 instead. I was trying to be extra cautious because my waist can fluctuate due to inflammation. Next time, I will choose a size 22. I have visions of making this in chambray fabric or some lovely linen. Or copying this vintage version posted on the Decades of Style IG page:

Isn’t it beautiful? ❤

Here is my gorgeous version! Don’t I match my blog theme perfectly? ❤

Just a note, the belt is styled under the waistband here since I haven’t added carriers yet for the belt.

Decades Everyday Chore Skirt

Decades Everyday Chore Skirt

Decades Everyday Chore Skirt

Decades Everyday Chore Skirt

Decades Everyday Chore Skirt

Decades Everyday Chore Skirt

Look at that swish!

Needless to say I am totally biased because I was already a fan girl of DOS and I got the pattern for free. But in spite of that bias, I really love this skirt and I think it’s a great pattern.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Decades Everyday Chore Skirt
  • Pros: Well-drafted pattern and a great size range! The strategically placed pleats are really going to look awesome on a lot of people.
  • Cons: I’m not sure I have any cons!
  • Make again?: Already dreaming of the next one!
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md5/5 stars

Flashback Friday

Flashback Friday is here, but with a twist. 😉

Recently, a friend contacted me asking me to help her with a very special project. She sent me a picture and asked if I could recreate the dress so she could pose as her younger self. The original picture was taken in Hungary at Aquincum ruins of Budapest and she was about to return there with her parents for a family trip.

Recreating childhood pictures is a really great trend that emerged recently. I really love the idea and was fully behind it!

My friend, Susan Debreceni, is heavily into nostalgia. I know her through the Toronto Improv Community. She even runs a nostalgic show called Blast from the Past: “Comedians take the stage and bring their cherished childhood items to life through improv and otherwise. Nostalgia at its comedic best.” It’s a great way to bring out the fun in nostalgia. I also have seen some adorable baby pictures of improvisors!

When Susan sent me the picture, I knew immediately what to do: Colette Moneta bodice and a gathered skirt. I didn’t use the Moneta skirt, because the sides are curved and I wanted to make sure the dress had matching side seams for the stripes.

Finding the fabric was surprisingly not difficult! We were sure that would be the most difficult part. I quickly searched in my usual places and found a striped cotton lycra and a solid yellow cotton lycra (unfortunately no longer available) at L’Oiseau Fabrics. The fabrics were definitely brighter than the original dress, but brighter didn’t matter. It was an almost perfect match! When they arrived, I was really impressed with the quality. Definitely worth the price.

They sewed up beautifully on my serger. I added sleeve bands in yellow to the sleeves and omitted the pockets since they were not sitting correctly. I serged the hem, since that is my preference. I asked first if that was cool with Susan and she was on board. For the butterfly, Susan sent me a picture, which I printed out and used as a template. I used misty fuse to stabilize the cut out and then used a satin stitch on my sewing machine. It worked really well and then needed to be ironed like crazy to sit flat perfectly. It looked awesome.

 

Here is the final garment! Hopefully it fits my friend well. 😊😊 #sewing #sewcialists

A post shared by Andie W. (@sewprettyinpink) on

I’m super happy to have helped make Susan’s nostalgic dreams come true!

Want to check this dress out in person? It might appear at Blast from the Past!

Check them out on facebook or twitter.

Decades Everyday ESP Dress (Tribute Sewing)

For Sewcialist tribute month, Gillian asked me to contribute to the blog. I knew immediately who I was going to make a tribute to: Tanya from Mrs. Hughes.

I’ve been following Tanya since 2012. She is one of the reasons I got back into sewing in 2013 along with the other editors at the Curvy Sewing Collective. My adventures in sewing had been all over the place before. I was convinced that sewing patterns were incompatible with curvy women. I didn’t know about FBAs or other pattern adjustments. I still use Idle Fancy’s tutorials on that.  I also mostly saw bland clothing out there for plus sizes. Nothing colourful or interesting and certainly nothing with reasonable prices and shipping for a Canadian gal. I ordered some dresses from modcloth and eshakti, but I had to wait for sales. I knew I wanted to sew all my clothes since I bought a sewing machine in 2009, but I didn’t feel like the majority of sewing bloggers reflected my needs. When I started following Tanya, all that changed. Her style was exactly what I wanted to sew! Vintage, colourful, and lots and lots of dresses! 😀

Eventually after a million comments, Tanya and I became friends. She sent me the Decades Everyday ESP dress and Wonder Woman fabric and I knew my tribute to her would include both.

Decades Everyday ESP Dress

If you don’t know, Tanya is the queen of the ESP Dress. She has several versions in all different kinds of fabric, including her very own Wonder Woman ESP Dress.

