Hello there! Remember me? Well, I guess it hasn’t been thaaaat long, but I think it must be one of the longest gaps between blog posts since I started this thing 5 or so years ago. It’s not like I haven’t been sewing, but I’ve been doing lots of little bits and pieces: some tests, some quilting (yes, I am truly well down that particular rabbithole) and I also finished up some projects that were sitting languishing: some kids clothes and some home goods. That felt good! Oh yes – and I went to Alaska on vacation, which was very cool!
But today is a great day to post, because Closet Core Patterns, as I’m sure you may have heard, have been busy with lots of exciting things! The team have released this wonderful new Pauline dress pattern, which I tested a few months ago, but also opened a brand new FABRIC store, Core Fabrics. OH YEAH. I mean, who doesn’t love a brilliant new fabric source? I tested their storefront a little and although they were still ramping up stock input, it was immediately clear that they were sourcing fabric after my own heart – eco-friendly from reputable sources. Excellent! I encourage you to go and check Core Fabrics out, but right now I want to fill you in on the Pauline dress and my rather extravagant black summer version in this post.
Oh man, this was one of those projects. I should have finished it about a week ago, but the last half d.r.a.g.g.e.d…. What happened was that I got all caught up on the yoke/facings part of the construction and got slightly frustrated – and then my enthusiasm to finish deflated like an overripe balloon. It’s a good thing that I love the finished result then, isn’t it? I’ll tell you straight up that, quite apart from the construction, the Named Reeta shirtdress is one of those garments that I wasn’t convinced was going to look any good riiigghhtt up until literally the last step or two of the project. It’s amazing what a difference the buttons and waist cording make. It looked very bathgown-y right up until that point – you’ll just have to trust me on that.
Another dress so soon, I hear you say? Well yes – this is one of the new patterns for Seamwork this month and I have to tell you, it’s a great month! I love both of the patterns on offer for July, but wasn’t too sure about the bust support factor for Siahra (although I know some ambassadors got around this, so am interested to read their posts on the matter), so I opted to make this dress – Killian. This style is absolutely up my street with its slight vintagey vibe and I’m delighted to report that it’s jumped straight into my favourite-dress-patterns-of-all-time list. I will definitely, definitely be making more of these, and perhaps with some variations, so stay tuned for those.
First though, you might wonder why I like it so much? Really, it’s because it has features that I think really suit me. It’s that simple. I’m also very happy with the fit I achieved and thought that it might be helpful for beginners (or anyone who’s interested) if I explain how I went about the fitting process. Obviously everyone is different, but one thing I found hard as a beginner was just assessing a pattern and figuring out what to tackle, and in which order. I’m not a fitting expert by any means, but I’ve definitely gotten better at fitting my body over the years, so perhaps it will help someone. I’ll pop that detailed section at the bottom of the post. Let me know if you have questions!
I wasn’t kidding when I said I was into dresses right now. I have this one, another two in progress and ANOTHER two prepped and just waiting to be cut out (which as you know, is my favourite thing to do (yes, I’m a weirdo, but I just adore the cutting part). This is the Seamwork Kimmy, which came out last year at some point. I really liked the version on the model and filed it under “potential future projects” in my brain, and then I saw some versions on Instagram that prompted me to order the copyshop version while I was getting some other stuff printed. It’s a fun little sundress , which is mostly a success, but I don’t think it will go down as a favourite of all time. Let me tell you why…
The Kimmy is described as: “a versatile dress that marries effortless style with ease and comfort. Dolman sleeves with adjustable gathers and an elastic waistline offer this frock its figure-flattering shape.” The pattern comes in Seamwork’s two sizing ranges: 0-16 in the misses range with a C cup block, and 18-26 in the curvy range with a DD block. There is an overlap between the two ranges now, but this is an older pattern, so the break happens at the size 16. The pattern is drafted for a height of 5’8″. I’m 5’6″ and didn’t make any changes to the length and, as you can see, it’s still fairly short – above knee length. You’ll probably want to check that if you have long legs.
Hello there and how are you? Hope you’re doing well this fine Friday night! I’m popping in with a short and sweet post on my latest summer dress, which is this adaption of the Paper Theory Zadie jumpsuit. It’s my third iteration of this pattern and so I’m not going to particularly talk about construction as I’ve covered it pretty thoroughly in my original jumpsuit post and also my more recent playsuit hack post. Suffice it to say that this dress version is as fast – nay, faster even – than the jumpsuit versions. You can get this sewn up in a few hours, no sweat.
The adaption was one of the videos from The Foldline’s lovely Sewing Weekender event, which took place last weekend. I’ve never attended before – for obvious reasons. The Foldline ladies are based in the UK and I live in Seattle. This year was online, however, and although I couldn’t see everything live in real time, most of the content was videos to watch at your own pace. They were all no more than half an hour and I was immediately drawn to this dress hack of the wonderful Zadie pattern from Tara at Paper Theory.
I signed up to test for Ensemble Patterns a long time ago and had completely forgotten about it, so it was a total surprise when I saw the call for testers for a new knit top with a difference. Celina from Ensemble had taken a little time off and was back with one of her patterns, which I was only too happy to do. I’m a fan of her work: I’ve made both the Perkins shirt, which I adore, and the Robinson trousers, which I wear all the time. She has great personal style, an edgy quality to her designs and I can always expect something a little bit different and on trend from her.
And here it is: the Pierce Vest pattern. The name slightly sells the pattern short, as the Pierce Vest comes in numerous lengths and can be sewn as a vest, a tee, a tunic and a full-length dress. As you can see, my final version was the dress and I love it! I made it from a beautiful thick knit jacquard that I got from Jumping June a while ago. It’s by Albstoffe and such nice spongey quality. I like it for this dress because it doesn’t cling, but skims, which is what I was after. You can use a variety of knits for this dress, although if your fabric has in excess of 40% stretch, you’re advised to size down.
I am so into summer dresses right now. I can’t say why exactly and, strangely, (because I like them a lot) I actually haven’t made many dedicated summer dresses. I now have several cut out and plans for another few, so that “problem” should be rectified soon!
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.