Adventure Bag by Mamma Can Do It

 The Adventure Bag **has just been released by Mamma Can Do It and for being part of their Facebook Group you can get it for free with a code (check out the pinned post) otherwise it’s currently on sale.

I got to test* this tote bag which comes in medium or large and best of all it’s reversible. There is also the option of colour-blocking and since everything is a rectangular shape, you don’t have to print the pattern as a cut chart is provided. This is a beginner friendly bag, really quick to sew, and instructions are accompanied with great photographs and descriptions. Although a medium weight woven in recommended, a lighter fabric can be used but is probably best interfaced.

I used Montreaux Printed Drill Black Stripe (100% cotton) and Hot pink drill (100% cotton) for the exterior, with white broadcloth (100% cotton) for the interior. I chose not to make mine reversible. I have just started working again since having my baby and made this as my lunch bag. The medium is perfect to fit a lunchbox, fruit, notebook and the all important coffee mug.

The large bag is great as a beach bag or overnight bag whilst the medium size bag would make a great library bag or gift bag, just fill it with goodies for the recipient.

*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 Mamma Can Do It

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Sequoia Cargo Pants by Itch to Stitch

Cargo pants are a really versatile wardrobe staple. They can be worn casual with thongs or sneakers or worn dressy with heels and classy flats.

I tested* the Sequoia Cargo Pants (**aff. link) by Itch to Stitch because I was lacking a pair in my wardrobe and judging by my Pinterest board I was needing some. My initial inspiration was to make some khaki ones but the right fabric was no where to be found. I first made a muslin using some khaki polyester/cotton fabric just to check fit so didn’t really finish them beyond basic construction, although I did only baste them together, so taking them apart shouldn’t be a long process.

My final pair were made using navy drill (100% cotton) and navy knit for the waistband. The pattern comes in multiple sizes (00-20), ability to print in layers a number of features for a professional finish. They have a functional fly front zipper, front and back patch pockets and a long pants or shorts options. I opted for the pants version which also has side cargo pants pockets and a leg strap to roll them up if preferred (which I omitted).

I ended up going down a size from my muslin stage and otherwise construction went together well. These have all the traditional features of Cargo Pants and the ribbed waistband make them extra comfortable. I couldn’t find the hardware/snaps to add to my pockets after visiting three fabric stores so left them off. The instructions for the zipper fly are very good if you haven’t done one before they can be somewhat intimidating.

Considering there are so many fiddly bits with the pockets and front fly, construction is relatively simple and fast if you are sequential and organised when sewing these up. The main disruption while sewing these I think is the pressing between sewing mostly due to the pockets.

                                                  

I have worn mine quite a few times since making these and they are baggier than when I first made them so I think next time I may go down one size for personal preference. I have so many versions of these in my head that I want to make and I actually do plan on finishing off my muslin pair once I’ve seam ripped them apart. It also may be slightly visible if you look closely at my pockets, that I used white serger thread, ooops!!

*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 Itch To Stitch

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.

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.

Fluffy Mackinaw Coats by Call Ajaire

If you like puzzles, you will love this coat. It’s the Mackinaw Coat by Call Ajaire. It has such a gorgeous outcome. I volunteered to pattern test* because I love the challenge and this was no exception.

Miss 4 picked the fabric of her choice, no surprise there was pink somewhere there, and we went with the “drama” collar. The outer fabric is Koi Canvas multi colour Its a Plus (100% cotton), the lining is hot pink drill (100% cotton) and white faux fur (100% polyester).

Mackinaw front 3Mackinaw frontThis pattern is so well put together and the instructions really thorough. After printing 60 pages of pattern pieces alone, the task of cutting and taping was made easier by the fact everything lined up perfectly. There is also a table included to advise which pages to print for your view of choice.

Mackinaw close

The other great thing about this pattern is that it is unisex with a slight variation, no pleats for the boys and the choice of a normal collar or a drama collar and goes up from 12 months to 12 years. The pattern calls for bound buttonholes or you can sew normal ones, and the little addition of a hanging loop give this quite a high end finish and optional pocket flaps. It’s possible to really personalise this as you wish.

DbCA Mackinaw Coat Cover Page 600pxWhen you first get to reading through instructions, realising there are over 150 steps may be a daunting task for some. Let me explain this is due to the fact that the instructions are really thorough and literally walk you through a full bagged lining, optional bound button holes and immaculate attention to detail, step by step. The back belt loop is part of the back bodice, the drop shoulders are such to allow room for layering and also emmulate being wrapped in a cozy blanket and the front pocket openings are in the waist seam.

Mackinaw back                                                   Mackinaw back 3

My coat turned out a bit big for my daughter but I am not concerned. Winter is 6 months away and she will be layering underneath no doubt, so I say it was perfect. The pockets are a great addition, which child doesn’t love having pockets to put treasures in. I would suggest to just measure your childs’ arm length to ensure you get the right sleeve length.

After minimal final pattern modification I made miss 2 one as well but went with grey faux fur this time, a wiser choice to hide it being dirty. I went up a size from her measurements as I would love if she got at least 2 seasons from it. The outer fabric is Buzoku duck pink fluoro small spot (100% cotton), hot pink drill (100% cotton) for the lining, and grey faux fur (80% acrylic/ 20% polyester) for the “drama” collar. She is far less co-operative for photos.

V2 frontSecond time around things went together much quicker, this is not a fast sew by any means though. I went with bound buttonholes again and they were much neater, probably as I had more confidence this time around and had additional interfacing pattern pieces (a new addition to the pattern).

Front hanger   back hanger

It’s so nice to have a clean finished garment. My daughters are all set for the winter months. Maybe I should start thinking about my winter wardrobe a bit more.

back loop pocket

This coat requires time, patience and concentration but I think it’s worth it. Materials for each coat were about $50AUD but in my opinion I’ve ended up with a designer, one off, lined, faux collar coat that would have cost a lot more to buy. I know the quality of the fabric, workmanship and love that has gone into them and I’m sure they will last for a few years.

BothIf you join the Designs by Call Ajaire Facebook group you will get a special coupon code to get a discount when you purchase this coat through Etsy up until the 21st February, 2016. There is also a sew-along scheduled to start 23rd February, 2016 on the Call Ajaire blog if you think this is too daunting.

*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!!!!