Cashmerette Holyoke Dress

Disclaimer: I received this pattern for free in exchange for testing, but my opinions can’t be bought by patterns alone. I require cheese (preferably lactose free) and probably a good amount of tequila and cold hard cash. Feel free to send me that.

I tested the Cashmerette Holyoke dress ages ago and then left it unhemmed for ages after that. What can I say….I am a procrastinator.

As soon as I saw the pattern, I knew that I wanted to test the dress. I had been looking for something similar and the Holyoke fit the bill. However, when we tested it, it was something like March or February and not time for a sundress. Probably why I procrastinated on sewing the hem for so long.

Let’s chat a bit about the features of this pattern: princess seams, straps that cover bra straps, a long full swishy skirt, a waistband, elastic back for cheese room, and no buttonholes for a faux button placket. It’s pretty fantastic.

My tester version was made using a cheer patterned poly chiffon. The fabric has a crinkly texture. It was a bitch to sew with. It stretched out a bit when sewing the front neckline; although, steam from my iron worked at getting it back in shape every time. For my tester, I made a size 24 GH graded to a 26 at the waist. It fit pretty well except for being a bit wide at the shoulders and the neckline. Underneath, I styled it with that lovely white tank dress that I made with the Concord t-shirt pattern for a lovely 90s look. Look at me being trendy af.

I did a wicked job of almost making the pattern match at the front on the skirt completely unintentionally; luckily, the busy pattern doesn’t really make pattern matching an issue since I didn’t have enough fabric to deal with pattern matching across that many seams. Because of the sheerness of the fabric, I didn’t interface the pieces since it would show through. I took about 6 inches off the hem of the skirt, if not more in some areas due to the fabric stretching out. I made the dress a bit shorter than a maxi since maxi dresses are notoriously bad for making me trip.

I have made another version using the final pattern. However, that is reserved for the Minerva Crafts blog in August so I will just share a preview picture with you:

This version I shortened to knee length. I made the same size as the tester with no modifications. All the issues with the neckline and shoulders are very much improved in this version as well as the the armsyce being raised a bit more. I did move the straps in about a 1/2 when sewing due to my narrow shoulders.

The fit is great. The only change I will make is to shorten the centre front bodice a little bit as there is folding in that area due to my belly sending it up a bit. Yay for bellies.

I have plans for a ton more of these dresses. I really love the style and the fit. It’s a great sundress!

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Cashmerette Holyoke dress
  • Pros: Good size range. Lovely fit. Cup size choices are wonderful as usual. Covers bra straps! Cheese room comfort level with the elastic back waistband!
  • Cons: I mean… I guess the maxi only length, but like…. I can shorten shit in my sleep so not really a con to me.
  • Make again?: Well of course! I WANT ALL THE HOLYOKE DRESSES.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md5/5 stars

Designer Stitch Pippa Wrap top

I cut out this top LAST YEAR. Not even like in December. It was shortly after I made the tropical M7624 which Miss Bossy, you, voted for making. I said I would make the Pippa dress, however, turns out that I didn’t have enough fabric for a dress so instead I made a top. A few people will finally be happy that I made this though. Hahah.

The pattern is the Designer Stitch Pippa wrap dress and top. I cut out a size 10. The main issue with cutting out a top and then sewing it a year later is that sometimes our measurements change in that amount of time and things don’t quite fit the way they should. I’ve not changed much in my bust measurement but my stomach has changed a bit. This is one of those cases where I should probably have made a muslin first, but I made it work. My bust measurement puts me in a size 11, but my stomach and hip measurements put me outside the measurement chart. Like where Artax is after he sinks into the swamp of sadness. Yes, I just watched that video and cried a lot. Artttttaxxxxx. Um….moving on…

I didn’t make any changes to the pattern before cutting it out.

As you can see, I needed to wear a top underneath since the bust is too small. Even given the size change, though, that bust is definitely drafted for a cup size smaller than mine. If I were to make changes for another version, I would definitely choose to do an FBA on the size 10 instead of sizing up since the shoulders are wide already. I may even use a size 8 shoulder and then grade out.

