Eleni Top and Dress by DesignerStitch Patterns, Includes a Pregnancy Version!

Another DesignerStitch pattern test for both a top and dress. The Eleni (Aff link**) is a modern design that can be easily modified to suit your fashion and comfort specifications. It comes as a top, tunic, short dress or maxi with a number of sleeve variations and optional ruffle or straps and instructions for a modesty panel or to convert to a peasant style outfit. Plus a neck and waist tie. Value for money people!!!

I offered to test* this pattern knowing my baby bump may affect the way this top draped. I chose the top version with the flounce and straps. I chose to omit the sleeves altogether and just added bias binding around the armholes, but otherwise construction was as per the instructions. My fabric is some sort of paisley cotton, my fabric catalogue goes hazy at the start of my pregnancy!!

                                                                             

As a personal preference I also made the straps half the width of the recommended pattern piece. It still covers my bra straps perfectly. As is visible from the photos though, the baby bump raises the front hemline, I assure you it’s definitely straight. I didn’t take this into account when cutting because will more than likely wear this top post baby.

Additionally, I hadn’t realised until my photos were posted on Facebook in the testing group that I had worn this top incorrectly, ie it should be going over the arms, not under, so bare this in mind, yours will look different.

For version 2 I decided to make a maxi dress, again with the flounce and short sleeves. This is using the finalised pattern. I cheated and made this from knit fabric so it can actually stretch/grow with me for the last few months of pregnancy, but also hoping it would recover well post pregnancy and be comfortable for breastfeeding (without the straps). I sized down by one size as there is some ease with this pattern.

To the left is my inspiration. I wanted a basic black version but wanted to do some stash busting and so used this grey jersey knit instead, plus I had 4 metre of it. I  went with the waist tie with the thought that post pregnancy it would help with the waist definition. I again added the straps to this version but to half the width of the pattern piece. My chest needs all the support it can get so going strapless at this stage isn’t an option, although they can easily be removed at a later date if necessary. Here it’s shown with my bump at 38 weeks.

 

 

Coral Off Shoulder Ruffle Maternity Maxi

                                              

*The pattern was provided to me free of charge for testing but all opinions expressed are my own and I received a copy of the finalised pattern for taking part.

**This post contains affiliate links to DesignerStitch Patterns

Advertisements

Willow Kimono by DesignerStitch Patterns

Have you noticed a recurring theme here? I have sewn up many DesignerStitch** Patterns in the past and still have a couple to show you in the future and hope to test many more. I believe Ann has designed classy, well-fitting silhouettes that don’t date.

The Willow Kimono** (aff. link) was tested* back in December of 2016 and has had a fair bit of wear since then. I wanted to make up a couple more but just haven’t got around to it yet. It’s boho style makes it on trend and also versatile as a beach wrap or a light covering for a night out and best made from light weight fabric. It’s available in 3 lengths, high/low, mid thigh, or lower calf length with the traditional kimono sleeves, a sew on neckband and the ability to personalise the design with the addition of trims, fringing, etc. The pattern has the great layers feature and spans a large size range from 6-26 AU/UK.

                                                   

I made the mid thigh length and didn’t add any trims to mine, although many testers did and they look amazing. My fabric was some floral chiffon fabric (assuming 100% polyester) specifically bought for this kimono as I had a particular look in mind that came from some Pinterest inspiration. This is a really quick project to sew up, even for an advanced beginner, although a thin, drapey fabric makes it a bit tricky to sew.

I do love this look and did take it away for our recent family vacation as both a pool cover-up but also to wear over a basic black dress for a casual night out. Sorry there aren’t any photos, I was too busy enjoying my family time.

*The pattern was provided to me free of charge for testing but all opinions expressed are my own and I received a copy of the finalised pattern for taking part.

**This post contains affiliate links

Rebecca Page Back to School Drawstring Backpack and Pencil Case

A couple of months back the call went out by Rebecca Page, formerly known as Mummykins and Me by Rebecca Page, for Brand Ambassadors. I quickly applied since I have mentioned previously that I enjoy pattern testing and also to know you have a monthly project is great motivation.

Each month we have a selection of 4-5 projects to chose from. These are completed patterns ranging from kids to women’s wear, costumes,accessories, toys etc.

                  

Unfortunately things didn’t start too well for me as the first project I was very late with as the due date was right when we had our family holiday. Fast forward to Augusts’ project. I chose the Back to School Drawstring backpack (**aff link) for a different type of project. The special launch price is only $3.50, and the regular price $5 after the sale finishes (sale prices expire 11.59pm GMT Saturday 26th August 2017) and as a bonus if you buy the backpack, you get the pencil case pattern for FREE!

