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
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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

Cashmerette Dartmouth Top

I’ve been wanting to sew up a Cashmerette Dartmouth top since it was released early this year. It’s a style of top that I always loved in RTW but could never wear for fear of bust exposure. The Dartmouth top is perfect, though. The cup sizes make it wearable for bigger busts without the danger of exposure.

While my bust is nicely contained in the shirt, the bridge of my bra peeks out. This problem is due to the bridge being too high on my handmade bras; the bridge comes up about 2 inches higher than I think it should and pulls away from my body causing discomfort under my bust. My bra cup does need more room but I have a pronounced breastbone so if the bridge goes too high, it will not sit correctly anyway.  It’s an issue that I am remedying soon with some bra pattern changes and cutting my wires a bit shorter at the front. These changes are for comfort and accessibility. I haven’t made a new bra in a year and a half because of the issues. But it is long overdue. I’m down to just 3 handmade bras and really need to get a move on the alterations. Once those are altered, there will be no issue with my Dartmouth top.

I made my usual size 22 G/H graded to a 24 at the hips. The fabric I used is a slinky bamboo jersey in a coral monkey print. It’s a great fabric for the gathers at the side seam. By the end of a day of wear, the fabric is a bit stretched out, but it snaps back into place with washing. Poor recovery does tend to be an issue with rayon and bamboo knits in my experience. The weight of them also tends to pull the hem a bit lower. I shortened this top by 3.5 inches. I just serged the bottom, because lazy. The two top layers are sewn together, which leads to a bit of drape from the top layer due to the fabric. In the future, I might go for less lazy to get it to sit right at the hem.

The pattern went together well. The only change I made was to add sleeve bands, because lazy and I prefer sleeve bands. I find that the sleeves sit better in a knit with the bands. It helps that I hate hemming knits. To be fair, it’s my sewing machine that hates hemming knits. Jane Eyre is such a diva.

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TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Cashmerette Dartmouth Top
  • Pros: I love everything and the size range and cup sizes are perfect.
  • Cons: My bras don’t work with it. Just something to keep in mind. It’s not too low cut for me, but may be for some people.
  • Make again?: Just need to find the fabric. Wouldn’t this look fabulous in a leopard print?! ❤ ❤
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md5/5 stars

An Accidental Capsule Wardrobe

For the final challenge for Indie Pattern Month at the Monthly Stitch, I shared 8 garments that I made in July! The challenge was called Indie Royalty and involved making 2 or more garments. I guess I am just an over-achiever. Originally, I planned to make two for the other challenges but I never got them finished in time. Summer tends to be a busy time and the end of the competitions just never fell on a date that worked for me. I had friends and family visiting and all sorts of plans that got in the way of sewing. The challenge was due on July 31st instead of the Friday. That meant I got all the things I had planned done. I made the following:

  1. Blank Slate Barton Shorts in a floral linen rayon blend with cotton lace trim. I’ll write a separate blog post on this later since it is my first time using the pattern.
  2. Cashmerette Concord t-shirt in Hello Kitty print cotton lycra. I made my usual a 22G/H graded to a 24 at the waist. It’s seriously my favourite shirt to date. I want to wear it all the time.
  3. Swoon Scarf Neck Cardigan in a lightweight rib knit with white and green stripes. More on this in a different blog post later.
  4. Blank Slate Oceanside shorts in green rayon linen blend. I made a 3XL again. I compared the pieces to the final pattern version since I made the tester version before and decided to go with the tester version again. It looks like I would need to do a few adjustments to the final version of the pattern for fit so I decided to continue using the tester.
  5. Cashmerette Dartmouth top in pink monkey bamboo jersey. I made a 22G/H graded to 24 at the waist. I had to shorten the length by about 3 inches. It might have been because the fabric is really drapey and heavy. I love it. It fits perfectly.
  6. Decades of Style Three’s a Charm Jacket in black jersey. I’ve made the jacket before and really liked it. The pattern is made for wovens but I really wanted to try it in a knit. I love the style. It ends up as a boxy jersey jacket.
  7. Cashmerette Upton skirt hack. I made a 24. I had to shorten the length to fit it on my fabric. It’s made with green cotton fabric. I gathered the skirt instead of pleated and extended the waistband by 2 inches to get an overlapping back for my closure. I think next time I will shorten the front waistband by an inch and half since it ended up a bit too long.
  8. Cashmerette Webster dress in a soft pink and white patterned cotton. More on this in a later post.

