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.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Batgirrrl, Batgirl!

Batgirrrl, Batgirl!
Batgirrrl, Batgirl!
The Bug has been requesting a Batgirl Halloween costume for about three years. For two of those years, I was able to talk her out of it. This year I decided to go for it.

She specifically requested a "real" Batgirl which meant no tutu to soften things up.
 Her cape was made from one of daddy's old tee shirts. I cut off the front of the shirt, leaving the neck binding for her to slip over her head. None of the edges are finished since knit won't fray. This was a super easy way to make a cape.
 She had a lot of fun with this photo shoot--pretending to fly and fight crime is right up her alley.
 I used a leotard pattern from Mountain Ash that I've sewn up several times now. It's surprisingly a quick and easy sew if you are comfortable with knits. The pants are the Go To Leggings pattern--also a very very quick and easy sew.
 The fabric is a silvery knit that I ordered from It didn't work for the project I intended it for but it works well for this application.
All of the accessories were made from felt. She requested a pink mask so I made the belt buckle bat pink too to help tie it in.

She loves it. I love that she loves it.

We are both excited for Trick or Treat!


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Little Betty Top

I recently acquired the Little Betty top pattern from SewPony Vintage.
It's one of those patterns I know the Bug would have loved about 3 years ago.
She is 7 now and usually ruffles are not approved.
I was taking a risk but I wanted to see if I could make the ruffles grown up enough that she'd be into it.  The top was interesting to me, I'd never made anything like it so I wanted to give it a try. 

Forgive the squirrely hair. It was a crazy windy day and keeping it out of her face and looking neat was near impossible.
 So as to give it the best chance for success I used this nice buttery knit from Eurogirls in two of her favorite colors.
I'm not sure why the button in the back since it's knit I don't think it really needed it, but it sure is cute.  My loop could be a bit smaller, eh? I'm just now noticing that.
She says she likes it. So far, she has worn it a grand total of one time. For this photo shoot.  So I don't know that I'd count that a smashing success but it was fun to sew and I think it's super cute.
It's a nice addition to the Fall wardrobe... if you girl is less ruffle adverse.


Monday, October 13, 2014

Etage Pattern Test

I had a chance to test the Etage Dress and Top PDF pattern by Sew Straight and Gather.
Now that the pattern has released I can blog about it!
This top was a bit more involved of a project than I usually do for the Bug. Typically she likes simple, simple, simple and comfortable. But I thought perhaps this style with the tiered swirly ruffles might do the trick.  It is knit after all and very comfy.
This top was made from the first tester version of the pattern. Some of the angles have been changed but the essence is still the same.
The pattern itself is very well written.
If you sew with PDF patterns, you really should do at least one pattern test for a designer if only to appreciate the process they go through to make sure everything about their design and tutorial are perfect.  This pattern is no exception. It went through several pattern revisions and few different layouts before being good to go.
She says the shirt is very comfortable.  I think that's due in part to the fabric. These are lovely mid-weight knits I bought from EuroGirls Boutique. It was my first purchase from them but it will not be my last. The knit is such high quality, so soft and easy to sew with.

That said, I think personally, I would have preferred this particular top done in a knit with a bit less weight and perhaps more of a solid color. I really loved some of the other tester photos that made theirs of up-cycled tee shirts.  The ruffles seemed to lay a bit better.  After I took these  photos, I trimmed off my hems and left them all raw. That helped a bit.  All one color would be nice too. This is a bit busy for my liking. With those tweaks I think this would really be a fun top or dress.

As always, I'm so thankful for the opportunity to test.  I love trying new things and new designers and testing gives me the chance to do that. Not to mention learning from all of the other pattern testers. Some of those ladies are pretty amazing.

So go get your Etage top or dress pattern. I can see some adorable (and comfortable!) holiday outfits coming from this pattern!


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

All Spice Dress pattern test

I had the opportunity to test the new All Spice Dress pattern by Paisley Roots.
It's a lovely dress with lots of options.  I tested the flutter sleeve and sleeveless but there is also a cap sleeve and long sleeve--truly making this a dress for all seasons.
The real focal point of this dress is the bodice. I chose a zipper closure because I felt a front zipper was really fun, unique and unexpected.  If the Bug were younger, I probably would have chosen the button option since she liked to unzip things!
For the fabric I chose this really soft, lightweight poly cotton blend. It's so silky and smooth on the inside while the right side has nice texture from those raised dots.
Here you can see the detail of the bodice. I love the square neckline. Three pleats on either side accent the zipper nicely.  I did my top stitching in the same green as the zipper. I think it adds a fun punch of color.
It's such a lovely combination.  There was a bit of a fit issue for some people with the first version of the pattern so it went through several edits.  This grey dress was an early version. The fit for the Bug was fine but I totally appreciate all of the tweaking to get things just right.
When the last of the pattern updates had been made, I sewed up another version to test out the final fit.  The Bug is just a hair bigger than the chest measurement for the size 6 so I went with the size 7.  You can see she has a bit of room to grow but it's not excessive.  I'm hoping it will still fit next Spring.
This time I skipped the sleeves altogether and just went sleeveless.  I think it works with this print. A flutter sleeve would have been too frilly with all those flowers.
The fabric is from a thrifted sheet so it's super soft.  I was also able to reuse the sheet hem for the bottom of the dress.  Hooray for shortcuts! I hate hemming.  I did cut the skirt panels shorter than the tutorial required to account for the pre-done hem so the skirts final measurement would be the same.
We have another hit on our hands. I took a big risk with both of these dresses. They are not in the Bug's typical color scheme (Pink, Purple and Blue) so I knew I was pushing it. But so far, she really likes them.  She likes that they spin (of course) but she also thought the front zipper was pretty neat.  I was surprised but one of the first things she noticed and commented on was the pleating detail.  It does my heart good that she is learning to spot and appreciate those details!

The All Spice Dress pattern should release today! I'll update my links here as soon as it does. You're going to want to get this pattern.  With so many options, you'll sew the All Spice again and again.

Edit--This just in! The All Spice Pattern is now available and if you get it before Sunday it's 25% off with the code ALLSPICE