Both patterns are designed for woven fabric and are trim-free, A4 or US letter size, layered PDF patterns. There is also an AO format (pattern pieces only. The backpack comes in Extra Small, Small, Medium, Large and Extra Large sizes.  Both items are a great way to use up fabric scraps and are quick and easy to sew up.

My 4 year old picked these fabrics out, probably not my choice, nonetheless I used some pink Indonesia Batik tie-dye (100% cotton) and pink broadcloth (100% cotton). I used eyelets for the backpack and a vintage pale pink zip for the pencil case, both from my stash.

 

These are indeed fast patterns to sew up. Just taking a look at the tester photos will show how versatile they both are. The backpack can be used for school, shopping, swimming and a trick-or-treat bag for halloween. Likewise the pencil case is great as stationary storage or even crochet or sewing storage.

 **This post contains affiliate links

 

 

PDF Patterns – Long Time Convert and Storage Solutions

I had always been the traditional sewer, buying store bought patterns, and I still do – even though fustrated at times because the ones I liked weren’t available or more to the point, they are extremely expensive here in Australia unless there is a sale.

I think it was a couple of years ago now when I first discovered PDF patterns and spoke about my conversion in this post from 2015. It’s the convenience of shopping from home, being able to save and reprint certain sizes, having the ability to connect with the companies online via Facebook and having a relationship with an online sewing community, that made it a more viable option for me. And of course with children, who has time to look through pattern catalogue books when I can browse online and have instant gratification of an emailed pattern. You may ask that some PDF patterns are more expensive, and I have to agree, but again I try to buy them when there is a sale and the fact that it’s a digital file is really appealing.

The down side is the cutting and taping of endless pages together. Some companies have no trim pages and others have bought out A0 files that can be printed at a professional printer on a big sheet of paper – this is a very tempting scenario but after thinking about the hundreds of patterns I have accumulated, it would be a very expensive process.

After all that, the main reason for this blog post was the satisfaction I have in saying that finally my PDF patterns are catalogued and stored neatly. I used to put them in plastic sleeves in binders but found that was getting out of hand and looked messy. I researched online, as you do, and thought the most practical and tidiest method would be to store them in boxes. I used archive boxes from the stationary store which stores the envelopes perfectly sideways.

I went about printing the first page of the instructions and gluing the image to the front of a white C4 envelope. As long as I could see the pattern company and pattern name on the front, all was good, otherwise I added them on manually. I didn’t print off all my instructions or patterns if they weren’t already done so, just having the envelope was an indication the pattern existed on my computer. I don’t always print off the instructions anyway as I tend to read them on my laptop while sewing.

 

                                               

For those patterns which I have already sewn up, I placed the individual sizes pattern pieces in labelled plastic sleeves within the envelopes. This was more the case with kids patterns.

I made sure all my computer files were well labelled and in alphabetical order also as a cross reference. The last thing was to print out the patterns I owned from each pattern company individually and file that in a binder as my own personal pattern catalogue. This way I’m not searching through each box or envelope for a pattern when inspiration strikes.

                        

So far this has been a good solution for me that is both practical and neat. I did realise though that I have too many patterns and should really be put on a pattern buying ban, unless something different that I can’t resist gets released. Now to work out a storage solution for my paper patterns!

What’s your pattern storage solution both PDF or traditional paper patterns?

 

 

 

Nita Wrap Skirt by Sew DIY

I have been a long time follower of Sew DIY, authored by Beth. Her style is simple, practical and effortless. She has already released a number of patterns but at the time was working on the Nita wrap skirt. My reason for applying to test* this skirt was driven by fabric in this instance.

                                      

I have had this twill (unknown composition) in the stash for goodness how long, always envisioning a skirt but wasn’t sure of a pattern. The design of the wrap skirt is perfect as it is a simple silhouette which makes up for the busy print. It has an angled front and three length options as well as three closure options.

The pattern comes in sizes 00 to 20 with printing layers and everything fit together perfectly. There are instructions provided to line the skirt if you wish to do so, there are waist darts, and a built in front facing. Medium-weight woven fabrics are recommended for this pattern.

I went with the midi option and construction is actually quite quick. My fabric had enough body and wasn’t transparent so I omitted the lining. I did stall though when I couldn’t find my D-rings and had to venture back to the shop.

This test round up is well over a year late, it was run through February of 2016, but like always I usually like to complete a garment with the completed pattern and instructions before posting, needless to say, that hasn’t happened. I even bought fabric for version 2, some wine coloured suedette.

