Helen’s Closet Winslow Culottes and M6754

Edit: I forgot my TL:DR review for the Winslow Culottes. D’oh. Added at the bottom now.

Another edit: After a request, here is the Full Butt Adjustment I follow for pants (at the time I followed a different tutorial, but I find this one is better). I didn’t lengthen the waist area for the Winslow Culottes as they didn’t need that, but followed the rest.

I started my Winslow Culottes in July of last year. I’ve been having issues since last year with finishing things. I have several things cut out and in various states of completion. Some are just sitting there based on motivation. Some are sitting there because there were fit issues. My Winslow Culottes were victims of fit issues. I graded up the pattern by two sizes. I also made the back crotch a bit longer. I’m glad I did that adjustment, because it fits quite well back there and hangs nicely. The fit issue was simply bringing the waistband in a bit.

But of course, the culottes got tossed in my UFO pile and left for several months. Sad times. Especially sad, because I really loved the colour and material I made them with and they could have become a wardrobe staple several months ago. The material is a poly rayon in a plum colour.

The Winslow Culottes are super comfortable to wear. I think they are made for flowy, drapey fabric like linen, rayon, silk, soft chambrays, voiles, lawns, double gauzes, etc. Lush and lovely fabric perfect for summer. I’m kind of glad that I am finishing them up in time to wear and duplicate for the summer months. Our spring has been cold and rainy here so I am prepping like crazy for that time I can actually wear these outside without tights.

There aren’t a lot of fit worries with a pattern like this. Make sure that the crotch length is correct. You don’t need to make as make adjustments as other pants patterns due to the volume of fabric, but there is a certain amount needed to make sure that you get the right drape in the front and the back. I read somewhere that 4 inches of ease between your crotch and the culottes crotch will work out well and that is what I made my adjustments based on using my Misty Jeans pattern as if it were a sloper. Make sure the waistband is sitting in the right place and is short enough to keep it in the right place. I could go a couple inches shorter with this waistband, but I was not going to rip it back another time. I made the back pleats a bit deeper to make the change for this adjustment and left a little length in the waistband for a hook and eye closure.

I love the pleats and the in-seam pockets. I am a big fan of this pattern and can see several future versions using my new fabric obsession linen. Bonus for those who are interested is that the Winslow Culottes are on sale this week! Woohoo!

Winslow Culottes and M6754

Winslow Culottes and M6754

Winslow Culottes and M6754

Winslow Culottes and M6754

Winslow Culottes and M6754

I also got another item cleared out of my UFO baskets. I made a M6754 using the peplum view C with raglan sleeves and princess seams. Like the other version I made, I needed to size way down and even with the XL needed to size down again. BMV’s ease never seems to be negative for knits so you have to size way down. I will never understand why they do that.

Winslow Culottes and M6754

Winslow Culottes and M6754

I think I shaved off an inch from every seam and then I reattached the peplum. I will also do a sway back adjustment for any future versions.

Winslow Culottes and M6754

I love the top, but it was kind of a ridiculous amount of work for a knit top. But I will likely make it again. I’m having trouble justifying buying fabric at the moment since I have so much in my little space so I probably won’t revisit this pattern for a while unless it really fits a gap in my wardrobe. At the moment, I have enough knit dresses and tops to make me happy for a while.

So far, if Me Made May has taught me anything, I need to focus on making a couple of basic cardigans, blazers, bras, underwear, and more dressy tops and dresses. I have enough basic/casual “cake” for my wardrobe but RTW is still the icing in my wardrobe and most of it doesn’t fit quite right anymore. Once I get through the UFO piles, I’ll be making a list of things I want to make. The bra project should finally get underway (underwear…har har) for me to have bras that don’t kill my shoulders and fingers to get them on. I also feel like my objective for sewing is a bit different. I crave slower projects right now.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Helen’s Closet Winslow Culottes
  • Pros: Simple design. Super easy to grade up and make. Pockets! ❤
  • Cons: A good size range, but I do subtract meanly for having to grade up a couple of sizes. Otherwise a 5 star pattern.
  • Make again?: Definitely. It’s a great pattern and I see lots of these in the future in different lengths.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdhalf-star-black-md4.5/5 stars

Cashmerette Turner Dress for the Holidays

The Turner dress was the last garment I made in 2016 and the first refashion I did in 2017! Haha. I’ll get to why I refashioned it later in the post. All of the pictures in this post are mirror selfies fyi, because it’s cold outside and I am in hibernation mode so the fact that I am taking pictures at all is a huge thing. I never promised professional photography here people!

I tested the Turner dress in March before leaving for my honeymoon in April. I brought the tester version with me a wore it a bunch while in Holland and around Scandinavia. I don’t even have a picture of me in the dress there except covered by a coat, because I was too worried about accidentally posting it on instagram before the release.

Cashmerette Turner Dress

Cashmerette Turner Dress

Ignore the wool socks with flipflops. These pictures were taken in March last year and it was cold! The fabric I used for my tester version was a navy ponte with enough stretch for the pattern. I picked it up at the thrift store. I love finding good scores there.

