Raven Dress by Sofiona Designs

If you haven’t heard of Sofiona Designs, don’t worry, neither had I up until a few months ago. They are two great friends living in Canada and starting up a new company. Behind the scenes they have been working for over a year before announcing tester calls for their first line up of patterns. It’s always a risk testing for a new company because you never know what to expect in terms of quality and communication.

I am pleased to say, testing* for Sofiona Designs was a pleasant experience. The communication was great and the patterns and instructions are very well drafted and laid out. I tested 2 of the 4 new releases, the second I will probably blog next week, but first off is the Raven Dress for girls. It is a woven dress or top with a dropped shoulder and scooped back which can have a simple band, ties or raise the scoop. There is the option to add either a long or short ruffle at the seam and three sleeve options. The dress has an elastic waist and there is an optional waist tie. Size range is 2-14 and has the layers option for printing. Usually when I see a pattern has lots of options like this, I think it’s money worth spending.

My miss 7 is very low maintenance, her usual attire is leggings and a t-hirt, so I let her pick the fabrics for this dress and she was so happy with the outcome. The dress is made from multi colour printed aztec triangle rayon (114 cm wide, 100% rayon) and the ruffle is cherry broadcloth (112cm wide, 100% cotton). In hindsight I would have been better off using rayon for the ruffle as the fabric gets a bit stiff with two layers, it just had to be steamed to submission. I obviously made the dress version with the scooped back and ties and the narrow ruffle . I added the optional waist tie as I like the definition it gives.

                         

Miss 5 has put in her request and also selected her fabric so I need to get my act together. In the meantime, with the launch of Sofiona Designs there are some exciting things happening. Their store has a 30% off sale until November 25th and a portion of their earnings will be donated non-profit A21 (working at eradicating human trafficking).

There are also a number of giveaways happening. The New Zealand one below starts from 6 pm Thursday (Australian time) and runs for 24 hrs.

Head over to the Sofiona Designs Fan Group on Facebook to learn more.

*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.

 

Advertisements

The Rivier Dress by The Eli Monster

So, I have joined The Eli Monster Brand Ambassador program and this months’ theme was spooky or sweet. I of course went for sweet, because that’s what little girls are made of :), although I was tempted to do spooky and make a purple and black witches dress. I just thought sweet would get more mileage though.

My inspiration was the colour of candy given that Halloween is such a sugar fest, but I also wanted some romantic element. I chose to make The Rivier Dress (* affiliate link) because I could add soft ruffles, tulle and a bow, very girly indeed.

This dress has a faux/partial wrap bodice with two sets of snaps at the sides, so it’s an easy dress in that you don’t need to insert a zipper. The skirt is a simple gathered one and the neckline can be super simple or ruffled and then there is a sleeveless or cap sleeves option. The pattern ranges from size 18mo up to teen 16, and that is a lot of use for a pattern.

All of The Eli Monster’s patterns feature the layered option and there are color photographs with the instructions. There is a cut chart for all rectangular pieces instead of pattern pieces, to save on both ink and paper and while some people prefer pattern pieces for everything, I’m happy to adapt to either option.

 

For my version, the bodice is completely lined with white broadcloth (100% cotton) and the main exterior fabric is floral printed poplin scattered white (100% cotton) overlayed with soft bridal tulle in mushroom colour (100% nylon). I sewed everything as instructed in the pattern however I sewed the floral and netting as two separate layers up until I sewed them onto the bodice. I used French seams for the netting and cut it to the length specified in the pattern and because I didn’t hem it, it’s longer than the under skirt, which is what I was going for. I also made a size bigger than I should have because I wanted my daughter to get more use out of it but it has ended up a bit big and long although she still adores it.

I chose to make the optional bow with cherry broadcloth (100% cotton), but wasn’t sure at the time if it was too much, but in the end I thought it finished off the dress. I did attach it to a brooch pin instead of to the dress so it is detachable and also can function as a hair brooch.

It’s very feminine and my daughter loves it so that’s a great end to this sweet tale. The Rivier Dress is currently on sale for $7.00 but check out The Eli Monster to get some other great patterns that you can adapt to suit any occasion.

