Burda Cowl Neck Top

The Burda cowl neck top (10/2011#135) was part of my 2017 Make Nine so I wanted to share it for that reason. I don’t love it, but I don’t hate it. I really think the issues are due to the fabric. The top really requires a fabric with enough drape to make the cowl really look gorgeous. On the bolt, the fabric appeared to be nice and drapey, but it wasn’t really. It washed up a bit crisper as well. A knit with rayon would work beautifully in this top.

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The top has raglan sleeves and an inset for the front and back for the neckline/cowl. The sleeves are also in the original pattern ruched at the side from forearm to hem. I chose to make sleeve bands instead since I doubted I would like the ruching. In terms of fit problems, the sleeves fit like wings and the bust is pretty good. The cowl neck could be more cowl-like. More room in the hips would be good.

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In terms of sewing, it’s not my best work. The cowl was difficult to get in and there is something weird with the side seams.

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And yet the times I have worn it, I really loved wearing it. Just goes to show that a garment doesn’t need to be perfect for you to enjoy wearing it. It’s a super comfy top and I just love the colour of it. The length is perfect for wearing with jeans. Overall I feel pretty great in it even though I know there are fit problems and sewing problems.

Go figure.

Burda has the usual sparse instructions so this top isn’t for the faint of heart. You just sort of have to “interpret” their instructions or go your own way like I do 90% of the time.

Speaking of 2017 Make Nine, I’m on track to get five out of the nine done. Way better than my 2016 Make Nine where I made exactly zero of the things I planned.

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

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I think the summer dresses just aren’t going to happen, but the pj pants and the kimono robe will for sure. I finished my Appleton dress, Burda sweatshirt and now my Burda cowl top. I would love to get the top left corner Burda dress done sometime this winter. I have fabric for the other Burda dresses, but it doesn’t seem to make sense to make summer dresses when there are leaves on the ground so those will likely be pushed over to my 2018 Make Nine list. The McCall’s dress fell off my to make list. I ended up buying fabric for M7624 instead. Hahha oops. I hope to make view  C or D depending on how much I can squeeze out of the fabric at some point during the winter.

I’m just not sure that both of those dresses will happen in 2017. They may be muslined in 2017, but not finished up.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Burda cowl neck top (10/2011#135)
  • Pros: Even though it was tough to put in, the separate pieces for the back neckline and the cowl make for a nice shape and lovely finish. I really like the relaxed fit and with some tweaks it would be perfect.
  • Cons: The usual sparse instructions issues for Burda patterns.
  • Make again?: With some nice drapey rayon knit and a few fit/style mods. I would increase the cowl width and try to figure out how to adjust to get rid of the flaps of fabric in the sleeves above the bust.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdwhite-star-black-md4/5 stars

 

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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…

An Accidental Capsule Wardrobe

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!

An Accidental Capsule Wardrobe

An Accidental Capsule Wardrobe

An Accidental Capsule Wardrobe

An Accidental Capsule Wardrobe

An Accidental Capsule Wardrobe

An Accidental Capsule Wardrobe

An Accidental Capsule Wardrobe

An Accidental Capsule Wardrobe

An Accidental Capsule Wardrobe

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.

An Accidental Capsule Wardrobe

An Accidental Capsule Wardrobe

An Accidental Capsule Wardrobe

An Accidental Capsule Wardrobe

An Accidental Capsule Wardrobe

An Accidental Capsule Wardrobe

An Accidental Capsule Wardrobe

An Accidental Capsule Wardrobe

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

Simplicity 8137 Wrap top

Disclaimer:  I received this pattern free of charge in return for a review on the CSC. All my opinions are my own. 

Today, I am sharing my thoughts on Simplicity 8137 in a navy blue crepe lined with black rayon. The pattern includes a top, dress (knee length and full length), and pants. I made the top. I was given the pattern for free as part of Curvy Simplicity Week on the Curvy Sewing Collective. My review appeared on CSC yesterday.

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I made a size 28W and did very few adjustments! 

I narrowed the shoulders by 1 inch and did a large bicep adjustment of 3 inches as well as adding 1 inch to each side seam in order to give adequate room to the armscye for the bicep adjustment. After doing a quick tissue fit, I figured an FBA wasn’t necessary since the princess seams crossed the apex in the correct location, but narrowing the shoulder and a large bicep adjustment would be necessary.

