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
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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.

An Accidental Capsule Wardrobe

 

An Accidental Capsule Wardrobe

An Accidental Capsule Wardrobe

An Accidental Capsule Wardrobe

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:

An Accidental Capsule Wardrobe

An Accidental Capsule Wardrobe

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!

Blank Slate Oceanside Shorts

April was a busy month for me. I was slow to recover completely from the pneumonia. I am still a little low in energy in comparison to before, but the pneumonia is definitely gone. My chronic cough is now being managed fully by medication. I’m so relieved that it is finally responding to the many meds I am on. I am also not having a lot of sinus issues likely as a result of the antibiotics.

I saw a doctor last week who may have significantly changed how I approach my life. It’s a shame that she was a specialist and is not part of my primary care, because the advice and guidance she gave me was excellent. The biggest take away is that she advised me to focus on keeping a steady weight instead of losing weight like other doctors. She commended my nutrition, but said to supplement that with a long list of vitamins. I’m supposed to stop doing heavy housework and focus on using my hands for the things I can’t give up, like sewing and cardmaking. Guys, I basically got a prescription to get out of housework. Haha!

No braces for me yet. I’m probably going to get finger splints, though, on my own. Other than that, KT taping is working wonders. I actually went to bed last night without a throbbing hip so it seems to be healing my hip bursitis. The overall joint dislocation and cartilage damage is still sadly happening, but the bursitis was extra pain on top of that and terrible to deal with. It was especially difficult for sleeping.

Spring also tends to be a better time for me as there are more warm days. Unfortunately, there has been a steady stream of rainy and cold overcast days which is leading to migraines, but there is sun on the horizon!

I managed to get some of my sewjo back last week with pattern testing. The deadline with pattern testing tends to get me back into the sewing mood. Blank Slate is a great company to test with if your sewjo is low. Their process tends to include tighter deadlines and lots of fitting and fit guidance for the larger sizes. I think it’s pretty effective for getting a good fit, learning fit tips, and testing that the pattern can do the pattern alterations you need. It’s always a positive process and really puts me back in the mood for sewing.

The Oceanside pants/shorts are an older pattern recently sized up to 3XL. I made the 3XL and did 4 muslins to get a good fit in the shorts. There are a couple of changes I would make going forward: add a couple of inches to the hem of the shorts, make them in capris length, and embellish like crazy: I’m talking scalloped hem, laced hem, bias tape finishes…. etc. In other words, I am happy with the fit I have for them now. There are minor issues there, but they are minor. They are great for a relaxed fit short with an elastic band waist.

Blank Slate Oceanside shorts

Blank Slate Oceanside shorts

Blank Slate Oceanside shorts

I made my shorts in a turquoise linen that I got from the thrift store back in the fall and used lime green buttons for the pockets. I need all the linen now to make a bunch more.

Blank Slate Oceanside shorts

Blank Slate Oceanside shorts

Blank Slate Oceanside shorts

Real talk now. I haven’t worn shorts in public since I was really really young. When I was a teen and bullied horribly, I stopped wearing anything that remotely showed my shape for a really long time. When I was 25, that started changing when my friend Lisa took me clothes shopping and challenged me to buy fun clothes. I also self-harmed and my legs were covered in cuts from age 16 to 21. I now have the scars internally and externally, but have emotionally healed so much and haven’t self-harmed or had a suicide attempt since I was 21. I’m so proud of myself for how far I have come since then. Now I mostly wear skirts and dresses in the summer with little bike shorts underneath to prevent chub rub and for the ever fun wind incident. But shorts…. Not sure why they are still a barrier for me. I feel like I must have worn them and gotten some mention from the bullies on how they felt about my legs at 13 and stopped wearing shorts as a result. My legs became a target for me and I stopped showing them. I even stopped swimming for the most part. I loved swimming but I stopped feeling comfortable in a swimsuit. After healing my mind, I’ve done a lot to find joy in my body. I have a genetic disease that has effected me my whole life and I can’t change those genetics. I can only care for it and love it and try to stop it from deteriorating further.