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I love how I accidentally made a nicely matching capsule wardrobe. I bought most of the fabric at the thrift store and it just happened to go together really well. I got the Pink Monkey print locally, the linen rayon fabrics were from fabricville and the cotton lycra Kello Kitty print was from a Christmas gift exchange at a Sewcialist meet up here in Toronto.

These two collages don’t even show every combination for the capsule wardrobe:

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I’ll be sharing more information on each garment in the next couple of weeks and probably another Swoon cardigan since I just got some super cheap sheer white fabric from Fabricland for another version. Stay tuned!

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

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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

SMH It’s been a while…

Luckily, I was not absent from blogging due to illness, but due to summer being busy and fun so far!

My main source of enjoyment has been my garden.

Flamingos and pinwheels. #gardening #urbangardening #smallspacegardening #containergardening

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Our front step is looking pretty snazzy! #plants #smallspacegardening #urbangarden

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And my plants

A beautiful day for plants inside and out. #plants #cactus #smallspacegardening #containergardening #houseplants

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I haven’t taken a recent picture of my garden. The tomato plants have grown to be 3 feet tall! The cucumber, red peppers, and beans are coming along too. Sadly, the amount of rain drowned my herb seedlings and made my lettuce turn from good to bad in a day. Oh well, lessons learned. I will buy some mature herb plants soon and just keep them inside, I think.

My jade plant sadly got a mold disease and looks really bad. I used a spray solution on it and all the diseased leaves are falling off. I hope I saved it in time. I have one little cactus that is looking poorly, but stabilized over the past month. If anyone has a clue what is wrong with it, please let me know. I know it isn’t bugs or too much water…

Why yes…I do anthropomorphize my plants. #plants #cactus #indoorplants

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The big news is that I met Kat!

She came all the way from New Zealand and we met up and did some fabric shopping.

She brought me some tasty chocolate and lush merino from New Zealand. We also bought matching pink monkey jersey!

It was so good meeting her. We even discussed a Monthly Stitch meetup in Japan for 2018. I’d love to do that!

In the sewing world, I made three more Pavlova skirts. Cake Patterns is no longer, but this skirt pattern is a staple for me.

All three skirts are done! Feels good to be able to count my UFOs on one hand now! #killingit #sewing #sewcialists

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Unfortunately, I need to alter the black skirt since I mis-measured and need about another inch and a half. Luckily the skirt has pleats and a long waistband to let out.

The skirts have pleats in the front and in the back. They are meant to copy this Butterick skirt pattern by Gertie. In my version the pleats are a bit different and a bit more flattering on me. I seriously love the black and white skirt and wear it a ton in spite of it being made in a mid-weight suiting material. The blue one is pretty short and works great for a variety of casual cosplay, including Wonder Woman.

I made a new born outfit for a friend’s baby boy.

And the finished outfit. Yeay! #sewing #sewcialists #babyclothes

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The E is totally covering up a serged hole. 😦

I have two dress cut out and ready to make for two different friends.

I have to get on those and send them off.

I managed to get a wicked good haul at the thrift store and add 30 yards to my stash…

I’m not doing great on stashbusting….

I still have UFOs and am slowly getting through them.

These Misty Jeans require topstitching.

This Harrison shirt still needs button bands and a collar:

I still need to redo this dress.

I think I will take the waistband off and add darts to the skirt. At first, I was just going to do fisheye darts, but now I want to do it properly.

My swimsuit is half done. The bottoms are all done. They look messy when laid flat, but are fine on me. I have to make the bra top soon.

This is an in progress picture of them:

Done now, but I didn’t take another picture after this.

I cut out and made a Concord T shirt yesterday.

Well that was quick! #concordtshirt #sewing #sewcialists

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I also have an Appleton maxi almost done. Here is a sneak preview.

Oh yes. Yes. Yes. I do love this. Yes!!! #appletondress #sewing #sewcialists

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I also cut out a Webster dress and two pairs of shorts in linen rayon fabric

The Appleton dress will be posted soon. I just have to put on sleeve bands and hem the dress and take pictures. It’s going to be gorgeous. I am trying to meet the dresses deadline on Friday (@ 8pm in Toronto!) for the Monthly Stitch’s indie pattern month. It’s also part of the maxi dress sew along. 🙂

Are you taking part in either of Indie Pattern Month or the Maxi dress sewalong? 🙂

Me Made May 2017 Round up, Summary, and Plans

Well, another Me Made May is done. Other than not loving the term “me made” (but embracing the fact that it is out there and accepted terminology by most of the sewing blog community), I really enjoy the concept of it. This is the second time I have fully documented my outfits throughout the month. 2015 was the first time. In 2014, I didn’t have a huge amount of outfits to wear so I half participated. Last year, I was in Europe for our honeymoon and participated when I returned.

