Muna and Broad Torrens Box Top

Disclaimer: I received the pattern for free but my opinion is my own. Check out the CSC post for more versions.

Muna and Broad is one of the newer indie pattern companies run by Leila (@Leilasews) and Jess (Broad in the Seams). They are a plus-sized pattern company and really put a lot of work into making sure their patterns have a lot of plus-sized alterations built in. I have the Glebe pants and will be trying them out soon (my muslin is already cut out); I also tested their Undies/Period Undies pattern and it’s life changing! You’ll see those on the blog soonish (although just the undies not the period undies since I don’t have the materials for those yet). The Torrens Box top is a boxy silhouette top with sleeve bands and a sleeve extension pack.

My first version of the Torrens top is made without any alterations in a pink swiss dot cotton. I made a size A. There is a slight bit of gaping in the neckline but the fit is good otherwise. Gaping in the neckline is a usual issue for me due to my large bust.

It’s a really cute top. I’ve been wearing a more boxy silhouette these days since developing issues with compression urticaria (hives from wearing tight clothing). Let me tell you how horrible compression urticaria is when you have EDS. My skin is fragile so scratching actually breaks the skin or causes blood vessels to burst in my skin and also develops hives from scratching (dermatographia). Think of being itchy and then just getting itchier from itching and then being so itchy you want to cry. Fun times. It’s changed a lot of my sewing. I need to sew bras that I can actually wear without having this issue but I am not sure what those would look like. Some of the dresses I have made in the past aren’t comfortable for me anymore and even the waistband on skirts is getting to me. Honestly, it’s probably the most frustrating part of having a chronic illness: having things you love taken away from you… So my style is changing to adapt. Thankfully my Belmont leggings are still okay and my Misty jeans (new plaid pair here in double knit fabric… couldn’t pattern match due to fabric constraints) and a lot of my tops are okay, but most woven fabrics are too constrictive for me to wear. So I am really thankful for patterns like this that are loose fitting and comfortable to wear. I have plans for other types of flowy tops and some already cut out. You’ll likely see more pants here, too, but only elastic waistbands as anything else would hurt.

After this version, I made a few changes. I lowered the neckline as well as taking out a 1/2 wedge to deal with the neckline gaping. For version 2, instead of the deep hem, I chose to just do a 1/2 inch hem for a bit more length.

I used the sleeve expansion since I was given early access to it. It’s definitely my favourite version. The sleeves, the colour, so goooood. Since I lowered the neckline, I do have more gaping at the neckline in this version. It’s also made with red rayon fabric which does have a tendency to grow. We’ll see how it washes up but I will do some more neckline alterations for the next version.

There will definitely be more of these in the future. It’s such a comfortable shirt to wear.

I totally chose the red after seeing Leila’s red Torrens on Instagram:

How amazing does she look? I had to follow her footsteps.

Let’s talk about those sleeves for a moment. They are so roomy. I used the wide sleeve and really love it. One of few patterns where I haven’t needed to make a large bicep adjustment.

Real talk, just before taking these pictures, I washed my hands and got water all over the bottom front of the top right before taking pictures. I don’t photoshop my pictures so feel free to play Where’s Waldo with those water stains. LOL.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Muna and Broad Torrens Box Top
  • Pros: Great size range for plus and honestly that’s all I really care about. Love the sleeves. Love the sleeve bands. Love the shape. Great instructions. So many pros.
  • Cons: No cons that I can think of. Even the neckline gaping issues aren’t really cons.
  • Make again?: Oh yes. It’s so goood.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md 5/5 stars

 

 

Grainline Studio Hemlock Tee

The Grainline Studio Hemlock Tee was recently updated for a larger size range. Previously, it was only available in one size but this update includes multiple sizes and it’s still a free pattern! Free patterns are really great for me since I am still recovering from being unemployed for the majority of this year (feel free to drop me a kofi if you want to help me out; things are still really tough for me even though I am employed now). Thankfully my stash was large and in charge so I wasn’t experiencing withdrawal from sewing. One of the difficult things about sewing is that it can be financially inaccessible: sewing machines can be expensive and especially here in Canada, fabric is expensive and patterns are even more expensive than in the US. I am so envious of those pattern sales in the US! So when free patterns are offered by companies, it really helps people who don’t necessarily have the funds to buy the latest new pattern. I know this isn’t necessarily something every company wants to do based on their own financial resources, but it really helps people with lower incomes. ❤ I really appreciate the free patterns I have been trying out lately.

