Chloe Top and Dress by Lily Sage & Co for Me and My Mini-Me

Where have I been?????? Busy with life. I am now expecting munchkin number 3 and have so much more going on that it is hard to focus on blogging, not to mention that sewing has been slow going anyway. So before I get into my new makes I’m going to try and catch up on my draft blog posts waiting patiently to be published.

I have yet another edition of my testing* journey. I have tested both kids and women’s patterns for Debbie from Lily Sage & Co, before and was eager to test this one too as this style has been on my radar for some time and it’s currently on trend, it’s the Chloe dress. Mind you, testing for this was way back in May 2016, so a long time ago…

The Chloe dress comes with a short or long dress options and a top. I chose the top version during my test hoping to make a dress after, but that hasn’t eventuated.

It’s a simple dress in that there are only three pattern pieces, but not simple in that the edges are finished with bias binding. Keep that in mind if you are using a delicate, lightweight fabric and making your own bias.

There is a lot of ease in this pattern and I went down a size. My fabric is some poly chiffon 4587 in blue (100% polyester) and I used store bought electric blue bias binding. The good thing with this top is that you can wear all your usual under garments or tank tops for modesty.

Conveniently, Debbie also drafted a kids version, ages 5 – 10. Who doesn’t love mummy and me outfits? I agreed to test* this one too using some #1 zig zag rayon in black and pink (100% rayon) . Of course coming off the adult version, this one actually took no time to sew really.

We love, love, love these additions to our wardrobes. I must admit my daughter has really made the most of wearing hers to the point that summer is over and she still asks to wear it although it is a bit shorter on her now.

I’m hoping post baby I can get back into sewing some dress versions for myself.

*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.

Georgia Tops by DesignerStitch Patterns

Amongst unselfish sewing for my girls I have been doing some sewing of my own, namely pattern testing* for DesignerStitch Patterns, again.

The Georgia top/dress is a comfy yet classy wardrobe staple. It has a boxy look, no darts so is easy to fit, with wide sleeves and optional back pleat. It gives you a good opportunity to mix fabrics and of course has the option of making a top or dress. There is also the layer feature so you only need to print the size(s) you need in addition to a copy shop printable version.

DSC_0086                            DSC_0085 DSC_0080

For both of my versions I opted for the pleat-free back.

My first version was made during testing, using some not very friendly fabrics, navy premium faille (100% polyester) for the body, and navy 100% dance poly chiffon (100% polyester) for the yoke. I may have slightly used too much heat when pressing because I’m not sure if this sits quite right and there may have been some shrinkage of the fabrics. Pattern pieces are provided to make the neck binding.

It is a really quick sew, and like always, everything lines up perfectly and instructions are easy to understand.

My second version was planned as a dressier summer top, using would you believe, a bed sheet from IKEA (52% poly/ 48% cotton). I liked the stiffness of the fabric and the lightness, almost like a linen, not to mention for $6 I have heaps of fabric left for other projects. For the yoke I used some white rayon remnants (100% rayon) from a yet to finish top from 6 months ago and still counting, and the sleeve bands are faux ivory leatherette (50% PU/ 40% poly) from my Salamanca jacket.

Georgia topo front Georgia top side               Georgia top back

It’s a great top, and the dress is too, but it’s just not my particular style. Not sure if it would flatter me or make me look frumpy. Perhaps when summer rolls around I may try it more as a beach cover up dress or add a belt or tie.

*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.

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.

Bella Sunshine Designs Sweet Lilly Pintuck Tunic and Dress

This pattern could not have come by at a better time. I have been searching for a button up bodice with a gathered skirt since I bought this fabric a month ago, and then when I saw the tester* call for The Sweet Lilly Pintuck Tunic/Dress by Bella Sunshine Designs I was very excited. There is a slight vintage feel with this pattern.

I made a size smaller than normal as per our aligned sizes because it’s a semi-fitted bodice, but went with my daughters usual length for this dress. The fabric is cream Gertie printed crepe de chine (CDC) cherries. I used lipstick rayon (100% rayon) for the waistband and ruffle accents with hot pink plain chiffon (100% polyester) for the sleeves and white top pop poplin (80% polyester/20% cotton) for the lining. Although not instructed to, I lined the skirt with poplin because this fabric is very light weight and see-through.

