I have to tell you that I almost gave the game away this month! I’ve been wearing this Seamwork Kari romper on and off since I made it and I allmooossttt put a picture on my Instagram account for Me Made May. Argh! Luckily, I realised in the nick of time and didn’t post. This romper is just a perfect summer garment – breezy, so easy to fit and with secret shorts – what’s not to love?
It’s also named after my fellow Seamwork Ambassador who is called Kari (I bet you guessed that already) She makes so many great garments and is such a nice person – check out her account at @littlebrickhouse on Instagram. Her namesake pattern is, as you can see, a romper. For me, that is such a funny name, because where I come from rompers are only worn by babies. We would call this lots of other things, but not a romper. Still, now that I’ve used the name, it’s stuck in my head, so I’ll probably be calling it a romper forevermore, although it will still definitely, definitely always conjure up a mental image of me wearing a giant babygro.
Say hello to the Grainline Cortland Trench! I tested this coat wayyy back in September last year and it was actually the first time I tested for Grainline. I had been slowing down my testing last year actually, but then a couple of companies I admire got to the testing stage for their extended size ranges in a big way and requests started coming in. There is a bit of discussion on pattern testing right now and I will cover that separately I think, but for now I’ll tell you that I was more than happy to test for a company that is trying to expand its sizing range in a professional and considered way. I enjoy the chance to give “real” feedback on a product that fits my type of body, which the designer may or may not have a ton of experience with. Grainline does recompense us with a small cash sum and a pattern from its collection, but one of the big reasons I enjoy testing, and one that I haven’t seen anyone mention in the current discussion, is that I get something out of it personally in terms of sewing skill. I think it’s a great chance to work personally with a designer and I’ve previously focused on testing patterns that I 1) like – so I’ll wear the final product and 2) that are a challenge for me skill-wise in some way. This is a different form of “payment”, but it has been an important one for me.
Anyway, there’s no better skill-improver than a jacket and when I saw this would be a short swingy kind of trench, I was immediately interested. Just the sort of autumn project to get my teeth into, I thought. Whatsmore, the Cortland features bound seams as a seam finish, which is a technique I’ve been wanting to try for some time, so that totally sold me and I agreed to test the 18, which is a D cup and pretty much bang on for my measurements (which are 44, 37, 46).
I’ve been saying I was going to make another Paper Theory Zadie foreeeevveeerrr. As with everything, it goes on a list and then I get to it at some point, either when I have a moment to spare OR when it totally jumps the queue for some reason. This was one of the latter occasions and it happened because I kept thinking I didn’t have a suitable fabric that was long enough (I’ve been really trying to stick to sewing from stash whenever possible for a while) and suddenly the lightning bolt struck me in the nonce and I thought, “It’s getting hot outside. Let’s take off all our clothes. Okay, not all our clothes, but maybe just the LEGS! Let’s make the Zadie with short legs AKA shorts!! Eureka!”.
Alright, so it’s not exactly invention of the century (and, indeed, Instagram has shown me other sewists were way ahead of me) but I am surprised that more people haven’t made a Zadie with shorts to be honest. One of the reasons I really love the Zadie is that I’ve discovered that I wear my first one, made in an airy double-gauze, everywhere when it’s warm (also in layers at other times of the year). It is the PERFECT holiday garment, because it’s light with good sun coverage, it has legs to stop your thighs swelling like balloons and chafing (if you don’t know what I mean, lucky old you), but it still looks modern and put-together. I love it.
The Tres quilt was the second quilt kit I bought in a sale a couple of years ago in order to get my quilt journey going. The first was the Patchwork Quilt, which I finished as my first ever quilt and I wrote lots about how I found basting and quilting it myself at home. For this second, I thought it would be fun to try out a longarm machine. I want to make a large quilt for my parents and I know that it will be very difficult for me to quilt that one on my tiny domestic machine, so I wanted to know if it was even worth trying to do it myself on a longarm, or whether I should just send it to a professional for quilting. I know now that lots of people do send out their quilt tops, but there’s something about the fact that it’s a special gift that makes me feel like I want to do it myself. I’m sure I’m not alone.