The Hemlock tee is a drop-shoulder tee with short sleeves and long sleeves for options as well as different lengths. You get it for free when you sign up for the newsletter.

To test the pattern out, I chose the short sleeve and cropped version using leftover fabric from my Clementine shirt. It’s a rayon spandex knit in a tropical leaf pattern.

The new size range is 0-30. Grainline, however, has different blocks for 0-18 and the 14-30.

I used the 14-30 size range and chose size 26 since my bust is 52 inches. Although my hips are 56 and size 26 is for 55 inch hips, with the boxy style, the extra inch shouldn’t matter too much especially using the cropped version due to my lack of fabric for this.

It’s a boxy tee so the fit is oversized. It fits pretty well for the style and was super easy to make. It’s actually really great for someone who wants to start sewing knits. The instructions are quite good. That said, the seam allowance is 1/4 inch so if you aren’t using a serger, you may want to add to that or size up for a larger seam allowance. I used my serger for the construction and just using my machine to topstich the hems and the neckline.

It’s unfortunate that my hair is covering the neckline because those are the only issues I have with it. It’s not quite sitting right where the shoulders are which suggests maybe the pattern isn’t trued there or it has to do with my shoulders. I did manage to press it into submission and then topstitching helped but it isn’t perfect. That said, I also have narrow shoulders/upper bust so this is sometimes an issue. It could be truing, though, since the shoulder had a puff at that area. I have very little drafting experience, though, so I can’t confirm that the issue is there or with the fit on my body. And because I didn’t move my hair, you can’t really see it. Let me know if you try this and have issues with that, though! Or if you know exactly how to check for a truing issue.

 

The fix for that issue is relatively easy. It would be taking a small wedge out of the height of the shoulder at the neckline. I’m not too fused on it for this version, though.

 

It’s a pretty cute top and I love the cropped version with my Belmont leggings. Now that it’s winter here in Toronto, I haven’t worn it too much but I think once Spring hits, I will maybe make another… That said, I love the Mica shirt so much and I imagine that will be my go-to boxy tee. V-necks are just so much more my style than this higher round neckline.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Grainline Hemlock Tee
  • Pros: Good size range and options. FREEEEEE when you sign up for their newsletter. Good instructions.
  • Cons: Possible truing issue at the shoulder, but I am not a drafting expert so I can’t confirm that.
  • Make again?: I would. However, I like the v-neck of the Mica shirt a bit more than this but occasionally I do like a round neck too.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md 4.5/5 stars

 

Laela Jeyne Patterns Lotus Bodysuit

The Laela Jeyne Lotus camisole and bodysuit is a free pattern (read how to get it here).

I love a good bodysuit with a skirt. They are comfortable to wear. I also move the snaps forward so they are easier for me. I cut off the front crotch on the pattern pieces and then tape them to the back. It results in a longer crotch piece in the back making it easier for me to grab and close the snaps in the front. You can see the pink bias tape I used for the snap closure in the picture below. Fun fact, the snaps are not sewn on here. I was having issues with my hand and it was super swollen so I decided to leave them off for the picture.

Just like with the Mica shirt, I made a 2XL E cup graded to a 3XL at the waist. The fit on this one isn’t perfect. That said, I didn’t notice how the back of the bodysuit was pulled down a bit due to catching on my leggings. I think it actually needs a full seat adjustment so that it sits right. Originally, I thought it needed more length especially at the back, but I think it needs more room in the bum. I will also do a full belly adjustment.

The sides of the top need to be raised a bit more to not show my bra. I was also thinking of making wider straps since I don’t love the width of those straps.

I made it using leftovers from my Disney Princess Gabriela onesie. It’s cotton lycra with 4 way stretch.

The pattern is good. My fit issues are mainly due to my bust being larger than what the pattern is drafted for so I am not surprised about the sides not being high enough to not reveal my bra. As for the belly and bum fit…well those are typical adjustments for me. Otherwise, I think it’s a good pattern.

Both this pattern and the Mica were great ways to try out Laela Jeyne patterns. I’m grateful that they were free. I’m definitely going to try out another Laela Jeyne pattern at some point.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Laela Jeyne Lotus Bodysuit (read how to get it here)
  • Pros: Good size range. Options for bodysuit and camisole. FREE.
  • Cons: Definitely some fit issues for me. However, those are mostly due to the fact that my bust is larger than what the pattern is drafted for.
  • Make again?: Yeah definitely
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md 4.5/5 stars

Laela Jeyne Mica T-Shirt

Thank you for all your lovely comments on recent posts. I’m sorry I haven’t replied to every one of them. It’s been a tough transition with my new job. I will get to replying to them when I can, though. ❤ I appreciate and read every one of them.

