Friday, August 14, 2015

The Driehoek Dress test for the Eli Monster

I don't usually take pattern tests so close together but the opportunity to test the Driehoek Dress by the Eli Monster popped up just as I was finishing the last test and I couldn't pass up the chance.
The Driehoek is a short and swingy dress with a fun, unique bodice shape.
I picked out this fun black and white rose print from my stash of vintage fabrics. I really love the way it works with this design.
The bodice is fully lined so there are no itchy seams up there.
I knew the black and white would be a real stretch for the Bug so I made the bow pink. I do like the way it really "pops".
This dress is so fun and fluid. It hits just above the knee. We added leggings underneath, making it more of a tunic. The leggings were basically to cover up the eight neon band aids covering all of the mosquito bites on her legs. Those things are terrible this year.
I love the fit of the bodice. It's just right. Again, I made the size 6 bodice with size 7 dress length and it was spot on. I love when there is no gap under the arms.
The back closure is an invisible zipper. I used a hot pink one to match the bow... but I did a better job of actually making it invisible this time.
I had her dance around quite a bit to make sure we didn't have any wardrobe malfunctions with the top but the fit is so good, it stayed put.
The Driehoek Dress is available from the Eli Monster at a reduced price through this Sunday. It's recommended for an intermediate sewing level (which I think is pretty accurate) and comes in size 6 month to 12.  If you are a sucker for unique designs like I am, this is a great pattern to add to your collection.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Feestje Dress by the Eli Monster

I was chosen to test a pattern for a new to me PDF pattern designer, The Eli Monster.
This is the Feestje Dress, a fun, full party dress with a bit of a retro vibe.
The Bug's chest measurement put her in a size 6 bodice and her height in a size 7 so we mashed up the two. It was hard, knowing that I usually purchase size 8's for her in ready to wear and often sew 8's as well. But I'm glad we stuck to the measurement charts. This bodice fits with just enough ease that she can get it on comfortably and not so much that it gaps under her arms.
It has a very full, gathered skirt that is right above knee length. She is wearing a petticoat underneath to add some volume in these photos.
One of the really unique features of this dress is the collar and the accent piece.  While the Bug doesn't like that part (there truly is no accounting for taste, is there?), it's really what makes this dress special and different.
The finishings in this pattern are nice. I like that she uses an invisible zipper closure and not buttons. (Even though I stink at making invisible zippers invisible, I think it still looks nicer) 
The seam that attaches the skirt to the bodice is encased in bias tape and the bodice itself is fully lined so there are no exposed seams there. The only seams that are exposed are the skirt side seams and those would be super easy to make french seams if you wanted.
I didn't have any issues printing or assembling the pattern. The pattern is not layered, which I would have preferred but it's not a deal breaker for me.  Dimensions are given for the rectangular pieces which saves some work (and ink) when assembling the pattern.
The size range of this pattern is pretty good. You get size 6 month through size 12 all in one pattern so you could have party dresses for years to come!
The instructions are given alongside clear photographs of the process. Sometimes photos can be a little harder to follow than diagrams, but these are clear and really help guide you through if you are a visual person.  

The layout and design of the pattern is pretty standard of PDF patterns. 

This is listed as an intermediate level pattern and I think that's a fair gauge of difficulty. While not a tough sew there are some things (like the invisible zip) that you need to have a bit of experience under your belt to feel comfortable with.
And now for my secret...
This fun circle print fabric used to be my drapes. When we moved into our house they didn't really work but I loved the print so I saved them. I think it's such a great print to make this retro dress a bit more modern.

You can get your own Feestje Dress pattern at the Eli Monster website. It's on sale for $7 today through Friday. And while you are there, check out her other patterns. They have a really fun retro modern feel to them and I'm excited to try my hand at some more.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Urban Garden Dress Pattern Test

It seems I can only blog lately when testing a pattern. Can you believe I still have draft posts from Christmas? Ridiculous.

