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. 😉

Helen’s Closet York Pinafore

Hot on the tail of my last post is my Helen’s Closet York Pinafore!

I made view B with the kangaroo pocket. I did some grading between sizes. 22 at the shoulders. 26 at the bust. 28 at the hips.

I’m wearing it with my Adrienne blouse.

The fabric I used was a poly twill I had in my stash from the thrift store. And yes, I have already stained the pocket with something. LOL.

The fit isn’t bad overall. There are some issues at the bust and I think that the sides could be graded out a bit better. It’s very curved and needs more of an A-line shape, I think. There also needs to be a bit more room at the centre back. Overall, though, this is the look I was going for and I think it’s pretty cute. I do think the fabric is a bit stiff for the pattern. Poly twills tend to be pretty stiff, in my opinion. The fabric calls for twill but specifies cotton twill, which does have a softer hand.

The York Pinafore probably won’t become a favourite of mine. I love this version. I just don’t see myself making a bunch more. I may try out some of the “hacks” posted on the Helen’s Closet blog, though. I really love the tiered gathered version. But that is likely not happening until the Spring.

In the meantime, it’s Autumn here in Toronto. Our back patio is filled with fallen leaves. There might be snow on Halloween night. More pinafores are not in my plans at all.

I recently used the latest MyBodyModel release to plan out a “Fall for Pastels” capsule wardrobe. There are more outfits planned than just these three, but this gives you an idea of what I plan to make. The first outfit is Helen’s Closet Blackwood cardigan in a pastel rainbow cotton lycra with soft blue corduroy Helen’s Closet Yanta overalls. I drew a white top on underneath since I have a Concord T already made that would work with the outfit. The second outfit is a Cashmerette Tobin Sweater in a coral striped ponte knit that I found at the thrift store with navy ponte contrasts and Muna & Broad Glebe pants in a seafoam suiting (also a thrift store purchase). The third outfit is the Blackwood cardigan from the first outfit with a Decades of Style Dorothy Lara dress in a lilac swiss dot. Paired with some fleece-lined leggings in white, it will work well for the Winter.

I have a few other plans including some PJ plans and an epic Onesie, but some will have to wait until I start my new job. 🙂 I just signed my job agreement today and start November 18th! My job is a remote position so I am feeling pretty positive about it with my disability. I think it’s going to be a great fit. Mostly, I am just relieved as anything to have a job and over the moon that it works for my disability. It’s been really difficult the past couple of months especially and now I am feeling a lot of relief. I haven’t been on some meds due to lack of funds so I am hopeful once those resume that I will be doing a lot better.

I’m excited to share my Halloween costume with you. So keep an eye out this Thursday for the reveal! 🙂

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Helen’s Closet York Pinafore
  • Pros: Good size range up to 58 inch hip. Super simple sew. Only took about two hours to make them.
  • Cons: No cons, really.
  • Make again?: No plans right now for future versions since Winter is Coming and more pinafores aren’t part of my plan.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md5/5 stars

 

Friday Pattern Company Adrienne Blouse

The Friday Pattern Company Adrienne Blouse has been on my to-sew list for a while. Its dramatic “statement sleeves” are right in my wheelhouse.

According to the size chart, I made a size 3XL at the bust graded to a size 4XL at the waist and lengthened by about three inches since the pattern has a cropped length. My bust is 52 inches, waist is 48, hips 56. Once I put pattern pieces together, I was concerned about the fact that the front and back pattern pieces are the same. This generally doesn’t work well for me as my back is quite narrow in comparison to my bust. That said, it worked fairly well. I still think I will do a full bust adjustment. I will narrow the upper back a bit and grade out the hips a slight bit more. I also want to add to the length. I really prefer for tops to hit about three inches lower than this.

There do seem to be overall issues with the shoulders falling off for people, especially in the larger sizes, and my version is no exception. Part of that issue is that the neckline is too wide so I will be taking a wedge out of the next version. I also shortened the elastic at the shoulders quite a bit.

The fabric I used is a rayon spandex knit, which is a fabric that I love the feel of, but the recovery tends to be poor. Poor recovery means that neckline stretches out as you wear it so that compounds the issue.

That said, I love the top and with some improvements it will fit great. I also think bra strap holders would really help this version.

Yellow and me are really having a moment lately and I love it. This fabric is so soft and wonderful to wear that I can’t get enough of it. Thankfully, I have more of this fabric. And those sleeves! Let’s just say, they make a statement!