Shorts are something I’ve been making over the past year in various forms, but I haven’t made a pair that I felt comfortable leaving the house in. I have a few more cut out and one UFO needing a quick fix. But these really helped me remember my goals to overcome these irrational clothing fears. I also need to get back to that UFO two piece swimsuit that I was making back in the summer so I can join the YMCA and get back in the water.

It was great to have the opportunity to test the shorts and be reminded of the things I want to make to support loving my body.

Look at that butt:

Blank Slate Oceanside shorts

That’s a good butt.

Yes, Another Hat!

Yes, another hat. I’m really focusing on busting those scraps!

Recently, Blank Slate Patterns put out a testing call for their new slouchy beanie pattern and I snatched that opportunity. The pattern ranges from infant to adult sizes. It’s a reversible beanie. You can use one colour or try cutting two different colours for a neat look like I did for one of my beanies.

Not much to say except that the project is fast and a great stashbuster. I will be making a few more and sending them off to my friends for their new babies.

Slouchy Beanie

Slouchy Beanie

My first version is using leftover scraps from my Wonder Woman top from a few years ago. It’s a cotton rayon jersey with a nice drape and perfect for the beanie.

Slouchy Beanie

Slouchy Beanie

My second version is made with two different cotton lycras. One is a feather print leftover from a concord tank dress made in the summer and the other is a pink scrap acquired recently from a friend purging some of her stash. The cotton lycra doesn’t have a good drape like the cotton rayon jersey, but it still works.

Slouchy Beanie

Both hats are made using the tester pattern. Overall, they worked really well.

 

Introducing Blank Slate Pattern’s Auberley dress

Disclaimer: I received the Auberley dress pattern in exchange for testing. All my opinions and cheese are my own. Stay away from my cheese.

I do pattern testing already for Muse Patterns and Cashmerette Patterns. Both are run by sewing friends who I adore. I was pretty sure for a while that I wouldn’t do any more testing. Recently, before the Rue Pattern was released, Colette Patterns put out a call for pattern testers. I almost filled out the form. I’m so glad I didn’t, because I don’t think the pattern would work for me (or possibly anyone…) and I am not certain that “testers” were used for much beyond promotional purposes.

When I test a pattern, I expect my feedback to be taken into consideration and help make the pattern better. Perhaps I’ve been spoiled with two wonderful companies that really respect the testing process and take time to make changes to the pattern before the pattern is released. I can confirm that Cashmerette and Muse do this and both really appreciate their testers. It never feels like work. Instead, it is an exciting process and I get patterns I love out of it. See examples of all my Muse Patterns and Cashmerette patterns garments for proof of how much I love testing for these two companies.

Recently, Susan from Blank Slate put up a call for testers in the Curvy Sewing Collective facebook group. They specifically needed testers at the higher range of their sizes. Susan described it as “babydoll dress/tunic pattern with a square neckline, princess seams, and bell sleeves” and my heart went “I fucking want that right fucking now.” My heart swears a lot…and so does my mouth…

The turn around time was pretty tight. The post was up on September 17th and then I provided my feedback by September 25th. Originally, the feedback was due by the 21st, but a pattern change happened right in the middle of testing along with a change in the neckline and it got us all a sweet extension.

Pattern testing with Blank Slate was pretty different from anything I’ve experienced before. It was actually such a great process and testers got to see results as we were testing in the pattern. I used up a lot more muslin (thrifted bed sheets) than I ever have during a testing process, but it was a great learning process. It prompted me to finally print off my Marigold dress/top/skirt pattern for a sweet flowy peplum top. I will need to make some adjustments, but I am pretty confident in the pattern drafting and that it will work out. I’ve already been in love with Michelle’s dress version for a while.

