Eleni Top and Dress by DesignerStitch Patterns, Includes a Pregnancy Version!

Another DesignerStitch pattern test for both a top and dress. The Eleni (Aff link**) is a modern design that can be easily modified to suit your fashion and comfort specifications. It comes as a top, tunic, short dress or maxi with a number of sleeve variations and optional ruffle or straps and instructions for a modesty panel or to convert to a peasant style outfit. Plus a neck and waist tie. Value for money people!!!

I offered to test* this pattern knowing my baby bump may affect the way this top draped. I chose the top version with the flounce and straps. I chose to omit the sleeves altogether and just added bias binding around the armholes, but otherwise construction was as per the instructions. My fabric is some sort of paisley cotton, my fabric catalogue goes hazy at the start of my pregnancy!!

                                                                             

As a personal preference I also made the straps half the width of the recommended pattern piece. It still covers my bra straps perfectly. As is visible from the photos though, the baby bump raises the front hemline, I assure you it’s definitely straight. I didn’t take this into account when cutting because will more than likely wear this top post baby.

Additionally, I hadn’t realised until my photos were posted on Facebook in the testing group that I had worn this top incorrectly, ie it should be going over the arms, not under, so bare this in mind, yours will look different.

For version 2 I decided to make a maxi dress, again with the flounce and short sleeves. This is using the finalised pattern. I cheated and made this from knit fabric so it can actually stretch/grow with me for the last few months of pregnancy, but also hoping it would recover well post pregnancy and be comfortable for breastfeeding (without the straps). I sized down by one size as there is some ease with this pattern.

To the left is my inspiration. I wanted a basic black version but wanted to do some stash busting and so used this grey jersey knit instead, plus I had 4 metre of it. I  went with the waist tie with the thought that post pregnancy it would help with the waist definition. I again added the straps to this version but to half the width of the pattern piece. My chest needs all the support it can get so going strapless at this stage isn’t an option, although they can easily be removed at a later date if necessary. Here it’s shown with my bump at 38 weeks.

 

 

Coral Off Shoulder Ruffle Maternity Maxi

                                              

*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 DesignerStitch Patterns

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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

 

 

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.

BOO! Designs Spandex Skater Dresses 

You know when you buy a pattern because it’s popular and then let it fester in your stash for months before you use it, this was one such pattern. It has had long standing popularity on Facebook and now that I have made it I understand why.

The Spandex Skater dress by BOO! Designs is such a quick sew and especially if you don’t take the extra time to neaten any edges/seams, the joys of knit fabric. I however like to have nice insides as well as outsides so serged my seams.

Regardless, each dress was probably sewn in half an hour as I had already cut the pattern pieces out about 1 month ago, and that time includes sewing the binding on the neckline and armholes.

Miss 4 got 2 of these dresses, the first is her “Frozen” dress. The bodice was cut out from some leggings she had that she refused to wear and I was able to cut a complete regular front bodice and a racer back from a pair of leggings. I did have to piece together the bindings though as I didn’t have enough fabric to get the stretch going the right way. It’s a busy print so the joins don’t show up anyway. I added a drill periwinkle (100% cotton) skirt, totally allowable to mix knit and woven by the way. The dress as is, falls to the knees so I used 12mm light blue single fold bias tape to hem and thus preserve as much length as possible. Miss 4 loved this dress and actually requested to wear it do bed so I have losely promised to make this style of dress into a nightie, am I crazy????

Frozen dress

Version 2 was for miss 2 because anything big sis wants, little sis wants too. I was lucky enough to have a frozen t-shirt, unworn, in the cupboard. It was a big size 1 and I was able to get a simple front bodice and racer back cut. I didn’t have enough for binding so used some white performance cotton lycra, from the stash, and likewise the skirt was made using some chambray cotton linen (55% cotton/ 45%linen) which creases like crazy. I hemmed it using 12mm light blue single fold bias tape.

Version 3 is made from scuba fabric with a simple bodice and simple back. This was even quicker to sew because I didn’t have to worry about hemming it. I used printed arrow scuba #1 abstract (95% polyester/ 5% spandex) for the dress and bindings. Because scuba is quite thick it was hard to serge through multiple layers but turned out well. This fabric isn’t very stretchy but still easy to get on and off.

Version 4 was for miss 2 again, keeping consistent here. I used the left over bits from the arrow scuba and some dark purple plain scuba to make her dress. Again, it was super fast to make, it took one hour tops, including all the cutting of pieces with some interruptions. After miss 4 saw this version she has requested one too with this combination but I think I only have enough fabric left for a peplum top version instead but she is happy with that.