I love this dress!

Decades Everyday ESP Dress

The ESP dress only goes to a 46 bust, though, which meant I had some pattern alterations to do for it. I did a 2.5 inch FBA on the largest size to give me 5 extra inches for my 51 inch bust. With the ease in the pattern, it worked out perfectly for me. I also did a large bicep adjustment on the sleeves. The sleeves weren’t tight, but I wanted a bit more ease of movement. For the future however, I will need to increase the armsyce just slightly since it is a bit tight and high.  The FBA added space to the waist. However, I could have made the waist darts a big bigger since the dress doesn’t quite come in enough at the waist without the belt. I also lowered the neckline since I knew that would be too high for me. After a muslin, I did a slight hollow chest adjustment at the neckline. I will also be taking a wedge out of the back neckline too next time.

Decades Everyday ESP Dress

For the skirt, I was restricted with the width due to fabric constraints. I think the fullness works, though.

Decades Everyday ESP Dress

I already have another version planned using nerdy Hello Kitty fabric.

While this dress isn’t going to worn to work that often, it will get a lot of wear at cons or on the weekends. Basically any excuse for Wonder Woman!

Decades Everyday ESP Dress

Decades Everyday ESP Dress

Decades Everyday ESP Dress

Decades Everyday ESP Dress

Decades Everyday ESP Dress

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Decades Everyday ESP Dress
  • Pros: Really well drafted dress with raglan sleeves and square neckline. Easy pattern for making alterations.
  • Cons: A good size range, but I do subtract meanly for it only going up to a 46 inch bust. Otherwise a 5 star pattern. (edit: Decades Everyday is going up to a 52 inch bust soon!)
  • Make again?: Already have my next one planned out.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdhalf-star-black-md4.5/5 stars

Wardrobe Planning, #2017MakeNine, and Goals Update

I haven’t been really up on my wardrobe planning previously, but at the beginning of the summer, I decided to try it again. My focus was on pieces that would help me with a transitional wardrobe so that some could be used for summer into fall with a few extra layers.

Wardrobe Planning

Top Row:

  1. Appleton Dress: Tropical Print Maxi Length 3/4 length sleeves (Made)
  2. M5050: View E White gauze with lace; Misty Jeans: Capri length (Made)
  3. M7094: View C Navy Blue crepe with orange squigly squares; Jennifer city shorts: twill
  4. Lenox Dress: Cotton mint eyelet
  5. Oceanside Shorts: green linen rayon (Made); Concord T: Hello Kitty Cotton Lycra (Made)

Middle Row:

  1. Barton Shorts: Tropical print linen rayon with lace (Made); Concord T: Lightweight jersey (to buy)
  2. Three’s a Charm Jacket: Black Jersey (Made)Springfield top: Red Rayon; Pavlova Skirt: (Made)
  3. Simplicity 2350: White crepe with coral satin lining; M6555: White crepe and turquoise crepe
  4. Scarf Neck Cardigan: lightweight jersey (made)Dartmouth top: lightweight jersey (Made)Misty Jeans: Capri length (Made)
  5. Peplum top: black rayon; Misty Jeans: Capri length (Made)

Bottom Row:

  1. Burda Cowl Neck Top: turquoise cotton lycra; Oceanside Pants: Chambray Forsythe Capris: Star/Deer stretch denim
  2. Winslow Culottes: Tropical leaf voile; Concord T: Made or planned above
  3. Burda Keyhole Dress: White rayon with navy polkadots
  4. Burda Kimono Robe: Flannel lined mint Satin; PJ Pants: flannel; Concord T: Made or planned above
  5. Springfield top: Flannel hacked into a babydoll sleeping top; PJ Shorts (Barton or 5 out of 4 short length pjs): Flannel

Wardrobe planning update

I have 15 left. I’ve made 12 things. I eliminated the Jennifer City shorts from the list, because it’s August and there isn’t much time left to enjoy summer stuff. I replaced the Oceanside pants with Forsythe pants in capri length just for fun. I may or may not make another Concord T shirt. I haven’t decided yet.

Some of the projects left are part of my 2017 Make Nine list. I have not done as well on that list, though. I’ve made two patterns and cut out another, but I have fabric for most others.

