Sofia Shirt Dress by Rebecca Page Patterns

Aside from being a brand ambassador, I still enjoy testing patterns for Rebecca Page. One of the newest offerings was the Sofia Shirt Dress (**affiliate link) designed for woven fabric, which I envisioned as the perfect summer dress, not to mention that everyone could probably do with a shirtdress in their wardrobe.

For that reason I chose to test* the sleeveless, knee length view, as less fabric meant more comfort for the warmer weather, having said that, my fabric choice was probably not ideal. There are many other options to the pattern that will make it a very worthwhile purchase such as three sleeve and skirt lengths, optional belt, two-part collar with bust and waist darts and a button-up front and that it spans a large size range with ladies going from XXS to 5XL, you could also match your mini me’s and dolls too by getting the matching pattern.

My eagerness to make this resulted in an error on my part with my fabric purchase. I bought some light weight denim, nice and soft, but clearly not enough as I was short by one skirt side panel ūüė¶ I went back to the fabric store with no more to be found so bought some Ink premium cotton sateen 127cm (96% cotton/ 4% spandex) instead and forged ahead with version 2. Construction is pretty simple, just time consuming, doing the collar and the buttons/buttonholes and also because there are eight skirt panels, all of which are french seamed. There are only a few things I don’t enjoy about sewing, gathering and sewing buttonholes, so that was a bit of a hurdle, but once they were done, sewing on the buttons were easy and I was super proud.

This time I also thought I would get the fit right and make sure I addressed my swayback, so I took out about an inch from the centre back length and tapered to nothing at the side seams.

Clean insides with french seams on the skirt panels and bias bound armholes. My collar isn’t perfect though but I don’t think anyone will notice.

The fit feels really good and the darts all seem to hit in the right place. I didn’t make the optional belt, but probably should have in hind sight. I feel quite elegant in this dress, worn with heels here but I think more realistically I will wear it casually with sandals.

It has lots of twirl due to the many panels, kids can’t have all the fun!!!!

*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 Rebecca Page Patterns

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Hepburn Pants by Wardrobe by Me Patterns

I am forever trying to find the elusive perfect fitting pair of pants, although with an ever changing body I’m sure that is near impossible. After reading numerous articles about pant fitting, close enough is good enough given that fabric also is an important factor in fit.

The tester* call went out for the Hepburn Pants by Wardrobe by Me Patterns¬† (**affiliate link) and I have tested and sewn up a few of Christina’s patterns before so I knew the instructions are great but also the fit suits my body shape.

They are a classic high waisted pant although I wouldn’t say really high waisted, just comfortable really. The details include back welt pockets, front fly with zip, side pockets and belt loops. The size range is US 0-24 and drafted for a height of¬†5’6″ (172cm).¬† There are two different led widths, a straight leg and the ever so trendy wider leg and the pattern naturally comes with the layers option and trimless pages.

I used some premium cotton sateen in Ash (96% cotton/ 4% spandex) for mine which falls in the recommended fabrics of being bottom weight and having 3-5% Lycra or elastane. I made view A , straight leg, in a size 12. It’s been a while since I made a pair of pants so thought this might be a long sew. Surprisingly they came together quite quickly simply because of the great pictorials in the instructions.

I had no trouble with the fly and zipper insertion, which can get confusing if you don’t do them often, and also the welt pockets turned out great. Also best of all I didn’t make any modifications to the pattern and think the fit is pretty good.

                                            

I am wearing them with a bit of heel in these pictures however may go back and shorten them as this is how they turn out directly from the pattern and I am not 172cm tall and more to the point I will probably wear them most commonly with flat shoes.

I am super excited to make more of these and play with the leg shape. My next pair may be more of a cigarette pant. Check them out as they are currently on sale for $12.00 ($13.77 AUD) until the end of September.

*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 Wardrobe by Me Patterns

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.

