New test: The Willa Coat from Jennifer Lauren

Regular readers of this blog will know I enjoy testing patterns for Jennifer: the instructions are always superb; I always learn something new and, most importantly, end up with a very wearable garment. When I saw her Instagram tease back in July (wow – was it that long ago??) that she was releasing her first coat pattern this autumn, I was interested for the above reasons – and also because of the gorgeous looking tease pic! Luckily, I managed to get a test spot for the size 18 (Jennifer is very fair and allocates tests as they are applied for on a first come, first served basis). It was such an enjoyable project and there’s a ton to say about it, so settle in for the details*…

*or skip through the pictures. I won’t be offended.

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New outerwear: The Harry Cape from I AM Patterns

Yes! A cape! I know, I know. When I told my husband I was making a cape, the first thing he said was, “like a superhero cape?”. Understandably, I suppose. I didn’t really know what to come back with apart from, “well, it’s called the…umm… “Harry” cape – like, umm, well… the boy wizard Harry Potter, …I guess?” To which he rolled his eyes and sniggered. “Or”, I followed up, “maybe it’s what Prince Harry wears when he ventures out amongst the civilians in LA. You know… more of a regal thing?”. Frankly, I have no idea, but since it’s from the “I AM Magic collection” along with my floaty Irma dress, I guess the former is more likely.

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New dress: Irma shirtdress by I AM Patterns

So…yes… now for a definite bit of Covid frosting and some much needed distraction from current affairs! If you don’t know what “frosting” is in terms of sewing (or “icing” for us Brits), it’s the type of frivolous, exuberant sewing that doesn’t necessarily encompass the most practical, everyday of garments, but is sewing for the fun of it, using a striking pattern or perhaps some flamboyant fabric. And as you can see, I decided to combat the approaching winter blues by going for optimum frosting with colourful choices for both pattern and fabric. Ha!

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New dress: The Seamwork Devon for November

The Seamwork Devon is one of the November patterns for Seamwork and boy, are they both corkers this month! I would normally have sewn up both of them, had I not just finished making a bunch of jackets and coats, but I can tell you I’m really looking forward to seeing what everyone does with the Baz. Maybe I’ll come back to it early next year.

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New test: The Charlie Caftan from Closet Core Patterns in extended sizing

Well, I ended my last post by saying I would post this pattern test as soon as I were able to, but hadn’t realised that Closet Core Patterns had updated the Charlie Caftan extended sizing the same day as the Kalle pattern! Hah. I have the Kalle as a digital pattern, so got the update automatically, but as my Charlie pattern is a paper copy, I hadn’t realised, as I wouldn’t have received that update. At this point it’s pretty much impossible to know who has bought a paper pattern, I guess!

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New test: The Kalle shirtdress in extended sizing and a D cup

Oh happy days! It’s so lovely when some of your favourite patterns come in, or are extended to, your sizing. I’ve made the Closet Core Patterns Kalle pattern before and absolutely loved the process – it’s been on my list to make again ever since (I am not too great at repeating patterns as you may have noticed, but it is something I’m predicting will become more common for me, as fewer new patterns “catch my eye” these days. I guess I just have quite a few now!). I made my last Kalle crop top in regular sizing, which was fine, but I had to do a FBA on my D cup bust and it was a little tricky, given the fact it’s a dartless top. Looking back at my post, there are a few other fitting issues I can see that were beyond my skill level then, but could probably be adjusted these days.

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New top: The Flor Top from Bella Loves Patterns

Karma’s a bitch, as they say. There are several things that sensible sewists should not to do when working on a project and I committed a cardinal sin of sewing the other day. This massive ding-dong was to post a picture on Instagram of my bias binding progress, while making a jokey comment about how I rarely make a muslin. And, of course, this finished project is a very good example of why you should make a muslin, and particularly when you’re using a new-to-you designer. That’ll teach me.*

*Probably not.

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New skirt: The free Peppermint Pocket Skirt in Nani Iro linen

I’ve made a few of the free Peppermint Magazine x collaboration patterns and I’ve had pretty good successes with them. They’re popular for a number of reasons: they’re free* (of course), they’re good basics with a twist, but, most importantly, they’re drafted by good designers. Emily from In the Folds did a ton and this pattern is by Paper Theory, who brought out the Zadie jumpsuit and Olya shirt. I can’t vouch for the early ones, which seem to have much more restricted size ranges, but the ones I’ve made are solid.

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New skirt: Seamwork Sawyer plus a new Maya top

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I can’t seem to stop making green things, but August has definitely been The Month Of Pink. This weird Covid-19 period has had a whole range of effects on different people, from what I can tell. Talking to my sewing friends, some people haven’t sewn much at all and have found knitting or crocheting to be more soothing during this time. For me, it’s almost the opposite. I’ve had little periods where I couldn’t muster up the creativity for anything at all, but then have almost-manic bursts when I just want to sew 24/7. This has actually proved useful in terms of wardrobe planning, because I’ve ended up making two things that go together, more often than not.

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New top: The Cuff Top from The Assembly Line Patterns

You may have seen this top knocking about on Instagram or Facebook, as I have. It’s a simple enough design, but there was something about those cuff sleeves that kept piquing my interest.  Since I have no shortage of simple woven top patterns, I managed to resist until I saw the paper version at Drygoods Design stall at Sew Expo this year (pretty much my last social occasion pre-lockdown) and had a moment of weakness. I’ve made two versions, the second being more of a mash-up with the Maya, and I have some mixed feelings about the project, although mostly positive.

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