This is actually the least I’ve done for anything I’ve sewn up in a while from the Big 4. Simplicity patterns aren’t widely available in Canada due to a pricing dispute between the major distributor and Simplicity. The shipping/duty charges tend not to make ordering from the website manageable so this is only the second time I have used a Simplicity pattern, but after seeing how few adjustments I needed for the plus sized pattern, I will be asking my US friends to send me a couple of patterns in the future. I also have a few in my pattern stash that are probably going to go up in my sewing queue now!

Edit: Turns out the shipping costs have gone down significantly since the last time I was looking a few years ago. But the currency conversion and higher cost/lack of sales/duty charges are still an issue and overall it is more inconvenient to order online rather than buy locally.

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Simplicity 8137

The construction process went okay. The instructions were a bit…lacking. I looked over them several times, but didn’t see where it referred to actually sewing up the lining before you sew the lining to the bodice or sewing the side seams. They aren’t the kind of instructions for a beginner to follow, but I was okay. The pattern doesn’t have a difficulty rating, but I would place it in advanced beginner simply based on the instructions. With better instructions, there is nothing at all complicated with the design or construction and a beginner could complete it, but the missing parts would confuse them.

I decided to save time and not slip stitch the lining at the waist by hand during construction and simply treated the lining and main fabric as one piece in attaching the peplum to it. It worked out just fine, but is maybe not as neat of a look as the design intended. I finished all my seams on the serger.

Simplicity 8137

 

I think the pattern fits pretty well! I do think it tends toward being wide and low in the v-neck. For someone who works in a conservative setting, this is a slight issue. I felt more comfortable wearing a camisole underneath the top as it does go quite low. The wrap top is fixed by snaps and the ties don’t actually have much function beside a design feature and a bit of cinching in at the waist. They don’t pull in the fronts as much as traditional wrap tops where they are affixed to the ends of the bodice and slipped through at the waist. That makes the construction a lot easier since they are sewn in at the side seams and waist but it doesn’t help keep the bodice v together like traditional wrap top designs.  I think the wrap design is great for my body shape and would work for a lot of people since it goes in at the waist and flares at the hips adding a nice curve. Overall, the fit is really good except for the low front.

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I will make this again for sure. I will probably add another couple of snaps to this version to cinch in the front and make the v-neckline a bit less revealing. In future versions, I will raise the neckline, as well as add in extra snaps so that the v shape stays in place. I can see this becoming a staple in my wardrobe in both the top version and the dress version. I doubt I will make the pants, though, since my hips do go beyond the 28W sizing and I don’t really wear pants anyway. I can also see how this top would look nice with a pencil skirt or even a circle skirt on the bottom. So, it works quite well with my wardrobe.

I can see this becoming a wardrobe staple for me and think you’ll be seeing a full length dress version on me in the summer next year!

Simplicity 8137

 

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Simplicity 8137
  • Pros: Design is super flattering due to the princess seams, ties, and the flare of the peplum.
  • Cons: Instructions were lacking a few details and the v isn’t as cinched in as I would like it.
  • Make again?: Yesabsolutely. I will add more snaps as well as raise the v for modesty reasons. I love a good revealing top, but my work environment is a bit conservative for that.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdwhite-star-black-md4/5 stars

 

Made with Moxie Prefontaine Shorts

Today I share with you my Made with Moxie Prefontaine shorts. I made them before my Upton maxi dress, but they have been constantly worn since. There are a few patterns like this one out there, but for some reason, these struck me as the ones for me. If you are looking for a similar pattern that is free, check out Purl Solo’s City Gym shorts (goes up to 46 inch hip).  The Prefontaine shorts, however, go up to a 55 inch hip and have pockets. I could have graded up the City gym shorts and altered them for a pocket, but I decided to go with the Prefontaine shorts. I’m glad I did.

Shorts are a continuing mission for me. I need to break that scarrier (a barrier you are scared of…lol). This year is all about fashion challenges to myself and conquering fashion scarriers, because of what people and magazines told me growing up.

Shorts are a scarrier for me. I haven’t worn them in public since I was in my teens and the last time I wore them…I had some mean girls at school make fun of my legs for being fat and super duper white and pale. I guess they were making fun of my entire fat body, but I was wearing a flowy peasant top a la mid-90s with cut off jean shorts so that translated to me hating shorts. I immediately went home and tossed the shorts in the garbage and never wore them again. My legs also become a huge object for my hatred after that. I’ve been pretty honest about my struggles with mental health. My legs were a target for self harm for most of my teen years until about 21 when I stopped harming myself for good. YAY ME! Ridiculously proud of myself for how far I have some in uh…almost 15 years.

