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.

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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.

Scrapbusting… Self-drafted Skirts, a Molly top and some Gathered Pocket Shorts

This post is a quick summary of what has been made using some of my scraps in keeping with my self-imposed “use up scraps” rule. I found out recently my daughters kindergarten will accept fabric for their crafts, so small, unusable pieces for me, are now re-directed to them, away from landfill. Anyway, that’s besides the point.

Today miss 2 is benefiting from the scrapbusting exercise.

First up is this ruffled skirt using DS picadilly medallion and ditsy in pink (100% cotton) fabric left over from miss 4’s circle skirt. Cutting the ruffle layers was okay but I had to piece together a few pieces to make the waistband due to my fabric shortage. As I didn’t have enough fabric, the connectors between the ruffles were made from white top pop poplin (80%polyester/ 20% cotton), as was the middle ruffle. For documentation purposes, the 2 connector pieces were 10cm W x 42cm L and the 3 ruffles were each 10cm W x 52cm L and gathered. I would have liked more gathered ruffles but when you have minimal fabric to work with it’s a “make it work” moment. The ruffles were finished with a narrow machine rolled hem. I cut 2 waistband pieces (outside and inside) with a final measurement of 5cm W x 42cm L. I top stitched the seam allowance at each connector and at the waistband and stitched in the ditch at the waistband side seams to keep the elastic from twisting.

Triple tier picadilly skirt

Second is a two tier simple skirt using this tutorial from The Stitching Scientist. The modern tribe poplin 9312 in ink (100% cotton) and white top pop poplin (80%polyester/20% cotton) fabric is what is left from this dress for miss 4 and one of my pre-blog dresses. I followed her tutorial but made my skirt 34 inch wide as that is all the fabric I had. Sensing a trend here!!!!! Not much else to say.

tribal 2 layer

Third is a chevron top using the Molly Top Pattern from Made For Mermaids. I followed all the measurements and directions provided as there aren’t printable pattern pieces, and it went together really quickly. The fabric, spots and stripes chevron #1 in orange (100% cotton), was left over from a dress I made miss 4 last year, obviously pre-blog, but that has since also had a refashion and I cut it down to a more practical skirt for her too. This pattern is so cute and I love the ruffles on the straps and the tie back that goes through a loop. It’s not obvious but I had to cut the back in two sections because I was short on fabric, turned out pretty well though!

                                             orange molly M4M frontorange molly M4M back

Fourth are these delightful pair of shorts using the free toddler gathered pocket shorts pattern from Little Quail. The fabric is cotton sateen left over from my cape project (stay tuned for that awesome pattern, next post on Monday). The black is premium cotton sateen (96% cotton/ 4% spandex) and the check is black printed sateen pluses (97% cotton/ 3% spandex). I followed the tutorial exactly and didn’t use the optional waist tie. Great wardrobe basic for her.

Black gathered pocket shorts

New Look 6107 in Violet Jacquard… Again

Sorry to bore you with this pattern yet again, but wait…. today’s edition has a twist.

I am using my TNT New Look 6107 pencil skirt pattern with some violet jacquard suiting (54% cotton/ 43% polyester/ 3% spandex). I wanted a different silhouette this time and chose to add a ruffle to the bottom.

                         New Look 6107 side 2  New Look 6107 front  New Look 6107 back 2

It was a really quick change to do and I was working with only 1 meter of fabric so had to get it right. I cut the skirt portion to where the back vent begins and added an extra 1.5.cm for the seam allowance and ensured front and back pieces were the same length.

For the bottom ruffle I decided to make it an inch longer than my usual finished skirt length. This was to include the length required for a narrow hem and a 1.5 cm seam allowance to attach to the skirt. I determined the width of my ruffles by measuring my pattern pieces and multiplied by 1.5. So the front rectangle was 11″ x 33″ and the back was cut into 2 rectangles of 11″ x 18″ each, and  then sewn with a centre seam to continue the seam line straight down from the body of the skirt. For the hem, I serged the raw edge and then turned it up 1 cm and machine stitched.

New Look 6107 back

Due to my fabric restrictions I had to cut the front waistband in 2 pieces but hopefully the beautiful pattern on the fabric detracts from that. Because of my fabriNew Look 6107 insidec limitations, I also cut the waistband facings from black cotton sateen (96% cotton/ 4% spandex), which allowed me to maintain the integrity of the jacquard which also has some stretch. I hand stitched the waistband down on the inside.

Again I inserNew Look 61607 invisible zipted a “very” invisible 8″ (20cm) zipper, first fusing some interfacing at the seam allowance. I constructed the skirt to completion before attaching the ruffle because I wanted to ensure the proportion was okay. Glad to say I’m happy with this one.

I skipped all sorts of pattern matching with this one because the print was so busy but it managed to match up pretty well by accident at the centre zip 🙂

I am truly going to give this pattern a rest for a while, hopefully!!!!

FYI: The top is a Vogue pattern made so many years ago I don’t recall the pattern number.