The only thing I have noticed is that with the purple scuba there are some pulled threads starting to show in the fabric, probably because my little miss is so active.

Boo arrow dress

 

Both my girls have loved twirling in these dresses and they are in constant rotation, and I have more planned as part of their Christmas presents. Stay tuned!!!!

The Accidental Perfect Pair: Tania Culottes and McCalls 6960 Top

I would imagine a lot of people that sew make some sort of plan or sewing list be it physical or mental, I personally do both. But on occasion, probably more often than not, those plans go out the window, well mine do anyway for whatever reason.

We were invited to a kids pool party and I’m a bit impartial to wearing bathers and splashing about in front of others. Anyway, said party was at a public pool, in the toddlers pool actually, this was great for me because it was barely knee deep and I could just wear normal clothes whilst chasing the kids. Of course looking at my clothes there aren’t really any pool appropriate clothes. I don’t own shorts, I rarely wear short skirts or dresses so what is a girl to do? I initially thought of a scarf type wrap around dress, but then, lightbulb!!! Why not make some shorts that look like a skirt, aka Tania culottes by Megan Nielsen since I already had the pattern. I have been following her blog/business for quite some time but never made up a pattern before. The reviews for these were quite positive, so off I went.

Tania's and Mccalls 6960 front 2

                         Tanias and McCalls 6960 side   Tanias and McCalls 6960 Back

I broke my fabric fast again and bought some rayon fabric that was on sale mind you. I wanted something that was cool but also wouldn’t show water stains if I got splashed. It’s a printed rayon batik SPR9307 in wine (100% rayon) and drapes really well. This pattern is a fabric hog and I didn’t even attempt pattern matching.

Tanias Fabric

The size was spot on for this skirt and I chose to sew the midi length, and the construction was quite quick and easy, aided by the clear instructions and diagrams. I neatened all my seams with a serger and did this on the left side pattern pieces prior to the zip insertion and also fused some interfacing at the seam to add strength. The pattern also called for a 22cm zip but I had a 20cm white invisible zip in the stash so used that instead. Unfortunately it does show a bit on the side. I also tacked down the zipper ends to the seam allowance. I think this pattern would be great with pockets although one would need to be inserted in the zip seam on the left.

Tanias and McCalls 6960 side 2

I leTanias and Mccalls 6960 full front 2t the culottes hang for 6 nights before hemming to allow them to drop/stretch. The hemming part is a long process however. I straightened the hemline by lining up the culottes with the original pattern pieces. Surprisingly they didn’t seem to stretch as much as I expected although I did have to shave off about 2cm on the most stretched out part of the culottes. I then did a narrow machine hem.

The aforementioned event had been and gone and in trying to get rid of the UFO pile, I pulled out my McCalls 6960 project where all the pattern pieces were already cut and interfaced and just needed to be sewn together. The fabric is a pure cotton lawn in curry (100% cotton). I followed the instructions and found all the pieces lined up and fit together neatly. Some hand stitching is required to enclose and finish seams at the neckline.

McCalls 6960 Top hanger

I found thMcCalls 6960 top sidee neckline was a bit low and the back neckline gaped so at the shoulder seams I took a 3cm seam allowance instead. As you can see it has quite a significant hi-lo hem and I believe I actually ended up cutting the length for the small size as this view is described as a tunic. The instructions also recommend a 1.5cm narrow hem but I did a machine rolled hem and therefore didn’t need to ease in any extra fabric.

The tops for this McCall’s pattern can also be made up in moderate stretch knits, maybe next time. I’m happy I have been able to mark off another SWAP 2015 item.

New Look 6107 White Skirt with Floral Blouse

This post is a two for one today as both items are recent makes, ie within the last week.

First up the skirt, New Look 6107, view D, the longer skirt, made up in white cavalier garbardine (65% polyester/ 35% viscose). This pattern has definitely become my TNT pencil skirt and I have also drafted lining pattern pieces to go with this vented skirt using the tutorial by a Fashionable Stitch. I like that the skirt has a nice size waistband, centre back zip, a walking vent and the front and back darts give the skirt a nice fit.

new look 6107 belted front

                          new look 6107 belted side 2new look 6107 belted back

I used white pongee lining (100% polyester) as it is a more dense fabric as opposed to the acetate lining I had in my stash. White isn’t a great colour to wear, especially on the bottom half because you can look bottom heavy and it gets dirty easy but is an easy colour to match up never the less.