Shorts are still a scarrier, though. They are a big part of me healing myself and saying “eff you, bullies of the past!” and healing the mental health scars internally. With all my health issues, I can’t change my body very easily so it is important to me that I embrace it and love it and work past these scarriers. 2 weeks ago, I posted this on Facebook and IG:

My body does great things on a daily basis just trying to keep my joints from flying off to Nantucket. I have to appreciate it for that and for how it helped me my whole life. Sure I will still curse every time I have weird things happen like dislocating my shoulder by putting on a bag. But it’s the only body I have. So I embrace its flaws and appreciate its strengths.

Shorts and trying out different dress silhouettes (tent dress, maxi dress) is really important to me. Next one is a two piece swimsuit to get into the pool for exercise.

Back to the Prefontaine shorts.

The thing is that I’ve made them, but there is no way I would or could wear these shorts out in public unless I was at the beach or back from the gym. They are a lot more like pajama shorts than I originally anticipated. That is totally okay, of course, pj shorts with pockets are an amazing thing and I will have tons of these, but I was looking for a nice short to wear around the city and feel confident in. On reflection, maybe a loose-fitting pair of shorts was never destined for that, but I didn’t know unless I tried.

The fit on the Prefontaine shorts isn’t really what I was hoping for. I graded up to a size 28. I could definitely have just done a size 26 or maybe with the ease tried the size 24 since my hips are 56 inches (to 58…depending on the time of the month) and the size 24 is for 55 inch hips. I think the ease might be a little bit more than the pattern suggests. For size 26, it should be only be a couple of inches of ease, but my shorts measure at 62 inches. Edit: the size chart is also not very detailed. It is more detailed with the finished measurements than anything else. So the ease for a 26 could be correct, but it’s hard to know without a complete size chart. It could definitely have been my grading, though. I’ll for sure be making the pattern again, but I will try sizing down next time. The butt fits okay, though, so even if I do size down, I want to keep the crotch curve almost as is on the back with a slightly larger adjustment. I’m not a huge fan of how the front looks. I have a shorter front crotch curve, which I discovered while making my Misty Jeans, so there is fabric pooling and pouching. Not the greatest look at all! Sizing down may help, but I also plan on shortening that curve for a better fit. I love the pockets, though, and the bias tape edges. It makes for a fun around the house short.

My main reason for not wearing them outside of the house is the potential for the crotch to ride up as I walk and for me to get chub rub. The shorts aren’t super functional unless they stop me from chafing. Around the house, they are fine, but I need something functional for walking. If I were to make these for outside shorts, I would have to lengthen them to cover my thighs, but I think I really just want to make a bunch of these for pj shorts for around the house.

I already have the Jennifer City Shorts from StyleArc cut out, but I just got the Itch to Stitch Belize shorts for a shorter short since the Jennifer City Shorts hit about knee level. The other plus of the Belize shorts is they seem to have a higher waist, which I much prefer. I also love the elastic back with the flat front and the skort version, but I don’t think that will be my first version of them. I’d prefer to try to get the fit correct and I think I might be lazy with the skort since that would just cover it up. I will need to grade the shorts up to a size 26.

And now here is a mini-rant. I know that plus sized women often aren’t the market for shorts, but there is a serious lack of patterns for them in bigger sizes. Shorts are becoming more popular in plus size fashion. I wish for two things: 1) that sewing patterns would hurry up and meet fashion trends so I can sew them and 2) that sewing pattern companies were more adventurous with their options. Release all the plus sized crop trops, short shorts, tank dresses, bodycon dresses, swing/tent dresses, sleeveless everything, and lingerie, for god’s sake, give me PLUS SIZED lingerie patterns! I just want more options and to get past more and more scarriers so that other women like me look at how I am rocking it and say, “hey, I can do that too!” or maybe they get past a different scarrier. End rant.