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Friday Pattern Company Adrienne Blouse
  • Pros: Okay size range. Great sleeves.
  • Cons: Typical drafting issues with the larger sizes where the neckline is bigger than it needs to be. Having front and back be the same pattern pieces can lead to issues for people with larger busts and it did for me.
  • Make again?: Yes, after fit changes. I also like the idea of not putting elastic in the sleeve cuffs for a bell sleeve. I think I saw someone else do this on Instagram and can’t get it out of my head.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md3.5/5 stars

I’m on a Podcast and my Helen’s Closet Donovan skirt

I Can Make That Podcast Interview

Check out the latest episode of the I Can Make That Podcast featuring me! Andie! That’s me!

I was excited when Katy reached out to me for an interview. It was a great opportunity to talk sewing, plus size sewing, chronic illness, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, @chronicallysewn, geek culture, improv and being schmoopy about my husband. Check it out!

Helen’s Closet Donovan Skirt

When the Donovan skirt was released by Helen’s Closet, I impulse bought it. It’s a relatively simple design but something I was seeing a lot in RTW inspirations and knew I needed to have it.

I loved the longer version of the skirt with the side slits.

My size on the bottom for Helen’s Closet patterns is a size 28. On top, I am a size 26 at the bust, but a size 20 at the shoulders so I usually have a lot of grading between sizes. I didn’t have to at all for this skirt since it is easy to fit. You just need to fit your waist and you can also cut shorter elastic if you decide to pick a larger size for your hips.

My first version was for the Minerva blog. It has yet to go live but I will share a preview of it. It’s made using a chartreuse viscose fabric. The fabric is lovely but it stretched out bunches sewing so do stay stitch. I tend to skip stay stitching, because I hate it but don’t for this fabric, okay? Also saying that to remind myself, because I actually did skip it again with my next Donovan skirt.

I paired it with a top made with the Workhorse Ione shirt in a sheer watermelon crepe that I modified so it was cut as one piece and used bias tape to finish the armholes and neckline. I was going for all watermelon outfit by pairing this skirt with the chartreuse fabric.

You can see that the fabric stretched out in those pockets. I should have used a bit of interfacing to stabilize them. On the other hand, the RTW inspirations I saw had the same feature. So now I can call it a design feature instead of a mistake. 😉 That’s definitely why it happened again with my second version and not at all that I was marathon sewing and cut corners before heading out to the Fringe Festival in Victoria BC. Not at all.

I love that side slit! I have no fit issues with this. Although, I do think the waistband elastic was slightly too long for both of my versions. I measured it on my body but I think the elastic is stretchier than I am used to and the recovery may not be great. It was cheap, though, so I will live with it… The drawstring in this version does help that issue, though.

My second version was made using a magenta tencel twill I got with a gift card earlier this year or last from Blackbird Fabrics. I paired this with my Forget-Me-Not Clementine top. I had planned to make another Workhorse Ione shirt with this since I love the look. I was planning on using the leftover chartreuse vicose with an ivory lace yoke. I still want to make that top, though, since it will also evoke watermelon vibes.

I didn’t make a drawstring for this version, which I regret. It’s not something you can really make after the fact since it requires buttonholes in the waistband. I’d have to take that apart and I am just not willing to do that.

Can I sing the praises of these pockets for a little bit? They are wonderful and big. I love them. Okay it was a short song…

I really love both skirts and wore them a lot this summer.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Helen’s Closet Donovan skirt
  • Pros: Good size range up to 58 inch hip, but can likely fit larger since they are a loose fit. Big lovely pockets. Thank you.
  • Cons: I really don’t have any.
  • Make again?: I want to make the shorter version at some point, but it’s getting colder and colder out so it will wait until next year.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md5/5 stars

 

Forget-Me-Not Patterns Clementine Top

Disclaimer: I was sent the Forget-Me-Not Patterns Clementine pattern for free in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own, though.

Forget-Me-Not Patterns is a new pattern company created by Johanna Morris. Johanna also designed the Manuka dress and top with Muse Patterns. I really love my version of the top I created during testing. Johanna reached out to me when Clementine was released. The pattern does only go to a 48.5 inch bust so my instincts were to say no since I have a 52 inch bust. I let her know and she asked that I follow the tutorial she released on doing an FBA on the pattern and incorporate that into the review. I used that tutorial and an additional tutorial on increasing the depth of the cowl since I knew from personal experience that I like a deep cowl.

I used size 48 and did a 2 inch FBA and graded out at the waist a bit. I added an additional 2 inches to the cowl depth. I found both tutorials were really easy to follow.

The fabric I used is a super soft rayon knit with lots of drape. The tropical leaves pattern somewhat hides the style lines of the princess seams in the front and back, but it fits incredibly well and the cowl depth is perfect. I also did a full bicep adjustment and added bands to the sleeves as that is my preferred hem for a sleeve. The fit isn’t tight at all around my stomach, but my belly does show and it always will.

