Lou Box Dress 1 by Sew DIY

Just before Christmas I tested* the Lou Box Dress 1 for Beth from Sew DIY. She released the ever popular Lou Box Top a few years back and has expanded that silhouette to include more options. The Lou Box Dress 2 was also tested at the same time and the great thing about these patterns is that they are all interchangeable along with the top.

Both dresses can be made in woven or knit and the suggestion in the pattern to drop a size if working with knit fabrics. For Dress 1, whilst view A features a medium scoop neck, 3/4 length sleeves with cuffs, in-seam pockets, view B has short cuff sleeves and patch pockets, and there is the option of a hem band for knit fabric. The woven versions have neck binding and hem facings. Naturally you could also mix and match the different versions. The construction is quite straight forward and all the pieces fit together perfectly.

                                                 

I had in mind to make a navy summer dress and used some new royal drill (100% cotton) for view B in a M/L. Now that I look at the photos I think the colour just isn’t right and reminds me of scrubs and I would have preferred a darker blue. That’s no fault of the pattern though.

The pattern is a loose-fitting cocoon shaped dress so is easy to wear and great for layering over long sleeve tops and tights in the winter months although I’m not sure if I should try sizing down next time or perhaps use a fabric with more drape – perhaps I will try both. The dress is a tad short for me as I wear mostly knee-length items at the moment but I’m sure as summer continues it will be an easy dress to throw on and walk out the door although it’s not baby feeding friendly so may have to wait a bit longer on the hanger.

Both dresses are wardrobe work horses and the bundle for both is great value. I’m going to attempt Dress 2 next in a true navy colour I think.

*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.

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5004 Easy Tee but Maternity Dress Version

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE!!!!!

With formalities out the way, I’m back to blogging. I’m embarrassed within myself that I have had a poor blogging year by my personal goals and along with that, sewing productivity was lower than normal. More than likely due to the fact I was growing a little human being but given our third child is now three months old and I still have maternity clothes to blog about, it’s a bit embarrassing.

I tested* the maternity version of the 5004 Patterns Easy Tee and Dress back in May 2017. As the name suggests it is both quick and easy to sew up. A tonne of options are included such as Shirt, Tunic, Short dress, and Knee Length Dress with turned hem or band, pockets (yes!), maternity pattern pieces, waist tie, breast pocket, crew, scoop or v-neck, hoods and cuffs and thumbholes. It’s available in women’s sizes XXS-5XL but also a kids version with a lot of great options. Also, you can save $2 when you buy the Women’s and Kids’ Easy Tee patterns at the same time (check out the pattern listing for the code).

When I was pregnant this time around, I tried to avoid buying any maternity clothes and wore a lot of my existing wardrobe as far as I could stretch it however when the call when out to test this pattern, timing was perfect. I made a first version using a heavier, less stretchy knit and the fit was off. I then used ITY jersey (95% polyester/5% spandex) in marine for this one and found it a lot more comfortable. Having said that, I barely reached for this dress in the end as I felt it was too fancy for everyday wear.

I made the v-neckline with the 3/4 sleeve and found the fit to be pretty spot on with a good amount of rouching at the side to accomodate the growing belly. At this stage of my pregnancy I probably could have gone down a size but for the later stages the fit was better. I was of course wanting to sew another version before blogging but clearly that didn’t go so well. It’s has detailed instructions throughout with good pictorials as well as hyperlinks. I had a really successful v neckline, woo, hoo.

                                                   

I will get sewing some basics from this pattern in 2018 at some stage to test out some of the other options.

I’m hoping blogging will become a bit more routine as my sewing time is so erratic and I have lots of drafts and unblogged things to publish and write about.

*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.

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

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.

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.

Diana Wrap Dress by Wardrobe By Me

I have tested for Wardrobe by Me before but have the draft of that post still sitting on the computer, hopefully it will be published shortly. Nonetheless, who can refuse a dress inspired by the famous DVF? Not I. I have been searching for a perfect fitting wrap dress, and have made a couple, such as this one, or this one, but neither of those have the ideal comfort or fit factor.

                  WBM wrap side WBM wrap side 2WBM wrap front

WBM wrap backThe Diana wrap dress is perfect! I’m not just saying that either because I was a tester*.  I didn’t make any pattern adjustments and quickly made two versions during the testing time frame. The pattern comes with 4 sleeve lengths and 2 collars, as well as a sleeveless version. The sneaky thing about these collars is that they are detachable so you can really get two different looking dresses from one sew.

