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The Dolores Skirt Pattern Review

berkeley with pattern

The Berkeley Bra Pattern Review

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Copy Your RTW Panties Tutorial!

See you in our new space!

Pattern Review: Kimono Tee

I stumbled across the Kimono Tee a few years ago when I first started sewing. It’s a free (I love free!) PDF pattern by Maria Denmark. The pattern is a thank you for signing up for her newsletter.

If you aren’t familiar with Maria and her site, you should click on over and check it out. In addition to patterns, Maria offers e-books on fit and maintains an active blogging schedule focused on how to build a handmade wardrobe. Maria won me over when I read that she taught middle school for several years before launching her sewing business. As a former middle school teacher, I have a huge soft spot for fellow educators, especially those who taught/teach at the middle level.

I wisely decided to sew a muslin of the Kimono Tee before cutting into my pretty fabric. The shirt is only two main pattern pieces and a neck band. Construction is simple. If you’ve made a knit shirt before, you probably won’t need to read them.

I made a muslin because I wanted to play around with the neckband finishing- visible t-shirt style or invisible and folded under. In addition, I’m in between waist and hip sizes on the pattern’s size chart and was a little worried about having enough room around my hips in the finished garment. The shirt did sew up too tight in the hips, so I graded out the side seams by about an inch and a half on each side. I went with a visible t-shirt style neck band for the muslin which turned out okay, but not great. I decided to go with the invisible finish for the final top.

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Since this shirt is such a fast sew, the muslin and final shirt were completed very quickly. I started mid morning and was done by lunch!

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Worn here with my linen Fint Culottes

 

Let’s talk about these fabrics…

Something weird happens to me in fabric stores (and when browsing online for fabric). I fall for a print or color I would never select in a clothing store. Colors or prints I would pass over in a RTW garment because I know they don’t compliment my complexion are suddenly in my cart when I’m fabric shopping. A prime example is the fabric I used for this muslin.

This midwestern style print features dusty shades of pale blue and coral. On the bolt, it was really pretty, but I know better. Coral is not a good color for my skintone and the blue in this print is too muted to provide any sort of visual pick-me-up. The resulting shirt badly washes me out.

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Look how close the coral matches my skin tone! Eek!

The second Kimono Tee was also made with a fabric that featured blue and coral, but this print really upped the wattage. The coral is bright and contains some red tones. The blue is dark, nearly navy. Additionally, this pattern utilizes a white background that really makes the colors pop. It looks a million times better on me than the knit I used for the muslin.

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Sorry about the brightness of the photo. I took the pictures on a REALLY sunny day.

It’s disappointing. I adore the pastel color palettes I see on so many IG accounts and love millenium pink (I hear that’s what the cool kids are calling it) , but such soft shades are poor matches for my skin tone. To fulfill my pastel dreams, I buy my husband lots of pale colored shirts and sweaters. The soft shades look great on him.

As I shop for fall fabrics, I’m trying to stick to the colors and shades I know are complementary to my skintone. It’s easier for me in the cooler months when stronger, darker colors fill the shelves.

Is it just me? Do you also buy fabrics that are pretty on the bolt only to find they don’t look particularly good on you?

Happy Sewing

XOXO

Pattern Review: Moana Dress/Top

I have junk in my trunk and I’m not talking about my car.

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My challenge with this pattern? My bum!

Sometimes a pattern reminds us that, while we may be totally okay with our body’s quirks- narrow back, high bustline, short legs, etc., sewing patterns are not always okay with these aspects of our physical selves. The Moana Dress by Papercut Patterns sent me one such reminder this weekend. This project was nearly a sewing fail, but, after a short separation (I needed some time away…), I managed to turn it into a sewing save.

I picked up the Moana Dress/Top and two other Papercut Patterns recently at Stitch Sew Shop. They were trying to make room for the newest round of Papercut Patterns and running a sale on the older styles. I’d been eyeing Moana for a while. Stitch Sew Shop had an impossibly adorable version of the dress in their window a while back that prompted me to sew one of my own.

