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

 

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Striped Cashmerette Cedar Dolman

Today I am sharing a post that I originally posted on the sewcialist blog for Striped month. 🙂 With a few extras for my blog. 😉

This post breaks all those silly rules that society makes up.

As a plus sized person, we are often told about what to wear to “flatter” our shape. To many people in the plus sized category, that means to disguise our shape or make us look skinnier. You can read Mary’s article on the Curvy Sewing Collective to hear more thoughts on the word flattering.

Stripes often make the list of patterns that plus size people should steer clear of and I definitely don’t agree. I think stripes are for all people of all shapes and sizes.

I love stripes and find they make me feel great. There is no hiding the fact that I am plus sized so I might as well wear what I love and find joy in what I make. Ultimately, the joy I get from making clothes I love translates to me strutting in confidence in the world. For many years, when I obeyed the dumb rules of flattering, I would not feel as good in my clothing or enjoy wearing them. When I let go of that, and lived confidently, I felt a lot better about my body.

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I made this top to throw all rules out the window. I think you can feel pretty empowered by letting go of all the rules.

The pattern is the Cedar Dolman top from Cashmerette patterns. I used Gillian’s hack to add sleeves to it and I added a cuff to the sleeve as well as a hem band and a neck band.

I tested the pattern. However, changes have been made since and I am not going to share my test version. I also tested the Belmont leggings at the same time. I will also not be sharing my tester version of those either. The changes made in the final patterns of both lead to a much better fit so it makes no sense to share the tester version.

The Cedar Dolman fits just as expected. It’s meant to fit loosely and drape over the bust. I really love it and it’s a great pattern to use as a base for all your hacking needs. I plan on making the pattern several times more. I really love the top. I want to try it in a drapey woven material soon.

The fabric I used is a super soft double brushed polyester knit in mustard with white stripes from Water Tower Textiles.

Yellow is a colour that I really really love but I avoided wearing it for years and years because of a comment when I was younger of how I looked in yellow… something along the line of pale disgusting zombie. I realized that I needed to let go of that. Yellow makes me happy and I wanted more of it in my life. I think I look and feel fabulous in this mustard colour.

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Breaking the rules again, I made no attempt to match stripes in any way. I find that as we sew, we get caught up in doing things the right way. We want to match those stripes perfectly. Often that prevents us from sewing and having fun with something that is supposed to be a hobby. For me, sewing is all about the fun. Everyone can absolutely have different standards, but I wanted to let go of it for this project. I have enough going on that I didn’t need to stress over stripes. I needed to feel empowered and confident. I definitely don’t think it is bad that someone takes the time to match stripes perfectly, but if that act is stopping you, don’t stress. Just sew!

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My top has the stripes strategically placed on the diagonal in order to further not care about matching the stripes. I also cut the top on the fold. The Cedar dolman is cut with two front pieces and two back pieces, but cutting on the fold meant I could avoid stripe matching again. Huzzah!

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Maybe this post should be titled lazy stripe tips. Ha!

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Want to avoid matching stripes? Have then all go in different directions! With the diagonal stripes on the front and back pieces, I made the sleeves and sleeve cuffs have horizontal stripes and the hem band with vertical stripes. I cut the neckband so the white stripe went all the way around.

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The whole project made me feel great, and I now have a lovely yellow top that I love wearing and brings me a lot of joy! Not only is it a super soft, warm, and comfortable top, but it also makes me feel great. What could be more ‘flattering’ than that?

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Cashmerette Cedar Dolman top
  • Pros: It’s a great pattern! I can’t wait to try the workout top.
  • Cons: I’m not sure there are cons. It’s a simple pattern with a great 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

#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!

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. 🙂

 

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

Tropical Appleton Dress

Edit: I won a prize with the Dresses competition for the Monthly Stitch! Thank you to everyone who voted!