And back to some details on the shorts. They are made with a midweight soft as heck purple cotton that I bought years ago during a Fabricland closing. The hot pink bias tape is from a local shop. I recently learned that I have access to way better bias tape than 90% of the world. The stuff in packages is apparently what most people have, but my local stores actually make bias tape with their cotton fabric so you can match the bias tape perfectly to the cotton solids colours available in their shop. The bias tape isn’t a poly/cotton blend, but a nice cotton. It’s prices comparably to the stuff in packages. So now I get why people say they hate purchased bias tape. Before I was all “this is a good alternative.” But now I realize my privilege in having access to much better bias tape. There are higher qualities and 100% cotton bias tapes in the packages, but they aren’t everywhere like the scratchy poly/cotton stuff.

Even though most edges would be finished in the bias tape, I also finished them with my serger.

Construction went okay. I was watching Stephen King’s The Mist while making them. I’ve seen that movie about 20 times and got reminded of it while recently devouring Stranger Things on Netflix. People who have seen both can understand a bit of the correlation with Stranger Things in my mind. Even though I’ve seen the movie a lot, certain things distracted me. I won’t spoil it, but it’s a really good movie imho. The ending in the movie is controversial for book fans and even for movie fans, but I think it’s a good cinematic ending and it kills me every time. Basically, the movie is emotional, scary, and a great psychological trip.

But….it’s not good watch while you sew material…

I sewed the pockets to the front crotch curve during a particularly tense scene. So that happened. After ripping that out, everything was fine. The instructions are really clear.

I wore the shorts with a new Concord tank top with cotton lycra covered with cats in crowns. How much better can a shirt get?! Here pictures of me without makeup or having done my hair at all and I pretty much don’t care! I kind of love them. You can see the wicked hot pink and purple argyle KT tape on my shoulder that my Physiotherapist put on me. She gets me. She said she would have offered most people the black stuff, but not me. 😉

Concord T-shirt and Prefontaine Shorts

Concort T-shirt and Prefontaine Shorts

Concord T-shirt and Prefontaine Shorts

The elastic in the back isn’t twisting or anything, just wasn’t sitting right for the picture. Too lazy to retake it!

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Made with Moxie Prefontaine Shorts
  • Pros: Nice deep pockets (I made them deeper in this version, but I am going back to the original length for the next pair because they are good as is). Bias tape edging is a great design detail. Lots of ease for a casual pattern.
  • Cons: Not wearable in public because of potential for crotch riding up. But that’s a personal thing. Might have more ease than the pattern suggests.
  • Make again?: Yes. I want to size down, decrease the front crotch curve, and leave the back crotch curve as is in this version. If I were to wear these in public, I would lengthen them, too.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdwhite-star-black-md4/5 stars

Apples to apples: M6887

This dress took me a year to finish.

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Last year, I was shopping with two friends for fabric and splurged on a lovely apple fabric. It was a super soft stretch sateen. I’m not sure of the fiber content, but I would guess cotton. What I adored about the fabric was that the apples were all super bright colours on a white background and included a turquoise apple along with the red and yellow varieties you might see in nature. My plan was to use M6887, which was part of last year’s Outfit Along organized by Andi Satterlund and Lauren from Lladybird. I was also going to knit a mint green wrap cardigan, which was also never made due to fitting issues. I think I will make a different cardigan with that yarn, though. Originally that light blue acetate in the picture above was going to be used to line the dress, but I hate lined dresses and cut the lining off after trying it on.

I started off simply enough with a size 22 and then did a FBA of 1.5 inches giving 3 inches extra in the bust area. I decided not to make the version with the back cutout, but instead used the deeper curve for the back on the full back version. I also changed it from a back zipper to a side zipper, because my mobility issues make it very difficult to close a back zipper. Nothing like dislocating your shoulder to make you never want to have a centre back zipper again

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I also made front pockets and put piping in the princess seams on the back, the waist, and on the diagonal front of the pockets. Then I tried it on…and hated it. I unfortunately have no pictures of that. The main issue was no waist definition and that the skirt was hanging weirdly. I think it was due to the stretch in the material and may have been fine in any other material. Or it may not have been. I tossed the dress aside until I could figure out what needed to be done. And there it sat for a year…

When I returned from our honeymoon in May, I cleaned up my stash and resolved to do a few things:

  1. Join the Stashbusting sewalong and pledge to not add to my stash except when buying thrifted fabric (which really is a grab it when you can or you’ll never have another opportunity) or fabric for a specific project that I will immediately use (like the swimsuit fabric I need or other things).
  2. Not buy new patterns unless I know I need it and will actually sew it up. I recently got the prefontaine shorts to fill a need for weekend summer wear. I also got the Siren swim top and sailor bottoms for swim suits.
  3. Finish all my UFOs. My floral linen M6696 was part of that. I still have three Cake Pavlova skirts and a shirt for my husband in my UFO basket.