The colorful floral rayon I used was also purchased from Stitch. The fabric is part of Rifle Paper Co.’s Wonderland line with Cotton + Steel. It’s got a lovely hand and was nice to sew. I made a muslin of the top of the dress and determined the only adjustment I needed to make was to move the bust darts down 1/2 inch. In hindsight, I should have muslined the whole dress…

The final dress was terrible. The armholes gaped out at my armpits and the bottom of the dress was a bright floral billboard across the widest part of my body further highlighted with ruffles and gathers. So. Many. Gathers. It was so bad that I didn’t even take photos. I don’t want to be the cause of my blog readers’ retinal bleeding.

I ripped off the bottom of the dress and took in the side seams to reduce armhole gaping. Gaping wasn’t a problem on the muslin, so I wonder if I stretched the fabric as I sewed the armholes without realizing I was doing it. Because I had to take them in, the seams under the arms aren’t as neat as I would like, but it’s only visible on the inside of the top. Luckily, some careful picking and a run through my serger finished the ruffle seam. I don’t think anyone could tell that a horrifying mistake of a gathered skirt was once attached.

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A little blurry, but you get the idea…

Despite the agony this pattern put me through, I do like the finished top with white jeans. It’s a bright summer look that suits me. I also really like the burrito rolling method of sewing the armhole facing to the armhole that the pattern featured. It’s a clever method I will use again. My full review of the pattern is below.


This review is also available on Pattern Review.

Pattern Description: Dress or top with a high-low ruffle at the waist

Pattern Sizing: Misses

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? The top looks like the envelope, but in the dress version I attempted to make, the skirt was significantly more gathered than the skirt on the envelope front.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes. The directions for sewing the armhole facing to the armhole were particularly well done.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? The dress version of this pattern was a disaster. Once I lopped the skirt off, the resulting top is cute and very wearable. It’s a cropped length, but just long enough for me to raise my arms over my head and not flash my stomach.

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Arms up and my stomach is still covered! Whew!

Fabric Used: Wonderland rayon from Cotton + Steel

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I moved the bust darts down 1/2 inch and took in the armholes by about an inch at the side seam due to gaping.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I probably won’t make this again any time soon. I would recommend the top version if you’re on the hunt for a cute sleeveless top with a ruffled bottom.

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Conclusion: This pattern made a nice ruffled top for summer. If you have curvy hips and a bum, stay away from the dress version. It’s not flattering.

Happy Sewing!

XOXO

Pattern Review: McCalls 7542 and Flint Culottes

Today’s review is a two-for-one: the Flint Culottes and the very popular McCalls 7542!

Flint Culottes

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First, I sewed Megan Nielsen‘s newest pattern, the Flint Culottes. I’ve been on the fence with the culotte trend, but when I saw Megan’s design, I decided to go for it. I was originally taken with the cute little side bow on version 2, but, in response to my husband’s plea to limit the number of bows in my wardrobe (he seems to think it is possible to have too many bows…), made up version 1 with the two-button closure.

The button closure is cleverly constructed. The overlapping fabric used to create the pocket doubles as the opening for the pants. No side zipper or fly closure is needed!

Below is my full review. (Also available on Pattern Review.):


Pattern Description: Summer-perfect culottes

Pattern Sizing: I made a muslin first and was glad I did. Referring to the back of the fullsizeoutput_eacpattern envelope, I realized I was between sizes at the waist measurement. I cut the small for the muslin and it fit- if I didn’t breath. Feeling a bit chubby, I cut the medium and that worked much better.

 

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?: Yes, even my muslin looked good.

Were the instructions easy to follow?: The pattern directions were clear and there were no tricky parts that had me scratching my head or running for help online.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?: I love the fullness of the pant. When I’m standing still, it looks like I’m wearing a skirt, which I think is pretty neat.

 

Fabric Used: I used a navy linen I ordered during a Craftsy supplies sale. I believe it’s from the Robert Kaufman line. It has a nice drape and, unlike some linen fabrics, it didn’t “grow” with wear during the day.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I’m vertically challenged, so I took about 3.5 inches off the length of the pant. I took two inches at the lengthen/shorten line when cutting them out and another inch and a half after trying them on in the linen fabric. I think the linen hung lower than the muslin I made, necessitating taking more length off the bottom.

 

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Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?: I might sew it again. The style is distinctive, so if I make another version, it will be in a very different fabric- perhaps something dressier with even more drape. I definitely recommend it to others. If you’ve made a few pairs of pants already, this is in your wheelhouse.

Conclusion: This pattern is worth the price and the time needed to make the culottes. In my signature navy, I am sure to wear this pair throughout the summer.


