Kerry Capelet by DesignerStitch Patterns

It’s been a while since I contemplated making something from my Cold Weather SWAP 2016, and realistically I think by the time I’m even half way through sewing the remainder of the items, winter will be over. I am motivated to sew but I have been living in jeans and a sweater with a jacket and haven’t had anywhere exciting to go really.

I did however make my cape. My inspiration was something flowy, less structured. I’ve had this fabric since January of this year and bought it on a whim when it was on sale, although it was the heart of summer. Stars aligned and the testing* call went out for the Kerry Capelet by DesignerStitch Patterns.

Kerry cape back 2                            Kerry cape side 3 Kerry cape side 4

The fabric is black Mexican Inca poncho (polyester/cotton), and although I have prewashed the fabric, it’s a tad stiff perhaps for this project, not to mention it’s a smelly fabric, even after laundering. It has that hessian bag kind of smell. Hopefully with more wear it will soften up, and smell better. The cape is completely lined with black pongee lining (100% polyester). The Kerry Capelet and has the option of two lengths. I made the short version and it’s a great length.

There are lots of pattern pieces and the instructions are really thorough, with both images and photos to walk you through construction. It helps if you have done a bagged lining before but by no means necessary. It just helps to visualise things a little better. There is a bit of hand sewing at the end to close up the lining and armholes and to keep the hem from peeking out.  Kind of cathartic at the end of this project!

I had a hard time finding a closure I liked. I didn’t feel any buttons were appropriate, and after some surfing on the net, decided a leather buckle would be cool, but not so cool to purchase, it was hard to find and finally came up with a D-ring leather buckle. I think I may like it better with a second buckle sewn on,  I can’t really decide though, but considering that one buckle cost $12.00, the buckles would probably end up costing more than the fabric itself relative to size.

buckle

I’m really happy with this cape, it’s classy and cozy. Now I just need more outings to wear it too.

*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.

Jolie Skirts for My Girls by Filles a Maman (FAM)

This is the first pattern I tested* for 2016, called the Jolie skirt by Filles a Maman (FAM). I can’t believe I am only just writing about it considering it was designed to be Issue 10 of the One Thimble e-zine. At the time I had to be secretive about it until the official release but that has long gone now. If you haven’t seen One Thimble yet and sew for children I think it’s a must have, it’s great value and Issue 10 alone has 11 patterns and 25 articles.

I was drawn to this pattern as it is a basic a-line skirt with two design options, either with or without a centre pleat. It can be made in either woven or knit fabric and there is an elasticised waistband which is secured with three rows of top stitching plus it caters for 12 month to 14 years, a lifetime of wardrobe staples!

My oldest daughter is growing at a rapid rate at the moment and desperately needed new skirts. Thanks to this pattern I was able to add 2 new ones for her and also for miss 2.

There aren’t very many pages to print and assemble as far as PDF pattern goes, so it is a very fast process. There are pictorial instructions, accompanied by clear written instructions. I found the measurements to be pretty spot on for my kids. Some testers added a contrast fabric to their pleat which is a really nice effect. The tie at the centre is for aesthetic purposes and doesn’t have any function. There is a nice 1 inch hem and the waistband is top stitched which subsequently avoids the elastic twisting.

The first version for miss 4 was using a duck canvas navy/white stripe (100% cotton) I’ve had in the stash for ages. I only just had enough for this skirt but if I had more I would have made the stripes go horizontal instead. I used some cord for the tie as it felt like a bit of a nautical vibe.

Blue white stripes

Version 2 was made from some lightweight rustic print floral denim (cotton/polyester). I wanted to personalise this skirt a bit so added lipstick broadcloth (100% cotton) self-drafted pockets with a pleat design to match the skirt.

                              Denim floral with pockets

Version 3 was made from wool blend mixed boucle in black and white (8% wool/92% polyester). By this stage sewing them takes no more than 30mins from cutting the pattern to snipping that last thread. Such a satisfying sew which the girls love.

This boucle fabric comes from my Big Little classic ladies cape and I knew at the time exactly what I was going to sew with the scraps and that is why I kept them. I barely had enough to cut this skirt out though and had to cut the back in two pieces, added a 1cm seam allowance. It worked perfectly!!

                                                      Black boucle

I did have to serge all the pattern pieces before starting construction as this fabric frays like crazy, which is why I chose this pattern. There are minimal pattern pieces and it is such a fast sew that the fabric doesn’t require a lot of handling.