The fabric I used is thrifted cotton dot. Not the greatest picture but it does show the texture. The dots are printed on with a puffy feel to them.

It’s cute fabric.

I added a ruffle to the bottom of the top since as drafted, the top is actually pretty short. And that’s coming from a short-waisted person here.

 

I’m sort of over wrap dresses like this, though. What do I mean? Well, the closure on right side is a button and a piece of elastic loop rather than a tie that goes through a hole and then ties around. I’m not sure what it is about these types of wrap dresses and tops that I hate but I never like how insecure they feel on me. A wrap dress with the tie just feels better to me. It might just be me or maybe it’s because my bust is so big that I feel like snaps and buttons don’t quite contain it. Hahah. Not to brag or anything. HA!

I’m really into how I styled it with the white tank dress (made using the Concord t-shirt pattern). It’s super cute. But the big question is will I make the pattern again. Honestly probably not. I know the pattern could easily be altered to be the type of wrap dress I like, but the fit issues (big shoulders, needing an FBA, etc.) combined with how much fabric it required… Well I am just not really up for that. I love the result of this look, but I’m not sure how else I would style this top.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Designer Stitch Pippa wrap dress and top
  • Pros: Okay size range (could definitely be better, but points for going to a 52″ bust). Cute style. Love the sleeves.
  • Cons: Drafted for a small bust for sure since there isn’t much fullness in the front and a pretty wide back and shoulders for the size. To me, when the shoulders are like that, it’s a drafting issue for larger sizes. Disagree with me. That’s okay, but shoulders and back don’t change too much due to fat so they don’t need to be too wide. Not a fan of the type of wrap it is at all… Buttons and pieces of elastic do not make Andie feel secure and probably send her to the swamp of sadness.
  • Make again?: Probably not.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md 3.5/5 stars

 

Workhorse Pattern Ione shirt

When the Workhorse Ione shirt came out, I knew I needed it. And then we got an offer from Becky to get the pattern for free for a CSC post. As usual, my opinions are my own in spite of getting free shit. Unlike other boxy style shirts with cut on sleeves, this top has an interesting yoke feature and sleeve bands. It boasts being a scrapbuster. You can colourblock and mix and match prints and fabrics with the yoke, sleeve bands, and the front and back. I also love the hi-lo hem. All of these features together are what sold it for me.

The sizing system for the shirt is a bit different than usual. You rely on finished garment measurements and choose your size based on what sort of ease you want. I was going for the boxy shape so I made a size 30 and graded out the hips a bit to give me more ease there.

My first version used leftover cotton voile from my Willow robe and a small cut of linen blend fabric. Underneath the top, I styled it with a Cashmerette Concord tank dress in a white cotton lycra.

I used the square neckline for both versions. In my first version, I found the neckline to be a bit wide so I added in a half inch on either side to bring it in.

My second version uses leftover gingham seersucker from my Sky jumpsuit and my Maple dress. I used the pink colour for the front yoke and sleeve bands. The front yoke is also lined with a bit of pink cotton leftover from a different project.

I love both shirts. They have a boxy fit and style. They work great with layering or with shorts.

I definitely want to make the top again. Probably using a drapier fabric next time with the tie neckline in the hack pack.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Workhorse Patterns Ione shirt
  • Pros: Good size range. Love the colourblocking style and neckline choices.
  • Cons: None.
  • Make again?: Well of course!
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md5/5 stars

Seamwork Audrey Jacket #sewyourpride

I’ve wanted to make a jean jacket for a while and the Seamwork Audrey was on my list. It’s one of few jean jacket patterns that actually goes up to my bust measurement. On one level, I find that appalling, but there are also not many jean jacket patterns out there with this style. The Alina Design Co Hampton Jean Jacket also has a similar look but only goes up to a 42″ bust. The lack of patterns going up to or beyond a 52″ bust isn’t shocking to me at all. Say there are a 100 patterns out there of a certain type; probably around 20 of those have a more inclusive sizing, but maybe 1 has sizing that goes beyond a 60″ bust. Soap box: it would be great to see companies that go into 50″ bust land upping that into 60″ bust land. Show the companies that are just starting to increase their sizing AND show them it can be even more inclusive.