*This post contains affiliate links to The Eli Monster Patterns

Adventure Bag by Mamma Can Do It

 The Adventure Bag **has just been released by Mamma Can Do It and for being part of their Facebook Group you can get it for free with a code (check out the pinned post) otherwise it’s currently on sale.

I got to test* this tote bag which comes in medium or large and best of all it’s reversible. There is also the option of colour-blocking and since everything is a rectangular shape, you don’t have to print the pattern as a cut chart is provided. This is a beginner friendly bag, really quick to sew, and instructions are accompanied with great photographs and descriptions. Although a medium weight woven in recommended, a lighter fabric can be used but is probably best interfaced.

I used Montreaux Printed Drill Black Stripe (100% cotton) and Hot pink drill (100% cotton) for the exterior, with white broadcloth (100% cotton) for the interior. I chose not to make mine reversible. I have just started working again since having my baby and made this as my lunch bag. The medium is perfect to fit a lunchbox, fruit, notebook and the all important coffee mug.

The large bag is great as a beach bag or overnight bag whilst the medium size bag would make a great library bag or gift bag, just fill it with goodies for the recipient.

*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 Mamma Can Do It

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

 

 

OMG!!! I am Wearing Shorts …. Intoducing the Harper Shorts by Megan Nielsen

I haven’t worn shorts since way before I was married, actually probably not since high school, and that was for sport or swimming. Well, that is a teensy lie, do culottes count?

Harper shorts front 1

                                                              Harper shorts front 2

This was probably a really inappropriate seasonal pattern test* that I did during winter, but I signed up because the two pairs of Tania culottes by Megan Nielsen, which I love, are the only pairs of shorts I have worn since my younger years. Is it cheating a tiny bit though since they look like a skirt?

I love Megan’s patterns and have accumulated a fair few that I am yet to sew up. The Harper shorts and skort are lined, so they feel a bit dressier than the run of the mill sports shorts and I guess for that fact could be worn during winter with tights. I love pockets in anything so these are an extra great feature and the skort option is fantastic as it’s a 2 looks in one pattern. It was a bit difficult to get my head around sewing shorts during autumn now but I’m considering it good planning since the warmer weather is very,very slowly starting to creep into the southern hemisphere.

Harper shorts back 2

Harper shorts side

My tester version was made using some long time stash olive broadcloth (100% cotton) and black pongee lining (100% polyester). I found the fit spot on and love the invisible back zip closure. These aren’t my normal choice of attire but think they are extremely appropriate for taking kids to the park or beach. I was hoping to get the skorts sewn up before this blog post, which mind you is already months overdue, but life has kept me busy. The skorts are a longer cut and probably most suited to my current lifestyle. Stay tuned for those some time in the probably not so near future!!

*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.

Don’t forget to check out One Thimble and subscribe to their Newsletter to get updates.

*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.

The Chambray Clarissa Dress

The Clarissa Dress by MCM Studio Designs is the perfect classic, trans-seasonal dress for the little girls in your life. There is a long and short sleeve option with a button back closure. I recently tested* this pattern and although normally I like to make a second version before blogging, I ran out of time. There haven’t been any major changes to the design itself, more so just to the written instructions.

I chose to make mine in some chambray (100% cotton) which is a great choice for the spring/summer, but no so practical for colder weather. I made the long sleeve version while testing for the purpose of adding winter appropriate clothes, and using some white broadcloth (100% cotton) for the sleeve extension, but the two fabrics just don’t work well together. The photos below show what it looked like originally, but I have since removed the sleeve extension and will think more sensibly about fabric choices for the next one.

                 Clarissa side Clarissa front Clarissa back

The pattern and instructions themselves both go together well and are well written, supported by good pictorials. There is a lovely pleated bodice and gathered sleeves with a ruffle trim. It is an empire waist silhouette with a slight upwards curve at the front and back, with a gathered skirt.

I will be making more but first I need to sort out the correct mash of fabrics 🙂 I also love the idea of shortening it to a tunic. I may just also shorten this version to knee length when spring rolls around.

The Clarissa Dress pattern is being released on Thursday 12th May (US) and from the 12th -21st the introductory price is $5.00 (half the regular price), a perfect time to buy it!

www.themerrychurchmouse.com
www.mcmstudiodesigns.etsy.com
http://www.craftsy.com/user/714750/pattern-store…

*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.