For miss 2, my version 4 I used some light weight summer vintage flower african wax print denim (polyester/cotton) and sewed on a ribbon for the tie.

                                                    Printed flower denim

Last but not least, version 5 was made from some black and gray flannel check E44 (unknown composition). Nothing Black plaidnew to say other than I had to serge all the pattern pieces prior to assembly because my fabric frayed so much.

This is really a no nonsense skirt, quick and simple to make with lovely results.

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*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.

Warm Weather SWAP 2016

I know it may be a bit early for some to think of summer sewing, and realistically it is still the middle of winter and I am nowhere near getting through half my Cold Weather SWAP 2016, but I have enjoyed planning ahead. Probably due to the fact I have done so much pattern testing with summer patterns, not sure if it’s a disadvantage or advantage of having a different climate to the northern hemisphere. It has got my brain into gear about a mental list of patterns that will be adaptable to my summer makes.

Just for the record, once again so I can remain accountable for my sewing, here is what I have come up with as my Warm Weather SWAP 2016. Lots of denim, trendy off the shoulder looks, short skirts (planned to be skorts), some classic pieces and khaki and pastel tones.

SWAP 2016

This is just a planned capsule wardrobe but don’t get me wrong, I still plan to do lots of other sewing not related to the warm weather SWAP.

As always, I’m sure my choices will change as will the silhouettes by the time it comes to sewing them. Now to browse the stash and put the fabric aside and match up patterns, and try to avoid hitting the shops to buy new fabric although I am definite I don’t own khaki fabric so that will be a planned trip, during sales of course!!!

Two Vienna Tanks by Itch to Stitch Patterns

So my pattern testing journey continues with Itch to Stitch Patterns. This time I tested the Vienna tank* (**), a summer essential. I’m all for versatile patterns and this is another one.

The Vienna tank combines both woven fabric for the yoke, ties and optional ruffles, and knit for the main body. A great opportunity to mix and match fabrics that might otherwise be orphans in the stash. Mind you, the bodice can also be made with woven fabric but throw caution to the wind and perhaps make a muslin first. This PDF pattern comes with the layers option.

I made my crimson version 1 during the pattern testing period. I upcycled an unworn dress (100% viscose) for the main bodice and the remainder made from zig zag printer rayon #1 (100% rayon). The armholes are stabilised with fusible stay tape and helps them to keep their shape.

dress

I went with view B, no ruffles. I used the existing hem of the dress for the hem of the top so just removed the hem allowance when cutting it out. Overall the fit was good, I just think my knit fabric was a bit thin and very drapey.

Vienna tank front 2 Vienna tank back                     Vienna tank side 3

Version 2 was made using the final released pattern. For the knit bodice I used some green viscose/spandex (unknown exact composition) and emerald premium faille (100% polyester) for the remainder. I made view A this time. My ruffles didn’t turn out as neat and even as I would have liked, I probably should have taken more care with basting, but sometimes I get a bit eager to finish. The fit feels good on this one. This version is slightly longer and I believe from memory the final pattern was lengthened.

Vienna back                                Vienna side back Vienna side

More summer sewing complete, pity it’s still in the throws of winter!!

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

**Affiliate link: I get a small bonus if you purchase through here.

Julie Blouse by DesignerStitch Patterns

I’m all over the place at the moment with my blogging, a bit out of order, actually a lot out of order!!! Much of my pattern testing lately has been for DesignerStitch Patterns. Ann has been pumping them out, ready to be released as somewhat of a collection and all the patterns I have tested to date have been well fitting and really, wardrobe staples.

The Julie Blouse* is a very much on trend blouse, such that one of my friends was wearing an almost identical style of top, barr a few minor differences, to our recent catch up. The style is a blouson, cross-over front with a longer back. Sleeves can be rolled up or left long and the collar is convertible.
Julie Blouse front 1
                                   Julie Blouse side 2 Julie Blouse back

I used some stash multi-coloured geometric poly chiffon (100% polyester), it really requires a fabric with good drape to show off the front cross-over feature, not highly evident with my fabric however. There is a fair amount of ease in this top so I’d probably recommended to go down a size if you want a more fitted style, I went down two from my normal size and it is still roomy. Just make sure to check pattern measurements for yourself, don’t take it from me.

It isn’t a very complicated sew but does require concentration, especially when getting the cross-over part together. The instructions/diagrams have been modified since testing but otherwise the pattern itself is pretty much the same. I usually have a rule of thumb that I don’t write/review a garment until I have made at least a second version from the final pattern but in this case there weren’t any changes to fit/style.