Now to the second part of my final Sewing Bee outfit! As I mentioned in the first post, the theme for this round was to make an outfit for a post-pandemic event or activity and my immediate choice was to fly back to Scotland and party it up with my friends and family, who I haven’t seen for a while. I knew I only had 4 days to make the whole thing, so to have any chance of completing it and not just making, say, a t-shirt for the final, I had to take a guess at what the final round would be. As it turns out, I was very close ( a few of us had guessed it would be something like this) and so I had a little headstart as I’d already decided on my theme and inspiration. I still made a few changes before and during the construction process, but my rough plan was to:
Make a three-piece outfit inspired by the landscape of Scotland
Make an outfit that would be suitable for the plane journey home and then as a party outfit on arrival
Make something wearable that would fit in my wardrobe
Hello there! Well, I didn’t end up winning a prize in the Pattern Review Sewing Bee, but, without wanting to sound like a cheesy cheeseball, I was really pleased to have made it to the final 12 on my first time. There were some amazing sewists taking part and I was genuinely the most relaxed I’d been in the final week, because I really didn’t think there was any chance of me winning. Nevertheless, I am so happy with the outfit I came up with. I feel like I put 110% in and couldn’t have done any better, and that’s all you can ask for isn’t it?
Since there are three garments in my final outfit, I’m going to split this post in two and concentrate on the pattern that was new-to-me today and that was the Style Arc Casey coat. I’ll probably go into this more in the second post, but, briefly, the theme was an outfit you would wear to a post-pandemic event or activity of your choice. There was no stipulation as to how many garments you needed to make, but… looking back at previous years of the final round it was obvious one garment wasn’t going to cut it. I only had 4 days (!) before we went on our little spring break getaway, which was the first little getaway in a long time and there was no way I could cancel or miss it. So, to cut a long story short, I threw caution to the wind, and decided just to get my head down and go for it, with a planned outfit of three pieces.
Rarrrrr! I’m back from Spring Break and it’s time to catch up on some blog posts. As you may or may not have been following, I’ve been sewing in the annual Pattern Review Sewing Bee. I entered for the first time this year and as of the time of writing this, have just submitted my entry for the final round – Round 4. We find out who wins this week I think but I am 99.99% sure it won’t be me. I think my final round outfit was pretty cool, but there are some truly amazing creations in the gallery. Check them out here if you have time and are interested. Also, here are my entries for Round 1: Pyjamas and Round 2: Denim Repurposing that got me this far.
Buttttt, before that, I need to write up my entry for Round 3 that got me to the final! As you can see it’s a raincoat for when you want to stand out in a crowd! Haha. The challenge for Round 3 was “pattern-matching”. The rules stipulated that to qualify you only had to match across one seam or area in a “seamless” way, but of course, we all knew that we’d need to match across more than one seam to have any chance of getting through the round. Where my biggest challenge in Round 2 was really about the fit of my dress, this was at the other end of the spectrum. Fit was not so much the issue as cutting and precision work.
Alright folks – I’m going to tell you this upfront. Fasten your seatbelts, because this is going to be a longggg post. I have so much to say about this project. First – I got through Round 2 of the Pattern Review Sewing Bee! Yayyy! I really wasn’t sure how it was going to go, but I was very fortunate to be one of the 26 sewists who made it through to the penultimate round. This means, of course, that I am in the throes of Round 3 – it’s all about pattern matching and I reckon this is going to be extremely tough to get through, but – first! – let me tell you about the challenge for Round 2.
The brief for the round was to repurpose denim garments and make a brand new garment plus an accessory. All in 6 days! The source of the denim had to be from garments (no stash fabric at all) and you had to take photos of the original garments as part of the entry.
Hello again! In a break from my current SIEGE of Sewing Bee sewing (what have I done???), here is a post for a test I did a couple of months ago for one of my favourite pattern designers, Closet Core Patterns. As everyone knows, loungewear with a capital L has been one of the big hits of the last 12 months or so for obvious reasons. We have never lounged like we did in 2020 and, hopefully, we never will again. Nevertheless, loungewear isn’t going anywhere and Closet Core Patterns brought out two new patterns today that are destined to ramp up your cosy couture game.
The Mile End Sweatshirt and the Plateau Joggers form the Montreal collection and are on sale right now if you buy both together in a bundle. I tested the Mile End sweater and was pretty excited when I saw the name as I went to university in Mile End – however, it turns out this one is in Montreal and I went to the one in East London. Hah! Still – it was a nice connection! I actually made two different versions. The first one was a proper “test” garment and the second was because I really fancied trying one of the views. Or two of the views as it happens – it’s a bit of a mashup.
Hello there! I decided that I might enter the Pattern Review Sewing Bee contest this year. It seems fairly tough and is based on (I’m assuming?) the show, The Great British Sewing Bee, of which I am naturally a big fan. You’re given an assignment and have a limited number of days to post your finished garment and review, whereupon you are judged according to a set of criteria and may or not progress through to the next round, knock-out style. There are four rounds altogether and I’ve admired so many of the entries for previous Bee rounds, but never entered myself until now. The first round for 2021 was announced to be “Sew Your Own Unique Pajamas” and I figured I’d give it a go. Would I regret it? Read on to see!