2017 Make Nine

  1. Prairie Style Dress from Burda. I got some lovely polkadot chambray for this. I’m eliminating the ruffle from the front.
  2. I made Cashmerette Appleton dress using up some lovely tropical print material I got in a local sewcialist swap.
  3. Cowl Neck Top from Burda. I have turquoise cotton lycra cut up and ready for this.
  4. Keyhole dress from Burda. I have navy polka-dot on white rayon fabric for this.
  5. M7537. I have the pattern. I don’t have the fabric yet. I do have some lovely tropical print rayon that might work for it, though, but I’d want some contrasting fabric for the colourblocking in that view.
  6. Raglan sweater with zip. I made several of these and then summer happened so I barely wore them. They will be part of my fall rotation, though.
  7. Belted Kimono from Burda. I have some lovely flannel lined satin for this one. I totally forgot to replace it in the picture, though. D’Oh!
  8. I have 22.5 yards of flannel in my stash that are begging to become pj pants using the 5 out of 4 free pj pattern. I guess I could have also replaced that pattern pic with fabric, too. Oh well.
  9. Boho maxi dress from Burda. I have a gorgeous crepe print for this pattern. I will have to wear a little slip under it since it is a bit see-through. I might get this one cut out this weekend.

2017 Make Nine Update

I am finally getting more energy back after being sick at the beginning of the year. It really delayed my sewing plans for the year, but with summer, I’ve had more energy. June and July and August, I made more than the previous months combined. I made some goals at the end of last year and am finally getting back on track with those:

  1. Accessible Sewing: I did flat pattern adjustments of my bra pattern so it has a lower bridge and can accommodate 1 line of hooks and eye tape at the front. It will also have the back closure for my fun swelling that occasionally happens so I can make it bigger or smaller depending on the day. I will be able to adjust that before I put the bra on though. I’ve also done some accessible sewing by making sleeves easier. I’ve gone back and taken sleeve off a couple of unwearable garments. I just need to finish the armsyce with bias tape or facing. I’m also close to having a good swimsuit pattern.
  2. Burda Patterns: I’ve made the raglan sweater and have the cowl neck top cut out. I will probably cut out the Boho maxi dress and the kimono robe this weekend.
  3. Blazers: I’m going to make my flat pattern adjustments for Simplicity 2350 this weekend. I will tissue fit it and then try a wearable muslin. I have tons of material to use for that.
  4. Party Dresses: I plan on cutting out the M6555 in the next few weeks. I won’t have to adjust the pattern too much for that. Then I will also be making a couple of fancy Upton dresses. One in red satin for a Christmas dress and another in turquoise brocade. Then I think those three are probably good for this year since my social life isn’t that exciting. 😛
  5. Stashbusting & Getting Rid of UFOs: I was doing really well with stashbusting and then… I went shopping with a friend in Hamilton; I did a bunz trade for 65 yards of fabric; and, I won £100 fabric basket from Minerva Crafts in the Indie Royalty competition with my accidental capsule wardrobe and I don’t even know how much fabric will come with that (I’m really hoping I get some stuff to go with my other plans or just get lots of knit fabric since I love it). I kind of screwed myself with all that…. I cleared a lot of UFOs, though. I made some new ones trying to adapt old garments to my chronically fabulous life now, but overall I am getting better at keeping the piles down. I am also scrapbusting. I still want to take some time to go through what scraps I have and take a bunch to an H&M for recycling. That will mean figuring out what is useful and tossing what isn’t. I have a plan in my head of making a scrap quilt. We’ll see what happens there. I have a couple of bags planned, too. I just need to get hardware and the right interfacing and zippers.

I feel good about what I’ve done so far this year. I have some projects from this year that are either secret sewing projects or pattern testing. They will come eventually.

I also made a little quilt for a friend’s baby’s 1st birthday.

I’d love to make myself one like it for the couch or I will just make a few for Christmas/birthday gifts.

Except for what is planned above, I don’t really need many more clothes except to replace things as they wear out. I will need some leggings in the fall for sure. I am pretty sure my 107 things made from last year number will not be reached. I’m at 34 this year so far but don’t have many plans. I’d be surprised if I reached close to 107 this year.

What are you planning to sew?

 

Pattern Hacking for Cosplay

This was first published on the Curvy Sewing Collective.

When I first started sewing, my main objective was costumes, costumes, costumes! I bought my first sewing machine because I was participating in a burlesque show and wasn’t able to find a costume in my size. I ran out and bought a little pink sewing machine for $100 and fabric and got started. The first thing I made was a costume that I called Little Red Riding Wolf. The idea was that at first glance, I’d be Little Red Riding Hood, but I’d take off costume pieces to reveal she was the wolf all along. It was made completely without a pattern. I had no experience with patterns so I just winged the whole thing.

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This was almost 10 years ago!