I made size 22 E/F graded to a 24 at the waist. My friend’s version is the same size.

The pattern goes together really quickly. There’s clear elastic at the waist to stabilize it. Debbie of Stitches and Seams, however, didn’t use elastic at all and has a stable seam. I think with the right fabric you could definitely follow her method. I’m allergic to the clear elastic so I just used regular latex free elastic. Likely this ponte fabric as well as the ponte fabric I made my friend’s dress out of are totally fine without elastic.

Turner Dress

Both of these are lined bodices. I added pockets to my friend’s dress, because pockets are amazing.

The week before Christmas, I went to Fabricland at Honest Ed’s. It was having a closing sale so I picked up this pretty rayon poly knit:

I figured it was perfect for a Christmas dress that would look good beyond Christmas.

Sadly, there are no more Fabriclands within a good distance from me. The most accessible one for me, I believe, would be at Dupont and Dufferin, but that is an hour from my place by transit. I am still really close to Toronto’s Fashion District, but it is often difficult to find sales or even printed knit fabric that isn’t completely polyester. Hopefully a Fabricland will appear again in a more accessible location sometime soon.

It wasn’t until Christmas day that I was certain that I would be making this dress. I was sick most of the holidays and it’s irritated my breathing issues and made them worse again. So it wasn’t until around 1pm on Christmas Day that I decided to start making it when we were leaving for dinner at my husband’s sister’s house at 3pm. I got it done at 2pm! Before your jaw drops off, I already had it cut out. 😉 I also did a modified neckline and used the scoopneck from my concord t shirt pattern and the band. I also cut out a 22 G/H graded to a 24 at the waist since my size had changed slightly since the last time I made it.

Turner Dress

It worked out really well and we were out the door in time. But as the night went on, the dress stretched and stretched….. and the knit fabric had zero recovery… so it looked a bit like an off the shoulder dress after a while… I wore it one more time to work and then tossed it in a corner to be fixed.

Turner Dress with sad fabric recovery fail

Inspired by Gillian’s recent series Lazy tip for fixing knits, I had to make it work! The best way to fix it in my mind was to do two things: stabilize the shoulders with some elastic (probably should have done that in the first place! HAHA) and replace the neckband with a cowl to cover up an modesty issues that may arise with the recovery issue. I didn’t take off the neckband when I put the cowl on because I was worried about it stretching out further, but I did serge it off.

Turner dress with cowl neckline

Turner Dress

Turner Dress

I definitely like the refashion and might actually do this again for another Turner dress with a slightly different shape for the cowl. I love cowl necklines so I call this a win.

The cowl is also long enough that I can hide in it. I think this will be useful for the winter hibernation.

Turner Dress Cowl Peekaboo

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Cashmerette Turner Dress
  • Pros: Super fast pattern. Great shape and style. Really good for large busts with the cup sizes.
  • Cons: The pattern itself doesn’t come with pockets, but it’s easy enough to add. Like most Cashmerette patterns, the neckline and shoulder are wide, but that is an easy fix.
  • Make again?: Definitely. It’s a great dress and a great base for some fun pattern hacks. 🙂
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdhalf-star-black-md4.5/5 stars

Decades Everyday Three’s a Charm Jacket

Today I am talking about my Decades Everyday Three’s a Charm Jacket. After seeing Tanya’s and Meg’s versions of this pattern, I decided I needed to have it. I’ve been saying this is the year of blazers and pants so this jacket helps fulfill that. I will try other blazer patterns, but it’s nice to start with a simpler one with great details.

charm jacket

The jacket is collarless and unlined. It has bust darts, fish eye darts on the front and back,  shoulder darts on the back, and elbow darts. All contribute to a great shape. There are facings to finish off the edge and an optional front button.

For my jacket, I chose a woven mid-weight black and pink polkadot fabric.

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I believe it’s cotton, but haven’t done a burn test. I got it from a dressmaker in the city who was giving away a bunch of fabric. There was *just* enough fabric to make this with a back seam instead of on the fold and my facings in a black fabric. For my button, I interfaced a small piece of magenta knit fabric from my Eva top and made a covered button. It matches perfectly with the pink in the polkadots.

I did a 1.5 inch FBA (for a total of 3 extra inches in the bust) and a 1.5 inch large bicep adjustment. My fit issues were not adding enough to the sleeves, not doing a narrow shoulder adjustment, and not lengthening the back to accommodate the length from the FBA (edit: D’oh! Length didn’t come from the FBA, but from readjusting a rather large dart to make it less pointy in fitting it. I made the dart a bit smaller and it corrected the pointiness, but added a bit of length to the front sides. This is what happens when you write when you are sleeeeeepy), but I will be remedying that by shortening the front a bit anyway. Short-waisted problems. For this version, I ended up making a back facing instead of hemming it because of the extra length in the front. Other than that, the fit is pretty good. I am thinking of adding gussets in the arms to this version because they are a bit tight, but I can still raise my arm.