The whole idea behind doing this is to sew with what I have first and use up the patterns I have had for years first. I’m excited to get some of that done. 😀 So that I can buy new patterns and buy new fabrics! 😀 😀

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We do things to justify the weirdest things in life like eating a salad for lunch to have a cupcake for dinner or walking 6km to a burger joint or for ice cream. I joined the stashbusting sewalong to justify buying more stash eventually. Ha!

I procrastinated on this dress for a while because of the fit issues. Since my smallest part is under my bust, dresses without waistbands tend to hang oddly and they either ride up or just look odd. I need to define that area and give me shape. Waistbands aren’t going to work for everyone. Some find them to be problematic and make the wearer look shortwaisted. Perhaps I do, but I have a short waist anyway so idgaf. I think they work well on me by emphasizing my smallest area and keep the waistline in place as well as make the skirt flow properly.

I had recently done two muslins for the Upton dress (final version still pending…as in not cut out yet…lol) and knew that the waistband for that in size 26 fit me perfectly. So I used that. It was an almost perfect fit for the M6887! I just had to reduce the size of the gores on the skirt back a bit to make it fit. The front was perfect. I attached the waistband on the front and then the back and then sewed up the side seams and then attached the waistband lining. Originally, I forgot to put on interfacing. SMH! But I snuck it in there before finishing up the waistband lining by hand.

Then I had to do the zipper. It took me three hours to put that thing in! My machine would just stop feeding in the middle of it. Not because of bulk or threads jamming, but it would just stop feeding for no reason. I still need to clean it out and wish for the best. I plan on saving up money for a new one in the new year. I then tried handpicking the zipper and had the worst time getting things right. It was like I couldn’t make my hands work so I went back to the machine and then had to unpick a bunch of stuff after to hide all my mistakes. The zipper is far from perfect, but it got in after three hours.

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Ugh. I’m not a fan of zippers anyway. I very much prefer buttons or a dress that you can put over your head. In terms of sewing, zippers are a huge weakness in my skill set. I need more practice for sure, but, of course, I keep choosing patterns without zippers to avoid it entirely. I can sew up a bra, but a zipper gets me sweating. It’s probably not helping that I need side zippers and prefer lapped zippers…. I’m just making it harder on myself. I know it will get better, but man zippers!

Anyway, I had zipper success and then let my dress hang up for about a week to let the skirt settle. Of course, I could have just left it for a few days or even 48 hours and gone back to it, but I was procrastinating again…

I needed to fix some excess fabric in the princess seam and trim off the armholes and shoulders. I’d already made the length from the bust to the shoulder shorter, but it needed some better shape to it. I fixed the shoulder/armhole shaping first:

What a fix. Then I let it sit for a few more days before I unpicked the princess seams. To be fair, I was really busy last week with the Fringe Festival and my improv show’s fundraiser to get to Winnipeg for C4 and performing for William Shatner! (What!) I also just did not want to sew. I have not wanted to sew all summer. Maybe it’s my recent diagnosis. Maybe it’s my pain levels. It was for sure the horrible allergies I have right now. Nothing like stopping sewing to sneeze ten times in a row. It may have been the heat in Toronto. I think, though, it was that the dress had sucked my soul out and I didn’t want to touch it again for fear of losing my soul completely. HA!

But I returned to it on Friday and finished it on Saturday before another Fringe show and wore it out that night. I got a lot of lovely compliments. Although I was so doped up from allergy medication that I barely responded.

Now that I am done this UFO, I adore the dress, as I knew I would. I mean, come on, that fabric is adorable! Behind all the cuteness of it, is the harrowing story of a seamstressing out.

The pattern itself is actually quite good. It was easy to alter for an FBA and, once I transfer all my changes while sewing it up to paper, should become a favourite of mine. I think it looks incredible on me and I love the changes I made with the front pockets and then lower back, as well as the side zipper. The instructions for the pattern are typical of McCall’s. You need some sewing experience to tackle a pattern like this, but you can also search for tutorials. I tend not to look over sewing instructions anymore unless I am testing the pattern or there is a technique I am unfamiliar with and then I tend to also google tutorials. Thank goodness for google.