McCalls 7542

My second pattern is the super popular McCalls 7542, a simple top with multiple dramatic sleeve options. Since venturing into the world wearing Vogue 9243, I’ve determined I need more statement sleeves in my life. This top is all over Instagram and sewing blogs and, I have yet to see a version I didn’t like. The pattern is so in demand, I had to order my copy directly from McCalls. My local Joann Fabrics store was sold out of the pattern each time I stopped by to purchase it.

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I made this shirt specifically to pair with my Flint’s but I’m worried that it’s one trend too many in a single outfit. Despite this nagging concern, I wore the two pieces together earlier this week. No one laughed, at least not to my face, so I think I pulled it off okay. Below is the full review for McCalls 7542. (Review also available on Pattern Review.)


Pattern Description: Simple top with a cropped option and several sleeve variations. I went with version D.

Pattern Sizing: I cut a 12, my usual McCall’s size and the fit is spot on.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?: Yes, the top turned out exactly as I expected it would based on the envelope.

Were the instructions easy to follow?: Nothing funky to report here. The directions and order of construction all made sense.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?: BELL SLEEVES! I feel very feminine in this top.

Inserting the sleeves into this top was agony. Next time, I will increase the number of

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Close-up of the sleeve “design feature” GAH!

gathering stitches I use to set the sleeve. As drafted, the gathering stitches should only be sewed along the sleeve head, but in order to gather the fabric for a smooth sleeve insertion, the stitches need to extend far below the points indicated on the pattern. I have some puckers (I’m calling them “design features”) at the heads of my sleeves where I gave up. I hope the busy print renders them invisible to all but the very discerning eye.

 

Fabric Used: I used a cotton sateen that’s been sitting on my stash shelves for a few years. I found it at Joann Fabrics on the sale table. The super busy print reminds me of something from the 1960s, one of my favorite clothing design eras.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: The sleeve flounce is cut as a

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These do not match up…

circle with a smaller circle inside that attaches to the sleeve. I noticed right away that the hole in my flounce was way too small for the bottom of the sleeve. I was feeling very done with puckered fabric by this point (I had just survived my sleeve-setting debacle), so I increased the size of the hole in the flounce by half an inch all around. With this modification, I was able to set and sew the flounces without any problems. I noticed on Pattern Review that a few other sewist experienced this problem with the flounce.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?: Yes and yes! I think my next version will be in a solid color and a lighter fabric. I’m thinking maybe a cotton lawn in solid red…

Conclusion: Overall, this is a well drafted pattern that sews up quickly with an on-trend result. Hello, Summer 2017!

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May Burda Pattern Review: Skirt #108 

 

I’ve been a Burda Style subscriber for over a year now and I really enjoy the publication. While I don’t love every pattern, there are usually a few patterns each month that I really like and want to sew up.

May 2017 Burda Style magazine

If you haven’t yet used the patterns from a Burda magazine, a word of warning- they are intimidating the first time or two. You have to trace them off and add seam allowances. Even though I’ve made quite a few patterns from various issues, it can still freak me out. That said, I highly recommend giving it a go.

This month, my Burda pattern crush is a skirt on page 15:

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I can’t resist bright and sexy. The pocket details are easier to see on page 34:

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I reviewed my fabric stash and settled on a rickrack cotton print. The fabric was part of a Craftsy supply sale a while back and I bought a two-yard cut. I didn’t have enough to cut the entire skirt from this fabric, so the back center panels are a plain white cotton.

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Burda pattern directions are sparse. They assume at least a basic knowledge of sewing from readers. As a result, there is usually something about the pattern that I find tricky. For this pattern, it was the pockets. To attach them to the skirt, you sew them down to the front piece using provided pattern markings. Then, you sew them along with the back side panels to the center back panels. Not tough at all once I figured it out!

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Close-up of the pockets sewn down the front panel and attached at the back panel seam

The rest of construction was very straightforward, especially if you have made a skirt or two before. I installed an invisible zipper and I shortened it by about an inch. I’m short (5’3″) so it hangs at a midi length on me even with an inch off of the length,  I debated making it shorter, but I like how it looks with heels. I didn’t make any other changes to the pattern.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI am really pleased with the final product and am wearing it on the last day of Me Made May 2017!

 

Do you subscribe to Burda Style? What was your pattern crush this month?