Navy Roses for a Jenny Dress by DesignerStitch Patterns

You may or may not have noticed I really like to pattern test. I have mentioned previously why, and it’s because I love a challenge and being methodical.

The call went out to test* for the Jenny dress by DesignerStitch Patterns. Ann is the lady behind the label and is an accomplished pattern designer and teacher. When I see such qualifications though I usually think they know more than I, so I often hope that at least I can offer something out of the testing process. I guess for a designer assessing fit issues is as important as clear instructions and a great drafted pattern.

Jenny front                      Jenny side (3)  Jenny side (4)

The Jenny dress is a simple sheath dress with bust darts and waist darts at both the front and back for a great fit. There is the optional wrap which adds some interest. Often I fear adding extra fabric to the waistline as it can add extra “weight” but I think in this case the design is perfect and hits at the right spot. The wrap in this case is sewn into the side seams and are bagged as when tying them up the underside shows. Probably a good opportunity to play around with different fabrics.

Jenny backI went down a size after fitting the dress because my printed navy burgandy roses cotton sateen (97% cotton/ 3% spandex) had some stretch. The dress was a perfect fit straight out of the envelope. I didn’t need to make any alterations to the fit but chose not to do the 3 cm hem and turned up 1 cm instead, I didn’t want to loose too much length and next time would personally probably lengthen from the outset. Normally I find I need to shorten the bodice and take in the upper back for the big 4 pattern companies, but not this time.

I liked that this dress also had a small sleeve and the facings were nice and big to completely finish off the armholes/sleeves without having separate facings or needing to do bindings.

jenny front facingjenny back facing

I usually make a second version of the tester garment using the final pattern but didn’t need to because this one fit pretty spot on. Having said that I may need to make a black, wrap free version, as a wardrobe staple and will lengthen by an inch. I will be sharing a number of pattern tests for DesignerStitch Patterns in the coming weeks.

jenny unwrap

DesignerStitch Patterns launched the collection of beautiful women’s PDF patterns on Monday 23rd May 2016 and is having a¬†20% purchase discount to celebrate. The size range is from 6 to 26 and available as A4 print-at-home or A0 Copy shop files. Check out the designs at:

http://www.designerstitch.com
20% coupon code = designer20 (expiry 3rd June)

https://www.etsy.com/shop/DesignerStitch
20% coupon code = designer20 (expiry 3rd June)

*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.

Floral Dakota Blazer by Laela Jeyne Patterns

This is the 3rd test garment I have sewn for Laela Jeyne Patterns. The first, the Little Birdie Dress, hasn’t been blogged yet, and the second were the Comfy Cozy Pj’s.

I applied to test* the Dakota blazer as I liked the high-low hemline and also the tulip type shape of the front. It has a slim fit, with darts on the back and is completely lined, and while the lining is made from woven, the outer can be constructed from either woven or knit fabric. This is a non-cut PDF pattern but it’s important to follow printing and taping instructions to ensure everything fits together right.

dakota Front Dakota liningI chose black multi printed bright floral sateen (97% cotton/ 3 % spandex) as my outer fabric and crimson drill (100% cotton) for the lining. The lining was constructed first to check fit and make any relevant pattern changes which is always a good idea when constructing a garment such as this. My photos are not of the final pattern as I believe some little details have been added to the pattern and instructions that differ to what we had during testing. Marisa was very open to accepting our feedback and making relevant changes to ensure it was a well fitting product. The overall shape has remained the same however.

The pattern comes with the recommendation of adding a two button closure but I decided to go with one instead. It just feels like it sits better on me that way.

Dakota side                      Dakota side 2 Dakota Back 2

I believe this is definitely a statement jacket due to my fabric choice but it is comfortable. Also if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, the style of the Dakota blazer accommodates the baby bump, therefore a highly versatile pattern and a good investment.

*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.