The wrap dress ties around the waist and has a slight flare from the hips. Instructions are provided for lengthening the skirt to a maxi dress version. There is a layered option for printing and no trim pages. Ideal fabric to use should have a minimum of 3% lycra or elastane, you really do need something with good drape, ask me how I know!!!

Version 1 above was made with vintage flowers charmeuse fabric (98% polyester/2% spandex). Construction is really well written in the final version with nice pictorials. I found that although the size was perfect, my fabric choice made the dress a bit tight around the bust and arms but entirely my fault as my fabric wasn’t stretchy enough.

I decided to make a second version with the recommended fabric, it’s an ITY blue knit (95% polyester/5% spandex). The fit is much better overall and extremely comfortable. I can’t wait to make more versions, especially in the different length sleeves. This is a classic pattern and a great fit. The seam allowances are small (0.7cm) and although knit fabric rarely frays, I chose to overlock my seams for neatness. This meant I had to overlock the pattern pieces before sewing as an opening is left at one of the side seams so the belt can be threaded through.

WBM Diane front                  WBM Diane side WBM Diane side 2

WBM Diane backI didn’t change the length of the pattern and think it sits right at my preferred length. Both these dresses have been in regular rotation since making them for a number of reasons, easy and comfortable to wear and they don’t require ironing :).

*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.

TEEN/WOMENS Lil Luxe Maxi Dress by Lil Luxe Patterns

The story behind this is that Lil Luxe Patterns released the cutest children’s party dress, the Lil Luxe dress early last month. All the tester versions appearing on the web were just gorgeous and I am usually smitten when it comes to seeing pretty girls things aided by the fact you could use horsehair braid on the hem contributing to extra twirl.

As luck should have it, a tester* call went out for the women’s equivalent. I would love nothing more to have a beautiful, full, twirly circle skirt dress BUT without an occasion to wear it I opted for the maxi dress version instead. A bit more practical for my lifestyle. The Lil Luxe Teen/Womens dress is available in sizes 00 to 20, with either a gathered maxi skirt or shorter circle skirt option and a back zip (either invisible or exposed).

It was my first time making anything from Lil Luxe Patterns, although I have the mini button up blouse and moto pants cut, ready to sew for my oldest. The dress went through many versions as the designers wanted to ensure they were delivering the best product to their customer. I really value that attitude and work ethic and it made the process rather enjoyable.

My first iteration was made with a cap sleeve to make it a bit more sun friendly. I used cobalt rayon (100% rayon) for the bodice which was self lined, and the skirt was multi printed rayon zig zag (100% rayon). The major draw card for this design is the low back. I chose to use invisible zips for all my versions however instructions are provided for an exposed zip also.

Lil Lux coral side  Lil lux coral side 2 Lil Lux coral backLil lux front belted

After some pattern changes, such as removing the cap sleeve option. The next version was ready for testing. I ended up making a top as I was short on fabric, I used the circle skirt option instead this time, although the pattern calls for joining 2 circle skirts together to get extra fullness and the pleats. I used black and white printed dots rayon (100% rayon) with black pongee (100% polyester) for the lining. After wearing my “blue” version I realised I probably should go down a size in the bodice, and the fit was pretty much spot on this time.

V2 top front                      V2 top side 2 V2 top back

The pattern was tweaked a bit more by the designers such that the fit around the armholes and bust was near perfect and the back was lowered further. The great thing is you can still wear your normal undergarments with this design. Thus the final version I made using aqua tribal rayon (100% rayon), white pongee (100% polyester) for the lining, and green rayon chirramon plain (100% rayon) for the skirt. I would say for myself, the final pattern release is perfect. I normally need to shorten the bodice but it sits perfectly, although I did shorten the skirt mostly due to the fabric as it has a crinkly texture that stretches.

                    V5 front V5 front 3 V5 side

                                     V5 back (2)              V5 back 3

The pattern is easy to print and put together. Detailed instructions and photos are provided for dress construction and there is also lots of information in regards to materials required as well as sewing techniques. So in a short time frame I have added 3 new items to my wardrobe and have worn all versions of the Lil Luxe Dress and they have been positively commented on.

The pattern is being released today and you can get a 10% discount when buying both the childrens’ and TEENS/WOMENS patterns, using the code LILLUXEDRESSBUNDLE.

*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.