For the interfacing, I used white because that is what I had, even though the top is predominantly black, but in this case it made the colours more vibrant, and really at the end of the day it isn’t that noticeable.

I do want to make a white version for spring though, it’s such a versatile pattern, unlike my tester version which is bright and loud, I just figured I better post about this top now because getting around to actually making version two may be a while away.

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

Alyse Pants by DesignerStitch Patterns

Are you after that elusive perfect pant pattern? I know I am. I have made 2 pairs of well fitting, but not perfect pants in the past, the Sewaholic Thurlows and Simplicity 3850 Built by Wendy (OOP). Both have been worn well and need replacing so I agreed to test the Alyse Pants* by DesignerStitch Patterns, of the patterns I have tested for Ann to date, I find the fit generally pretty good.

This is good value for money as the Alyse pattern comes with a slim, taper or wide leg and a short, 7/8th or long leg length. There are two front functional pockets and a side zip.

As always, I forged ahead with version 1 without alterations. The front rise was too long and I had back leg wrinkling, no different from RTW. This pattern is designed for fabrics with stretch, mine was black premium cotton sateen (96% cotton/ 4% spandex). The pants ended up shorter than I would have liked as when I got home from the fabric store my fabric measured 1.5m even though I paid for two. I wasn’t about to take the kids back so got creative with my cutting. Most pieces fit but I was 5cm short on the front leg pieces so shortened the back legs too. I ended up hemming them with 25mm single fold black bias binding to preserve as much length as possible. The other option would have been to do the shorter length but given it’s autumn, these are more functional.

         Alyse pants side                   Alyse pants front Alyse pants front 2 Alyse pants back

Version 2 was made using black premium cotton sateen (96% cotton/ 4% spandex) again. Due to some excess fabric at the front with my first pair, for version 2 I removed a 2cm wedge from the front, starting 8cm below the waist line and at a length of 15cm. This time I turned up the length as instructed.

Alyse pants v2 side                                        Alyse pants v2 side 2 Alyse pants v2 back

FYI, I have actually worn the second pair so much I noticed some fabric runs/damage in one of the calves so not only do I have to sew another pair, I will probably cut these short to capri length for spring to salvage them.

fabric run

 You just have to be aware that since the suggested fabric may have a stretch component, you may get some bagging out after wearing them for a day but they are a well fitting and great written pattern.

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

Two Lisbon Cardigans by Itch to Stitch

Just to continue my pattern testing run, I did two back to back tests* for Kennis from Itch to Stitch**, the Lisbon Cardigan** and the Sirena dress. I’ll save the second for another post. Geez I’m so behind on posting, time to catch up!!

As I’m trying to tick off my 2016 winter SWAP, it’s clearly becoming evident that Itch to Stitch patterns are featuring heavily in the line up. The Lisbon cardigan** is a wardrobe staple and with a few changes can be worn all year ’round.

The Lisbon cardigan** comes with a 3/4 and long sleeve and a cropped or hip length bodice with button up front. I originally tested the long sleeve and longer length using some grey marle jacquard knit collection #1 (96% polyester/ 4% spandex). The knit is quite thin with not really great recovery but still turned out OK. I only added 5 instead of the 7 buttons because I couldn’t find another button card of the ones I picked, at the store. It’s not a real issue though because I probably won’t wear it buttoned closed, or maybe just the top button closed anyway.

Lisbon Cardigan front Lisbon Cardigan back                              Lisbon Cardigan side

My second version was particularly to cross off one of my winter SWAP 2016 items and is more of a pattern hack. This one is made from red double knit deluxe ponte (87% polyester/ 9% rayon/ 4% spandex) . I lengthened the Lisbon front, back and front band pieces by 25cm to achieve the length I was after for a “grandpa length” cardi. After some internal head debate, I decided to omit the buttons and add patch pockets. These measured 17cm x 23cm. I interfaced the top 4 cm short end and had enough for a 1cm seam allowance on the other 3 sides.

I really love this one and have worn it a tonne since I have made it, with lots of compliments too.

         Lisbon red side 2               Lisbon red side 1 Lisbon red front Lisbon red back

I usually only post the garments once I’ve tested the final pattern but the Lisbon didn’t have fit changes but the length of the 3/4 sleeve was shortened. The cardigan is actually really quick to sew up and as always the instructions are very detailed with great pictorials and of course the layered print feature is great.

I foresee lots of these cardigans in my future.

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

 **Affiliate link: I get a referral fee if you click 🙂