I didn’t line the dress as the pattern calls for. Even self-lining drives me nuts when I wear it. I prefer unlined dresses and then I finish the seams. Of course, I didn’t finish the seams in this dress… I would normally serge the edges or using pink sheers. I pinked the front princess seams and the pocket seams, but nowhere else. The neckline and armholes are finished with mint bias tape using the same colour fabric as the pockets. The pocket fabric in the front is a bit sheer for my liking and would have benefited from a double layer or from being underlined in white cotton. It doesn’t really bother me though. There is a bit of an issue with bust pulling due to the differences in the stretch cotton versus the non-stretch cotton and bulk from the piping. Those issues as well as some pulling the armhole would disappear with a more stable fabric. The pains of using a fabric because it’s pretty!

My only annoyance with the dress now is that the hem flips up in the wash and I actually have to *gasp* iron it! I hate ironing. I will press like crazy when I making something but after….ugh. Ironing is so annoying when it isn’t related to sewing. Related, I did not iron this before taking pictures. I wore it at work and was sweaty from hot summer weather!

M6887 Apple dress

M6887 Apple dress

M6887 Apple dress

M6887 Apple dress

M6887 Apple dress

M6887 Apple dress

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: M6887
  • Pros: Lovely fit and flare design. Eat to fit princess seams.
  • Cons: Like with most plus sized patterns in 90% of the patterns out there, the shoulders are ridiculously huge and wide. I know there are people out there with wide shoulders, but I am not one of them and I don’t really know anyone with that wide of shoulders. Somewhere in between would be nice…
  • Make again?: Yes. I would make it again exactly as it without any further alterations. It’s really a gorgeous dress and flatters me quite a bit. I don’t think I will ever try the version with the back cutout as much as I like it.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdwhite-star-black-md4/5 stars

 

Waffle Patterns Pepernoot Coat

I finished my Spring coat! Waffle Patterns’ Pepernoot Coat. I love it.

I kind of feel like this review is 100% fair to the real pattern. The thing about grading up two sizes and doing an FBA is that I can’t comment much on how the garment went together or how it fit, because any inconsistencies may be a result of the grading and flat pattern alterations. I’m not an expert at either so there were some things that didn’t match up perfectly as I sewed everything up. My pattern alterations did work out and I quite like the fit. You can read more about what I did for fit here. That said, I do think the size range is small. Waffle Patterns only goes up to a size 48, which has a 43.3 inch bust. I get it’s the standard size range for most indie pattern companies and for the major pattern companies, but this is a plus sized sewing blog and if I don’t push for a wider size range then it may never happen. There is such a limited selection for good coat patterns for plus sized people and Waffle Patterns is all about the coat. Out of 17 patterns, 9 are coat patterns. They all have such great details, too, and well-thought out designs. I have my eye on the Tosti utility jacket next. With such great patterns, it’s a shame that a portion of the 23K+ Bloglovin followers of the Curvy Sewing Collective aren’t able to use the patterns without major modifications like I had to make for my Pepernoot coat.

I can comment that the instructions were really good and there is a sewalong to also help you with anything confusing. It’s not a beginner pattern, though. I don’t think I would have been able to make this without one coat under my belt and a lot of experience. It’s listed as an advanced pattern and that is accurate.

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I completely fucked up the hood insertion. Basically instead of following these instructions, I sandwiched the hood in between the lining and the main coat. That means the zipper can’t be inserted properly between all the layers. I made it work by ripping back some stitches at the edge of the hood on either side and then inserted it that way. I’d already graded my seams so ripping out the entire hood seemed like a bad plan. It worked out, though, and the zipper went in okay. Phew.

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I decided not to add zippers to the pockets. It just struck me as impractical after a while, because I would probably just want the zippers open all the time. I also wasn’t keen on the zippers I had picked up. In my head, they would have brass teeth and brown zipper tape, but I only found silver teeth and black zipper tape locally. My front zipper was the same, but it’s hidden by the front band so it doesn’t bother me. I made the pockets open at the sides. You are supposed to sew the pockets on before the zipper. I judged the placement on my own comfort (how long my arms are…short fyi… and where I would want them to sit).

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Once the zipper was inserted, the placement is thrown off by the width of the band. I pinned it back and checked how it would look at half-width and it worked a lot better. I cut off the edge of the band and ripped back some stitches on the top and bottom and pressed it a bunch and then topstitched the edge closed. I love the way it looks now and it doesn’t throw balance of the pockets off now. This probably would not have been an issue if I didn’t use contrasting fabric for the pockets and band. In the same fabric, it would not have stood out as an issue.