Pintuck tunic front

Pintuck tunic back

This pattern requires precision with the pintucks and top stitching. Given it is a kids pattern there are some very fiddly, small pieces, particularly for the sleeve construction. I made it harder for myself by the fact I chose chiffon and CDC to work with, very slippery indeed. I ended up doing french seams for the sleeves as the chiffon frayed and to keep it all nice and neat.

As this is the tester version, a few tweaks have been made prior to release. Mainly the bodice was taken in and was offered as a tunic and the original lengthened by 3 inches to make the dress version.

Miss 4 was happy to gift it to miss 2 as she thought it looked “cute” on her. Miss 2 was also happy with this transaction. The girls pretty much have the same chest measurement at the moment which is why it fit my youngest so well.

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I quickly made a second version for miss 4 in the dress length this time. I used some petal metro linen (100% linen) with eyelet lace for the bottom band of the skirt portion and white broadcloth (100% cotton) as a contrast. For lining I used white top pop polin (80% polyester/20% cotton). At the centre ruffles I used a small border of lace to match the hem ruffle and tied the whole look together with square pink buttons. I only added three to the back as opposed to four but that was the last packet at the store.

Sweet lilly pinctuck front

Sweet lilly pintuck side

Sweet lilly pinctuck details

I’m very lucky to be a mother of 2 beautiful girls. The clothes in our house are truly loved and well worn so I figure all my time and effort is well worth it.

*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.

Black and White Polka Dot Burda Blouse #105 from 4/2010

This Flounce Detail Blouse #105 from 4/2010, has been a long time coming. I traced and cut my pattern pieces out sometime in 2013. It has been sitting patiently waiting in a bag to be finished. To be perfectly honest, the motivation to sew it to completion was almost non-existent and I wasn’t sure if this style was me anymore, and also owed to the fact I used pretty much the same fabric as the model photo. Mine is a black with polka dot monotone printed chiffon (100% polyester)….. Regardless, I wanted to get a UFO finished and into the wardrobe to focus on more fun stuff. Here is is worn with a belt and tucked in with my New Look 6107 white skirt.

Burda blouse out front

                         Burda blouse out back Burda blouse out back 2

As per normal Burda instructions, they are sparse, and written without diagrams. This pattern is labelled intermediate and I think that it fair as you really need some knowledge about blouse construction. I found the instructions in regards to the flounces, collar and neckline very ordinary and confusing myself at times but soldiered on.

Burda blouse in front

Burda blouse in sideThe neckline is quite low on this blouse which is okay with me in this instance as my fabric is transparent and requires a singlet be worn underneath anyway. It has a left side zip. I ended up making my usual Burda size and actually eliminated the zip because I can pull the blouse on and off with some sort of ease. The bust and back darts give it some nice shaping.

The instructions have you interface the centre front where the “V” is and I chose not too, thinking it may be visible, but in hindsight I should have as it would have strengthened the area and also would not be visible as the flounces cover that area.

The hemming of the ruffles takes some time, I did a machine narrow hem and for the blouse hem I used 12mm single fold black bias tape to preserve length.

I did french seams for the side seams because my fabric frays and the edges are visible through the fabric so I wanted them to look nice. The yoke has all enclosed seams. I ended up using black 12mm single fold bias tape for the armholes. I initially sewed on the facing for the neckline and it just wouldn’t sit flat so off it came and I enclosed the neckline seam with the same 25mm black bias binding and hand stitched it so the stitching wasn’t visible from the outside.

I wish this was a bow blouse instead as I don’t know how much wear the flounces will get, although now that I have said it, my blouse will probably become a work horse. The flounces don’t always sit nice but I guess it’s good to have a not so basic blouse in rotation. And who doesn’t love polka dots!!!!

Simplicity 2594 Watercolour Top

This pattern, Simplicity 2594, has been sitting in the drawer for a long time so I thought I’d give it a go using some stash chiffon (100% polyester) bought years ago, to make a wearable muslin if you will. I made view B without any alterations and find the fit pretty good although there is a fair amount of ease so you may consider going down a size. It does require fabric with some drape for the cowl-neck versions which are cut on the bias.