I started working with patterns around Christmas of that same year. I was annoyed to find out that most patterns didn’t go up to my size and costume patterns really didn’t go up to my size. I felt like I was back to square one with my dilemma. That Christmas/January, I made my second costume piece by just using a woven wrap dress pattern. I choreographed an Alice in Wonderland routine. I made a blue wrap dress using an out-of-print Butterick pattern and then found an apron to wear with it.

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Over the years after that, I mainly made costumes from RTW clothes. I’d use them as a pattern and then hack them into new things.

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This Harley Quinn costume was made using three RTW pieces: a t-shirt, a hoodie, and leggings. I hacked the front and back of the shirt into 4 pieces (2 for the front and 2 for the back) and I added the diamond to one side of the top. You can’t see the top in the pictures I have, unfortunately. The hoodie had the back hacked into 2 pieces. The arms were spit into two pieces as well in order to incorporate cuffs at the end that went on my thumbs. The leggings were split into 4 pieces. All pieces were made using cotton lycra in red and black.

I moved from burlesque to improv comedy and made costumes for our Star Trek improv show Holodeck Follies.

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Both of these were made with a polyester ponte. I hacked my husband’s trek shirt using a long sleeve top. I split both so there was a panel going down the centre with an asymmetrical V at the bottom. My husband’s top got a v on the shoulders.

For each of these RTW hacks, I made a pattern first using the clothing and then did the hacking using the flat pattern.

After a few years of doing this, I found it was easier to start with a pattern and just hack that up rather than starting with a RTW garment, making a pattern, and then hacking the pattern. Using an existing pattern also meant that I had more accurate drafting that wasn’t muddied by worn out RTW clothing. In both of the above ponte costumes, I hadn’t accounted for the lack of stretch in the material and needed to add panels on the side.

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For the three additional Trek-inspired costumes, I used two different patterns. For the male tops, I used the Tahoe Tee pattern from Peekaboo Patterns and for the female version I used a Burda knit top pattern. For the Wesley Crusher inspired shirt on the left, all I added was horizontal stripes across the chest. That character in our show was called Weasley Pincher so we didn’t want the top to be an exact copy. 😉 It is an improvised parody show after all!

For the other two shirts, I cut off a yoke for the black and then cut the asymmetrical V-shaped panel for the bottom. You can read more about this and see more pictures in this entry.

Some things to remember when pattern hacking is to add seam allowance back into the flat pattern. You can do most hacking to cut panels and colour blocking details, but make sure you add seam allowance or the pattern will be too small.

After these costumes, I got into more complicated hacking using a single woven pattern of a costume jacket for my husband. M7216 is where I started. I did tissue fittings on this to ensure that the pattern fit at various stages of hacking it. That is the bonus of working on a costume for someone else. A dress form is also good for pattern hacking and saving time by doing a tissue fit instead of a muslin. I do not have a dress form, sadly. We wanted a duplicate of Captain Picard’s dress uniform from Star Trek: Insurrection.

In order to get this look using McCall’s 7216, I had to add panels to the front and make sure there was seam allowance to add in the zipper. For the stitching on the V panels on the shoulders and the shoulder yokes, I just did machine stitching and added gold lame bias tape. If I were to make it again, I would have lined the entire jacket and added quilt batting to that area before stitching. It would have also meant that I didn’t need to use shoulder pads to get the structure. It would have made my husband a bit hot, though. I’d use it for my version of the jacket, though, since I am always cold. 😉 The only other pattern hack I did was to add cuffs to the sleeves and a collar stand to the jacket.

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You can read more about this project on in this entry.

The final two projects to share are, yes, more Star Trek, two more jackets. One for me and one for my husband. My jacket mimics the dress uniforms of Star Trek TNG and my husband’s jacket is a nod to Admiral Kirk’s uniform. For my jacket, I used McCall’s 6887 and I used the same jacket pattern, M7216, for my husband’s jacket.

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Pattern hacking for my jacket involved adding a V panel to the shoulders and the sleeve pieces and adding a yoke to the bodice on the front and back. I doubled up the centre panels in order to have the jacket overlap at the centre. The jacket closes using snaps, which don’t sit perfectly, unfortunately. They are just sew-on snaps and I keep meaning to replace it with velcro for a flatter look. For my husband’s jacket, there was more complicated pattern hacking required. I needed to make two panels for overlap for the front. This involved extending the front pattern piece. I also made panels for the inside of the jacket as well and added facing for the neckline. The turtleneck is just a dickie and I added sleeve tabs and made pins and a belt buckle with polymer clay. You can read more about these two costumes in this blog post.

I have plans for several more costumes for the future. Some are surprisingly not Star Trek. 😉

The key with pattern hacking for cosplay is to look through your patterns and envision what needs to be done for each to make it into a costume.