Here it is!

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And to give you an idea of what it looks with a skirt:

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And a look at the inside:

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I wear skirts more so it’s definitely my preference this way.

My photos are inside, because Toronto hit a record all time low with negative 7 degrees celcius on the 10th of April and it snowed a bunch. I cleared my cutting table out of the way and took pictures in my sewing room/master bedroom. Makes for an okay backdrop, but was a pain to get everything out of the way. I hope I won’t have to do it very often. I also hope that was the last blast of winter. Today is supposed to be warmer…. Oh well, in a couple of weeks, I will be in a different country! I am getting way too excited for the trip!

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Decades Everyday Three’s a Charm Jacket
  • Pros: Great shaping for curves and looks great with dresses/skirts or pants. Love the elbow darts.
  • Cons: Lining would be a nice to have, but isn’t a huge con. Expanded sizing would also be great.
  • Make again?: Absolutely. I have so many plans including a white denim jacket now that I’ve seen Tanya’s.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdhalf-star-black-md4.5/5 stars

Waiting for my Hogwarts letter: Muse Patterns Sophi cardi and Tahi skirt

A while ago, I had plans of making a Muse Patterns outfit. Then Kat posted the Muse Loves Merino contest and I had to create an outfit for that! Check out the contest. There is still time to create something for it since it closes on November 30.

Eventually, my outfit evolved into a Gryffindor uniform. As soon as I picked the colours of the Sophi cardi, it was set: gold and red. I ordered my Gryffindor iron on patch from YourPatchStore on etsy and I decided to make a grey wool Tahi skirt to be reminiscent of a school uniform.

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I should do the disclaimer: Both of these patterns I received for free from Muse Patterns, but all the opinions and geekery are my own.

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I also had the perfect gold buttons in my stash for the cardigan.

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Both the skirt and the cardigan were extremely easy to make. The pdf pattern was a breeze to put together. I love that Kat added a feature to the pdfs where you can print just your size. The pdf is layered and you can choose what layers to print. It makes for a really clean pattern once it’s all put together. I never grade between sizes with Kat’s patterns. I’m pretty firmly at the top end of her sizing.

Both skirt and cardigan were easy to sew. The only issues I ran into were on the skirt with the paneling. My grey wool was very lightweight and prone to shifting around a little during construction. I had to sew one of the panels again to get it right. I loved the zipper construction for the skirt. It was so easy to follow and probably my best lapped zipper insertion yet! Of course I forgot to take a picture of it! I usually handpick my zippers, but I did this completely on the machine. Same with the waistband: I usually hand sew, but was able to do it on the machine really nicely. I always find I have a lot more control and a neater finish with hand sewing, but the instructions for the skirt really guide you and make sure the finish is great with the machine.

My only critique of the cardigan is that the neckband in the v-neck version could use shortening. It doesn’t seem to provide enough negative ease to make sure it doesn’t get loose at the neck and flip up. It might have been my mistake, though, as my fabric piece wasn’t big enough to make it all one piece and I have a seam at the center of the neckband.

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I’m a huge fan of Muse Patterns and often test for Kat. It didn’t work out to test for either of these patterns. One was released just before my wedding this summer and the other while my cat was ill. I am so glad I got to make them both, especially in such a nerdy way!

Here’s my photoshoot! Excuse the wrinkly skirt. I ironed it and sat down once to put my shoes on and well…. I decided not to iron again.

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In terms of fit, I think the skirt is slightly long for me, but I decided not to shorten it and lose the panel flares. I like the shape of the skirt, but I definitely prefer a circle skirt or a dirndl skirt shape to the a-line; I love fuller skirts and find they flatter my shape a lot more. I think the basic A-line would work really nicely in a suede with a shorter length, since suede holds it’s shape nicely. I might try this in the future since I have some suede. I love the cardigan. Although, I do think it would look better with pants instead of the high-waisted skirts or dresses that I normally wear. I also wear cardigans open more than closed like this so that tends to be a little better.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Tahi Skirt
  • Pros: Lovely construction and instructions for the zipper, panels, and waistband. Went together beautifully.
  • Cons: Nothing against the pattern, but if you are making in a slippery fabric use something like spray starch to stabilize the fabric for those corners in the panels.
  • Make again?: Absolutely. I think that suede one needs to happen!
  • Rating: pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md5/5 stars
  • Pattern: Sophi Cardi
  • Pros: I love the pockets. A cardigan with pockets is a hug bonus. The raglan sleeves went together really nicely and fit well unlike a lot of other patterns I have used with raglan sleeves.
  • Cons: The neckband was perhaps too long. I’m not 100% on whether this was my mistake or the pattern’s. I will make it again and decide whether I will give the half star back for that.
  • Make again?: Absolutely. My bestie commented on the picture on Instagram and went crazy. I will be making her one for her birthday this year.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdhalf-star-black-md4.5/5 stars