I’ve been wanting to make the Cashmerette Appleton for quite a while now and seeing Gillian’s lovely maxi version made me want to make it a maxi dress. I love Cashmerette patterns. As a curvy plus sized person, having cup options is a freaking miracle! I also really wanted to make a maxi dress. After making my first one using the Upton dress last year, I knew that I would definitely be using another Cashmerette dress. Back in December, the Toronto Sewcialists had a holiday party (hosted by the lovely Hil) and we did a fabric exchange in which I procured 4 yards of this beautiful tropical fabric:

Next up a maxi length #appletondress for the #maxisewalong2017 #sewing #sewcialists

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

I fell in love. All I was waiting for to make my Appleton maxi was the perfect fabric. I’m not sure of the content or type of fabric this is. It’s a 4 way stretch and has a lovely drape. It feels to me like crepe jersey or viscose.

Cashmerette Appleton Dress

The Appleton pattern is really lovely to make. The instructions are easy to follow and everything goes together really quick. I added about 9.5 inches to the length of the dress. There are lengthen/shorten lines in the pattern so it was a really simple alteration.

I usually make a 22 G/H graded to a 24 at the waist for Cashmerette patterns. My measurements are 51-46-56. However, for more ease in the hips and more bust coverage, I chose to make a 24 G/H graded to 28 at the hips. It fits perfectly and the extra ease in the hips works really beautifully with the drape of the fabric. The only addition I made to the pattern was to add sleeve bands since I hate hemming sleeves. I serged the skirt hem since I may have been better adding a couple more inches to the hem and to get the maxi length the hem couldn’t lose any length. Works for my lazy seamstress ways! 😉

Cashmerette Appleton Dress

The entire dress was made using my serger except for the hem of the skirt fronts and finishing the tie opening at the side.

Cashmerette Appleton Dress

The verdict is that I adore the dress! It fits me so well and is such a great shape on me. I am not sure why I hesitated so long on making this dress! It just really needed the perfect fabric and I definitely found it. Now I need to go on a tropical cruise!

Cashmerette Appleton Dress

Cashmerette Appleton Dress

Cashmerette Appleton Dress

Cashmerette Appleton Dress

Cashmerette Appleton dress

Cashmerette Appleton Dress

Cashmerette Appleton Dress

Cashmerette Appleton Dress

The dress fits perfectly into two different challenges:

Maxi dress sewalong

Monthly Stitch’s Indie Pattern Month Dresses week

Although dresses week is ending today, there is still tons more fun with many more weekly challenges at Monthly Stitch for Indie Pattern Month. Next week, it’s new to me!

And good news, the maxi dress sewalong runs until July 27th! So you have 20 days to make and post your maxi dresses. 🙂

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Cashmerette Appleton Dress
  • Pros: I love everything and the size range and cup sizes are perfect.
  • Cons: That I don’t have more fabric to make another right now! 😦
  • Make again?: Just need to find the fabric. 😀
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md5/5 stars

Stashbusting and #2017makenine

One of my 2017 goals from my top 5 post has to do with stashbusting. In the stashbusting group, we were all asked to submit our totals at the end of January since the goal is to be 10% down as a group. Last week, I measured all the fabric in my stash and cataloged it using google sheets so that I would be able to access it anywhere. I made categories for fabrics: cotton prints, satins, crepes, suiting, etc. Then I held my breath and did a sum of it all.

Stashbusting!

Three shelves, two drawers, and a bit of flannel on the left there equals 233 yards of fabric. I have 138 different pieces of fabric. That doesn’t include my trim, like pieces of stretch lace or elastics. I didn’t see the point in including that since they are attached to fabric and don’t stand alone.

Plans are to reduce my overall stash to 150 yards and, if I buy fabric, to only buy for specific projects or to use up an equal amount that is brought in. For knit projects, I almost always use up what I buy immediately and as a result there are very few knits in my stash. I will likely continue to buy those more than other fabrics, but I do want to use some of my deep stash: fabrics that have been around for a while like brocades and satins and rayon fabric that I love, but have been reluctant to sew.

Some people in the group posted smaller amounts than me, but lots more people posted with 5 times or even 10 times my amount. It blows my mind to have that much space for fabric! Makes me think of Carolyn’s drool worthy stash….