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The other thing I decided to add after the fact was buttonholes to the sleeve tabs and a band across the waist that fastens with buttons/buttonholes. It adds definition to the waist and gives the coat more interest. The buttonholes are not a requirement in the design, but I really like the look. The waist band mirrors the style of the sleeve tabs. I used those as a guide and then made two long stripes the width of my waist less the front bit. I interfaced one side with medium weight interfacing and then sewed the two pieces together with an opening left in the centre to pull the ends through to the right side. Then I pressed it like crazy and topstitched the entire thing. Topstitching closed up the opening in the centre. I then added buttonholes and sewed the buttons on to the coat. For now, the waistband is tacked at the back, which droops down a slight bit. When I get back and resolve the lining issue, I will add belt loops to keep it in place.

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I love the buttons and they match perfectly with the coat.

You’ll notice I made no attempt to pattern match. The contrasting brown wool (which has pink and grey stripes in it! Hello perfect match!) helps disguise the lack of pattern matching. Not completely, but enough that I like it. The pink plaid is a brushed cotton and some areas were stretching out from the grain. Thanks JoAnn Fabrics (not!). Not the greatest quality material, sadly. I interfaced all pieces to get it more stable, except I ran out for the skirt pieces. It worked out okay, but after the trip I think I will go back and add interfacing to the skirt pieces, because the pockets pull at the fabric a bit. I also plan on adding some of the brown fabric on the other side to reinforce the pockets. I’ll just be careful while I am away to not pull on the pockets too much. That means I will have to rip out the stitches that keep the lining in place at the hem, but that will work out for a different reason. The lining also doesn’t seem long enough and pulls up the hem of the coat a bit. That will be fixed as well when I get back by shortening the hem of the coat. I actually think a shorter length would work really well on me. My skirts hit almost right at the hem of the coat and quite frankly I like a little more of them showing under the coat.

The lining is a light mint green poly satin. Of course, I got shoes and a pashmina scarf to match the lining, because I’m a dork.

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Originally, I wanted to add a removable fur trim to the hood, but now that I look at it I’m not sure I want that. I think it’s too much for the coat. The fur I bought will definitely be used in the future. This project reinforced how far I’ve come in the past couple of years in sewing skills. I look at the first coat I made and it’s not nearly as good quality as this coat. I think it’s time to make another winter coat. I’ll start planning that out closer to the end of the summer, but I think it might be the Tosti coat, because I just cannot get it out of my head…

In spite of the tone of this entry, I had fun making the coat. I will not be making a coat before a big trip like this again. I was pretty ambitious making it so close to the day we leave…and sort of stressed myself out when I tried it on and didn’t adore it and then decided to narrow the zipper band and add the waistband. But I’m glad I did it!

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I adore my Pepernoot coat and can’t wait to get to Amsterdam in it! We leave soon so sooooon. Things will be quiet here for a bit until I get back and then I will have all sorts to share with you about the trip! I’ll be able to show you my fabric from the fabric market in Utrecht and Kantje Boord (they sell lingerie fabrics!). All the chocolate in Bruges from our day trip to Belgium. Tulips, windmills, and the flower parade in the Netherlands. The craziness of King’s Day (we brought orange to wear!). The neat architecture of Rotterdam. Medieval sites in Estonia. The Duke’s Castle in Germany. The Hermitage and Catherine’s Palace in St. Petersburg. The sea fortress Suomenlinna in Helsinki. The palaces and castles of Stockholm and Copenhagen. Our cruise ship shenanigans. And all the foooooood, the glorious food. And so much more! I can’t wait!

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Waffle Patterns Pepernoot Coat
  • Pros: Drafted really well. Lovely design elements. Hood! 😀
  • Cons: The size range is quite limited in my opinion. I want to try the other Waffle Patterns, like the Tosti jacket, but grading up is a hassle. I do wish more pattern companies would expand sizing and Waffle Patterns has such great designs and more advanced patterns than 90% of the companies out there. The amount of paper in the pdf is ridiculous. You may want to get a copy shop print of this done so you don’t have to go through the pain of putting all that together.
  • Make again?: Yes. I would make it again and try some other design elements (secret pocket in the lining) and the zippered pockets.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdwhite-star-black-md4/5 stars