Carmen Flounce Skirt by DesignerStitch Patterns

When I look at my hand-made wardrobe, there are a few designers whose clothes I seem to be attracted too and testing* for DesignerStitch patterns is always up there for me. This newly release skirt was a no-brainer for me. Classy, elegant, fun and flirty were all words that came to mind when I saw the line drawing for the Carmen Flounce Skirt**, mostly because fabric choice dictates the overall outcome of where and how to wear this skirt.

                                          

I chose to use duchess satin (100% polyester) for my skirt as I wanted and elegant skirt that would pair up well with a number of tops in my wardrobe. This skirt requires fabric with a considerable amount of drape to show off the lovely drafted flounce but with some body so they don’t flop or droop. The duchess satin is also medium-bodied so I didn’t require lining, it has a nice luster and best of all it is durable, wrinkle-resistant (to some degree), and machine washable.

As always, the pattern is really well drafted and instructions are great. DesignerStitch patterns feature all the sought after features to make sewing a quicker and successful experience. The beauty of the Carmen Flounce skirt is that it comes in a range of sizes, two different lengths with the choice of either a standard waistband or a high torso waistband and also offers the ability to be made in a stretch fabric. There is a centre back invisible zipper, not necessary to install with the knit version.

I made an AUS 12 in the longer length, with the high waistband and the optional tie. Everything aligns perfectly during construction although some patience is required to hem the flounce, which is surprisingly long. The flounce is actually drafted such that there is no need to gather any fabric, and for some reason, gathering is one of my least favourite sewing techniques.

I’m really happy with both the fit and the final look of my skirt. If you love wrap skirts but don’t like the potential for accidental exposure, this skirt is a mock wrap.

Other tester versions have been amazing and I am contemplating a more casual tencel denim version for spring. Stay tuned for that!!!

Although I paired my skirt with a RTW simple silhouette, the skirt is perfectly accompanied by the Eleni Top from DesignerStitch Patterns, and to make your life easier, you can purchase the Eleni Top at the same time (for a complete outfit)  and you save 50% on the Eleni Pattern. Use code “carmeneleni” at checkout, whilst the skirt itself is currently at an introductory price of only $6.00.

 

*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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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

Daisy Chain Top with a Splash of Fluoro, a Bird Fest and Stripes

Debbie from Lily Sage & Co is amazing. A wife, a mother of 3, and an awesome pattern designer, and who knows what else she accomplishes in her daily life. She is really coming up with unique and fun designs and with such efficiency. I once again volunteered to test* her newest pattern. Some people don’t like the testing process but I have found it’s something I really enjoy doing. Possibly due to the fact there is a deadline so I know things need to get done and I would be letting someone down otherwise.

This pattern is the Daisy Chain Top. As all the other patterns I have made from Lily Sage & Co, the pattern fits together well and instructions are really clear and thorough. Version 1 is my tester version. This fabric was chosen by my oldest, she wanted both a skirt and dress but as it’s a little sheer, it would have required a lining, but for this project it’s the perfect weight to allow the gathers to flow freely. The only thing was that it was so light weight and I forgot to interface my button and buttonhole packets so hopefully they don’t give in to any strain. I had made a mental note of this at the time but should have actually written it down somewhere.

I made view A with the ruffle sleeves. Being a tester version I followed the instructions however  deviated when it came to seam finishes. Due to the nature of the fabric I chose french seams for the side seams for extra reinforcement.

daisy chain top front

                     daisy chain top side daisy chain top back

The instructions have you bias finish the neckline and the armholes after sleeve attachment so that all seams are enclosed and the inside is really neat.

The hem is quite long and I chose to do a rolled hem which was a little tricky as some of the gathered “skirt” portion ends up being on the bias although instructions recommend bias finishing.

daisy chain top twirl

Version 2 and 3 are using the final pattern. I believe that only aesthetic changes were made from the tester version, ie button placement on the back.