Last Thursday was my birthday. I celebrated in a *very chronic illness* TM way by busting my knee and being in bunches of pain. That said, it was actually a really good birthday for me. My brother visited and he gave me some wrist warmers he knit and I made cake and had wings for dinner. My husband took me to a Brazilian steakhouse on Tuesday (since we knew my brother was going to visit) and he gave me a huge bottle of one of my fav kinds of tequila. While my chronic illness and pain can often offset my plans, I’ve learned to relax a lot of my expectations and listen to my body when it says I need to rest. It’s definitely changed how I live my life. I try not to push past where my body can function. I’ve been embracing more comfortable clothing. It helps that I now have a job where I work from home all the time so I can relax a lot of my wardrobe needs.

This top is all about embracing the comfy.

The Laela Jeyne Mica T-Shirt is a free pattern (read how to get it here). The Mica Pattern is a drop shoulder relaxed fit shirt with short and long sleeve options and a V-neck.

I made a 2XL with C-E cup graded to a 3XL at the hips.

It’s oversized in a good way and comfy AF.

I’m wearing it here with my Cashmerette Belmont Leggings and I love it. This outfit has become my go-to outfit the past few weeks since making the top.

The fabric I used is a rayon spandex that I found at the thrift store. It has to be the softest, loveliest fabric and, with the drape, it’s completely perfect for this pattern.

Granted those sleeves are a bit long, but I have mentioned how I prefer that. My brother’s gift of wrist warmers were probably the best, smartest gift ever for this coldy bear. I get cold hands so easily and don’t always have gloves on hand so I find that having longer sleeves helps me out there. So hold your comments on me needing to shorten those since I like looooong sleeves and never adjust sleeve length.

This was my first Laela Jeyne pattern, but not my last. In fact, I also made the free Lotus Bodysuit (also available in this link), but that will come another day. The instructions for the Mica shirt are great and it fits just as expected. I actually have no changes that I would make for this top. I think it fits just as designed and works really well for me.

It’s also a great shirt for video conferences in that I don’t look like I am in my PJs, but it definitely feels like it and that’s what I am looking for in clothing these days. Secret PJs, actual PJs…. etc. Anything that is incredibly comfortable.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: The Laela Jeyne Mica T-Shirt (read how to get it here)
  • Pros: Fairly good size range. FREE. Lovely v-neck. Nice style.
  • Cons: I see no cons.
  • Make again?: 100% yes.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md 5/5 stars

Cashmerette Tobin Sweater

As you probably know by now, I test patterns for Cashmerette. I can’t test every single one, though, and sometimes it really hurts to turn it down! The Tobin sweater was one that hurt to say no to, but I wasn’t able to do it at the time. The lucky thing is that Cashmerette still sent me the pdf for free with absolutely no expectation to review or sew it up. So I sewed it right up!

There a lot of options to this sweater: two different collars or a no collar option, colourblocking options, and hi-lo or straight hem. The split neck collar is what drew me to the sweater plus the cowl neck. You know I love a cowl neck!

I made view A with the split collar, straight hem, and colourblock options. I used a striped coral and white ponte and a navy ponte. The striped ponte was purchased at the thrift store and it’s so soft. The navy ponte was salvaged from a Turner dress that I had stopped wearing because the bodice got a few stains on it.

I made my usual size with Cashmerette: 22 GH graded to a size 28 at the waist.

The fit is spot on. I thought I might need to lower the bust darts, but they actually seem okay. I do seem to have put the split collar on the wrong way. You’ll also notice the lack of buttons on it. I don’t love putting non-functional buttons on garments just like I hate a non-functional pocket. So I left those buttons off.

It’s such a great sweater and I definitely want to make a bunch more. I think the next version will be view B with the cowl neck. I also really want to make the version with no collar. The neckline has a facing so it’s a nice finish.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Cashmerette Tobin Sweater
  • Pros: Many options. Great for stable knits. Love a cowl!
  • Cons: I see no cons.
  • Make again?: Is 500 sweaters too much?
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md 5/5 stars

Introducing the Cashmerette Alcott dress

I’ve been waiting to share this one with you since I tested it. I love the Cashmerette Alcott dress. Obviously, there are disclaimers aplenty in this post since I received the pattern for free in exchange for testing and I got fabric for free in exchange for promotion, but my enthusiasm and love of these two dresses is real. Also, my opinion can’t be bought with pattern and fabric. It helps, but I am too opinionated for that. LOL.