I changed the zipper from a lapped one to a 20cm white invisible zip as that it what I had in my stash but I also like the look of them better.

It’s a nice fit and length skirt and if it ain’t broke don’t fix it although I think I may like to peg the skirt slightly. There will be more of these in my immediate future, two of which have already been cut.

On to the blouse. I have never made any other garments from this same pattern (New Look 6107) and thought to pair view C with this floral cotton poplin (100% cotton) because I wasn’t too sure which pattern to use with this fabric anyway when finalising my SWAP 15 a while back.

I followed the instructions exactly and thought at worst I would end up with a wearable muslin. The blouse itself goes together quite quickly and I really like that it has an underlap where the buttons are so there is no accidental flashing. I also like that pattern pieces are provided for neckline and armhole binding, or facings as they call them in the pattern.

I forgot to purchase the required buttons for this project on my many trips to the store but I thankfully had this 11mm self covered buttons kit. They are super easy to make, though they get lost on the blouse however due to the busy print. The button loops are also barely visible due to the print.

self-covered buttons

The length is nice but I wish I had taken more notice of the reviews and cut a second yoke to enclose the seams for a nice, neat finish inside. I find the neckline quite low for my liking and need to wear a camisole to feel secure and should have made the blouse a size larger at the bust, perhaps it would be better to do an FBA. I also think I need to do a sway back adjustment, which I never have done before. I also think this blouse may be nicer in a fabric with more drape as the cotton is quite stiff.

Newlook 6107 blouse hanger

   new look 6107 blouse buttons

The blouse looks and sits just as well when tucked in as it does when worn loosely. It only has 6 buttons with the bottom portion below the last button, free to flap open although it doesn’t do so very easily.

I have been able to mark off another two SWAP 15 basics from my list. There are a couple more cut and ready to go. In case you are wondering I’m a living where it is hot all year around so don’t have to think about sewing autumn/fall and winter projects. I’m actually surprised with my progress and ability so far to stay on target. I’m sure by the time I finish though, I will be into another colour palette.

new look 6107 tucked front 2

                            new look 6107 tucked side 2  new look 6107 tucked back

PS I should have ironed my skirt first!

Floral Halter Meets Peter Pan Collar for a Girly Top

Another stash busting project equals another pat on the back for mum. This fabric is the Zest/Savanah Chintz flower cotton in yellow (100% cotton) left over from the cartwheel shorts. The pink top pop poplin (80% polyester/20 % cotton) was some stash scraps too.

peter pan halter front

The idea for this top has been brewing in my head for some time, since I spotted the lovely Lacey Lane kids clothing line actually. How cool and retro are their clothes? It was hard to get a good back view of their top but it appears that the back is quite low, something I didn’t want for my version. Hoorah for sewing and making things truly yours!

This top started by using an a-line dress front pattern piece from Frills and Flares then chopping it off to a decent top length, in my case it was more to do with my fabric restrictions. I then found a Peter Pan collar template online from mysparkle and printed it at about 75% for a kids size (that was just an estimate, no maths involved). I lay this pattern piece on my front pattern piece and traced a new neckline and the halter shape and then cut down the length of the collar to where the shoulder seam is so this then continues on and becomes the straps. The straps were the same width of the collar measurement at the shoulder seam and then about 25 cm long so I could cut them to length as required.

Collar pattern

 Fabric cutting

The armholes/neckline were finished with 12mm single fold light yellow bias tape for a clean finish.

For the back, I cut a rectangle 20 cm x 35.5 cm, again that was all the fabric I had left. I serged the top hem, folded it over 2cm and top stitched. I threaded through 1.5 cm wide elastic and stitched the sides closed before attaching the front to the back. The front and back were attached at the side and shoulder seams with french seams. I left the front bodice unlined in this case but with lighter fabric I may line it in the future.

I made my two collars separately first using two layers of fabric for each, sewing the layers right sides together, then turning them right side out and top stitching all around before attaching them to the front of the top, meeting in the centre. I crossed over the straps at the back and stitched them to the back of the top. I made a little bow from some white ribbon and sewed it to the centre front for extra cuteness. This top is super cute and was relatively quick to sew and pairs well with her white shorts but I think I may make a couple of bottoms (skirts/shorts) to match as I have some stash fabric that would match well with the colours on this top.

peter pan halter side

 Peter pan halter back