I also added length to the top. The FBA also added length, but I lengthened the top about 2 inches in addition to the FBA length. I actually would lengthen it about 2 inches more for future versions since I prefer longer tops. I’m wearing it here with pink ponte Style Arc Misty Jeans. It’s a cute outfit. 🙂

The instructions in both the tutorials and pattern are great. It could definitely have a better size range and I am hopeful that they will do that in the future. The alterations, however, gave me a great fit with this pattern. I am definitely making more of these tops. I am not as keen on making the dress version, but that is because I haven’t really been wearing knit dresses at all lately. I tend more toward tops and skirts/overalls/leggings than dresses these days even knit dresses.

I can’t wait to make another!

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Forget-Me-Not Patterns Clementine top
  • Pros: Princess seams and cowl make for my perfect styled top. I really love the fit I got with the alterations.
  • Cons: The size range deducts a point for me.
  • Make again?: Yes, I have some sweater knit that will be great for a fall/winter version.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md4/5 stars

Helen’s Closet Yanta Overalls

Hello Readers.

It’s been a while since I posted here. September was a tough month for me mentally and physically. At the end of August, I went to Victoria BC for their Fringe Festival, where my husband was showing his solo play, Personal Demon Hunter. We walked a lot in Victoria and I experienced a lot of pain and exhaustion on returning. Before that, my improv troupe was at FanExpo, our biggest local convention, and I was already low on energy. I spent the first part of September recovering from that and dealing with a lot of migraines and allergy-related hives. My mental health hasn’t been great since I became unemployed in April and money has been getting tighter and tighter to the point that I can’t cover some meds, which would help my migraines and allergies. I’ve been applying to jobs, though, so I am hopeful that the situation will change. In the meantime, though, everything is tough and the financial situation triggers a lot of anxiety and depression in me. I’m trying to focus on the positive and keep reminding myself the situation is temporary.

Before Victoria, I sewed up a bunch of garments, but I never got around to sharing them here. It took a while to take pictures and then I wasn’t sure what to say here. I have always been transparent about my health both mental and physical but I was having trouble speaking about it all. So there it is in all it’s messy glory. My situation sucks right now and that’s the reality of it all. I do have lots of support from family and friends and I am extremely grateful for that.

Let’s talk sewing now. ❤

I’ve been wanting to sew up the Helen’s Closet Yanta Overalls since their release. Ever since making my first pair of overalls, I’ve been sort of obsessed with making more. I haven’t been able to wear most other types of pants due to compression issues. Even my stretch Misty Jeans became super uncomfortable. I can wear the ones I made with ponte still due to 4 way stretch but any made with denim are no longer wearable. My knees and waist don’t deal with the compression well. Compression actually triggers hives for me for fun chronic illness reasons. I tried altering them to make them bigger but they just don’t work for me anymore, which is okay since I have a lot of other options and ponte pants are super comfy. Overalls are next to leggings in my book for how comfortable they are, especially in short length since it allows my knees to be free to do their hypermobile thing.

I made these Yanta overalls with a non-stretch denim with red lurex in it. I got it locally earlier this year specifically for Yanta Overalls. I used the reverse side for the pockets. The sad part is that the pictures are not showing how awesome this fabric is with it’s sparkly redness all over. I used red for the topstitching too.

I made a size 28 with no modifications except for adding length to the straps so that I could use overall hardware. The fit is meant to be loose (for maximum overall comfort). I find the back crotch depth to be a bit low and the back pockets are a bit big and sit low on my seat. I actually would eliminate them entirely for my next pair as I find back pockets annoying. I kept them in because I was doing a Same Pattern, Different Bodies post for the Curvy Sewing Collective. Check out Michelle’s and Megan’s versions here. I think that the front pockets could also have a bit better placement, but I was following the pattern placement. I’m not a huge fan of patch pockets in general, though. I do like it on the bib but not the others. I will be narrowing the bib a bit as the straps fall off my shoulders a bit and the bib folds in when I sit. The waist is a bit large, but for comfort reasons I won’t be changing that.

Looking at the pictures, I could also lengthen the front crotch depth a bit.

Overall (harhar), though, I love them and have been wearing them a ton since I made them!

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Helen’s Closet Yanta Overalls
  • Pros: Good size range up to 58 inch hip, but can likely fit larger since they are such a loose fit. Without any zipper on the sides, they are easy overalls to make and fit.
  • Cons: Patch pockets aren’t really my favourite look. I like it on the bib, but not the lower ones or back ones. That’s more personal preference, though.
  • Make again?: YES. I have a bunch more planned so I will definitely be making ALL the overalls.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md5/5 stars