Back to the jean jacket. What I really had in mind for a jean jacket was to get a lovely light pink denim. However, my budget plus the availability of light pink denim made that a future hope. LOL. Instead, I used three different stretch denims in my stash plus scrap fabric for my pockets and pocket flaps.

Because I was using denim, I wanted to use some of the sew on patches that I have acquired over the years to make a #sewyourpride project.

On the back, I used a large sequin rainbow and on the sleeves three pride flags and a Sailor Moon patch, because if you don’t know that Sailor Moon is an LGBTQ2+ show…then you watched the American dubbed version or didn’t watch it at all.

I made a size 26 with a large bicep adjustment. With my measurements, the size 24 would have been fine but I went with the size 26 to get a jean jacket perfect for wearing with hoodies in the fall. I love a layering piece. The pattern does run large, though, so just be aware of that.

I did faux flat fells for the seams and topstitched in a bright yellow using the triple straight stitch on my machine. I don’t like struggling with topstitching thread and the triple straight stitch looks so good.

The welt pockets have a different construction method than I have done in the past. The welt pocket facing actually gets folded up to become the welt. I love the method, actually. Later the method helped me since the pants I cloned for my husband use the same method. Basically, what I am trying to say is that I am a welt pocket expert now. Hahha. Joking, but I do feel really confident about them.

Some things I had issues with are the pocket bags for the welt pockets. I was careful about the placement but they still didn’t extend to the be sewn into the button band. I had to sew the tops of the pocket bags down. The welt pockets also open a bit too far back for me. So once I get the light pink denim of my dreams, I will move the location of the welt pocket closer to centre so I can catch the pocket bag in the button band as the instructions dictate. The flap pockets on the bust are also fake. I won’t change that, but it’s a bit ugh to put in fake pockets. I’m not a fan. I also don’t love the collar construction. You snip into the neckline to put it in. I worry that this method will lead to wear and tear in that area.

The jacket is definitely not perfect but I love the result. I can definitely improve on managing corners like on the waistband or the sleeve bands. It’s not perfect in those areas, but not too bad.

I’ve been wearing the jacket non-stop since I finished it so in spite of any “imperfections,” I love it. My fav style is to roll up the sleeves and wear it open. I used to have a jean jacket back in the 90s that I wore in this style and I loved it.

It’s strange how styles repeat themselves. I’m basically back in the styles that I loved back in my teen years. But this time, I am happier, more confident, and can sew the styles that were barred from me by lack of inclusive sizing. So, fuck you, 90s designers; I got this.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Seamwork Audrey
  • Pros: Okay size range up to a 54 inch bust and likely due to the oversized look can probably push that a bit. I love the details and all the topstitching. It’s a definite “classic” jean jacket style.
  • Cons: The issues with the welt pocket bags not going to the button band to be sewn into it. Faux pockets ughhh. Welt pockets are too far back.
  • Make again?: Obviously I still require a light pink denim version. OBVIOUSLY.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md4/5 stars

Rad Patterns So Over-it-Alls

Okay, I might have a problem with buying every overalls pattern out there. Yes, I have the Yanta overalls, too. When I saw Martha rock the So Over-it-Alls from Rad Patterns on IG, I knew I had to have them. And then they sat in my sewing queue for a bit. But truly what is better than overalls… obviously knit overalls. Hello, comfort to the max!

I made a 3XL to accomodate my waist measurement of 48-50 depending on the time of month. These are my first version so they aren’t perfect in terms of fit. That won’t stop me from wearing them all the time, though.

