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
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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

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

Blank Slate Patterns Barton Shorts

Shortly after I was done pattern testing the Oceanside shorts, Blank Slate put out a call for testers for the Barton shorts. I really wanted to test them, but ended up not because I was testing a different pattern at the time. I got the Barton Shorts later with a gift coupon Blank Slate gave me for testing the Oceanside shorts. Win win!

I got a lovely linen rayon fabric from fabricville and some cotton lace. I made a 3XL and compared the crotch curve to my Oceanside shorts and made adjustments for that (full butt adjustments and a bit of shortening of the front crotch curve plus a bit longer length). The other change I made was to use 1 inch elastic instead of 1.5 inch elastic. I’ve confined my rant on that to my TL:DR review at the bottom.

They fit perfectly when I first sewed them…

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My husband took this photo in Niagara Falls. Then the shorts got put in the dryer and they shrunk a bit overall. Unfortunately, they ride up now when I walk and are tight in the butt now. They were just perfect in Niagara Falls. The cotton lace shrunk as well and the hem flips up a bit. Oh well, lesson learned. I will be washing and drying linen twice next time since my green Oceanside shorts also shrunk a bit. I still love the shorts and wear them far too much! I’m definitely going to make more.

Overall, I like the Barton Shorts more than the Made with Moxie Prefontaine Shorts that I made last year. I prefer the side seam pockets and the shape of the side seams more. The Barton Shorts were also a better fit for me and sit more comfortably for me. The size range is also better for the Barton shorts. I’m at the top for the size range, but at least I didn’t have to grade them up!

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TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Blank Slate Patterns Barton Shorts
  • Pros: Lots of options for the hem (lace, bias tape, etc) and the length.
  • Cons: Decent size range, but being at the top means that it won’t be a good option for people bigger than me. Maybe it is just me, but I find when a pattern recommends 1.5 inch elastic it’s pretty unnecessary. I have tons of 1 inch elastic in my possession always and most patterns use 1 inch elastic for shorts and elastic waist pants. The Misty Jeans also have 1.5 inch elastic and I’m just like… why?! Maybe it is a Canadian thing that 1.5 inch elastic isn’t available everywhere and is so much more expensive when I can find it, but dang it…. I just hate 1.5 inch elastic. The Oceanside shorts use half inch elastic and that drove me a bit bonkers, too. I changed that to 1 inch elastic as well. I just don’t know… I am probably being too picky about it, but damn…I just want 1 inch elastic. In the long run, it’s an easy adjustment to make to patterns, but I just don’t really get using the wider elastic. Okay, done this weird elastic rant…. LOL
  • Make again?: Definitely. I’ll probably make a couple PJ versions since I love kicking around the house in these. I think the shorts would also be a great gift!
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdwhite-star-black-md4/5 stars

Cashmerette Webster Dress

I loved the look of the Cashmerette Webster Dress when it was released at the beginning of the summer. I’m not super sold on it on me, though, for a few reasons. I like my finished product, but there are fit issues so I don’t love it.

I don’t expect a perfect fit out of the package for any pattern, though. I do think it could work well once the fit issues are resolved. There are a couple of changes I will make to the construction and my plan is to make a hem facing or use bias tape for future hems. I always have issues with curved hems and find them so much easier and neater with facing or bias tape.

I had a ton of construction issues when I was making it. My machine has been having tension and feed issues for a while now and the seams kept slipping for the dress hem. There are extra pieces for the bottom to colour block and make the hem long enough for a dress. My machine hated seam matching so much. I ripped back a few times and still it isn’t perfect, but the busy print hides it. Originally, I’d also tried to put pockets in, because I cannot live without them. The shaped side seams make that impossible so word to the wise don’t try it. There is a reason the dress doesn’t have them.

I serged the seam allowances for a nice inside finish. I do this with all my garments now. Unfortunately, it stretched out the v-neck a bit. The fabric is a super soft cotton voile. Drapey and lovely. I do think the dress would work better with silk or rayon for a bit more heft. I am going to try another version (top length, screw seam matching with my temperamental machine) in black rayon.

If that weren’t enough, I installed one of the back skirt panels in the wrong way! I decided not to rip it back and just cut the hem a bit higher. I think with my sewing if one thing goes wrong with a garment, it tends to just keep going wrong. Most of the things I sew go really well, but occasionally one thing is just cursed.

Finally, there are a few minor fit issues. I need to lower the bust dart by a couple of inches. Like my Springfield and Upton dresses, I need to do a bit of armsyce adjustments and either add a dart there (the method that works a lot better for me) or rotate out that fold of fabric above the bust (I’ve tried this with both the Springfield and Upton and it didn’t work as well for me as just having a dart). I did some adjustments to the length of the straps crisscrossing on the back. I need to make some adjustments on the back since it is slightly tight. I’m thinking of using the next size up for the back. I may need a bit of a sway back adjustment as well. Other than that, it fits as expected.

I added belt loops and a tie for this version since I wasn’t keen on how it looked when I did a fitting. I think the top version is probably what I will be making for future.

Overall, I like my finished dress. I am not in love with it, but I do love it with the Three’s a Charm Jacket I made. It will get some wear to work in that look.

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TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Cashmerette Webster Dress
  • Pros: Lovely shaped sides for curvy people. High/low shaped hem. Cups. Good size range. Nice crisscross detail on the back and I love the facing (even if it was a bit tough to put it due to my diva machine).
  • Cons: Not really a complaint to the pattern, but having no pockets makes it tough for me. But I get why there aren’t any since mine were a disaster. LOL. Dress length doesn’t work great for me. It might work better in a rayon fabric that is heavier than this cotton voile, though.
  • Make again?: I will for sure make the top version, but I might not revisit the dress version.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdwhite-star-black-md4/5 stars