Sorry for the massive embedded video. I can’t seem to make it smaller.

That’s what I wore every day in May. Lots of Cashmerette, Muse, and Colette patterns, but there is also Style Arc, McCall’s, Simplicity, Cake patterns, and some simple “self-drafted” and rtw cloned garments. I always wore handmade undergarments as well.

This year, I didn’t make a formal pledge on the blog or with So Zo. I had some informal ideas worked out in my head.  I didn’t want to declare that I needed to wear X number of garments since I wouldn’t really be able to plan that out. I wear pretty much 90% homemade clothes, but have some gaps in my wardrobe that RTW fills. I wanted to pay attention to that and not stress over grabbing RTW items. During the month, I wore RTW cardigans with a waterfall front style. I haven’t made anything like that yet so I’ve added that to my wardrobe plans. I wore RTW tops that are less casual than what I make. I’ve added a few dressier tops to my sewing plans now. I also wore a RTW blazer and that reminded me of my goals for the year to sew a damn blazer so that is in my sewing plans. I’ll get to all my plans later in the post.

For a sewing goal this month, I wanted to get my UFOs and repairs done. I had let 16 of them pile up. I got 9 done (Winslow Culottes, M6754, Belize Shorts, Embroidered Lenox Dress, rtw cardi repair, repair on Philippa top, repair on Three’s a Charm jacket, Jennifer City Shorts, Misty Jeans in capri length), and, out of the 9, 1 was a failure (Jennifer City Shorts, but I will try again with this pattern). I threw 1 into the scrap bin since I felt like it would be a failure anyway due to fabric that was not appropriate (what was I thinking?!). I have 4 more in progress (3 circle skirts and a pattern hack dress) and 2 left to revisit (2 piece swimsuit and my old floral misty jeans that need a strip of fabric added to the sides).  The 4 in progress are pretty close to being done. For the circle skirts, I just need to attach the waistbands and then I let them hang for several days. For the pattern hack dress, I have to re-sew some things after a fit test revealed some issues. I feel confident that, after that is done, I can cut out new items now so I can work on my #2017makenine list (I only have one thing on the list done) as well as my wardrobe plans for the summer. I did not get my UFO swimsuit done or even touch it. It will happen soon (hopefully before the end of June), but I wanted the “easier” things out of the way. I should be able to get the bottoms done in no time and then putter away on the top, which uses the Maya bra pattern. The floral Misty Jeans will need the hem and the side seams ripped out first and then it should be really easy once the fabric is cut out for the strips. I can probably get the rest done by the end of June and be able to sew other things on my list.

Which brings me to my list. Me Made May provided me with the opportunity to really evaluate what I need in my wardrobe. Ongoing needs include: leggings, bras, and underwear. I’m not going to plan those things out individually, but say they are continually on my list. This list includes items that I discovered I wanted more of as well as patterns that I wanted to try out and have been in the works for a while. I haven’t added a dress to wear to a wedding that we are going to at the end of September, though, since I haven’t really pinned down what I want. Thanks to Michelle who gave me the idea of planning this out with my Curvy Sketchbook and thanks to the CSC for in inspiring Mini-Capsule Wardrobe month.

Top Row:

  1. Appleton Dress: Tropical Print Maxi Length 3/4 length sleeves
  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 (to buy)
  4. Lenox Dress: Cotton mint eyelet
  5. Oceanside Shorts: green linen rayon; Concord T: Hello Kitty Cotton Lycra

Middle Row:

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

Bottom Row:

  1. Burda Cowl Neck Top: lightweight jersey (to buy); Oceanside Pants: Chambray (to buy)
  2. Winslow Culottes: Linen or Chambray (to buy); Concord T: Made or planned above
  3. Burda Keyhole Dress: White rayon with navy polkadots
  4. Burda Kimono Robe: Silk or Satin (to buy); PJ Pants: flannelConcord 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

That is 24 things to sew. Not all of this will happen and I am not giving myself a deadline on these plans. Some of them will work for early fall, too. I’m not stressing over finishing this list. But, if I have the energy and motivation to sew, I tend to get a lot done and it is possible that I will get it done. Only a few of these will require the muslin process (the Simplicity blazer, the peplum top, the Burda keyhole dress, Barton shorts). Everything else is either meant to fit big or has been fitted previously. I only need to do an FBA on M5050 and M7094 needs a narrow shoulder adjustment likely. It will be interesting to see what I get done, but I am excited for a bit more variety, versatility and sophistication in my wardrobe.