For my next version, I will narrow the bib at the top by taking out a wedge at the centre front. I don’t have any issues with how the front or back fit, but the length of the shorts means that my thighs want to eat the fabric (hence how they are bunching in the back, but the fit of the back is fine otherwise). They are meant to fit loosely with the drawstring pulling them in tighter.

I think they are super cute overalls and I’m not fussed over the fit issues. I used a ponte knit in a lovely raspberry colour from a local store. I just managed to get the shorts out of a yard and a half of fabric with some super strategic cutting. I’m pretty proud of myself for that.

Except for topstitching, I used my serger for the whole thing. Sure there are instructions that say don’t use a serger for this step, but I definitely just used my serger. It worked out just fine.

Some things about the pattern that I am not super thrilled about are the size of the pockets. I know I love to put the world in my pockets but my smallish phone *just* fits. I also don’t like that the waistband doesn’t have lines of channeling for the cord. It’s huge in comparison to the cord and the cord just goes wherever in that wise waistband. I’d fix this by sewing lines of channeling for the cord to sit nicely in. I am also not a fan of having the cord there and would prefer to used some elastic and then sew the cord to the ends. That tends to be more comfortable for me.

What else can I say about these? I love them and I could wear them 24/7. I’m going to hunt for some soft French Terry to make a longer cropped length pair. I can’t go to the store in my onesies, but these are pretty close in terms of comfort.

Edited to add: I used snaps for the straps instead of overall clasps because the size I ordered was too bit. The snaps look cute though so I actually need to get more of those now!

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Rad Patterns So Over-it-Alls
  • Pros: Great size range. Easy to make on the serger. Good instructions.
  • Cons: I don’t like that the waistband is so large given the size of the recommended cord for it. The cord goes wherever it wants in the waistband. Also the pockets are actually quite small imho.
  • Make again?: YES. I have a vision of these in french terry.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md4/5 stars

Me Made May Round Up 2019

This year for Me Made May, I didn’t pledge publicly before like I usually do. Part of that was due to surgery recovery and not being on top of things before or even 100% sure I would do any documentation or keep up my pledge. But I knew I would do sketches at least. My Body Model started the #sketchmystyle challenge for May. I did come up with the following challenge for myself:

  • Wear “me mades”
  • Sketch “me mades”
  • Try not to repeat
  • Follow themes: Dresses, skirts, comfy, rainbow

And if I didn’t achieve it or achieved it in part, that’s okay since surgery recovery hasn’t been as smooth as I had hoped.

I made 31 sketches of 31 outfits. I got 29 pictures of said outfits. Except for 2 outfits, they were all according to the themes for each week. I didn’t care to document how many “me mades” I wore but just that I wore them. I usually have three or more pieces on, because 98% of my underwear is made by me and then I wear leggings underneath everything until I switch to short leggings in the summer.

Dresses

From May 1 to 10, with the exception of 2 days, I wore dresses.

I wore Belmont leggings most days but didn’t always draw them in. Starting on the first line left to right: Turner dress, McCall’s 7624, Verity dress, Moneta dress; second line left to right: Simplicity 1549, Myrtle dress, Burda wrap tunic, and McCall’s 6887 with Jenna cardi.

Two days during this period didn’t get documented but did get sketched:

On the left, Prefontaine shorts and a RTW shirt; on the right, Concord tank top and Belmont leggings.

I was not feeling well so I took a day of rest.

Skirts

 

From May 11 to 17, I wore skirts. Starting on the first line left to right: Concord tshirt with Pavlova skirt, Swoon scarf neck cardi with self-drafted skirt and crop top using Simplicity 8096, modified Cedar dolman with Pavlova skirt. Second line left to right: Upton skirt with Brit top, Burda cowl neck with self-drafted skirt, Concord tshirt with self-drafted skirt, Concord tshirt with Pavlova skirt.

This is definitely my preferred style. I find skirts and tops to be the most comfortable for me. I love dresses, but skirts just feel more comfortable outside of say… the next bunch of looks….