  1. Start with basic patterns or a sloper.
  2. Make your fit adjustments first before hacking the pattern.
  3. Trace your pattern! You’re going to want to use it to hack other costumes.
  4. Hack the pattern and don’t forget to add seam allowances to any new panels.
  5. Make a muslin or tissue fit to make sure the hack worked like you wanted.
  6. Make your costume.
  7. Add embellishments, tabs, bias tape, quilting and other details to make your costume even better.

You can often do a lot with just making new panels and adding embellishments to a regular pattern. There are also a lot of characters that you can cosplay by using a simple dress or skirt or top/pants combo in a specific colour or with a patch on it or some applique.

Want to be Mabel Pines from Gravity Falls? Take a sweater pattern, add a turtle neck, add some rainbow patches or applique to the chest, make a skirt, put on a matching headband, white socks, black shoes, grab a stuffed pig and you can even buy fake braces for your teeth! Go solve those mysteries.

Want to be a dalek? Take the Upton dress, lengthen the panels, cut some plastic ping pongs in half, spray paint them and stick them on the skirt panels, use bias tape to get the lines on the bodice, wear a miner’s hat with a light, carry a plunger and you’re exterminating the whole Comic Con.

Want to be Sailor Moon? Take a circle skirt and make pleats in it. Take a t-shirt pattern and add some stuffed rolls for the V on the hem of the top and the sleeves. Add bows, white gloves, a tiara, a wig, and some jewelry. Grab your moon stick and, in the name of the moon, punish!

With basic patterns, there are almost limitless possibilities for cosplay. Don’t feel confined to just using costume patterns and getting frustrated by the lack of selection. Use any pattern, hack it, and make it your own.

Want more suggestions? Let me know what costumes have you always wanted to make and I will give you tips on how to do it. Leave a comment and I will get back to you or feel free to fill out my contact form on my blog and I will email you. 🙂

Swoon Patterns Scarf Neck Cardigan

I love a good flowy cardigan with a scarf neck. I’m a layering person and love having tons of options. I still love my Jenna Cardigans and wear them tons, but I was looking for a scarf neck cardigan for a different option. The big bonus: this pattern is free! The Swoon Scarf Neck Cardigan wasn’t on my radar for a while and then someone (terrible memory…) made it on Instagram (EDIT: It was this post on the CSC that brought it on my radar. Boy do I have a bad memory!) and I realized it actually has a larger size range than I thought. It goes up to a 50 inch bust, but has a generous scarf front so it could likely fit higher than that. I can be as much as a 53 inch bust on a day where I am swelling and it fits great. If you are a bit larger than 50 bust, you could probably fit into it nicely.

Word of warning, the instructions are bare bones and similar to Style Arc with only a couple of pictures for guidance. It took me a couple of beats to understand how the scarf neck was installed, but overall it wasn’t difficult to put it together.

As per my usual methods, I didn’t hem the knit. I just serged the edges.

I made no alterations for my green and white rib knit version. For my second version, I used a sheer white knit of “mixed fibres” (all clearance fabrics in fabricland are marked with “mixed fibres” for some reason…). My guess is a rayon/polyester blend, but who knows? For the second one, I did a full bicep adjustment on the sleeve. It’s meant to have a bit of a dropped shoulder so I didn’t narrow the shoulder, but I found the bicep a bit tight to wear with sleeves underneath. My third version is using a sheer fluorescent orange striped knit. I have no idea what I will actually wear this over and regret not picking up a pink flourescent eyelet fabric that would have made a perfect dress for underneath (Andrea said I would regret not getting that fabric and she was right…lol).

I thought about shortening the sleeve length, but my hands get really cold in AC or in the winter so it is often nice to have the sleeves to cover them as needed. I can roll them up if they get in the way. I love how the cardigans work with pants/shorts or with a dress/skirt. My cropped Jenna cardigans are great for wearing with dresses and skirts, but do not work with shorts or pants. I wear 80% skirts and dresses, but it is nice to have options.

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TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Swoon Scarf Neck Cardigan
  • Pros: The lovely princess seams really sell this cardigan for me. They give the cardigan a nice shape. I also love the hem of the cardigan. The side panel has a pointed hem and with the scarf neck it makes for a lovely flowy hem. Major pro is that the pattern is free.
  • Cons: Decent size range, but I am at the top. Minimal instructions, but an easy pattern.
  • Make again?: Absolutely! You can see I already made three. I often come across nice fabric that would work well for this kind of cardigan and will probably make a few more in solid colours for the fall. Oh fall…. I don’t want to stop sewing for summer, but I feel fall creep closer and closer….. At some point, I guess should switch gears…
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md5/5 stars