This month I had the opportunity to test another pattern from Sew Straight and Gather, the Urban Garden Dress and Tank.
This dress has a knit bodice with a racer back. The skirt can be knit or woven and it has a hi low hem.
The front neckline has an optional ruffle.

The pattern also had a tank option which has a sweet gathered peplum, rather than the hi low skirt. You can see photos in the pattern listing or on the Sew Straight and Gather Facebook group.
I sewed up this pattern in a size 8. The Bug is just a hair over the chest measurements for a size 7 so the bodice on this has a little bit looser fit than was intended.
For my first Urban Garden Dress I fell in love with the combination of the narrow stripe knit with this floral woven (both from my stash). The pattern is designed for a more stable knit that has a bit better recovery. I wasn't unhappy with this version of the dress but I knew it wasn't really a great "test" since I used a type of fabric that wasn't recommended.

I still love it though. I love pairing up patterns like that.
The Bug loves it too. That lightweight knit is her favorite since it's so soft and comfy.
I decided to sew up a second test with a more stable knit on top.  Even so, you can see the fit is still loose under the arms. I probably should have attempted a size 7.  Maybe next time... or maybe she will just grow! 
 I really like that this pattern doesn't take a ton of yardage.
I was able to make both of these dresses from fabric found in my stash.
I love this pattern. (Did I already mention that?)
I like making a dress that looks like I could have purchased it in any store.
I'm not a fan of the "boutique" style stuff with all of the over the top ruffles and flounce, nor do I like the skimpy, midriff showing stuff on the other end of the spectrum.
Terri strikes a nice balance her with a modern classic that is simply beautiful.
The Urban Garden Dress PDF pattern has an unheard of range of sizes, 2Y to 16Y. It's layered so you only have to print the size you want. I love that.  

And the style is actually cute on that whole range. You know how I know? Because she actually put a picture of  5 different sized girls on the front cover! This is awesome because I can show this to the Bug, who is a 8 going on 15, and she can see that the dress looks nice on a girl her age and a girl older than her which seriously ups the "cool" factor and makes her way more likely to wear what I make.
I'm not sure when she started looking so grown up.
Like I said, 8 going on 15.
Like all of Terri's patterns, this is one quality product. It is full of hints, tips and suggestions to help make your sewing a success. The layout looks nice, is clear and progresses logically through the steps.  She uses drawings to help visually guide you through.
The Urban Garden Dress and Tank releases this week.  It is on sale for $6 right now. I promise, it is a tremendous value even at full retail. (But why pay more? Am I right?) If you sew for girls, this is a great pattern to have in your collection.
What are you waiting for?

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Antalya Dress Pattern Test

Another recent pattern test I participated in was the Antalya dress by Kid Approved for Willow & Co.
The first draft of the pattern was a tad bit short for a dress but we love it as a tunic.
It has a fun design. Dolman style sleeves, contrasting side panels and a fun curved gathered skirt. There are also instructions for optional piping.
It was so chilly the day we took these photos. We had to move quickly.
Another unique feature is the exposed zipper. I'm not usually a fan of that trend but I thought it was cute on this pattern and wanted to try something new.
Though it's not a recommended fabric, i sewed up the second version of the pattern in a stable knit. (With permission from the designer of course) I was curious how it would work. The Big wears knit way more often than cotton.

As you can see the length is more appropriate for a dress in this edit.
I should have sized down to account for the stretch but out of laziness I opted not to cut the pattern again. It made for a very loose fit but should be wearable for a while.
The zipper in this one looks much nicer. Perhaps there really is something to that practice makes perfect thing.
The Antalya dress releases this week!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Cousu Coat, Pants and Top Pattern test for Sew Straight Pattern Co.