Comfy

 

First line left to right: modified Cedar dolman and modified Forsythe trousers, Gabriela onesie, Concord tank top with Barton shorts. Second line left to right: modified Concord tshirt and Belmont leggings, Concord tank top and Forsythe trousers, Ophelia overalls with a Bronte top, modified Concord tshirt with Belmont leggings.

These looks are all for around the house, sewing, going to doctor’s appointments. All worn May 18 to 24.

Rainbow

The final set is according to the colour of the rainbow. There is one repeat here due to not having much in yellow.

 

Starting on the top line left to right: modified Concord tshirt and Belmont leggings, Cate’s Cousin top with Willow robe and Belmont leggings, modified Cedar dolman and Belmont leggings. Second line left to right: Upton dress with Swoon scarf neck cardigan and Belmont leggings, modified Springfield top with rtw rub-off leggings, Rivermont dress with Belmont leggings.

I paired each look with white, black or grey and for the most part went with solid colours. The Rivermont dress ended out the month with my favourite dress. I need to make more of those dresses asap.

It was such a fun month. Granted, the sketching and documenting took most of my attention. I did sew a bit this past month but overall didn’t have the energy to take pictures for blogging. That’s okay. I did tons while recovering from my surgery.

Me Made May

I loved sketching each of my outfits throughout the month. I also loved learning how to do digital sketches. I definitely need a better program for sketching, but I can see the improvement throughout the month. There weren’t very many revelations about my outfits this month. Just that I want to make more tops and overalls. I do need more bras, but that is always true. I can’t make enough of those. Also, underwear. But nothing is urgent. I have a great handmade wardrobe and really love how colourful and happy it makes me.

Health Update

I’ve sort of been skirting around (haha punny) the topic during this post, but I figure a health update is in order. I had my surgery on April 16th correcting my deviated septum and scraping out my sinuses. I got the stents (plastic bits that keep your sinsuses open) removed on April 23rd. I experienced a lot of pain with the stents so the removal was a relief, but after that the inflammation made it almost impossible to breathe through my sinuses and that is where I am at. My doctor gave me steroid nasal spray to help with that but I haven’t seen an improvement and I had a thrush reaction to the steroids. So that’s fun. I’ve also for the first time in my life been having Spring allergies. I hope it’s just an anomaly due to being sensitive after the surgery and not a permanent occurrence. I usually get allergies after the snow goes away before things start growing because of the levels of dust and mold in the air, but not with pollen. Thankfully it stopped feeling so terrible to sneeze. For about a month, it felt like I was tearing my nose off with a sneeze.

I’ve been pretty low in energy until recently (probably the past week). I’ve been really grateful for not working during this time because I definitely needed more time. Since my sinuses have been so congested, it’s been difficult to sleep. I have gotten sleep back more recently. Increasing my energy.

The other huge thing that happened is due to an appropriate amount of rest and meds plus cannabis, I actually reached zero on the pain scale a few times in the past couple of weeks making my rest more restful and restorative than it has been in a really really long time. All of this makes me realize how much working a full time job was hurting me. I was pushing far beyond my spoons and burning out fast. No wonder I had so little energy for anything else.

Of course, that makes me worried about finding a job in the future. Money will become a factor sending me back at some point but I hope I can figure out a means to work from home on my own schedule.

In other news, more hereditary factors kicked in. I was recently diagnosed with diabetes, which runs in my family, so I always knew it was a major risk factor. I have minor diet improvements to make, but overall my levels aren’t too bad. I’m just in the range so with meds and diet improvements, I could be normal within the next 6 months. Having another health thing to worry over, though, sucks a lot. My diet is already pretty restricted due to allergies and intolerances that having another factor to think about is a lot more labour.

A chronic illness is a full time job and a half. This is what I have confirmed in the past 2 and a half months of being unemployed. There is little escape or relief from it. To get to a zero on the pain scale, I really can’t do anything for the period of time my meds/cannabis are helping me there. I can only focus on recovery.