I haven’t unfortunately worn this skirt as much as I thought. The print is quite loud and other than the top pictured, I don’t really have much else to wear it with so will need to sort that out in the future. Likewise, it has been a bit impractical for day-to-day wear considering it’s a wrap skirt, sitting on the floor or chasing after kids isn’t the most classy of looks to have too much leg showing. I did add a snap about halfway down the angled front to help with this.

Overall, it’s a great pattern with excellent instructions and I will get around to making another version eventually but it’s my lifestyle that currently limits the practicality of this silhouette.

*The pattern was provided to me free of charge for testing but all opinions expressed are my own and I received a copy of the finalised pattern for taking part.

 

What Has Sewing Taught Me …. ?

First and foremost I think it has taught me the styles and silhouettes that don’t flatter me more so than those that do. This has naturally changed over the years due to the natural progression of certain body changes however it also has to do with personal taste and first and foremost lifestyle comfort.

Sewing has enabled me to make things I thought I’d like but upon completion don’t feel right wearing. These items were such that I would probably never spend money buying in a store anyway. I don’t feel so guilty donating or refashioning/thrifting fabric from a project that hasn’t turned out quite right because more often than not it has been a labour of love. Also helped by the fact I have 2 young girls that love wearing mamma made and often my project failures leave me with enough fabric to make something for them.

I have established after a few recent makes that elastic waistbands in dresses are not my friend. It makes my tummy bulge even bigger or maybe they just don’t hit me at the right point. Additionally the empire waist is not flattering for me, those items have become “house” dresses but yet I still am attracted to trying those certain styles because they look so nice on others.

Sewing for me though isn’t just about the materialistic outcome of making something wearable, that not only fits well but is also fashionable, it’s probably more to do with the emotional and mental journey.

Sewing has taught me self-confidence to try new techniques and even though lifes’ journey may otherwise be difficult or frustrating at times, sewing is my outlet, it just makes me feel good!! And the more you practice, the better you get, that’s a given.

I always thought of myself as a patient person but sewing needs lots of it. I don’t have stretches of uninterrupted sewing time so things may take longer to complete, especially if a mistake has crept into the process. Same goes for wanting to sew everything yesterday! My sewing list was growing so long at one stage, I have since abandoned it. Likewise, it’s not only a problem solving activity but at times requires perserverance and persistance and the need to the leave the perfectionist at the door. No-one else can see that slightly uneven row of stitching, or will know you used the wrong interfacing, we in the sewing community are often our own worst enemy. Not to mention to know when to walk away from a project. My most important technical lesson I have learnt to date is to never sew when tired!!!!!

My sewing room is my happy place, albeit the messiest room in house. Maybe like minded sewists will understand that for me “organised chaos breeds  creativity”. Not to mention how pretty and colourful it looks with the excess amount of fabric 🙂
HAPPY SEWING HOWEVER MESSY OR NEAT IT MAY BE!!!
What have you learnt in your sewing journey to date?

 

Pippa Wrap Dress/Top by DesignerStitch Patterns

You guessed it! Another pattern test* for Ann of DesignerStitch Patterns**. As much as I have been testing lately, I’m amazed how quickly the designers are preparing patterns. This pattern test happened sometime in September 2016 but I am only just getting around to posting it.

dsc_0099        dsc_0093             dsc_0092 dsc_0090

The Pippa wrap dress** is a great pattern. Most wrap dresses are for knits but this one is for wovens. It comes with two sleeve lengths and peplum top, knee or tea length skirt. The bodice has a cross over front wrap with a self bound neckline attached to the wrap front skirt.

For the dress version I went for the knee length version, thinking this will be a summer staple. I used some flowy printed rayon circus in blue/white (100% rayon). This pattern really lends itself to a romantic types of fabric that have good drape.

I decided to make up the top version too with white rayon (100% rayon). Construction wise, everything fits together perfectly, and is explained clearly in the instructions. There is plenty of coverage for both the bodice and skirt wrap to not feel like you will have any indecent exposure. Both my versions were made with the shorter sleeve length.

                pippa-top-side-2                     pippa-top-front pippa-top-back dsc_0073

I’m happy that I have made two quick summer wardrobe additions with a great fitting pattern although they aren’t getting much wear at the moment as we are heading into winter down under. Someday, I won’t say soon, I plan to sew a chambray version of this dress.

*The pattern was provided to me free of charge for testing but all opinions expressed are my own and I received a copy of the finalised pattern for taking part.

**This post contains affiliate links