Version 2 is using some newly acquired fabric, printed voile honeysuckle SPV9292 in coral (100% cotton). Nothing to say except another nice addition to her wardrobe.

daisy chain birds front

                       daisy chain birds back daisy chain birds twirl

Version 3 was for my baby. I used fabric from a maternity top sitting in the cupboard waiting to be refashioned and some white top pop poplin (80%poly/20% cotton) for the ruffles. Due to my fabric limitations the width of the gathered skirt portion was 6cm less in this version but not overly noticeable. I was able to use the hem of the existing top for the hem of this top with just a bit of fussing to get the pieces aligned. I tried to match the stripes at the back and side seams best as I could. Otherwise I stitched it up exactly as instructed.

daisy chain top stripes front

 daisy chain top stripes side daisy chain top stripes back

I will mention I cut a size up for both girls than their measurements so the tops last longer but as you can see this is less obvious for my taller model. This is actually designed to be a loose fitting top anyway.

Both girls love their new tops and I can see some playing around with this pattern in the future to make some different versions. The pattern is probably for an advanced beginner due to techniques such as bias binding finishes, making buttonholes and attaching buttons, but there’s no reason why anyone couldn’t tackle such a great pattern especially with great instructions and diagrams.

PS. We always need to add in the token twirling shots!

*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. Debbie also offered the choice of one of her other patterns for free for being involved in this round of pattern testing.

Simplicity 6746 Feather Maxi Skirt

Continuing on with my maxi endeavours I pulled out this pattern from my stash, it’s from the 70’s. I can’t remember where it came from and is only in single size, mind you a lot smaller than what I wear. I had to enlarge the pattern amongst other alterations but I think, actually I know, I like the style of this skirt better than my self drafted one and will probably become my go to from now on, with a few touch ups of course.

simplicity 6746

The fabric is a boutique poly print (100% polyester), a bargain buy at $3/m and judging at the fabric it may be due to the fault on the border which didn’t affect my cutting layout whatsoever. It is quite sheer and of course being a light colour it required some lining. I use white pongee lining (100% polyester) from my stash but unfortunately in the sunlight is still sheer and requires a slip underneath for modesty. This is a four gored skirt pattern, a real fabric hog actually. I didn’t want to break up the feather repeats with a seam so cut my front piece on the fold and following the straight grain.

Fabric

My measurements were about 20cm larger than the pattern so had to enlarge both front and back by 10cm (5cm at each side at the waist and hip) and then straightened out with a curved ruler. In the end my pattern pieces didn’t fit the width of the fabric so I slimmed the skirt by about 17cm in total at the hem but as you can see it still has lots of movement and is quite flowy.

simplicity 6746 front 2

           simplicity 6746 frontsimplicity 6746 front 3

I constructed the skirt using french seams because of the sheerness of the fabric and eliminated pockets for this reason too but next time will definitely add them in. I also used a french seam at the centre back using this tutorial from Handmade by Carolyn when putting in my 7 inch white invisible zipper. The lining was cut narrower than the fashion fabric and finished off with a straight stitch and neatened with the serger. The lining is slightly too narrow however to take large strides when walking so I will probably need to go back and open up the side seams to create some splits.

I attached the waistband last and used the width of the pattern piece provided and extended the length to my measurements and to create a fairly big overlapping waistband at the back to include a trouser hook and eye. I hand stitch the waistband from the inside. The fashion fabric was too big when putting the skirt together so I added in two back darts to compensate and they aren’t very visible anyway. One would think perhaps they were part of the plan if they didn’t know any different.

simplicity 6746 zip and darts

 simplicity 6746 lining

The lining was attached by machine at the zip for a neat finish and I added some small pleats at both the front and back to allow for ease. The skirt was hemmed using a narrow rolled hem. I’m happy with how this has turned out and worn it twice already but as I mentioned I would love to add pockets and perhaps take out some width at the hips next time.

simplicity 6746 side

             simplicity 6746 skirt width simplicity 6746 back 2