The Alcott has a fully lined wrap bodice, elastic waistband, and either a full skirt or an a-line skirt with ruffle options for hem and sleeves or flutter sleeves. The wrap bodice has elastic at the neckline so it stays put.

I made a mash up of the Dartmouth and Turner patterns, but this one is so much better.

This is my tester version made with cotton lycra. I made size 22 GH graded to size 28 at the waist. I reduced the height of the waistband in this version since I didn’t have 2 inch elastic available at the time.

The length of the bodice was a bit too short for this version. But being a tester, it was good enough to be worn all summer.

It’s a super cute dress. You can always tell how much I love one of my creations by the massive amount of pictures I take of them. I really love this dress.

I was excited enough just to share this version, but then Cashmerette reached out to me asking if I would like to be part of a promotion opportunity where they partner with a fabric business to send fabric out and then make up the final version of the pattern. I was stoked and then found out it was Imagine Gnats that would be sponsoring it! I’ve had my eye out on their Dakota rayon/spandex jersey in plum for a while. They sent me the end of their stock at the time so I got a little over 4 yards which is just shy of the fabric requirements for view B with the ruffle sleeves and ruffle hem. With some magic, I managed to squeeze it on that amount. Again, I made size 22 GH graded to size 28 at the waist with no other adjustments.

The result is an incredible fit and gorgeous dress that while it looks elegant is comfy af. That fabric is so soft and lovely to wear. It makes the ruffles really dance.

Again so many pictures that I don’t think I should post them all in one post. LOL.

You can see the other Alcott dresses here. I love the other versions. I want to make another right now.

 

All I need is a snifter of brandy and a cute date with my husband.

Happy Halloween! From Velma Dinkley

Happy Halloween! It’s my favourite time of the year! This is also my anniversary with my husband. We celebrate a lot of milestones. Today 11 years ago, I declared my love for him and we decided to move in together. Our next milestone is when I moved in with him in May and then our wedding anniversary July 2. Next year is 5 years married!

I have always loved Halloween. I love horror movies. I love costumes. I love the bite size candy. I even love candy corn and those molasses chews.

This is probably the first costume I remember. I was 7 (about the turn 8 in a month) and my mom made this costume and a clown costume for my sister. I wore this princess dress as much as I could. I even wore it at my birthday party a month later. When I think of Halloween, I think of handmade costumes.

Over the years, I always mixed in DIY and makeup with store bought until I made my first costume, Little Red Riding the Wolf (above bottom right) for a burlesque routine where I reveal myself as the wolf. My next costume was Alice for another burlesque routine.

Couples that costume together stay together. At least for me, this is true. My favourite costume is probably the Fairy God Parents from Fairly Odd Parents. While our costumes aren’t always couple-themed, they always have a DIY element to them. And as you know, I make a lot of costumes for my improv troupe.

I make cosplay as often as I can. Earlier this year, I made Cher Horowitz cosplay.

It’s for the Minerva blog, but the post isn’t up quite yet.

I love it. But I knew I wanted to be Velma Dinkley from Scooby Doo for Halloween. Also, I find wigs cause hives for me so with my red hair, I wasn’t going to look quite right as Cher but red hair works okay for Velma. It’s close enough. 🙂

I made the top a while ago using the Muse Patterns Jenna cardigan as a top. I refashioned a Moneta dress that never quite worked. I didn’t have any of the material left over for knee high socks so those are purchased off amazon. They are thigh highs that I rolled down for knee highs. I made a red pleated skirt. No pattern for it. Just rectangles of fabric and pleats.

I really wanted to make something else for the costume to hit the Scooby Doo theme home so I made a bum bag (or fanny pack) and stuck a Mystery Machine patch on it.

I’m obsessed with this bum bag. It’s a Burda pattern that was free. Unfortunately, it’s not available since they refreshed their website. I added purple piping to the edge of the pockets and the seams on the top and bottom. I didn’t have a white zipper in my stash so I chose two brown zippers and topstitched in lime green to match the Mystery Machine. Instead of the usual plastic clips, I used a belt buckle from a bunch that Tanya sent me a while ago.

I had so much fun with this photoshoot and love my costume!

A ghost even joined in!

It’s a gggg-ggg-ggghost!

I added pockets to the skirt. Between those and the bum bag, there is tons of room for Scooby Snacks.

I really got that scared look down. LOL.

I took a LOT of pictures.

Happy Halloween everyone! I hope you get treats and no tricks! Unless you like tricks. 😉