I sadly don’t have that much room. I am able to house fabric in my cabinet, but outside of that… I slowly push my husband out of the bedroom so… I would like to avoid that since I love him very much. ❤

This month’s theme in the group is sewing organization. My stash is pretty organized and neat, especially after taking everything out and measuring it and then  putting it back neatly. I also have a nicely organized UFO area with everything in two wicker baskets and all of my supplies, trims, and tools are organized as well. The big mess is my scraps. I have two large overflowing plastic tubs and two large plastic bags of scrap fabric on the floor of our closet. *hangs head in shame*

Now that I have measured the stash, my next goal is to go through the scrap fabric. Whatever I can’t use will be put into bags so I can take them to H&M. Did you know that they take fabric scraps? I am excited to have a more sustainable hobby by packing up my scraps rather than throwing them in the landfill. I assume there are still amounts that end up in the landfill, but I would much rather a portion of my scraps goes towards recycled material than 0%.

The plan is to cut up some of the cotton scraps into quilt squares for a quick scrap quilt. It will probably just amount to a small quilt and I will back it with a fleece blanket from the dollar store or thrift store. Some things may become baby hats or little bags that I might post on etsy. I also have a huge bra project that will need some non-precious fabric for testing so I can use my scraps for that.

Another part of my stashbusting goals this year is to use up patterns that I have owned for a while. I have a lot of Burda patterns downloaded from the website that I want to use this year. I’ve made some Burda in the past and really liked them. KS_Sews is also doing a Burda challenge and has for the past couple years. I am joining that with a commitment of at least 6 patterns.

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

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

Last year, I didn’t accomplish a single item on my #2016makenine post. This year, I have a mix of easy projects and more complicated projects. My #2017makenine is mostly filled with the six Burda patterns I want to make this year. Starting with the first row and going across:

  1. Prairie Style Dress from Burda. I’ve been drooling over patterns like this for a while and really love the details in it. I am not a huge fan of the ruffles, though, and may leave them off. I actually love ruffles on a bodice, but they seem a bit excessive in this dress since there are so many lovely design details.
  2. I want to make the Cashmerette Appleton dress using up some lovely tropical print material I got in a local sewcialist swap. Ever since seeing Gillian’s lovely dress, this has been in my head and I’ve wanted a tropical maxi version of my own.
  3. Cowl Neck Top from Burda. I will need to buy fabric for this one.
  4. Keyhole dress from Burda. While this one is similar to #1 with those front pleats, it is different enough to have me wanting to make it.
  5. M7537. I don’t have this pattern yet so it would sadly add to my stash. I really love view C with the different prints and colours. I love the sleeves in view B as well.
  6. Raglan sweater with zip. I have some fleece and some cat print terry in my stash that I will use, but I might need to buy some more rib knit. I will leave the zipper off of the top, though. I’m not one for unnecessary zippers.
  7. Belted Kimono from Burda. This will require fabric, but I hear there are some nice bamboo terry fabrics at Fabricland. I’ll try to coordinate with a sale to make the journey to get to one.
  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 that I made a bunch of for family/friends this Christmas.
  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. Now I just need a lovely beach to walk along…

Considering how many projects I tackle in a year, I know nine won’t even really cover my plans, but I haven’t enjoyed planning my sewing for a while and prefer to live wild and free. I have a massive bra project I will be starting soon and a blazer I want to make and a bunch of party dresses I put in my top 5 goals. I also am full of plans to make bow tops and cute pinafore dresses to go with them. Not to mention the basics I need throughout the year, like leggings and underwear and little shorts for the summer to wear with skirts and dresses. I’d like to anticipate those and not scramble to sew them when I am desperate for them. Right now I need a couple more pairs of leggings to get me through the winter, but then around March I’d like to buy some fabric to get me ready for spring and summer.

I’m excited to show you some different projects this year. I really want to challenge myself to create an even better and more accessible wardrobe.