I wish people were more understanding of how much labour and time chronic illness maintenance takes.

 

Seamwork Sky Jumpsuit

Orginally published in part on the CSC

Over at the Sewcialists, they are having a theme month of Sew Brave, where you push yourself out of your comfort zone by sewing something that you wouldn’t normally sew either fabric-wise or pattern-wise or in any other way you want to interpret the theme.

For me, that meant a jumpsuit. I chose the Seamwork Sky, because I loved the look of it.

My measurements are: 52″ bust 48″ waist 56″ hips. I made a size 24 graded to a 26 at the hips to allow for fluctuations in my hip due to swelling with my chronic illness.

Other than grading between sizes, I also did a full butt adjustment and a full bicep adjustment (all the FBAs!). I also shortened the waist tie significantly since it was so long and I preferred to tie it at the back.

During construction, I changed the back invisible zipper to a front lapped zipper and changed a bit how the pockets are constructed since I didn’t like Seamwork’s pocket construction where it has you clip the seam allowance. There is no need to do that really. Their construction method is fine, though, just not my preference.

After putting the jumpsuit together and then trying it on, I found two things: 1) The crotch was super low on me. I am 5’3″ so I figured this might be an issue. 2) I didn’t like the full length in the seersucker gingham fabric (the tie is made with magenta tencel twill) I chose and decided that I would prefer a cropped length with elastic cuffs.

I raised the crotch by removing about 5 inches from the top of the pants. This worked for the most part except at the centre front where I wish I had split the difference and removed a bit from the bottom of the bodice as well. The waist seam hits lower than I prefer; I guess I really like the comfort of a high waist. If I make the pattern again, I would shorten the torso in the bodice and the bottoms as well.

After all of that, I do think I removed a smidge too much from the length but not uncomfortably so.

I am not sure if I will make the pattern again. I do like it a lot, but while I love rocking a onesie and throwing on a pair of overalls, I don’t think jumpsuits are my thing. I find the jumpsuit difficult to take on and off. I’m thinking if I were to make it again, I would definitely take the sleeves off as they make it hard to get on and off. Admittedly, I probably also need a longer zipper, too. That’s on me. I actually may remove the sleeves from this version or I will get a longer zipper. It’s honestly almost impossible for me to take off because of my limited shoulder mobility (well, I can move them but then they dislocate and that’s not fun…).

 

What it comes down to with this pattern or any other woven jumpsuit is that a muslin is pretty necessary. I wish I had given myself the time to do a muslin! LOL But I will call this a wearable muslin and try to figure out how to make it work.

All that said, I love the look that I created and love the fit on the bodice so I may be using that bodice again. It’s super cute. I’m glad I was brave enough to try the pattern out!

In other news, I dyed my hair red. I’ve been kind of absent here due to surgery recovery and a lot of costumes for my improv troupe as well as trousers for my husband. I’ve also been doing a Me Made May challenge on Instagram where I sketch each outfit. I’ve set themes as well (dresses, skirts, comfy wear, and rainbow). It’s been a lot of fun but also pretty time-consuming. Expect more regular posts again. I’ll also be posting over at the Minerva Crafts blog soon, too. I joined the #MinervaMakers team and started receiving fabric. I got my first fabric a couple of weeks ago and am getting ready to sew something up with it. I can’t wait to show you!

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Seamwork Sky Jumpsuit
  • Pros: Good size range. I love the V-neck.
  • Cons: Not a fan of some of the construction methods in the pattern (pockets). Difficult for me to get on and off due to mobility issues.
  • Make again?: I think I will use the bodice again for sure since I like the fit. I may not make a jumpsuit again, though. Although now that I am typing this, I would definitely make this again in a knit fabric since comfort is top of my list these days.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md4/5 stars

Would you like to join the Sewcialists for Sew Brave this May? Make something that pushes your boundaries or try a new technique! Check out the hashtag #SewBraveSewcialists on Instagram for some great inspiration, and if you aren’t already, follow @Sewcialists on Instagram!