All of this is to say that I’m really pleased with the process and, as long as timing is right, I hope to do more testing with Blank Slate in the future.

Testing the pattern also came during a major slump in my sewing. I haven’t posted in a while and well…. I have so little to show for all the sewing I have done and I’ve done so much sewing…. I have four or five (lost count) unfinished objects (UFOs) and several pieces cut out. I have two pairs of shorts and one pair of cropped pants on the go that will likely not be worn out of the house until the summer and still nothing finished. I’m dying here. Some of it is fit issues, others are sewing issues (like my serger decided to drop stitches and I need to resew because all the stitches are popping but I have to change my thread back to the other colour first to finish it…), and others are cutting the god damn wrong size of waistband for three damn skirts when I have no more of the damn fabric left to cut it out again…. SMH! It’s just been a series of unfortunate events and Count Olaf is off laughing in a corner somewhere.

Testing this pattern has revitalized me thankfully. My final fit isn’t perfect, but I love the dress and really love the style so I can go forward with confidence now and finish those UFOs.

The construction of the Auberley dress is pretty straight forward. It doesn’t have any zippers and simply pulls over your head. For the tester version, I was asked to sew it up as is. Susan did ask if that was okay given my shoulder issues and I figured I could go back and add a zipper if I absolutely needed it. I have found pulling the tester over my head isn’t too difficult, but I will be putting a side zipper in my next versions. The bodice has princess seams and is lined giving the notched neckline a lovely finish. The skirt is an empire waisted gathered skirt and there are ties at the back. The sleeves have two options: long bell sleeves, which I used for my tester version, and elbow length straight sleeves. In the hack pack, there are two additional necklines: v-neck and scoop neck; and three sleeves: cold shoulder sleeve, and long or 3/4 length bishop sleeves with ties. Lots and lots of options there. Also pockets!

With my version, I did two muslins before sewing up this final version. I’m not 100% happy with the fit since there are some lines along the centre panel of the dress, which I think are a result of two things: 1) the front panel needs to be widened slightly so the princess seam is actually going through my apex and 2) the front panel needs to be shortened. I’m sure I will get many other helpful suggestions on how to fix the wrinkles, though.

Look at me play with the wrinkles:

Blank Slate Patterns Auberley dress

What an hilarious outtake! My husband took these pictures before we went to the new Second City show Come What Mayhem. Great show btw! Definitely a must see if you are in Toronto!

I also need to widen the sleeve a little bit since the upper arm is a bit tight and shorten it (although, my hands are in a fist in some of these pictures… I was cold). I used a size 26 sleeve. For reference, my upper bicep is 21 inches. In addition, I will widen the front skirt to match the gathering on the back skirt.

Blank Slate Patterns Auberley dress

I started with a size 20 to match my upper bust and did a 5 inch FBA. I also added 2 inches to the side seams in order to make it easier to get over my head as well as have the size 26 sleeve fit. I used the size 26 skirt and ties, as well.

The fabric I used is a hunter green poly crepe that I got at the thrift store. It was a dream to sew. I have a navy blue poly crepe that might also become a Auberley dress, but I have a million ideas in my head right now so that might change!

Blank Slate Patterns Auberley dress

Blank Slate Patterns Auberley dress

Blank Slate Patterns Auberley dress

Blank Slate Patterns Auberley dress

I will reserve a full review for when I actually use the final pattern and try out the hack pack. I don’t assign a star rating to the test versions of patterns. I’m excited for more versions. One of the testers used a black lace in the front panel and sleeves and I really want to try something similar. I’d also like to lengthen the waist ties, too, so they wrap around the front. I see so many possibilities with the dress once the fit is completely tweaked. It will be a great winter dress to wear with some lovely leggings or knee high socks. I think I’m going to get some double guaze and some chambray and try out some fabrics I’ve never used before. Should be fun! I also am in love with the bishop sleeves so those are definitely going to be used like crazy.