Simplicity 2594 front

                    Simplicity 2594 front 2 Simplicity 2594 back

I followed the instructions in the pattern but because I was using a lightweight fabric I sewed french side seams. Just a word of caution in regards to attaching the yoke. The instructions aren’t all that clear and it appears others found this an issue too, not helped by the fact I had fabric that looked similar on the right and wrong sides, but taking it step wise should get you through. The instructions recommend top stitching around the yoke and I think this gives a nice finish.

There are 3 pleats at the shoulder seams which are a bit hard to see in this fabric but are a nice design element along with some gathers at the back yoke. The front drape isn’t too low and is finished with a narrow hem rather than a facing but does tend to favour one side and needs to be adjusted probably because how it is cut on the bias. I found the armhole was slightly lower than usual which doesn’t worry me as I will always wear a singlet under this, but may be something to check if using a non-sheer fabric and don’t want to feel exposed. Not much else to add, it is a great basic wardrobe builder and I will definitely make it again.

Simplicity 2594 side

Coincidently it co-ordinates well with my newly made maxi skirt and will also be a good pairing with a few other items in my sewing list.

Vogue 8899 Midi Dress..Jungle January Here I Come!

I think I went through an animal print buying phase as I have about 4 prints in black and browns that I have recently cut into and am in the process of making since, hello, minimal thread changing.  Maybe I’ll say it was a subconscious decision to join Jungle January. Anyway, here is the first of them.

Vogue 8899 front

Vogue 8899 side 3

I’m not quite sure why at the moment I am making things with splits in them as I have been sewing them partially closed or completely closed anyway, must be the other features that I’m really drawn to. I used Vogue 8899, view A. It’s a lined, pullover, sleeveless dress, loose-fitting bodice with insets, elastic waist and side front slits.

I used a polychiffon 4615 in a green colourway, although looks more brown even to the naked eye, 150cm wide. It’s 100% polyester and a pain to cut but sewed up quite easily. For the lining I used a pongee 100% polyester cream lining. I followed the instructions as written for the order of the bodice construction however because my chiffon was sheer I used the lining as underlining as I think doing french seams at the gathers and the bodice insert would have been near impossible. I serged all the seams to give a nice clean finish. I was a little surprised though that the gathers around the triangle insert were not as pronounced as on the pattern envelope on the front and non existent on the back but I think that’s because the triangle cut out stretched out and became the same length as the seam even though I stay stitched it.

Vogue 8899 front insert

 Vogue 8899 back insert

I assembled the skirt fabric using french seams and attached to the lining at the waist. I did completely sew up the splits but I think the volume of the skirt conceals them anyway unless in motion – lots of swish factor.

Vogue 8899 skirt

  Vogue 8899 swish sideVogue 8899 swish back

I left the dress to hang for a couple of days before hemming with a rolled narrow hem on both layers. Here is the oh my god moment, at the final press on the hem I noticed a cut in the fabric, I was almost in tears after being so meticulous about everything.

Rolled hem

Tear

Initially I was going to mend it with light interfacing but that would have changed the drape of the fabric and possibly have been visible so I ended up cutting off that part of the hem and re-hemming.

It’s not that noticeable due to the full skirt but I’m still so annoyed as it’s such a careless error. Lucky I was able to mend it in this case.

I remembered this time to adjust my armholes by cutting off 2cm from the underarm. Due to the fact my construction was different to the instructions, I sewed up my side seams and overlocked them and then trimmed the armhole to what was comfortable. I finished them off with some bought bias tape and top stitched which matched the finish of the neckline which was turned twice as per the instructions to make a narrow hem. With visible topstitching it makes me wonder how best to match thread with fabric? I initially was going to use black to sew this dress together but decided on the cream in the end, especially as my lining is cream. From what I have read it is best to use the thread closest to the background colour and which blends in more. Do you have a fail proof method of deciding what colour to use or are you not as fussy?

Overall the dress went together really easily and I think if it was made up in a non-transparent, thicker fabric it would be extra quick as you could eliminate the lining all together except for the triangle insert for stability. I may make this again but it has to go to the end of the sewing line.