I am emerging from an unintended blogging hiatus because I have to tell you about this pattern testing I just finished for a set of patterns by Sew Straight Pattern Co.
Let me preface this review by explaining... all fabrics were chosen by the Bug... lest you think I've lost my marbles when you look at these pants!
First up, the Cousu Trousers and Gauchos. Obviously, I made the pants not the gauchos.  Please go and look at the lovely pattern photos so that you can see the details of th darts and top stitching that are totally lost in this busy fabric.  The pattern is gorgeous. Gorgeous. Like... someone draft this pattern in lady sizes, k? Because Momma would like a pair... just not in tie dye.
This girl... she is getting entirely too grow up looking, yes??  Someone in the pattern testing group referred to her as a "tween" and my heart skipped a beat.  She is still 7 folks!! For a few more weeks anyway. But yes, the attitude and the style choices are veering from childish to more grown up and she can look very much older than she is.

But back to the pants... They are a lovely wide legged pant with an optional cuff (I opted out of the cuff), six darts, a flat front and elastic back and pockets.  The Bug refers to them as "Mom pants" which I think it supposed to be a compliment (she's not so much of a "tween" that she is embarrassed by how I dress... yet...) since I wear a lot of wide legged pants to work.

There is also a gaucho option which is super crazy adorable and in hindsight, she might have gotten more wear out of. These pants may not get worn much. Not because they aren't impeccably made and a beautiful style, just because this girl lives in skinny jeans and leggings. Wide legs are perhaps a bit too sophisticated... even when in crazy tie dye... for her. But we shall see.
The second piece in the collection is my favorite of the three, the Cousu Coat.  Isn't it darling? The theme of the darts is carried through here onto this swing coat.  I think there were something like ten of them total between the front and the back but really, I lost count.
I don't usually spend this kind of time sewing anything.  The Bug can be so fickle and my time is so limited that I generally stick to quick and easy projects that I'm sure she will like.  But this was worth the risk because I loved the pattern so much.

This coat was more of an intermediate level pattern in time spent and skill set required but it was so fun to challenge myself a little bit on those skills that I've allowed to get rusty.
Several of the testers played with contrasting yokes in the back which is such a pretty option. We stuck with simple so as not to compete with those pants. Ha!! Also, pink... you know... you just can't lose.  You can see the darts and top stitching a bit here. I wish I would have taken more of a close up so you could see the detail.  This is a quality garment.
The coat is fully lined. You'll see the Bug got her crazy rainbow of color in here.  It suits her and it finishes off the jacket so nicely.

Since taking these photos, at the Bugs request, we replaced the flower buttons with some simple round covered buttons which tones down the whole look.

It's such a lovely dress coat and the fit is so good.  It reminds me of my own favorite spring jacket that I got at H and M like five years ago and just can't part with.  I know this won't fit her that long but it's so classic it will certainly work well for her sweet cousin in five or so years as a hand me down.
Finally, my last test for this round, the Cousu Top and Dress pattern.  This little top was a really quick and fun thing to sew. I knew right away that the Bug would like it because it's knit and sleeveless.  I love that it's big on style without being over the top ruffles and such.
Bless her heart it was in the low 40's when we took these photos. She was such a trooper.  
The top features a pleated bodice and three pleats on the "skirt" part. The band pulls it all in on the bottom.
I've done a good deal of pattern testing over the last few years for several different PDF pattern designers. It's a process I love and I'm so happy to be able to help these ladies bring their dreams to fruition. As such, I've seen a lot of patterns.  I've come to know the behind the scenes and the tremendous amount of work that goes in to putting out just one PDF pattern.
That said, Sew Straight Pattern Company has become a fast favorite of mine.  Teri's patterns are aesthetically beautiful which tells me at first glace that she takes great pride in the product she's putting out there.  As well she should, these patterns are well put together and full of excellent information.  The instructions are clear and thorough.  The designs are modern.  They have simple, classic lines and great details and technique.  They are well worth the money.  These are classic pieces that I know I will sew again.
Teri has curated a group of pattern testers that stays pretty consistent from test to test which has created a neat dynamic that feels a bit like a social sewing circle. It totally adds to the experience and I'm so thankful to be part of it.
This Cousu pattern set is set to release March 27.  Keep an eye out!
And watch the Sew Straight and Gather blog for a round up of other tester photos. You really need to see what the other talented ladies have done with this to fully appreciate the versatility and simple beauty of these garments.
She's such a goober.