Annie Blue Floral Maxi by Violet Field Threads (VFT)

I think I have mentioned previously that I really adore the style of VFT patterns. I have a few more patterns in my stash ready to be made up but chose the Annie dress as it fits miss 4’s criteria of wanting dresses down to her toes, thus I chose the maxi length.

Annie front

Annie back

I used some bubble premium cotton sateen (96% cotton/ 4% spandex) for the bodice and lined it with white top pop poplin (80% polyester/ 20% cotton), and had similar fabric in my stash to the blue floral romper photo, dark blue rose cotton poplin (100% cotton), so used that as the skirt portion.  Pattern pieces are provided for the bodice and romper but for everything else requiring rectangles, measurements are supplied.

Additonally, instructions are provided to make the braided straps but I managed to find some white ready made triple braid, albeit it was a bit thick to sew through but I got there in the end.

I followed the instructions as specified for all steps and the dress came together quite quickly. The back is only partially elasticised and slightly on the big side but I did make a size bigger so we could get more wear out of the dress and eventually when it gets too short for a maxi I can cut it to tea length.

I waited for miss 4 to try it on before hemming as I wanted to get the length right. My fabric was 145cm wide which ended up being the perfect length for my girl so I serged it and then turned the hem up twice and stitched. I only had 1m of fabric and I think from memory I was out by 2 inches for the width of the skirt, but not noticeable as it is so full anyway.

When I showed her the almost finished dress prior to hemming, her response was priceless and that is why I sew for my girls. She said “Oh thankyou so much mummy, I love it, does it go down to my toes?” , “Yes it does”, I reply. Then I got the biggest¬†hug and kiss and that makes it worth it :). It made for a very successful dancing dress when she wore it and she felt like a million bucks.

Annie back 2

I made miss 2 a dress to match the colour story of this dress and will post about that soon.

Ladies Classic Cape from Big Little…It’s Fast, Simple and Classy

I have been doing lots of pattern testing lately. I always put my hand up because I really enjoy working to a deadline and being methodical about following instructions,  helping out with alterations, errors etc. and stepping out of my comfort zone, trying silhouettes that possibly aren’t my style.

This pattern is a big winner for me, designed by Big Little and they have so many of what I would call, winter wonderland patterns. When the call went out for testers*, for the Ladies Classic Cape I was very eager. I don’t have anything like this in my wardrobe and envisioned a lovely and warm wool version however my environment is hot and humid. I am savouring the day I can wear this though, I love winter fashion.

Cape hanger

buttonIt’s a pretty straight forward sew for such a classy item of clothing. You have the option of the collar or round or pixie hood. Lengthwise you can make a shrug, classic length or cloak length. It can also be made reversible. The number of buttons is also down to personal preference.

I went with the collared, classic length for my first attempt and used a black and white wool boucle blend (8% wool/ 92% polyester) with a black pongee lining (100% polyester). My wool was a nightmare and frayed like crazy so I had to serge all my pattern pieces before assembly and then also used Fray Stopper in the corners and where I thought there may be some strain.

As aforementioned construction was quick and simple, took me about 2 hours start to finish including taping and cutting out the pattern.

cape front 3

                           cape side 2 cape back 2

I also chose to test the shrug version. I initially had visions of ‘faux’ fur and pleather but couldn’t find the appropriate fabric so went with premium black cotton sateen (96% cotton/ 4% spandex) and black printed sateen pluses (97% cotton/ 3% spandex) for the “lining” but really I was planning on making it reversible, thus using the same fabric. I followed the instructions as specified and then simply added a button to the outside and inside in the same position so the loop works for both buttons.

    Black side              Black back 3

Pattern back 3Pattern side

It’s a well drafted pattern with a nice curve for a good fit around the shoulders. There are optional lengthen/shorten lines included. The possibilities are endless with this pattern depending on fabric choice. Really happy with the outcomes of this test and am so looking forward to wearing them.

Stay tuned for a kids version coming soon!!!

*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.